How Two Skinny Guys Gained Muscle (Our Muscle-Building Transformations)
May 2010—the month that two skinny guys decided they were fed up with being skinny. Did we know how to lift weights? Did we know how to eat a bulking diet? Nope. We didn’t know anything about building muscle. All we knew was that we were underweight, weak, and fed up with feeling so scrawny. That was how “Muscle May” began. That’s how our entire Bony to Beastly business began.
That first day of May, the two of us made a bulking pact: we would do thirty days of whatever it took to gain muscle—naturally, of course. It’s not like we were going to take steroids or anything. Hell, we were even scared to take creatine. But skinny genes be damned, we were growing out of our skinny jeans.
At the end of those thirty days, we had gained over thirty pounds between us, which was, well, maybe a bit much! But it was working. We were finally gaining weight! So we doubled down on our efforts, extending our bulking pact for another three months. And by the end of those three months, we had built enough muscle that we weren’t skinny anymore. And we haven’t ever been skinny again.
Here’s the story of how we went from skinny to muscular.
The “Before” Photos
As a skinny guy, my biggest pet peeve was looking at “muscle-building” transformation photos and seeing guys who already looked quite muscular in the before photos. Oftentimes, there would be a photo of a somewhat overweight guy who cut off a lot of body fat and came out looking ripped. And that’s super cool. Kudos to them. But that’s not a muscle-building transformation, that’s a fat-loss transformation.
As I learned more, I only became more skeptical. With a lot of these bulking transformations, guys would lose weight for some reason or another—travelling, sickness, stress—and then take a photo at their lowest point, using it as a before photo. Then they’d regain the muscle they’d lost and call it a muscle growth transformation. In reality, it was a muscle regrowth transformation.
A famous example of that is when Tim Ferriss lost muscle mass while travelling and then regained all of it in a single month:
Now, it’s not always deceitful. Tim Ferriss clearly outlined his training history. He was always upfront about the fact that he was just regaining lost muscle mass. So that’s fine. And I like Tim Ferris. He seems like a good guy. But as a skinny guy looking at this before and after transformation, I couldn’t relate. It wasn’t for me.
Another trick that’s popular in the fitness industry is to manipulate before and after photos to make transformations look more impressive. Not always dishonestly. There are some Photoshop scandals, but most of the time, people just take an unflattering “before” photo and then take their “after” photo in better lighting with pumped-up muscles. It’s not dishonest, per se, it’s just that they want to show off their progress in the best possible light.
We were tired of all of that. We wanted to see what would happen if two everyday skinny guys—graphic designers working desk jobs—decided to document their progress as they bulked up. We decided to take our photos clinically:
- Same lighting.
- Same poses.
- Same time of day (first thing in the morning).
- Same stomach contents (first thing in the morning, after peeing, with one small glass of water).
- No pumping up our muscles.
- No tricks at all.
So, first, before we talk about our 4-month bulking transformation, let’s give a little backstory. Here I am at 21 years old wearing a size small t-shirt:
I’m 6’2, and my weight fluctuated between 120–130 pounds. On the very best of days, that put my BMI at 16.7, which is considered clinically underweight. If you’re curious about your own BMI, you can check yours here.
I wasn’t just skinny in the sense that I wasn’t muscular. At 18, I’d been diagnosed as having a high risk of heart disease, and both my family doctor and my cardiologist had been encouraging me to start exercising, eating better, and gaining weight.
At 21, I bought a muscle-building program for “ectomorphs” and put on 20 pounds of muscle during a three-month bulk. That brought me from 130 pounds up to 150 pounds. From a BMI of 16.7 up to a BMI of 19.3. I was no longer clinically underweight! I was still thin, sure, but I wasn’t dangerously underweight. I wasn’t “skinny” anymore, just thin.
So, why am I telling you all of this?
- First, my “before” photos show me in peak condition—the fittest, strongest, and most muscular I’d been in my entire life. When I started this 4-month bulking transformation, I’d already gained 20 pounds. There’s no muscle regrowth happening here.
- Second, I’d already gotten my “newbie gains.” If you haven’t heard that term before, newbie gains is the rapid period of muscle growth when people first start training and dieting for muscle growth. I was already lifting weights and had already gained 20 pounds.
The other nice thing about having already gained 20 pounds was that I knew a little bit about how to bulk up. I promised my roommate, Jared, I could teach him how to build muscle. He’d been living with me while I gained my first twenty pounds, so he believed I could help him do it, too.
Here are our official “before” photos. I weighed 150 pounds. Jared weighed 130. This was the heaviest we’d ever weighed, the best shape we’d ever been in. And we were fully grown, adult men who’d already been through puberty.
Shane’s measurements at 6’2 and 150 pounds:
- Neck: 14.25 inches
- Shoulders: 43.5 inches
- Biceps: 12.25 inches
- Chest: 37 inches
- Waist: 30 inches
- Hips: 36 inches
- Thigh: 18.75 inches
- Calf: 13.5 inches
Now, keep in mind that I’d already gained twenty pounds. At 130 pounds, my neck had been just under 14 inches, my biceps had been just under 10 inches, and my shoulders had been just under 39 inches. As you can see, I’d spent more time on my shoulders, chest, and arms than on my legs. I had tried squatting and deadlifting, but my technique was horrible… and I had given up on it.
Jared’s measurements at 6 feet and 130 pounds:
- Neck: 13.75 inches
- Shoulders: 38.75 inches
- Biceps: 11 inches
- Chest: 33.75 inches
- Waist: 27.5 inches
- Hips: 35.5 inches
- Thigh: 18.75 inches
- Calf: 13.75 inches
Jared’s measurements were similar to how mine had been the year before, except with slightly bigger arms and legs. (We later discovered that my torso grew more easily, making me “torso dominant,” whereas Jared’s arms few more easily, making him “limb dominant.” When we figured that out, we were able to adjust our isolation lifts to yield more balanced muscle growth.)
Finding a Bulking Program
Now that we had our “before” photos, we had to figure out how to get “after” photos. We needed a muscle-building routine to follow. We had to find a workout program designed to stimulate muscle growth and a good bulking diet designed for gaining weight. We also had to learn how to fix our unhealthy lifestyles.
At first, it was a little discouraging because all of the online information at the time was targeted at overweight people looking to lose fat, not at skinny guys trying to build muscle. It took me quite a while to even figure out what our body type was. I knew we were skinny, of course, but in the fitness industry, naturally skinny guys are called “ectomorphs.” I also knew that we had a lot of trouble gaining weight, which is called being a “hardgainer.” And the type of training that’s designed to help people gain muscle size is called “hypertrophy training.”
Some guys don’t need a smart plan. In every muscle-building study, you’ll see “hyper-responders.” These are the guys winging it in the gym and still building muscle, certain that their method is superior because it’s working. But then you’ve got naturally skinny, ectomorph, hardgainer guys like us. We’re the guys who need to do things more methodically to get consistent progress. We’re the guys who need to train more specifically for muscle growth.
On that note, let’s talk about “non-responders” for a second. Most studies comparing workout routines don’t standardize the diets. This creates a problem because a lot of naturally skinny guys don’t intuitively eat enough calories to build muscle. As a result, most skinny guys fail to gain weight, and so they fail to build muscle, and so they assume they have poor muscle-building genetics. That’s not the case. We just need to combine a good workout program with a good bulking diet. We need to focus on both aspects at once.
There is a genetic component to muscle growth, though, as you’ve surely realized. For instance, the normal range of testosterone in men is 170 to 780ng/dL. One guy can have 4.6x the testosterone production of another guy, and both can still be within the healthy range. There are also differences in bone structure. The thicker someone’s bones, the more muscle they can build. Someone with thicker bones in their arms can build much bigger biceps and triceps. And the longer and wider someone’s frame, the longer their muscles are. Someone with longer collarbones can build a wider chest.
So the takeaway is: muscle will come easier to some than others, and everyone will look a bit different in the end, but everyone can build muscle. Not everyone can become a famous powerlifter, bodybuilder, or fitness influencer, but everyone can look great. And you won’t look like your goal body. You’ll look like a muscular version of yourself. And it’ll look and feel awesome.
Our First Taste of Muscle Growth
We treated all of this as an experiment. Partly because that gave us an excuse to track and photograph everything. But mainly because we were too ashamed to tell our friends and family that we were actually, genuinely trying to build muscle. We figured “we’re doing an experiment” wasn’t quite as embarrassing, especially if we wound up failing. But to our surprise, we didn’t. We were building muscle quite fast.
As we gained more and more muscle, we started getting a lot of attention on YouTube and in fitness forums. Plenty of people were building muscle, but it was rare to see such skinny guys gaining weight so quickly, building muscle so leanly.
Some of the attention was good, some bad. On the bad side, I realized that wearing “daisy dukes” (cut-off jean shorts) in my progress photos wasn’t an appropriately masculine choice in the eyes of bodybuilders and powerlifters. But on the good side, we also got (falsely) accused of taking steroids, proving that something masculinizing was happening. And other skinny guys started emailing us, following along, bulking up with us. It was really cool!
A couple of months into our bulk, even the personal trainers at the gym were starting to notice how quickly we were growing. We had been fairly embarrassed during our first few trips to the gym, so getting congratulated by the staff felt amazing. We had started off as these skinny, nerdy outsiders, and now we were being applauded by the college football and basketball players who used the university gym.
We may not have had the best form, and we may not have been doing the best exercises, but we were persistent. No matter how busy we were, we always found a way to get our workouts and meals in. It wasn’t anything crazy. We only lifted weights three times per week, and each workout only took about an hour to complete.
Our bulking diets weren’t perfect, either. There was this old mass gainer supplement called Myoplex that was popular at the time. We were running our graphic design firm back then, and I remember driving to meetings with servings of Myoplex in the glove box. If we were too busy working to sit down for a real meal, we’d just mix the powder into a bit of water before our meetings. It wasn’t ideal, but it did the trick. It gave us the protein, carbs, and calories needed to build muscle and gain weight.
We were determined not to miss our workouts, either. One week the gym shut down for renovations, so we made a makeshift home gym in our little design office (aka our living room) out of a rickety bench press and non-Olympic barbell that we found on the side of the road.
Our hard work was paying off. We were building muscle. In the above photos, you can probably see that we’ve already gotten quite a bit bigger. I remember looking at these and thinking that my arms looked insane. They’re only about 13 inches here, but still, I hadn’t thought that I would ever be able to build such big arms.
However, we were gradually realizing that the bodybuilding program we were following wasn’t very good. It was working, yes, but only through sheer force of will. The muscle soreness was crippling, we felt lethargic from perpetually overeating, and our muscle and strength gains were already beginning to plateau.
Bodybuilding Versus Hypertrophy Training
Most bodybuilding programs are popularized by professional bodybuilders. These bodybuilders aren’t only genetically gifted at putting on muscle, they’re also pharmaceutically gifted at putting on muscle! Not only can they get away with bending the rules, but they aren’t even playing by the same rules in the first place. For example, back in 2010, the most popular type of workout routine was something called a push/pull/legs split routine, where you train a different area of your body every workout:
- Monday is for your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
- Wednesday is for your back and biceps.
- Friday is for your legs and abs.
But is that an effective way to train? Not really. When we stimulate a muscle, muscle-protein synthesis rises for around 48 hours (at least for beginners). That means if we stimulate our chest on Monday, it will grow until Wednesday. And then the growth will stop until we train our chest again. So if we want to stimulate maximal muscle growth, we should train each muscle around three times per week. So why were these bodybuilding routines only stimulating our muscles once per week?
In a 2000 study by McLester, the researchers took experienced male lifters and put them on a workout routine made up of three workouts per week. Both groups did the same exercises, the same number of sets, and the same number of repetitions per set, giving them identical training volume. The only difference was that one group had their lifts organized into full-body workouts, whereas the other group was doing a chest day, back day, and leg day. After twelve weeks of working out, the participants doing the full-body workout routine increased their muscle mass by 8%, whereas the group doing the push/pull/legs split only increased their muscle mass by 1%.
We had been doing a push/pull/legs split, so reading this study was a real game-changer for me. By training each muscle three times per week, these study participants got steady growth throughout the week. By doing fewer sets per workout, the muscle damage was no longer crippling, resulting in less muscle repair and more muscle growth.
Now, to be fair, more recent research by Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D., has confirmed these findings, but the differences he found weren’t nearly as extreme. The participants doing full-body workouts did get significantly greater muscle growth, but not eight times more. And a third study, again, favoured full-body workouts. We were excited to improve our training, and we thought this could be a good way to do it.
Interestingly, in the 40s and 50s, all the best bodybuilders, strongmen, and athletes were doing full-body workout routines three times per week. These push/pull/legs bodybuilding splits only became popular in the 1960s when steroids came into vogue. This new era of bodybuilders didn’t need to pay any attention to increasing their testosterone production or stimulating muscle protein synthesis because they were doing it with performance-enhancing drugs. This kept their bodies permanently primed for muscle growth even though they weren’t stimulating their muscles often enough.
The other reason that push/pull/legs splits worked so well for these massive bodybuilders was that their muscles were so big and strong that it took a long time to recover between workouts. They couldn’t train every second day, they had to wait several days. And so they started splitting up their workouts to allow for longer recovery periods. So by copying these bodybuilders benching 300+ pounds, we were training as if we were already muscular, not in a way that would make us more muscular.
The next question was whether doing more than three full-body workouts per week could speed up muscle growth. In some circumstances, it can. But for skinny guys who are still relatively new to lifting weights, training a muscle group more than three times per week seems to reduce muscle growth (study, study).
So after learning a bit more, we decided we wanted to follow a full-body hypertrophy routine instead of the bodybuilding routine we’d been following. The problem was we couldn’t figure out how to do that.
Finding a Bulking Diet
On the bright side, as we were learning about the problems with our workout routine, our bulking diet was going quite well. We were stuffed to the gills, yes, but we were gaining weight like clockwork—something that we’d struggled to do for our entire lives.
- We were eating enough calories to gain weight at a good pace. with 500-1000 extra calories per day, we found that we were gaining somewhere between 0.5–2 pounds per week, depending on the week. We weren’t perfectly precise, but it was enough to result in steady growth.
- We were eating enough protein to build new muscle tissue at a maximal rate. Our workouts were stimulating muscle growth, but we needed to make sure that our protein intake wasn’t a limiting factor. Most research shows that 0.8 grams of protein per pound bodyweight is enough to maximize muscle growth, but we rounded that up to one gram per pound. It’s common for protein supplements to exaggerate their protein contents, and we wanted to make sure that we weren’t accidentally undershooting our protein targets.
- We got most of our calories from whole foods. We did have some weight gainer shakes, we added some maltodextrin to our workout shakes, and we took a break from our bulking diets on Sunday, but for the most part, we were eating minimally processed whole foods—oats, ground meat, trail mix, legumes, rice, milk, yogurt, potatoes, chicken, and so on.
- We ate often and made sure to have protein with each meal. Back in 2010, intermittent fasting hadn’t become popular yet, and thankfully so—fasting isn’t good for building muscle, eating is. We were eating 4–6 meals per day, each containing at least twenty grams of protein. Modern research has shown that this increases our rate of muscle growth, but back then, we just kind of lucked into it. Bodybuilders found it easier to digest smaller meals and snacks, so they ate often.
- We ate plenty of carbs. Low-carb and ketogenic diets weren’t popular yet, and again, that was a good turn of luck. Eating plenty of carbs is great for muscle growth, as you can see in this study, as shown here:
So, largely due to good luck, our bulking diet was pretty good. We had picked up a few weird restrictions. We had completely stopped drinking alcohol, and we weren’t eating any processed sugar whatsoever. That probably wasn’t necessary. But whatever. Avoiding alcohol and sugar certainly wasn’t harming our results.
We had also stumbled upon a few tricks that helped us eat more calories without feeling as awful:
- We started most days with a smoothie, which is easy on the appetite and easy to digest. By blending food, we break it into smaller pieces that digest more quickly.
- We ate lots of ground meat, which is similarly easy to digest. Ground meat is essentially pre-chewed. Our main bulking meal was chili, and so along with the ground meat, we also got plenty of carbs and fibre from the beans and corn.
- We snacked between meals, eating things like homemade protein bars, small servings of trail mix, or yogurt.
We also made our meals in bulk, cooking a big pot of chili or casserole on Sunday and reheating it during the week. We’d do the same thing with our homemade protein bars. That made our bulking diet a little easier to follow. These bulking recipes were so helpful that we include an entire bulking recipe book in our Bony to Beastly Program.
Anyway, because our bulking diet was so good compared to the diets most beginners follow, it helped to make up for our subpar workout program. That’s one of the nice things about being a beginner. It’s still fairly to stimulate muscle growth. Combined with a good bulking diet, even our mediocre training program was yielding fairly good muscle growth.
Marco Joins the Team
As Jared and I had been bulking up, we’d been blogging about our progress on our design blog. Eventually, an old friend from high school told me that I should reach out to the strength coach his university football team had hired. He was telling me that this guy was naturally skinny, had gained over sixty pounds of muscle, and was known for being able to help athletes bulk up in a hurry. He’d only just graduated with his health science degree, and he’d already helped college, professional, and Olympic athletes build muscle.
I laughed. Me? Call a university strength coach? That sounded like a ridiculous idea. And then I realized that I already knew him! My friend started laughing, “Yeah, it’s Marco!”
Turns out that one of my acquaintances from high school, a gentle giraffe of a guy named Marco, had bulked up to 205 pounds and was now building his reputation as a top strength coach.
While Jared and I had been studying design, Marco had been studying health sciences and working as a strength and conditioning coach. Not only that, but he’d also studied under the top strength and conditioning coaches in the world, such as Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson. That expertise had launched him into a career coaching college, professional, and Olympic athletes.
When Marco and I first spoke, he congratulated us on having gained so much muscle. He didn’t point out our mistakes, he was just happy for us. He’s a remarkably kind person. He’s always had that reputation. It’s why calling him had seemed like a good idea. But when I asked him if we were doing anything wrong, that opened Pandora’s box.
For about an hour, Marco broke down our routine and explained how we could make it better. Better in the sense that we could gain more muscle mass and strength, which is what we were interested in, but also better in the sense that we could keep our joints healthy, avoid injury, and do a better job of improving our health and posture. He explained that he’d seen too many athletes wear their bodies down to get bigger. After all, his job was to help athletes bulk up quickly and efficiently while also helping them have a long careers.
He made a few interesting changes, such as:
- He put us on a full-body workout routine. And since I’d already read about those benefits, I was stoked to try it.
- Every workout started with a pair of compound lifts, such as squats and chin-ups, or deadlifts and push-ups. One exercise generally required some sort of weight (dumbbell or barbell), whereas the other could be done with minimal equipment. This allowed us to create small circuits, giving our muscles plenty of rest between sets, but keeping our heart rates high and allowing us to stimulate more muscle growth in a shorter amount of time.
- He chose lifts that matched our experience level. Marco saw that we couldn’t do a lot of the big barbell lifts properly yet, so he gave us easier variations to start with. For instance, we switched from back squats to goblet squats, which are much easier to learn and, at least for a beginner, stimulate even more muscle growth—especially in the upper body. We’d stop 2–3 reps shy of failure to better practice our technique and reduce fatigue.
- We were still doing isolation lifts. Unlike a lot of strength training programs that were popular at the time, such as Starting Strength and StrongLifts 5×5, Marco had us doing plenty of isolation lifts, especially for our arms. He explained that lanky guys like us need extra arm work if we want to build muscular arms. Plus, as beginners, doing simple lifts is an easy way to reliably challenge our muscles without being limited by coordination, balance, cardiovascular demands, or technique. We could take these smaller lifts to failure, learning to push ourselves.
- Everything was “periodized.” Our entire training program was broken into five-week routines called “phases.” Each phase started with a lower training volume, preventing excess muscle damage and crippling soreness, and worked its way higher, finishing with a high-volume week. With each new phase, new exercises and techniques were cycled in to stimulate a new round of muscle growth before hitting a plateau.
These new bulking workouts were great. We were even doing loaded carries and a few other athletic bulking techniques, which we loved. Our upper backs and shoulders started getting a lot bigger. Our posture was noticeably improving, too, and our strength was going up in leaps and bounds.
This new way of working out also made me realize how important our training was. The more muscle growth we can stimulate with our workouts, the higher our muscle protein synthesis rises, the more insulin sensitive our muscles become, and the faster we can build muscle. And the faster we can build muscle, the more calories we can invest in muscle growth, warding off fat gain.
Our Three-Month Bulking Results
Our first month had started off a little rocky, but with our continued research and Marco’s help, we were building muscle faster than we had thought was physically possible. We had thought that people could only gain twenty pounds of muscle in their first year. It seemed like we were about to double that.
Jared had started at 130 pounds and had bulked up to 163 pounds. In three months, he’d gained 33 pounds without gaining a noticeable amount of fat. His posture improved, too, and he was no longer suffering from tendonitis when doing graphic design work at his desk.
I had already gained twenty pounds before we even started, and in three months, I’d already gained another 25 pounds, bringing my total weight gain up to 45 pounds without any visible increase in fat. I was flabbergasted. It seemed like our genetics had gone from terrible to terrific overnight. We couldn’t believe it. It didn’t seem real.
It turns out that because we were starting so far away from our genetic potential, we could gain muscle more quickly before running into the laws of diminishing returns, like so:
The average man starts off with roughly eighty pounds of muscle on his frame. Imagine a skinny guy (like me) starting with just forty pounds of muscle on his frame. He’s starting off behind the starting line. We aren’t defying the laws of muscle growth or anything, we were just catching up to the muscularity of the average guy (and then eventually moving beyond, but with normal rates of muscle growth from that point forward).
Finishing With A Cut
Our bulk had gone well, and we were by no means feeling fat, but we had initially planned to do a traditional bulking and cutting cycle, as bodybuilders do. The idea was to spend a few months slowly building muscle while gaining fat, then strip off that fat with a quick cut.
Things had been going great our bulk, so we were eager to keep the “experiment” going, but we were also sick of overeating and eager for a change of pace. Even though we hadn’t gained as much fat as we expected, we decided to gear into a cut anyway.
So during the next four weeks, we combined our hypertrophy training workouts with a bit of extra cardio, and we radically reduced our calorie intake, going from gaining 1–2 pounds per week (a calorie surplus of 500–1000 calories) to losing 1–2 pounds per week (a calorie deficit of 500–1000 calories per week). And to be completely honest, it wasn’t so bad. We were so sick of overeating that feeling hungry was actually kind of nice.
Our “After” Photos
I had started this bulk at 150 pounds, bulked up to 175 pounds, and then cut down to around 167 pounds. I weighed 37 pounds more than I had the year before, and I was leaner than I’d ever been in my life. My chest, traps, shoulders, and legs had exploded.
Also, fun fact, check out the difference in the length of my shorts. At the start of my bulk, I thought they were a fairly respectable length, but by the end, they were tiny. It almost looks like I cut them shorter, but I didn’t. What happened is that my butt grew a lot bigger, pulling them up higher in the back. If you look closely, the crotch of the shorts rose much higher, but the legs are still clearly the same length. This was my first hint of the peculiar pros and cons of building bigger legs.
Anyway, here are my “before” and “after” bulking measurements:
- Body Weight: 150lbs to 167lbs (+17 pounds)
- Neck: 14.25″ to 14.5″ (+0.25 inches)
- Shoulders: 43.5″ to 47.5″ (+4 inches!)
- Bicep: 12.25″ to 13.25″ (+1 inch)
- Chest: 37″ to 38.25″ (+1.25 inches)
- Waist: 30″ to 29.25″ (-0.75 inches)
- Hips: 36″ to 37.25″ (+1.25 inches)
- Thigh: 18.75″ to 21″ (+2.25 inches)
- Calf: 13.5″ to 14″ (+0.5 inches)
Jared started at 130 pounds and bulked up to 167 pounds, then cut down to 163 pounds, gaining 33 pounds overall. He started with a faint hint of abs and finished with well-defined abs.
- Body Weight: 130lbs to 163lbs (+33 pounds)
- Neck: 13.75″ to 14.25″ (+0.5 inches)
- Shoulders: 38.75″ to 41″ (+2.25 inches)
- Bicep: 11″ to 12.5″ (+1.5 inches)
- Chest: 33.75″ to 35.25″ (+1.5 inches)
- Waist: 27.5″ to 29.25″ (+1.5 inches)
- Hips: 35.5″ to 37″ (+1.5 inches)
- Thigh: 18.75″ to 22″ (+1.25 inches)
- Calf: 13.75″ to 15″ (+1.25 inches)
The Birth of Bony to Beastly
When we posted our progress photos on our design blog, they blew up. This was back in 2010, and the online fitness community was still fairly young. There weren’t many resources for naturally skinny hardgainers and ectomorphs.
We started getting even more emails from other skinny guys desperate to bulk up. They saw our progress photos and wanted to know how we had done it. It wasn’t just online, either. Our friends, families, and even strangers at the gym were coming to us for bulking advice.
I spent an entire year doing my design work from 9–5 PM and answering emails from 5–10 pm. Not every day, but a good 4–5 days per week, spending over twenty hours per week coaching these other skinny guys through their bulks.
To make coaching these guys easier, I had put our plan into a little PDF guide, including the workout routine, the diet, the lifestyle changes we’d made, and how to adjust everything based on the results we’re getting. Everyone loved it, and it was producing great results:
During this time, I wanted to take a break from bulking, so Marco switched me over to a strength training routine. I went from being able to bench 135 pounds for a half rep to being able to bench 225 pounds all the way down to my chest—for a set of five. My lifetime goal had been to do a single rep with 185 pounds. I couldn’t believe it.
Turns out that once you’ve gained an appreciable amount of muscle size, learning how to lift heavier weights in lower rep ranges is actually fairly straightforward. My strength skyrocketed without my needing to even gain any extra muscle mass. (This suited my goals at the time, but just proved to me that strength training with the goal of gaining muscle size is a bit misguided.)
After having coached a few dozen clients together during that year, Jared, Marco, and I decided to go all-in, creating The Bony to Beastly Bulking Program and building this business around it.
Once we had a prototype of our official bulking program, I tested it. I gained another eighteen pounds, bringing me from 167 up to 185 pounds. In just a couple of years, I’d gained 55 pounds:
I little while later, when I got a DEXA scan to test my body composition, I learned that I was 10.8% body fat. Somehow, I’d managed to gain 55 pounds and finish even leaner than when I started:
I had spent my whole life thinking that my body was too skinny to ever become strong and muscular. In a few months, I realized that my potential was far higher than that. I could become as strong and muscular as I wanted.
I also felt healthy and athletic. I no longer felt clumsy and tired, and my doctor was blown away by how much my health markers had improved. I was no longer at high risk of having a heart attack. All of my blood markers were fantastic. I started sleeping better, too. A lifetime of insomnia disappeared with some exercise, diet, and lifestyle changes.
Here’s one of our very first Bony to Beastly members, Albert. He’s a doctor who was working 80 hours per week while going through the program, often needing to rely on the hospital vending machines for his meals. But he wanted to set a good example for his patients, he was determined to go from skinny to muscular, and he managed to gain 25 pounds while finishing even leaner than when he started:
Our bulking routine was five months long, but just to be clear, Albert took longer than five months to finish it. He took a few breaks from exercising when work got hectic. But the above photo shows five months of doing the bulking routine.
Here’s another great example from GK, showing how quickly and leanly ectomorphs can build muscle:
And here’s one of my favourites, Klaus, who started out skinny-fat and totally transformed his body-shape by building muscle and losing fat. Imagine how much muscle he must have built in order to finishing weighing 22 pounds heavier while also losing so much fat:
Here’s Ariel’s skinny to muscular transformation, showing that ectomorphs can indeed build broader shoulders:
Over the years, we’ve improved and refined the program. Based on the feedback and results we got with our first few thousand members, as well as new research that has since come out, we recently remade the program from the ground up, including shooting over a hundred new tutorial videos with Marco teaching all of the lifts.
We still try to walk the walk. I’ve gotten married, just had my first son, and I’m still feeling grateful that I took the effort to bulk up. It’s helped me live a productive and healthy life, and I get to feel like a strong husband and father.
If I compare my physique at 31 to how I looked at 21, the difference blows me away. I remember how I used to feel so weak and ashamed, how I’d lie in bed for hours with onset insomnia, and how everyone knew me as the “skinny guy.” I thought I was getting started as a graphic designer. I didn’t realize that building muscle would launch me into a career helping other skinny guys do the same.
At the start of Muscle May, I was too lanky and awkward to bring the barbell all the way down to my chest. I couldn’t do a single repetition on the bench press. My shoulders were too weak and unstable. And now I can bench three plates. I didn’t realize that was possible for someone like me to do naturally.
Anyway, that’s the story of how we went from skinny to muscular, with Jared ultimately gaining fifty pounds, me gaining sixty pounds, and Marco eventually gaining seventy. It’s also the story of how Bony to Beastly came to be, and why we’re so passionate about helping other skinny guys bulk up.
If you’re a naturally skinny guy and you want help building muscle, check out our Bony to Beastly Bulking Program. We’ve been doing this full-time for almost ten years, with over 10,000 satisfied clients. I think you’ll love it.
- Hypertrophy training: we’ll teach you how to lift for muscle size and give you a detailed routine to follow. Marco will teach you every single lift and progression with tutorial videos.
- Bulking diet: we’ll teach you how to eat for weight gain. Instead of restricting foods to facilitate weight loss, we’ll teach you what to add to your diet, what macros to emphasize, teach you the best bulking recipes, give you sample meal plans, and teach you how to build your own perfect bulking diet.
- Lifestyle optimization: even just improving your sleep can speed up your muscle growth by 30% while radically reducing fat gain. By combining hypertrophy training with a bulking diet and a healthy lifestyle, you can bulk up quicker, more leanly, and with better improvements to your health.
But perhaps most of all, there’s our online coaching community. We’ll teach you how to take proper progress photos and do a “before” assessment. We’ll help you adjust the program to suit you better, give you feedback as you post progress updates, and help hold you accountable. And you’ll be surrounded by other skinny guys working towards the same muscle-building goals as you are. For me, that was what finally allowed me to build muscle consistently.
If you want more muscle-building information, we have a free bulking newsletter for skinny guys. If you want a full bulking program, including a 5-month workout routine, diet guide, recipe book, and online coaching, check out our Bony to Beastly Bulking Program. Or, if you want an intermediate bulking routine, check out our Outlift Intermediate Bulking Program.
Shane Duquette is the founder of Outlift, Bony to Beastly, and Bony to Bombshell, each with millions of readers. He's gained seventy pounds and has over a decade of experience helping more than ten thousand naturally thin people build muscle. He also has a degree in design, but those are inversely correlated with muscle growth.
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Congrats on the launch, this is incredible!
i am too skinny i am fed of geting skinny
i am 5’10 and weighs only 56 kg ,and i am 21
i always get joked in party ya anywhere ..
Sir help me plz
Listen man, i was like you, 5,10 weighed 57 kg now im almost 70 kg. il tell you… The secret is eating as much as you physically can (for me 6 big meals a day consisting of beef, chicken, rice and potatoes) and work out as much as you possibly can (for me 6 days a week for 2 hours) the rest is down to dedication and time. It will take a while, results won’t be instant but they will come.
Hey, brother. More specifically, you need to work on heavy compound movements like deadlift and squats. When you can work up to a decent weight, then the effect of weight and repetitions will release growth hormone. There is good advice on this site.I weighed 65kg and ate and exercised my way up to 74kg. When I began to give good focus to deadlift and squat I made a very quick jump to 90kg. Don’t just work to feel like you are working; rather, work smart. Do 80% of the heaviest weight you can for 5 reps of 5 sets on bench, deadlift, rows, and swats (front and back squat). Have a protein shake immediately after exercise. Keep doing that and you will grow. There is an old program called super squats that works well also. You basically take the weight that you can squat 10 times and you squat it 20. Then drink a gallon of milk. Not very healthy sounding, but the high rep, heavy weight squats and deadlifts work and you will be beastly strong as well.Dig in!
Sorry, from 65kg to 74kg was a period of about 5 years – 1995-2000. Once I started with deadlifts and squats that was a period of about 3-6months to get to 90kg.
The effects of growth hormone on muscle growth are seeming tenuous as more and more research comes out about it. This is not to say that squats and deadlifts aren’t incredibly effective—they are—but this could be due to different reasons—the sheer number of muscles they stimulate simultaneously, for example.
One word of wisdom for those trying to look more like an action hero than a tyrannosaurus rex would be to focus on upper body compound lifts as well. (I know you just used squats and deads as examples, but for the sake of anyone else reading this.) The deadlift is good for some upper body growth as well, but also focusing on lifts like rows (upper back), chin-ups (biceps and upper back), bench press (chest, shoulders and triceps), curls (biceps), etc. will do a lot for building up mass on the top half 🙂
All true, Shane. It has become so difficult to find truth that I have moved to reading nothing but NCBI studies. Many of the supplements, unless used in specific ways, amounts, or with other supplements are useless. For example, the use of beta alanene can lead to dementia and other brain problems unless supplemented with taurine.
Deadlift only takes care of the larger muscle groups of the shoulders a back. A routine without exercises that focus on strengthening the muscles under the scapula and the smaller muscles that rotate the shoulder can lead to shoulder damage and pain (in time). Pull-ups, chin-ups, rows, bench press, military press, and band pulls are some of the exercises I use to keep things balanced. Another way I quickly built mass in my shoulders, traps and upper back was by doing loads of kettlebell Swings and Snatches.
Thanks for your input, Shane. It’s nice to see that you keep up with current research concerning the sport of strength and the science of growth.
Great read, im very intrigued by the results you guys are getting. When i graduated high school in 2007 i weighed 130-135 lbs. at 6’3″ i was obnoxiously skinny. all through high school i was constantly reminded how skinny i was. So that summer i got a membership and started working out, using a good weight gainer (BSN-True Mass) and a pre-workout (NOXPLODE / Jack3d) for supplements, i surprisingly gained alot of weight. My eating was good for the most part. 3 main meals a day, granola bars and trail mix as snacks in between. i changed my workout every month. 2 years later i gained a total of 35 pounds and was around 168, i felt awesome. BUT… that was where i started to plateau… now i am 160 and have been for the last few years. ive tried many different routines but no luck. my bench WILL NOT INCREASE. same with other major lifting exercises (squats, dead lift, clean and press, etc.) my goal when i started working out that summer after i graduated was to be 180lbs of solid lean muscle. and since i wasnt able to get past 165ish i started to become irritated and fed up. im hoping to learn alot from you all at Bony to Beastly. consider me a new subscriber.
That’s awesome Josh! Congrats on the 35 pound gains! That’s HUGE! Shows a lot of hard work and dedication.
Definitely stay tuned, we’ve got some cool articles coming up 🙂
Hi there, my name is Phil. I’m 29 years old, I live in Eugene Oregon.
I am currently 133 lbs at 5’10 I am very scrawny. I just found this sight through YouTube. I found what you guys have made to be very easy to read and ubderstanfm it also helps that I can relate with everything your saying as well.
In college I had strength training classes, but I couldn’t gain anything hardly. Maybe 5 lbs. No bulk only strength. I hope to try out your system because I HAVE tried. And its always been a let down.
The fact you’ve gained 55 lbs is absolutely insane!!
My goal is 20-30 extra lbs.
Thank you for your hard work. Its very inspiring.
Where can I send before and after pics? 😮
That’s awesome Phil! Happy to hear you’re ready to make a positive change, and glad that we can help 🙂
The members of our program post their before photos in our community area and then update it phase by phase (every 5 weeks). From there we compare them and make sure everything is beasting up as it should!
You can send photos to email@example.com though if you aren’t planning on signing up for our program but still want to motivate yourself by tracking your progress.
Once you get the hang of this you’ll be able to pack on those 20-30 pounds in no time! It’s not as unachievable as it can sometimes seem.
I just wanted to research on ectomorph and happen to land on this page which I’m glad i did because I can to relate to you guys, I’m 19 years old and I’ve been a skinny kid all my life, I enrolled in a gym class at school which was a great idea because i had no choice but to workout and pass the class or else i would Fail so that pretty much had me going without stopping, i was weighing 140 before working out and now i weight around 160, It feels good when people notice and compliment on your progress, I will definitely talk my skinny friends about this website, thanks, peace!
That’s awesome Philip! Congrats on the 20 pounds! That’s amazing 🙂
Hey Shane,I’m curious if you are a ectomorph type.To me you look like more of a mesomorph.
Well I’m a total ectomorph, weighing 128 pounds(5ft9″)My chest is something like 34-35″.Don’t know shoulder width.
what are normal measurements for an ecto and how far can the results reach?
That’s a good observation Moses! I do have the wide shoulders (especially after training) associated with a more mesomorphic body type. I have a small appetite, narrow wrists, neck and ankles, very long limbs, a very long torso, and I’m predominantly made up of slow twitch muscle fibres though, making my wider shoulder span pretty much my only mesomorphic trait.
Jared, on the other hand, has narrower shoulders but very thick bones, giving him large wrists, ankles and a large neck.
Marco similarly has narrower shoulders, but he also has a shorter torso, with most of his height coming from his legs.
Everyone is built a little differently, and it’s rare to find someone who is entirely ectomorphic.
As for what results you can expect, most of the guys going through our program who apply themselves and stick with it gain around 20 pounds in the first couple phases, and then either go on to gain more, or decide to trim off some fat or whatnot. I would guess you’d gain somewhere between 20 and 30 pounds, depending on how much weight training experience and muscle mass you already have. If you’re already quite trained and have a lot of muscle mass, you’d gain less … but I’m guessing that’s not the case given your height and weight?
Does that answer your question?
And you’d be surprised! Gain 20-40 pounds and people will probably think YOU are 100% mesomorph 😉
ok.fare i should give a try in that case.i’ve never made any efforts though.i hope this prog gives me some energy and gain.
If you’ve never put in an effort for all you know you’re a mesomorph just waiting to explode into a fiery muscle inferno 😉
cool.But I have no access to gym,perhaps ill get some equipment at home.like a barbell or something.maybe you can do an article for setting up a budget home gym.or is it in the course?
I have herd Two arm pullover with a barbell is effective in broadening the shoulders if you do it traditional style.is it
The beastliest shoulder transformation I’ve seen was from a friend of mine, and one of our members, Christian. He added 10 or so inches (I’m guessing here) since the last time I’d seen him just by cranking out chin ups.
For broad shoulders it’s all about presses and pulls. Bench press for the fronts and middle of your shoulders, and chins (or variants) for the width of your upper back, traps and the backs of your shoulders. Add in some side raises or something to pop the medial deltoids a little bit more if you need to, but even just those two types of exercises will do it for almost everyone 🙂
And that’s an amazing idea for a blog post. I’ve got one in the works right now, but I’m thinking after I finish this one I’ll get started on a home gym post. Really great idea, and we get asked that a lot by our members.
Hi Shane I agree.. Perceptions about ectomorphy often fall into generalisation.. I thought I probably had low test being 6,6″ and 170 pounds for 5 year at 22. Years old !! however I had my test levels checked and actually I fall in top 5% of males for my age more than most mesos.. That’s BEFORE I started training.. Also I used to think I was slow twitch being natural distance runner but actually It’s probably the other way around now.. To those ‘ectos’ out there.. Usain bolt and phelps would be sticks if they hadn’t ever trained .. Don’t let preconceptions sway you ..
That’s a really really great take-away message Koto. No need to doubt your body or blame your genetics until you put it to the test 🙂
Thanks for sharing man!
I’m going to be ridiculously sexist here, and just point out that I think you guys are looking FLY. Like, majorly so. Keep up the good work!!!!
While I’m not sure exactly what that’s sexist, I can definitely say I wish more sexist comments sounded like this one (because it sounds pretty fly)!
Thanks Sapphire 🙂
It’s about time someone came up with this plan. I wish I was a pioneer such as your selves in this field. I took the short cut and gained 35 lbs in 4 months by cheating with juice. Good luck guys.
Thanks Kush, glad you dig it!
Yeah, shortcuts are always tempting. Mind, we aren’t trying to become pro bodybuilders here, so we knew they were also totally unnecessary for us. We chose to go a different route, and couldn’t be happier with how it finally turned out!
(Definitely struggled for years and years beforehand though.)
Thanks for the kind words 🙂
This is a great post, guys and it encouraged me immensely. I’m about 5’8ish and I weight about 135 and I’ve been this weight since my senior year in high school. I will be 25 in about a month,. I signed up for a membership at LA Ftiness and got a personal trainer a few months ago but I fell off and wasn’t consistent because I felt like my trainer didn’t understand my plight or my goals. He would have me doing workout routines but couldn’t really explain why I was doing it and when he wasn’t there to guide me through everything, I was totally lost in the gym. I want to grown, gain weight, learn how to eat properly but I also want to be educated and enlightened about nutrition and wellness. Hopefully this can help me out!!
Personal trainers, like with every other profession, sadly aren’t all incredible at everything. And some are absolutely amazing. Really depends. I’m sorry to hear it wasn’t a good experience for you!
I hope we can help you out too man. I got your email and I hope you do decide to join us! 🙂
[…] Jared, Marco and I have been working hard to launch this program, and we’re happy to announce that after almost 2 years of research and experimentation, 4 months of rigorously testing this particular program, the hard work of our beta testers, and 3 months of long days of writing, our ectomorph muscle building program is finally ready! We actually had a pretty good time creating it—all three of us are long-time skinny-boys and extremely passionate about helping ectomorphs/hardgainers finally develop powerful physiques. You can read the story of our ectomorph transformations and how Bony to Beastly came to be here. […]
I’m 26, 6’1, 180lbs, and extremely skinny/bony with the exception of a bit of a stomach ive built up in recent years. I’m desperate and have been researching for over a month now why I’m not getting results.
My biggest issue is I’m an extremely picky eater, most foods simply disgust me. I can’t afford to join although I wish to death I could, but I really just had one concern. I do like eggs and things tied to eggs, if I were to eat something like french toast (with eggs/milk/bread) consistently would that be sufficient? I’m also afraid of overloading on eggs because of the amount of cholesterol in them, and I already have a hereditary high cholesterol…
Ugh nevermind I just realized I really have hundreds of more things I want to ask… I’m so very discouraged right now :\
Don’t be discouraged man. Pretty much everyone feels the way you’re feeling—it can be very very overwhelming at first. Since you aren’t joining us, my advice is to find a decent looking program online for free and follow it as best you can. Once you actually start doing this stuff all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so ominous anymore.
There are many ways to address your issue, too! You can always find things that you do like (that are also nutritious, preferably) and just eat a whole lot of them … or you can work at learning to love new things. Or you can find a way to creatively eat even the things that you don’t love. (e.g. I don’t like spinach all too much, but if I blend it up with some berries I find it adds a really desirable freshness to the flavour of my smoothies.)
Is french toast going to allow you to gain weight? Probably. Will it be the leanest weight? Maybe not. French toast is mainly refined starches. There aren’t many nutrients in it besides just simple sugar! Added into a nutrias diet that’d be totally cool, and it’d be a great way to boost your calories. If that was the BASE of your diet though you might find yourself building up a bigger belly. Plus, nothing worsens cholesterol like over-eating refined starches! (Whereas research has been showing that dietary cholesterol, like that found in eggs, won’t negatively impact your heart health at all! If anything it’s often beneficial!)
That depends on how you make your french toast too. Making it out of whole grain bread, having it with some berries on top (or a side of fruit salad), drinking a big glass of whole milk with it, maybe having a green smoothie with it, etc—all of those things would all of a sudden make the meal pretty nutritious!
Does that help at all?
I’ve read your blog with great interest. Well done on achieving great results guys. What I would like to know is does the same techniques work for women? Or what specific advice could you give to me as an ectomorph female that could help change my physique? Obviously I don’t want to look like those masculine body building women but I am desperate to gain weight, change my physique and look more curvy and feminine. I am 5, 4″ and weigh 97lb and have had two children.
Muahaha the one piece of advice I have for ectomorph women is … check this out:
Gonna hopefully try out this program for the summer, because I am so sick of being thin. I’ve always tried to gain some extra muscle doing lots of crunches, and last summer by doing the machines at the gym, but never got any results. I’m 15, 6’2″, like 150 lbs. I hope this will work for me, I’ve gone through so much crap on the internet, but you guys seem genuine and actually interested in your clients so I’ll give it my all. Praying this will work lol 🙂
Right on Mark, I think you’d get a ton out of it! I’ve been there, trying to do crunches, calisthenics, martial arts, etc etc to get results and always just winding up incredibly discouraged. The important thing is that you don’t give up.
Hopefully this is the summer you finally manage to accomplish your goals. I hope you decide to join us too, and we can help make that happen 🙂
Hope to see you soon man!
So how much do you weight today?
Last Sunday I weighed in at 200.4 🙂
im 19 from the philippines.. 53 kg,. i wish i could avail your program,.:( i really hate people always teasing me about my body,.i already started to go to the gym (again) and after reading this blog,.it inspired me,.thanks for posting this..
No problem Noel, glad you found value in it 🙂
200 from your once 130?
(My lowest weight was 125, but that wasn’t my “natural” weight, but rather a failed weight GAIN attempt. It soon popped back up to 130.)
I’m totally digging this, totally inspired. I’m ready to buy but have to see if I can save up enough for this I’m a college student. Is there a payment plan I could do instead? That would be sweet..
Right on Nick, glad you like the sound of our program! I’ll shoot you an email and we can see what we can do 🙂
Hey guys! Inspiring stuff. I’m an ectomorph as well and at my lowest was down to about 121 and very discouraged and gross looking. I think stressing about everything really makes it worse and it helps to train with a healthy and happy mind. I went from 130 to 150 in about 3 weeks with the training and eatin I’ve been doing and was wondering how many times a week you guys recommend ectomorphs hit the gym for their full body workout? I’ve been doing 4-5 for 1-2 hours but would 3 times a week serve me better for more recovery time you think ?
That’s awesome man! Congrats on the 20 pounds! That’s an incredible pace to gain weight at – really, congrats!
We train three times a week for about an hour each time. How much and how long you need to train depends on a lot of things.
We’re able to train just three times a week and get in and out in a hour because:
1. We don’t train to failure. This allows us to recover quickly.
2. Recovering quickly means we can manage 3 full body workouts per week without overtraining.
3. We can get them done quickly because we do big compound full body lifts that hit many major muscle groups at once.
As soon as you start fiddling with the variables things change. If your doing a bodybuilder style split routine using machines then the volume that you’re doing makes sense. If you’re using free weights then probably not … but again it depends on all kinds of things, so it’s hard to say.
Does that make sense / help?
Thank you for getting back to me Shane. I’m not sure why but I can’t find our posts from the other day…But I am going to take your advice and check out from bony to bombshell.
You confused me for a sec haha – it’s on the “high protein diet myth” post. Thought comments were disappearing, which had me baffled.
Let us know what you think!
I’m in the research phase, I’m 18 about 5’9 135lbs and everything about the program sounds like it would fit my body, but two problems, I’ve never been a big fan of going to the gym mainly because my friends are a lot bigger than me and I feel an at home gym would be better but I’m not sure everything I would need to get started and another is that I’m a very picky eater so I was wondering if there was a lot of options and a diverse food selection in the program ?
Hehe the research phase – I know it well! I spent an impressive amount of time feverishly vacationing there 😉
I know how you feel about the gym. I was terrified of it at first two, and I actually just finished writing an article on that. I’m hoping to launch it in the next few days, so hopefully you can get some value from it. Stay tuned!
Home gyms are totally cool, and the next post I write I’m thinking will be about how to build one 🙂
We’ve got a lot of guys who train at home and do a great job. Hell, a lot of fitness PROFESSIONALS train at home, slowly building up a cool workout space as they grow.
As for food selection diversity, for sure. We’ve got a ton of recipes that you can mix and match, and I think you’ll soon realize you can probably keep eating a lot of what you already eat, just tweaking it a bit to make it a little healthier and a little beastlier!
I hope you decide to join us man. You sound like me.
Plus, we’d love to have you!
I’ve noticed in your pictures that you have a neck similar to mines. The cricoid cartilage protrudes and is visible. I too have spent much time I front of a computer screen. I also have poor posture and when I sleep I tuck my head down; almost like a fetal position or an embryo.
I have been to the doctor and they were not very helpful. I feel as though they were even laughing at neck but it could just possibly me being paranoid and easily upset. But basically the doctor told me I can’t do anything to reverse or push the ring shaped bone back in. It bothers me a lot. He, the doctor, said that it may go away with extra fat but he can’t say for sure; which is understandable.
You have gained a lot of mass did it hide your cricoid cartilage better? You did have a large gain and I am inspired by your work. Especially because your neck/body is like mine. Also, you are a designer and I have always loved art but am I’m inbetween careers at the moment.
I don’t the cricoid will hide unless I bulk up and gain so excess fat. Please reply and give me some insight. I am a young fool in need of some advice. Thanks in advance.
Well I didn’t even know that having protruding cricoid cartilage was even a thing, let along that I had it … and I certainly didn’t know it was undesirable! Just when I get this skinny thing handled I run into a new NECK skinniness issue! Thanks man 😉
I think I know how you feel though. I have bony shoulders – they’re just built that way. Even 70 pounds of muscle (I’m 200 lbs now) heavier and I’ve still got visible bones on top of my shoulder joint. I’ll always have little knobs up there. As a skinny dude I used to be really self conscious about them … and now I really couldn’t care less. Now that there isn’t so much dissatisfaction with where my health / physique is at, I’m totally cool with the little abnormalities and quirks of my body. Plus, the more you become shaped by muscle, the less you tend to notice the little structural quirks you have.
Maybe if you’re able to build up strong confident posture and fix everything else you’ll find the same is true for you?
It could also just be a matter of learning to love your body’s quirks for what they are. That sounds ridiculous, I know, but there’s no reason why you can’t be confident in your skin no matter where you’re at. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to be the most you can be, but it does mean that you shouldn’t be ragging on your body for things that can’t be helped.
Does that make sense / help at all?
It does make sense and it does help. And you seem like an awesome guy. Perhaps, next your blog will show us how to mack on the ladies?! Years of using the computer without breaks and exercise probably caused it to stick out. It looks as if I’ve been texting for a decade. It didn’t always stick out though.
Do you and your fellow skinnies ever work out your necks? I hear its a good idea to avoid injury. There is a website I won’t link it since this is your blog and I forgot the name but its called “shape your face” and the site’s author works out his front neck muscle called the platysma. It somewhat covers the Adam’s apple and moves the skin in around the cricoid to make it less noticeable. Do you think or can you ask Marco? (The guy who knows muscles) if its a good idea to do those exercises to work out the platysma? Good idea as in if I somehow built mass there it will diminish the protruding of my cricoid? Thanks again. Once I get my money together I’ll definitely try your program. The blog is awesome. Maybe one day I’ll get beastly and get some beastly tats too!
Marco has a saying that really rings true for a lot of us:
“Gain 20 pounds and most of your physique problems will fix themselves.”
That’s the advice I’d give you regarding your neck, too. Pack on some serious healthy muscle everywhere … and I suspect your problem will have vanished.
We get guys coming in with all kinds of quirks and self-esteem issues and all of them kind of melt away under masses of muscle and newfound confidence and strength 🙂
If they don’t … well it’s easy to address the problems then. If a guy knows how to build muscle well, then building muscle on your neck is easy. (If you try right now, but you aren’t familiar with how to add muscle to your frame, you may not have the combination of nutrition + muscle stimulation that your neck muscles need to grow!)
Or you could simply gain muscle everywhere and add in some neck exercises after your workout.
Does that help?
Lmfao you didn’t use shortcuts my ass. Those are steroid results and you aren’t fooling the veterans like myself. 20lbs in 3 months with no fat? Fuck off with your money making skeme. The most you could gain would be like 9lbs in that time frame without gaining fat. Smh you’re what’s wrong with the world with lying to people that think they can get similar results.
Woot! Another “must be steroids” accusation to add to the inspiration folder 🙂
Would this program work for a 37 year old recovering alcoholic who stands at 5’10 and only weighs 125lbs.
I can’t really say how the program would work on a recovering alcohol, and that may be a question for your doctor … but from my limited level of expertise I can’t imagine there being a big problem there.
There are some conditions that can come along with alcoholism that impair muscle protein synthesis and stuff though, so you’d certainly want to get clearance from your doctor though I would imagine.
As for being 37, 5’10 and 125 pounds, that’s totally cool. People who “only weigh ___” is our speciality – that describes all of us! 😉
I need help. I’m 5’4 and my weight is45 kgs. I am 21 years old. What can I do ? I think it would be impossible for someone like me to gain even a pound.
Hey MJ, don’t underestimate yourself! We specialize in guys who believe that weight gain is impossible for them.
I certainly felt that way, as did Jared and Marco.
If you’re interested in really taking a decisive step towards conquering this once and for all, well, you’re exactly who we made this program for.
If you aren’t there yet, or don’t want to buy a program just yet … stay tuned for all the free content we’ll be posting on the blog 🙂
This blog is going to get pretty fun pretty soon. We’ve been working behind the scenes to make some sweet updates and upgrades 😀
We’ll have lots of great stuff coming out for members and newsletter subscribers.
These results seem to be inidicative of what most people could expect from a routine of simply pushups pullups and squats. I expected more…
Im 16 years old, around 5’10/11 or so and weigh about 140 pounds… Not sure if this is normal for my age/height, but anyway
I’m pretty skinny, not sickly skinny, but thin… 6 inch wrists, not round arms, long arms, tight chest (My legs are okay though, no skinny ankles or anything) And pretty bony shoulders… I wanted to hit 160 or more by december/January and was wondering if it was possible? I’m not trying to look like a linebacker or something, I just want to be thicker and have more toned arms so that I can finally work the courage to wear t-shirts on their own again…
Any Info regarding my questions and any additional info you could give me would be appreciated!!! AND HELL YEAH, Im thinking of Joining!
Oh and I forgot to mention…. I want to develop visible traps and broader shoulders and chest… Is it possible within the time bracket I’ve set?
If it helps in any way
Im really athletic
Explosive vertical leap
Great at football and basketball
But Now people my age are becoming monsters in their meso and endo bodies and I desperatley want to get a lean-ish but built/cut build like yours! Thanks again my man!
Ahaha what’s poppin’ Desean? (Is that appropriately hip lingo, or did I do it wrong?)
140 at 5’11ish is thin, sure, but you’re right – nothing too extreme. Sounds like you’re in a pretty good place to go from good to beastly 🙂
You’re looking at like 3.5 months. We see some of our members gain 15-20 in just the first few weeks … but what’s more normal is maybe 10-12 in the first 5 weeks, 5-10 in the next 5 weeks, and then maybe another 5 in the next 5. So I’d say you could gain your 20, yep, but it’ll be tight and you’d need to be pretty consistent with your training AND YOUR EATING.
As far as tracking things goes, don’t worry about your wrists and ankles – that’s just bone structure. Measure the circumference of your shoulders, waist, hips (aka butt), thighs and biceps. (You could do calves and forearms too, but I don’t bother.)
Now onto part two …
First off, if you’re an athletic dude who’s into sprinting, getting a huuuge vert, football and basketball … you’ve GOT to join up. That’s Marco’s specialty – he’s big into coaching football players (high school, college, pro) and developing all kinds of athleticism. He’s an athletics wizard. You’d love it.
A lot of our guys (myself included) are more the nerds gone strong. You’d be able to take full advantage of it by reaping all the performance rewards too.
As for building up traps, shoulders and chest here are some tips:
1. You’ll see fearsome trap growth if you master deadlifts. Easier said than done, but lifting heavy barbells will give you furious traps in a hurry. (If you sign up we’ve got you totally covered … but if you don’t check out Eric Cressey’s newsletter. He gives away free deadlift coaching when you join the mailing list.)
For some extra trap growth try rocking some heavy farmer carries as an assistance exercise. It’ll give you some extra core stability too.
2. Broader shoulders and chest you want to master the bench press – probably the dumbbell bench press for now. With all your horizontal pushes, like the bench, you also want to add in some horizontal pulls, like a row. Pick your favourite row variation and I’d do ’em one after another in a circuit: bench set 1, row set 1, bench set 2, row set 2, etc.
Toss in some assistance exercises if you want afterwards, like some lighter chest flies, pec deck or lateral raises. Not the most functional stuff ever, so it’s up to you, but that should encourage some extra size.
And do some goblet squats. Don’t want to neglect your legs, especially since you sound like an athletic dude.
Aaaand some chin-ups (or lat pulldown for now if you aren’t a chin-up master yet).
You should sign up though. I think you’ll dig it 🙂
Hope that helps!
Yo whats good Shane (And yeah your lingo was down pretty good haha =) ) Your advice was real helpful man I appreciate it! What you’ve told me about Marco is awesome… So I just got a few questions while I wait for my parents to discuss this program and all…but I’ll more likely be in since my pop is real into football and stuff (sucks being 16 huh hahah)… So yeah I just wanted to ask, how do I sign up for the newsletter? and About Marco, I know he is effective and I can see from what I’ve read and heard about him, he’s got the right things going. Not sure if you know any, but whether they’re famed out or not, which honorable mentions from any sports (pro that is) has he helped with training. I don’t really care if it’s peyton manning or the worst player in the NFL, just knowing he’s good enough to help at that level, is awesome. If you dont know thats fine, and once again,
I’ve got no idea actually, but I’ll ask him next time I see him. Probably some information worth knowing.(We’re Canadian though, so these are Canadian athletes (CFL) not American NFL players.)
Let me get back to you on that one.
Aight Man… CFL level is brilliant too, they got awesome athletes in there! And yeah thats cool, I’ll wait, while I wait for my parents hahah!
Hey there Shane, Im 35 and looking at Joining, most comments answered my question but just outta curiosity, What Music do you play buddy? Metal? I’m guessing… Got the awesome hair down and everything buddy Hahah! Wish I could grow mine like that, unfortunately in my genes we bald at 28!!
And yup, I will most likely join!
Ah that’s awesome man! Hope to see you on the other side 🙂
Hehe first of all: I’m the worst musician ever. Really.
With that disclosure out of the way, I’m more of a rock ‘n roll guy. Dead Weather, Maylene, Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy – that kind of thing. I like old southern soul too, like Otis Redding.
Jared’s more of the metal one, although he’s into metalCORE, which is a little different. He’s also a much more talented musician (vocals). Look at him go!
We’re both trying to become songwriters though, and we’re slowly getting better. We’re at http://www.unlovableband.com. We’re taking it sort of like we did with building muscle: training a couple times a week and monitoring our progress as we go.
Hopefully we’ll wind up with a cool “transformation” at the end of that, too 🙂
Are you a musician yourself?
Bro I’m 6’3 and seriously skinny like 125 pounds . Its the main reason I’m depressed off my ass at the age of 20. But I think I’m not a hard gainer I will gain fast if I followed a plan cuz atm I’m just doing random shit . I want to know how I can join the program and what’s The payment plan cuz I live in Pakistan . If u could kindly email me the things I need to know like how u guys gona help me.e.g through skype or w.e. And do I really need a gym partner cuz my friends are busy and can’t helpp me
Hey Ziad, we’ve got some pretty seriously skinny guys in our program and they’re all able to gain weight. You’re right – a lot of people assume they’re hardgainers when in fact they’re just doing something wrong. They’ve actually got a lot more ability to build muscle than they expect, skinny / ectomorphs / hardgainers or not.
No workout partner needed! Most of our guys train alone. It’s kind of a luxury to be able to find a gym partner. You both need similar training styles, similar schedules, similar levels of dedication, similar consistency, etc. It’s rare that guys are able to do it unless you’re like an athlete, policeman, bodybuilder or firefighter or something and it’s part of the job.
I’ll email you info regarding a payment plan 🙂
Age 20, a little over 6’0 feet tall and weight around 140ish. Awful posture (minor scoliosis, rolled shoulders, forward head, etc). Finally ready to make a transformation. I’m very skeptical about these things beings scams but hopefully you guys are legit. Too much already wasted on bunch of stuff that don’t work.
Can I get some more info about the program and the payment and what not through email.
Glad to hear you like our stuff man! Hehehe no we aren’t a scam, but I’m glad you trust us – I know there’s a lot of fishy stuff out there in the fitness industry.
Hopefully our blog goes a long way to dispelling that, and we’re hoping to come out with some cool new free stuff for our newsletter subscribers too, so make sure you’re signed up!
I’ll shoot you some details about the payment plan.
I’m not sure what other info you want, so feel free to ask us anything 🙂
I’m definitely leaning towards getting the program. I’ve put a lot of effort into it to quit now. I don’t know my exact weight now, but I’ve gained around 10 pounds of both muscle and fat in the last year. I’m still very skinny though, Around 140lbs at over 6 feet looks pretty bad.
Another thing that’s been bugging me, is a gym partner. I’m kind of doing this transformation thing in secret from friends and family to sort of surprise them all with what I can achieve. So I was wondering how lifting heavy-heavier weights would work just by myself. Seems dangerous, doesn’t it? I don’t even think I can bench 100lbs at this point. I did it once in high school after working our for about a year without any results to show for it.
Hehehe I sort of hid this from my friends and family too, or rather downplayed the importance it had to me and told them that it was an “experiment” I was trying out.
Little did they know that it’s what I pretty much wanted more than anything.
They thought I was being a weirdo, but it worked! And a lot of the ones who thought I was the weirdest started coming to me for advice 😉
Weightlifting isn’t without risks, training partner or not. Neither is sitting on your couch, and that can lead to more insidious UNDERuse injuries than a smart training program. Anyway, the smarter and more mature you are with your training the lower your chance of injury.
Training without a partner is perfectly fine, you just likely wouldn’t want to do a classic bench press the classic way. You’d either want to set it up in a squat rack with safety bars to catch the weight if you drop it … or simply do a dumbbell bench press.
You also wouldn’t want to lift weights so heavy that you aren’t in full control of them, and you don’t want to lift past the point of technical failure (where your form stops being perfect).
The injury rate when it comes to weightlifting is very low. It’s even lower when it comes to serious injuries. Far lower than most sports (soccer, football, rugby, etc). It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful though! (And you would still need to be able to accept those risks, however small!)
Does that make sense?
I think I started out benching somewhere between 50-70 if you could call what I was doing a bench press! So did Jared. 100 doesn’t sound so little to us 😉
Yeah that’s understandable. I guess my biggest worry was that never having lifted much heavy weight before, it would be crucial to have a spotter when I actually do attempt to do them.
In an unrelated note, one common thing I keep hearing in all of these fitness forums and websites from all sorts of people is that to gain muscle mass/weight is to basically do heavy weights with low reps. So I guess my question is how heavy is heavy for us beginners?
Really glad you’ve joined us man! I suspect you’ve already found the answer to this question in the book, but I’ll answer just in case.
“Heavy” isn’t talking about a specific amount of weight – like “a dumbbell over 50 pounds is heavy” – but rather about how heavy it is for you personally. If a weight is so heavy that you can only lift it 5 times then it’s pretty damn heavy. If your mum can only lift it once, then that’s REALLY heavy for her. If I (because I’m, like, pretty much a tank) can lift that weight TWENTY times … then that’s a light weight for me.
You’d grow brilliantly well lifting it, your mum would get pretty strong … and I would be building up more endurance. My muscle wouldn’t need to adapt to that stimulus by becoming bigger or stronger, it would just build up some endurance so that I could lift it for even longer.
Does that make sense?
As far as building size goes heavy works well, but there’s also a lot to be said for more intermediate rep ranges too. You’ll notice that b2Beast has you mostly going pretty heavy … but also pretty light sometimes.
There are some pretty cool tricks as far as that stuff goes, both in terms of building up a truly strong and healthy body, and also when it comes to growing at a truly maximal pace.
I think you’ll dig it – I’m pumped to see how you do!
I am currently 6’0 ft weighing in at about 150 lbs. Personally, I do like the slim look a lot better than too bulky, so I would like to keep myself model slim, but add a bit more muscle (maybe like 10-15 more lbs?) Would this program work for me? And I also have a small gut which I want to get rid of.. I am currently eating pretty healthy.. I cut soda from my diet and trying to cut sugar as well. Please advise, thanks!
Hey Jonas I feel ya man.
The three of us aren’t bodybuilders or anything (as you can see) and we’re way more interested in being strong and fit guys than we are in becoming totally jacked or yoked or whatnot. We aren’t that kind of program. (Although one of our members, Marcel, is getting pretty muscular these days!)
As naturally slim ectomorph dudes we often tend to stay “slim” even as we build muscle. I went from wearing a size small to wearing a size XL slim fit. Still slim fit. Just a whole lot stronger.
We all love being naturally slim and lean guys. I used to have those days where I just wanted to be “bulkier” but now I actually really enjoy being built the way I am.
A) Getting rid of the gut is cool. We’ve got a lot of guys who lose a bit of fat either before or after building muscle. We can help you get rid of it while building some strength, chisel out those abs, and then you can make a smooth transition into building lean muscle.
B) As a naturally slim guy I wouldn’t worry too much about restricting your diet. Obviously eating more nutritious food and less junk food is good, but it’s not like sugar is evil or anything. Ditching soda is probably for the best, so I’d stick with that, but getting some of your calories from sugar is okay.
I think we could help you re-prioritize your goals so that they give you more results … without needlessly adding in restrictions that may or may not help.
Does that help?
I hope you decide to join us man! We’d love to have ya 🙂
I am a 26 year old guy,5″8′ and too skinny(118 lbs) which is really a shame as i feel like out of the normal crowd.I have tried everything but didn’t gain even a single gram.I am worried a lot about it and also hesitate to go out in public and come up in pics.Everybody around me only suggest me to eat more but i don’t know how to deal with them in a manner that they understand.
I went to my GP who suggested me some testosterone level test which came out well as per him(i don’t know as he never tells the exact levels)Already i have gone for thyroid gland test and the results are awaited but i am sure nothing is gonna come up in that as well.
I am an IT guy so i don’t find much of a time to go to the gym.
I am really depressed about my lean body and want to gain at least 25 pounds to look normal.
I know how you feel man.
Telling a skinny dude to eat more is like telling an obese person to “eat less”. It’s such a ridiculous oversimplification of a complex issue that the advice becomes totally useless.
It’s not bad advice per say – in some ways it’s factually true – it’s just not helpful in the slightest.
If being naturally skinny is your only issue and your doctor is giving you a clean bill of health I wouldn’t necessarily go looking for more nefarious and peculiar causes for your condition – you’re probably just an ectomorph.
Lots of guys are naturally skinny!
To be blunt, if you’re an IT guy who spends most of his time sitting and you’re not lifting heavy things / eating like a beast … it’s no surprise that your body isn’t adapting to your circumstances by becoming bigger and stronger. In order to become bigger, stronger, more athletic and healthier you’ll need to change the stimulus. You’ll need to give your body a reason to change.
That doesn’t mean you should be depressed though. What you’re dealing with is something ALL of us deal with. You’re not as alone in this as it may seem. There are a lot of advantages to our body type too. We often never struggle with the problems of being medically obese, for example.
The situation isn’t as hopeless as you may think either. I’ve never encountered a skinny dude who was unable to gain weight. I’ve encountered guys who have tried and failed, who struggle with it, and guys who run into issues – that was my story as well – but when you train and eat to build muscle, well, everyone builds muscle 🙂
As for helping – we’re always posting new articles and free content. We’ve also got a program designed specifically for guys like us!
Hopefully one of those solutions fits your fancy.
Good luck man! Don’t lose hope – you’ll get there.
Very impressed with a few things. One of them is your persistence with this website, and your quick follow up with questions. It sends a message that you’re involved with your clients. Very admirable.
I’m pretty close to buying your program, I do have a few questions, first. My situation is that i’m 5’10 and 157 lbs. I’ve been very thin all my life, an ectomorph. I have gained about 7 lbs in the past few months while doing a “dirty bulk”. This has made me feel skinny-fat and unhealthy. I am quitting this dirty bulk right now, which led me to your program actually.
My initial intuition is to purchase your program, and then loose about 10 lbs with some cardio and continuation of weight lifting before I start it. At about 147 and a lower percentage of body fat I might be more suited to start the program. Right now i’m at approx. 17-18% bodyfat based on pictures (no official measurement).
What do you think??
Hey Christopher, glad you’re digging the sounds of the program!
Hehe ironically it took me a couple days to realize there was a comment here (we just posted a new article) so I’m not quite as speedy as I often am 😉
Congrats on the 7 pounds man! I’m not the biggest advocate of dirty bulks, but hey I bet you gained a lot of strength and muscle alongside the fat. And you can certainly lose the fat!
(I’ve accidentally dirty bulked myself into some fat back in the day too … so I know how frustrating that can be.)
Losing the fat first before doing more muscle building is a good idea. Being leaner often comes along with more insulin sensitivity, which can make it a lot easier to build muscle leanly. It’s easier to monitor any fat gain too, so it’s easy to troubleshoot and get right back to building lean muscle.
You actually don’t really need any cardio or anything to lose fat though – especially with a body type like ours. Weightlifting and nutrition will take care of that no problem. (Although if you enjoy cardio then that’s cool too.)
You can also start the program even if you aren’t totally lean! The training part, at least. We get a lot of self-identified “skinny-fat” guys who are looking to lose some fat. Even when that’s the case we always get ’em started into the official first phase and trying to build strength, technique and often even some modest amounts of muscle while doing it. All that needs to be altered is the nutrition side of things, and we’ve got a guide for that.
So I think that’s what you should do.
Eat for fat loss, train for strength and muscle … and when your abs are out again then we can gear into eating for far wilder muscle gains 🙂
hi. i found this website looking for some information for my husband. (me not him because he considers it a wasted effort) He is 29, 6’1” and about 135 pounds which is actually the most he’s weighed probably ever. He’s always been very skinny and has a low appetite and cannot seem to put on weight no matter how much I try to feed him.
He tells me he doesn’t care how he looks as long as he is healthy and he is, he’s very active as he used to be a mechanic and now he walks every day for his job. He’s really strong, stronger than he looks — it often surprises people because he is stronger or just as strong as bigger guys.
But he is so skinny that i am constantly getting questioned about what i feed him (even from his family who should know his body type) or even once asked by my mom if he was sick.. she said he looks like he has cancer… ugh people do not have any tact for this body type. His coworkers are often guys and although he has very thick skin and he doesn’t seem to pay attention.. i know some comments bug him. Like at his current job sometimes they call him skeletor. Being skinny also makes him look way younger than he is, he is often mistaken for early 20’s or a teenager..
I want to fix this, for him. i don’t think he looks bad, i like him. But I hate the comments and I know he does even if he wont admit it. I know he would feel so much better about himself if people would just leave him alone about it. its always the first thing people say to him and if not it is brought up eventually every time.
The problem is he has no motivation. What can I do to motivate him? Every time I say we should work out together or try something like a protein powder mix as we walk by them at the store, he says he’s tried them all.
i know you probably don’t just want to give information away since it is probably in your program but I am just desperate for information. I just want him to be happy and confident with his body. i don’t think i could ever convince him to join a gym. is getting bigger dependent on certain equipment or is it possible for him to he use his own body weight? In the beginning of the article you mentioned a sequence of bench pressing, squats and chin ups works.. is this the new and improved routine or the less effective “goofing around” workouts? I’d love to know what is in the “muscle chili” and what brands of whey protein you recommend… especially for someone who has a sensitive stomach or gets headaches with some of the protein powders he’s tried in the past.
any information (in addition to the awesome info in this article), advice, encouragement for him would be awesome. I’ll also be signing up for the newsletter.
Jared used to get called Skeletor too, and we see that nickname pop up a lot in introduction stories on the forum. Have you seen Skeletor though? (He’s before my time – I had to Google him.) That dude is jacked!
I don’t think being naturally skinny is bad or anything – I think we should embrace our body type and learn to absolutely master it – but I was definitely the guy going around saying I liked weighing 130 at 6’2 simply because I thought I was stuck that way and it felt better than admitting that I was frustrated and unable to change.
It’s rare that I run into a guy who’s naturally very thin and wishing to stay that way. That isn’t to say it’s impossible though! He may genuinely prefer being skinny, at which point, so long as he’s healthy, that’s totally cool!
Given the choice we usually choose to be bigger and stronger. Maybe not “buff”, but still visibly strong and masculine. (We have a few guys who want a physique like Cam Gigandet or Brad Pitt in Fight Club, for example. Thin and lean, but masculine and muscular.)
1. Headaches from protein powders sounds like difficulty processing artificial sweeteners. Unflavoured would probably be best for him: Unflavored IsoNatural Protein
2. Protein powders won’t magically make him muscular. He’d need to be stimulating his muscles to encourage muscle growth, eating at a calorie surplus to encourage weight gain AND be getting enough protein to construct the muscle with.
3. Body weight exercises (calisthenics) are enough to encourage a little bit of muscle growth at first. It quickly becomes too light to encourage more strength and size though. If he’s already strong … it may ALREADY be too light. If you want a more thorough breakdown of how to properly and reliably stimulate muscle growth and what kind of setup you’d need check this article out:
4. This stuff often works best when motivation is very high and the desire to change is huge. That motivation ebbs and flows, of course, and ideally by the time it starts to wane good habits have already been built up and results have already started pouring in. It’s easy to stick with a program when you already know that it works first hand.
(Our community is good for that too, since you can see guys at every stage of the process successfully making solid progress towards their goals. They’re all pretty great and supportive guys, too.)
I hope that helps Jen! Sounds like you care a lot. He’s a lucky guy 🙂
Having support helps a lot. He’ll be lucky to have you if he ever does decide to get into this.
Hi, my name is Daniel and I am 16 years-old, weigh 52kg (115lb), and am 173cm tall (5’7) living in New Zealand. During the whole of my life and I never been able to gain weight of any kind (Muscle or Fat), I would really like to bulk up and put on some weight to improve my physical appearance. Could you please gives me some tips or send me some links on how I could achieve this and what you think would be the best way to do so. Also can you please provide me with knowledge on what workouts would be most effective for me. Thank you, Daniel
Hey Daniel, greetings from Canada! Hehe yeah your situation sounds pretty much exactly like ours, and that of most of the people in our program.
Luckily, you’re getting to this a little younger. When I was 16 I didn’t even know enough about this to realize that this was the kind of blog I should be reading …
The tips and tricks you’re looking for is exactly what this blog is about! Things to help ectomorphs do a better job of training and eating for muscle growth, without necessarily needing to radically change everything they do.
As for a whole training and nutrition system (including specific workouts), that’s what our program / member community is for – guys looking to make a rapid and hearty muscle-building transformation and overcome this stuff in one fell swoop.
There’s some great free info on how to structure a workout in this article:
As for nutrition, I think this one is good:
I hope that helps!
Good luck man 🙂
Man, from 130 to 200 is insane!
I’m 19, I weigh 140 and i’m 6’3! -_-
I just moved into an apartment complex that has a 24/7 little gym that I never see anyone at so I figured it’s the perfect place to plug in the headphones and start gaining weight and muscle. Do you recommend using the weight/muscle gain stuff or any protein drinks? Or should I try to go about it all natural with a good diet?
The new year is about to start as well, my goal is to go from 140 to 175 as a new years resolution.
Hey Nathan, 140 and 6’3 sounds a whole lot like where we were. Seems like you’re an ectomorph indeed! 19 is a brilliant age to get into this stuff, too.
Are you talking about weight gainers? Some guys like Serious Mass or Universal Torrent. I find them a little expensive and overhyped, but hey calories/protein – it works!
We have our own approach to it too, which I would argue works a little better and costs a whole lot less:
I suspect that will answer your question pretty well 🙂
(Also – real food works just as well, if not better. It can just be a little more difficult, hard on the appetite and expensive. Very healthy and very very effective though.)
Now then Shane.
I spent years been that skinny kid and im well on my way to been meaty! I’m 5’11 @ 165lbs as of now. I was 138 miserable lbs at the beginning of july this year. My tip would be, if you struggle to eat your calories then drink them. I’ve been drinking 3 litres of whole milk for the last sixty days now and still keeping it lean.
A few stats since beginning of july to now…
Calves, 12.5 to 13.5 inches
Hips (butt) 34.5 to 39 inches
Thighs, 20.5 to 24.0 inches
Chest 40 to 45.8 inches
Biceps 12.8 to 14.2 inches.
Drink tonnes of milk and work hard.
I’m looking to join soon
Keep up the amazing work guys.
Hey Richie, congratulations on the transformation man – that’s awesome.
I couldn’t agree more! I’m all about smoothies, milk … and even homemade eggnog. The homemade workout drink we recommend packs a pretty serious liquid caloric punch, too.
Crazy how much of a difference drinking your calories can make, eh?
Hehe at 3 litres per day you’ve definitely got me beat in the milk department. I drink maybe a litre a day these days.
Marcel is the biggest diary fiend we’ve got:
Those are amazing stats! 6 inches added to your chest?! Wild.
Keep it up man! Sounds like you’re kicking ass.
Hope to see you in the community soon!
Alright, first let me start out by saying im a female lol. But i read your blog and it gives me faith i can do it too. Im 5’9″ and have weighed 120lbs for years.(im 19)Your pictures of the progreas you two have made is amazing. Hoping o can do the same. Im tires of being scrawny as well.
You can definitely do it! Have you heard of Bony to Bombshell, the muscle-building program that we’re building for thin/skinny/ectomorphic women?
Check out the latest female transformation here (Sara). Pretty badass, right?
We’ll have the blog (and program) fully up and running soon. We’re just waiting on some programming to finish up.
Alright. Thank you somuch! I will definately check that out!… And like the fb page lol
can you guys help me im 22 and 120lbs please help i work out and everything cant gain any weight
Hey Norm, that was exactly our situation (and most of our readers/members) so that’s really what we specialize in!
The whole blog is focused on helping skinny guys / ectomorphs who struggle to build muscle finally build muscle 🙂
If you’re looking for a full system and program, then check out our program / member community:
Otherwise, stay tuned for new blog posts and newsletters. We plan to continue putting out useful free content!
Good luck man, and don’t give up – all of us have been there and soon did manage to build the muscle we were trying to build 🙂
Hi, I’m a 19 spanish med student and when I saw this website I got more and more interested. Your information is very complete and you use studies from PubMed which is like the most useful “book” we have. I’m also ectomorph and trying to gain weight by my own but man this program is awesome. I’m saving money in order to purchase it xD hope the price decrease someday. I have also changed my workout rutine in order to involve natural movements as you say but I’m a little lost in the gym. I’m doing biceps chin ups and I started deadlifting (that scared me at first) but if you could give me some types of exercises I would be grateful . I’m focusing in those less developed parts of my body (especially arms and back).
That’s all, thanks for sharing your great project! It really encourages me.
Hey Michael, really glad you’re digging the site!
As an ectomorph just starting out deadlifting might be a little premature. It’s a badass lift, but it’s rare to find a guy, especially a naturally skinny guy, who has the spinal erector strength and hip mobility to do deadlift properly right off the bat. Check this article out:
As for how to structure a program, it’d be sweet to get you doing our program one day, but in the meantime this article should help you out a ton! I know it’s about building a home gym, but I also go into lifting fundamentals a bit and explain how to structure a weightlifting program:
I hope that helps, and let me know if that brings up any new questions.
Thanks Shane, I bougth the program a few days ago and I have got a lot of question to ask you. I’m a little lost in the forum xD. Also I have started a private conversation with you but I don’t know if it works.
Ahaha you do have a lot of questions. I answered ’em all on the forum (and your private message worked!).
Glad to have you man, and stoked to see what you can do 🙂
im really excited about this program and i never tried a program before.i just wanted to know is this program for me? im current 6’3 roughly 195 pounds.very skinny with very poor posture.the thing is i had moved out of town to a new state to live a new life and i was smoking cigarettes for 2 years at least. i finally quit 2 months deciding that i want to be in good health like i use to.i use to a lot of cardio and dancing years and it seems to stay with me.i know this because of my crazy metabolism.where i live i currently done have a car to go the gym and i also dont seem to have the time now since my new job has me working 6am-4/6 pm everyday.usually when i get home i eat and its bed time for me because i have to be up at 4 every morning.for now i just wanted to build a schedule routine around my job and i want to get my eating in check.one a normal day wouldn’t eat till the very end of the night which is a terrible habit.its seems lose my appetite for food very easily now and days. i wanted to know is it possible to start a workout routine with a calisthenic workout? maybe you guys can help me with this
Hey Nocturnalist – kind of an ironic name given you go to bed and wake up so early!
Adding in some form of exercise sounds like a great idea. There are tons of health and cognition benefits to exercise in general, and with callisthenics you might even gain a bit of muscle at first as a bonus. Callisthenics isn’t the best type of exercise for building muscle, and building muscle is really the emphasis of this website, so we don’t really cover it much. (We’ve got some bodyweight workouts included with the program, but they’re mostly for beginners or people who are traveling.)
For guys who like to train at home and/or have really busy schedules, we usually recommend building a really really bare bones home gym:
Much easier to improve your posture and build muscle when you can progressively add resistance and thus cause your body to adapt by growing bigger, stronger and more stable.
If you’re game to lift heavy then this program would work pretty well for you, I think. It’s efficient and effective, so it’s pretty good even for guys with ridiculously busy schedules. We’d love to have you, too. If callisthenics is all you’re looking to do though, definitely do it – this isn’t an all-or-nothing situation 🙂
Does that make sense / help?
i would like to thank you for opening up doors for me and im not just looking for a calisthenic work out, not only that i want to make a significant impact on my body/transformation.its go big or go home.im looking for more than that of course.everything youve explain has made a lot sense to me.me having the lack of nutrition(since at skip a lot of meals and my metabolism is just raging and keeps eating away at me) and the lack of time because of work where would a person like me start this adventure?
Glad to help! Did you read the article I linked to? That should spell out the basics of building muscle and how you could go about starting 🙂
yes sir and thank you for the feedback
I’ve been looking for research( like yours) from women who are actual ectos and I can’t find much. Can you point me in the right direction or do you think women can use your program as well?
Hey Bebe, the Bony to Beastly program is just for men, but we get that question a lot! So much so that we’ve decided to address it. Check out our muscle-buidling and weight gain program for women over at http://www.bonytobombshell.com. It’s still in testing, and the blog hasn’t launched yet, but over the next couple weeks we’re hoping to get everything up and running. We’ve already got a few articles written up and ready to post 🙂
Most programs for women are weight loss programs, so there isn’t much out there for gals looking to build up some curves on a naturally slender frame. My sister’s got the same skinny genes as me, so I grew up with a gal who was more interested in gaining weight than losing it, but her goal was always an uncommon one. So, as for weight gain programs made by actual ectomorph women … that’s where things get tough. We’ve got some female success stories under our belt – check out Sara’s results after her first few weeks – but I don’t know of any programs actually run by women who deal with this stuff. That’s one of the reasons why we decided to make a women’s program, even though we’re men.
What an amazing article. Very inspiring.Im a skinny guy too,been lifting dumbbells for almost a month now but not noticing any change yet,how do I know my program is working or not? I tried to eat healthy food,but no protein supplements since Im saving for my study. Do you have any recommendations for me? Currently my height is 177cm and weighs about 45kg.
Hey Vormund – good question!
We do four things:
1. Measure our weight each week.
2. Record our strength each week.
3. Take our measurements every 5 weeks (after every phase).
4. Take progress photos every 5 weeks (after every phase).
That let’s us track a variety of variables and makes it a breeze to troubleshoot/optimize based on results.
If you wanted to do it very simply, just taking your weight week by week would do 🙂
Bro, I’m 5 10 and weigh 70 kg. Damn, I’m skinny but I do Muay Thai for a month now. And the trainers in the Muay Thai gym are even shocked when they knew I was heavier than them. lol. I also play basketball. Any tips bro?
Hey Francis, tips for Muay Thai and basketball, or for gaining weight? If you’re a skinny guy who wants tips for building muscle mass – that’s what this whole site is about! If you want to sign up for a comprehensive weight gain plan we’ve got a full program here. Otherwise, stay tuned for our upcoming free articles 🙂
The strength will probably help with your athletic performance, and Marco uses similar programs for a lot of the high school, college, pro and olympic athletes that he coaches, but that’s not the purpose of our program per say – our program is about getting big and strong!
How do you know you have mostly fast twitch muscle fibers?
Hey guys, will this program do anything for me I’m 6 foot 2 and 147lb 30 waist
I’m fed up of takin creatine, weight gain and eatin lots of protein, I just can’t gain
I went to the Dr and he mentioned something about havin more brown fat cells than other guys??
Hey Big H – right on! I started out at 6’2 and 130, but in the before photo above I’m 150. Definitely know what that’s like first hand!
Yep, you may have more brown fat cells. I believe there’s a correlation between obese people and very small amounts of brown fat. I remember reading some studies looking into normal weight vs obese people and how they responded to different temperatures. I’m a guy with a huuuuge resting metabolism and I also never ever get cold, so brown fat may be one reason why I struggled to gain weight. It might be true with you as well. Hard to say – it’s a very new thing, as far as I know.
There are a lot of reasons though and many have even more research done into them. The fact that you’ve got a higher resting metabolism isn’t even really a bad thing though, and in many ways can often be an asset when it comes to building muscle. Check this out:
I’m game for the news letter and first chapter, and did so above. I’m sure someone can relate to having a wrist watch become an arm band by simply raising their hand/arm, in as much as I understand you fellas.
I embarked on a program of my making mid November after watching my body weight drop and muscle disappear steadily for about 18 months.I’ll spare some of those details but, words like stress, divorce, sustained high activity level, will give you some idea. Thank God no substance abuse was a factor.
This is not a first attempt at improvement by diet and exercise. I did educate myself more prior to attempting this time. Some of what I have read here has struck a familiar cord. I too became very interested in the “science.” My results thus far 5’8″ 154# now I am at 172# with noticeable strength increases and some size development.
Now, the question and reason for posting; Does the program contain some of the hard “science” and research?
I am 52; are you geared specifically to a younger age group?
I am also an active person, skateboard, (was that a laugh I just heard,) cycle, work on my feet in the restaurant industry, (not like a pedicure,) and as you know high activity levels and gaining/growth aren’t always synonymous for the ecto-bod’s.Q..Do you feel as though your program can help one to strike the balance between the two?
In closing, you should be proud of your achievements and your desire to assist others with their personal quests.
Really sorry to hear about your struggles – saying that sounds tough would be quite an understatement. Congratulations on overcoming your hardships – it sounds like you’re having great success!
The easy one is the age question – we aren’t geared at any particular age group – we’re geared at skinny guys trying to build up muscle mass – although we’re very much writing as guys in our twenties. So the only downside is that you may not relate to our style of writing, you know? If you dig the blog though, you’ll love the program 🙂
(There are a couple minor things I’d tweak for you though, given your age and experience level, so shoot me a message or post an intro if/when you sign up!)
Hehehe having high energy expenditure is pretty much par for the course for us ectomorphs! (Both Marco and Jared were avid skateboarders, too.) Marco is always moving on purpose – rugby, football, volleyball, etc. I’m always moving by accident – pacing, fidgeting, dancing, walking, etc. We’re very good at helping ectomorphic guys out-eat huge calorie demands so that they can build muscle. Check this article out:
Our program is VERY evidence-based. In fact, I challenge you to find a recommendation that we can’t back up with sound research as you read through it. That article above will give you an idea of how we handle research.
I hope you decide to join us man – we’d love to have you!
Thanks for the props on my hard work so far, respect. But I gotta tell ya my ribs are hurting from that serious hook to the body you gave me;
[YOU- “although we’re very much writing as guys in our twenties. So the only downside is that you may not relate to our style of writing, you know?”]
OUCH Wassup with that bro, damn. Bruised ribs and ego. FYI I have 4 children all in their 20’s and keep it real with all of em’.
Thanks for the response, and I have gotten deeper in the B2B knowledge. I give you much love for bringing it with the details, and rocking the science in.
I’m working the angle to get one of my chillins to bust out the paper for ur program homie. My day of ultimate respect (birthday) will be in a minute. I look forward to laying up with your schooling son.
As I am know to say, “Don’t Talk About It, BE About It!”
hahaha, good times
Ahahaha this comment made my night.
And that’s awesome 🙂
I think you’ll dig it, pops – prepare to be schooled!
I’m 14, 5’11” and I weigh about 120 and play on my high schools baseball team. I can hit further and pull more at most workouts than the majority of the people on the team that are in my grade. I know I still have time but I’m still pretty skinny. I’ve talked to people who were skinny like me and are now pretty muscular, and they all tell me they wish they could’ve started at my age.
Do you have any advice?
Yep I wish I could have started at your age! I don’t disagree with that at all. Marco started at 16, I believe, although he struggled for several years to make any progress at all. I only really got results after I graduated from university. I was very late to the game.
The more of your life spent strong, healthy and beastly the better, I say 🙂
Better yet, Marco interned with Eric Cressey at Cressey Performance – the best Major League Baseball strength and conditioning facility in the world. Our program has a lot in common with what you’d use to bulk up a baseball player looking to increase his strength and power output. If baseball is your thing, I suspect this program would suit you very well!
As for advice, if you aren’t going to join our program – I’d talk with your parents and your doctor – then I would certainly at the very least begin with bodyweight exercises. You won’t make the same muscular gains you’d make with weights, but they would still help a ton. No reason to believe that weightlifting wouldn’t be anything other than amazing for you though. High school is a great time to start 🙂
thnx dude! for the confidence u gave me. im going to gym for 2 months nw but hardly gaining mass. i was about to giv up. but after reading ur article im determined to transform my body from bony to beastly. thnx again
Good luck, man! 😀
Alright i already sent this message on email, before seeing this section, my bad.
Hello, my name is Tommy.
I live in Denmark and i’m sixteen years old. (Seventeen – 21th of march.)
It might seem ridiculous but i really want to gain muscles. Im ectomorph and i’ve always been skinny.
I’m not getting picked on or anything like that, but i notice they make fun of me, although they dont mean any harm.
By them i mean my friends, and closest. E.g. my friends and i were going to the mall after school the other day, and they were talking about going to the gym.
They would then look at me and say, Tommy you’re one of the stronger ones here, you should go to fitness with us, its legday.
I could tell by they sarcastic laugh that ofcourse they were joking around with me.
Even my girlfriend tells me she can protect me if we should get robbed someday – Also meant in no harm but still… It really gets to me, i HATE being skinny!
I know im not very old but seeing almost all my friends getting muscles etc it just gets to me, and i really want to do something about my own body now.
So a little information below.
(In Denmark we use centimeters for height and kilos for weight… so, i hope you guys understand what i mean- )
I’m 1.82 CM tall, and i weigh 52 kilos.
I’m skinny and i get told often.
I’m most likely going to buy what you guys offer, as i have tried going to the gym etc. without results.
If i follow the schedule 100% it will help right?
Should i send a picture of my current looking shape, to give you more of an idea of what i look like?
Thanks for reading this.
Biggest of appreciation
P.S. You guys really got me motivated after reading a bunch on the webpage, and seeing the video you made, and last but not least the transformations!
Hey Tommy, I know what you mean all too well. My friends were the same – well intentioned, but they just didn’t see me as the guy I wanted to be, so their playful teasing really struck the wrong chord with me. My girlfriend told me the exact same thing, too. I’d laugh it all off, and overall I was a pretty happy dude, but man did I ever hate being skinny, too!
(Hehe here in Canada we use a haggard mess of Imperial and metric, so yeah, I can understand that just fine. We’ve got a good mix of Australians, North Americans and Europeans, so the community is pretty familiar with both.)
The program would definitely help. You’re exactly who we designed it for, and we’ve yet to encounter a skinny guy it hasn’t worked for, no matter how skinny they are or how many times they’ve failed in the past. It’s not a one-size-fits-all program, and even if it doesn’t work at first, we just coach you until it does 🙂
You could definitely send a photo in beforehand. I got your email, so you’ve already got the address. If you do decide to join us, we’ll show you how to take proper before photos and measurements, too.
Thank you for the kind words man, and I really hope you do decide to join us – you sound like exactly who we made the program for, and I think you’d fit right in 🙂
Alright, i’ll order it around 28. Feb. As i dont have the money right now.
I’m glad you think i fit in, and thanks for the nice words, and fast reply, that really helps me a lot, as it makes me want it even more, and makes me believe in myself even more!
I’m looking forward to this, you have no idea, it’ll be a whole new world i guess 🙂 !
– I got some few questions, what do i need for this program, like do need to have access to a gym, or workout tools at home etc.
And where should i send the photo, and should i just do it as soon as possible?
Thanks Shane :).
Really glad you decided to join Tommy! I see your receipt 🙂
See you in there 😀
Hey Shane, I’m Dexter. Im a 20-old guy, im about 6’1and weigh about 160 lbs. Ive been hitting the gym for a while now and fortunately im seeing some progress. However I feel that my eating habits are suffering a bit. I usually eat breakfast>snack>lunch>snack>dinner>snack and the 2 of the snacks being a protein shake for hardgainers. Alot of my buddies say Im getting slightly bigger but I feel that I could do better if I eat. Usually what i eat for breakfast egg and rice (I know i could do better than that) and eat tuna fish sandwhiches along with protein shakes mainly for my snacks. Lunch and dinner varies sometimes. I have this goal of getting bulking up but im kinda of getting discouraged on getting there. Have any advice on what food I should really be eating mostly? What about supplements?
Hey Dexter, props for hitting the gym, and glad to hear you’re seeing progress 🙂
First I would recommend finding out if you’re actually getting consistent results! Start weighing yourself on the scale each week and see how much your weight is changing by. If it’s moving up each week, THEN it’s time to start looking at the finer details of the quality of what you’re eating / supplements.
With that said, supplements may make eating enough to grow easier. Check this article we wrote up about supplements for skinny guys.
As for ideas of what to eat, check this article about ectomorph appetite out!
I hope that helps!
Hi, Im 23 years old. Im 6ft tall and weigh 150lbs on a good day. I can cut and tone very easily and gain a little muscle mass. But never what I want. I actually would like to become pretty big. Like 200lbs of nothing but bulk and muscle. I am always getting teased by my huge body building friends on how small I am. I do the same workouts they do but have nothing to show for it. Help me out. ON top of all that I am a type 1 diabetic. Any suggestions? Great read by the way I have huge respect for your guys will power.
Hey Connor, 200 pounds of bulk and muscle sounds pretty badass indeed 🙂
For the diabetes obviously that’s beyond the scope of our program, and that’s something you’d want to work in conjunction with your doctor with … but we’ve had several guys with type one diabetes do our program in the past and do a really great job, so wouldn’t anticipate that being a limiting factor. You’ll just need to check with your doc first to make sure you’re doing it in a wholesome way 🙂
Are you thinking of joining the program? You sound like a pretty good fit!
Otherwise, I can answer more specific questions. If what you’re looking for is general tips … I would at this point just say explore the blog! that’s what we’re trying to with it 😀
I was always very skinny, 2 years ago I barely weighed 120 lbs, and I was at 5’11, I had wrists so skinny that my pinky and thumb could meet without even touching the bone, just to give you guys some idea. I started lifting weights during the summer. and in 4 months, I shot up to 140 lbs. I could barely dumbbell press 50 lbs. But at the end of the summer I could dumbbell press around 130 lbs. I think one of the biggest mistakes skinny people make is that believing their metabolism is too high and that is the reason they cannot gain weight. I thought that too, but when I took the time to count my calories, I realized it was not my metabolism is too high, it was that I was not eating enough to gain weight. I was eating around 1000 calories per day prior to working out. I now eat around 2500 calories and every week I would gain a 1-2 pounds. My metabolism was actually very slow, because of my low calorie count. This summer, I am planning to slowly push the calorie count to 3500, the eventual goal is around 4000 and 190 lbs in body weight, which may seem like a stretch, however eating calorie dense foods like peanut butter and olive oil helps. Another mistake that rookies make is eating too much in one meal. You will feel sick for the whole day and want to throw up. Instead eat every 2 hours, even if you aren’t hungry still eat. If you feel full and have not hit your calorie count, drink weight gainer shakes. Two scoops = an easy 1000 calories. However take it slowly, don’t try to go from 1000 to 2000 in one day. Set goals for yourself every day, to eat more and more.
Hi, Im 17 years old Im 1.72(m) tall and weigh 57(kg). Damn, I’m so skinny but i want change. For I am sick of people look to me .I’m in desperate need of some advice At I hope to get at some of the weight……. Please help. I hope to get a reply soon thanks .
Hey David, I’ve been there man. I started out at an all-time high of 59kg, and sometimes my weight would drop as low as 57kg … and I’m over 6 inches taller! You can definitely gain weight, don’t worry.
That’s what our program is all about! Taking the skinniest of ectomorphs and helping them build tons of muscle. I wish I could go back in time and help Skinny Jared and Shane back when we were 17. That’s a great age to start.
If there’s anything in particular I can do just let me know, and I really hope you decide to sign up! You sound like a good fit.
I am really inspired by your story from bony to beastly. I am a 5′ 10′, 156 Lbs, very skinny. I really need your help on building myself. I am really fed up with my body structure and want to build up myself, But confused where to start from. I would really appreciate if you could give me starting tips regarding the supplement that would be best for building up myself, including do’s and dont’s.
Hey Chris, really glad you found it inspiring!
To start building muscle I would say first begin lifting weights. Ideally find a good weightlifting program (like ours!) but even just starting is a great first step. Once you’re doing that, then it’s time to start making sure you’re eating enough (and eating well enough).
Supplements aren’t really a good place to start, but they can certainly help. We have an article on the best muscle-building supplements for ectomorphs here.
I hope that helps, and good luck!
Hey guys. First grats guys you made a long way and pretty impressive results. I have a question though, I’m trying to gain some weight too. Am I supposed to use supplements, whey proteins etc? Is there any way but getting these? I’m not into using supplements so will be helpful if you answer. Thanks a lot.
Thanks, Chris 🙂
You don’t need to use supplements, no. Whey protein can help, since it’s nutritious, safe, cheap, easy, quick and effective … but not really any more effective than any other type of protein. It’s mostly for the convenience of it that people use it. It won’t give you an edge or anything, and it’s certainly not mandatory.
Btw I had a car accident and had operation(surgery) . I had fractures on my spine. They put platinum in my body so I can’t lift weight. Can’t use barbell.I have only dumbbells without big weights. So how can I gain muscles and weight? Any tips about this situation? I can do push ups , sit ups etc btw My movements aren’t limited.
There are two posts you might want to check out. The first is how to build a good home gym and train using just dumbbells: How to Build a Badass Home Gym
The second is a post evaluating and comparing different types of muscle-building exercises – The Skinny on “Just Lift Heavy”.
I think both will answer your question and help!
This is fantastic. I’m 17 and I’m 5’11 and weight 134 pounds. I recently have been lifting like crazy. When I started I as at 130. I’m a tall lean kid and gaining is so hard for me. I go to a school with a bunch of gym crazy kids who are all on pro hormones and are 180 pound animals. It’s been really difficult for me and i’ve been trying really hard. You’ve inspired me a lot and I thank you.
Thanks for sharing, Jeff – really glad to hear that we could help! Good luck, man 🙂
Hello, first of all great achievement guys!
I’m 6,3 tall, not sure how much I weight today but for all I know I am very slim. I don’t really look sickly since most of my mass is muscle, having a fat % of 8. I look more like a marathon runner. I am very firm and fit and muscular since I’ve been training for several years but no matter what I’ve never managed to up my body mass, it all just burns away or tightens up.
I’m very energetic and feel great and healthy overall, so actually everything is just as it should be, EXCEPT for the fact that I’d really like to gain more weight because I’m tired of people calling me skinny and looking at me funny when I talk about training (since people always relate skinnyness to being weak and unhealthy, even if you are firm and muscular).
I dunno, I’ve tried eating like a pig without excercising to gain weight to no avail. I’ve tried sports food and weight gainers with all kinds of training methods, to no avail (most of the time my body weight just drops). I love cardio but I have to hold back because that diminishes my mass aswell (though there’s no mass to lose except for muscle mass). I have relatively deep understanding of human anatomy, metabolism, nutrition and everything related, and I’ve tried adapting different kind of methods to my lifestyle to slow down my metabolism and increase my “lower hormonal distribution” (adrenaline and testosterone for an example). I get a great pump from slow and controlled full body excersises but still it seems that once the pump is gone, it’s truly gone and my mass just does not increase (it’s always been like this and I’ve been training for 6-8 years now, before that it was casual).
I’m clueless what to try next. I’m not obsessive about it, I got no problems with my confidence or such, I’d just like to crack the mystery and be able to actually control my body weight instead of just settling to be the skinny guy forever.
You figure your program could help me? A guy who has several years of mixed training history and muscular body to begin with but low mass and hyper fast metabolism (often times I have to pee several times an hour, sometimes once every 10 minutes).
Oh, and I’ve had my thyroid tested and according to doctors it functions “normally” <.<
Hey Gustav, thin and lean is not a bad place to start! Build up lean muscle and you can very quickly become a beast of a dude, especially considering your rad height.
Regarding why you’re struggling to gain weight, although it sounds like you already have a good understanding of this skinny boy / ectomorph nutrition stuff … check this article out.
Don’t be too discouraged. Your exact situation was certainly my situation, and the situation of most of the guys who sign up for the program! Skinny guys who are trying to gain weight and who have a bunch of failed attempts under their belts, well, that’s our specialty 🙂
Hey I came across your site looking for some inspirational pics for my hubby. He just turned 29, is 5’10 and weighs around 118-122.
I can’t bring up his weight without us getting into a marriage ending argument. I don’t know what to do or how to handle it. I wish he’d motivate himself but if I bring it up he pushes further away.
Can you help me? Is there anything you can do to help me find ways to get him to want this?
I can’t handle being 30 lbs more than him with my arms being the size of his legs. And I’m fit!
Please help. In anyway you can.
Back in university I weighed the same amount as my girlfriend. I was a very skinny 6’2 and 130 pounds, she was a very fit 5’6 and 130 pounds. She was very athletic (she got both rugby AND basketball scholarships) and because I was so thin she was concerned about me. She was always encouraging me to exercise, eat better, gain weight, etc. When she would bring up that stuff it would just bring something that I was already insecure about to the forefront of my mind. Not surprisingly that made me feel worse about my physique. I just wanted to forget about it. That made me less inclined to try to change.
My next girlfriend after that was 5’0 and maybe 110 pounds. I was so so much taller than her that she genuinely found me big and strong even though I was extremely skinny. Since I was relatively lean then, she would also compliment me on my “abs”. (I didn’t have abs, but I had a flat-ish stomach.) I had the same skinny body, but I became much less insecure about it. After all, she loved it so much. She ALREADY found me masculinely built.
After a couple months I told her that I was going to try accomplishing one my longtime personal goals – gaining 20 pounds of muscle. She said “Nooo! I like how you look now! You suit your body well! Don’t change!”
To her dismay, I said it was something that I really wanted to do for me. I was still desperate to grow bigger and stronger, but I wasn’t insecure and trying to just forget about it anymore. She was supportive throughout the process, although she kept insisting that I didn’t need to build more muscle.
20 pounds of muscle later she said she’d been wrong – I DID look great with more muscle. She apologized and then said “but now you’re going to stop, right? You’re already so muscular!”
And I gained another 35 pounds …
During all of this she had moved to France and gained 30 pounds of cheese, wine and baguette weight. That was a lot for someone her size. I didn’t care. I thought she looked amazing. She cared though, and I think she really loved how she could still feel perfectly confident in her body around me. She later decided she wanted to be more fit and lost the 30 pounds, all the while with me (genuinely) telling her that she was a total babeshow the way she was.
She lives on the other side of the world and we aren’t together anymore, but we still chat sometimes. She has the same opinion as always “You look great just the way you are … but don’t go getting any more muscular, okay?! You already look so strong!” I feel the same way about her.
If your husband is like me, the thing that may motivate him the most is if you genuinely love him and his body for the way they already are. At that point he may feel more inspired to become the person that he wants to be from a place of confidence instead of insecurity.
With that said, I’m not necessarily of the opinion that skinny guys need to change. (Not every skinny guy wants to bulk up. Hell, even if he gets more into fitness he may want to become a great cyclist or marathon runner or something.) I’m certainly not of the opinion that anyone else should be trying to pressure us to do so, however lovingly they do it. (Although given how badly you want him to change, perhaps he’d lovingly oblige you, which would perhaps be a very husbandly thing to do.)
Being supportive of what we want to do, however, is amazing. Having supportive friends and girlfriends while bulking up was a huuuuge deal to me. I’m so so grateful to have had them in my life.
So that’s what we’re trying to do here. We’re trying to be supportive of all the skinny guys like us who are eager, ready and trying to build muscle.
We’d love to help your husband in any way we can 🙂
Does that help / make sense?
Thanks for your reply and yes, it totally makes sense. I know he shuts down when I talk about it because he is insecure. But I also know that he’d love to weigh 150, which for him is still slightly underweight but it would make a huge difference.
I purchased the protein and other powder supplements you suggested. Although I know that just drinking these alone won’t help if he’s not eating enough or lifting weights. I’d love for him to do your program, I’m just not sure how he’d handle it if I got it for him and if he’d even read the info and take the advice. Which if he doesn’t is a waste of money. Sigh
I love him, but he just thinks I’m tearing him down.
Any other free tips you can throw out that I can try my hardest to get him to work on?
I can tell you care a lot about your husband which makes me smile 🙂 He’s lucky to have a spouse that cares so much about his well-being and health that you’re doing lots of research and a lot of hard work for him.
As a married man, everything I do I (try to) do for my wife first. Everything I say and aim to do is for, first and foremost, for my wife. And she does the same for me. There is no selfish act and if we both are committed to wanting the best for the other person first before ourselves – then we’ll be in a very good place. When you said you couldn’t stand being heavier than him, I wonder if he picks up on what you’re feeling and then feels a bit scared or angry or helpless. I don’t know but I don’t think forcing a plan will be greeted happily by him.
I used to be 130 lbs at 6 feet and my wife-to-be was the same weight (but a foot shorter) than me. We were completely happy and there was no conflict over our state of healthiness, skinniness, or chubbiness. It was only after I added some weight did I feel better and with more energy that I decided to keep up with it. I did not understand that I didn’t feel as good as I could have (I mean, how could you know?).
If you are simply seeking out for your husband to be healthier and more fit because you want the very best for him – I think that’s amazing. But that concern should be about him feeling [b]his[/b] best. My encouragement would be to ask him if he has any of his own plans to get fit and if he does to encourage his own plans. If he doesn’t have any plans, why not invite him to do something fun together that is physical to improve his health like biking together or playing some sports, it could even be as simple as a daily walk at night to talk and get the heart rate up. Easing into a more active lifestyle may help.
My last idea would be to make a bet. Now, most men are pretty competitive although generally we do not like to get competitive with our wives (we want to love them, not compete against them). But I wonder if you could make up a fun bet to get him to workout 3x a week just for a month. Maybe there’s a fun reward you can give him if he can keep up with it? Generally, after 30 days he’d likely feel the benefits of working out and would want to keep up with it. During that time, if you do some of the cooking, you could accidentally put more food on his plate 🙂
I hope that helps a bit.
That does help. Thank you. I know I have issues on my end with not feeling confident about myself. It’s hard weighing 30 lbs more than a man who is taller than me. But obviously we chose each other 6 years ago while my weight has fluctuated and his stayed the same 120ish.
He is in the cycling. Although that isn’t a sport that builds him muscle. He loses more from the cardio than he can keep on. But I like the idea of a challenge. I’ll just continue to motivate and try to get him to finish his entire plate.
You guys are motivating. Thank you for caring.
to all the skinny but sane ones – consider your age – if you are under 18, have your speed, strength and endurance tested and try to develop all three to the max until you can identify you tend to naturally develop one of these over the rest – then find a sport or activity that is fun (gym is out of question) and focus on your strong aspect – i.e. one of those three. if you are simply skinny because of your lifestyle and diet etc. but are actually not an ectomorph, start your weights early, before you are in your thirties, and give it your all, 70 per cent of the success is not the workouts but your diet and the rest ! Never train to failure and exhaustion as this can seriously affect your energy levels, there are mosre suitable methods of intensifying training such as super slow training or negative only resistance training which are very safe and controlled methods. if you are skinny, and a natural ectomorph and have a generally weak constitution (chinese doctor might help you identify this) weight training may long term cause a serious harm to your health. However you can benefit from resistance training done in moderation and by building from the base, i.e. focusing on you legs and postural muscles [first and foremost]; if you are a natural (actual) ectomorph and jump headlong into gym training lifestyle and focus on your upper body, not only will you gradually deplete precious energy from your body, but long term will not be able to sustain the intensity and amplify the wear and tear and reduce your body’s ability to recover from micro-injuries. one of the most sustainable and most supportive activities for ectomorphs are internal martial arts and chi kung.
I would like to share what has worked well for me. I am 52 and a typical ecto-dude. I train in a 6 week cycle. Week 1: A general increase in activity level, (this is relative to the proceeding week,) another lap around the park on the bike, the use of 10# weight during stretching,(1/2) normal protein supplement intake. Week 2: FOOD..lol protein supplement, (1/2) creatine supplement intake, combo body weight and resistance exercises, increase speed on bicycle same distance. Week 3: Food, protein, creatine, relative weight, higher reps, more sets. Week 4: Food, protein, creatine, heaver weight, slow low reps, sets of 3. Week 5: (same as 3) the exception is I concentrate on a balanced diet. Week 6: Moderate activity, actively stretching, resting, protein supplement, concentrate on diet and fluid balance and intake. As I tend to never drink enough fluids, although I do concentrate on it at all times, I use week 6 for acute focus. For clarity, wk6 rest is not inactivity, it’s listening to what my body is saying. Of course I make little adjustments here and there. I’m now at 5’9″ 185# (on the way to 200) bicep’s just under 16″ chest 44″ waist 32″ and thighs 23″
This is a lifestyle that I can easily maintain. If I were to back off, with little work I could retain the majority of muscle gained. Perhaps this will help someone.
I am 20 and believe I am a natural, true ectomorph. I’m not currently trying to gain immense amounts of muscle, but I have started doing some resistance training. However, I feel as though (even with some slight posture issues) my upper body is weaker with less muscle development than my legs. Thus, I was only focusing on my upper body for now. Do you think this is ok? I just didn’t want to build up my legs more before at least improving my upper body.
That’s not morally wrong or anything — it’s not like you’re hurting anyone. It’s not like it’s stupid either, given your goals — you can certainly effectively build up your upper body without training your legs.
You can however get even more benefit from training your entire body. At this stage of your training you’ll likely see just as much upper body growth if you also train your legs. If you want to actually be able to do strongman things (like carry your girlfriend around, pick up heavy furniture, kick ass at sports, etc) then you’ll want a strong body in general, not just strong mirror muscles. The same is true when it comes to a lot of the general health benefits of weightlifting. Lifts like squats and deadlifts will have the biggest impact on your central nervous system, be the best at promoting improved brainpower, and also give you improved bone density. If anything all of this balanced training stuff will tend to increase your aesthetic attractiveness too, so really you can have the best of ALL worlds.
We have some guys coming into the program though who already have relatively buff legs, either from sports, biking or genetics. We put their lower bodies on a lower volume lifting plan so that almost all of the size growth goes into their upper body but they still get great strength improvements throughout their entire body. (Check out Carlos in the sidebar, for example.)
I’m the opposite. Genetically I have the skinniest legs I’ve ever seen. It’s hard for me to bulk them up (and my arms, too), whereas my chest, butt and shoulders grow a little easier. I’m a “torso dominant” person. So I adjust my training accordingly as well. I rarely train my chest, instead focusing on the areas that are harder to grow.
The most important thing is that you start building good exercise and nutrition habits and feeling better about your body. You can start however you like 🙂
Those are helpful tips. I’ve read that 2 lbs of LBM a month is a good target to shoot far as a beginner, but what do you think would be a good rate to gain muscle for training chest, back, and arms?
Are you asking how much overall weight you should be trying to gain if you’re only training your back, chest and arms?
Maybe half or a third of that, considering your legs are such enormous muscles? One thing to consider is that since you wouldn’t be training your legs your body would have more resources to invest in building your upper body, so you’d be able to gain at a comparable rate… but that doesn’t seem to pan out in the research. Training arms AND legs, for example, has people gaining in their arms either at the same pace (i.e. there’s no interference whatsoever), or gaining at a QUICKER rate in the arms (perhaps due to the anabolic hormone stimulated by training the legs causing the arms to grow bigger—highly controversial research).
So I’d aim for a significantly slower pace.
Thanks for the explanation. I did start some training a couple months ago, and was doing almost my whole body. However, even though I upped my calorie intake, I gained nothing at all for the first 6 weeks. I have gained about 0.6-0.8 pounds each of the past two weeks. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but I did reduce my leg training a good bit right immediately before I started to gain. I may add more leg work back in, partly because it seems like getting the surplus just right is going to be hard for just upper body training. (I didn’t increase my calories over the past couple weeks, but I doubt that this weight gain pace will continue much longer, as some of it is probably just extra water weight).
I think you’re right—the gains starting when you stopped your leg training is just a coincidence. I mean, it’s possible that you’re burning fewer calories because you aren’t training your legs, and those saved calories have popped you into a calorie surplus… but I doubt it.
Adding leg training back in will probably be good. If you find your gains stall again just add in an extra snack or a dessert after dinner or something to pump those calories a little higher 🙂
Hey Shane and friends,
You’ve got an awesome website here. I probably visit the site at least once a day to read another article or see updates on some of these threads. Thanks for all the hard work on making this program.
I’m 28, in the military, and a “skinny fat” guy. I’ve got no fat at all on my arms or legs, but I do have a belly. It’s weird, no matter how much I used to exercise or diet, I could never get rid of it. I also had pretty consistent lower back pain due to my job and lots of time at a desk as well.
I would sub and buy the program, but I’m about to deploy soon so I know I won’t be able to commit 100% to the program. In the meantime, I’m adapting a 5×5 program to some of the advice you guys are giving (doing a 4 sets of 7 reps instead, and adding some isolations) and have seen a 10 lb increase in 5 weeks. I went from 155 to 165. I can’t see “too” much of a difference, but I’ve nearly doubled my lifting capability and I no longer have much back pain (!). I’ve consistently eaten a caloric surplus (and it’s hard, my stomach just doesn’t like to eat that much), and have followed your advice throughout.
Still can’t get rid of that damn belly. Any advice? I know I need the caloric surplus, but I hate seeing that basketball under my shirt even while my other muscles are growing.
Thanks for the kind words, Nick. Glad we could help. Congrats on the ten pounds and doubling of lifting strength — that’s sweet.
Having a bit of a belly and no fat elsewhere is pretty normal for men. The belly is oftentimes the first place we gain weight and the last place we lose it. That’s why abs are the ultimate sign of being lean. On the bright side, at least you can rejoice in your manly man fat storage patterns 😉
So I take you had the belly before you started bulking up? If it’s getting bigger as you bulk then you’re likely just eating too much — the calorie surplus is a little too large and the surplus calories are spilling over into fat storage. If you eat less you’ll gain weight at a slower pace but your gains will be leaner. (It’ll also be a little easier on your stomach.)
When you’re in a surplus your body has little need to dip into its energy stores, so losing fat is very unlikely. So to get rid of the belly you’ll want to go into a calorie deficit, i.e., you’ll want to lose weight. (When doing that you’ll want to keep lifting, of course, as that will help keep your muscle around.)
I hope that helps.
We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately from guys asking about what to do when you’re “skinny-fat”, so I think our next article may address it. Make sure you’re signed up for the newsletter and stay tuned!
Thanks for the reply, Shane. One thing I love about this site is how quickly you guys reply to everyone. It really shows attentiveness and commitment, and I personally appreciate it.
I did have the belly before. It’s honestly the only place I’ve ever had fat, even when I was overweight in college, and it’s never left me. Guess it’s true though, gotta bulk up, then shed the weight, or vice versa. Can’t have it both ways. I’ll definitely be cutting back on some of the fattier foods. I’ve already basically cut out sugary foods and don’t eat frozen meals nearly as often (but what a great source of calories they are!). So maybe that’ll help.
I’d be the first to read that “skinny-fat” article. I feel like it’d read like a biography.
just bony,no beastly at all to see here.
Hi ! Stumbled upon your article searching ectomorph,great read. I am 22 weigh 130 lbs and 5’7 and have recently started weight lifting at a local gym. Did about 3 months but don’t seem to see any results, maybe because haven’t been able to figure out a diet. Basically what’s bugging me is can i go onto be a mesomorph without the use of protien and other nutrition supplements, just all natural homemade stuff ?
Yeah, if you’re training well and you aren’t seeing results then it’s definitely a nutrition thing. I would read this ectomorph nutrition article.
And yep—your lack of progress has nothing to do with supplements at all. You can do wonderfully well without them 🙂
Also, props for training consistently for three months now. That’s a pretty fantastic first step. You’ve already mastered arguably the hardest part! Keep it up.
-DO YOU EVEN LEG DAY?
-LEG DAY?!? WHAT IS DIS?
Haha if you think my legs are small now you’re going to love how small they were before… :S
Good work putting on those pounds!!!!!!
Great to see!
Thanks Vee 🙂
Excuse me but this is impossible. If a person could get this type of results in such a short period of time, everybody will be slim.
So I’m not sure if your going to reply but I’m a 15 year old guy.
I wasn’t SUPER SKINNY and I’m not sure I’m even a true ectomorph but before I started working out I was 5’8.5 130 lbs. My wrist is a little below 6 and a half inches and I have a generally small bone structure, long limbs and my metabolism is fast as f***
When i started working out I got good results eating around 3000 cals a day but then I plateued.I also grew 1.5 inches and I mistook that for being gains when in reality it was jsut bone growth going from about 140 to 147-148( on the gym scale) or so.
I got fed up with no gains and about half way through september started eating close to 4000 cals a day and more on some days. Since then Ive noticed a good increase going from about average 147 – 148 to 154 – 155 but Im worried that eating so much could get me fat despite not seeing any drastic changes in Bf%. Should I cut back? The results I’m seeing of 1- 1.5 pounds a week are certainly reinforcing to keep going. About halfway through september I was barely putting up 120 on bench for 5×5 and now Im doing 140 and my max is 160. I was also barely doing 25’s on incline and I can now do 45/50’s( on some days).
Hey Harrison, sounds to me like you’ve got some ectomorph traits indeed! I had your wrist size and weight at 6’2, so I was a lot more narrowly built and skinnier… but I’m a fairly extreme case. Everyone is a little different.
Props for having already gained over twenty pounds! That’s awesome 😀
If you’re gaining weight and strength and your bodyfat percentage isn’t rising it doesn’t sound like you need to worry too much about the amount that you’re eating right now. Things may change, but right now it sounds like you’re kicking ass, man!
Keep it up, and good luck! 🙂
hey my name is francisco and i am 14 years old and i weigh 110lbs and im like really skinny but now that i saw this video of you progressing into getting muscle i wanna know how much thw whole pakage costs
Hey Francisco, that’s awesome 🙂
We’ve got all the details about the program cost and what it includes here. I hope you decide to join us, man!
I’m an ectomorph and have been trying to put on muscle for a month or so now. I haven’t put on much weight, but I have gotten a fair bit stronger. started at 25kg bench press (no chest msucle lol) and now I’m at 67kg. I still think I can do better and after reading your site, I beleive I have found the answer! Could we discuss a few things over email, have a few questions about the plan etc
Yeah, man—of course! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
So can purchase portions or a portion of your program? Or is it an all or nothing kind of deal?
We only sell the eBooks, training programs, training videos, community and coaching as a package, as that’s what works best. We went through a couple years of beta testing before launching the program, and using just individual pieces didn’t produce the best results.
I hope you decide to join us!
bravo, bravo, bravo
Dude, you have no idea how happy I am this exists. I’m going to try to get this over the summer to build some muscle because I’m a all AP student, and I’m confident this will work. To give you some perspective I’m 17, 5’5″, and went from 96lbs to 106 lbs. This wasn’t a dedicated workout, just did it when I felt like it/goofing off,but seeing this I’m motivated to gain more and I can’t wait to see results.Hopefully you’ll hear from me in the summer.
Congrats on the ten pounds! That’s awesome 🙂
I was in an AP sort of program in high school as well (the IB program), and I really wish I had taken my health and fitness more seriously. With all the research out there showing that this stuff not only boosts physical performance, but also reduces anxiety, increases willpower, increases energy levels, increases brainpower, etc—I wish I had started younger so I could have taken advantage of the mental benefits while in school.
Starting over the summer would be sweet, and even more power to you if you can find a way to start during the school year!
Good luck with school and muscle, man!
I have a small question. (English is not my native language (I’m from Denmark) so bear with me if I get some words wrong). I’m 24 years old, 6’4 feet and 180 lbs and I weighed 150 lbs when I was in my start twenties (same height). Now I’m stuck at my current weight, and have been for some years. I actually eat a lot food, but nothing happens. So my question is about how to get a bigger chest when you have a very small one to begin with. Because, even though I have fairly broad shoulders, my chest seems too look ‘too’ small and very compact. It’s not as wide as the top of my hips (or the bottom of the waist – I don’t know what it’s called). In danish we call it “Fuglebryst” – directly translated it means “Birdchest” – I don’t know if that makes any sense, haha… Anyways, I’ve always looked like this so can I change it? I mean, doesn’t the the size of the chest has a lot to do with the bone structure?
Thanks in advance! Btw your site looks really cool and keep up the good work 🙂
… Never mind about the “Fuglebryst”-thing though, it’s not what I thought it was.. It’s a quite serious condition, which I don’t have. I just have a small chest 🙂
Hey Ben, congrats on gaining 30 pounds! That’s sweet 🙂
Regarding your food intake and lack of weight gain, check this post out.
It’s hard to guess about your chest without seeing it. It could be that your pec muscle bellies are short, and even if you grow the muscles larger they’ll remain a similar-ish shape. It could be that you’re doing compound movements primarily with your arms instead of your chest, preventing your chest from growing at the same rate as the rest of your muscles (in which cause you’d just add in chest isolation lifts like the pec deck). It could be that your shoulders are internally rotated so it’s your posture making your chest looking compact. Could be all three!
I hope that helps!
I am 33 years old already and I’ve never been fat nor muscleman guy. I’m always being laugh at because of my skinny looking body. My face, my biceps my breast and my legs. I feel so insecure whenever I am with women my age and young women too. At work they always make fun of me as a walking skeleton. Please help me make my body lean and at least boost my confidence infront of many people as man enough like a beast.
Davao, Philippines 8000
I’m 100% sure I’m an ectomorph, I’m 17,around 5 foot 10/11 and weigh 60-63 kg depending on the time of day. I have very little fat or muscle except for some fat on my lower stomach. My whole body is just really small and my shoulders are really bony but you can’t see my ribs and my legs are skinny but not too bad. I’m tired of being the smallest guy in my year group and really want to gain muscle. But I can’t afford a gym (they’re even more expensive in england) and I just feel down right insecure and silly when I exercise in front of other people. I just can’t do it, especially since I’m jamaican and we’re meant to be buff apparently. Any tips on how to gain without gym equipment because I really can’t afford it. You guys are seriously awesome and a great inspiration to us skinny guys
You can build a little bit of muscle by doing bodyweight workouts, especially if you have a chin-up bar. It’s nowhere near as effective as lifting weights, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you could gain a dozen or two pounds of muscle that way 🙂
(We include a bodyweight workout with our program for guys who are traveling and such.)
Even better would be to build yourself a really simple home gym. Check this article out on how to do that.
I hope that helps. Good luck, man!
Hey bro I am from Bangladesh and English is not my native language (so please pardon if word goes wrong)… I am 19 and 6 feet 1 inch and Just weigh 55 kg… I’ve been doing Gym for 6 months but gained just 1 kg but no significant change in Health…I am eating like 4000-5000 calories per day without any supplement… so could you please provide me some real useful Info’s to how to put on some mass and weight…
Hey Gill, congrats on gaining a kilo, and even more for consistently training and eating big. I definitely get why you’re frustrated though. That’s a lot of work for not all that much muscle.
I think you’ll find this article really helpful, as it will explain what’s going on, what you need to do, and it offers some tips about how to make the weight gain side of things a little more manageable for us naturally skinny guys 🙂
Sir i m of 17 and my weight is only 100lbs .and i want to gain some weight. I dont want as muscular body as u i jst only want to live a simple life..
My diet is also good so what should i do to gain weight
I think a simple life should include exercising and eating well, so I don’t think building muscle conflicts with that at all. We’re not the type of guys who spend all our time in the gym or eat a diet made up mostly of supplements or anything. You can do this with good food and good weightlifting practices. 🙂
I would explore the site a bit! Every article on here deals with how to build muscle in a realistic way. This one is a good place to start.
And if you ever want a full nutrition/training guide, a recipe book, a detailed workout program (with videos teaching the lifts), membership in the community, and coaching from us… that’s what the Bony to Beastly Program is for 🙂
I hope that helps, and good luck!
hi shane….i look soo lean i have a plan to go to gym after my school studies . i have 8 months to complete my school studies…if i go to gym will i get a good result for my body
Going to the gym has a really positive effect on most people. If you combine it with nutrition you can really make quite a transformation 🙂
Oftentimes, surprisingly, it’s easier to start into a lifting plan when you have a bit of a more rigid schedule. Oftentimes during school is great for that. If you’re motivated to start now, I’d do it!
thanks shane…..can you tell some of nutrition foods for me…please
Check out this article about why cheap simple unpretentious whole foods are more than enough, and this article for foods that allow you to eat more, which can be key for us skinny guys with smaller stomachs and appetites.
I hope that helps, and good luck! 🙂
hey shane…give a a nutrition schedule to improve my body
Hey guys just want to say how happy I am to see someone making progress for this body type I have always been skinny and even with a massive apatite I couldn’t put on weight I was 63kg before I joined a gym the first year I only put on few kgs but made strength gains second year I decided to change things and started gaining a kg a week if not 2 I have gone from 63 kg Max to 76 kgs atleast doubling my lifting weight for all lifts it was a long journey to get to where I am just like you guy’s but it’s so good to see people actually doing research to figure out the best way to do it
Thanks for the support, Owen. I really appreciate it man.
And congratulations on your progress! Gaining 13 kilos while doubling your strength is amazing!! Really great work 🙂
I am frm india 21 my weight is jst 55 kg and my height is 5 ’11
I am nt gaining weight my weight is jst stuckon 54 kg frm lst 6 years what can I do I m too skiny plz help me
If weight gain in particular is your issue then, well, you’re like pretty much every other ectomorph ever. The problem is that you aren’t in a calorie surplus, but just saying “eat more” doesn’t usually help us. Rather, it can help to look at the root issue: your metabolism is larger than your appetite and/or stomach capacity. We’ve got an article on that here: The Skinny on “Just Eat More”
I hope that helps!
Hey guys I’m an ectomorph and I went from 135lbs to 170lbs in a year and a half. I know u guys only calculate the first 5 months but what about the first whole year and a half of consistently working out and eating non stop. I eat 4 big meals a day and I can’t seem to budge past 170. It’s hard. I wanna know what’s the average weight gain for 2 years. My first 4 months I shot up 28lbs and been lifting way more and eating way more since that time period. I have before and after pics on my Instagram – dregainz_ check them out and let me know.
Reply to me on this comment I didn’t check off the notify me brought email box on the previous comment, thanks
Hey Andre, congrats on the gains, man! 35 pounds?!?! Looking wickedly lean too. Amazing 😀
Guys doing the program typically gain 20+ pounds within the first three months, and often get closer to 30 or so by the end of the first five months… but we keep on tracking their gains as they continue on training. The membership in the community lasts for a year, and we have a bonus phase, advanced phases, a whole separate 5-month bulking program, etc.
It’s normal to hit a plateau at a certain point. When you first begin eating big and lifting your muscles will grow eagerly. Even if your training isn’t super strategic it won’t matter that much. However one of the ways that a muscle adapts is by growing more resistant to stressors. I suspect your training and nutrition has already been excellent, but for example, that may mean you need to strategically deload to potentially re-sensitize your muscles to stress and/or overeach to increase the amount of stress you’re putting on your muscles at certain points. You may need different loading strategies, a higher volume approach, a novel training approach, etc.
Your metabolism will adapt as well, and you may need reverse diet until your metabolism shrinks a little bit, or perhaps come up with new ways to eat more food so that you can get back into a calorie surplus. If you’ve gotten stuck at a specific body weight, then it sounds like you’re no longer able to get into a calorie surplus.
At this point in your training I’d highly recommend taking a very strategic approach. Picking a program that you like and following it to a T. The specifics that didn’t much matter before will all of a sudden be the difference between solid progress or none at all.
Looking into appetite manipulation might help too!
Your gains will also be slow. You’ve reached a point of great muscularity with incredible leanness. Even just gaining a half pound or so per month of muscle is incredible progress at this point.
I hope that helps, and congrats again on your results, man. Truly fantastic 🙂
[…] (The final photo is me after having gained another 4o pounds. That story here.) […]
Hey! So I currently weigh 175 and am 6’5”
Do you think this program would be for me? I have no problem getting ripped, but I don’t have a good diet and do not really know anything about working out. I have never been able to get past the 180 mark. Thoughts?
You sound like exactly who we designed the program for. We’re all about building muscle leanly, and the emphasis is heavily on gaining weight. We can help you with the diet side of things too. At the very least teach you how to modify it in order to build muscle leanly, and if you want to also improve it from a health perspective we can do that too.
We can definitely help you get past the 180 (or 200) mark once and for all 🙂
I am 18 years old, height 6’1 and weight only 50 kg or so currently i can’t afford this amazing program coz i m a cllge student in India but maybe join it later .so with a good diet and proper workout how much do u think,I can gain in 6 months or so . I have also sent u a mail regarding this
I’ll answer this here for the sake of anyone else reading, but I’ve also answered your email 🙂
Most of our members gain a little over 20 pounds within the first 3 months. By 6 months they’re often nearing 30 pounds. How much weight you gain depends on how large of a calorie surplus you’re in, and how much you’re able to gain LEANLY depends on how good your workout and nutrition program is. Your genetics and experience level also play a role. A skinny guy just getting into weightlifting can build muscle very quickly. Someone who’s already quite muscular and experienced in the gym may only be able to gain a fraction of a pound of muscle per month.
No legs? come on man
Trained legs 3x per week, and my legs saw the biggest size/strength gains of any muscle group. Mind you, they started off unbelievably tiny. At 130 pounds my legs were what people would often tease me about.
Oh I just wish that I can go back to track, I lost my hope. I weight about 126pounds and I’m 184 centimeters = 6.03674541 feet (6 feet 7⁄16 inch) I just feel hopeless during middle school I was training and eating as much as I could, I’m failing over and over.
My goal is to get bigger legs at least.
I was 6’2 and 125-130 pounds during high school and university, so I definitely know where you’re coming from. If you’re determined to do this… you can. You might find this article helpful.
Good luck, man. Don’t lose hope!
very good article Shane. I jst discovered this site and this is one of the fucking best things I ever came across
I m 5’10”. 18 years of age. weigh 55 kg. I got around to building muscle and reached 62 kg.I ate carbs and proteins as much as I required. I ate 3 times a day heavy meals. however I didn’t see any size on the arms. only the bicep shape definition and the tricep cut. can u tell me what is wrong.
can u suggest a proper work out program for me. I m skinny with broad shoulders and long narrow limbs.
thnxx very much
Thanks for the kind words, Alex! Glad you’re digging the site 🙂
Yeah I’m the same way. I’m “torso dominant” so when I do lifts like the bench press my chest will do most of the work and get most of the growth stimulus. You’ll want to do some isolation lifts for your arms—biceps curls and triceps extensions and whatnot.
Can we suggest a workout program for a skinny guy with broad shoulders and narrow limbs? Yes! Ours! You’re exactly the type of guy we designed our workout program for 🙂
[…] Shane and I were planning our “Lean to Mean” experiment the idea of losing three hours a week to lifting heavy things and chugging protein shakes didn’t […]
I really want to start with the B2B program, but unfortunately on the ‘choose how to pay’ page, my country, Pakistan isn’t listed. Is there an alternative way I can get the program? Thanks.
We’ve had that issue come up before, and I’m really sorry for the hassle. Jared’s going to send you an email with some options 🙂
Hey guys a couple of quick questions. Can I cut a little weight on this program or is it pretty much just a bulking program? I ask because I did the whole eat more thing to put on more muscle but all I ended up doing is putting on like 10 lbs of fat so I’m cutting that. Also is this program just for beginners?
Hell yes! We’ve got a full cutting mini-guide included with the program 🙂
Ahaha we call what you’ve done a “dreamer bulk.” A lot of us have been there. Don’t worry. You’ll find the pounds come off fairly easily.
The program goes pretty advanced, especially in this new version we’ve just released. (Go for the new “beta” version if you sign up, not the old one.) Basically, so long as you have room on your frame for a bunch of new muscle, i.e., you’re not pushing right up against your genetic potential and you’re still a candidate for a bulking routine, then we’ll be advanced enough for you 🙂
We can also work with you one on one to make sure everything fits just right.
I hope you decide to join us, man!
Hello. I am 34 years old and I am about 5’11 130 pounds. I am skinny. I can eat a lot and not gain weight. In fact food just goes through me. I am sick of being bony. I want to be bigger and muscular. I already look young as it is, I am sick of feeling like a man trapped in a boy’s body. I hate the way my body looks and it gives me low self esteem. When I go to the pool or beach I keep my shirt on because who wants to see a skeleton? But I am a father of three and I don’t have a lot of spare time. How can I get muscular? I purchased a home gym and today I started lifting weights with the home gym. I have problems gaining weight can I still get muscular?
Hey Michael, I’m sorry to hear that, man. I can definitely relate to your struggle. I felt exactly that way for many years.
It doesn’t take that much time to build muscle. If you do three workouts per week, each 60 minutes long, that will be all that you need to build muscle optimally. If your gym is at home, there’s no travel time or anything either. I’m sure that’s an amount of time you can spare, especially if you’ve gone to the trouble of buying a home gym. But if not, you can train less often or for shorter periods of time and still get results, just perhaps not totally optimal results.
(Your inability to gain weight is common with us naturally skinny guys. Check this article out.)
You can do this, man. Good luck!
Currently reading as much of your material is possible, great stuff, thank you. I’m 5’7 and 107 pounds (27 years old). According to my most recent Dr. visit (w/ blood work), I’m healthy but just really underweight. I don’t like to eat or cook but am willing to make the effort as I am so tired of being skinny. Is your program detailed when it comes to the diet and nutrition stuff? I don’t know where to even begin in that department.
Glad your doctor’s visit went well, man.
Yeah, our program is very detailed when it comes to nutrition. That’s where most skinny guys struggle the most, so we have a lot of ways to help. We’ve got tons of recipes, some sample meal plans, lots of advice for how to build a custom meal plan, appetite manipulation tricks, and we can coach you through the nutrition side of things on an individual level also 🙂
You don’t really need to cook either, unless you’d like to. You can bulk just fine on sandwiches, smoothies, cereal, etc. I’m not the best or most enthusiastic cook either, so that’s often what I’ll do.
I hope you decide to join us! You sound like a great fit.
Thank you for getting back to me so promptly, Shane.
My final questions:
A) How do you guys feel about GOMAD? I was all ready to start it and then I stumbled on this website. Seems like it would help me put on a bunch of weight but I’m already a bit lactose intolerant and prone to acne so that and the mostly fat gains are discouraging.
B) I am a runt (5’7, never weighed >130) but I think my genetics have growth potential. Mother is 5’4 150lbs, Father is 5’11 220lbs (Jacked!), Brother is 6’0 230lbs (struggles with weight gain and has reached 260 at times). Also, I’ve always been ridiculously strong for being so small and have never been fragile (injured easily or sick often). Given that info, if I go balls to the wall with this program (I have the time, money, and motivation), what do you think my 6 month potential looks like?
Check out our article on milk 🙂
I wouldn’t be surprised if you could gain a good, lean 20–30 pounds in 6 months if you’re still fairly new to lifting. Maybe more! If that sounds like a lot, it is. If it doesn’t sound like a lot, on someone your height that will be a very dramatic transformation and come with a huge increase in strength 🙂
I am 17 currently at 85kg with 181cm unfortunately I have man boobs but is not a condition. I am a runner for 1yr. Becoause i was 100kg berfore when i lost weight by running my boobs fell down. How can turn it more up and into muscle. Plz help I fee very bad of my self.
I think when you lose weight like that your skin will often shrink slowly over time, but to be honest I’m not an expert with that stuff. Most of my expertise lies in helping skinny guys build muscle. With that said, you might have some luck by building up a bunch of muscle in your chest. This will lift your chest up, fill out some of that skin, and give it a new shape 🙂
I hope that helps!
I’m 24 yrs old ectomorph (height: 132cm & weight: 132lb).
I really need to gain weight and mass (like to be fit and bigger). So, is having dumbells going to help me ? I don’t have any other workout equipments.
Well, according to what is it required (equipment, amount of calories to consume,etc) for a person like me to gain weight and mass (need to be fit) and what is the ideal weight for a person like me.
Hoping to hear from you soon. Thank-you.
Hey JJ. I can actually answer your question because I was in the same boat as you. I stand about 5″9 and I weighed 133 lbs when I started my fitness adventure. Having Dumbbells simply isn’t going to cut it. You need the actual whole gym experience if you want to get big. It requires motivation, dedication,determination and most importantly time. When I first started working out I shot up about 20lbs in the first three months. I remember I tried to eat as much as I possibly can. And I went to the gym 5-6 times a week for an hour session but I would try to lift as heavy as I can in those sessions. Everyday I would target a different muscle group (ex. Chest day, back day, shoulder day, leg day, ab day, arm day etc.) I also remember doing legs twice a week with squats and leg presses. Most of your weight come from your legs so it’s important to work them out. When it came to eating I tried to eat as much as possible. Being an Ectomorph understand how we hate to eat but just don’t give up. As long as you keep eating and working out u will see results. If you want to see my life progress visit my Instagram: dregainz_ I have been working out consistently for two years straight and now I weigh 176 lbs. so I gained about 43lbs in two years
Hey Andre, thanks for the answer! You gained 43 pounds in two years? Nice! Congrats, man.
Going to the gym 5–6 times a week using a split routine and lifting as much as you can, eating as much as you can—that’s an approach that has trickled down from pharmaceutically enhanced pro bodybuilders. These guys have many years of experience and take a lot of drugs to boost recovery and muscle growth. In the pre-steroid days even the best bodybuilders (e.g. Steve Reeves) would do just three full body workouts per week. No fancy equipment either.
I also gained 20 pounds in my first three months of lifting (and we see b2B members gain at that rate all the time) but with just three full body workouts per week. You can definitely make those kinds of gains with just dumbbells too, provided they are heavy enough. What you did worked wonderfully well for you, but there are other good ways to build muscle very rapidly also.
Hehe at 4’4 and 132 pounds I think you may actually be obese 😉
As for what equipment will help with building muscle, we have an article about building a home gym that might help.
I have been giving some serious thought to subscribing to this program.
I am 6’6 and weigh about 235 pounds. I have been lifting 3 times per week for 4 months and have seen some progress during this period but have also amassed a fair quantity of fat.
My equipment is limited to a pair of 32.5kg adjustable dumbbells, a simple bench and a 100kg barbell. I don’t currently own any squat racks and have nowhere to do pull ups. As I train in an upstairs bedroom I’m also reluctant to perform heavy deadlifts.
Could I benefit from the program?
At 6’6 you’ve got the potential to become one helluva beastly dude, dude! And 235 is definitely not a bad place to be starting from, especially if some of that weight was gleaned in the gym.
We can help you trim off the fat, and then gain more leanly when you get back to bulking. Your equipment actually sounds pretty ideal. All the recommend that our members have (when they train at home) is a pair of heavy adjustable dumbbells and a bench. Also having a barbell is pretty sweet, and might give you some good upgrade options down the road.
No single lift is required. We love deadlifts around here, but you can certainly make optimal gains without them. We’ll just get you there by following a slightly different path. We can figure that out one-on-one in the community 🙂
I hope you decide to join us!
Hey man about 4 years late but needed some advice on my situation and can’t seem to find any. Right now I’m 18 and about 53kg so unbelievabley tiny and im earning but hardly much left over for me so I can’t go all out on food but I have mass gainer and have that about an hour after my breakfast which depends on what I feel like, I then have a decent sized burger around 11ish which is around 600cal and 28g of protein. Wait about an hour then workout and have some whey protein straight after then some pasta for carbs after that. Also have a little more whey protein just after dinner and before bed I have another mass gainer shake with a scoop of creatine in it. I’m relatively new to this and just needed to know if that’s an alright plan and if I’m going about this the wrong way.
Sounds like you’re taking in a lot of calories and a lot of protein. I think at this point it’s about:
a) How much weight are you gaining per week? Around a pound per week is probably about right for you at this stage.
b) How realistically can you maintain this diet? Sounds rough!
c) How are you feeling?
d) Are you getting a ton stronger?
Thanks for the reply. Right now I’m gaining roughly 1-1.5 pounds a week and should be able to keep this diet up for a while, especially that I now have a job, but that’s the new problem also. It’s orchard work so it involves a lot of walking, climbing etc and everyone I’ve ever talked to about ectomorphs like myself gaining weight say stay away from Cardio at all costs since my body already burns so many calories. So will this be a major problem? I’ll still be able to maintain a 3,300 calorie per day diet along with 220g of protein which has done me very well but will the extra cardio be bad for gaining muscle? Like I’ll be fine with just getting a skinny muscular look instead of bulking up for the meantime but will me being an ectomorph and all mean it’ll be almost impossible to gain muscle while walking about 5km a day?
Mm. I’ve got two pieces of good news.
1. We ectomorphs don’t need cardio as much as other body types, but cardio isn’t really a big problem, either. Generally it will just make our gains leaner at the cost of having to eat more.
2. You’re gaining weight, so you’re eating enough. In fact, you may even be eating too much! You’ll have to keep track of your results and see if you’re gaining noticeable amounts of fat. If you are, reduce your calorie intake by 200–300 and try to maintain a 0.5–1 pound gain per week 🙂
I am 22 years old and weighs only 55 kgs. and Im pretty sure that’s not the right weight for me at this age. As I grow, I noticed that I’m not getting any muscle or developing a lean muscles and good body. I ate a lot but that doesn’t helped me to grow as musculine or as good as other boys who I used to grow with just like my childhood friends and school mates. I used to be so skinny, and lately I just decided to hit the gym and go for something which can lead me to develop a good body, muscles and a muscular physique. I’d been lifting 3 times a week, mwf where Tuesdays and Thursdays and Saturdays and Sundays are recovery days. Now, I’m already done with my first month of training and from 55 kg now I turned into 58 kg. I think its an achievement, but then as I see the result with whats happening in my body, I just see myself gaining weight and not developing muscles. I worked out with my chest triceps, back and biceps most of the time on a week and do some abs and leg once or twice a week after each of my workout and make it as the final routine. I’ve been thinking a lot and have so may questions with myself and I’m definitely worried that I am doing the lifting wrong that’s why I don’t see any results. After hitting the gym, I ate a lot and drink a lot of water to replenish all of what I’d burn. Please help me to have a good work out program and also any recommendation and advice will be a great help to and will be highly appreciated. Thanks guys. I really want to change and I will be more determined to be with your help.
Hey John, I can definitely relate to being the 22-year-old ectomorph who watches his friends grow bigger and stronger while being left behind, skinny. Sounds like you’re doing the right thing—eating enough to gain weight and lifting weights.
Assuming you’re also eating enough protein (about a gram of protein per pound bodyweight) then yeah, I think your guess is correct—it’s your lifting program, or rather lack thereof, that is holding you back. Just like your appetite will make it hard to eat enough, the same will often happen in the gym. If you just go in and wing it, you’ll often stop short of doing enough. Moreover, you might not be picking the best exercises, having the best variety of rep ranges, lifting with the right intensity, lifting properly, etc. I think that’s probably your biggest area where you can improve.
Have you considered signing up for our Bony to Beastly Program? It would make sure that you’re lifting in an optimal way, it would make sure that your diet and recovery is on point to, and we’d be here to coach you through the entire thing 🙂
These are just living proof that we all can do it! I’ve personally gained 60 lbs since I started lifting and there’s no better feeling. A lot of it now I just keep naturally even if I don’t lift for a while. Nothing like overcoming skinny-guy-itis!
Congrats on the gains, Gav! 60 pounds?! Amazing! 😀
is it possible to build visible muscle in 5 months with only push ups, pull ups , dips and squats?
am 30 male 110 lbs. feeling sad
For sure. Especially if you progress to weighted push-ups, weighted dips, weighted chin-ups (or pull-ups) and heavy squats. After all, as you gain muscle, you’ll get far stronger—far too strong for bodyweight stuff.
Hi Shane! My name is Nate and I am a 24 year old male. I have a height of 6’4 and I am currently way underweight. (145lbs) Is it truly possible if I push myself hard enough to get up to at least 180 by the end of the year? I feel greatly discouraged because I’m just so boney and it seems so far out there that I could actually be bigger. I also think I have a smaller bone frame, will this affect my results?
Appreciate feedback :]
The end of the year as in before next January? 35 pounds? Yes, given your height and your starting point, but that’s at the upper end of what’s accomplishable. You’d really want to start right away, and you’d need to make sure that you’re steadily progressing throughout the entire year.
Will your smaller frame affect your results? Yeah, but in terms of how big you can ultimately become, not in terms of how quickly you can gain 35 pounds. When you’re 190 pounds and struggling to hit 200, that’s when you’d notice it. Now you’re just going to get some really, really rad newbie gains 🙂
Hey Shane , Jack here. Firstly just wanted to say Damn!! Just finished reading the article and WOW 55lbs thats AMAZING. Secondly , as with many others posting here I am one of those “bony boys” Im 20 , and an extremely sporty guy, playing soccer for a mens league team once a week , but all throughout childhood I played rugby, soccer, tennis any sport I could really. My problem is I’m now 130lbs, now i was very sick and that caused me to drop in wait from 145lbs but besides that, I had a membership at a gym but cancelled it after a few months training as I wasn’t really seeing any results (probably because i wasn’t doing a good workout/doing workouts correctly) Id just go into the gym and hit the machines i felt like. This being said I am now done school and have ALOT of free time! My goal is to become 165lbs if thats even possible, but i really don’t know where to start, but after seeing your progress, I am keen to dedicate whatever it takes to achieve my goal of 165lbs. Any response / tips, maybe a chat on Skype or something is madly appreciated , Im done being bony, now time to become a beast! 🙂
Hey just wanna say it’s super encouraging seeing your guys progress. I’m mid twenties, 5’11 and have been under 126 pounds since i was a teenager. Recently started making the effort to eat more and workout (bodyweight stuff) and in the last month I’m just shy of 140 pounds. Has been good to see some results, but I feel like I’m starting to hit a wall.
I too have a lot a of trouble forcing myself to eat, and time is a stretch as I work 9 to 5 and have commitments in the evenings. How feasable is it to carry on with bodyweight training. Is buying equipment and working out at home doable. I live in a relatively small apartment, with my gf so a rack is probably out of the question. I’m basically just putting off going to the gym…
Congrats on the 14 pounds, Pat! That’s awesome, dude. Glad we could help inspire you 🙂
Bodyweight training can be a good place to start, but you’re right, that wall can approach quickly. There are different ways to deal with it, but I’d recommend the approach we outline in our How to Build a Badass Home Gym article. (That would also let you do our full Bony to Beastly program, which should also help you deal with the eating side of things!)
Ahaha and going to the gym is always an option too. Depends on what you prefer. If you dig doing bodyweight workouts at home, you may also dig lifting some dumbbells at home. Up to you 🙂
Cheers for the reply man. Is there any recommended weight to start out on in regards to doing a home workout? That article is great btw cheers for linking
The most important thing is making sure you get close enough to failure, whether you’re choosing a light weight that you can do 20 reps with, or a heavy weight that you can only perform 5 reps with. (I wouldn’t go much lighter or heavier than that for now.) If you get within a rep or two of failure, the weight is heavy enough. If you do not, it isn’t.
Been going to the gym, I do arms and upper body one day and legs the next, I usually spend 40-50 min at the gym. I have been doing this for 10-20weeks now I have gained 7 pounds but that is not a lot.
7 pounds in 10–20 weeks is actually a ton of muscle in a very short amount of time. We’re giving examples of really pushing gains to the limit, but that doesn’t mean that if you’re gaining a little more slowly that things are going poorly. Sounds like things are going well 🙂
You’re talking about an upper/lower split, and those are good. We like to use full body workouts done 3x per week, which means each muscle gets hit 3x per week with a moderate volume. An upper/lower split usually means 4 workouts per week, with each muscle getting hit 2x per week with a heavier volume. Both give comparable results.
One thing to note though is that an upper/lower split tends to be around 50% upper body, 50% lower body volume overall. Lots of guys prefer more of a V-taper physique, where 67%+ of their volume is going towards their upper body (more on that here). But a powerlifter will want more of a skew towards the lower body, perhaps, since the squat and deadlift are so important. So it depends on what kind of physique you’re after 🙂
As for why you’re gaining more slowly, since you’re talking not about how lean your gains, but just how much weight you’re gaining, then that means that it’s a calorie thing. Calories determine how quickly you gain weight. Check this article out for advice on how to eat more as an ectomorph without exploding.
I hope that helps, and keep it up! Sounds like you’re already doing great 🙂
Yes, I started taking some whey protein powder, before my workouts.. I do upper body 1 day and lower body and cardio the next. I spend around 1 hour I’m not sure if that’s enough.
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Shane, quick question. How is is that your waist modestly reduced in size during the bulk-and-cut, but Jared’s actually grew? Is it what you talked about in the article that he’d started out further behind? Or is it just a different body composition? How big is your waist generally now?
Just found this site from your video. While I wasn’t as skinny as either of you, I did start out ecto; I was 135–140lbs from my mid-to-late teens all the way through my 20’s, but as soon as I hit 30 things have started filling in and I’m much more a meso. I’ve gotten considerably less active, and because of this I now naturally sit between 165 and 170lbs, and I actually feel better lighter. Trying to decide if I want to cut weight or just change my body composition, just haven’t made the jump, yet.
It’s common to build muscle in the abs, obliques, and lower back, which can make our waist measurements larger. Over time, the muscles around my waist have gotten much, much bigger. Even when I’m leaner than ever, my waist is some 4 inches bigger than it used to be. My waist is around 31–32 inches these days, whereas at my skinniest it was more like 27–28 inches. With that said, my shoulders have grown by around thirteen inches, and even my biceps have grown by more than five inches. So my waist has seen proportionally less growth, but growth nonetheless. And that’s good, I think.
As for why Jared and I saw our waist measurements change to different degrees, it could be that Jared built more muscle there over the course of our bulks. It could also be that Jared either gained more fat while bulking or lost less fat while cutting. My body-fat percentage may just have been lower at the end is all.
If you’re on the fence about whether to bulk or cut, it’s usually better to cut. Most people are able to gain a bit of muscle during their first cut, so you can make progress towards both goals, and then from there you can bulk without needing to worry about already feeling too fat 🙂
Thanks. Yeah, looking back at both of your “before” photos up top, it’s clear to me Jared has significantly wider hips, so it’s not really surprising that his waist would get bigger as he put on more muscle from where he started.
And, yes, you had a good base to build off of for your shoulders. I’m also gifted in the shoulders. You say you’ve added 13″ to them, is that from your “before” pictures, or from back when you 130lbs? How big do you currently measure around the shoulders? It’d be really interesting for you to update us on your measurements from the “before” or “after” picture and now.
I had already put some size on my shoulders in those “before” photos. So, yeah, I’ve added thirteen inches to them while going from 130 up to around 190, going from 39 inches to 52 inches around, I believe.
Hey Shane, I’m a 17years old ectumorph and I’m trying to get bigger, I started tow and half months ago at 63 kg and 14% body fat, and I’m doing pretty good, I’ve gained 7kg in the last 10weeks but I don’t really see any change, I’m not too eager to see results but I wanna know when can I expect to see them in the mirror or my clothes size, cause I know guys who turned from X’s to xl in one year,
Can I expect that??
Hey Muath, 7kg is a lot. Great work, man! I know you’re eager to see results, but if anything, that’s too fast. The faster you gain weight while bulking, the more likely you are to gain some extra fat. That’s not the end of the world, but it can be a bother.
As for when you’ll see results, I bet if you’ve taken measurements, they will have gone up. I bet you’re gaining strength in the gym. And if you took before photos, I bet you’ll see the beginnings of changes. But normally, as a rule of thumb, we’ve found gaining 20 pounds usually results in a remarkably transformation. So a little over halfway there. But try not to rush it too much. You’ll be there soon 🙂
Out of curiosity, do you know what your measurements were when you got up to 185 lbs? Specifically chest and waist (and maybe biceps)? I’m close to the same height, and your 185 lb physique is pretty much my end goal, so it’d be neat to have some concrete numbers to shoot for.
Hey Tony, sorry for taking so long to answer! I’m around 185 pounds right now, so I figured I’d measure myself, but I can’t find the measuring tape. I eventually gave up and ordered some new measuring tape. It took a little while to arrive.
Chest (widest): 43 inches.
Waist (narrowest): 32 inches.
Biceps (flexed): 15.25 inches.
Note that the first time I made it to 185 pounds, I had a bigger waist and much smaller arms. I had to bulk up a bit more and then cut down again to get these measurements.