Having trouble adding bulk to your skinny frame? This is actually a common problem. While a lot of the articles that you come across online deal with blasting fat, there are plenty of us that have struggled to go from a skinny physique to a muscular build.
There are several obstacles that often get in the way of building muscle when you have a skinny body. But, it is possible to overcome these challenges and begin developing the physique that you’ve always wanted.
First, let’s address some of the common questions and misconceptions that skinny people have about build muscle.
When you work out daily, lift weights, and fill up on protein, you may be shocked when this does not translate into muscle. You may think that it’s your genetics, you are not getting enough protein, or perhaps that you are not lifting enough weights.
Do Not Blame Your Lack of Muscle on Genetics
As far as genetics, this is one of the most commonly used excuses. A lot of people give up on their goals and blame it on a hereditary issue. They claim that they just have a naturally skinny frame, but this really just an excuse.
There is some truth to the idea that some people have a narrower bone structure. During puberty, the secretion of testosterone causes your shoulders to broaden.
You may not have been blessed with broad shoulders, but this will not stop you from gaining muscle. The structure of your bones does not limit your ability to build stronger biceps or add muscle to your shoulders.
Protein is Rarely the Reason Behind Your Problem
The next misconception is that you if you don’t notice any muscle growth you are not eating enough protein. While you do need protein to gain muscle, this is rarely the reason behind your problem.
If you’re already basing your meals around protein and drinking protein shakes, instead of adding more protein you need to add more carbs or fats to your meals.
In fact, not eating enough is perhaps the most common reason that skinny people have trouble gaining muscle. If you want to get serious about gaining muscle, you need to make sure that you eat enough food. This means tracking your calories.
Start Tracking Your Calories to Gain Muscle
How many calories should you consume each day? Well, the quick and easy rule for determining your caloric intake is to multiply your total weight in pounds by 11 – multiply by 10 for women. Though, this is for maintaining your current size, not gaining muscle.
Instead, if you want to pack on muscle, you need more calories. For guys, multiply your body weight by 17. Women should use a lower multiplier, such as 14 or 15.
So, for example, say you weigh 120 pounds, you should start consuming at least 2,040 calories per day. This is a good starting point.
Keep in mind that this still may not be enough to help you build muscle. At the end of each week, you should do a weigh-in. But, remember to only weigh yourself once per week.
If you are eating enough food, you should notice between 0.5 and 1 pound of weight gain each week. If not, add another 200 calories to your daily intake. For those that notice more than a pound of weight gain, you should drop your caloric intake by 100.
Continue tracking your calories and your weight. Even after you begin noticing positive results, you cannot slip up. You need to keep this up and continue tracking, as you may need additional calories to deal with your growing muscular build.
Balance Your Macronutrients with Your Increased Caloric Intake
Along with adding calories to your daily diet, you need to pay attention to your balance of macronutrients. As mentioned, you may already be eating more than enough protein, which means you should focus on fats and carbs.
Generally, when eating a calorie surplus, you’ll want about 1 gram of protein per pound of total body weight. So, if you weigh 120 pounds, you will want to eat about 120 grams of protein. This equates to about 480 calories.
If you’re eating 2100 calories each day, you cannot fill the remaining 1620 calories with carbs. Aim for about 25% of your calories to come from fats – healthy fats. This includes sources of unsaturated fats with a moderate amount of saturated fats.
Remember that each gram of fat provides 9 calories. Using the same example, this would equal about 59 grams of fat on a 2100 calorie per day meal plan.
Take your total caloric intake for the day and multiply it by 0.25 to get 25% of your calories. Divide this figure by 9 to determine how many grams of fat you should consume.
Fill the remaining calories with carbs. Grains, rice, pasta, and calorie dense fruit, such as bananas and mangoes are all great examples of healthy carbs that you can use to reach your caloric goal for the day.
You May Not Be Using Enough Weight
You may think that you’re performing an intense strength training workout. But, just because you perform dozens of repetitions does not mean anything if you are not lifting enough weight.
Luckily, it’s not hard to revise your current workout strategy. You can take your existing workout and reduce the number of repetitions performed during weight lifting exercises to 6 repetitions.
How much weight should you lift? This part is easy. Lift as much weight as you can while performing 6 repetitions, while still using proper form and posture. You should not struggle at all while completing 6 reps. Otherwise, you should drop down the next lower weight.
Use this same weight and the same number of reps for two weeks. On the third week, increase your total weight by 5 pounds. So, if you’re curling 20 pounds, switch to 25-pound dumbbells.
You should keep this up, adding more weight every few weeks, until you start to notice trouble maintaining your form. When this occurs, drop back down 5 pounds.
Putting it All Together to Go from a Skinny Build to a Ripped Body
The bottom line is that you’re finding it hard to add muscle to your skinny frame, then you may not be eating enough or lifting enough. These are the two biggest factors. Eat more calories and lift heavier weights.
Now, get to work. Calculate your caloric intake, determine your macros, and hit the gym. Let us know how it goes, we’d love to hear about your results.
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