Skinny Guys Build Muscle

Do Less. Gain More. How Skinny Guys Really Gain Muscle.

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How Skinny Guys Really Build Muscle

It’s 9:53 am. I can see the sun shining outside in what promises to be a beautiful day in Vancouver, BC. I’ve been up since 5 am, getting right into my muscle building morning routine, and my success morning routine.

I do my exercises, drink my water, have my testosterone cocktail, then I sit down, read, think, take notes, and finally open up my computer and start working. In a few hours I’ll go to the gym. I go pretty much every day these days. Not always to work my ass off, sometimes just for a break from work. To hit the bag or do a light lift on a weak point.

Aside from my testosterone boosting cocktail, I have yet to eat. I’m focused on what’s most important right now, this article, and how to illustrate to you that less is more in the world of building muscle for skinny guys.

The day I’m describing will eventually consist of 3-4 meals + 1 shake. One of the meals will be massive. The others, smaller in comparison.

Skinny Guys Build Muscle

Each, however, serving a specific purpose. My body is important to me, as is staying lean and muscular year round. I’ve never been a fan of bulking. So I don’t do it.

My work is my mission. This site is my passion. I love writing and working on ways to help you build your dream body, and construct your legendary life. Having two main focuses in a day – along with the life stuff like having fun, laughing, living and the like – my nutrition as well as my training needs to serve both purposes.

The odd thing about this is that in focusing on my energy levels and focus (yes, even with nutrition), I’ve also helped my body.

As I wind down this article, I’ll head to the gym.

Years ago I used to do long, 2 hour workouts. They left me drained skinny and weak. Today, I’m going to do a 20-30 minute workout that will absolutely kick my ass.

Why Less is MoreHow skinny guys build muscle

Let me paint a bit of a picture for you. I walk up the stairs to my gym, headphones on, coffee or Extreme Rush, already having been consumed. As have my first round of BCAAs, I have my training notebook in my hand, gym bag over my shoulder. I’m ready to go.

The songs on my gym playlist (there are 4 of them) are motivating. They keep me focused if my mind wanders. They get me hyped if my intensity wains. I’m leaving nothing to chance. I will kill this workout.

I get to the squat rack, pop on a couple plates and do 24′s to warm up. After the warm up, I’m right into my workout. For the past 2 weeks, I’m doing the challenge workouts in the PowerHowse Challenge. Which means, I’m completely depleting my muscle with limited rest periods, before moving on the the next exercise.

The exercises are in a strategic list. A lower day might start with squats or deadlifts. The goal rep count is 50 reps and I’m aiming to fail 3 times within the set. Meaning I let the rep count and the failure goal dictate the weight I choose.

I hit the first exercise hard. I have my watch on my wrist to time my rest periods. After the first set I rest for 25 seconds, then hit it again. I fail 4 times in that first set, which is great because I’ve brought my muscle to the brink 4 times. After just the first exercise I’m experiencing a skin-bursting pump.

As I go down the list of 6-8 exercises, my body is screaming for me to stop. Now, the workout is less about the physical and more about the mental fight. Will I quit early on a set, take it easy and look for an excuse, or will I push through?

Half way through the workout I take a few more BCAAs, then continue on. I blast through the list in 24 minutes. I’m drenched and I can barely walk down the stairs to my locker. The blood still coursing through my muscles. I’m walking out of the gym on a ‘high’. I’m not worn down or deflated. But my body is completely broken down.

One thing you want to avoid in training is to leave the gym having done too much. You reach the point where your blood is leaving your muscles. You’re ‘deflating’. You want to walk out of the gym, blood still inflating your muscles.

You want to break your muscle down as much as possible, in as little time as possible. Walking out of the gym without a big cortisol release, and ready to start the recovery process.

This is when you have a post workout shake, and a cold shower. Stretching is also important. Which is something I do after the workout when the muscle is warm, not before (can be dangerous to stretch before a workout).

Lactic Acid. HGH. & An Intense Workout

I’ve done the long workouts in the past. The bodybuilding sets that have 2 minute rest periods, or allow for full recovery before picking up the weights again for the next set.

In a workout we want to build up as much lactic acid as possible in as short a time as possible (within reason). Long rest periods makes this impossible. As do sets with only one exercise in them. We need to be doubling and tripling up our exercises with supersets and giant sets. Or we need to be doing a challenge workout like the one previously described.

Lactic acid increases the acidity of the blood and as a result can cause a dramatic increase in growth hormone (GH). GH is probably the most important hormone (along with testosterone) for repairing muscle tissue and burning fat.

Our workouts need to be excruciating, but short. Too long means our body will release cortisol and we’ll experience the opposite effect: lowered testosterone levels.

skinny guys build muscle

Naturally Boost Testosterone

Hormones play a very important role in a skinny guy building lean muscle, as do calories. Let’s not kid ourselves. Many a young man has failed to gain lean muscle simply because he’s unwilling to eat enough food.

Both ‘birds’ can be hit with one stone.

We need to eat a lot to gain lean muscle mass. But we also need to be burning fat. What we don’t need is to avoid eating fat.

Fat and manliness go together like pb & j. Saturated fats (and cold showers) are one of the only ways men can naturally raise our testosterone levels. By cutting out fats, like FAR too many of us do when we’re building lean muscle mass, we have the opposite effect.

We need fat to burn fat and to raise our testosterone levels. We also need carbs to feed our muscles. So where’s the balance?

Focus the majority of your carbohydrates in your post workout shake, and post workout meal. Make these meals massive, with low fat content, high carbohydrate (fast carbs like fruits, sugars, white flour) content, and high protein content. No need to measure the macronutrients, just eat a lot.

Then, eat fats with low carbs the rest of the day. Have a lot of eggs, eat red meat, white meat, whatever. Just eat a lot. Also, follow the two protocol’s below to boost testosterone the natural way.

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Shake 3x a week

12 oz whole raw milk, 4 tbsp raw almond butter, 2 raw egg yolk, 3 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Before bed & upon rising snack

Cod liver oil. 3,000-5,000 IU vitamin D3, 3 Brazil nuts + a source of fats (food). I threw this in on my own. It was usually a couple whole eggs, an avocado, or a grass fed beef burger paddy.

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Muscle Building for Skinny Guys

For years I trained more and more in hopes of gaining more and more muscle. It didn’t work.

Gaining muscle for skinny guys isn’t like finding success in a job or even in a sport. More is not better. More intense is. But a longer workout can completely kill your progress, keeping you skinny, weak, and frustrated. It did it to me for 8 years.

If you’re tired of working your ass off, but seeing no results, check out the video below and learn how I finally turned things around. And how you can stop being frustrated, and start getting jacked:

How Skinny Guys Build Lean Muscle (video)

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  • Jake

    "I’m not worn down or deflated. But my body is completely broken down.
    One thing you want to avoid in training is to leave the gym having done too much."

    and
    "More is not better. More intense is. "

    So I cant seem to find a happy medium between the two. I can do a short, but crazy intense workout and I will feel like I have done too much.
    Also those guys look chubby…..though you yourself are looking more like a spiderman and less like the hulk in that picture.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/ Chad Howse

      What workouts are you doing? If you have the right program, that happy medium should be there for you.

      …That's the Rock and Mark Wahlberg from a movie they're filming right now.

      • Jake

        Of its the Rock and Mark W…its just that they dont look very lean.
        Ya..i do a body part a day with a break on day 7. I limit my workouts to under 55 minutes. Heavy weights.

      • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/ Chad Howse

        Ya they both look puffy for sure. Ever tried a 4 day upper lower split at 4 days a week with sprints for cardio?

        Great mix up for gaining lean mass.

  • jordan

    hi chad, could you post a typical days eating & what exact foods you eat>??

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/ Chad Howse

      Hey Jordan, indeed I can.
      I'll put that in an upcoming article. Good idea.

      • jordan

        Good Man!

  • MikeHoncho01

    To kind of add to Jake's comment, I'm a little confused about pushing through mental weakness and to physical failure, but not leaving the gym having done too much.

    You do many sets to failure. Your body is screaming to stop. Your biggest challenge is to mentally not quit, not take it easy, and force yourself to push through.
    But you also say "One thing you want to avoid in training is to leave the gym having done too much."

    How do you know to limit yourself so that you don't do too much?

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/ Chad Howse

      Keep your workouts to around the 40 minute mark. You also want to keep your rest periods strict. Always have your eye on the clock, if you take too long on a rest period you can "deflate" the muscle as well.

  • Adrian

    i try EVERYTHING i jst give up =(

  • Jacob

    Hey im having problems with gaining muscle im 18 yrs old and im 6’1″ 137lbs i dont have much weights to work out with but i have a curling bar and enough weigh to where i cant even lift it 2 times and i eat all day im always eating something and i drinkalot of water and sometimes milk. What am i doing wrong? I want to be hulk sized like i want to be able to pick someone up like a rag dall. Haha

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      haha. Well, for one, start a program man. Do something by someone who has done what you want to do. This will show you how to eat and train to build lean muscle: http://www.thepowerhowsechalleng.com

  • gurprataap

    Chad you describes the carb part according to someone who workouts in the morning
    I worjout at 8 pm and sleep at 2 am to 11/12 the nxt day (holidays usually)
    So carbs are for energy supply. . Then should i eat them before throughout the day more and after workout(already is) ??!!!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Keep them around your workout, especially after. So go low carb until around your workout time. Don’t get into the whole “don’t eat carbs at night thing”, it doesn’t apply if that’s when you’re training. In fact, studies have shown it’s actually better to eat then if that’s when you train. So load up at night!

  • gurprataap

    When will I get my replies :/.u busy alot these days? ?

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      I’m up to date on my comments as far as I can tell – are you just referring to the comment below?

  • gurprataap

    Now I see it..thaand alot bro…and I commented on your latest testosterone article as well…iam new to disqus. ;)

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      All good man, thanks for the comments! Really appreciate it bro.

  • http://www.wcfitnessonline.com/ William – Personal Trainer

    I prefer using shorter workouts as well. I love the quote from Charles Poliquin saying “If you’re in the gym for more than an hour, you’re making friends not progress”.

    I like the shake you list as well there, that’s great for muscle building.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      William, sorry I’m so late to this comment man! Great quote. Poliquin is the man. Great site of his. Tons of knowledge on there.

  • http://www.buildmusclemass101.com/ Yomi

    there’s nothing impossible for a skinny guy to build muscle but it will take a lot of patience since it will take time to develop. The good thing about it is it’s possible. Just need to have the right attitude.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Attitude is important. But there’s more to it than that. Speaking from my own experiences, I worked my ass off, but it was technical changes that led to my transformation, not a change in attitude. I agree, though. Patience is key, as is the right frame of mind.

  • Boogie man

    I get great results 3 times a week or less at the gym for 30 min each time. I am intense though and go for what is beyond my strength when I am all warmed up.

  • http://musclebuildingdietplan.com/ Muscle Building Nutrition Plan

    Thanks for sharing this muscles building secret with us..