10 Best Ways to Go From Skinny to Buff

00:00 Fitness 2021 0 Comments

The Ultimate Skinny Guy Guide to Gaining Muscle

If you are skinny and want to gain some weight (muscle) this is the blog post for you. There is no problem being skinny if that is how you like to be, but if you are the guy who has tried eating a lot but failed to gain any mass, if you are the guy who has been teased by others and rejected by chicks just because you were too skinny then I will share with you some very useful methods to increase your weight by gaining muscle. A note before you continue reading on, if you are lazy and think this will be easy then you can stop reading this right now and stay the way you are.

ways to go from skinny to buff
My transformation from skinny to buff - skinny 143lbs to muscular  176lbs

Change Begins In Your Mind

If you want to gain muscle, then the first thing you need to do is to prepare yourself mentally for the lifestyle change you want to undergo, because being skinny and being muscular with T-shirt muscles are at two opposite ends of the spectrum. In order to gain weight you are going to have to make a lot of lifestyle changes and sacrifice some of your time so that you are able to gain and maintain muscle. Gaining muscle is not as easy as gaining fat, so do not think you can just eat whatever you want to eat... more on this later on in this article.

Be Goal Oriented

To gain functional muscle and transform from your previous skinny weak self into a new buff you, you need to learn to set goals for yourself. You need to have an ultimate goal, and then you need to make smaller short term goals which will together make sure you get to your ultimate goal. You cannot make silly goals like gaining 10kg in one week; you need to understand that you need to set realistic goals for yourself such as gaining maybe 0,5kg per week. What you also need to realize is that not all mass you gain will be muscle but when you want to gain mass to look aesthetic at the end of your bulk you need to maximize muscle gain and minimize fat gain (this shall be discussed later on).

Start Off With Body-weight Exercises

It is quite obvious that if you want to gain muscle mass then you need to work out. If you are skinny and just want to gain weight through eating and it has not been working, then the best way to do it is to exercise. If you did manage to gain weight through eating and not exercising, the weight gain from that would have been fat gain, which would just make you look chubby/fat and I do not think that is how anyone wants to look (that is worse than being naturally skinny, health wise anyways).

I recommend that when you have no previous experience with exercise and lifting weights that you start off by just doing body weight exercises. What this will do is it will prepare you for when you do start lifting weights in the gym. It will prepare you for the gym by providing a foundation of muscle and strength developed through doing body-weight training, allow you to be able to lift heavier weights at the gym which you will not have managed without prior exposure to working out. The basic body-weight exercises to start building some muscles and strength are push ups, which are great for your chest, arms and shoulders, dips which are great for your triceps and chest, pull ups/chin ups which are great for your upper back and your arms as well as increasing your grip strength, body weight squats and lunges which target your legs. You can also do some abs exercises to strengthen your core which will be vital for heavy lifting to gain mass, plus a pair of 6 pack abs adds the finishing touches to a great body. There are other body-weight exercises but those should be adequate enough to form a good foundation.

You will find that if you are a person who does not have any previous experience with working out, you will gain some muscle from doing body-weight exercises, and you will see you body start to shape up. You will also notice that your strength will increase and you will need to increase the intensity or number of reps of your exercises to make them more challenging. You may start doing weighted body-weight exercises to get the most out of them; this is the point when you need to move on to the next step which will bring a lot of growth.

Lifting Weights is the Best Way to Gain Muscle

The easiest way to gain muscle is lifting weights, but doing body-weight exercises first makes sure you have enough strength and muscle to get the most out of your weight training. When you start lifting weights its best to leave your ego at the door, you must realize that you are not in a competition with anyone and that you should lift weights that serve the purpose of your workout and not try to be the heaviest lifter in the gym.

Trying to lift weights that you cannot handle is stupid and will only lead to injuries which could set you back by months or even years before you are fully recovered. To get the best results always train using weights that you can handle, but not weights that are easy for you to lift. Do not use a 60kg (135lbs) weight when you could handle more than that. The key is to lift a weight you can handle but a weight such that if you are doing 10 reps with it, you will be struggling by the time you reach 10.

Start Off With a Compound Exercise Workout Plan

It’s not a necessity but it will serve you well. Compound exercises are workouts such as the squat, the dead-lift, the farmers walk, the pull up, the bench press, bent over rows and the dumbbell/barbell clean and press. Compound exercise workout your whole body and workout mainly your large muscle groups, since compound exercises are whole body exercises if you are on a compound exercises program you probably only workout at most 3 times per week because you need the other 3 days to fully recover from this taxing whole body workout. You will find that the compound exercises and the long rest periods will give you great mass growth because of the recovery period as well as the fact that working out large body parts like your back and legs is believed to increase the secretion of hormones like growth hormone and testosterone which help to build muscle.

You will find that as you get stronger, that you will be able to lift heavier weights, and you will want to maximize growth in all body parts so you will need to change this workout plan to a different kind of split that allows for more focus on individual body parts and more rest time for each body-part as one day between workout days will not be enough if you are working out the same body-part with heavy weights.

Choosing a Workout Split to Suit Your Lifestyle

Now that you have gained the basic through body weight training and compound exercises, you are ready for a more advanced workout plan. If you do not have time, you could have a two day workout split which divides the body into two and you workout both halves with enough days between the workout days. This two day workout split does not necessarily need to be an upper body day and a lower body day because that is a bad system because that would mean you work out chest, shoulders, back, abs, and arms on one day and only legs during the next workout day. You could split the body parts by putting back, legs and abs on workout day 1 and chest, shoulders and arms on workout day two for example.

The other split you could use is the 3 day workout split whereby you put chest, shoulders and triceps on day 1, back and biceps on day 2 and legs on day 3.

And then there is a 4 day split, where you could match exercises that complement each other on the same day, Arnold Schwarzenegger once said he liked training chest and back on the same day because noting felt better than having a chest pump and a back pump at the same time. The chest uses primarily a pushing motion in chest exercises and back workouts use a pulling motion so that could complement each other.  Also remember when working out chest your shoulders are also indirectly worked out and when you work out your shoulders, your chest is indirectly worked out. When you work out your back your arms are worked out, especially your biceps, also when you workout chest your arms are worked out, when you do close grip chest exercises or dips your triceps are worked out. These are all just things to consider if you can only manage 4 days to work out and want to combine certain body parts.

For people who have a lot of time or can make time, you could work out one body part per day. This would give each body part the maximum time to recover, and allow you to focus fully on that body part on each workout day.

10 Ways to go from Skinny to Buff
Young Arnold Schwarzenegger posing his huge biceps.
"The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That's what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they'll go through the pain no matter what happens" ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger 

Eat More Food Than You Normally Eat

If you want to gain mass then you are going to have to eat more food (calories) than you normally eat, a lot more (caloric surplus). Working out is going to help in this department by making you hungry all the time. The easiest way to eat more food is to have many smaller meals throughout the day so you don’t have to eat 3 huge meals each day.  Instead of 3 meals a day, you should have 5 or 6 meals a day. If you are a skinny hard gainer it does not matter what you eat but if you want the best results you should eat healthy balanced meals with good fats, a lot of protein as well as carbohydrates. Each of these foods has its own nutritional benefits. Out of the 5 meals one or two of those meals could be a supplement shake such as a whey protein shake or a snack such as a cup of walnuts or a peanut butter sandwich. Taking supplements can help you if you find it difficult to get enough protein in your diet each day, or if you find it hard to eat an increased amount of chicken, beef, fish, nuts etc. You may find a protein shake easier to consume or cheaper than buying loads of chicken/fish etc.

Be Consistent

Eat as clean as you possibly can most of the time, most people allow themselves a cheat meal during the week so that they have something to look forward to. Go to the gym consistently don’t go one week stop for two weeks and go again because that only takes you backwards. Being consistent will make sure you keep gaining strength and you keep lifting heavier which means you will consistently be breaking down and rebuilding bigger and stronger muscles which in turn means that you will get bigger. Without the consistency in the kitchen and the gym you should not expect consistent muscle gains. Discipline is key here, if you really want to get results you will put in the hard work consistently, and day by day your hard work and dedication will start showing.

Use the Proper Lifting Techniques

Oh and before I forget the most important part about lifting weights is not only the amount of weight (whether it is challenging) but also if you are lifting it properly with the correct form. If you lift weight the right way you get maximum growth from each workout you do but if you are lifting the wrong way and your technique is faulty, you are risking getting injured, you are not getting the full benefits of the workout either because you are not using the full range of motion, or are using momentum to assist you or other ways people cheat themselves out of muscle gains. Watch videos on YouTube if you want to learn how to lift weight read workout magazines and don’t be afraid to ask someone at your gym or a more experienced friend.

Stop Following everyone’s Instructions

There are many methods to gain muscle out there, and I am sure most of them work. Fitness magazines and blogs come out with new ways to help hard gainers gain muscle each month but that is just to sell copies and get more visitors. What you need to do is to find a method you like and stick with it for a while so you can get the best results from that program. When you mix program that do not complement each other and you do not get results, you have no one but yourself to blame.

You cannot follow everyone at the same time.  One person will tell you to you the IIFYM (if it fits your macros way of dieting) telling you to eat 5-6 times per day whereas another will teach you to use intermittent fasting where you don’t eat breakfast and only have an 8 hour eating window every 24 hours, both of these strategies work and have worked for many people but you have to chose one and stick with it to get the best results from it.

I have done it and I know that you too can do it. You do not need luck just hard, smart  and consistent work.

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