Gaining Muscle Mass: Tips and Advice for a Thin Guy

In summary, if you are thin and want to build muscle, you should engage in weightlifting and cardiovascular exercise. Weightlifting should be performed five to seven days a week, and cardiovascular exercise should be performed at least once a day.
  • #1
Physics is Phun
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i'm a pretty thin guy. 6'1 and 155 pounds. i went to the gym a fair bit during the summer, got stronger, I'm as strong as guys who look much more muscular. what can I do to gain a bit more muscle mass? people at my work told me that i have to put on a lot a fat and then turn that into muscle, that's doesn't really sound like a great idea to me...but i don't know much when it comes to fitness or anything.
so any particlar exercising/diets that people could reccomend? or anything else...
I'm 19 years old btw.
thanks!
 
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  • #2
You can't turn fat into muscle, but you should ensure that your caloric intake exceeds/matches your level of activity/metabolism so that aren't burning muscle protien for energy.

Unfortunately, genetics also plays a large part in how "big" any of us can get.
-GeoMike-
 
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  • #3
What's your daily protein intake like?
 
  • #4
You "went to the gym for a fair bit during the summer" ?? Did you stop? Usually you won't notice that much difference until about 16-20 weeks after you start lifting. just keep lifting, you will get bigger. do heavier weights and less reps. while people tell me all the time that you should gorge yourself on protein while lifting, I never do and I notice that I have built a decent amount of muscle up. I say to hell with all those protein drinks/mixes that cost $90 a canister and just eat a well balanced diet. You are only 155 so you probably don't have that much fat on you, but to get really cut you will absolutely have to do cardio (probably even have to spend more time doing this) and watch how many calories you take in. Just keep hitting the gym up. Try to lift 5/7 days a week and make sure you work your legs. If your that thin now and keep lifting only your upper body, it will look very unsymmetical and quite funny ( I laugh so hard when I see dudes at the gym with huge upper bodies and scrawny chicken legs). If you keep lifting you will definitely get bigger, just be consistent, go every week, and make sure when you lift you lift until your muscles are completely exhausted.


some excercises I recommend:

for bi's-- 21's. Take 40 or 50 lbs. ez bar and lift it up like you are doing bicep curls. Start from your chest and go down until your elbows are 90 degrees, then curl back up. Do that 7 times. Immediately after that, start with the bar at your legs (so your arms are fully extended) then curl up so that your elbows are 90 degrees. Go back down. Repeat 7 times. Next do the whole range of motion (curl from your arms fully extended until they are brought up all the way) 7 times. 3 or 4 sets of these will kill your biceps.

back--honestly, nothing is better than doing pull ups.

tri's--skull crushers http://www.myfit.ca/exercisedatabase/viewanexercise.asp?table=exercises&ID=57

chest--- bench press (do incline, decline, and flat).
 
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  • #5
The secret is eating a huge amount of protein. 15-20 chickens a day should do it.
 
  • #6
Heavy compound movements and the diet of a pregnant elephant. Don't bother with 10 sets of bicep curls and whatever other garbage you see people doing. If you squat, deadlift, power cleans, heavy rows, etc, you'll be fine and everything will develop on its' own.
 
  • #7
You can eat 12 cows a day, but once you stop it will melt off my friend. Trust me from experience, school took away all my hard work at the gym, and fast.

Most chicks don't care one way or another if your buff, so don't worry about it. :wink:
 
  • #8
You could always ignore the people who tell you that you need to get bigger and just wait until you reach your 30s for that thin physique to go away naturally. :biggrin:
 
  • #9
Moonbear said:
You could always ignore the people who tell you that you need to get bigger and just wait until you reach your 30s for that thin physique to go away naturally. :biggrin:

agreed. If you're getting stronger from exercise, then it's working.

Embrace your body type. Love it. You're a superstar.
 
  • #10
I didn't bulk up - my weight got up to about 180 lbs, while lifting 240 lbs (with reps) in military and about 275 lbs (with reps on bench press).

In addition to weight lifting, I road a bicycle and ran at least 3-4 miles a day with a quarter mile sprint at the end. Plus I was doing iron work (structural iron construction), so I was doing low to medium weight lifting continuously 8-10 hrs/day. On weekends I played soccer usually for 1-2 hrs.

My food intake was normal meals, sometimes large, but I did a protein supplement in the morning and evening. That was about 24 oz of milkshake (with vanilla or chocolated ice cream) with protein powder and baby formula (e.g. Similac). The protein powder was something equivalent to Myoplex Deluxe, which I still use occasionally.
 
  • #11
That explains the hair colour. :biggrin:
 
  • #12
ummm all I can say is don't work out 5/7 times a week...
Especially if you're beginning at the gym. It not only takes too much time, but you need to give your body rest. There is no way someone new who is training properly is going to be able to withstand training 5/7 times a week. The body needs rest to strengthen. You at least have to allow a day's rest in between sessions. Hell you may even have to take creatine to be able to recover properly in a day as well.

You don't particularly have to 'waste' your time with the protein supplements, but they are very good if you have the money. Musashi bulk is a decent really cheap high carb and high protein supplement. It's [a protein supplement] just really convenient for providing the nutrients needed to build mass and helps with your recovery time as well. If you don't have the money then you just need to have fill the gap with different meals. Canned tuna, baked beans, eggs (the best possible protein you can get) are really easy meals to have in between your breakfast and dinner. The taste is something else, but you get what you need out of those foods.

Beeza and Grave gave some really good exercises though.

Also like they said it is impossible to turn fat into muscle. Putting on fat is inevitable when you are trying put on weight, but it can easily be lost later when you want to tone up. If you have a high metabolism, which is most likely the case, then you really don't have to worry about doing cardio for now. You will put on fat, but you're definitely not going to look like a blob and you will still be reasonably toned.

I don't want to sound like a twat or anything, but are you sure you're doing the exercises properly as well. I only say this because I, like most people beginning, did some exercises incorrectly and so I was lifting more than I should have. It was mainly the dumbbell flys and 45 degree leg press that this happened on. Anyway just observe how other people do the exercises to be sure that you're doing them correctly. If you are doing the exercises correctly then good work. You can't be sure why they are lifting less, but it could be that they're happy with their weight and are just working on maintaining it, or that they have an injury...or they could just be doing half-arsed workouts.

Anyway I'm no expert. I just know what worked for me and what was recommended to me by local bodybuilders. I think Beeza is actually a bodybuilder (if I remember correctly) so he'd probably know more about what is a good routine than anyone else here.

Anyway good luck with it all!
 
  • #13
You'll be worrying about getting fat in a several years time.

Take up a sport - that'll get your muscles working.
 
  • #14
Physics Is Phun said:
...people at my work told me that i have to put on a lot a fat and then turn that into muscle...

Anyway, this is wrong. You build muscle mass directly onto the muscle that's already there. You don't have to create fat first, then convert it to muscle.

If you are starting out already lean, and increasing your exercise to build muscle you have to increase your caloric intake to 1.) fuel the energy it takes to perform the increase in exercise, and 2.) give your muscles something to use to add to their mass. It is conventional wisdom among body builders, from what I've read and seen, that the best kind of food for the latter is protein, vegetable or animal.

At any rate, increasing your excercise without increasing your caloric intake will result in the opposite of what you want: you'll get skinnier and lose muscle mass. Your body will be fueling the exercise by tapping your existing muscles as the fuel source.

I just found that out the hard way after a diet and exercise regimen for fat loss went a bit too far and I noticed to my unpleasant surprise that I had not only lost the excess fat but had started down the road to looking skeletal.
 
  • #15
Beeza said:
Heavy compound movements and the diet of a pregnant elephant. Don't bother with 10 sets of bicep curls and whatever other garbage you see people doing. If you squat, deadlift, power cleans, heavy rows, etc, you'll be fine and everything will develop on its' own.
Amen to that. Just make sure you do them in proper form. It doesn't matter if you're doing a crapload of weight if all your reps are done in horrible form. So keep your ego in check, otherwise you won't gain mass efficiently and you'll probably end up injuring your back or knees.
 
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  • #16
Beeza said:
Heavy compound movements and the diet of a pregnant elephant. Don't bother with 10 sets of bicep curls and whatever other garbage you see people doing. If you squat, deadlift, power cleans, heavy rows, etc, you'll be fine and everything will develop on its' own.

that's exactly right. :approve: reading dinosaur training & eating lots of kraft dinner wouldn't hurt either.
 
  • #17
One tip I got is to avoid repeating sets using the same amount of weight. For strength oriented exercises, a pyramid scheme where you increase weight and decrease reps works well. For example, 10 warm-up reps, then a weight that you can only do 7 clean reps with, a higher weight that you can only do 3 with, then back down to a weight you can do 10 reps with. As your strength increases, when you find you can do 8 reps on that first set, increase the weight slightly for the next time you work out. The goal is to stay around 7 reps and let your muscles determine when it's time to increase weight. The 3 rep set is optional, you don't need to do it every time you work out, and this will save some time.

For strength gains, there's no point in doing large number of reps. However, if you're goal is bulk, then you do need to do a large number of reps.

You'll get some bulk from just increasing strength, and strength oriented workouts don't take that much time.

Bulk oriented exercises should be done after strength type excercises. Keep decreasing the weight and continue doing more sets around 10 reps. I've seen body builders doing curls starting with 100 pound dumbell, just doing down the rack until they end up doing reps with 30 pound dumbells.

The issue with bulk oriented workouts is that they are time consuming. Serious body builders spend hours each day working out, alternating muscle groups each day to allow for recovery.

At 19 years old, you should have no problem recovering within 48 hours, so you can work out the same set of muscles every other day. If you're only interested in strength, which will lead to some bulk, then twice a week is enough.

As far as diet goes, you don't need to eat like a pig, just increase protein and calorie intake a bit. As long as your body fat level is 8% to 10% or higher, it's enough to make gains at a reasonable pace.
 
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  • #18
Jeff Reid said:
One tip I got is to avoid repeating sets using the same amount of weight. For strength oriented exercises, a pyramid scheme where you increase weight and decrease reps works well. For example, 10 warm-up reps, then a weight that you can only do 7 clean reps with, a higher weight that you can only do 3 with, then back down to a weight you can do 10 reps with. As your strength increases, when you find you can do 8 reps on that first set, increase the weight slightly for the next time you work out. The goal is to stay around 7 reps and let your muscles determine when it's time to increase weight. The 3 rep set is optional, you don't need to do it every time you work out, and this will save some time.

For strength gains, there's no point in doing large number of reps. However, if you're goal is bulk, then you do need to do a large number of reps.
I read this, and variations of it, everywhere when researching how to reverse this skeletal look I was on the verge of falling into: you can increase the bulk of your muscles without actually also becoming as strong as you look. Bodybuilding is a primarily aesthetic endeavor. The strength increase isn't as large as it looks to be.
 
  • #19
zoobyshoe said:
I read this, and variations of it, everywhere when researching how to reverse this skeletal look I was on the verge of falling into: you can increase the bulk of your muscles without actually also becoming as strong as you look. Bodybuilding is a primarily aesthetic endeavor. The strength increase isn't as large as it looks to be.

A vast majority of the thickest and well put together bodybuilders are among the strongest and have at one time or another done some powerlifting. However, they tend to have overdeveloped outer quads when compared to their "tear drop" from wide stance squatting. I attribute my lack of thickness the last time I was on stage (2 years ago) to lack of strength training. Now, I'm 40-50lbs (215 at 5'8) heavier and much much thicker from strength training.

Also, Physics is for fun, unless you plan on competing in actual powerlifting competitions etc, there's no need to push yourself until you get sick, get nose bleeds, and pass out. My brother currently does while training for his meets, and I use to more so than I do now, but getting to this point probably isn't the healthiest thing in the world.

I'd also like to add that anything above 3-5 reps in like a cardio running workout for me ;)
 
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  • #20
ok, so right now I'm doing 2 or 3 sets of 10 of whatever weight it is that makes me struggle to get to 10. so you saying that will help with the strength training, but to build more muscle mass, it would help to do more reps of a lighter weight after I've done the heavy lifting?
i'm trying to fit more into my diet. the problem i find is i can only really have a decent supper. i have to work early in the morning and very rarely get a lunch break. so sometimes if i miss breakfast all i end up eating before supper is like an apple and a muffin, or something equally small.
 
  • #21
Physics is Phun said:
ok, so right now I'm doing 2 or 3 sets of 10 of whatever weight it is that makes me struggle to get to 10. so you saying that will help with the strength training, but to build more muscle mass, it would help to do more reps of a lighter weight after I've done the heavy lifting?
i'm trying to fit more into my diet. the problem i find is i can only really have a decent supper. i have to work early in the morning and very rarely get a lunch break. so sometimes if i miss breakfast all i end up eating before supper is like an apple and a muffin, or something equally small.

Sorry, that's not going to cut it. Your going to have to eat 24-7, no I am not exaggerating. You got to eat like every 2 hours, you should never feel hungry, always full. And the moment you stop eating, be prepared for that muscle to regress all away because its not your natural body type.
 
  • #22
cyrusabdollahi said:
Sorry, that's not going to cut it. Your going to have to eat 24-7, no I am not exaggerating. You got to eat like every 2 hours, you should never feel hungry, always full. And the moment you stop eating, be prepared for that muscle to regress all away because its not your natural body type.
I agree. You have to take in more calories than you burn up in the course of you daily activities and exercize so that you have extra to add to existing muscle.

I went to Rite Aid and got a gallon of whey protein powder for $11.00. One scoop in a glass of warm water gives an amazing 23 grams of protein. Tastes like chocolate milk. Whole process, mixing and drinking, takes about a minute.

I also buy any protein candy bars that might be on sale. These are between 200-300 calories each, and convenient to eat on the go.
 
  • #23
I don't know, I tried that crap for a little bit but stopped. I think people hype it as good for putting on mass, when it's not. If you eat that entire tub, net weight ~5 lbs, in a month, your body isn't going to store 100% of it, so at most, your looking at 1 to 2 lbs total weight gain from that stuff. It just sounds like a waste of money to me.

It's simple physics, mass in - mass out = mass stored.

I just don't see that powder putting that much mass in, unless your going to punish an entire tub a week, which is insane.

Eat lots of foods like tuna, crackers, bread, oatmeal. And after about 1 week of constant eating, you will learn to despise the taste of all food...:smile: Eating a ton of food is what's going to pack on the lbs, not powders or pills, and its going to be expensive either way you go.

To me, it just isn't worth it because your body will melt away that muscle when your school work pervents you from going to the gym. You will put on some mass with time.

Like pythag said, you're a superstar!

Whole process, mixing and drinking, takes about a minute.

Too bad the stuff tastes like ass. (and is not FDA approved)
 
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  • #24
Ok, first
Astronuc said:
I didn't bulk up - my weight got up to about 180 lbs, while lifting 240 lbs (with reps) in military and about 275 lbs (with reps on bench press).

240 lbs ! with reps on military is huge. There were probably not many people at the gym that could match that. Physics is Phun
Do http://www.forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=712752" routine.
http://www.forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=712752

Rippetoe is a top trainer that puts on 30-40 pounds on new clients with this routine. The routine looks simple, and IS simple (once you get the exercises down). You will go to the gym 3 times a week, and work out for about an hour each time. The routine sticks with the fundamentals, compound exercises.

I started lifting about a year ago. I have used a routine a got from a friend, and the routine in the Arnold's book. I've seen decent gains, but nothing spectacular. Since I've started the Rippetoe routine, I move up on weight every time I go to the gym. This is mainly because you never do huge jumps with it. You are constantly just adding 2.5 pounds per side, each workout. That seems like nothing, but it adds up quickly. It also helps for motivation once you see that your bench has gone up 15 pounds in the last two weeks.

If you are interested in doing this routine let me know. I'll post the workout sheets that I created for my workout partner and I. I just bring these along with me to the gym so I know what weight I'm on, and when me (or my partner) should move up. I also broke the weight down so you know how much weight to add per side. So you don't have to be doing calculations like,
so I'm supposed to do a 135 pound bench. So the bar weighs 45 pounds so that is 135 - 45 = 90. Divide that by 2,... so add 45 pounds to each side. Yeah that's nice for 135, but what if you are supposed to lift 70% of 135. That takes a little bit longer to do... anyways, all of that is done on the sheets. grr... it sounds like I'm trying to sell these things to you :smile:

EDIT: YES. You MUST eat while doing this. Look into a bulking diet.
 
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  • #25
cyrusabdollahi said:
I don't know, I tried that crap for a little bit but stopped. I think people hype it as good for putting on mass, when it's not. If you eat that entire tub, net weight ~5 lbs, in a month, your body isn't going to store 100% of it, so at most, your looking at 1 to 2 lbs total weight gain from that stuff. It just sounds like a waste of money to me.

It's simple physics, mass in - mass out = mass stored.
It doesn't work that way. Protein is just one of many building blocks and your body is mostly water anyway. So that 5 lb of protein can cause you to gain much more than 5lb of weight. A lot does just get consumed (or not even absorbed) though.

It isn't physics, its biology. :-p
 
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  • #26
russ_watters said:
It doesn't work that way. Protein is just one of many building blocks and your body is mostly water anyway. So that 5 lb of protein can cause you to gain much more than 5lb of weight. A lot does just get consumed (or not even absorbed) though.

It isn't physics, its biology. :-p


Hmmm, so you're saying it makes you retain water? I thought that is what creatine did to your body. Eh, what do I know.
 
  • #27
LOTS AND LOTS of steroids! You won't even need to lift

/sarcasm
 

Related to Gaining Muscle Mass: Tips and Advice for a Thin Guy

1. How can I gain muscle mass as a thin guy?

As a thin person, it may be more difficult to gain muscle mass due to a faster metabolism and a naturally smaller frame. However, with a consistent and targeted workout routine, a nutritious diet, and adequate rest, you can still build muscle mass. It may also be helpful to consult with a personal trainer or nutritionist to tailor a plan specifically for your body type.

2. What types of exercises should I focus on?

To gain muscle mass, it is important to incorporate both resistance training and cardiovascular exercises into your routine. Resistance training, such as weightlifting and bodyweight exercises, will help build and strengthen your muscles. Cardiovascular exercises, such as running or cycling, will improve your overall fitness and help burn excess fat.

3. How often should I work out?

Consistency is key when it comes to gaining muscle mass. It is recommended to work out at least 3-4 times a week, focusing on different muscle groups each day. It is also important to give your muscles time to rest and recover in between workouts, so make sure to include rest days in your routine.

4. Is diet important for gaining muscle mass?

Diet plays a crucial role in building muscle mass. Make sure to consume enough protein to support muscle growth, as well as healthy carbohydrates and fats for energy and overall health. Additionally, staying hydrated is important for muscle function and recovery. Consider consulting with a nutritionist to create a personalized meal plan for your specific goals.

5. How long does it take to see results?

The time it takes to see results will vary for each individual, as it depends on various factors such as genetics, workout routine, and diet. However, with consistency and dedication, most people can expect to see noticeable results within 4-8 weeks. Remember to be patient and trust the process, as building muscle mass takes time and effort.

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