Building Muscle – A Plan For Skinny Guys to Pack on Muscle


Body type, courtesy of genetics, can wreak havoc on your muscle building efforts, particularly if you are a skinny guy. Genetics alone do not dictate that you cannot gain muscle it just means you have to work harder to get those big guns than the average heavyweight you might see traipsing around the gym.

Somatotype, the concept of human physique, coined in the 1940s by psychologist Dr William Sheldon, categorizes three main types of muscle gainer: the endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph. Skinny guys that work hard to gain muscle but just don’t are of the ectomorph variety, which means you have a long and thin build that is not predisposed to storing fat or building muscle efficiently. Most women would kill for this problem, but if you are a man that wants to flex those biceps in pride, your hard-gainer status is problematic.

More Calories In Than Out

Muscles grow on calories and calories are the key to weight gain or loss. If you want to gain muscle, it has to come from a surplus of calories consumed exceeding those you burn during exercise and regular daily activity. On average, consume at least 500 to 1,000 more calories a day than you normally would, which yields a gain of 1 to 2 pounds per week. A simple way to determine your exact calorie intake for sustaining your current weight is multiplying weight x 15 and then adding 500 or 1,000 to that number. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds x 15 = 2,250; add 1,000, to equal 3,250 calories per day to gain 2 pounds per week. The exact pounds you need to add per day is specific to your starting weight and activity level but should be discussed first with your physician before implementation.

Add Calories with Healthy, Muscle-Building Food

You cannot munch on any old thing to gain muscle. Keep a sensible head and consume foods targeted at building muscle without causing your body health complications. Muscle building foods include those containing protein and carbohydrates.

Protein is the basic building block of muscle and adding a savory portion of lean protein to each meal and snack increases muscle mass. Make at least 35 percent of your total daily calorie intake come from a protein source, which ranges from 40 to 60 grams per day if you weigh less than 200 lbs before you begin your bulking plan. Eat a lean protein at least two hours before intense exercise and within two hours after, for optimal muscle recovery. Examples of lean proteins to add to your daily meals: egg whites, skinless poultry, baked or grilled fish, low-fat dairy and lean red meat.

Carbohydrates fuel all the cells in your body and particularly the muscles. You need plenty of carbohydrates daily to conduct normal activities and boost the intensity of your workouts. Consume healthy carbohydrates from fresh produce and whole grains to sustain energy without experiencing a sugar-crash. Try to add a carbohydrate to each meal or snack and consume 60 to 80 grams, which is approximately 40 to 75 percent of your total daily calorie intake. Examples of carbohydrates to add to your daily meals: brown rice, oatmeal, leafy greens and berries.

Fat is a part of the diet but choose unsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts and seafood instead of butter, margarine, potato chips and fried meat. Consume no more than 30 percent of fat from total calories in your muscle building diet. Fat insulates your muscle cells to maximize muscle growth. However too much fat, can also cause arterial damage.

Additional Considerations

Eat frequent, smaller meal portions up to six times a day. Feed your machine and muscles will develop. But as you feed your machine you must also include strength-building exercise. Food is the basis of energy for muscle bulking but without exercise you will not grow rock hard muscle. During strength training workouts, lift the heaviest weight you can at high repetitions without compromising form. Alternate muscle groups every other day to allow muscle recovery, which inspires growth. Add cardiovascular exercise to maintain heart health but do not emphasize cardio in every workout. The goal is to build muscle and bulk up, not burn the extra calories you just consumed.

Face it if you are a predisposed skinny guy, you might not ever be the desired mesomorph who builds muscle without storing fat. But your skinny guy status does not doom you to a life of puny muscles either. With the right combination of determination, planning, diet and exercise, you can transform into a lean, albeit mass building muscle machine.

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