How to Gain Weight Fast:

6 Step Guide For Skinny Guys and Hardgainers

It’s true, skinny guys have to do things a little different from everyone else especially when it comes to building muscle and gaining weight.

If you haven’t done so read How to Build Muscle Fast because it’ll give you the fundamentals you need for muscle growth.... This article is Part II of that article designed especially for skinny guys and hardgainers. (in other words don’t read this page before reading that article)

In this article I’m going to reveal to you very easy and “practical” ways (that you can start using immediately) for you to gain weight if you’re a skinny guy. In the next few minutes you’ll learn how you should approach food and eating, what habits you need to break as well as strengthen. So let’s get started:

Step #1: Constantly Eat Food

If you’re a skinny guy or hardgainer and you want to build muscle then the first thing you need to learn is that food (calories) are VITAL to your success. Most skinny guys have a “faster than normal” metabolism which means that your body typically burns through more calories in a day than the average person.

This is important to know because, in order to build muscle you have to consume more calories than your body burns each day. And if your body naturally burns through more calories in a day (for example 2500 calories instead of 2000 calories - which is true for most skinny guys and hardgainers) then you’re going to have to consume more calories overall in order to be in a caloric surplus.

So now that you know you’ll have to consume more calories than most people to virtually get the same results the best way to achieve this is to eat food (consume calories) constantly throughout the day.

I’m not saying that your entire day should be spent at the dinner table, but what I am saying is that you should prepare yourself to be constantly nibbling on “healthy muscle building foods” throughout the day.

As a skinny guy / hardgainer you should be consuming a “muscle building meal” approximately every 2 ½ - 3 hours and even snacking on “healthy” things in between depending on your metabolism.

Step #2: Increase Your Protein AND Your Carb Intake

We all know “extra” protein is essential to building muscle. Nothing new there. But what most skinny guys forget about is Carbs.

Here is something you may not know.

Your body needs “calories” to survive and your bodies most preferred source of “calories” is Carbs.

In the end, your body doesn’t care what food source it comes from. Which means if Carbs aren’t found then your body will use another nutrient source to get these calories.

So why is this important to you???

When it comes to muscle building, protein is essential to muscle repair and muscle growth. But it can also be used an energy source (it can be broken down for energy in the body) as well.

As a skinny guy it’s important that every bit of protein you consume each day gets used for muscle growth and repair. But if you only consume more protein and not carbs as well, your body will actually use that extra protein for energy rather than muscle growth.

As a hardgainer here is a general guideline for how much Protein and Carbs you shuld be consuming each day in order to build muscle and gain weight

1.5 - 2g Protein x (your bodyweight in lbs) each day
2.5g Carbs x (your bodyweight in lbs) each day

For example if you weigh 150lbs, every day you should be consuming:

225 grams (1.5g x 150lbs) of protein
375 grams (2.5g x 150lbs) of carbs

Make sure you learn what the top foods to build muscle and what foods you should be consuming everyday to build muscle and gain weight

Step #3: Avoid Hunger Like the Plague

As a skinny guy, when it comes to building muscle you have to realize that hunger is a VERY BAD THING.

Hunger is the response your body gives you when it’s running low on calories from it’s #1 calorie source (Carbs).

Out of gas
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pat Hawks

If you think of your body’s energy levels like the fuel gauge on a car, you can’t build muscle when your stomach is on Empty.

It’s a very simple concept but it plays an important role especially if you’re a hard gainer or skinny guy. Whenever hunger strikes, just remember you’re NOT building muscle.

In fact if you’re ever hungry throughout the day you’re actually 1 step away from your body breaking down the muscle you already have. Don’t believe me??

Remember, your body NEEDS calories to survive. If it can’t get Carbs or Protein from your stomach because it’s empty guess where it’s going to look at next.... your muscles. Why?

Because your muscles are made of Amino Acids (Protein) and your body knows that they can be broken down for energy should it need it.

So remember, avoid hunger like the plague because you can’t build muscle when your gas tank is on empty.

Step #4: Short But Intense Workouts Are KEY

I talk about this more thoroughly in the previous article but this is a BIGGIE when it comes to building muscle as a skinny guy.

Since our bodies in a sense is working against us when it comes to putting on muscle we have to do things that promote MAXIMUM muscle growth if we want to see results and doing Short and Intense workouts is one of them.

Why Short Workouts?

It’s primarily because of a hormone called Cortisol. The higher our stress levels the higher our Cortisol levels become. And get this... one of the effects of high Cortisol levels is “Catabolism” (muscle breakdown)

This is important because after about 60 minutes of intense training our Cortisol levels begins to rise.

Which means the longer you stay in the gym working out after this point the less effective (and actually counter productive) your workout becomes.

As a skinny guy the key to your workouts is to stress the greatest amount of muscle fibers in the shortest amount of the time possible. And then get out.

This is why Compound Exercises are amongst the top exercises to build muscle because they stress the most amount of muscle in the least amount of time.

So if you’re a hardgainer and you want to build muscle and gain weight Short And Intense Workouts are ESSENTIAL.

That’s which it’s highly recommended that you spend no more than 60 minutes weight training while you’re trying to build muscle.

Step #5: Destroying Your Skinny Guy Habits

After helping hundreds of other skinny guys build muscle and gain weight, I’ve come to realize that there are several habits that most skinny guys have that are holding them back. And if you’re reading this right now then I’m certain you’re guilty of a few of these "habits" as well:

  • Skimping out on your meals
  • Letting yourself go hungry before you eat
  • Thinking of eating as a DREADED "chore"
  • Not pushing yourself in the gym
  • Making excuses
  • Not having a plan (Winging it) - this includes your diet plan and your workout plan
  • Listening to "all the wrong" people about building muscle

The truth is if you’re falling victim to any of these things then you’re literally sabotaging your results. And it’s important that you DESTROY these habits ASAP because you can’t build the physique you want with these habits.

If you want to build muscle fast and you’re a skinny guy then here is a quick list of the Muscle Building Habits you need to live by and start taking action on them TODAY:

  • Never letting your stomach go hungry
  • Cooking and Preparing your meals in advance
  • Eating on a schedule
  • Always thinking about your next meal
  • Not waiting til you're hungry to eat
  • Getting in, Working Out and Getting Out ASAP
  • Training like it's your LAST workout EVER

This is something that I address BIG TIME in my 30 Day Build Muscle Challenge Training Program. You can’t build the body you want with the habits you currently have, you have to do key things each day to Destroy your skinny guy habits and strengthen your Muscle Building Habits.

Life Changing Tip: Write those Muscle Building Habits above somewhere you can see them multiple times each day (and FOLLOW THEM) you’ll be surprised how fast you start seeing results, just by following these "HABITS")

Step #6: Reward Yourself

Let's be honest, building "life changing, physique altering" muscle takes a BIG commitment and alot of dedication. But in my opinion it takes an even BIGGER commitment and dedication if you’re a skinny guy.


Because us skinny guys have to do even more to get the same results as average guys. And it can take a few weeks before “real” results start appearing. And that’s why it’s VERY important that you reward yourself on a regular basis for sticking with your diet, your workouts and your recovery.

Not only is it great for your motivation, it’s great for your SANITY as well. (trust me, I know how grueling following a muscle building diet and breaking yourself in the gym can get)

Aside from lack of results alot of guys quit because they lack the motivation it takes to see the life changing results they want. Well, this won’t be the case with you if you just reward yourself regularly.

I’ve transformed my body twice (more on that later) and the second time was way more “enjoyable" (and fun) than the first and a large part of that was because I rewarded myself each week for sticking with my diet, workouts and recovery.

And it really doesn’t matter what you do to reward yourself. It can be something as small as eating at your favorite restaurant once a week to getting a massage each for a job well done.

Here’s how I reward my way to fast muscle gains.

Each week, to reward myself I take a “RAID-A-BUFFET” Day.

Yep, after EVERY successful week I’ll treat myself to MASSIVE amounts of delicious food.

You’ll be surprised how focused you get in the gym and outside the gym with your diet when you have something like this to look forward to each week.

There’s a number of reasons why I prefer to treat myself this way but the #1 reason is because it’s EXTRA calories.

And remember, as a skinny guy CALORIES are crucial to building muscle. And it’s a proven fact, the more calories you consume the more muscle growth you can experience.

So if you want to build muscle and gain weight I highly recommend you reward yourself with (MASSIVE AMOUNTS of) delicious food every week.

If you like these tips and you’re a skinny guy / hardgainer I highly recommend you check out my 30 Day Build Muscle Challenge Training and see step by step what I did to transformation my body from skinny to massive.

What do you think???...

What was your favorite tip?
Do you have a tip of your own you’d like to share?
Do you have a question about any of the tips I’ve mentioned?
Do you have any experiences you’d like to share about building muscle?

I’d really love to hear what’s on your mind when it comes to building muscle or fitness in general so please leave me a comment and let me hear what’s on your mind and if you enjoyed this article.

How to Build Muscle Fast

After transforming my body TWICE and gaining 42 lbs in 4 months I of get asked: “Rich, how do I build muscle fast?

And today I’m going to break down the “Nitty Gritty” of what you need to do in order to build muscle including how much food you should be eating, what foods you should consume each day, what are the top exercises to stimulate muscle growth and what you should do to see faster growth over time.


Step #1: Eat More to Get More

Here’s my secret (well not so anymore) formula for building muscle.

(The Muscle Building Formula)
Proper Nutrition + Intense Workouts + Rest & Recovery = *Muscle Gain*

As you can see the first ingredient is “Proper Nutrition”. In other words, it’s not all about what you do in the gym (despite what you might think).

It’s a well known fact that it takes roughly 3500 EXTRA calories to gain approximately 1lb (or .5 kg) of EXTRA muscle mass. So if you want to build muscle and gain weight your first goal is to consume extra calories on top of what your body burns each day.

For example, if your body burns 2,000 calories each day then you’ll need to consume MORE than 2,000 calories a day to build muscle.

Better example: let’s say you wanted to you wanted to gain 1 lb of muscle each week and your body burns 2,000 calories a day, theoretically all you’d need to do is consume 500 extra calories on top your normal 2,000 calories (that your body needs to get through a typical day) and you’ll gain 1 lb of muscle each week.

Here’s the math to prove it:

500 “EXTRA” calories a day * 7 days a week =
3500 “EXTRA” calories = 1 lb of muscle each week

Now there are several factors thats involved including the speed of your metabolism, nutrition sources (where your calories come from - every calorie isn’t created equal), intensity of your workouts, genetics... etc. But if your goal is to build muscle, this is how you go about it.... by consuming more calories.

When Is A Calorie NOT A Calorie

A better to say this is All Calories Are Not Created Equal.

Remember when I said it takes approximately 3500 EXTRA calories to build 1 lb (or .5 kg) of new muscle mass. Well that’s not entirely true, and let me explain....

The truth is it takes approximately 3500 EXTRA calories to build 1 lb (or .5 kg) of new body mass. It all depends on where those extra calories come from that decide how much of those extra calories gets converted to muscle and how much is converted to fat.

For example - if the majority of your EXTRA calories come from fats and bad carbs (i.e. from foods “like chips and soda”) you’ll gain mostly fat.

But if the majority of your EXTRA calories come from protein and good carbs “like tuna and whole wheat bread” you’ll mostly gain muscle.

Remember you should increase your calories with healthy whole food sources rather than from processed, artificial and unhealthy junk food sources.

Check out my article on the Top Food to Build Muscle and Gain Weight for a full breakdown on what foods you should be consuming to build muscle fast.


Step #2: Lift Heavy (6 - 12 reps)

The next ingredient in this formula is INTENSE workouts.

You NEED intense workouts if you want to build muscle. As much as I stress proper nutrition, what you do in the gym also plays a very significant role to building muscle.

There are many different factors that go into an intense workout but the #1 muscle building factor is to Lift Heavy Weights. Your muscle gains (and strength gains) will be VERY small (if any) if you stay on the 10 and 15 lbs weights.

So what do I mean by “lift heavy weights”?

Well, I know your muscles perception of what’s heavy is way different from an athlete with years of weight lifting experience thinks of as heavy.

So here’s the general guideline.

If you’re lifting more than 12 reps per set then the weights you’re lifting is too light for MAXIMUM muscle growth. (this is more endurance training)

On the flip side if you’re lifting less than 6 reps per set then the weight you’re lifting is too heavy for MAXIMUM muscle growth. (this is more strength training)

Why is 6 - 12 reps the SWEET SPOT for building muscle?

The reason for this has to do with your muscle fibers. Without getting too technical, you have two dominant types of skeletal muscle fibers in your body; Type I (slow twitch) and Type II (Fast twitch) muscle fibers.

And the stress you experience when you lift heavy weights (6 - 12 reps) directly stimulates these large Type II muscle fibers

Why is this important??? …

It just so happens that of these muscles your Type II muscle fibers grow the largest. These are the muscles that help sculpt your body.

I usually have to explain the difference of why you need to lift heavy when I answer the common question of: Can I build muscle without a gym?

So remember in order to build muscle fast you need Intense Workouts and by using the 6 - 12 reps weight training rep scheme you’ll experience the most amount of muscle growth.


Step #3: Less is More (How long your workout should "really" be?)

When you’re first starting out common sense might be telling you that the longer you stay in the gym lifting weights the bigger and stronger you’ll get. But guess what?

This far from the truth.

The reality is, your body is on a time limit everytime you walk into the gym. Yes, there is a timer that starts the second you pick up the weights and do your first to the time you finish your workout.

And guess what, the more time you spend after that timer runs out the less effective your results will be. In fact you may be even putting your muscles in danger of “shrinking”.

So how long should I be working out for?

Like with most things everyone is different but there is a general guideline that you should stick to you want to see the best results possible (and then change it accordingly after you gain more experience)

The general rule of thumb when it comes to how long you should be weight training is no more than 60 minutes.

In other words, if it takes you longer than 60 minutes to complete your weight training workout then you may be putting your muscle gains in jeopardy and you may be putting your muscle gains at risk.

So remember, when it comes to weight training.... less is more. You’ll see way better results from “short and INTENSE Workouts” rather than Long, drawn out workouts.

So be sure to keep your weight training sessions to no more than 60 minutes.


Step #4: Be a Man - Do Compound Exercises

Have you ever seen that guy in the gym that stays on the bicep curl machine, the tricep machine, the leg machine???

Whether you have or you haven’t, if you want to build muscle don’t be that guy. You NEED to do compound exercises.

The name of the game when it comes to building muscle is muscle stimulation. While you’re in the gym you want to stimulate the most of amount of muscle in the least amount of time.

Remember, “Short and INTENSE Workouts” are key to building muscle.

With that being said, compound exercises stimulate way more muscle fibers than isolation exercises.

So what are compound exercises?

In a nutshell compound exercises are exercises that stimulate multiple muscle groups at the same time, whereas isolation exercises (i.e. - dumbbell curls, tricep extensions, etc) only target one muscle group at a time.

Some key compound exercises that are CRUCIAL to build muscle fast include:

  • Squats
  • Bench Press
  • Barbell Rows
  • Deadlifts

If you ask any experienced weight lifter what are the top exercises to build muscle... ALL of them will be compound exercises.


Step #5: Rest and Recovery

Despite what you might think, your muscles don’t grow in the gym... your muscles grow outside the gym. The majority of your muscle growth actually occurs while you’re asleep, this is when your body can dedicate the most amount of nutrients and cellular activity to muscle repair and growth.

With that being said, what you do in between workouts is EXTREMELY important to building muscle. Most guys think their job starts and ends once they’re finished pumping iron, but when you look at how many hours you spend outside the gym, in some sense it’s just beginning.

So once you finish your workout, your mind should shift into rest and recovery mode. There are two important things you need to focus on when it comes to proper rest and recovery

Follow your muscle building diet -

Eat when you’re supposed to eat and eat the things you know you're supposed to eat. Don’t skimp out on your meals, because once your workout is over, that’s when your body is prime for muscle growth. And it’s during this phase when all those calories are needed... for muscle repair and muscle growth.

Getting proper rest -

Make sure you get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep EACH night. This helps promote the optimal amount of muscle building hormones during this crucial recovery period (while you’re sleep).

This also means don’t overdo it. In between your workouts its vital that you limit the amount of strenuous activity you perform to help you muscle recover faster.

Rest and recovery is important because your muscles only grow after they’ve fully recovered from the previous workout.


Step #6: Be Consistent With Your...

This should go without saying but it’s VITAL to your success that you be consistent with your diet, your workouts and your rest and recovery. Your body is an “Adaptation Machine”. web security . The more your body adapts to something, the easier and more efficient it gets at doing it.

And this is very important when it comes to building muscle.

For example: when you first start following a proper muscle building diet, your body gradually adapt to your proper eating habits by speeding up your metabolism (which is good) to digest food quicker and repair your muscles faster which speeds up muscle growth.

But if you slack off on your diet and you’re inconsistent with your meals, guess what your body will adapt to these “poor” eating habits by keeping your metabolism slow, thereby slowing down your digestion and your muscle repair and guess what these things all do???

You guessed it.... slows down your muscle growth.

That’s the reason why “The Big Get Bigger” because they’re so consistent at doing all the right things that to their bodies, building muscle is almost effortless because everything has been adapted to build muscle faster and more efficient.

You can get there too, all you have to do is be consistent.


Step #7: Enjoy It

This is VERY important if you're looking to build "life changing" muscle. The last step to building muscle is to ENJOY IT! Building muscle takes weeks of doing and eating the “right” things inside the gym and outside the gym.

And I’m going to be very honest with you, there are many things I’d rather be doing than lifting weights and cooking healthy meals (if I could, my diet would consist of pizza, lasagna, buffalo wings, and craft beer :o)

But I look forward to lifting weights and cooking healthy meals because I enjoy the benefits working out and eating healthy gives me. I enjoy:

  • the way my clothes fit me now
  • the way girls look at me
  • the respect I get from guys
  • the confidence I have everywhere I go

So in order to build life changing muscle you have to stay committed and consistent and the only way to do that is to enjoy the process.

And the best (and easiest) way to do that is to find something you really enjoy about following a proper muscle building diet and working out like:

  • how good you look in the mirror week after week
  • how great you feel after relieving your daily stress in the gym
  • watching all the hotties as you workout
  • how your clothes fit
  • the compliments and stares you’ll get

Building muscle isn’t that hard. I transformed my body TWICE, you can checkout my SHOCKING transformation photos if you don't believe me and the second time was actually easier than the first, all because I followed these very same tips that I provided for you today.


What do you think???...

What was your favorite tip?
Do you have a tip of your own you’d like to share?
Do you have a question about any of the tips I’ve mentioned?
Do you have any experiences you’d like to share about building muscle?

I’d really love to hear what’s on your mind when it comes to building muscle or fitness in general so please leave me a comment and let me hear what’s on your mind and if you enjoyed this article.

5 Motivational Tips You Need To Know to Build Muscle

Creative Commons License photo credit: jontunn

So now that you’ve learned about nutritional principles and weight-lifting strategies, there’s just one more tool you need to equip yourself with before hitting the gym and reaching those fitness goals that you’ve only dreamed of before… and that’s motivation.

Now I’ve always believed that motivation is a mindset and that people who weren’t motivated were just weak minded and willed… turns out motivation and motivational tools can be taught and they’re just about the easiest thing to learn!

So whether you’re struggling just to get into the gym in the morning or you’re seeking that extra mental push to put you over the top and get that one last rep, or your diet is taking its toll, here are the top 5 motivational tools I use when I feel my mental game slipping:

Motivational Tip #1: Set Definitive Goals

Do you know why most people fail to achieve their New Year’s Resolutions to “lose weight” or “gain muscle” or “get healthy”?

Because those goals are so broad that people often don’t know where to start… and then they get discouraged before they’ve even lifted a finger.

Half the battle is in setting your goal. Instead of saying “gain muscle”, you should be saying, “I want to gain 20 pounds in the next 6 months and keep my body fat the same”.

Instead of saying I want to get healthy, maybe say, “I want to be able to run an 8 minute mile” or “I want to train for a 5K marathon 2 months from now”.

Motivational Tip #2: Set Short and Reachable Goals:

Now that we’ve established a clear goal for ourselves, we can further refine and better outlook by breaking that goal down further into a bunch of sub-goals.

So instead of saying “I want to gain 20 pounds in the next 6 months and keep my body fat the same”, tell yourself, “I’m gonna gain 5 pounds of muscle this month”.

We’re all driven by success and its success that fuels us. Setting achievable goals isn’t cheating. It’s being smart by allowing yourself to achieve a larger goal in stages!

Motivational Tip #3: Get a Workout Partner

And make sure that partner has similar goals to you. There have been number of mornings when I haven’t wanted to get out of bed or it seemed hard to do the last rep on every set.

But having a workout partner makes me get up because I have a responsibility to them… and it’s that same workout partner that helps me eek out those last one or two excruciating reps.

Motivational Tip #4: Keep Things Fresh

One of the best motivational killers is getting into a routine.

If you’re in the gym every day and you’re doing the same workout week after tiresome week, things are going to start getting boring… and when they do, that’s when motivation levels drop and people quick.

Change up your workout every week and do get a new scheme every 2 or 3 months. It’ll give you and your body something new to tackle which will help keep you going as well!

Motivational Tip #5: Take a Break

Here’s a secret that I’m sure a huge number of fledgling gym rats don’t know… your muscles don’t grow while you’re working out… they grow WHILE YOU’RE RESTING.

So take a week off to recharge both your body and your mind every 2.5 to 3 months.

It’ll give you an appreciation for the extra time you have and at the same time it’ll allow your body to grow and recover from the pounding you’ve given it!

Until Next Time,