In this post you’re going to learn how to get BIG naturally. I’m going to shoot it to you straight because it seems many people get this twisted.
You will learn how to go from skinny to BIG and not just BIG as in fat! But you will get brolic! Or “hench” as the brits say.
You will learn about proper training, proper eating and you will even get some information on supplementation.
First, I want to show you something, because I’ve been where you currently are.
In the picture above, I was 140lbs. Yuck…why did I think it was cool to walk around looking like that. And the thing is that NOBODY said a thing!
I was 140lbs in that picture and I swore up and down that I was kind of jacked. Totally inappropriate.
Until I learned that I needed to actually EAT BIG and TRAIN.
I didn’t go to the gym often. When I did, I was lifting baby weight while the big guys were gettin after it lifting 3 times what I was lifting on any given lift. My performance was trash and I had very little muscular size.
There are two types of skinny dudes
- Skinny fat
- Lean and skinny
In the above picture I had put on more size but I was still skinny…but lean.
I’ll say it again, being underweight, frail and skinny is due to lack of eating BIG and training HARD. I don’t subscribe to the word “hardgainer.”
Hardgainer is just a word with a built in excuse.
After training and eating tons of food and training some more and eating MORE FOOD and training some more…
…I started to actually put real size on and get stronger as well.
How I Did It
Skinny Guy: No matter how much I eat, I can’t gain weight, bro!
Me: How much are you eating?
Skinny Guy: I eat a lot bro!Common dialogue with a “Hardgainer.”
First things first, I had to figure out how to eat and how much. You see there’s this little thing called your “maintenance calories” also referred to as Total Daily Energy Expenditure(TDEE). People who claim to be hardgainers are completely oblivious to these figures, I was too.
When I started to pay attention to the importance of these figures, that’s when things started to change almost overnight.
Yes, I don’t want to exaggerate. But I started putting on weight overnight. This was the opposite of LOSING weight over night. And if you’ve been skinny all your life and you been wanting to gain weight for the longest, any tick in the positive direction on the scale is an amazing feat.
When you calculate your TDEE or your maintenance calories and you eat above that number, you’re primed to gain weight. But you want to be sure it’s mostly muscle you’re gaining and not fat.
This is where proper protein consumption and training comes into play. You have to be hitting the weights hard, giving your body a reason to grow. Then you have to feed it the right amount of each macro nutrients(proteins, carbs and fats.)
This is how you manipulate your body composition.
This is how you go from skinny fat, lean skinny to muscular.
When you’re in the first two years of training, you’re due something called “noob gains.” This is the honeymoon phase of training where you seem to be gaining precious muscle mass overnight. You can’t go wrong during this phase just so long as you’re training HARD consistently and eating BIG.
Overtime, the ratio of muscle to fat you put on will change, swinging in the favor of fat instead of muscle. In other words you rate of muscle growth will slow down.
I made the mistake of over consuming calories after my honeymoon phase and put on too much fat. I’ve since corrected this but I want you to be more calculated with your rate of weight gain.
The best way to avoid this is to eat slightly above your TDEE. So this means that if your TDEE is 2500 calories, it’s best you consume anywhere from 2600-2900 calories. Going too far beyond your TDEE is not going to lead to more and faster muscle gain. You’re just going to get FAT.
Now this is my first time ever putting this in one of my articles. Many people have probably stopped reading by now but since you’re still here I’ll give you some SUGGESTIONS for some cheap and easy meals for skinny guys like yourself.
- A cup(s) of Oatmeal with fruit
- A cup(s) of whole milk
- Boiled Egg(s)
This is my go to meal every morning. We cannot fail with some good ole oatmeal. Typically oatmeal has about 150 calories per serving. Whole milk has about 160 calories per serving. Double up on both with two servings each and you’re ready to start your day with anywhere from 310 to 620 calories which doesn’t include fruit. You can choose to have this with apples, grapes, plums, oranges, whatever tickles your fancy. Eggs are great because…they are eggs.
For snack you can have sandwiches. Here are some simple suggestions:
- Tuna fish sandwich on potato bread w/ a whey protein shake(we only do grass fed whey protein isolate over here)
- Peanut Butter and Jelly with a glass of cold milk
These are my in between go to snacks. These are perfect, especially when money is tight. I don’t do the meal bars or meal replacement shakes. FOOD is your best friend!
- Steak and Eggs
- Chicken/fish/beef salad
- Lettuce wrap w/ meat
Notice something? There aren’t that much carbs in any of these meal suggestions. This is because you want to avoid the midday crash after eating a heavy meal. It’s best you take it light on the carbs for lunch with emphasis on protein and fats.
Now this snack is special if you work the typical day job and want to get ready for the gym. This snack should be carbed up and should be eaten about an hour and a half before you train.
- Peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread.
- Tuna fish sandwich on wheat bread
- Granola bars
- Grass fed Whey Protein shake smoothie with oats
Any one of these snacks are perfect for a pre workout but you want to be sure you have it 1 and a half hours before you train so that your body has time to get the nutrients into your blood stream.
Dinner offers a wide variety.
- Beef, rice and beans with milk
- Steak and eggs with milk
- Salmon/tuna/beef/chicken/ egg salad with milk
- Fish and spaghetti
- Spaghetti and meatballs
- Pizza(only for a cheat meal)
- Chipotle burrito bowl.
As you can see there’s a ton of stuff you can do with dinner. For dinner you should try to eat as big as possible, especially if you missed meals during the day like most “hardgainers” do.
This is why I suggest snacks throughout the day. Be sure to eat for YOUR caloric goals. You have to figure out how many calories you need therefore proportioning you’re meals via macronutrients.
This won’t be a guessing game. No more “I eat a lot, bro” talk. Figure out what your body needs to grow and execute.
Make sure you fast. All of this eating will eventually lead to your gut being burned out. This is also why I suggest you TRAIN HARD and eat slightly above your TDEE, it offsets the amount of strain you’re placing on your digestive tract.
In any case, try to go 16-24 hours without any food so that your digestive tract gets a chance to heal. It will also prevent anger food aversions you develop.
Now if you are just starting out I am going to suggest a few programs to you. But first I am going to give you my training philosophy.
When you’re just starting out, train full body or do a upper body/lower body split. This way you get more frequency in on each muscle group.
When you become more advance and muscle growth rate slows down, you’ll be able to spread out your stressors a bit more.
For example, if you’re running a full body or upper/lower split into your advance stages of lifting, it will be hard to do heavy sets of squats and deadlifts in the same session because your nervous system takes a big hit from those movements.
It’s also advisable that your focus strictly on hypertrophy first. This means that you’re training on the 6-12 rep ranges consistently for 6 months or more.
There are plenty of programs out there that does well with periodizing but the one I am fond of and model my own programs after is The Juggernaut Method 2.0.
It does great with giving the user tons of volume to learn the lifts. I recommend doing this program first then doing Stronglifts or starting strength.
Like I said before, there are many programs out there that will help you reach your goals BUT you need to make sure you are TRAING HARD.
Forget calisthenics, by the way. You need to be hitting the iron on a regular basis if you want to get big.
You see many people out there who are swole off of calisthenics, that’s great, but you also want to be strong.
You also want to periodize your training so that you can continue to make strides in the long run. Training within a fixed rep pattern for too long leads to diminishing returns.
At the end of the day you have to find a training program that works for you. There is no one size fits all program. In the beginning, cookie cutter programs work but up until a certain point.
After that you must find your own way or hire a coach.
But…remember, skinny guys. You have to EAT BIG and TRAIN HARD to get big.
Until next time
– Anthony Boyd
Oh I forgot to mention. Be sure to deload. Deload is the process of reducing how much you lift in the gym for a period of a week or so.
I know when you first start seeing results it spurs you on to wanting to go harder but you will burn out if you don’t take a break.
Recovery and growth happens outside the gym, not in the gym. In the gym you’re applying a stimulus that the body has to recover from. It is a signal to the body that it needs to grow.
Yes, TRAIN HARD but Feed the body and rest the body in order for it to grow.
When it comes to supplements here are the only ones I recommend from experience
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Grass fed Whey Protein Isolate
- Citruline Malate
That’s it. These are the only supplements that actually improve performance reliably, especially creatine and caffeine. Protein is more of a food and citruline helps with a “pump.
Creatine and caffeine WILL help you hit those numbers for sure in the gym. But be sure to cycle off of your caffeine every month or so.