How to Gain Mass Fast (50 Tips for Skinny Guys)
Below are 50 tried and tested tips for hardgainers and skinny guys looking to bulk up (and thereby increase muscle hypertrophy and strength).
- Limit your cardiovascular/aerobic activity. Some cardiovascular exercise will help maintain your aerobic capacity while building muscle, however moderate to high amounts of cardio burn excessive calories (limiting weight gain).
- Train hard to failure. Nutrient-rich, high-calorie environment ensures maximum effort in the gym and optimal recovery. Training to failure increases motor unit activation and release of anabolic (muscle) hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormone.
- Focus on heavy and intense compound exercises. Many skinny guys spend their time on isolation exercises, but to achieve maximum mass, focus on multi-joint exercises that stimulate more muscles at the same time. Squat, bench press, overhead press, deadlift, chin-ups, etc. These free weight exercises have also been proven to release more testosterone and growth hormone.
You can add a small amount of isolation exercises, but compound exercises should make up the majority of the training split.
- Eat irregularly. While some advice eating every few hours, it boosts metabolism and increases the basal metabolic rate. Thus, by eating more often, you must consume more calories in order to gain weight. The main problem that skinny guys face when gaining mass is that their metabolism is already fast, so further acceleration of it is counterproductive.
If you eat irregularly, your metabolism slows down, which allows you to eat in excess of calories.
Sumo wrestlers are the kings of gaining muscle mass, they stick to this strategy by eating food twice a day. They usually skip breakfast, with the first meal at noon and the second in the evening.
Their meal usually consists of chankonabe (a stew of fish, vegetables, tofu, and meat) accompanied by several bowls of rice and plenty of beer.
Don't be afraid to enter a state of catabolism (muscle wasting) by not eating every 2-3 hours. This seemingly universal recommendation in bodybuilding is redundant, since sumo wrestlers are the most muscular athletes on the planet, and their lean mass levels are higher than those of professional bodybuilders.
- Eat a lot. In addition to the last point, each meal or "feast" that sumo wrestlers consume consists of 2,000-3,500 calories. To increase body weight, you need to gain weight, which requires a calorie surplus. The food is anabolic.
- Eat "dirty food" when necessary. Mass gainers may find it helpful to add "cheat" meals to their diet to increase their total calorie intake. It's hard to eat 4,000 calories of chicken and rice, but it gets a lot easier when you add pizza or a burger with fries.
- But Eat Lots of “Clean Foods” in General. Quality mass gains require quality nutrients, including plenty of protein, unsaturated fats, and unrefined carbohydrates. Fraudulent eating can certainly help a heavy weight gainer, but it's still important to eat foods that increase protein synthesis and limit fat storage (due to less regular insulin spikes).
- Use Negative Reps. This is when the training partner lifts the weight in the positive/concentric phase of the rep and the coach lifts the full load in the negative/eccentric phase. The negative phase is usually done slowly and in a controlled manner. Those who use this training technique may experience significant DOMS (muscle soreness with movement onset) the next day.
- Increase your protein intake to 3g-4g/1kg of body weight. Protein is vital for muscle building and promotes nitrogen retention within muscle cells, creating an optimal anabolic environment conducive to the formation of new muscle tissue.
- Increase your carbohydrate intake to 4-6 g/kg body weight. A large amount of energy is needed for hard and intense workouts, as well as for recovery (helps muscle tissue recover and increase).
- Eat plenty of nuts, seeds, natural oils and oily fish. “Good fats,” otherwise known as unsaturated fats, promote the production and regulation of hormones, increasing testosterone levels. Fat is also high in calories, making it more likely to eat foods with a calorie surplus.
- Consume Whey Protein with Milk Immediately After Your Workout. Whey protein is quickly digested, making it ideal for the post-workout period when the body acts like a sponge. 30-40 grams of whey in full-fat milk will help increase protein synthesis, replenish glycogen stores (thanks to the lactose sugars found in milk), and increase calorie intake.
- Add Maltodextrin and Dextrose to Your Post-Workout Shake. If a person has problems digesting milk and prefers to consume whey protein powder in water, they can add 40 grams of maltodextrin or dextrose to their post-workout shake, which will provide a quick replenishment of glycogen stores.
- Do "drop sets" to break through plateaus.. Perform a set to failure with a given weight, then immediately reduce the weight and repeat to failure.
- Stop Relying on Supplements. There is nothing wrong with taking a few supplements to ease the mass gain process. However, skinny guys who take a dozen supplements and rely on them have the wrong idea about what to do to gain mass.
- Try Creatine Monohydrate or CEE. Creatine is an amino acid that increases intracellular fluid (ATP) retention, increasing muscle size, strength, and increasing protein synthesis. This can help to overload the muscles, causing a modest increase in lean mass.
- Cut down on caffeine. Taking pre-workout supplements, drinking coffee or energy drinks promotes weight loss because caffeine speeds up metabolism.
- Be patient. Building quality mass takes time, trying to speed up this process can lead to excessive fat gain in the body.
- Relax during the day. Decreasing activity and increasing rest will result in less calorie expenditure, helping the body recover from intense workouts.
- Get good sleep. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Sleep deprivation is one of the main causes of elevated cortisol/low serum testosterone levels. This creates a catabolic environment in which muscle loss can occur as well as fat deposition in stubborn areas.
- Try to avoid stressful situations. Stress can interfere with muscle gain, so try to eliminate stressors in your life or take 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily, which has been shown to significantly reduce cortisol levels.
- Train where you feel most motivated. Some prefer to train at home alone; for others, the gym is necessary to mentally prepare for a workout (besides, there is usually a wider selection of equipment).
- Consume Liquid Calories if you find it difficult to consume enough calories from food. Smoothies with peanut butter, yogurt, whey protein, etc. easy to consume and they are full of calories and nutrients.
- Prepare food before work/school to have a constant source of food with you. This is especially helpful for people with busy work schedules.
- Don't be afraid to lose your flat stomach or abs. An increase in body weight will lead to an increase in the amount of subcutaneous fat in the body due to the consumption of excess calories.
- Take measurements to track progress. If a person does not gain significant size on the chest, arms and hips, but gains a lot in the waist area, adjust your calorie intake by eating with less excess. Not bulking up? Don't be afraid to increase your calories.
- Get a Quality Weight Gainer or MRP. Some weight gainers contain 1,250 calories per serving (like Optimum Nutrition's Serious Mass), which is significantly more than the average protein shake, which is only 100 calories (roughly).
- Save a glass of casein protein or mass gainer in the refrigerator and use it if you get up at night to go to the toilet. This is an easy way to increase calories and is suitable for those who cannot consume enough food in two meals and therefore must take every opportunity to get more calories.
- Snack on fruits and nuts between meals if necessary. Fruits provide the body with essential vitamins and minerals, while nuts are a good source of fat and protein.
- Try a Testosterone Booster. People with low testosterone levels often have an ectomorph physique, so experimenting with a testosterone booster can produce a significant increase in free testosterone, resulting in a noticeable increase in lean muscle mass. An effective testosterone booster should contain D-aspartic acid, ginseng, and ashwagandha.
If a man's testosterone levels are already high, taking a testosterone booster is unlikely to help him gain noticeable weight.
- You don't need low reps to "bulk". The optimal rep range for muscle hypertrophy is 8-12, although it would be wise to experiment with different rep ranges to see what works best for you and continue to shock the muscles.
- Join a Quality Bodybuilding Forum. Look for quality bodybuilding forums. Forums are a great place to ask questions and learn from others.
- Before going to the supermarket, make a shopping list (and check it against your mass gain meal plan) to make sure you're buying the quality foods you need to gain mass. Impulse shopping can lead to you forgetting a product, not buying the right amount, and filling your shopping cart with unhealthy products.
- Practice imaginative thinking. If you have a goal of someone's physique you'd like to emulate, hang a poster of him on your wall, set your phone in the background with his picture, or watch a video of him lifting weights before your workout. All three of these will enhance the visualization and motivate you to achieve your desired weight/physical development.
- Avoid prohormonal drugs and steroids if you don't fully understand how they work, what the risks are, and be prepared for possible side effects.
- Add mayonnaise to your diet. Mayonnaise is an excellent source of unsaturated fats and is high in calories. It can also increase good cholesterol (HDL) levels, helping to protect the heart with its rich content of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. If you're currently eating tuna, add mayonnaise to it or use it as a base for sandwiches to increase the calorie content.
- Accounting for water intake. When a person first drastically increases the calorie content of his diet, this is often followed by water retention (and quickly, literally overnight). However, when body weight growth stops, this water is again flushed out of the body. So, if you're looking to gain 5kg of lean muscle mass and are gaining 2kg overnight, you might want to adjust your target to 7kg.
- Go shopping at the local market. When buying in large quantities, many local butchers and fishmongers are cheaper and the quality of the products is higher.
- Be prepared for your partner's remarks and family members about the fact that you are "fat".
- Use a fat grip. These small rubber caps increase the diameter of the dumbbell/barbell handle, increasing muscle contractions. They can help users become stronger and gain more mass on the upper body muscles by overloading the muscles with a new adaptive stimulus.
- Be realistic. Building 20 pounds of muscle usually takes a lot of time and effort. Realize that the muscle building phase is likely to result in some fat gain, and there is a limit to how much muscle you can gain each week.
- Increase the frequency of your workouts. If you want to increase the volume of a certain muscle group, train it more often to increase the number of muscle nuclei inside the cell. Overtraining exists, however it is central nervous system related (not specifically muscle related) and is largely exaggerated in bodybuilding.
- Increase the duration of your workout. Intense workouts can go on for so long without reaching the state of overtraining. However, many athletes leave the gym after 30-45 minutes without sweating. Increasing the duration of the workout to 1 hour will increase the load on muscle fibers, which will lead to increased hypertrophy.
- Have Balanced Workouts. You should aim to increase mass throughout the body, so you need a training plan that stimulates all the muscles in the body. Focusing only on small muscle groups such as the arms and shoulders will result in an unbalanced physique and will also hinder overall mass gain.
- Stretch Intensely After Your Workout trying to stretch the muscle fascia. Fascia is the sack that holds the muscle in place, and many bodybuilders perform intense stretches and deep tissue massages to loosen tightness in this tissue, promoting further growth.
- Do "forced reps" to train to failure and shock your muscles. This training method should be used infrequently, but it is suitable for a muscle building plan when calories, energy and nutrients are plentiful.
- Try a Mini Workout Cycle to provide a constant change in stimulus. This may include: week 1 - low reps 1-4 reps per set, week 2 - low reps 4-8 reps per set, week 3 - moderate reps 8-12 reps per set, week 4 - high reps 12-16 reps per set set.
- Pumping is not a reason for selfishness. Many coaches and members of online communities downplay pumping and call it a short-term phenomenon. In fact, pump is a highly anabolic process in which there is a high hydration of myofibrils and protein synthesis.
- Don't forget to invest in bigger clothes!
- Keep educating yourself. Follow leading bodybuilding and fitness websites, read books, and continue to explore different perspectives on nutrition, training, rest, and supplementation. Knowledge is power.