The Skinny Guy’s Muscle Building Plan – How to build muscle fast

The Skinny Guy’s Muscle Building Plan – How to build muscle fast

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Build Muscle

Note: If you want a step-by-step proven workout plan for packing on slabs of muscle, I highly recommend checking out Terry Asher’s Muscle Gaining Secrets book.  It’s hands down the best system for skinny guys to put on muscle. You should also check out the best supplements for building muscle.

With that out of the way…I’ve been getting a bunch of emails lately with guys always asking me how can skinny guys build muscle.

Well, here’s a no B.S. program to get you on the right path.  It really comes down to three things.  Lift.  Eat.  Recover.

Lifting to build muscle

As usual here at GymJunkies, we’re going to focus on compound movements using barbells (Pull Ups and Dips being the exceptions to the rule).  We’re going to combine the 5×5 strength building protocol with a mid-range weight and rep format to promote hypertrophy (that means getting those muscles big!).

We’re also going to use the superset (doing two different exercises in a row without rest in between) to keep the workouts short and get you out of the gym in 30 minutes or less.

Muscle building workout plans

Phase 1
Workout A:    Deadlift 5 reps x 5 sets.
Superset Shoulder Press with High Pulls 8 reps x 4 sets.

Workout B:    Squat 5 reps x 5 sets.
Superset Bench Press with Pull-Ups 8 reps x 4 sets.

You should stick with the same weight and try to finish all of the sets with that weight.  So if you are bench pressing 150 lbs for 5 reps x 5 sets, you should use 150 lbs for all 5 sets.  If you make it through that, the next time in the gym you should try 153 or 155 for 5×5.

You should always be trying to break your personal record from the last time in the gym.  If you lift the same weight for 8 weeks straight, the muscle WILL NOT GROW.  You gotta increase the weight if you want to increase the muscle size.

Phase 2
Workout A:    Deadlift 5 reps x 5 sets.
Power Clean 8 reps x 3 sets.

Workout B:    Shoulder Press 5 reps x 5 sets.
Superset Bent Over Rows with Bench Press 8 reps x 4 sets.

Workout C:    Squat 5 reps x 5 sets.
Lunge 8 reps (each leg) x 3 sets.

Workout D:    Pull Ups 5 reps x 5 sets.
Superset Dips with High Pull 8 reps x 4 sets.

For Phase 2 you will train 4 days per week, training two days on, one day off, two days on, two days off.  As an example, you may do

  • Monday – Workout A
  • Tuesday – Workout B
  • Wednesday – Rest
  • Thursday – Workout C
  • Friday – Workout D
  • Saturday – Rest
  • Sunday – Rest

Muscle Building Diet

Nutritionist John Berardi says “Gaining weight is like going to war, and your weapon of choice is a fork”  I totally agree with him.

In the most basic sense, eat more than you’re eating now.  A lot more.  In a more specific sense, where I commonly recommend a carbohydrate restriction for weight loss, I recommend eating carbohydrates with each meal for muscle building.  When trying to put on muscle you should be eating anywhere from 3000-5000 calories per day depending on your current weight.  Building muscle is 80% diet and 20% lifting.  Your diet is that important.

But that’s not license to go crazy with Krispy Kreme and crapolla.  Oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat pastas and breads, and potatoes should be included in every meal.  But that’s not at the sacrifice of your protein source: you should be eating a good protein source with each meal.  Ideally about 6 oz. per meal.  Unless of course you’re of the vegetarian persuasion, then no problem. . . tofu will work, as will beans and rice.

And to keep your vitamin and mineral content on point, eat at least one serving of fruits or vegetables with each meal.  Nuts are another fine addition as they are calorically dense and nutrient packed. You can also check out the best supplements for building muscle for even more gains.

Also, bring on the dairy!  I’m typically not a big fan of dairy (is there another animal besides humans that drinks the milk of another animal?).  But if you’ve been afflicted with Skinny-Man Syndrome your whole life, slurping down the cow juice will go a long way in adding the calories you need to pack on slabs of muscle.

Drinking 1/2 gallon – 1 gallon of whole milk per day is a good idea if you’re super skinny.  It’ll add an additional 1200-2600 calories to your day.  Super skinny guys can put on 10-15 lbs in a month by doing this.

Get Protein Right After Your Workout

An important thing to remember is you need to make sure you are eating breakfast every day and also getting a lot of protein in right after your workout.  Most guys that are skinny, have problems getting enough protein, so 20 oz+ of chocolate milk right after a workout will help.  You can also eat protein after your workout, but chocolate milk is just much easier to deal with.

Strive to eat 3 meals per day with 3 snacks, with about three hours between meals.  A sample meal plan follows.  When in doubt, just friggin’ eat!

Meal Plans for Gaining Weight and Building Muscle

6:00am    4 eggs scrambled.  Serving of home fried potatoes with green pepper and onion.  Cup of oatmeal with mixed berries.

9:00am    8 oz glass whole milk.  Large handful of walnuts.  Fruit cup of melon and pineapple.

12:00pm    Stir-fried chicken and broccoli with a large serving of brown rice.

3:00pm    Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, and mustard. 1 apple with natural peanut butter.

6:00pm    Grilled steak with tomatoes, peppers, and onions wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla with cheddar cheese and black beans.  Side salad of raw spinach.

9:00pm    8 oz. glass whole milk.  1 banana.  Large handful of raw almonds.

The hardest thing about getting bigger is eating enough food.  To make it easier, I suggest cooking your meals ahead of time so they’re always ready.  You can cook on Sunday and have meals that will last until Thursday.  Things like burgers, chicken, pork, eggs, mashed potatoes, chili, and veggies can all be prepared ahead of time.

Recap – What you should be eating

Protein – Eggs, chicken, pork, steak, burgers, tofu, almonds, walnuts, peanut butter, chili, beans

Carbohydrates – Potatoes (mashed or baked), whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, rice (w/beans)

Vegetables and Fruits – Bananas, oranges, apples, strawberries, green beans, lentils, broccoli, cauliflower

Dairy – Whole milk, plain yogurt with fresh berries

Proper recovery is crucial for muscle building

In today’s fast-paced world, recovery can often be the most difficult component to get in place.  Do the following and your body will have the opportunity to process all of the lifting and eating into the muscles you desire.

  • Sleep: Do your damnedest to get in 8 hours per day.  A quick 20 minute nap in the afternoon is also great if you can squeeze it in.
  • No more circuits:  I love high intensity “Oh, shit I’m gonna puke” circuit training.  But it will be counterproductive if you’re trying to pack on the muscle.  You have to be stingy with your calories: save ’em for the heavy lifting and revisit the circuits when you’re ready to get lean.
  • Take Off Days Off:  Pay the neighborhood kid to cut the grass.  Forget about off-day “cardio” nonsense.  And unless your mortgage depends on it, avoid sport specific training if you can.  Again, we’re being stingy with the calories and providing the body time and energy to recover from the intense lifting sessions.
  • Relax!!!:  Meditate.  Read a book.  Pet the dog.   Or find a hobby that doesn’t involve jacking your heart rate.  Whatever you do, make time for activities that help you de-stress.

I’m trying to get bigger but it’s not working

If you’re following the plan above and you’re not seeing results, there are a few reasons for it.

1. You’re not eating enough

This is plain and simple.  If you’re following the plan above and you’re not gaining weight, then you’re not eating enough.  Even if you think you’re eating a lot, you’re obviously not because you’re not gaining any weight!

My tips for making sure you always have food around to eat are as follows…

  • Prepare meals in advance – You can prepare meals ahead of time for the next 3-4 days.  You might think “this sucks I dont want to eat the same thing”….well TOUGH!  What you’re doing right now obviously isn’t working, so it’s time to try something new.  When trying to build muscle food should be seen as fuel, not a delicious meal.
  • Keep your cupboards full – If you don’t have food to cook you’ll end up eating something that’s not going to help you build muscle.  Keep food around at all times.
  • Slurp the milk down – Seriously, if you’re not drinking 1/2 gallon – 1 gallon of whole milk per day, then get on it.  Buy 2-3 gallons in advance, and drink them throughout the week.

2. You’re not pushing yourself hard enough when you workout

When you workout, you should be grunting out the last few reps of every set.  That’s how intense each set should be.  If you’re doing shoulder presses and you float through each set without a “tough rep” then you need to add more weight to the bar.

If you find it hard to push yourself like many people do, find a workout partner who is motivated like you that will help push you during a workout.

Your biggest muscle gains come in the last few reps you crank out when you think you can’t do anymore.

Build Muscle

Want more info?

If you liked this article, and would like to build muscle ASAP,  I HIGHLY suggest checking out Terry Asher’s Muscle Gaining Recipes.  He lays out everything for you when it comes to meal plans and workouts and goes more indpeth than we can in an article like this.Bottom line…he knows his shit and he’ll get you building muscle right away.

Train Hard!

Old Author

– Vic

186 COMMENTS

  1. Great post Vic. I’ve always struggled to put on muscle and I know exactly why. I struggle to get adequate rest and recovery. It’s just so hard to switch everything off and say “Right. I’m going to bed now”. I always think of one more thing to do before going to bed.

    I am improving though. I was getting around 5 hours most nights but now I am getting about 6-7 hours each night. There’s still room for improvement before I hit the 8+ mark but I’m getting there.

  2. hi i am a indian (total vegetarian)
    i am working out in gym since october,,
    & i am 6 feet + 56 Kg ( very low)
    so can u help me what diet i should take in veg. & what exercises i should do when i do less exercises i feel i haven’t done anything : & i can do nearly all exercises.
    But my weight isn’t rising as it should
    and yea.. i take whey protein aswell..
    is that enough?
    please reply
    Thank you
    – Azee

  3. sorry, i forgot one important thing i don’t want a body like a body builder.
    I want body like Brad Pitt in Fight Club
    lean not too bulky but with whole definitions.
    -Azee

  4. @Azee: So you want to look like Brad Pitt? Don’t we all. I hate to break it to you, but I suspect Mr. Jolie is a genetic freak and could probably eat McDonald’s 4 times per day and still be ripped. I’m not saying he didn’t train his ass off to look the way he did for Fight Club (my all time favorite movie); I’m saying he probably has a genetic predisposition for being lean that is a bit “abnormal”.

    That being said, let’s focus on creating the best Azee that we can. At your height and weight the last thing you need to worry about is getting “too bulky”. Shit man, what you NEED is a little bulk. I recommend that you follow the above lifting and resting protocols listed in the article, and make one important adjustment to the diet: eat as much as physically possible!

    I’m serious. Instead of eating every three hours, try every two. When you sit down to eat, eat until you are full. And then eat some more. You mentioned whey protein, so I assume dairy is ok with your dietary practices. Whole milk and lots of it is what I recommend as your secret weapon to gaining weight.

    And don’t use being a vegetarian as an excuse for not gaining muscle. Check out vegan Mike Mahler and his article at the following link for more in depth guidance.

    http://www.mikemahler.com/articles/vegan_diet.html

    Good luck and train hard!
    -Vic

  5. Are you supposed to lift the same weight for 5 reps and 8 reps or add weight after each set with regards to your how to build muscle workout, thanks

  6. @ David, you should lift the same weight for the full 5×5 or 4×8 .

    So if you’re doing a 140 lb bench press, you should be doing 5 sets of 5 reps at 140 lbs. Make sure that 140 lbs is the most weight you can do. You want to push yourself to the max. I’d rather have you hit reps of 5-5-5-4-4 with max effort than breeze through 5-5-5-5-5…. understand?

    Every workout you should be trying to increase the weight (even if its small). So if you did 5 sets of 5 for 140 lbs this week, next time you should be shooting for 143 (if your gym has small plates) or 145 lbs

    The muscle will never continue to grow if you’re putting up the same weight each week….

    -Vic

  7. Excellent article. I like the fact that on your site, you have to separate articles for people that want to gain muscle, and another article for those that want to lose weight.

    Often, people want to do both, but it’s just not practical.

  8. Hey Vic–

    I’m a pretty skinny guy (6’2, 150lbs) and what I’d like to shoot for is more bulk in my pecs, triceps, shoulders, and lats, and abs would be nice although mine are already toned enough for me. My question is: Should I be definitely working with weights on a bar, or is it fine to continue working out with my friend at the little gym area in his apartment? I work several machines there, aimed mainly at chest, triceps, and lats. Any thoughts?

  9. @ Tom: Thanks for the protein foods link!

    @ Thomas: A few thoughts. . . yes, a switch to barbell movements from machines will go a long way in achieving your goal for putting on some size. Also, try to switch your mentality from “body part” training to overall development. It might sound counter intuitive, but hitting the heavy deadlifts and squats will help add the size you seek in your upper body. And a final thought. . . eat like it’s your f’n job!

  10. hi
    this is jabed from bangladesh. i started to going gym since couple of week.i m 23 years old and 73 kg is my weight. i wanna a body with no fat, nice muscle. what workout and diet should i do?
    please reply
    Thank you
    jabed

    • @ jabed: 73kg might be a fine weight depending on your height. In fact, that’s what I weigh (I’m 5’8″, sorry don’t have the metric conversion right now). As far as workout, I’m always going to recommend the multi-joint movements for exercise selection. If you’re new to the gym I recommend our Strength Program or Beginner’s Program. As far as diet, do your best to eat real foods and stay away from processed crap. And I know it sounds simple but. . . if you want to gain weight, eat more. If you want to lose weight, eat less. Hey, fitness training isn’t exactly rocket science. :)

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  12. im doing 5×5 before i went on your website and still am but i add weight after every set so if im lifting 70 pound dumbells on the 3 set im either doing 75 or 80 pound dumbells on the 4 set and so on and i like the site it great but i dont know how doing the same weight for every set compared to what im doing is better……i think the sites awsome……….thanks in advance

    • @ joe: Increasing your weight is fine. For advanced clients, I like to actually decrease the weight when doing the 5 x 5 protocol. What I mean is after sufficient warm up, put the greatest amount of weight on the bar that can be moved for 5 reps. If the weight is truly the greatest amount that can be lifted 5 times in the first set, then the weight should need to be reduced slightly to hit 5 reps in the second set (unless rest is sufficient for max recovery between sets, which is another technique all together. . .). The bottom line is that staying the same weight for all 5 sets works, increasing the weight each set works, and decreasing the weight each set works. Rest intervals will vary depending on the protocol, but it all works. This is why tracking your workouts is crucial – if increasing the weight each set is making you stronger – keep it up!

  13. Vic, I started your “build muscle” workout back in February while deployed here in Iraq. I’m a classic hardgainer (5’10, 154lbs) and hadn’t been able to find a workout that worked for me, until now. Thanks for the great advice and tips! P.S. I went from deadlifting 50lbs to 200lbs in a month and a half! Keep up the great work!

  14. first of all, great article Vic!
    I stand at 6’5″ and weigh 95kgs and have been working out for close to one and a half months now. i work out 4days a week and am taking whey supplements. i’ve noticed that i have been gaining some fat with the little amount of muscle i believe i’ve put on. i want to get bigger but mostly with lean muscle. help…

  15. hey vic loved you article.
    Im 21 5’9 150 pounds im on my first deployment to iraq and have challanged myself to gain some weight and start working out. Im wondering if you would recommend any supplements that would help me in my goal.
    thanks

  16. Altura, if you’re looking to lean out you have to watch your diet. Stick to the lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and some healthy fats like nuts and olive oil. Also, take some time for your training to really kick in and become a habit. If you’ve only been training for one and a half months, there’s still plenty of room to pack on muscle and to get lean. Train hard!

  17. Isaac, I’m not a fan of supplements. If you’re going to take them, remember that supplements should only “supplement” real food. So make sure your diet is tight before you start looking for magic potions. And with your goal being weight gain, plenty of real food is going to be the best thing for you. I know it can be tough in the military, let alone on deployment, but do your best to eat lots of good protein sources like meat and eggs as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables. For weight gain, I typically recommend carbohydrate consumption to be relatively high. So your whole grain foods are ok, as is dairy if you tolerate it well. Best of luck in your training efforts and thank you for your service.

    • Hey Vic, thanks for the great article!!!

      I have a question though:

      I’ve started to work out again at the beginning of the week, and I’ve nearly finished the protein shake container I used before (when I used to work out a few months ago)…that one was “Body X Fortress 100% Premium Whey Protein 52g” which I picked off the rack at a Target store.
      Now I need to buy a new Protein shake: I’ve looked online and everybody is recommending Optimum 100% Whey Protein (maybe for the price?)…Anyway, I’m not sure if it would suit me, as I’m a bit skinny (less than average body type), and I’m trying to gain some weight while grow strong muscles as well…

      The protein shake says on the label:
      Servings: 75
      Calories: 130
      Protein: 24
      Carbs: 4
      Fat: 1.5

      Would that suit me? Or do I need one with more calories & fat (though I don’t want to gain fat but muscles..)

      Thanks for any info you can provide me with!

  18. Hi Vic

    Love this site.

    About a month ago I started to do free weights with an a – b workout, Its killer and killing me, I am so sore. I used to do machines for over a year and Im here to tell you free weights are much better.

    But I never here anything about this

    Is it ok to work out every 3 days on a A-B schedule. , I’m always so sore when I do m-w-f work outs

    I do

    A-workout

    f.w. squatt
    cable step lunge
    dips
    bench press
    over head press

    B-workout

    dead lift
    pull ups then pull downs i can only do 5 pull ups
    rows
    cable twist
    planks do these at home also

    All free weights

    And I workout 110% every time and I do 5×5 -3×10 I mix it up alot, always trying to push myself

    Have another question about protein drinks

    I here so much bad press about them.

    I have one per day with lots of berries, 1/2 of a banana ,walnuts, a little half/half and water with 1 scoop. Anything wrong with that, I love them there like desert.

    I am trying to gain muscle weight but I am afraid to eat alot because I can’t get rid of that last 3 pounds around my lower belly thats been there for 6 months and counting-really 20 years

    Thanks vic, for the hard work

  19. Yo Vic,

    What it is? It’s J from Nam. Started to work out consistently for about a month now after seeing some of your crazy-ass workouts. I like the advice of eating everything and eating lots. What advice can you give a guy that battles gout too (like you know who). I’ve been told to cut back on foods rich in proteins…how am I able to gain weight if I can’t take in protein?

    Thanks,

    J

  20. TO VIC, THE MAN WHO KNOWS HOW TO SQUAT

    I AM 6′ 3″ AND I AM HAVING A HARD TIME PUTTING ON THE WEIGHT DOING THE SQUAT, AND I HAVE LONG LEGS.

    WHEN I GO DEEP AS I ALWAYS DO, ITS HARD TO GET BACK UP. IS THAT NORMAL BECAUSE OF THESE ISSUES.
    AND IV’E TRIED DIFFERENT STANCES TO BOOT

    IT JUST MAKES SINCE TO ME THAT THE SHORTER YOU ARE THE EASIER SQUATS WOULD BE

    THANKS JOHN

  21. john: Yes, you may in fact have leverage working against you with long legs (or a long torso) in the squat. But that’s no excuse not to do the movement. We all have to play the hand we’re dealt (I’d gladly accept a leverage disadvantage in my squat to pick up 7 inches in height!), so the key is to keep the weight light until you learn the movement properly. And that might mean using no weight at all until you get the technique down solid. Keep at it, and it will pay off in the end. Train hard!

    • Yea I totally agree with that statement. I am 6 foot and I had similar problems with having long legs not only with squats but deadlifts too. Sometimes not being flexible enough in the ankles and hips can make it hard to do the full movement with longs legs. I started to use a curved deadlift bar for deadlifts instead of a straight bar. That helped too.

  22. The muscle building exercise pattern seem relatively similar to the strength gaining ones, could you tell me the key differences.

    • The strength workout has lower reps for most exercises. The strength workout is for pure strength, while the muscle building workout is more geared towards hypertrophy (getting bigger muscles)

      Both workouts are great, it just depends on which one fits your goals.

      – Vic

  23. Hey Vic, thanks for the article, it sounds great!!!
    I have a question though:

    ‘ve started to work out again at the beginning of the week, and I’ve nearly finished the protein shake container I used before (when I used to work out a few months ago)…that one was “Body X Fortress 100% Premium Whey Protein 52g” which I picked off the rack at a Target store.
    Now I need to buy a new Protein shake: I’ve looked online and everybody is recommending Optimum 100% Whey Protein (maybe for the price?)…Anyway, I’m not sure if it would suit me, as I’m a bit skinny (less than average body type), and I’m trying to gain some weight while grow strong muscles as well…

    The protein shake says on the label:
    Servings: 75
    Calories: 130
    Protein: 24
    Carbs: 4
    Fat: 1.5

    Would that suit me? Or do I need one with more calories & fat (though I don’t want to gain fat but muscles..)

    Thanks for any info you can provide me with!

    • Joe, I have never been a fan of protein supplements. From all of the clients I have trained, I will tell you that they all get the BEST results from eating REAL food, not supplements when it comes to putting on muscle.

      For the $75 you spend on a supplment, you could easily buy 8-10 flank steaks, potatoes, milk and rice. This will do a HELL OF A LOT more for you when it comes to building muscle than any powder or pill ever could.

      Remember your diet is 80% of the “secret sauce” when it comes to putting on muscle.

      Good luck man!

      – Vic

  24. Hi Vic,

    To the list of “How to videos” can you please add “stiff leg dead lift” with information on how to do ,muscles targeted, common mistakes ..etc.

    Thanks in advance
    -Narasimha

  25. Hi Vic,
    I’m new to your site, but just love the really informative articles and videos. I have a muscle gaining question I hope you can help with.

    After a weights workout I often still feel muscle sore for two days afterwards. Since I am learning that rest & recovery is so important for muscle growth should I wait until the soreness has passed or push ahead with the one day on, one day off style regime?

    Thanks for any info you can provide and thanks again for such a great site.

    Leon.

  26. Hi Vic,

    Im from India. Am 35 5,11′ and 73kgs with a body fat % of 16. Ive just started on your beginners workout programme.ive been goin to the gym for the past year and play a lot of sport. I am rather thin and reasonably toned, but for a slightly heavy midsection. Id like put on some muscle esp my biceps and chest. Id like to know can i only do your beginners workout 3 days a week while i do yoga and cardio on the other 3 days( i do turbulence training on the other 3 days as well) …what is your view on protein supplements? whey isolate and the mass gainer? Is it required? BTW i am not vegetarian.

  27. Hi Vic,

    I am 6 foot 5 inches and 17 years old and am looking to build muscle mass.

    I would consider myself skinny, however my BMI is 20.3 which is considered normal weight.

    How skinny are you refering to when you say skinny?

    I can see the bottom of my ribs, would you say this article would apply to me?

    Thanks,
    Tom

  28. hi vic
    you are doing a great job.the website and the videos are awesome and i try to follow the form and advise.
    after i read this article i am following jason ferruggia’s mgs workouts to the last letter.i was wondering since i am not particularly skinny and i’ve put on 14 kilos (along with six inches around my waist) since i left army in january.should i keep following it.my strenght has increased tremendously but i am apprehensive after a friend said that the program just suits hard gainers.

    • My opinion is if you scale back your calories a little (especially from the carbs) but keep following Jason’s workouts, you’ll be happy with your results. The Muscle Gaining Secrets program gets my full endorsement. That being said (and you can see me say this all over the comments of this blog) you have to track and test. That means keep detailed notes of your diet and exercise and regularly check your results. That is the ONLY way to know if what you are doing is working for you. And if it’s not working, don’t do it.

  29. Hi Vic

    Im from India. Am 35 5,11′ and 73kgs with a body fat % of 16. Ive just started on your beginners workout programme.ive been goin to the gym for the past year and play a lot of sport. I am rather thin and reasonably toned, but for a slightly heavy midsection. Id like put on some muscle esp my biceps and chest. Id like to know can i only do your beginners workout 3 days a week while i do yoga and cardio on the other 3 days( i do turbulence training on the other 3 days as well) …what is your view on protein supplements? whey isolate and the mass gainer? Is it required? BTW i am not vegetarian.

  30. im from scotland and weight about 86kgs height of 5.9 been doing weights for a good while and am stuck at this point still tryin put on muscle so am gonna try the above and c what happens and aim for about 95kgs

    . main thing i wanan no is that my job is to push trolleys lol so this is like a mass cardio – i try us the machine most time. i do it 3 times a week part time so should i do my weights before and after it ? or on the opposite days? ty and great site

  31. […] How to build muscle for skinny guys (w/ workouts and meal plan … […]

  32. I believe that I am a hardgainer because right now I am 15 years old, six foot, and I weigh about 133. I have been looking at your site (which I must say is wonderfully crafted with boatloads of useful information) and noticed that there are two different workout plans; one for gaining muscle and one for gaining strength. Is there any possible way that you could combine these two workouts into one that will build muscle mass and muscle strength at the same time? Should I even be trying to do both at the same time, or should I do one at a time and in what fashion?

    Please help with my dilemma and thank you in advance for your anwser.

    • At your age, I recommend you stick to the basic barbell movements and not worry too much about strength versus size. You will see great results in both areas regardless of the repetition or set range just because you are new to training. That being said, be sure to learn proper technique on all the lifts. If you lay the groundwork now with proper technique you could in all seriousness be setting yourself up for excellent health and fitness for life. Learn the basics. Stick to the basics. Until you are at least 18.

  33. Could I follow this plan (specifically the diet portion and calorie intake) as someone in the 280 range how would like to build muscle and loss fat?

    I’ve been really motivated reading this. I’m a teacher and decided to make this summer count. I’ve been hitting the gym 1.5 hours/day, for 5-6 days a week, and although I am feeling/seeing results, I don’t think I am working smart. I think I might really get on track with this info. Thanks so much!

  34. Thanks also for the confidence to (and proper form) to go free weights. I’ve been using machines exclusively (another reason my workout goes on so long). I just keep thinking of the strides I’ve made on machines over 4 weeks and want to kick myself for not finding this site sooner. =)

    • At about 280lbs, you are almost certainly going to want to tweak your diet as follows: eat lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, some nuts and seeds. And that’s it. Eliminate grain based carbohydrate foods and dairy too if you can. The meal plan for muscle building is designed for guys who have trouble gaining weight; anyone over 200 lbs is not a hard gainer.

  35. Hi Vic, Your website is great, I have been following your meal plans, basically eating like a caveman. This has made me think about what exactly i am putting into my body and what i can ditch from my diet. Things like artificial sweeteners i can do without. Also i have cut protein powders from my diet, these have been a staple of mine for a while but i feel better eating “natural”. Only thing im struggling with is idea’s for breakfast protein (having eggs, oats, milk and fruit) when i need something quickly digestible. Also post workout need food thats going to give insulin spike with quickly digestible protein ( having couple of bananas with honey and large low fat yogurt). Does this seem appropriate or could you give a better example. Keep up the good work!!!

    • I like (and have had good success with) chocolate milk for post workout nutrition. If you are trying to pack on muscle, drink a pint – at least a pint!

      As far as quick eats for breakfast, I have used breakfast burritos when trying to gain weight. Precook what you need for the week – tortilla, scrambled eggs, cheese (you are on the muscle building plan), peppers, onion, even sausage. They keep pretty well for a few days. I’d eat them in the car as I drive to work.

  36. You mention sticking with phase 1 (3days/week) for a minimum of 4 weeks (How I wish I hadn’t wasted June working out on machines and wasting away on a treadmill). The wait is killing me! I am going stir crazy waiting for my 4 weeks to be done so I can get on a 4day/week schedule of lifting heavy shi..err..stuff. It’s just that it has become so freaking addictive. This may be the best summer of my life!

    • If you are brand new to lifting, I recommend sticking to the four week minimum. If you have previous training experience and you feel ready to jump to the 4 time per week phase, go for it!

  37. Hey Vic i am 19 years old and stand 6feet tall and weight 130 pounds i need some serious help i wanna build more muscle and build mass got any tips that could help me

    • Eat like it’s your f’n job. That’s my biggest tip. All the stuff I tell people not to eat for fat loss, you want to eat it. Dairy if your body handles it well, complex carb sources like oatmeal, brown rice, and whole grains. You still want to avoid prepackaged crap and sugary sweets for the most part. But good wholesome food eat with reckless abandon.

      Oh, and lift. But seriously, the food is the most important part of your weight gain quest.

  38. Hi Vic, first of all, thanks a lot, I really learn a lot reading what you write and following it, its of great help to me. I’m an Indian and again as one said in previous comments, I’m a pure vegetarian, but since I’m working out for past 1 year or so, i’ve gained weight and now weigh 72Kgs(6 feet), but my main problem is that though I’ve gained weight considerably since working out, I’m not seeing muscles grow appropriately to my weight(by the way I gained 15kgs in a year), especially my biceps, it’s not growing AT ALL, so I really do need help in this case, please do help me…

    • Pull ups and chin ups are the way to go if you want to put some size to your biceps. But keep in mind that the triceps actually make up more of the arm than the biceps. So if it’s bigger arms you’re after, be sure to include some pushing work for the triceps.

  39. Great post. This is something i live by daily and have been doing so for most of my life. I started of as the skinny guy so I’ll be keep this on the wall, on my iphone or where ever is convenient. I know how much hard work it is to eliminate ‘chicken leg syndrome’ and is something i talked about in a recent post. I even wrote a ‘part 2’. But what you have here is a detailed routine. I will use and pass on.

    Shaun
    SFB

  40. Hey Vic!
    Amazing site you got here

    I am 16 years old, 6’1, and only 120lbs. I have always been very very skinny with hardly any muscle. I have never seen anybody skinnier than me and my friends always call me skinny. I have started working out 3 days ago at a gym, because i would like to build muscles and get really ripped. I was just wondering could you give me a diet plan, regarding what i should eat and when. Include what i should eat before working out and what after.
    Please answer
    Thank you!

    • First, forget about getting ripped. For now at least. Second, eat like it is your job! I mean just f’n eat, man! Do your best to stick with real foods and be sure to include all of the stuff I normally tell people not to eat like bread, potatoes, rice, beans, pasta, and dairy. Still be sure to get good protein sources, vegetables, and fruits too. Do not get hung up on how much of this or that to eat. Just eat man eat!

  41. Hey I’d just like to say: nice site! I stumbled across it accidentally but it seems pretty cool anyway. :)

    Ok about me, I’m 20, about 5’10/5’11 and I weigh 116 pounds which I know is skinny, so I need to get a bigger body.

    I found a picture of what kind of body I’d like it’s just I wanted to ask if your workout plan and diet is appropriate for a body like this, or if it needs to be changed somehow.

    Here’s the link anyway: http://www.underu.com/storefront/images/15848_thumbnail.jpg

    I don’t know what you’d call that body really, toned with a bit of muscle maybe?

    But yeah, any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks. :)

    • I have no idea. I don’t know your age, height, or genetic predisposition. My standard answer as you can see from this comments is to eat like it’s your f’n job! If you are a hard gainer and you are trying to pack on muscle (and you must be damned tall to be 180lbs and worried about packing on size), just eat. Eat real foods, but eat as much of them as you can. Good luck.

  42. Hey, great work on this routine, I’m one of these “skinny guys” trying to get some muscle on these twig-like bones. So I have what may be a silly question for you – if I’m eating this much and not doing any cardio, I feel like I’m gonna end up with a big old gut. I mean, really…should I worry about this? It just doesn’t seem like this amount of lifting will distribute all of the food intake evenly, if you know what I mean. Anyway – incredible job on this site, I’m telling everyone I know about it!

    • Here’s what you do: you track it. You write down everything you eat, record every workout, and then check your results once per week. If you feel like your bodyfat is creeping up higher than you like, you can look back at your meals and make an educated decision on what to cut back on. Good luck!

  43. 2009-08-09

    Im new to weight lifting, ive tried it a couple of times but not really stuck to it. I started doing an only push-up based workout. I would see results in 8weeks, i did it for 6 and didnt see any results, so i stopped.

    Now im more engergetic, commited, dedicated, and motivated to start this program. I really dont want to look like bulky but just lean and have definitions like Randy Orton and Evan Bourne from the WWE.

    Any advice Vic for a beginner like me?

    • Stick to the big basic movements. Eat real food. Get adequate rest. Train with intensity. It really is that simple. But like i say, simple does not mean easy. Good luck.

  44. Great article, glad I found this. I have a couple questions for my particular situation. Do you have any alternative exercises to things like squats, deadlifts, and shoulder presses? I have mild scoliosis (curvature of the spine) so I am somewhat limited in what I can do, things that can stress my spine in a bad way.

    I’ve been a skinny guy all my life as well, about 140-145lbs at 6′ since high school (now 32). I recently started hitting the gym again about 6 months ago (at 142lbs) with a quest to get in shape and build some mass. I’ve successfully gotten to 158lbs and looking to get more, so this information will definitely help. Currently on a 3 day a week routine, would you recommend bumping up to 4 days? A large part of my routine is core type exercises to help my spine, I am also going to incorporate some of your advice from this site into my workouts as well now, thanks!

    • The best advice I can give you is to talk to a doctor who specializes in sports medicine. Those guys seem to do everything they can to keep you active while keeping your health in mind. With your spinal issues, I have to defer to the docs on this one. Best of luck to you.

  45. How to build muscle for skinny guys (w/ workouts and meal plan … | Peoples Deserve to Live in Peace

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  46. Hi Vic, I’m 17 6’2 in height and about 63kgs in weight, yes very low. its shit annoying, i eat a lot (but i don’t think enough)anyway i was wondering is there any tips you can give to a guy who still goes to school and is busy doing homework during the evenings. just things like how to even gain weight under a tight schedule before even considering working out??? also any quick fire carb foods which i cud take in school??? (anything which doesn’t contain nuts as i think there may be a ‘no nuts’ policy in are school for allergy’s)but really any foods that will benefit me will be greatly appreciated !!! thanks dave, great article btw!

    • Dave, no doubt you have to eat. And eat a lot. Whole milk is a good way to go if it treats your stomach right. The milk might be tough to take to school, but could be great before school and in the evenings. Maybe try some big-ass sandwiches to take to school with you. And I mean load ’em up! Meat, cheese, bread – pile it high. What ever you do, you have to make eating a top priority to put on any size. Good luck!

  47. I’m 54 and have been doing cardio and lifting for about 3 years now. I use different routines generally changing up every 4 weeks or so. My goals are to stay strong and fit but not put on weight so I just eat an average amount each day. My diet is very good BTW. Naturally it’s about functional strength but looking better isn’t a bad side benefit. Would you recommend this routine or something different considering my goals. Thanks

  48. Hey Vic, I’m Raj from Sydney here.

    I’m a high school boy who recently turned seventeen, and I will enter my final year at school this year, (this means I need to study hard). I understand everything in your article, but I have some problems. I find it daunting that I need to get so much workout, sleep, and eating done everyday, what with studying and all. As you know, the (dominantly) Anglo population in this country are much bigger than people of my ethnicity, and I am desperate to get to normal weight. I am 5 foot and 7 and a half inches and I weigh 58 kg.

    I don’t have the monetary resources or time (nor would my school let me) have 6 meals per day. My parents probably will have a heart attack even if I asked for the cash to pay for all this food. And they’d be worried about my studies. Plus I don’t have all the weight sets that you talk about, nor do i have the time to go to a gym regularly. It’s also hard to get a full 8 hours of sleep but i can try.
    I dont want to be a full ripped body builder, but I want to be heavier than I am now. I think you actually know what I want, but it’s hard to explain, sort of like normal weight but slightly musclier?
    Anyway, since my goals are not as demanding as most others, I hope you can recommend some more lenient changes to your routine.

    Thanks, and you can contact me personally at the email address submitted. I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Raj,
      Number one – drop the damn excuses. That is your biggest problem. We all have challenges, whether they be financial, time management, or otherwise. Decide that you are going to reach your goals. And then let nothing stop you. Period.

      You are definitely light, but you are also young. Your weight will catch up with you in just a few years (coming from a guy who gained about 20 “good” pounds from age 17 to 20). But you can do your best to accelerate the process. . .

      Don’t have equipment? Sure you do. Go find a BFR (that’s an old Army acronym for Big Fucking Rock) and lift that and throw that and carry that. And when that becomes easy go find a Bigger F’n Rock. Bodyweight training can also be beneficial: if you cannot do 40 strict push ups, then bodyweight training can do you good. Pull ups too. . . don’t leave out the pull ups. Don’t have a pull up bar? Go find a tree branch – no excuses. Don’t have weights for squats? Go push a car. Or just drag some heavy shit around, like an old tire strapped to a piece of rope. Use your imagination and you can get plenty of training options.

      As far as food, you might have to go with less than ideal sources if finances are an issue. But at your weight, you can damned near eat ANYTHING in your weight gaining efforts. Peanut butter. Whole milk. Ground beef. Get on it, man!

      Don’t even worry one bit about becoming a fully ripped body builder – it ain’t gonna happen. Eat your ass off. Lift heavy stuff. Rest.

      And let us know how it goes. . . Good luck and train hard!

      • Thanks mate,

        And I also wanted to know your thoughts on a 17 year old taking Whey protein… Would it be healthy? I work out 4 days a week with one 10kg dumb bell i have at home, and have been eating as much real food as can prepare. After a 4 months starting my workout I gained 3 kg, then stalled for about another 3 months, then to date I lost all I gained and am back to original weight. I read that taking whey protein 3 times a day as a meal supplement bulks you up like nothing else can. Before I rush out and buy some, can you tell me whether this is incredibly unhealthy?

        • I’m always going to recommend real food over some powdered crap. Are you currently drinking whole milk? If so, how much? If you are drinking less than a gallon a day (yes that is a lot), then try increasing the whole milk before you resort to the whey protein powder.

        • I’m guessing a gallon is around… 4 litres? Wow ok I’m drinking about 1 litre of milk per day. Does 4 litres mean I don’t have to drink water? And how do I take it to school so it doesn’t go off?

        • Thanks for the help Vic, and yeah, I didn’t realise how expensive whey protein was either. I’ve started drinking about a litre of milk a day, And in 3 weeks I’ve gained about a kilo. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m going.

          I’ve read the bit about aiming to change weights within 8 weeks. My dad bought me a barbell rod the other weekend for about 20 bucks, and with an old coffee table, some stools and a coupla telephone books, I have a bench press and about 25kg worth of weight discs, if I wanna pack on the kilos but I can’t get more weights, will upping the reps make my pecs bigger? I’ve got a problem with finding really HIGH intensity heavy weight exercises for my entire torso in general, and I’ve been doing sit ups which I’m not sure encourages growth.

          I hope I’m not completely bugging you but you’re the only professional I talk to, and I’m really dedicated. If in the next 6 months I break the dreamy 65kg barrier I promise to send you a “before and after” pic.

          Cheers from Sydney

          • Good to hear the milk is helping. Ideal rep range for putting on size is 6 – 12 reps (with about 8 seeming to be the sweet spot for most people). Using enough weight to keep you in that range is best, but we all do what we have to do. And if that means more reps for you, then go for it.

            I’ll be waiting on those before and after pics! Train hard!

  49. Vic,

    Im 23 years of age. I’m 5′ 11″ and weigh 180lbs. Would it be okay for me to pack on more muscle or should I be focusing on getting lean. Also I would like to know if cardio is okay when trying to pack on muscle. I want to be big, but not fat. I run about 8 miles a week right now. I usually run after I work out. Let me know what you think and I do truly value your opinion. Thanks for the great article.

    • Only you can decide if you should put on more muscle. 180lbs at your height could be a fine weight, then again you may want to put on a few pounds. Hard for me to tell. . .

      I will say that if you are using long slow running as a fat loss tactic, you are wasting your time. To get lean, you need high intensity interval training. If you like to run and you want to lose fat, then run sprints. Hill sprints are awesome!

      Good luck and train hard!

      • Thanks Vic for the great advice. I will start switching my running to more fast twitch activities and sprints instead of long runs. Maybe only do 1 long run a week. I just wanted to make sure running wouldn’t hurt my progress in gaining muscle. Sorry to ask but is there an ideal time to run. Is it ok to do it after you lift on the same day. Again, thanks for your help and great article.

  50. Hey Vic,

    I’ve just started working out for about 3 weeks now and I would really like to build more muscle and get a lean body without getting big. I weigh about 135lbs and my height is around 5ft7.I’m also starting to take creatine and protein supplements. The thing is I read online that an ectomorph (skinny guy) person (which I am) has a harder time building muscle. What would you recommend I do? FYI..I work out every day of the week. strength and then cardio n every other day. By the way..great post

    Mike D

    • First ditch the cardio. Keep your 3 day per week weight training, but rest on the off days.

      Second. Eat! I mean eat until you are uncomfortable. And eat real food, not powdered crap that comes in a tub. And get those carbs (the only time I recommend these are for weight gain): dairy, whole grains, beans, etc.

      Third. Train hard! Good luck.

  51. Hi Vic,

    Thanks for the information you posted on this website. It is really very helpful.

    My body is very lean. I just want to start going to Gym. Here I am in confusion where to start. I read two articles related to me. One is “The Beginner’s workout” and other one is “How to build muscles for Skinny Guys”. Which one should I follow first. Please advice me.

    Thanks you very much for everything.

    Have a nice day!

    Best Regards,
    Kanna.

    • I’d start with the Beginner’s Workout for at least 4 weeks. Then switch to the muscle building workout. How do you know when to switch? When you stop seeing gains from the beginner’s workout. Track your results; it’s the only way to know when to make adjustments. Train hard!

  52. Hi Vic,

    when following the above meal plan. Should I be working out after the 6pm meal or should I working out before the 6pm meal?

    Regards
    Ross

  53. I’ve been hunting for and reading info on how to gain weight my whole life. This article sums it up better in one short piece than I have ever seen before, spot on. If you’re trying to gain muscle weight follow it to the letter and you won’t be disappointed! Just do it!

  54. Hey Vic, great workouts and plans :) thanks
    um, im 16 and i weigh 79kg/174lbs, and ive got some fat on my stomach and waist, legs etc. not arms, but i wanna burn the fat first then gain muscle? (or do it at the same time?)
    do you think theres a possible workout like circuits or cardio to burn the fat but after do some workouts to gain muscle or something?
    im planning to like burn fat, so see some decrease in weight but then obviously an increase after when gaining and toning muscles.
    Thanks.

    • If you have fat you don’t want, focus on diet first. Eat real food: fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and nuts. From there, use the compound barbell movements (have a qualified trainer teach you the exercises if you are not familiar with them). Get plenty of sleep. At your age, that should do the trick. Good luck.

  55. Hi Vic!

    Firstly, great site: It’s straight to the point and at last I have found a workout that makes sense!

    Heres my question:

    I am about 6′ 1″ and weigh around 170 pounds. Which i guess is a pretty healthy weight for my height.

    I have been working out for a few weeks now, and have recently found your site.

    Question is, should I focus on losing what fat I do have first before eating like crazy? or go straight into the eating lots and strength training? It seems to me I cant balance losing weight (around stomach) and putting on muscle mass. I do need to lose a little fat but not huge anounts, mainly around the stomach area.

    Also, I love your exercise plans, however I find them a little short. Is there anything wrong with adding a few more exercises to the end of your regimes? ie, squats, chest press, then dips then barbell curl or pullups?

    thanks in advance

  56. I get that milk is good for gaining weight, but will I gain fat or muscle, or does it depend on how I work out? I’m 6’0″ and 150lbs. I’d like to add 10lbs of lean muscle, but I”m the ulitmate hard gainer. In the past I’ve done a pretty good job of putting on fat though. I used to weigh 185, but it was all visceral fat in my abdomen, and I don’t want that back…

    • Here’s the thing. . . you might gain some body fat, but it won’t happen over night. That’s why it is important to monitor your progress every week. If you notice the body fat creeping up, try cutting back on the milk and see what happens. It’s a constant game of testing and course correction. And that’s what makes training fun. Enjoy the process!

  57. I am 5′ 10″ weight about 155lbs I am putting together a calorie diet

    is 55% Carbs, 30% Protein and 15% Fat a Good Break Up or should something be changed around?

    • It’s a starting point. I’d probably go a bit heavier on the fat with things like nuts and dairy, but the only way to know for sure is to test and track. Record your weight each week. Write down everything you eat. If you are gaining weight, then you are on the right track. If you are not gaining weight, you need to adjust your diet, exercise, or rest – but diet is usually the primary suspect.

  58. Hi Vic,

    I’m 5′ 10″ and weigh 74kg but the majority of that weight is made up of fat etc (I have never lifted weights or done any strength training before) should I do cardio to loose the fat first and then get started on your above workout (I’m pretty skinny but getting a bit of a belly etc I guess its just a skinny bone structure ) or should I just dive right into it and get eating!!!! (and working out obviously)

    Thanks

    • Starting with the Muscle Building program will be fine. And as long as you eat clean foods (meaning “real” foods) and eat reasonable quantities, you will likely see a reduction in your body fat as well as an increase in muscle. This is largely due to your novice status. Your body will change significantly in the first 12 weeks or so because the stimulus is so new. Just get in the habit of regular exercise for a few months and then make a decision about your body composition goals.

  59. Hello Vic,

    I’m 5’9 155 lbs. I need to build muscle and loose belly fat…So,I have started following your diet plan and workout plan. But I have a question…At phase-I, Is it ok that I do both workouts A and B in a single day and follow it doing three days a week. I’m actually able to do that way….and if it is ok…will it affect the body muscle growth? OR do i need to simply follow as you have said?

    Thanks
    Raj

    • I recommend doing it as written and not doing two workouts in one day. Your body needs recovery time from the workouts. And unless you’ve been training a long time and are familiar with your body’s natural rhythms of recovery, I do not recommend training twice per day.

  60. I am 19 yrs old, i am 5’11” and i weight 116lbs. I have a gym membership and i eat very well. I also down whey protein like no tomorrow but I cannot gain weight to save my life. Do you have any suggestions for me.

    • Robert follow the workout plan above and EAT, EAT, EAT.

      At your height and weight, the last thing you need to think about is “eating clean”. Start trying to put down 3500 calories per day and I guarantee you’l start to gain weight. On the plan above eating 3500+ calories you should be able to put on 15-20 lbs in a few months.

      Try to drink 1/2 gallon of milk or more per day if you need help getting more calories.

  61. […] it’s getting stronger with heavy weights and low reps, leaning out with the primal diet, or packing on some muscle, I am my own lab rat (but never a […]

  62. Vic, is it ok to use the same weight on all the lifts for a particular workout? I’m talking especially about the supersets, since I use Ironmaster adjustable dumbbells and wouldn’t be able to go straight from one lift to the other without rest as required. I know that’s not ideal but would it set me back too much?

  63. Hi vic, your website is great.

    I am 6ft 1 tall and weigh just over 14 stone (90kg / 200.2 pounds) i would like to gain perhaps 2 stone more. I am working out 3 times a week and eating quite alot. my daily diet consits of > Cereal with mixed nuts for breakfast, grilled bacon, scrambled egg samwhich on white bread for mid mornin snack, tuna and rice for lunch, 3 table spoons of peanut butter mid afternoon snack, and a meal which consists of say 30-40g protein (not sure on carbs) and the days i am working out i have a protein shake suppliment with protein and carbs. Is there anything else that i could fit into my diet which would help?

    Many thanks

    • Sounds like your food intake is pretty good. Consider looking at your workouts to increase your gains. Are you using the deadlift and the squat? If so, make a conscious effort to crank the intensity on those two lifts for a solid month and track your results. And if you are not doing them. . . get to it!

  64. Hi Vic great site!

    I’m after a bit of advice on foods to eat to gain weght quick.

    I’m 25 years old, 5’10” and weigh 120lbs…so yeah pretty small at the moment.

    I’m workout at home doing press ups mainly but never seem to build any decent muscle.

    Please help!!

    • Did you read the article? Everything is in there…

      Your situation isnt any different from the hundreds of other guys who were in your situation before they used this plan…

  65. Hey Vic, i read your whole post, this helps a lot. i am 140 pounds, 18 years old and fit. (i did the p90x twice) however i need muscle mass. cause im about 5″8. i need bulkiness. I like your Day Diet that you gave out, but is there more you can tell me on maybe a weekly diet?

    Been trying to find one, no luck :(

    it would help so much, thanks!

  66. Hi Vic,

    Great site, I understand everything your saying about building mass and muscle. My problem is about 3 years ago I used to be close to 200 lbs with a large amount of body fat @ 5’10”. I am not at 158 and it good shape, I hit the gym regularly lift hard 3 times a week and the other two cardio and abs. I have shed a lot of the fat but my mid section still is not clean. The hardest part of gaining mass is that when I eat I feel like its only going to my mid section. I’m trying to decide if I should focus on burning that fat away then adding muscle mass or eat to gain mass and hope the fat burns away?

    Hopefully you can give me some insight. I also eat healthy 85% of the time and my metabolism is fairly quick given the amount of times I eat and the lifting I do.

    Thanks for you help in advance!

    • If you are not already, hit those squats and deadlifts. You need those big movements to add size and strength, but they will also jack your metabolism to help rid that belly fat.

      But at 5’10” and 158 lbs, you are on the low end of an ideal weight (that’s generally speaking and not knowing your genetic propensities). Try hitting those big movements extra hard and keeping your diet clean. Track everything for a solid month. Let us know the results! Good luck.

  67. I’m pretty sure you don’t mention it, but what time of day do you prefer to do your workouts? Morning before work? Right after work before getting home? In lunch break at work? Will it make any noticeable difference when choosing which time?

    • The best time is the time you will do it consistently. Personally, I think training in the morning before work is best because the inevitable curve balls of life are less likely to throw off your training schedule.

  68. Hey Vic..
    Good article and a great site.. Just happened to stumble upon it today.. I’ve never written any post of this sort before but I guess I need some help this time to achieve my goals..

    I’m 5-10, 145lbs and 22yrs old.. Kinda skinny especially in my legs and arms.. I’ve worked out on and off within the last 2 yrs, but have never been able to go for more than 3months at a stretch (for some reason or the other). Anyway, the last time I worked out (sept-nov 2009) I started noticing gains that I did not achieve the previous times i worked out. These were still was disappointing to me because I still could not bench more than 2 reps of 135lbs..

    Oh and I must admit that I’ve relied on whey protein(only 1 shake after workouts) over the last year and they just seem to give me short lived gains because every time i stop working out i loose my muscle mass in less than 4 weeks! I guess your right about supps..

    Anyways that’s all history and this time I’m determined to make it past the 3 month and the 135lbs barrier this time.

    Any suggestions of what i could do different? I used to work out for 2 hrs(15 cardio and weights) and 5 days a week in the following manner:
    Mon – Chest/Back
    Tue – Shoulder/legs
    Wed – Bi’s/Tri’s
    break day and repeat..

    Also, since the last few months that I haven’t been to the gym Ive put on more belly fat (I’ve always had a little belly)

    Thanks a lot! hope to hear from you soon..

    • The main suggestion I have to to ditch the “body part split” regimen – especially the damned “Bi’s and Tri’s” shit. Try the plan that I have laid out in this post for a solid month. Track everything – your workouts AND your food intake. Adjust as needed after the month. Wash, rinse, repeat.

      Good luck!

      • Thanks Vic..

        Do you suggest that I go easy on my food intake for the first couple weeks till i loose some belly fat and then ‘eat like its my f**kin job'(love that one haha!) or just do extra cardio instead?

        Also I have a 2 months’ supply of creatine that I got as a gift sometime ago but never used it as yet.. Do you think I should use it when my results plateau? Because the last time I worked out, I changed my workout after 6 weeks but still could not seem to bench more than 135lbs..(which is not supposed to be my max as my weight was close to 150lbs at the time)

        • If you’re holding on to belly fat, and you want to gain muscle, you might want to try regulating your grain based carbohydrate intake. I’m not a big fan of trying to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time – especially for a hard gainer. Consider focusing on one goal at a time, following the programs as they are laid out on this site for one month, track all of your results and make adjustments as needed.

          As far as the creatine, I’m not a fan of most supplements but creatine does have some research to back up its effectiveness. Just keep in mind it is not a magic potion and you can likely make better gains by simply upping your exercise intensity without needing the creatine. Good luck.

  69. I’m curious for Workout A and B, you mention it should take about 45 minutes. I realize supersets are done back to back, so I assume that there is no rest in between those (just a few seconds), but what if you have to switch weights between the shoulder press and the high pulls? Is that weight switching time rest enough?

    Also with the Deadlifts 5×5, how much of a rest should I do between those. 2-3 minutes?

    Thanks

    • You are correct on all counts. If you have to switch weight between the shoulder press and high pulls, the time it takes will be rest enough.

      Resting 2 -3 minutes between the deadlifts is fine. 2 minutes or longer feels like a long time to many people between sets, but the rest is best for working in this rep/set range.

      Good luck!

  70. hey Vic, ive been hearing a lot of massages. Is it really important to get one so that the body gets loose otherwise get locked ?

    • Massage get be effective for recovery. That being said, I’d put a good night’s sleep higher than massage for the majority of people as far as the hierarchy of recovery methods goes.

  71. Hey vic,

    I’m 5’6″ and 150 lbs and I’m looking to add on at least ten more pounds of muscle. I’m stuck though. I’ve upped my protein by a lot and carbs. Now, I do cardio often just a short intense workout and I was wondering how much fat you recommend to intake daily because I know carbs are for short burst activities and fat is the fuel for long, but I don’t know what percentage of my meal plan should be fats. Please help.
    Thank you,
    Josh

  72. Vic,

    Firstly, what you say makes so much sense that I’ve become a huge fan and have been recommending the site to all my friends as well – I initially followed your fat loss workout + diet plan (did wonders for me, lost 15 lbs) and have lately been on your muscle building program (Phase 1: 2.5 months).

    One question: my back muscles have been getting bigger and clearly better defined since I started following your routine, but my chest and arm muscles not so much (I am currently doing 165 lb on the squats and deadlifts, but only 100 on the benchpress – I’m 5’8″, 140 lb). What should I do differently so I can especially bulk up on these muscles now?

    Thanks,
    -Mit

  73. Hey Vic,

    Thx for the info man, this is an awsome site. I’m 5’10 and 130lb (want to be atlest 150lb at the end of the summer)
    I have 3 questions:
    1. how much water should you be drinking?
    2. what are your thoughts about taking creatine?
    3. is it a good idea to do some cardio before i workout?(like a 15-20 min run)

    well, lets see how your plan works out for me (never rly lifed weights, i got 95% of my muscle from doing sports my hole life) i have a runners body atm.

    • How much water? Well most people could probably drink more. I know that’s vague, but I don’t think it’s as exact a science as the popular media likes to make it out to be.

      I’m not a fan of creatine. The only time I think you should consider it is if you’ve hit a plateau. But keep in mind this is coming from someone who has never tried it.

      If you’re trying to gain some size, I’d steer clear of the cardio. And if you have to do it, do it after your weight lifting session. Good luck!

  74. Really useful info here Vic.
    I am lean myself and whilst I can put on muscle, it comes with fat – after years of experimenting, I’ve now found the best methods for me to gain lean mass though.

    Calories are king in muscle gain – I used to workout so hard in the gym but let myself down in the diet department, eating tins of tuna but no carbs for my body to use to build the muscle because I thought it would just get me fat. Whilst I try to steer clear of grains, I now know healthy choices like sweet potato, make a good substitute and will give my body the energy it needs!

  75. Hey Vic, i love your website man! I started your plan like 5 days ago and i allrdy gain 5lb. but i have a serious question man. I’m applying for this ROTC scholarship for the US Air Force (im currently in high school). well… for this scholarship im gonna have to take a Physical Fitness Assessment test. which consist of a 1.5mile run, push ups , and crunches (the more/faster i do them, the better chance i get the scholarship) so.. how would i incorporate this in my workout? cause i want high reps for the test but then again i want muscle. im soo lost atm (currently im on phase 1) i was thinking every time i go to the gym i would run 1.5miles the fastest i can for the 1st exercise when i hit gym, for abs: i was gonna do crunches with weights 5 reps, set of 5( when I do workout A), and push up: im soo lost cause should i drop the bench press for push up? plzz help man (my main goal right now, is to be able to do 200 or more crunches (i can do 100 atm)and like 50 or more push ups (i can do like 15-20 atm) i just want to know what’s the best way i can get high reps and still get big. Thx for the help if u do so.

    • You don’t absolutely need the milk. Just keep packing in the calories from as many real food sources as you can. Sweet potatoes might be a good choice for you.

  76. Hi there Vic.Liked your post alot.Especially cos u dont recommend supplements.Just wanted to confirm will i gain muscle size if i dont take proteins??And stay on natural food? i am 19 years old.6feet tall and weigh about 71kilos.please advise and throw a lil more light on the fact that real natural food can also get you a muscular body or not.Thank you.

  77. carbs in energy drinks? bad idea?

    they say its not good for the body but will it add to our total carbs intake in a positive way?

  78. hey Vic thanks so much for the post. im the typical tall, skinny, “hardgainer” guy. 6’0″ and 125 pounds. 16 years old. i just want to bulk up and get some size and definition. ive read all of your nutrition tips and how you said to eat like its my job. i just want to know if those nutrition tips will help me if i did them and did p90x at the same time? or should i do the weight lifting stuff instead? thanks.

  79. Nice post, I’ve tried doing the gallon of milk a day before. It really does work for gaining mass quick but be prepared to say goodbye to the abs for a bit lol

  80. Hi i am Kam, 5ft8″ 57kg, my question is what should i eat or drink before going to gym and after coming from gym? How much time gap is needed before and after gym to eat or drink?

    coz some people say drink milk or drink raw eggs 1-3, 1/2hr before u go to gym and after gym 1/2hr late drink chocolate shake?

    Plz help

  81. Hey I need some help. I’m starting this next week. But I’m 5’9 115 pound and I’m
    trying to get start but I want to know if this should work with me?

  82. hey man nice site i love it. iv been working out in the gym for a couple of weeks naw jus on the machines. and by reading this site i think i am going to change to dumbells all the time do you reckon i should. i am 19 years old and quite a skinny person but naw im putting on weight cause im eating propery. can u give me a workout plan so i can stick to it please that would be very helpfull.

  83. hey vic, not sure if you reply to posts on this page anymore but I’ve been using this workout/meal plan for a couple weeks. I’ve seen results. I’ve gained more and I’m lifting more. I can’t seem to get it together with my pull ups though. I’m wondering why because I could usually do 5 at least throughout my life. I’m wondering if you can suggest a different workout in place of the pull ups?

    • If pull-ups are too easy for you – I had the same problem – get a weight belt. I add 20+ lbs to my body weight until I can only do 8 reps. Also, switch it up from wide grip to narrow, overhand to underhand to work different parts of the muscle.

  84. Hi,

    I am inspired by all the stories I have read on your site. I am 5’9″ 134 lbs. I have always been thin. I understand the information you have provided regarding workouts and diet. Is there a weight gain shake recipe that does not require milk (I am lactose intolerant) that you could recommend? Thank you for your time.

    Troy

  85. Hello,
    I liked the info provided on this site and need some directions on how to proceed with my own quest.
    I am a 21 year old male standing 5 feet 8inches tall, weighing 57 kgs(125 pounds).
    I have practically no lifting experience and I am quite skinny with a small belly (which I want to get rid of). My question is how can I gain muscles without putting on fat and what exercises should I do in what amounts, being a beginner ? Also, how much and what should I eat to achieve my goal successfully. Simply put, I need brief guidance.
    Thanks in advance

  86. Hello. I’m 5’10 and 140 lbs, and recently decided to get bigger. I get a significant portion of my protein from whey powder as I’ve heard only good things about it. But you recommend milk instead. Doesn’t this come packed with a load of simple sugars (lactose)? I have a bit of a beer gut and fear simple sugars will only add to it. Instead I consume protein smoothies before/after workouts with fruit and whey, and a base of coconut/almond milk. I’d like your opinion on that. Thanks!

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  96. I am vegan. Do you have a meal plan that would work for me. I’m 6’2″ tall and weigh 176lbs. I’m trying to gain at least 40 lbs. of muscle.

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  99. Joel,

    Good question… It’s really going to be contingent upon how new you are to the gym. Realistically if you’re very new I would suggest doing body weight exercises for a couple weeks. This way you will acclimate your body to return or start with a resistance program. For some good body weight workouts you can check out:
    https://gymjunkies.com/home-workout-for-beginner/

    Thanks for commenting let me know if you need anything else
    Terry

    • Sorry Terry I didn’t explain where I am at.
      I’ve been follower ing the beginner workout for 6 weeks and thanks to you I’ve lost half a stone and I im currently 3 weeks in on the strength training program which I’ve already seen massive gains cheers for that.
      I was just perplexed as to the day by day routine of phase one as your previous ones state how many weeksand which day too do it on.
      I get phase two 4 days a week 2 days one one day off I was just confused with phase one times which days or for one week?? Or is that all in one day then start phase two

    • Hey Joel,

      Good question, I am really glad you are seeing results! So for phase one I would follow this format:

      Monday – Workout A
      Tuesday – Workout B
      Wednesday – Rest
      Thursday – Workout A
      Friday – Workout B
      Saturday – Rest
      Sunday – Rest

      Also, it’s important to note Joel that 5×5 are ideal for strength training. I would mix up doing this workout with 8-12 reps for more optimal muscle growth. This happens to be one of the old articles published by the old Author, however I agree with most of the stuff here just wanted to make you aware of the rep ranges.

      Let me know if you have any other questions
      Thanks,
      Terry

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  101. Great tips here. My biggest issue when I started my journey to gaining muscle was being able to get enough protein to my body. I definitely agree that spreading it throughout the day makes it a lot easier. I drink a protein shake in the morning, middle of the day, and late. This makes it easier to consume the amount of protein that I need without forcing 4 scoops of protein into one meal.

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