Weight Gain - 15 Muscle Building Rules for Skinny Guys and Gals!
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 and goal?
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 do.
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 and goals.
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 your destination.
3.Have confidence in yourself and belief in what you are
Let's 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
there's 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 can't do that", "that's
impossible", "you're wasting your time and money". Funny
thing is, now those people are constantly bugging me for
It's your life. It's your body. It's your dream. Don't 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 person's
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, it's 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
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
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, don't 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. That's it. Doing more than that won't 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 build muscle.
If you don't 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 won't hurt your progress
as long as you don't over do it. If you find that you are
doing more aerobic activity weight training, that's
I also don't 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 won't do so on a high calorie mass diet. To lose fat, you
need to be eating fewer calories.
12. Don't program hop
Here's how it usually happens. You've 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 or exercise.
My advice is don't 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
can't do them all at the same time and jumping around won't
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 NOW.
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 time.
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, "I'm too busy to do this",
or "how can I do that with a full time job and school?"
Don't 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 don't have to give it much thought. Trust me,
I've been doing it for years and do not feel that it's
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
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
15 Things You Can Do To Gain Mass
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