How To Gain Weight Fast: The Ultimate Guide For Skinny Guys

Can't gain weight? This guide takes you step by step through the gaining process, helping you to set up a meal plan and providing you with a muscle building workout.
  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Skinny Guy Confessions
    1. 2.1. Cardio Overkill
    2. 2.2. Not Eating Enough
    3. 2.3. Remaining Weak
  3. 3. Next Steps: How To Gain Weight And Build Muscle
    1. 3.1. Step 1 - Analysis Of Your Existing Diet
    2. 3.2. Step 2 - Make Dietary Adjustments
    3. 3.3. Step 3 - Weight Gaining Goals
    4. 3.4. A Note About Junk Food
  4. 4. Whole Foods That Can Help The Skinny Guy Gain Weight
    1. 4.1. Power Weight Gain Shake for Skinny Guys
  5. 5. Hit the Gym - A 3 Step Muscle Building Plan
    1. 5.1. Stage 1 - Priming
    2. 5.2. Stage 2 - Building
    3. 5.3. Stage 3 - Jacked
  6. 6. Supplements For The Skinny Guy
  • How to determine the amount of calories you are currently eating.
  • The best way to dial in your eating plan so that you can gain weight in a healthy manner.
  • Which foods are best for weight gain.
  • How to eat plenty of calories even when you feel full.
  • The best way to workout so that you build quality muscle mass.
  • How to supplement to maximize the weight gaining process.


Weight GainI was once a skinny guy. A very skinny guy.

Not only that, but I was also what you might call "skinny fat." Despite the fact that I loved to exercise, I looked horrible. There was no way in the world you would catch me with my shirt off in public. 

I also had a very hard time gaining weight. At times it seemed like I was eating from sun up to sun down, but despite this, the scale stuck around 140-144 pounds until my senior year of high school.

Two and a half years later, by the time I had reached the age of 20, my life had dramatically turned around. I was 190 pounds of solid muscle, stronger than I ever imagined I could be, and girls were talking to me.

This probably sounds like hyperbole, or some sort of a sales pitch. I apologize if it does, but it's the God's honest truth.

In this article I want to share a few things I learned during those years. I will be providing you with specific advice of training, nutrition, cardio, rest and even supplementation. If you have any questions, or if I can help in any way, please please your questions or comments below.

Skinny Guy Confessions: What I Was Doing Wrong

Looking back upon those years, it's easy to see what I was doing wrong and why I wasn't gaining weight (and muscle). Here are the major reasons why I wasn't making progress:

Cardio Overkill - I was exercising way too much. WAY too much. During the Summer months I was outside from sun up to sun down, running, playing baseball or basketball, or swimming.

When I wasn't outside, I was indoors doing some form of cardio - step ups, jumping rope, or even aerobics (yes, it was the early 80s). It wasn't unusual for me to run 3 miles a day, do 45 minutes of step ups, and play baseball for 4 hours. This was just another typical day for me.

So here's the problem: while I was certainly fit and healthy from all that exercise, I was expending a crazy amount of calories. Am I telling you that I should have stopped exercising completely? Of course not. Cardio work is a great way to improve overall health. The problem with doing "too much" cardio (and general exercise) is that it conflicts with another one of your primary goals - gaining weight.

Research backs up common sense on this subject. (1) A recent meta-analysis on the impact of cardiovascular exercise on resistance training determined:

Our results indicate that interference effects of endurance training are a factor of the modality, frequency, and duration of the endurance training selected.

The bottom line is that when you run a lot of cardio concurrently with your resistance training, it impacts results. The more cardiovascular work you do, the greater the tendency for it to impact your results.

If your primary goal is to gain weight and build muscle, then it would make sense to not push cardio too much. This is a competing goal; one that is in direct conflict with your weight gain goal. Because of this it makes sense to minimize the amount of cardio you do.

If you are a skinny guy, keep cardio sessions to "about" 3-4 per week, for 20 to 30 minutes each. If you play sports, or have an active lifestyle and can't really reduce cardio, then it's time to improve your diet.

Weight Gain

Not Eating Enough - Most skinny guys think they are eating enough, but are really only guessing about daily food intake. Here's what I recommend: instead of guessing, spend a week logging everything you eat. Don't change your eating habits, meaning don't purposely eat more or less than normal.

At the end of the week spend the time going through your food choices. Learn exactly how many calories you ate, on the average, during the course of the last 7 days. If you need help, there are numerous websites and books that provide nutritional information on every possible food item.

How does this number look? Is it above 3,000 calories per day? I am guessing that your food intake is less than expected.

Gaining weight and building muscle is like every other endeavor in life, meaning that it requires a certain minimal time investment to become proficient. If you want to make the basketball team, you'll need to put in some practice time. If you want to conquer the latest Xbox game, it will require a minimal time investment as well.

If you want to gain weight, you'll need to invest some time in analyzing and planning your eating plan.

Remaining Weak - Progressive overload is king. "Working out", while healthy, is not a magical method of building muscle mass. If you are not pushing yourself in the gym to build strength, you won't build muscle. Stay weak, stay small - this sums it up nicely.

When you push for strength you are forcing your body to respond. In response to this demand, you will build muscle - if, you aren't undereating.

During my teen years I did a lot of bodyweight work, along with bench presses and curls. Unfortunately, I used the same weight over and over again, week after week, year after year, and was unable to build any muscle.

No one ever told me that the body adapts rather quickly to a certain weight, and that more resistance would be required. I thought that I could magically "pump" my chest and biceps into growth using 95 pound bench presses and 25 pound curls.

Next Steps - Time to Gain Weight and Build Muscle

So, we have determined that skinny guys need to:

  1. Stop doing so much cardio.
  2. Eat more food.
  3. Get a lot stronger than they are now.

Cardio is the easy part. We can control how much cardio we do each week. Let's move on to the next step of our journey, and learn "how" to gain weight properly, and in a healthy manner.

How to Gain Weight

Weight GainThis section will provide you with a step by step process on how to gain weight in a healthy manner. If you have any questions regarding diet and nutrition, please don't hesitate to leave them in the comments section below.

Step 1 - Analysis of Your Existing Diet

This is an essential step of the process, so do not skip it, and guess at your average calorie intake.

The truth is this...most skinny guys think they are eating enough food, but when you ask them to tell you how many calories they are eating on a daily basis, they aren't certain. This uncertainty is a major part of the problem.

If you can't gain weight, something must be done. You are left with 2 choices:

  1. Keep doing what you're doing, in this case guessing how many calories you are eating on a daily basis, and hope you gain weight.
  2. Take control over the situation, learn what you are eating, make necessary changes, and set a minimum daily calorie goal.

Obviously, the second option is our only option. So, with that said, let's get started.

Grab a notebook, computer, an iPad, iPod or phone. You will need to write down everything you eat and drink this week - no exceptions. If you are not sure of the exact quantities, notate things in a manner that makes sense to you. For example:

  • A fist-side portion of potatoes.
  • 1/2 box of macaroni and cheese.
  • Nearly a full, large-size glass of milk.

Next, head over to Calorie King and calculate how many calories you've eaten this week. Some of this will be guess work, but that's part of the learning process. Don't fret if you feel like this may not yield 100% accuracy. That's not the point. The point is to start learning about foods, their calorie content, etc.

Now, calculate a daily average. How many calories are you eating per day? 2,200? 2,500? Is this number lower or higher than you expected?

Step 2 - Make Dietary Adjustments

It's time to structure some form of eating plan, and add calories. Use this as a starting point:

  • Calories. Add 500 daily calories to the average you calculated above.
  • Protein. Make sure you are eating at least 180 grams of protein per day.
  • Fats. Make sure at least 20% of your daily calorie intake comes from healthy fats.
  • Carbs. With your protein and fats in place, fill in the rest of your daily calorie intake with quality carbs - fruits, veggies, grains, etc.

It is certainly ok to eat more than 180 grams of protein per day. While studies indicate you may only need 150 grams per day for muscle growth, you have to consider the reality that you are currently underweight, and your body may gain muscle at a relatively rapid pace. Because of this, it's better to eat a little more daily protein, rather than a little less.

High protein intake is perfectly safe to those of you without pre-existing kidney issues. Eating more protein can also help to balance out your eating plan, so that you don't have to be so carb reliant. It can be hard to force feed yourself heavy carb meals when you aren't feeling overly hungry.

The recommended 20% fat intake should also be considered a minimum. Fat is calorie dense, holding 9 calories per gram, compared to proteins and carbs which only have 4 calories per gram. What does this mean? It's easier to get in your daily calories if you increase your fat intake. You won't feel as full, because fats are more calorie dense.

If you are having a hard time enough enough food, you may want to increase your fat intake as high as 40% daily. This will make reaching your daily calorie goals much easier.

Weight Gain

Step 3 - Weight Gaining Goals

Aim for about a 2 pounds per month. Some will consider this rate "slow", but it does add up to nearly a 25 pound bodyweight gain over the course of a year, and almost 50 pounds in 2 years.

If you follow this approach, and work hard to get a lot stronger than you are now using the workout plan below, your weight gain will be a quality weight gain. You will build a lot of muscle mass, and look great after 2 years.

Some of you may prefer to gain weight more rapidly than this. While more rapid weight gain can work for some, usually it's a recipe for fat gain. The human body can only add so much muscle mass per day, week and month. The faster (more aggressive) you push your weight gain, the more likely you are to accrue a higher body fat percentage.

This isn't what you want.

The First 2 Weeks

Ignore the weight you gain during the first 2 weeks of your bulk. During this time you are increasing your carb intake, most likely your sodium intake, and your digestive demands. Your body is holding a lot more water. This is not rapid fat gain, so don't panic!

After 2 weeks, weight gain will normalize. Weeks 3-4 will tell the true story. Make these adjustments based on your weight gain during weeks 3-4:

  • Losing Weight - Code red! Add 750 calories to your daily intake. Ignore what the scale says for the next two weeks, and make new adjustments based on what happens 3-4 weeks from now. 
  • Holding Steady - Add 500 calories per day. Re-assess your rate of weight gain during weeks 3 and 4, and make any necessary adjustments so that you are gaining approximately 2 pounds of body weight per month.
  • Slow Gain - Add 250 calories per day. Re-assess your rate of weight gain during weeks 3 and 4, and make any necessary adjustments so that you are gaining approximately 2 pounds of body weight per month.
  • Optimal Gain - Stay the course and don't change a thing!
  • Rapid Gain - If you're gaining weight too quickly, drop your daily calories by 250 and re-assess your eating plan after another 3-4 weeks.

A Note About Junk Food - Dirty Food

You're young, skinny and hormonally strong. While you don't want to eat a ton of junk food, taking in 10-25% of your daily calories from fast food, chips, energy drinks or cookies isn't going to hurt you. It may actually help you reach your calorie goals.

Life is about balance. As long as you are eating mostly whole, nutritionally dense foods, it's ok to add some junk in each day.

Whole Foods That Can Help The Skinny Guy Gain Weight

The following choices are whole foods, and are general "unprocessed" or "lightly processed". They are full of good nutrition, cost-effective, calorie dense, and found at every grocery store.

A little of each of these foods goes a long way. You can add small servings of these foods to shakes or meals, or use them as snacks in between meals. They add a ton of calories (and flavor) without leaving you feeling overly full.

Bulking Foods for Skinny Guys
Protein Foods
Food Serving Calories
Ground Beef, Cooked, 70% Lean 4 oz 305
Bacon, Thick Cut 2 slices 122
Chicken Wing, with Skin 4 wings 394
Chicken Leg with Skin  1 leg 337
Pork Chop 2 chops, 8 oz 436
Eggs, Large 2 eggs 156
Steak, Ribeye 10 oz 544
Salmon 4 oz 233
Beef Brisket 4 oz 246
Pork Sausage 4 oz 384
Fruits and Veggies
Food Serving Calories
Banana 1 large 121
Grapes 20 70
Avocado, sliced 1 cup 234
Pineapple 1 cup 83
Orange 1 large 86
Pear 1 large 133
Sweet Potato 1 large 159
Potato 7 oz 142
Nuts and Legumes
Food Serving Calories
Peanut Butter 2 tbsp 188
Peanuts 2 oz 321
Almonds 2 oz 328
Pistachios 2 oz 316
Peas 1 cup 125
Black Beans 1 cup 220
Food Serving Calories
Whole Milk 1 cup 146
Butter 2 pats 72
Heavy Whipping Cream 2 oz 205
Cream Cheese 1 oz 99
Cheddar Cheese 2 oz 228
String Cheese 1 piece 80
Cottage Cheese 1 cup 216
Carbs and Grains
Food Serving Calories
Brown Rice, cooked 1 cup 216
Quinoa, cooked 1 cup 222
White Rice, cooked 1 cup 242
Pasta, cooked 1 cup 182
Wheat Bread 1 slice 78
Oils and Misc
Food Serving Calories
Olive Oil 1 tbsp 120
Coconut Oil 1 tbsp 117
Frozen Pizza 1 pie 1,267
McDouble 1 burger 400
Beef and Bean Burrito, frozen 1 burrito 290

Power Weight Gain Shake for Skinny Guys

One of the easiest ways of adding calories is via a "weight gain shake". The following shake can be consumed once per day, and contains 1,066 calories. Simply add the ingredients into a blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy.

  • 16 ounces of whole milk - 292 calories
  • 2 scoops of chocolate Premium Series Protein - 260 calories
  • 2 ounces of heavy cream - 205 calories
  • 1 large banana - 121 calories
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter - 188 calories

Hit the Gym - A 3 Step Muscle Building Plan

Weight GainNow that you have an eating plan, and know how to gain weight, it's time to maximize your training. Building muscle is rather simple. It requires:

  • Consistency - Not missing workouts. Consistency plays a major role in making quality gains.
  • Progressive Overload - You must get a lot stronger than you are now. No exceptions. There is no "easier" way to build muscle.
  • Good Tools - Using the best possible exercises, when possible. The better your tools (exercises), the better your results.
  • Patience - Gains take years, not weeks. Look 2 years down the road, not 2 weeks. You can make amazing progress in 2 year's time, so dedicate yourself to sticking with a plan.

The following 3 step plan is merely one possible way to build muscle. With that said, it's a very effective approach. Combine this plan with enough food, and you will see some very impressive results.

Here is an overview of the program:

  • Step 1 - Priming Stage. This is a one month introduction. You will begin with one set per exercise, and after a couple weeks you will move on to 2 sets per exercise.
  • Step 2 - Building Phase. This is a five month phase that will help you maximize your beginner gains.
  • Step 3 - "Jacked" Phase. The last phase of the program, you will continue to use this phase as long as strength gains remain consistent.

Training Notes

  • Sets. Push each set for as many reps as possible, stopping a set when you feel like you might fail on the next rep, or when your form starts to slip.
  • Weight. Use the same weight for each set of a given exercise.
  • Rep Minimums. Each exercise has a "rep minimum." When you are able to reach this minimum rep amount for each of the 3 sets, add weight the next time you perform that exercise. So when you see a "8 rep minimum" for an exercise, you will add weight when you re able to perform 8 or more reps for each of the sets.

Stage 1 - Priming

During the first 2 weeks use only one set per exercise. During weeks 3-4, use 2 sets per exercise.

Start with a very light weight for each exercise. Get a good feel for exercise form. Add weight when you are able to hit the "rep minimum" for a given exercise.

Don't take big jumps in weight; instead take the smallest jump possible - generally 5 pounds per lift. Muscle building is a marathon, not a sprint. These small jumps will pay off very quickly.

You will be training 3 days per week:

  • Day 1 - Workout
  • Day 2 - Off
  • Day 3 - Workout
  • Day 4 - Off
  • Day 5 - Workout
  • Day 6 - Off
  • Day 7 - Off
Stage 1 - Priming
Exercise Sets Rep Minimum
Squat 1/2 10/10
Bench Press 1/2 10/10
Stiff Leg Deadlift 1/2 10/10
Seated Overhead Barbell Press 1/2 10/10
Bent Over Row 1/2 10/10
Skullcrushers 1/2 10/10
Pull Ups/Lat Pull Down 1/2 10/10
Dumbbell Curl 1/2 10/10
Leg Curl 1/2 10/10
Calf Raise 1/2 10/10
Sit Ups 1/2 10/10

Stage 2 - Building

Continue using the weights you left off with during the Priming stage. For any exercises you did not perform during the Priming stage, start with a light and conservative weight.

You will be working out 3 days a week, using the same schedule as you did during your first 4 weeks of training:

  • Day 1 - Workout A
  • Day 2 - Off
  • Day 3 - Workout B
  • Day 4 - Off
  • Day 5 - Workout C
  • Day 6 - Off
  • Day 7 - Off
Stage 2 - Building
Workout A
Exercise Sets Rep Minimum
Squat 3 8
Bench Press 3 8
Barbell Row 3 8
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press 3 8
Leg Curl 3 10
Skullcushers 3 8
Dumbbell Curls 3 8
Standing Calf Raise 3 10
Weighted Sit Ups 3 15
Stage 2 - Building
Workout B
Exercise Sets Rep Minimum
Still Leg Deadlift 3 8
Leg Curls 3 10
Incline Dumbbell Flye 3 10
Pull Ups or Lat Pull Down 3 8
Bent Over Dumbbell Reverse Flyes 3 10
Cable Tricep Extension 3 8
Dumbbell Hammer Curl 3 8
Barbell Shrugs 3 10
Side Bends 3 15
Stage 2 - Building
Workout C
Exercise Sets Rep Minimum
Leg Press 3 15
Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8
One Arm Dumbbell Row 3 8
Seated Overhead Press 3 8
Leg Curls 3 10
Dips or Two Arm Seated Dumbbell Extensions 3 8
EZ Bar Preacher Curl 3 8
Seated Calf Raise 3 10
Cable Crunches or Planks 3 15/60 sec

Weight Gain

Stage 3 - Jacked

Stage 3 is a little more intense, and introduces the deadlift and 20 rep squat. For the 20 rep squats, stop at 20 reps; do not go higher.

Workouts are structured more in a heavy, light, medium manner with Monday being the heavy day. Wednesday is a lighter day, focusing on mostly isolation-style lifts, while Friday is the medium day.

  • Day 1 - Workout A - Heavy
  • Day 2 - Off
  • Day 3 - Workout B - Light
  • Day 4 - Off
  • Day 5 - Workout C - Medium
  • Day 6 - Off
  • Day 7 - Off
Stage 3 - Jacked
Workout A
Exercise Sets Rep Minimum
Squat 3 6
Bench Press 3 6
Barbell Rows 3 6
Seated Overhead Press 3 6
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 6
Dips or Skullcrushers 3 8
Barbell Curls 3 8
Seated Calf Raise 3 10
Weighted Sit Ups 3 15
Stage 3 - Jacked
Workout B
Exercise Sets Rep Minimum
Deadlift 3 5
Dumbbell Flyes or Pec Dec 3 10
Leg Extensions 3 10
Pull Ups or Lat Pull Down 3 10
Bent Over Reverse Dumbbell Flye 3 10
Cable Tricep Extensions 3 10
Dumbbell Hammer Curl 3 8
Barbell Shrugs 3 8
Dumbbell Side Bends 3 10
Stage 3 - Jacked
Workout C
Exercise Sets Rep Minimum
Squat 2 20
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8
One Arm Dumbbell Row 3 8
Seated Arnold Press 3 8
Leg Curl 3 10
Seated Two Arm Dumbbell Extension 3 8
Seated Dumbbell Curl 3 8
Standing Calf Raise 3 10
Cable Crunches or Planks 3 15/60 sec

Supplements for the Skinny Guy

Supplementation, like training, should be eased into. For the first phase of this program, you may want to consider fortifying your nutritional base with the following supplements:

Weight gainers provide quite a few calories, and are convenient to have around for those busy times in life when cooking isn't an option, or for times when you miss meals.

By the second phase of this program, you should have your diet pretty much dialed in. Your training will also be on track and consistent. At this time, it would be ok to start exploring other popular supplements, such as:

Other supplements that may be of benefit, based on your specific needs (age, stress, sleep, low testosterone, poor recovery, etc) include:


1. Concurrent training: a meta-analysis examining interference of aerobic and resistance exercises. Wilson JM, Marin PJ, Rhea MR, Wilson SM, Loenneke JP, Anderson JC. Link.

About The Author
M&S writers is a collection of all the other writers that have published content on Muscle and Strength.

295 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 02/20/2013 - 05:14

thnx for dis info bro.. it's very helpful for me..:)

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 02/21/2013 - 02:30

Thanks mate..!
I'll b surely following your guidelines..
High Hopes, I'm determined and focused as I have found a way....
God Bless..!

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Posted Thu, 02/21/2013 - 16:47

Fantastic article! This is exactly what I needed. I am about to start working out for the 1st time in years. I'm 32 years old. I'm 5'9 150 lbs. I'd like to get to 175-185 lbs. in a few years. I used to workout a lot, played sports etc. but life gets in the way. Can't wait to start.

I have a 300 lb. weight set at home, but I don't have a bench. Can anyone tell me what are good substitute chest exercises? Thanks

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 02/22/2013 - 11:08

I would do floor dumbbell presses as your staple. If you can find an old aeorbics/cardio step that can help as a make shift bench for dumbbell bench presses.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 04/25/2013 - 10:42

go to youtube, type in Scooby..he provides weightlifting tips to do at home withought equipment

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Posted Wed, 07/17/2013 - 16:05
sujay uikey

Are you juan mendoza "THE DRUMMER"??? Fan here

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 05/31/2013 - 10:18

Try to set up a station to do dips, get a belt so you can add weight. This is probably your best alternative.
Also try try to have someone lay on your back while doing pushups. Technically, pushups are better than bench presses, the problem though is getting enough weight on to do them.
Vary hand positions as well.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 02/05/2014 - 20:25

There are also "alternative" benches! Yardsales a great tool for these! A bar-B-Q Table bench, for instance! Roll up an old blanket for reducing pressure on the vertabrae, and you are in business! Any pulliing from the sides will work you chest. Most important to warm-up your connective muscles under your shoulders! These are the ones that cripple most lifters who think "more is better!" It ain't ! Try a copy of Weider's basic weigthtlifter's guide! Has all the basic moves, reps, articles on champs, lotsa' inspiration! about 25 bucks! by the time you get to be my age (71) people will say things like "you could certified with a minimum of classes!", but I don't need it ! I just like recovering from the mistakes (3 motorcycle wrecks last year) and getting back to trying to beat my old maxes! Taking a 30 mile walk, once in awhile is great for the general well-being, and it reminds you of what's actually going on in your neck of the woods! There are so many food outlets, you just need a hammock and a bag, these days! A cheap cables machine, alot of dumbells (or, adjustable ones!), a couple of bars, Look for a "used gear" store for buying weights ! gloves are a must. figure out how many calories you need on the average, and eat less than that 'till your BMI is around 9%, then "welcome to the club!" ha,ha!

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Posted Thu, 02/21/2013 - 21:04

I eat 5,000 to 7,000 calories a day - meals every 2-3 hours from wake up to bed. i lift heavy and have gained 40 pounds in the last calendar year. i understand my gains will slow down because the first year lifting yields the most gains. however, the last 3 months i've been at a standstill - i haven't gained any weight. i'm at 170 right now and plan on competing this fall, but i want to get up to 180 (185 preferably) and then cut down. the problem is that i've been stuck at this weight! i'm doing everything you recommend and more. clearly i'm very frustrated - any advice or opinions why this is happening?? greaet article! any recommendations are welcome! my split right now is chest/traps, back/forearms/calves, legs/calves, shoulders/forearms, and bi's/tri's. i switch up my routines every 6-8 weeks to keep things fresh. please help!

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 02/22/2013 - 11:14

Hi Teej,

What does your lifting program look like, and where are your strength levels?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 02/25/2013 - 17:51

my program is mainly comprised of compound movements with a few isolation movements worked in at the end of my workouts. on my compound movements i'm doing anywhere from 6-8 reps, some 10. for example, chest goes currently goes like this: incline bench (4 sets, reps 8 6 6 4) Decline Bench (4 sets, reps 10 8 8 6) cable fly (3 sets, reps 15) superset with chest press machine (3 sets, 4-6 reps) incline DB fly (4 sets, reps 10 10 8 8) pec deck (3 sets, reps 15 slow). I work in at least one superset into each workout for pre-exhaustion. any suggestions? sorry for the late response I hope you still get this!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 05/31/2013 - 10:27

Do less. Don't lift more than three days a week. Cut out all iso movements. Focus only on Squats, Deadlifts, Bench, Shoulder Press, Pullups, Dips and bent over rows. Lift heavy, 6 reps max. rest at least 72hrs before doing same exercise. Add weight every week to your exercises, even if only 1lb.
Remember more is not better. Increase your intensity, reduce volume, get good rest. Weightlifting only stimulates growth, resting is when you will grow. Get lots of sleep.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 02/21/2013 - 22:21

Would i have to say goodbye to my abs if i was to start down this road??

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 02/22/2013 - 11:07

If you do this program correctly you're not going to gain much fat. You have a fast metabolism. You'll gain a high percentage of muscle mass which will dramatically impact your physique.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 05/07/2013 - 18:03

Hello Steve
How can i i know/confirm that i am ectomorph (skinny) guy? It might sound to you a stupid question but..... :-(
Waiting for your kind reply

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 02/21/2013 - 22:27

Thnq for d info

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Posted Sun, 02/24/2013 - 01:54

hi there, is there any way i could contact you? i need some advice, thank you.

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 02/28/2013 - 10:29

You can reach me via the forum by the same name.

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Posted Sun, 02/24/2013 - 06:31
Richard Granger

Your teen years sounds alot like mine. I played every sport all day every day. I worked out for about 2.5 to 3 years at college, while playing collegiate tennis. I was 70in. and got to a max of about 170-175lbs. After college the business world took priority and I fell back to about 155. Fast forward to a year ago, turned 40, and I committed to getting back in shape. I did tons of cardio, 20-25 miles a week jogging, and bodyweight exercises. Over this year or so I actually lost another 15lbs. I have now started lifting heavier weights and cut my cardio back to just about nothing. I am 3 weeks into weight program, first time ever using free weights, dumbells and cable machines, and have averaged gains of about 2lbs per week. Would make any changes to your article for someone thats starting at 41 as oppossed to 21?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 02/28/2013 - 12:31

Hi Richard,

At 41 I would ease up in calories and not gain too quickly. Get on a good muscle building plan, get a lot stronger than you are now, and aim for a slightly more conservative weight gain for 3-6 months. After that point if gains aren't what you want, increase calories by 300-500 per day.

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Posted Sun, 02/24/2013 - 11:18

Thanks for giving this data bro. Iwant to know about easy way to gain weight quickly iam a job holder no time to gym. Send instruction to my mail pls bro.

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Posted Mon, 02/25/2013 - 07:44

The volume of work on these workouts seems to contradict the "keep your workouts at 60 minutes or less" idea. Unless I'm missing something about full body workouts compared to splits. I mean, is it fine to put in that many lifts if your days per week are less? That's about the same amount of volume you'd get from a 4 day split, so is that fine or would the volume need to be adjusted based on experience level?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:16

You don't need to keep workouts at 60 minutes or less. With that said, if things are going over 75 minutes I would seriously analyze the rest a lifter is taking between sets.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 03/01/2013 - 17:14

Im a bit skinny but a lil muscular and had been weight liftining for two years now,but stil i see no change.I TRIED multiple setups,and also increased my weights i think i jhust get stronger than gaining muscle.should i consider buying supplements?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:14

If you are not seeing changes, you need to focus on:

1) Getting stronger.
2) Eating more/improving your diet.

You can add things such as whey protein, fish oil and a multivitamin to this. Once you are rolling, then i would explore other supplement options.

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Posted Sat, 03/02/2013 - 09:45

Hi there, I'm still a teenager(16) and I started weight lifting about 2 years ago without a proper diet or a workout program, but I did gain both muscle and strength, so I simply like to know what are the dangers/disadvantages to that. reply or/by Email:

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Posted Thu, 03/07/2013 - 01:43

What can I take for a weak immune system? I have a big problem with keeping food down

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:12

I might suggest posting that question on the forum to see if anyone has suggestions.

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Posted Sat, 03/09/2013 - 10:05

super man ....mind blowing tips can u plz give me ur facebook name so that i can join u as ur frnd and ask u questions directly

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Posted Sat, 03/09/2013 - 10:13

thank very much it is awesome ....
i will follow it contentiously
can u plz give ur name or send to my mail of ur facebook name one
so that i can directly ask u questions by adding me as ur frnd in facebook can u plz gv me ur name

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Posted Sun, 03/10/2013 - 04:00

I just went though all the guidelines up there. I'm so happy happy that people help each other to come across their problems .
In my case, I'm very very skinny guy aged 25. And I still wear shorts where my legs are too thin that makes people look at them like never seen such. So I'm not goin to swim,play,ride a bike etc.
So I'm suffering a lot and my life seems paused still..
As I think I'm not having enough diet and enough sleep.
I went to gym and i failed. I hadn't strengh to do exercises.
Then I tried having dates with milk. There was a good result l. But i stopped that too. I was afraid about diabetes .
So I'm so glad if I can have an advice to come over this.

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Posted Sun, 03/10/2013 - 16:37

Please reply this is really important for me :)
I'm going to start this tomorrow I have worked out in the gym a year ago and stopped and I'm back and I'm through the first week doing 3 sets per excersice
Can I do the following :
Follow your food plan
Train 5 days in a row in the gym
Chest and abs once every 2 days (each one on a different day)
Train 3 sets per excersice
Please reply its really important and I wanna hear your thought

Joey's picture
Posted Tue, 03/12/2013 - 16:55

I would choose a well-written routine from this site rather than make up your own.

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Posted Wed, 03/13/2013 - 06:13

Could you please be more specific about rest between sets. There is a lot of volume of workouts.
As Jacob says: "keep your workouts at 60 minutes or less".

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:09

You can workout longer than 60 minutes, especially if your food is matching your training - which is the case for most of us with a solid eating plan in place.

Try to keep rest between sets intuitive. Rest longer when you need to, and shorter when the lift commands it. Don't rush between sets, but wait until you feel physically and mentally ready to go again. The point is to be able to maximize a set, not keep your heart rate elevated.

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Posted Wed, 03/13/2013 - 07:15
Bryan Bott

I am having some pretty intense weight fluctuations in the first two weeks of using this workout. I've hit as high as 194 and has been dropping down to 189 even with increasing food consumption and using a weight gainer shake. Currently I'm on a 3 day weight slide. Is this something I should be concerned with or should I continue with what I'm doing now and wait until weeks 3-4 to see if it stabilizes and starts going up?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:04

Weight fluctuations are fairly normal. Look for bigger trends.

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Posted Thu, 03/14/2013 - 05:42

Next Steps - Time to Gain Weight and Build Muscle
So, we have determined that skinny guys need to:

1.Stop doing so much cardio.
2.Eat more food.
3.Get a lot stronger then they are now. How? #3 should say -Lift heavier weights or something like that)

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Posted Sat, 03/16/2013 - 07:17

Thanks a Lot Sir Steve!!!

I'm 18 yrs. old and is really skinny! I have long for a solution to gain weight but always lack of proper information to do So! Thanks to your Article and I've learned the Do's and Don'ts!! I really appreciate your article!! hope it works for me too! I am so focused on gaining weight! Hope that this summer break I can be as Consistent and determined as you said! Again, thanks a lot Sir Steve! :)

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Posted Sat, 03/16/2013 - 20:44

Would you recommend this program instead of Rippetoe's Starting Strength?

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Posted Tue, 03/19/2013 - 22:14

How do I know how many carbs and protein and fat is in anything I eat like steak or fruits or other stuff the don't have a label with nutrition information, I hope u understand my question...

Joey's picture
Posted Wed, 03/20/2013 - 12:54

You'll have to Google that type of info. A food scale will also be of great help.

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Posted Thu, 03/21/2013 - 10:53

hi Steve,
I have a very Skinny body and i'm 29yrs old my weight is 55, i wanna built up my weight suggest me some good Indian veg food.

looking forward for your reply.

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Posted Fri, 03/22/2013 - 09:34

for how long each routine to b gain weight

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Posted Fri, 03/22/2013 - 22:17

hoping to get it going while still @40yrs-5/11 weight 75kg I guess need to train alot harder now..

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Posted Sat, 03/23/2013 - 15:53

I am grossly underweight and am a vegetarian do you have an eating plan for 39 year old looking to gain weight without eating meat? Thank you for a very informative way to gaining the near impossible for some of us

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Posted Mon, 03/25/2013 - 20:16

Hi I'm a young teenager in high school and was wondering if the pre-workouts are worth the money and the safety? and is this 3 day workout or the 4 day split better for you?

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Posted Wed, 03/27/2013 - 18:01

hello, I'm underweight i'm 19 years old 38 kg and 158 cm height, I have a major problem which is i don't like to eat a lot i get bored even if i was hungry,any help?

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Posted Fri, 03/29/2013 - 19:08

If your trying to gain mass and muslce why would you want to do all of these isolation exercises and not stick with compound lifts?

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Posted Thu, 10/17/2013 - 09:57

i agree, compound lifts stimulates the muscle growth hormone and a much better and faster way to gain weight fast.