15 Muscle Building Rules for Skinny Guys and Gals!
WHY CAN'T YOU GAIN WEIGHT?
Though there may be many reasons why you may be thin, the most apparent
reason is because of your genetics. If your parents are naturally
thin or have a small body frame, then you will most likely have the
same small body type.
To some degree, your size can also be controlled by your metabolism.
If you have a difficult time gaining weight of any kind (fat or muscle)
then you most likely have a fast metabolism. That simply means that
your body burns calories at a faster than normal rate. You must take
this into account whenever you are considering a particular diet or
training program. Is it geared towards someone with your metabolism
Now as you know, there are many ways to train. Hundreds, thousands
even. Some work and some do not, but for the specific goal of gaining
weight, there are a few UNIVERSAL things that all skinny guys must
Though much of the information I cover here is not as "magical" as
you may like, I consider these rules to be the basics with regard
to weight gain. These are not all of the answers, but they are definite
elements that MUST be addressed in any successful weight gain program.
You should be able to easily integrate these rules into your current
program to make it more suitable for your particular body and goals.
1.Get the proper information that pertains to your SPECIFIC condition
The first big problem I find in most people is the lack of correct
information. Yes you are motivated and doing things, but your effort
is wasted on incorrect dieting and training information. Basically,
skinny guys are taking advice from people who have never had a weight
gain problem. Want to know how to gain weight? Then find someone who
has walked your shoes. Someone who has been where you are.
2.Set a specific goal and create a plan of attack.
If you were to drive cross country to another city, would you just
start driving randomly, or would you plan a route that would get you
quickly and efficiently?
Think of your plan as a road map and your goal as your destination.
Without a plan and a specific goal you will be without focus and can
easily get lost or side tracked. This happens more often than you
know. I see many people in the gym just doing whatever, or just eating
whatever -- no plan or specific goal. They wonder why they don't make
progress. They have no focus.
Having a specific program to follow allows you to take action each
day. This action is focused on specifically getting you to your destination
quickly. There is no thinking, debating or guessing. You just do it.
A specific plan provides necessary daily structure that not only keeps
you on the road moving forward, it also helps to develop good eating
and training habits that will benefit you long after you have reached
3.Have confidence in yourself and belief in what you are doing.
Lets face it; we live in a cruel world. Hate and jealously is everywhere.
For most people who begin a fitness program to improve themselves,
getting started will be half the battle. The other half will be staying
motivated throughout the constant onslaught of negativity from others.
A few negative words can do serious damage if you allow it.
The most insulting things you hear may be from friends, co-workers
and acquaintances at the gym. People hate change. It makes them insecure,
because they suddenly discover theres more to you than they were probably
willing to admit. They fear that you may actually achieve your goal.
It makes them look less superior.
Once you have begun your plan, you must have faith and believe in
what you are doing. Stay focused and avoid overly critical or negative
people. If you have to, keep your business to yourself. When I first
began my program, I stopped talking about what I was doing because
I got tired of hearing things like you cant do that, thats impossible,
youre wasting your time and money. Funny thing is, now those people
are constantly bugging me for advice.
Its your life. Its your body. Its your dream. Dont allow your success
or failure to rest in the hands of others.
4. Stop listening to every ridiculous piece of advice you hear in
the gym or read on a message board.
Recently a client of mine informed me that someone in the gym stated
that he was training all wrong and he needed to train 5-6 days a week,
and aim for more reps during his workout. Somewhere in the range of
15-20 reps per set.
The person giving the advice was quite confident about his recommendations,
and he had an impressive physique that typically elevates him to the
elusive "listen to me if you want to look like me" level in the gym.
He was bigger than my client, so even though my client's "intellectual"
mind knows that advice is absurd; his "unrealistic dreamer" mind took
this information very seriously. So seriously that he changed his
program and didn't inform me until a week or so later. This particular
person had been making great progress on his current program, yet
he allowed this one persons comment to overshadow that progress and
convince him that his program was inadequate. This is a mistake and
it showed in his lack of further progress.
In addition, don't judge the validity of what a person says by how
they look. Just because the guy is huge doesn't mean he is spewing
pertinent advice for you. Many people that have big physiques are
big despite of their training, not because of it. I know some huge
guys that know very little about training and dieting correctly. They
can do whatever and still gain muscle; unfortunately we are not that
way, so we much approach things in a more intelligent way.
This is the most difficult concept for many to grasp simply because
it involves less action, instead of more. When we get motivated and
start a new program, its natural to want to do something. We want
to train and train and train. Thinking all along that the more you
train, the more muscle you will build. Unfortunately, this could not
be farther from the truth.
More training does not equal more muscle growth. Understand that
the purpose of weight training is to stimulate muscle growth. That
takes very little time. Once that has been done, the muscle needs
to be repaired and new muscle needs to be built. That only happens
when you are resting. You do not build muscle in the gym, you build
muscle when resting! If you never give your body any essential non
active time, when will it have a chance to build muscle? Think about
Now, add in the fact that you have a difficult time gaining weight
and the importance of rest increases. Individuals who are naturally
thin and have difficulty building muscle tend to require less training
and more rest.
6. Focus on Multi-Jointed Lifts
Multi-jointed exercises are those that stimulate the most amounts
of muscle fibers. Unlike isolation exercises which only work individual
muscles, multi-jointed lifts work many different muscle groups simultaneously.
For those needing to gain weight, this is ideal because these lifts
put your body under the most amount of stress. This is the stress
that will shock your nervous system and cause the greatest release
of muscle building hormones. This results in increased muscle gain
all over the body.
You can still do some isolation work; however it should not be the
focus of your workouts, and should only come after your multi-jointed
lifting is complete.
7. Focus on Using Free Weights
Free weights are preferred over machines for many reasons, but most
importantly because they allow the stimulation of certain supporting
muscle groups when training. Stimulating these stabilizer and synergistic
muscles will allow you go get stronger, and ultimately build more
muscle faster. Yes, some can most likely still build large amounts
of muscle using machines, but why make it more difficult if you already
have a difficult time gaining weight?
8. Lift a weight that is challenging for you Building mass involves
lifting relatively heavy weight. This is necessary because the muscle
fibers that cause the most amount of muscle size growth (called Type
IIB) are best stimulated by the lifting of heavy weight. A heavy weight
as one that only allows you to perform 4-8 reps before your muscles
Using a lighter weight and doing more reps can stimulate some Type
IIB fibers, but again if you have a difficult time gaining weight,
why make it more difficult? You need to try and stimulate as many
as you can with the use of heavy weights.
9. Focus more on the eccentric portion of the exercise.
When you lift a weight, it can be divided into three distinct periods.
The positive, the negative and midpoint. The concentric or positive
motion usually involves the initial push or effort when you begin
the rep. The midpoint is signaled by a short pause before reversing
and returning to the starting position. The eccentric, or negative
portion of each lift is characterized by your resistance against then
natural pull of the weight.
For example, when doing push-ups, the positive motion is the actual
pushing up motion. Once you have pushed all the way up, you hit the
mid point. The negative motion begins when you start to lower yourself
back down. Most would simply lower themselves as fast as they pushed
up, but I recommend extending and slowing down this portion. Slowing
down the eccentric part of the lift will help to stimulate more muscle
growth. It actually activates more of the Type IIB fibers mentioned
about in Rule 7.
10. Keep your workout short but intense.
Your goal should be to get in, stimulate your muscles and then get
out as quickly as possible. It is not necessary to do large amounts
of exercisers per body part trying to target every muscle and hit
every angle. This should only be a concern of someone with an already
developed, mature physique who is trying to improve weak areas.
If you have no pec, dont concern yourself with trying to target inner,
outer, upper, lower or whatever. Just work your chest. You should
do no more than 2-3 exercises per body part. Thats it. Doing more
than that wont build more muscle, faster. In fact it could possibly
lead to muscle loss. Long training sessions cause catabolic hormone
levels to rise dramatically. Catabolic hormones are responsible for
breaking down muscle tissue resulting in MUSCLE LOSS. While at the
same time, long training sessions suppress the hormones that actually
If you dont want to lose muscle during your workouts, I suggest limiting
your sessions to no more than 60-75 minutes MAXIMUM. Less if you can.
11. Limit your aerobic activity and training
Honestly, I do not do any aerobic activity when I am trying to gain
weight. This is mainly because it interferes with the important non-active
time my body needs for muscle building and recovery. I do understand
that people have lives and other activities that they don't want to
give up, so it must be kept to a minimum. It wont hurt your progress
as long as you dont over do it. If you find that you are doing more
aerobic activity weight training, thats overdoing it.
I also dont recommend it because people tend do it for the wrong
reasons. Many start aerobic activity because they believe it will
help them to lose fat. While that is true, it wont do so on a high
calorie mass diet. To lose fat, you need to be eating fewer calories.
12. Dont program hop
Heres how it usually happens. Youve just read about a new exercise
or workout that is supposed to pack on the mass. Now, even though
you had already started another training program a few weeks ago,
you are tired of it and really want to start this routine instead
because it sounds better.
I call these people, program hoppers. They are very enthusiastic
when starting a new program, but they never follow it long enough
to actually see any results. They are easily distracted and love to
drop whatever they may be doing to follow the latest "hot" workout
My advice is dont do it. This is a bad habit that never leads to
a positive outcome. Understand that it takes time for any program
to work. To be successful, you must follow your program consistently.
Yes, there are many different training methods and interesting routines
out there, but you cant do them all at the same time and jumping around
wont allow enough time for any of them to actually be effective for
you. Pick one that is focused on your current goal and stick with
it. There will be plenty of time to try the others later, but NOT
13. Eat more This rule is pretty simple, but usually the one that
is not done correctly. If weight gain is your goal, then you will
need to eat more food. Period. In most cases, you will need to eat
more than you are normally accustomed to.
One large problem that I had when starting out is I just had no appetite.
I knew I needed to eat more, but I just did not want to. I had to
force myself to eat at each meal. Thankfully, after about 2 weeks,
my appetite grew. I was becoming hungry before each meal, and if I
didn't eat my meal at the normal time, my body knew it.
If you have this problem, you still must eat something, no matter
how much. Start off making yourself eat something small like fruit
every few hours. Then, as your appetite becomes more active, gradually
move into more real food.
What this will do is gradually get your body accustomed eating at
regular intervals. Eventually you will be hungry before each meal
When eating more, you will need to make sure that you are getting
plenty of good quality protein. Protein is a nutrient that is essential
for building muscle. Every meal that you eat should contain some form
of protein. Meal Replacement Powders like Myoplex are excellent for
this purpose. They enable you to eat large amounts of good quality
protein in a very convenient manner.
14. Eat more often In addition to eating more calories, you should
also strive to eat more often throughout the day. Eating infrequently,
or going long periods without eating, will cause your body to breakdown
muscle tissue for the calories it needs. This is especially true for
those with fast metabolisms.
Spreading your meals throughout the day will give you more manageable
meal sizes, improve nutrient assimilation, and make sure that your
body always has the calories it needs for muscle building and repair.
I recommend eating a high protein meal every 3 hours. During normal
waking hours, that usually equals about 6 meals.
Now, I know what you are saying, Im too busy to do this, or how can
I do that with a full time job and school? Dont let the thought of
this being too difficult keep you from doing it. It may seem very
inconvenient at first, but once you get in the habit of doing it,
it becomes second nature and you dont have to give it much thought.
Trust me, Ive been doing it for years and do not feel that its limiting
or time consuming.
15. Use Nutritional Supplements.
Before you buy any product, remember that supplements are not magic.
Too many people think that just because you buy the latest product,
it guarantees that you will automatically begin to pack on the pounds.
The truth is that supplements are only there to enhance an already
solid diet and workout program.
They can give you the extra edge by:
* Adding More Convenience: Using food supplements like Myoplex or
Designer Protein help to eliminate the common problem of 'not enough
time', by providing you with a quick, efficient way to get your required
nutrients each day. They make eating large amounts of calories and
protein easier for people with low appetites.
* Increasing Strength Levels: Products that contain Creatine, like
Phosphagen HP or Cell-Tech enable you to swing the odds of gaining
more weight in your favor by increasing your strength output. Creatine
enables you to lift heavier weights, which will stimulate more muscle
fibers and cause more muscle growth.
* Decreasing Recovery Time: Vitamin C is essential to prevent free
radical damage, which is accelerated after the heavy trauma of weight
training. It is also essential is helping to repair connective tissue.
All of this helps decrease the amount of time you are sore.
* Enhancing Your Immune System: Weight training increases the body's
need for many minerals like magnesium and selenium. I always use a
good multi-vitamin ensures that I am not deficient in any major essential
vitamin or mineral. Deficiency symptoms include muscle weakness and
suppression of the immune system, muscle cramping and fatigue.
I can honestly say that I could not have built the body I have today
without the convenience and enhancements supplements provide. I simply
don't have the time or desire to do it any other way. This is a choice
that you must decide for yourself. You will be spending your money
on these products, so make sure that you know their place in your
IS THIS POSSIBLE?
Yes, but I have to be honest and say that from my experience, gaining
weight is much more difficult than losing fat. Even if you are doing
everything right, it will still be difficult because you are fighting
against what your body naturally prefers. If you are naturally thin,
building an impressive physique involves persistence and determination,
but no matter what anyone says, it is well within your ability. Good
luck and for more information on how to gain weight, be sure to check
out my website at http://www.fastmusclegain.com
Former "skinny guy" Anthony Ellis is the author of Gaining Mass.
The most widely used weight gain program in the world. This unique
program designed to help people gain weight and build muscle, is currently
being used in over 90 countries. For more information on how to gain
weight and build muscle, check out his website at