For the majority of people who aim to gain some muscle, the biggest problem almost always is an overreliance on physical exercise. I’ve often seen skinny people hit the gym hard, and even getting the reps low to maximum strain on muscles.
But in so many cases, the muscle just doesn’t appear, and utter frustration kicks in. In the majority of cases, it is a mix of diet issues and doing the wrong exercises, which are the two things I want to address in this post.
Let’s start with the biggest issue.
The Number 1 Challenge For Skinny People
No, it’s not down to lifting the wrong weights, but your diet. With all the people I have dealt with that struggled with gaining some mass, it almost always turned out that they weren’t eating enough food.
At a very minimum, you should be eating about 10% to 15% more calories than your baseline intake should be. However, if you’re serious about building muscles, then taking a sneak peek at a professional bodybuilder’s diet and calorie intake will quickly validate how important this is.
Professional athletes in many different disciplines will often eat 2 to 4 times their baseline calories per day. Yes, 2 to 4 times!
That extra energy is needed to support all the physical activity as well as ensure that you don’t end up in a net-negative calorie situation. The result of that is muscle wasting, which goes completely against what you want to achieve in the first place.
Adapting Your Diet
Now, before you start heading off to some fast food joints and the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts, it’s important that you get those extra calories from a healthy mix of protein, fat, and slow-releasing carbs.
Essentially, you’ll need to eat more chicken, red meat, fish, and a load more starchy vegetables. And when I say a load more, I really mean piling up your plate for every single meal.
This is what I have generally found to be the biggest issue that skinny people face, in that they simply struggle to eat enough food.
I have a tip for you below if this sounds familiar.
Calculating Your Calorie Needs
So, with calories being the first thing to fix, you need to work out your baseline calorie needs (here is an easy calculator you can use). You simply enter your gender, age, height, weight, and activity levels to get a daily calorie need that you should use as your starting point.
From there, add at least 10%, but 15% is probably the better option. This is assuming that you are doing weight training at least 2 to 3 days a week and will need to be significantly more if you’ve committed to a 5 or 6-day training schedule.
For example, a 5 foot 10 male weighing 160 pounds and age 28 with a low activity level would need about 2,700 calories per day. As a guideline, that person should take in at least 3,000 calories per day to ensure muscles will develop.
Using Some Simple Tools For Diet Journaling
The only way you can make sure that you consistently ht this calorie target every day is by keeping a food journal. Don’t worry; this won’t mean writing everything down with pen and paper.
You can download a free app like Noom, which allows you to search for all the nutritional value of millions of different foods. Throughout the day, you can simply update the app with what you’ve eaten to see if you’re on target.
Taking Advantage Of Supplements
Now, adding that much more food to you breakfast, lunch and dinner can seem like a bit of a challenge. And to be honest, it’s not easy.
But, if you’re really struggling with the volume of food, then you can always consider using a mass gainer supplement like these ones. Mass gainers will provide the right balance of protein, carbs, and fat and will deliver quite a potent number of calories.
The best thing is that it generally can be taken as a simple shake throughout the day.
OK, so now that you know how to deal with your diet, what about some exercise tips?
Getting The Exercises Right
Once your diet has been changed and you’re eating more, then it’s time to make sure you’re exercising the right way. I won’t go into detail here about the exact exercises you should be doing, but rather how you should be planning out the sets at a higher level.
You might see bodybuilders at the gym doing very specific isolation exercises on a regular basis. These are exercises that target very specific individual muscles. For someone who is already ripped, that’s a great approach to shape and change certain areas.
But if you’re skinny, then that’s the wrong approach.
Instead, you should be focusing on compound exercises where muscle groups are targeted. Imagine squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. First of all, you can target more muscles in the same amount of time.
Secondly, compound exercises trigger a larger release of growth hormone and testosterone. And you’ll need as much of these as possible.
Now that you have the types of exercises sorted, it’s time to talk reps. If you’re doing 10 to 15 reps in each set, you won’t be building much muscle. Instead, you need to focus on doing 5 to 7 reps at a maximum. And the last 3 reps have to really hurt.
The only way you’ll achieve this is by piling on the weight. You should be struggling from the start of each set, and by the end, really feel the buildup of lactic acid.
At this stage, you should be all set with a solid plan to transition from skinny to ripped. I’ll just finish off by saying that this is not an easy process, but with some dedication and the right approach, you’ll be able to start bulking up with noticeable results in just a couple of months.