How I Overcame My Skinny Body-Image Issues & How You Can Too

We’ve got a new guest post for you guys. This one from a naturally skinny science communicator who reads a lot. You might think some of his points are controversial, and we’d love to hear what you think. We think his perspective on dealing with body image issues as a skinny guy is incredibly thought provoking in the best way. Without further ado, Will Chou:

Recently, I met with some old friends for a reunion lunch. As we walked out of the restaurant, the conversation turned to what I looked like when I was young. Two of the guys mentioned that I was not just skinny: I was bony and scrawny. One of them even emphasized it with his tone like it was a huge deal.

They weren’t being mean; they were just giving me some constructive honesty. Having said that, I was still very surprised because I didn’t think I was that weak. But it turns out, that’s how they viewed me.

For 80% of my life, I have found myself in frequent situations where I was left out. I had focused on school and struggled with any weight training programs, so I was as skinny as they get.

The worst parts of my day was lunch. My school had a huge, noisy cafeteria with hundreds of people in it. And as you got to higher grade levels, you got to sit in more exclusive areas. The seniors had their own VIP area with its own curtain. But when I was a senior, I still sat alone in the freshmen section.

Sitting there alone for half an hour while everyone around you chatted away creates a constant reminder of isolation. I felt horrible because every few seconds, I was reminded that I was left out. You can’t help but wonder why. Was it because I was Asian? Socially unskilled? Skinny?

If you have ever felt insecure or excluded, you are not alone. Body image is a constant problem in modern society.

But my story doesn’t end there. Your past doesn’t have to destroy your future. Nowadays, I am healthier physically and mentally than I have ever been. You can become secure with yourself no matter where you are in your progression. You can and should change your self-esteem so that you stay resilient no matter how you look. You can and must change your perceptions about the world so that you develop good mental health for your own success in life.

I’m going to share with you some cool science-backed advice on how to have badass self-esteem. First, let’s tackle a big myth about “looks being superficial”…

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I Know Everything About Building Muscle—I Just Haven’t Done It Yet

Couple quick questions.

Are you satisfied with how much muscle you’ve built?

If not… do you know what to do? I mean the basics: Eat 1g of protein per pound bodyweight, get into a calorie surplus, lift weights, and sleep. That kind of thing. Know them inside and out? Rad.

But if you know the basics and you’re not satisfied with what you’ve built so far, what’s going on?

How is it possible to not be where you want to be when you know everything?

I’m not asking these questions to be mean, or a downer. I’m asking because I really want to see you reach your potential.

I’m asking because I want to see if I can wake you up. Is it possible that there’s a gap between intellectual knowing something and actually doing it?

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How to Warm Up Before A Bulking Workout

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to warm up. We’d all live active lives from birth, and our professions would keep us moving all day. Darkness would send us to bed, and sunlight would wake us in the morning. We could roll out of bed and go for a jog because our bodies would be balanced. The only warm-up we’d need would be a big yawn.

While I’m sure there are some people in the world who live this reality, they are not the ones who google about warming up before their workouts. Most of the people I work with are skinny guys who are trying to bulk up, and many of them spend much of their day in sedentary positions, which can make it riskier to jump straight into a heavy muscle-building workout.

What I hope to convince you of in this blog post is that warm-ups are not only great for improving your blood flow and joint lubrication but can also be used as a miniature workout to balance the body and expand your movement capabilities. Most importantly, a good warm-up routine can make lifting more fun help you build more muscle!

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The Skinny Guy’s Guide to Testosterone

Note: this is a guest post written by Dr Robin Bhavsar. Dr Bhavsar is a physician with a specialization in urology (the field of medicine concerned with testosterone).

Hey, all. I’m going to be making a lot of gross simplifications to keep this easy to follow and useful for you guys. That said, I have a fair amount of knowledge in this area. I’m by no means the definitive resource, as I’m constantly learning about new things, but I have studied testosterone quite extensively as a urologist, and I have a lot of experience doing testosterone replacement therapy for my patients.

As a urologist, I got quite a bit of general medical training, and also more specifically about testosterone. The greatest thing that helped me build muscle was discipline, but I did find that it helped to know how to improve my testosterone naturally.

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A Conversation On Aesthetics and Fitness

In this article we’re going to do something a little bit different. The idea came from one of our members. He started off by saying something fairly controversial. Then, as other members prodded him, instead of backing away from it, he doubled down. And I think his arguments are pretty compelling.

First, let’s set the stage. In our articles about attractiveness, we make the argument that attractiveness is visible health. Being very attractive just takes that one step further. Instead of looking healthy, you’d have to look healthy in a way that truly stands out—you’d have to be conspicuously healthy.

For an overweight person, the best way to build a more attractive physique is to become visibly healthier by losing fat. For us skinny guys, the best way to become more attractive is usually to build muscle. There are lots of objective goals you could set: bringing your BMI to 23 with abs, becoming 50% heavier than your date/girlfriend/fiancée/wife, or building your biceps up to the size of your neck, to name a few.

At first, progress can be very quick. If you’ve read our newbie gains article, then you understand exactly how quick. The interesting thing is that the 80–20 principle applies here. What I mean is that with a small amount of time investment—just a couple months—a skinny guy can usually get to the point where he looks healthy and fit. He’ll look attractive.

Not alarmingly attractive, but attractive.

At that point, progress will slow, and it can take a lot more time and effort to get to that next, very attractive level. After all, looking healthy is one thing, but looking so healthy that people go, “Wow, that dude looks healthy!” is a whole other thing.

But physical attractiveness isn’t the only way you can boost your attractiveness. It’s not even the only physical way that you can boost your attractiveness.

That’s where Rick J comes in.

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Train Around Chronic Pain & Still Build Muscle

I will be the first to tell you that chronic pain can really take away from exercise. It’s a huge reason a lot of people do not enjoy activities as much as they could.

Over the years training clients and conversing with fellow gym folk, I’ve noticed a trend in fitness and in sports where a lot of people just push past chronic pain to reach their goals. They’ve accepted it as their norm. While I do respect someone’s ability to get the job done regardless of their pain, I still believe that you can modify your training program to reach your goal and decrease pain.

I do not claim to be a pain specialist whatsoever, and I still refer people to see a physiotherapist if it is a serious injury. However, it’s rare to meet a client who doesn’t have at least one thing bugging them. You learn to tweak things, work around injuries, or even fix them. It’s amazing what well progressed exercise can do.

Not everything requires a doctor visit, pain killers or bed rest. In fact, I believe staying active in a healthy way while recovering from an injury is one of the best ways to recover more quickly.

In this article, I’m going to go over my process of working around chronic joint pain with my clients.

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How To Get Back To The Gym

You’re at a dinner party and you’ve just finished telling your uncle how you started going to the gym, got all kinds of sick gains, and then how you lost them all when school intensified and you just couldn’t keep it up.

He retorts, “Max, you just need to get back on the horse.” Uncle, this is actually sound advice and we will listen, but there are some things you need to know. Not everyone gets back on the horse the same way. Heroin overdoses tend to happen more frequently in users who are newly clean because they forget that their body does not have the same tolerance anymore. If you haven’t lifted weights in a while and you attempt the same workouts you once bullied in the gym, you may find yourself on the wrong side of the bullying.

You may also be surprised at how little it takes to rebuild muscle, or how quickly you can do it.

Inside this article we’ll be discussing a quick and safe way to return to the gym and the skillset needed to make you a landmark in your own fitness world.

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The Male Body Types: Ectomorph, Endomorph, Mesomorph

The three male body types are the endomorph, the mesomorph, and the ectomorph. Endomorphs are stockier and chubbier, mesomorphs are broader and more muscular, and ectomorphs are thinner and leaner.

Or that’s what people say, anyway. Men do have varying heights and bone structures. But do these traits combine together to form the three male body types?

And do different body types benefit from different diets and workouts? For example, is there such a thing as an ectomorph workout or an ectomorph diet? Or do all body types benefit from the same types of exercise and diets?

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How to Gain Weight If You’re Skinny

Sometimes you’ll find an article about how to gain weight that doesn’t quite make sense. It’s not that it’s wrong, it’s just that it’s clearly written by someone who isn’t skinny and who’s never struggled to gain weight. They just don’t get how tough it is for us skinny guys to gain weight.

It’s like an obese person taking weight-loss advice from someone who’s naturally skinny. The skinny guy would confidently say, “Well, yeah, just stop eating. It’s easy. I do it all the time.”

It took me years to realize how much fitness information is really weight-loss information in disguise. It took me even longer to figure out how to convert all of it into information that skinny guys can use. And longer still to break it down into five simple concepts.

This article is written by a skinny guy who has spent the past eight years helping other skinny guys bulk up. If you put this information into action, it will help you gain weight, just like it did for the thousands of members in our bulking program.

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How big should your legs be in order to have attractive upper body and lower body proportions? Can big legs make you look disproportionate? Can your legs look too big?

How Big Should Men Build Their Legs?

What’s the ideal leg size? Most guys have a subconscious instinct to squat a little less, bench a little more. Most lifting programs tell us that we should suppress that instinct. But what if those lifting programs are wrong?

What if this whole “don’t skip leg day” thing is making us think that we should be training our legs far more than we actually should be?

If you’re trying to build a strong, healthy, and attractive physique, how big should your legs be?

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