As most skinny guys eventually do, I decided one day that I didn’t like the way I looked, and that I wanted to put on some muscle; thereby kick starting my love affair with lifting that has now eventuated into a career. At my heaviest, I tipped the scales at just over 100kgs, and although I don’t walk around at that weight anymore (I generally stay true at around 87-88kgs), I haven’t forgotten about all of the effort (read: eating) that it took to get there with the genetics of a skinny guy.
It’s for that reason that I hold a special place in my heart for my skinny-bastard clients.
So I guess you could say that this is kind of a passion post of mine; my bid to do a good deed, and help my skinny brethren out.
A guy ever doesn’t opt for extra meat on his burger; he’s probably a skinny guy (either that or he’s a fat guy who’s paying the price for past sins).
You see a guy walking around with a weight belt on when it’s windy out; he’s probably a skinny guy.
I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that skinny guys, or ectomorphs (which is the scientific word for it) tend to share a few common, easily picked traits.
Now, while this might paint a picture of doom and gloom, it has to be said that skinny guys can grow – and grow big. Secondly, due to your smaller bone structure, your waist will always be quite narrow, meaning that if you were to add any significant width to your shoulders, it would exacerbate this effect, making you look even broader than you actually are. Thirdly, you get to eat a bucket load of food each day, and claim it’s entirely in the interest of adding muscle to your frame. So being a thin guy isn’t all bad news, but it does mean that you need to make some adjustments in order to ensure that you can build muscle effectively. As with any training protocol, you’ve always got 3 major areas that you need to optimize in order to maximize your progress. All of these are as important as each other, and all of these need to be modified specifically for the skinny guy. I know every skinny guy says that they eat all-the-time, but it’s not true – if it were you wouldn’t be skinny! The problem with simply saying eat more food to a skinny guy is that they never feel like eating more, and often have to force-feed themselves just to get enough calories down their throats. 1) Drink calorie-dense super shakes between meals – super shakes are an idea that I took from Dr John Berardi, of Precision Nutrition, and they work wonders for skinny guys.
2) Add a cup of rice (cooked measure) to your lunch and dinner meals – rice is an easy to eat, calorie-dense, carbohydrate source, that I find guys can add to their meals without having to really force feed themselves. Beyond that, I suggest that skinny guys used some sort of food log, or calorie-tracking software, so that they can figure out exactly how much they’re eating each and every day – and then try to be consistent with it. I know that my major problem when I was starting out was that I could eat 3,000 calories one day, and then inadvertently eat less than 2,000 the next.
This is because hormonally we weren’t designed to grow muscle effectively, nor do we have the recovery capacities of a mesomorph.


In this 45-minute blocks of training, skinny guys should be focusing on working with heavy loads on the bigger, compound movements (squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, chin ups), and when they choose to focus on the smaller groups (i.e. In other words, skinny guys shouldn’t have a whole day dedicated to training only their arms (you’ve got plenty of time to do that later on, after you’ve built a solid foundation of mass). So ditch the 90-minute training sessions, 5 times a week – it’s a complete waste of time for ectomorphs.
The crux of recovering like a boss is getting enough sleep in order to allow your body to recover, repair, and grow from your training sessions.
Building more muscle for the skinny guy is as simple as optimising these three facets of training.
For more information on how to build muscle & strength, including tips and advice that will never be published online, sign up to our free newsletter below. James Garland is a strength & conditioning coach, pseudo-writer, fitness entrepreneur, blogger, lover of all-day breakfast's, as well as a terrible poker player. You had energy for days, an abundance of time, less responsibilities, and a body that seemed to never break down; regardless of the torture you put it through. More in Nutrition, Recovery, Strength Training17 Reasons Why You’re Not Making Progress In The GymI recently had a gym member, Shane, approach me to see how I could help him with his training. I suggested to him that maybe it was a more honest way of eating because that is, in fact, what he eats every day. So if cows could speak English, French, Spanish or whatever language we speak, I'm pretty sure we would be horrified with what they had to say. Ok, so my two week detox is over and I want to tell you some of what the results are so you might go and try this yourself.
A man who lost most of his jaws after a brutal wolf attack when he was an 11-year-old boy will finally get a face transplant, Guizhou Province, China.
A 65-year-old Wu Xiuyou was a little boy when the predator attacked the child ripping off his mouth. Severely disfigured boy can not eat solid food, he didn’t go to school, has never had a job and still is a bachelor. Now, 54 years later, Mr Xiuyou will get a face transplant with missing face muscles and lips. The reconstructive surgery is expected to take 10 hours, and 20 physicians from 10 departments. Whenever they come to me and tell me of their struggles, it’s as if I’m reliving my own past all over again.
I mean 3-time Mr Olympia winner, and owner of one of the best physiques in history, Frank Zane, was a natural ectomorph, and yet managed to build his body all the way to the most elite bodybuilding competition in the world. Until you realise how much food you actually need to eat to put on size, you’ll be doom to be forever buying small-sized shirts, and hiding from any scavengerous birds that are mistaking your pronounced ribs for a sign of you being near-death. Super shakes combine a high-quality protein source with some fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats to produce a calorie-dense cocktail of deliciousness. On top of that it’s super simple to cook, which is an awesome side benefit, because let’s face it; most guys suck in the kitchen.


So by making a conscious effort to eating enough calories to grow each day, I started to see the progress that I had been longing for.
Once I found out this little gem not only did I start to grow, but I also saved a lot of wasted time spent in the gym, which left me with more time to cook healthy meals. Get in, train hard for 45-minutes (and I mean hard), and then get out – from there, it’s time to recover. It’s very important for ectomorphs to make recovering properly a priority, because as I said earlier, we’re not designed to build muscle effectively, and need all the help we can get!
Sleep is a crucial part of building muscle (as well as keeping testosterone levels high), and shouldn’t be undervalued.
My suggestion for you is to look at your current habits, identify which one needs to most attention (probably your eating), begin to make the necessary changes, and start looking for some new clothes to buy. I talked to my friend the other day about a barBQ he went to, where 9 animals (mostly goats, a pig and something else he couldn't identify), were fire-roasted with stakes through them. The only difference is that he doesn't make a connection with the animal because it looks nothing like its original form. The second operation to reconstruct Mr Wu’s teeth will be carried only six months later after the initial. In fact, I reached my full height (6’1?) when I was 13, and weighed a grand total of 60kgs. Skinny guys have certain stereotypical traits that expose them for their hollow-chested selves all too quickly. In fact most guys that I’ve trained actually respond better to shorter, more intense training sessions where they get in and out of the gym within 45-50 minutes.
We like to think we don't eat dogs, but many places in the world do not have a qualm about it. I've been a life long vegetarian but am interested in altering my diet to become vegan and consume mostly raw foods. Most of the people I know also think it's criminal to kill dolphins (after watching The Cove), but they go and eat a tuna sandwich for lunch. It is frustrating to know how many uneducated people are out there who do not think you can live or be healthy without consuming meat and animal products.



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