5 Tips For Skinny Guys To Build Muscle

by admin on October 18, 2011

Guest post by Chad Howse

What’s so great about muscle?

I can think of a million different things that are a lot worse than being too skinny. At least we’re alive, breathing, and living life. But are you living your best life?

Having been way too skinny for the majority of my life wasn’t hell by any means, but it was limiting. It limited my willingness to put myself out there, to try new things, and it limited my confidence, more specifically in how I looked.

Confidence is the greatest byproduct of building muscle mass.

Had I not met my mentor, who showed me how to pack on muscle after having failed for my first 7 years of training, I wouldn’t have the life I have now. I wouldn’t have the confidence in who I am and what I can accomplish either.

Muscle can be a great thing, but the knowledge that you can accomplish something that even you thought was unrealistic is priceless.

So how to skinny guys get muscle?

Here’s a simple fact: hard-gainers can’t train like everyone else.

We can’t follow the routines of guys who pack on muscle easily because we don’t have the same body types as they do, and they don’t have the same struggles as we do.

We actually end up burning muscle when we train like a bodybuilder or mesomorph (naturally muscular body-type).

Here are 5 things we need to do if we’re going to start seeing the muscle mass that we want to see in the mirror.

1. Training sessions that last less than 60-minutes.

At about the 60-minute mark of an intense training session, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol. A hormone involved in our ‘fight-or-flight’ response. Cortisol takes fuel (burns) our muscle and bone in an effort to supply more energy to our vital organs.

It’s great for our survival, but not for our muscle.

2. We need more variation than the next guy.

Our bodies are actually pretty smart, they are able to adapt to the stresses that we place upon them. That is, if we start a new training routine, we’re going to see results for the first month to 2 months. After that, we adapt and our gains decline or disappear all together.

To avoid this, we need to change up our splits, reps, sets, and even the tempo of our exercises every 3-4 weeks.

3. No more than 4 days a week of training.

Mesomorphs – naturally muscular guys – can do 5-6 day a week training routines. We see bodybuilders do them all the time, so we think that if these massive humans are doing this, then obviously we should be doing the same.

Wrong! We need to focus on recovery as much as training. We need at least 3 days a week to recover from our workouts. That is when we build our muscle – not in the gym.

4. Take care of the 3 most important meals of the day.

Before, during, and after our workout is when our bodies need fuel and nutrients the most. Having meals 90 minutes before, and 90 minutes after our training sessions that are high in good carbs, lean protein, and vitamins and minerals feeds our muscles.

Actually, it provides our bodies with a fuel source so we don’t burn muscle. Add a shake that is high in the same kinds of calories within 15-minutes after completing a workout.

Carbs = fuel. Protein = tissue regeneration. Protein is what is going to help us repair our broken down tissues, but carbs are what will help us avoid burning muscle, and add mass.

5. Get your 8 hours.

Sleep is so important to us reaching our goals. We need to be getting our 8 hours a night to let our bodies repair themselves. I’d also throw in a 20-30 minute nap after a workout as well.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anthony October 19, 2011 at 6:58 am

Totally agree on the under-60-minute workout, nut not for the same reason. Cortisol is produced immediately at the beginning of the workout. It’s not a bad hormone. It is produced so we can use nutrients for our workout. Testosterone lowers about 5 or 10 minutes into exercise and that’s not a bad thing. A workout in itself is catabolic, it’s the recovery that is anabolic. For me the most valid reason for a short workout is so we can maintain an intensity that will promote muscle growth. Let’s face it, after one hour, the CNS is quite tired and glycogen stores are almost empty so there is no point staying since we’re not gonna push hard anyway.


Alex October 22, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Nice post and educated advice.. but i also think that a good one would be for skinny guys to focus on enough calories.. some think they are eating enough when they are not.. old habits that must be replaced


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