What you’re about to observe might make all your pre-assumptions go out of the window. I see way too many skinny guys desperately ‘fighting’ for a few ounces of muscle, misled by supplement companies and commercial magazines. Stop wasting your god damn money and time – and start leading yourself based on legit science. It’s time for this guide to be written.
How to Gain Weight Fast for Skinny Guys With Fast Metabolism?
“So, where do you wish to be assigned?” asked me the pre-recruitment military officer. “I wanna be a pilot!”, I replied without hesitating. My uncle always told me that Israeli females see the penis of Israeli pilots as a highly-valued diamond they crave for. Who wouldn’t want to be a pilot now?
“You can not. I am sorry.”, Mr. officer replied to me. “Pilot or nothing.” I told him, trying to sound firmly unbending. “You don’t understand, you technically can’t. You have a tiny special clause in your military profile, disqualifying you from any elite unit due to your extremely low weight for your height”. Damnation.
What happened in the next years was nothing less than life changing for me. I honestly attribute this website’s existence to the transformation you’re about to observe. As a teenager, I was pretty much sure I am doomed for a life of involuntary scrawniness. “It’s just my body type. I eat all day and I can’t gain a single pound!”.
I spent the following years learning from the valuable experience of field experts, devouring books and scientific researches while applying the newly acquired knowledge on my naturally fragile body. Thinkin’ you’re genetically doomed? Think twice.
Defining Genetic Doom
Moments of Biological Enlightenment
I only started taking my body seriously after a year or so in the military, and I had to ‘waste’ (I don’t like this word. I learned a lot.) months of gym time with very minimal gains of weight and muscle. I managed to increase a few pounds, but nothing really worth mentioning. As time passed, I realized something is not working properly. “What the..?” I have followed my gym-trainer’s workout plan for so long, I ate properly (so I thought), but nothing noticeable happens! Grinding water at its finest.
I’m an hyper-focused rat when I find something interesting, so the next natural move was exploring the whole thing. I became pretty fascinated by the world of heavy rusty iron and human physiology. Large amounts of scientific readings were consumed, and a few forums got themselves a new curious member, starving to expand his knowledge to a new dimension. After a few months, I realized a few things:
Being an extreme ectomorph is a nightmare for someone wishing to build muscles. Fragile, lean, small shouldered, lightly muscled and a hard gainer by its definition. Ectomorphs have the metabolism rate of a jet plane on ephedrine, and it takes FAR more calories and commitment for an ectomorph to achieve the muscular frame of other body types. You are probably have some strong ectomorphic traits as well, if you found yourself identifying with me so far.
To get more visualized – a classic ectomorph is someone like me. A mesomorph is someone like Bruce Willis or Sylvester Stallone, and an endomorph is someone like Jack Black or Danny DeVito. Most people are an hybrid of these different types, but some people (like me, and possibly you) are born short of “luck”, purely ectomorphic. These people were the first to become extinct in times of drought in human history.
Nutrition > Any Workout Program. I don’t mean to devalue the importance of a good workout plan, but even the best one won’t work without a proper food intake. Ectomorphs have to consume a lot more calories than other body types in order to see some change. If you’re hardgainer, you will have to eat like a starving pig. Weight gain will follow.
Heavy and Basic. My gym trainer, like most of the trainers, sucked. He basically gave me a recipe for grinding water. Too many reps of too many sets of too many unnecessary exercises, without ever mentioning the true importance of the basic, heavy, multiple-joints exercises (Squat and Deadlift, for instance) and proper nutrition.
There is one book I owe a tremendous portion of my growth to – “Starting Strength“. Mark Rippetoe is an old school hardcore strength trainer, who had written this amazing source along with prof. Lon Kilgore. Rip is a big authority in the field, and believe me – this guy knows what he’s talking about. For many people, this book has become the ‘bible’ of weight training since it’s been published, and for a good reason. Do yourself a huge favor, and read it. You’ll thank yourself a thousand times later.
Words Into Actions
Here comes the practical part. I’ll try to present it all in the easiest possible manner to understand, as I believe explosive biological terms will simply confuse the average reader and cause analysis-paralysis. Don’t worry about the small details, it’s the big picture that matters.
Sure, understanding the mechanics of a car might help a little bit, but it’s definitely not crucial for becoming a good driver. I want you to become that good driver. The only thing that’s required from you is a huge amount of motivation and self commitment. Believe me, you WILL grow like a monster. Skinny guys can gain muscle.
Part One: Nutrition
Eating Like a Starved Dinosaur
“Everyone that I know that competes at a high level in powerlifting does not follow any kind of strict diet. They don’t eat crap all the time, but it’s not like they are losing sleep over it. When I was competitive I ate pretty much whatever I wanted and just tried to get enough protein. I called it the “’Nuff Protein Diet.””
- Jim Wendler
I highly encourage you to avoid eating crap, but I would like to put the next chapter’s emphasis on calories non-counting and protein intake. The most crucial aspect of the world of lifting, and a healthier life, generally. If you want to gain muscle, it really comes down to two main things -
- Eat enough. (Calories, protein and other micro nutrients)
- Have a progressive overload. (Increase your work load constantly)
If you’re going to build muscle naturally, you absolutely MUST be in a positive caloric intake balance. Now, there is a lot more to the equation – hormonal changes, nutrient absorption, thermogenesis (including thermic effects of food), and more. I do not want you to count calories. I believe it’s a huge mental inconvenience.
Many people also calculate their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and adjust calories accordingly. BMR is the amount of calories your body theoretically burns without the extras (working out, walking, talking, laughing, whatever). I used to calculate that, and I believe it’s really a waste of time. It is an inaccurate calculation in its base, ignoring individualistic biological differences.
Now, for building muscle as fast as possible, you will have to eat like its your day job. Seriously, being an ectomorph puts you into a somewhat inconvenient position, where you must consume a LOT more calories than normal people, in order to achieve the same improvement.
You’re probably saying right now – “But I’m eating all day and I can’t add a single pound!”. I was there as well. You’re not eating enough. You might be eating a lot, but you’re still not eating enough. Screw genetics! No worries though.
Building muscle for skinny guys is a bit more tricky. Being an ectomorph, your body probably has a highly responsive and quick caloric adaption mechanism, a super-fast cheetah-like metabolism, and an increased heat production from food intake (Thermogeneis of food), which basically just means that you have to eat tons of food in order to continue improving both strength and size.
Gaining weight fast, even for skinny guys with a fast metabolism, IS possible. It is harder, but possible, with the right amount of self commitment and determination.
Ok! How Much? How Many Calories Per Day?
As I said, I really don’t want you to count neither your BMR nor calories. Simply eat as much as you can. How will you know if you are eating enough? Track your gym sessions and body weight (can be misleading though, *). If you’re not getting stronger (increasing workload) on a proper program (next part) and adding mass to your frame, you’re not eating enough. Eat enormously.
You might as well not be consuming enough protein to maintain your muscular recovery and overcompensation, so track calories and protein intake for one week. You probably consuming a lot less (either calories, protein, or both) than what you assume. Eat more.
How much did I consume along the road to 62 more lbs? I have no idea, but I believed I started with around 3k a day (that’s a lot for a fifty something kg person) and increased over time to a lot more.
Eat, Eat, and Then Eat Some More!
If you still can’t seem to gain weight, consider using homemade meal replacement shakes as additional meals to your diet in the form of liquid. Many people swear by the GOMAD (Gallon of Milk a Day) approach. It certainly works, but I don’t feel comfortable enough recommending it from a health-perspective.
Take a look at my guidelines for making a healthy caloric-dense shake in the above link. If you still can’t gain weight after adding one or a few of these during the day, you probably have some medical condition that should be examined by your medical doctor.
update: Interested to know what is the best protein powder for building muscle? I don’t recommend any processed food, but there’s a new guest post on the site – for curiosity’s sake.
.. And Protein? Is It True That Our Body Can Only Absorb 30g a Meal?
No. This is nonsense, and another myth that keeps running relentlessly in what seems to be every gym in the world. It is the overall amount of protein per day that matters. You can safely consume more than 30g of protein per meal.
About the recommended amount of protein per day, you will find many recommendations among every possible lifter, trainer or magazine, most commonly ranging from 1.7 to 2.5 grams per body-weight in kilogram. Others swear by calculating it per lean body-weight only. Some people go as far as separating animal protein from plant based protein.
I think this is all crazy. I added about 62lbs of mostly muscle without really calculating the amount of protein. Simply eat a ton, and consume a portion of protein-rich food in every meal to make sure that you’re consuming enough. And yes, legumes do count.
Again, if you’re stalling in increasing workload, track calories and protein intake for one week. Make sure your calories consumption is in the few-thousands and that you’re protein intake is somewhere around the above numbers. Make sure you drink a lot of water.
* A Word About The Misleading Scale
Scale can be a great tool for seeing ‘big-picture’ improvements, but do not get emotionally-attached to it. It might be psychologically disastrous. It has huge fluctuations during the day – water volume, hormonal changes, food that’s still ‘in’, etc. It also does not take into account fat loss and muscle gain. It is just a big broad number.
For example, you might be increasing one kilogram of fat and a little bit of muscle as well, and still find yourself rejoicing when you see the scale goes up, and vice versa. So, do check the weight once in a while (I check once every week, upon wake up, before breakfast, after vising the toilet), but do not get too emotional about it. Tracking body fat percentage is essential for making the scale useful.
Keeping It Safe: Do Not Neglect Plant Foods!
I felt an urge to mention that. It seems like many amateur and semi-professional bodybuilders and lifters tend to neglect whole plant foods consumption. Fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, all of these should be the staple of your diet. Eat loads of them. They will help your body in every possible way, from reducing chance of getting cancer (What is Cancer?), to helping your body absorb nutrients more efficiently.
Hormonal, Caloric and Protein Adaption *IMPORTANT*
Our body is an amazing work of evolutionary art. It adapts to almost anything. In order to continue advancing and gaining muscle mass, you’ll have to trick your body’s natural downregulation mechanisms. You’ll do that by cutting the amount of calories and protein approximately by half or even more once or twice per week. Ectomorphs tend to have a more ‘adaptive’ system, so I’d recommend to do it once per week. This will ‘shock’ your body and prevent hormonal, caloric and protein downregulation.
This is a point I did not understand until the last months of my change. I literally plateaued on a massively enormous diet. I believe that I would achieve the same gains much faster if I applied that principle from the very beginning. On the other hand, it is just as important to spike up caloric intake once a week on a weight loss diet. Paradoxically, these ‘shocking’ days will speed up your results by ensuring that your body is not adjusted to your caloric and protein intake.
Junk and Processed Foods at Your Own Risk!
Now, seriously – This is not your average bodybuilding site. FreshBeetle first of all cares for your health. I can not feel comfortable recommending you to eat loads and loads of junk food just to get bigger. It certainly is possible, and many people do that because its easier, but rest assured that it takes its toll on the body. You’re already shoving enough calories to stress your body*, at least mind where they come from.
I’d say avoid harmful processed foods as much as you can. If you choose to eat animal foods, make sure they are organic, cage-free, hormones-free, and grass fed. Avoid white carbs such as sugar, wheat, rice, etc. Candies, snacks, all these stuff – Avoid. Base your diet on organic whole foods.
“One cheat meal/day once a week! please!” – At your own risk. You’re the one to decide if the psychological benefits outgrow the damage.* It is quite unhealthy to shove in thousands of calories every day, but I don’t want to make this post any longer and heavy than it already is, so I would leave the evolutionary biological and biochemical basis to this for a different post. However, this is unavoidable if you’re into building muscles, so you do your priorities. update: As promised, read here about “Calorie Restriction, Free Radicals, Aging, Health and Longevity“.
Part Two: Lifting Heavy
Intense Full Body Workouts and Compound Multi Jointed Exercises
“There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that produces the level of central nervous system activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat.”
- Mark Rippetoe
If you’re not chemically enhanced, an intense full body workout routine based on compound exercises is really your best bet for strength and muscle growth, especially as a beginner.
These type of programs usually bring you 2 or 3 days per week of very short and highly intense workouts, incorporating only a few sets of two or three super-heavy exercises. You get a workout every 48 to 72 hours, perfect from a protein synthesis perspective.
Is That Enough.. ?!
These intense programs let you spend your time wisely. By doing only a few compound heavy exercises every few days, you incorporate all of your muscles in highly complex and growth-eliciting movements, resulting in a huge spree of anabolic (muscle building) hormones and systematic growth.
The heavier the movement, the more anabolic response it gets, and the the bigger your body grows as a whole. Mark Rippetoe talks about it a lot in his book I have mentioned earlier, Starting Strength. Our body is a highly complex system that works as a whole, and the best full body workout routine or any other routine should be based upon the heavy and basic core movements.
YOU DON’T NEED ANY ISOLATED EXERCISE
Isolated exercises are movements that incorporate only one single joint. Biceps and triceps curls are great examples, incorporating only the elbow joint. Compound exercises are movements that incorporate more than one joint per exercise, with bench press, deadlift and squat being classic examples.
Naturally, with compound exercises you can load a lot more weight, which generates a far juicier anabolic hormonal response and systematical growth. These hormones, most noticeably testosterone, growth hormone and IGF-1, make your body grow as a whole.
The whole is much bigger than the sum of it’s part. Chin ups, which incorporates both the shoulder and elbow joints, would trigger a better growth than separately doing biceps curls and another isolated upper back exercise. Again, the heavier the movement, the more anabolic response it gets, and the bigger you get, assuming that you’re consuming enough food.
Isolated movements are beneficial for:
- Professional bodybuilders who care for delicate contest proportions.
- ‘Fixing’ a genetic disproportionate defect.
- Avoiding incorporating an injured muscle.
When you’re just starting, you don’t need nothing more than the basic compound exercises. And yes, no biceps curls. And no, your biceps WILL grow. Take a look at my hand and compare it to the initial picture earlier. That’s me, next to a friend of mine a few months later, without ever doing any curl. My arms are not huge, but they did grow substantially without any isolated movement.
Trainee’s Training Stages and Periodization
That’s a vital point to understand. Basically, there are gonna be three main stages in your training repertoire.
- Novice – The magic stage. Ability to increase the training workload from workout to workout. For the first few months of your training, that’s your stage. Embrace it. Really feels magical to be able to increase the weights on the bar from each workout to another.
- Intermediate - Ability to increase the training workload on a weekly basis. For most of the people (who train correctly), this stage usually comes after a few months and comes to an end after around two more years. Requires some sort of a weekly periodization, more on this later.
- Advanced - Ability to increase the training workload on a monthly basis. You’ll eventually reach this stage after around around two to three years of training correctly. Why am I saying correctly? Because most people just.. “train”, and are at an earlier stage even after years and years of training without realizing their growth potential if trained properly.
After some time with a novice program of increasing the intensity or volume of your training from each workout to the next, your central nervous system will not be able to recover in that window between workouts, and some kind of periodization will have to be applied. There are a few different types of periodization, and that’s a whole different post to write.
I used Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength novice program when I just begun. I was very happy with the gains, and moved to Bill Star‘s 5×5 full body workout routine after reaching the intermediate stage. I highly recommend it, and so does Mark, as a follow-up to his novice program.
~ The Fun Part Begins ~
In Rippetoe’s program, you basically raise the weight on the bar from each workout to the next one, gaining massive amounts of strength and mass if you are eating enough. This program really does wonders in squeezing out the maximum juice out of your system. As already mentioned, I also highly recommend buying it’s book, Starting Strength.
I experimented with both ‘Kethnaabs’ modified version and the next one, recommended by Rippetoe as an alternative to his ‘Original Starting Strength Novice Program’, which includes the explosive highly complex ‘power clean’ move. I trained at home, and didn’t have the equipment necessary for doing these power cleans, so I stuck to this one:
Mark Rippetoe’s Practical Programming Novice Full Body Workout Program
3×5 Bench Press / Military Press (Alternating)
Chin-ups: 3 sets to failure (add weight if completing more than 15 reps)
3×5 Military Press / Bench Press (Alternating)
3×5 Bench Press / Military Press (Alternating)
Pull-ups: 3 sets to failure (add weight if completing more than 15 reps)
Mark Rippetoe’s Original Starting Strength Novice Program Version
If you have the equipment for doing power cleans, I recommend the ‘Original Starting Strength Novice Program’, which simply alternates between the following workouts on three non-consecutive days.
3×5 Bench Press
5×3 Power Cleans
You Can’t Touch This!
Don’t touch these programs. Don’t add a darn thing. Visit Starting Strength FAQ for some related questions and valuable content. That webpage is over saturated with information. If you find yourself confused by the noise and paralyzed by the information overload, simply skip everything besides the next ones. Understanding them are enough for you to make massive gains.
What’s The First Workout? How Do I Determine My Starting Weights ?
We begin determining our starting weights on the first two workouts. It is highly beneficial the you learn the proper technique to these workouts, especially if you are doing them without a trainer. Care must be taken when determining starting weight, and you better off starting with too-low than too-high numbers.
First, begin with an empty olympic barbell (45lbs) and squat down for a set of five reps. If you’ve completed that easily with a good form – add another 10lbs and go for another set of 5. If speed is not slowed and form is still intact, add another 10lbs and go for another 5. Do that until speed or form is crippled, whichever comes first. Then rest and perform two more sets of 5 with this weight. Congratulations, you have just completed your first 3 squat sets of 5 reps. Repeat this process with the bench press.
On the original program, this is now time for the deadlift. Stop once you find out the starting weight since you’ve already completed one set as the program outlines. After this set is complete, go home and take the next day for rest and recovery.
How’s The Second Workout Like?
Progressive overload starts from this workout. After your general warmup and warmup sets, add 10lbs to the weight already established on the first workout. For example, if you squatted for 90lbs two days ago, you’re now going for 100lbs. Go ahead then and determine the weight for the military-press as well. If that’s the ‘practical programing’ version of the program, then it is time for deadlift. Stop once you find out the starting weight since all you have to do is one set.
How Much Rest Between Exercises and Sets?
Do not overthing this too much. Between warmup sets, it will usually be as much time as it takes to swith out the plates on the bar. Once you get to the ‘juice sets’, i.e 3×5, of the program, rest as much as needed, but not more. I believe I used to rest at around 3 minutes between sets when I just started, and increased to around 6 minutes as the weight got biger and bigger. Rippetoe recommends something like that (2-3mins at first, moving up to 5 and 7 minutes as weight gets heavier), but do not get too emotional about it. Just rest approximately around these numbers.
How Much Weight Should I Add Each Workout?
For young males that weigh between 150-200 lbs., deadlifts can move up 15-20 lbs. per workout, squats 10-15 lbs., with continued steady progress for 3-4 weeks before slowing down to half that rate. Bench presses, presses, and cleans can move up 5-10 lbs. per workout, with progress on these exercises slowing down to 2.5-5 lbs. per workout after only 2-3 weeks. Young women make progress on the squat and the deadlift at about the same rate, adjusted for bodyweight, but much slower on the press, the bench press, cleans, and assistance exercises.
– Mark Rippetoe, Practical Programming, Pg. 122
If you manage to complete all sets of 5 with proper technique, move the weight as described above by Mark. If you you get all sets with proper technique but with a much slower speed, proceed cautiously. Don’t add the full amount since you may stall, so only add less weight than planned (10-15lbs on deadlift instead of 20lbs, for example). Adding too much can hold you back for weeks, adding too little has no consequences.
If you get the first sets with proper technique, and only score 4 reps on the last one, determine if that is a recovery issue (not eating/sleeping enough) or form issue. If the form is easily correctible, proceed as planned. If that’s a recovery issue and the bar just felt too heavy, then add just a small increment, or keep the weight the same the next workout. Eat a TON!
If you can not complete the first set, or you’re missing a few reps on the other sets, you are probably using too much weight, if you have recently started with this program. If you have been making progress but have stalled for three workouts in a row – see the next section.
Stalling – Why and How ?
You will eventually stall. This is unavoidable. Progress can not continue smoothly forever. Stalling can occur due to insufficient dietary intake and/or rest. It might also be the result of adding too much weight to the bar, or messing up with the program and adding other exercises (you’ve been warned), or simply because you are more and more close to your genetic potential and need to move to an intermediate program with a weekly periodization.
If you suspect stalling is due to a recovery issue, make sure you get enough sleep, calories, protein, minerals, vitamins and water. If you suspect you have added too much weight too fast, drop 5 or 10lbs, depending on the exercise. If you have added additional exercises, drop them all together and stick to the basic 3. If you have done everything properly and still stall – congratulations, you are almost ready for an intermediate program.
If you are sure that you’ve eaten/rest enough and used perfect form, reverse a few weeks back and use the previous weight, and build it all over again, with smaller incremental adds this time. Your body will have time to ‘actively recover’, and you will probably be able to do it a few times before moving to an intermediate program. Hooray!
Make sure you properly learn the lifts technique before starting out. This is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL.
More information on stalling, resetting and progressing on the end of Starting Strength Wiki FAQ. There is a lot more information there than I can possible put into this post. Make sure you read it if you really want to know the “why and how” of this powerful program.
After stalling for a while and reaching your novice potential (usually after a few months), I suggest moving to the next intermediate full body workout program. I made the vast majority of my gains with it, and I truly recommend it. I got a hell lot stronger and bigger. Mark Rippetoe himself recommends this one as a follow up to his novice programs.
In this program, your week is split into 3 days, just like your novice program, but the difference is that now your first day acts as a “heavy day”, while the middle day is “light day”, so that your body recovers, whilst still keeping your motor pathways ‘working’, and the last day of the week will be a ‘medium’ day, where you increase the weight a little, and start the next week with that new record, in the first “heavy” day.
The idea behind it is that recovery abilities limits are much faster to reach than potential strength abilities, and at one point, you need to periodize your program intelligently, so that you can continue advancing, as your recovery abilities are not enough to support major strength gains between workout to workout. Every professional athlete does that.
That way, you increase your workload on a weekly basis, and your body is able to recover from a week to week. Same thing goes for the monthly periodization of the advanced stage, but on a monthly basis. I actually managed to get to the point where I am today, while still being on the intermediate stage. You will probably reach your goals somewhere on this stage.
Bill Starr’s 5×5 Linear Full Body Workout Plan For Intermediate Lifters
5×5 Bench Press
5×5 Barbell Row
4×5 Military Press
4×5, 1×3, 1×8 Squat
4×5, 1×3, 1×8 Bench Press
4×5, 1×3, 1 x8 Barbell Row
These are not really 5×5 or 4×5 sets, as the first sets are ramping sets to the final heavy set. It’s just a general outline and really is just the edge of the fork. This is my favorite program. Really effective. I owe most of my growth to this program, which I followed for a year or so with a lot of motivation.
Check out Madcow’s Bill Starr 5×5 Linear Version For Intermediate Lifters to learn the nuts and bolts of this program.
Another book that I highly recommend, is “Practical Programming for Strength Training“, again by Mark Rippetoe & Lon Kilgore. This one goes hand by hand with the former “Starting Strength”. In Practical Programming, you will learn the science and logic behind a workout, and you will be granted the knowledge required to build an effective workout program for any one, in any stage. Highly recommended.
P.S – I did not include any monthly periodized full body workout plan since I haven’t reached the point where I had to use one, and you will probably reach your goals (unless you wanna go pro) before even close to this stage. Also, There is no difference between a full body workout for women and men. They would prove beneficial for you, regardless of your gender.
REMEMBER – MASS GAIN IS ABOUT FOOD !
The best program will make you strong, it will not make you big. What makes you big is enormous amounts of food. Weight lifting merely makes you strong, and thus lets these enormous amounts of foods go into muscles instead of just fat. Skinny ectomorpic guys wishing to build muscle should remember that before anyone else.
Compare to the initial photo in the beginning to really appreciate the programs.
Part Three: Equipment
Free Weights Baby !
“The iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The iron will always kick you the real deal. The iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But, two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”
- Henry Rollins
Now – you CAN accomplish these full body workouts at the comfort of your home. I built my own little home gym when I realized that:
- Minimal to zero distractions at home. For me, that’s the biggest benefit. I want to work out, not find myself chatting with people.
- All you need is some iron and a bench. I also got two tires for free from a local garage, so I have somewhere safe to land my deadlifts to avoid breaking the floor. You can get them for free as well if you simply ask them politely. A smile goes a long way.
- Cheaper, in the long run.
- More convenient. No need to get that car going and head to the gym every few days.
- No need to wait because the bench is taken. This is less of a problem in bigger gyms, but if you’re in a small town, you know what I mean.
I really recommend building yourself a gym at home if you have the place for that. It’s an effective, simple, distraction-free and rather cheap alternative. Some people find the social part of gyms motivational for them, and I wouldn’t argue with that. Set your priorities.
Make sure your bench can also handle squats and military presses if you do not have a power rack. A power rack would be beneficial for being able to perform and squats and benches safely without a spotter. This minimal amount of home gym equipment gives you everything you need for a massive gain of strength and muscle.
update: You can also build yourself an homemade T-Handle Russian-style kettlebell. Can be a beneficial addition for doing deadlifts and rows.
This is all you need. This baby helped me get from 55kg to 83kg. I used the upper handles as a squat rack, it’s really convenient. Amazon sells similar benches.
You don’t need any fancy machine. Most machines are built for isolated movements, and we have already talked about them earlier in the post, but here are the benefits of free weight over compound-exercises machines:
- Every body is slightly different, and when you’re working with free weight, your body naturally controls the movement anatomically. Some machines limit your movement, or “fix” you up to one place, making you move less naturally, often with less range of motion. Free weight is just more functional, and promote more coordination and balance.
- Free weight also involves more muscles, as it uses a lot of the core muscles as movement stabilizers. Because machines are fixed, there is nothing really to stabilize, so there’s less work. That’s also one of the reasons why you can load a little more on the bar with machines. It does some of the work for you. You will also see better results with free weight, because it involves more muscles, and trigger a greater anabolic response.
- Free weight is cheaper. With a barbell and a few weights, you can get a complete workout.
I can see machines being beneficial for those not having a spotter and wishing to perform the squats and the bench press. However, this can be easily fixed using a power rack.
The next recommended items should set your home gym up for your growth. You could add a pull-ups bar if you’d like, and two old tires which you can get free from your local garage. I get a little commission from Amazon if you buy these items through the next links (out of Amazon’s cut, you pay zero additional fees), and it took me quite a while to write up this post, so if you’d like to show a little bit of appreciation and support this website…
“To feel strong, to walk amongst humans with a tremendous feeling of confidence and superiority is not at all wrong. The sense of superiority in bodily strength is borne out by the long history of mankind paying homage in folklore, song and poetry to strong men”.
- Fred Hatfield – Powerlifting : A Scientific Approach
That’s it. This is how you build muscle and gain weight fast even for a skinny bastard with a highly fast metabolism. It is no magic though. Simply train heavy, eat tons, rest enough, and grow big. I hope this post gave you the motivational injection needed for your desired change. Can extremely skinny people gain muscle? Definitely.
Stay focused. Stay motivated. Stay determined. As you can see, amazing things can happen if you have the required will, self commitment and persistence to keep working hard. The mental and social effects are tremendous. It takes time, a lot of intimate hours with the rusty iron in your gym, but for me, it was well worth it.
“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”
Further Readings and Tools That Are Worth Bookmarking:
Spread The Word. Share this ‘guide’ with your skinny friends tho are fighting to gain a bit of extra muscle and weight. I hope this will give them the required motivational boost and knowledge.
Agreeing/disagreeing with me? Had a similar story yourself? Share your thoughts below. I’d really love to read your experiences and ideas.