So you’re skinny? Big deal. Let me tell you a story – Once upon a time there was a young boy from Cambridge, he was a very skinny lad. So skinny in fact at secondary school people picked on him and said he was ‘scrawny’; however, this didn’t deter him, for he is now bigger than anyone else who ever picked on him.

Yes, this is about me, myself and I. I was once a skinny kid too, becoming a bodybuilder was never my intention. I wanted to get bigger and not look so skinny. Something happened along the lines that I was unexpected, but that’s a whole different story.

Let’s get back on topic. Are you one of those people that uses genetics as an excuse? Are you always saying how you’re skinny and no matter what you eat you can’t put on size? This isn’t true. You’re doing something wrong. I’m going to run through a list of things that I did to break my skinny boy physique and you’ll realise you’re not doing everything you could to bust out of your plateau.

I’m just a skinny person that’s how it always has been and nothing I do will change that.

Translation: I’m a big ol’ pussy ?.

1. You’re not eating enough.

Let’s start with the absolute basics, you’re not eating enough. You’ve heard it all before, you’ve even watched the late legend Rich Piana’s videos telling you ‘eat big to get big’.

You do need to eat big to get big, but this doesn’t mean you’re eating 4 cheeseburgers a day and hitting the buffet every time you’ve hit the gym. What you’re being told is to eat in a surplus of calories for your daily energy expenditure (TDEE).

Let me break this down. If you’re a skinny dude, the chances are that you have a higher metabolism than most people (tough crap suck it up, your glory will be realised when you’re cutting). What you need to do is go to a TDEE calculator ( and find out what the bulking calories for an average person of your gender, weight, age, and activity levels are and make some adjustments.

What do I mean by a few adjustments?

Well if you’re looking at these calories and they’re higher than the amount you’re currently consuming, then no adjustments are needed, just give it a go and see if you start growing.

Alternatively, if this number is similar or less to what you’ve been eating then you need to add on let’s say 100 calories and trial it for a two week period and see if you notice any difference. If your weight starts to increase and the mirror starts looking more attractive, you’re on the right lines. Keep at these calories until the progress stops and then add more calories in small increments at any time.

Finally, if you’re not growing at these calories you need to keep tweaking your overall calorie intake until the scale start to take notice. Once you’ve hit a calorie intake that’s increasing your weight follow the above advice.

2. You’re not eating the right foods.

It’s all good eating a high number of calories but you macros (what?) have an impact on what your body composition looks like.

For example if you’re a male, 25 years old, 180lbs, 6 foot tall, 15% body fat, you exercise 3-5 times per weeks and  you’re eating 2,900 calories per day (like your TDEE calculator told you), but your macros are 70% fats, 25% carbohydrates and 5% proteins – simply put, you’re going to look like sh!t.

You might be gaining weight and you might even be building a little muscle, but the chances are you’re mostly just looking like a chubby cupid. This isn’t because you’re putting on loads of fat it’s because you’re body composition isn’t being manipulated to look at it’s best whilst in this surplus.

A good base to start at is 20% fats, 45% carbohydrates and 35% proteins. Within a few weeks, you’ll start to see that your body shape and composition looks 100x better than it did before (if accompanied alongside a good training schedule and correct calories).

Good foods to eat as staples:

  • Jasmine or basmati rice
  • Wholegrain pasta
  • Seeded breads (such as Burgen)
  • Porridge oats (oatmeal)
  • Course bulgur
  • Eggs (egg whites and whole eggs)
  • Cottage cheese
  • EatLean protein cheese
  • Skyr yogurt (you can find multiple brands)
  • Chicken breast
  • Turkey breast
  • Lean minced beef
  • Lean steak cuts
  • Pork chops
  • Fish (cod, haddock, salmon etc.)
  • Leafs (spinach, kale, lettuce etc.)
  • Veg (broccoli, peas, corn, carrots etc.)
  • Sauces – if you look around you can find many tasty sauces that are low in fats and sodium that will go well with your foods

Now you don’t need to just eat these foods and nothing else, but if you base the majority of your meals around these types of ingredients then you will see how easy it is to hit your macros every single day.

3. You’re not having any form of progression in you’re training.

If you’ve read the above and you know for absolutely certain none of these are you. Then you’re not progressing in your workouts.

Yes, it’s true you might think you’re busting a gut in the gym. You might even come out sweating more than everyone else, but you’re doing it wrong.

You’re most likely to fall under one of these two categories:

  • You’ve not increased the weight or the number of reps that you do on any exercise.
  • You’re increasing the weight too quickly and lifting like a complete donkey.

If you fall under the first category then you need to be increasing one or the other, your muscles can’t grow unless they’re being challenged in some way, either lifting a heavier weight or lifting something for longer normal. This way your muscles realise that they need to grow to continue support this type of progression.

Slow and steady progress is much better than rapid daily excuses.

Motivational quotes

If you fall under the second category, it’s simple, all you have to do it check your ego at the door, stop worrying about impressing that girl on the treadmill across the room, drop the weight and focus on contracting the related muscle to the exercise and you’ll start growing no end!

In conclusion, you need to be applying all three of the elements if you want to be moving forward and adding on size to those like chicken legs and stick-like arms.

If you think that you still don’t fall under any of these categories and you just can’t build muscle then you’re lying to yourself.

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