Fortunes have been made from weight gaining supplements, special diets and mysterious exercise plans. Skinny guys who are desperate to gain weight are willing to do almost anything. Some even fall for the so-called GOMAD diet. Oddly enough, there are people who’ve done even a double GOMAD – drinking 2 gallons of milk a day. The results could be described as complete failure.
What is the secret to gaining weight as a skinny bastard?
What makes you gain weight is caloric surplus which means that the calories you consume should be more than what you burn. It’s like saving money in a piggy bank. You cannot safe anything unless you spend less than what you actually earn.
A lot of skinny bastards think they are eating enough, but when you make a calculation of the calories, it often turns out that the consumed amounts are not sufficient.
Every human has a number of maintenance calories needed to sustain his current bodyweight. That number is usually 14 – 16 times the bodyweight of the individual in pounds.
If you weight 150 lbs, your maintenance calories would be about: 2100 – 2400 kcal. You can read more on this subject here.
Technically, anything over maintenance goes to fat storage and muscle building. The result is, obviously, weight gain. However, it’s not as simple as multiplying a number. Your caloric needs depend on genetics, age, daily activities and many other factors. In other words you will need to experiment in order to find the right number.
How skinny are you?
There are many types of skinny. Some are not really that skinny but feel so because they are constantly comparing themselves to the muscle guys on steroids seen in fitness magazines.
Most “normally” skinny people will not be able to gain more than 20-25 lbs of muscle. This means that if you start as a normal 150 lbs individual, you will not be able to break the 180 lbs barrier, unless you are willing to get fat. You can read more on this subject here.
There is also another group of individuals which is labeled “the super skinny bastards”. Somebody who is 135 lbs at 6′ 2″ would fall in this category. In that case you are a good 20-40 lbs off your “normal” weight. People in this section will gain a what more weight over the course of their career, but will end up at the same place as the previous group.
Most people are not really skinny
Most people are not really skinny, but rather skinny-fat. This means that your overall lean body mass (muscle, water, bones…etc.) is not much while your body fat is high. An example would be somebody who is 150 lbs at 6’1″ with 17% body fat.
This type of body composition is actually more common than just being skinny with low body fat.
What causes the skinny fat composition is before all bad diet and nutrition. Skinny fat people usually don’t eat a lot, but their diet is made mostly of bad food. The low overall calories don’t allow you to get really fat, but at the same time the actual quality of the food is really low.
A good example would be the candy bar diet. Eating a few candy bars a day and nothing else will keep your overall weight really low, but at the same time your body is only getting processed sugar. That’s why your body fat will also be higher. If the candy bars are replaced with healthier food richer in protein while the calories are kept the same, you will be just skinny.
So, what should we do?
Battling the skinny fat syndrome is hard. The first thing to do is to determine whether you are more fat than skinny. Obviously, if you are a skinny fat bastard with a 40 inch gut and man boobs, you first need to lose weight. This does not mean starving to death, but you will need some caloric reduction as well as removal of bad foods from your diet. If more than 10% of your caloric intake comes from bad food, you are doing it wrong.
On the other hand if you are skinny fat with a little bit of body fat hiding your six pack, going on a crazy diet may not be the best choice. This individual may find it more beneficial to keep the calorie intake at maintenance or just a few hundred calories on top or below.
The idea is to either gain weight as slow as possible in order to minimize fat accumulation or to lose weight slowly while also maintaining and improving strength.
Unfortunately, this is a hard position to be in and it will get worse before it gets better.
Note: This is just my look on the so-called skinny fat syndrome. You can experiment with different methods but one thing is certain – extreme cuts or bulking phases rarely end well.
Gaining Muscle Is A Really Slow Process
There is endless amount of websites and YouTube videos claiming to know the secret to massive muscle gains. Most are pure garbage. Gaining muscle as a natural sucks and there is no such thing as fast gains.
The “success stories” you hear are usually fake and heavily manipulated in order to sell you a product. The before and after photos are altered, some people use steroids for their transformation while others simply don’t know the difference between fat and muscle. Either way reality is different.
You will need about 2-4 years to gain solid 20-25 lbs of actual real muscle once you are at your normal bodyweight. After that it’s game over.
Welcome to natural bodybuilding, would you like some whine with that cheese?
How do you survive?
The best way to survive the madness is to focus on skill development. This means that instead of checking your abs in the mirror 10 times a day, you would be happier if you set a skill goal.
It could be anything: deadlift 405 lbs, 20 pull-ups in a row, 10 muscle-ups, faster running, learn the Olympic lifts, 100 push-ups, one arm push-ups, dragon flag…etc. This will keep you interested and motivated. If you were to constantly beat yourself over some growth that’s never going to happen, the only thing that will be fueled is self-hatred.
Good physique can be achieved naturally, but the goal is not only to look good – the goal is to be a better person thanks to your training.