The Ultimate Skinny Guys Guide to Bulking Up Fast: How to Bulk like the Hulk

Hulk knows how many reps and sets to do.

Want to go from a skinny guy to towers muscle quickly? I got you.

I’ve spent my unshortened sultana life trying to pack on muscle, and without years and years of trial and error, I finally croaky the code.

Today, I share that lawmaking with you!

This is a topic that is near and dear to me, considering I’ve spent my life devoted to this stuff:

How fast can it take to grow muscle? It took Steve years of trial and error.

These are the word-for-word tactics I’ve used, and the same strategies we use with our Online Coaching Clients.

This self-ruling guide is gonna get you started off on the right foot!

Here are the 4 parts we’ll imbricate in this ultimate guide:

#1) INTRO:




How I Bulked up Without Years of Struggling as a Skinny Guy

Steve dressed up as Superman.Growing up, I was unchangingly the scrawny, skinny weak kid.

There was a reason I dressed up like superman every other day for the first six years of my life:

Superman was strong, big, and powerful…and I wasn’t.

To this day, it’s still a big rencontre for me to proceeds weight or build muscle.

When people tell me “must be nice to have been skinny growing up,” I explain that a killer unappetizing top, my height (5’2″ until I was 16), four years of braces, and two Acutane treatments made sure I still got the full younger wits 🙂

When I was cut from the upper school basketball team (which I thought was the end of the world), I signed up for a gym membership to get big and strong.

Within five minutes I had scrutinizingly killed myself when loading up way too much weight for a set of seat presses.

When you start bulking up, be shielding you don't try too much too soon.

Fortunately, I survived, and thus began my love topic with strength training.

I spent the next six years training in a gym, reading every muscle and fitness magazine I could find, drinking protein shakes religiously…and had well-nigh 3 pounds of muscle proceeds to show for it.

I just unsupportable “I’m one of those people who can’t proceeds weight.”

It turns out, I was doing it all wrong.

Deadpool needs to be unwieldy so he can do mercenary work, plus tell witty jokes.

After graduating higher I moved to California, signed up for a gym membership, and received a few self-ruling personal trainer sessions.

Although I thought I had known it all (I had been training for 6 years in a gym! I read the muscle mags! I was in good shape already!), I still took the self-ruling sessions for the hell of it.

I’m so glad I did!

The trainer drastically simplified my workout and DOUBLED the value of supplies I was eating.

I thought he was crazy at first, but I stuck with it.

In 30 days, I had put on 18 pounds (pictured below), increased the strength in ALL of my lifts, and felt increasingly confident than I overly had surpassing in my life.

That’s when the lightbulb when off in my head: there’s a largest way.

A surpassing and without picture of Steve.

And thus began a radical redefinition of how I thought the human soul worked, how muscle was built, and where I needed to put my priorities.

Since then, I’ve spent seven years learning everything I can well-nigh how muscle is built.

A few years back, I took an epic 35,000-mile trip virtually the world, and despite not having wangle to a gym for 6 months, I managed to once then pack on plane increasingly muscle and get myself in unconfined shape without once picking up a weight (pictured below):

Another picture comparing a "before" and "after" of Steve.

Again, my world was turned upside down.

I learned that gyms are not a requirement to build muscle and get stronger, though a great gym workout can certainly speed up the process.

And without a few increasingly years of up and lanugo challenges, I had finally – jokingly – reverted from Steve Rogers to Captain America (there’s a story overdue this):

Steve Kamb turning into Captain America.

I’m still not the biggest guy in the world, nor will I overly be. I’m okay with that!

I’ve learned that anyone can pack on muscle, plane skinny nerds like me.

If you’re skinny and want to get bigger, you’ll be fighting genetics the whole way, but do not let that deter you.

Anything is possible.

Today’s vendible outlines everything I’ve learned over the past 13 years of mistakes, successes, failures, and adventures.

The Most Important Thing for Putting on Muscle: Eat Increasingly Food.

Someone eating a healthy breakfast

As they say, muscle isn’t made in the gym, but in the kitchen:

If you want to zillion up, you’d be largest off working out twice a week for 30 minutes and eating right, than working out 6 days a week and not eating properly.

I learned this the nonflexible way.

I spent four years of higher working out five days a week for 90 minutes a day trying to get bigger.

I drank protein shakes like I thought I was supposed to. I got a little stronger, but never bigger.



Homer just realized his friend Steve didn't eat unbearable calories to zillion up.

When I get emails from people who lament the fact that they can’t proceeds weight, I unchangingly first ask well-nigh the person’s diet.

More often than not, that person thinks they are eating enough, but are definitely not.

Here’s the truth:

If you are not getting bigger, you are not eating enough.

Your soul can shrivel 2000 calories every day just existing (and then factor in exercise and, gulp, cardio – I’ll get to that in a minute), and you need to overload your system with calories in order for it to have unbearable fuel for the muscle towers process.

Want to know how many calories you shrivel every day just existing?

Plug your stats into our TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure) calculator:

Total Daily Energy Expenditure Calculator
Use age in years.
Use pounds (lbs). If using metric system, multiple kg times 2.2 for lbs.
Use inches. If using metric system, divide cm by 2.54 for total inches.
Your BMR is an estimate of the total calories burned a day, while in a state of rest.
For "Activity Level," veer toward the side of less active. Studies unceasingly show that people are not as zippy as they self-assess.
Your TDEE is an estimate of the total calories burned during a single day, when exercise is factored in.

Click right here for our Metric calculator.

Note: we have used The Mifflin-St Jeor Equation to create this calculator! [1]

For every person, the number of required calories for bulking up daily is different, expressly when you factor in how much you move, fidget, and how much weight you need to gain:

  • For some people, it might be 2,500 calories a day.
  • For others, it might be 3,500 calories a day.
  • For others, it might be 5,000 calories a day.

I don’t love calorie counting (I prefer a “Balanced Plate” approach), but I think for a newbie starting out, tracking calories for a few days is a unconfined place to begin.

So, track your calories using something like MyFitnessPal over a few days and get an average.

I bet you’ll discover you’re eating significantly less than you thought you were.


And then eat MORE!

If you're not bulking up, eat more, like Kirby here!

Spend the next two weeks eating an spare 300-500 calories per day above your TDEE (which you calculated above) and see how your weight adjusts (and how you squint in progress photos!).

If you are not getting bigger, add an spare 300-500 calories per day and repeat the process.

Depending on your training, genetics, how skinny you are, and how much muscle you need to gain, you can decide how much weight you want to proceeds each week.

Everybody’s results will vary, and thoughts are mixed on how quickly we can build muscle:

  • Under optimal conditions, some say you can expect to proceeds 1 pound (.5 kg) of muscle per week,
  • My results have shown that 2 lbs (1kg) per month is increasingly realistic.
  • A 2016 study[2]revealed that strength training produced a 2.2 lb increase (1kg) increase in lean mass in 8 weeks.

Regardless of how fast you zillion up, it might be helpful for you to proceeds weight by putting on some fat with your muscle!

Here are things to consider if you overeat WHILE strength training: uneaten glycogen, some fat, and water stored in your soul can be a good thing for your confidence and get you headed lanugo the right path.

So, don’t listen to the sites or programs that say “gain 40 pounds of muscle in two months!”

Unless you’re on the juice (‘roids, not Hawaiian Punch), it’s going to be a slow, long process.

Yes, it is possible to have incredible transformations in a short value of time, like when I gained 18 pounds (8.1kg) in 30 days

This was due to strength training, overeating, protein, and uneaten water weight (from supplementing with creatine):

I put on 18 pounds of weight in 30 days

My advice: Rather than massive weight proceeds over a month, you’d be much largest off gaining .5-1.5 lbs. (.25-.75 kg) a week, every week, for six months…and keeping the weight on!

Now, I know this stuff isn’t easy.

There’s nothing worse than spending 6 months in a gym and doing what you think you SHOULD be doing, only to step on the scale and realize that you haven’t made any progress!

If you’re somebody that’s worried well-nigh wasting time, or you want to have an expert guide your nutrition based on your current situation, consider checking out our Online Training Program!

What Supplies Should I Eat to Zillion Up?

various paleo nutrition products on wooden table, top view

Let’s go through how you should be prioritizing your nutrition, nutrient by nutrient:

  • Protein: rebuilds muscle without you unravel it down.
  • Carbohydrates: provides your muscle with fuel and soul weight with energy
  • Fat: helps your bodily functions and can moreover be burned as fuel in the sparsity of carbs.

Let’s squint at each of these individually:


Protein can come from any number of sources, including:

  • Meat (steak, bison, pork).
  • Fowl (chicken, turkey, duck).
  • Eggs![3]
  • Cheese and dairy.
  • Fish and shellfish (salmon, tuna, shrimp).
  • Legumes (black beans, chickpeas).
  • Other vegetarian protein sources here.

As we imbricate in our “How much Protein do I need?”, claims for the value of protein needed vary wildly from source to source (and athlete to athlete).

Here is our recommendation for protein consumption:

If you’re of healthy weight, active, and wish to build muscle, aim for 1 g/lb (2.2 g/kg).

If you’re an experienced lifter on a bulk, intakes up to 1.50 g/lb (3.3 g/kg) may help you minimize fat gain.

Let me simplify it for you: target at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (2.2 grams per kg).

If you’re curious, from our healthy eating article, this is what a portion of protein looks like:

A serving of protein should be well-nigh the size of your palm, like so.

Also, here’s how much protein is in a serving of food:

  • 4 oz (113 g) of yellow has virtually 30 g of protein.
  • 4 oz (113 g) of salmon has 23 g of protein
  • 4 oz (113 g) of steak has 28 g of protein.

Want to get increasingly protein? Consider protein shakes, like so:

The Powerbomb Protein Shake Recipe


After protein, in order for you to get bigger, you need to eat unbearable calories, and those calories should come from sources well-balanced of carbs and/or fats.

Here are foods full of carbohydrates you can prioritize for bulking up:

  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Legumes and lentils
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams
  • Regular potatoes
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Whole grain bread

To help you get largest at eyeballing serving sizes:

Showing you a serving of carbs

1 serving of a starchy carbohydrate is 1 cupped hand (uncooked), or your two hands forming a cup (cooked).

Here are some images to help you learn proper portion sizes (thanks to SafeFood):

This picture will help you determine proper serving sizes for carbs!

In wing to consuming carbohydrates from these sources, it’s okay to slosh plenty of fruit while trying to zillion up!

You can read our full “Is fruit healthy” guide to learn more.


Fat is a macronutrient that you can eat that can help you reach your goals in the right quantity, as fat can be higher calorie and you can eat lots of it without feeling full.

Healthy fat can be found in foods like:

  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Almond butter
  • Peanut butter

Science has recently come virtually on saturated fat too [4]. Once completely vilified, but now considered okay for moderate consumption.

Saturated fats can come from things like:

  • Whole milk
  • Full fat dairy
  • Coconut oil
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • Lard

To help you gauge: a serving size of fat is roughly the size of your thumb!

A serving of fat should be well-nigh your thumb!

For reference, this is a single serving of almonds (162 calories):

Knowing the correct value of almonds to eat can help you with your calorie goals.

THIS is a serving of olive oil (119 calories):

This shows the serving size of olive oil, which is very dumbo calorie wise.

As you can see, you can eat an uneaten 500 calories of “healthy fats” by eating lots of “heart-healthy” fats like nuts or subtracting increasingly olive oil to your meals.


Last but not least, you need vegetables in your diet.

If you start to eat a lot increasingly food, your “indoor plumbing” is going to really goody from eating some high-fiber veggies with each meal:

A serving of veggies is well-nigh the size of your fist.

A serving of veggies should be the size of your first (or greater).

Here’s a quick, non-complete list of veggies that can fill your plate:

  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Asparagus


A plate that that contains a portion of protein, healthy carb, veggies/fruit, and unsweetened drink.

This plate and serving size stuff whilom is just to help you get started thinking well-nigh healthy supplies differently and in proper portion sizes.

To recap:


  • Calculate your (Total daily energy expenditure) and add 500 cal over your number.
  • Consume 1-1.5g per pound (2.2-3.3g per kg) of bodyweight in protein every day.
  • Consume the rest of your calories from foods well-balanced of carbs and fats.
  • Always eat vegetables so that your soul can unquestionably PROCESS all this uneaten food.
  • If you are not gaining weight, add increasingly carbs and/or fats to your meal.

It really does come lanugo to the following:

If you are not gaining weight fast enough, you’re not eating enough. Increase your portions of carbs and fats!

Whenever we work with coaching clients who struggle to zillion up, this is the zone we target: subtracting increasingly carbs and fats to each meal.

What are the Weightier Popular Bulk-Up Eating Strategies?

Lego doughboy with hot dog versus undecorous baseplate backgrounds.

If you read the previous section, you know that we have some pretty specific “best practices” on how to zillion up.

However, there are multiple strategies that can moreover work, and I’d like to imbricate each of those here too.

Depending on your budget, your taste in food, and your goals, these strategies will work largest for some than others.

#1) The “Healthy” Bulk

I have followed this method to unconfined success multiple times (including right now).

Ultimately, I follow the “real food” principles whenever possible (good sources of quality meat, tons of vegetables, minimal amounts of gluten and processed carbs), but mixing in some specific items that are calorie/carbohydrate dumbo to reach my calorie goals for the day.

These image shows some real food, hair-trigger if you're trying to lose soul fat.

This is the word-for-word strategy we lay out in the previous section of this article.

Speaking of quality calories – how I recommend doing this – receive your Get Worthier Shopping List and Bulk Up Cheat Sheet by putting your email in the box below:

#2) The “See Food” Diet

This is the nutrition I used to put on 18 pounds in 30 days.

Looking when at how I ate, I’m now grossed out.

This is a scene from Liar Liar, with Jim Carrey stuff grossed out

But for me at the time, it worked (and got me interested in nutrition research).

If you are super skinny and on a tight budget, this might be your only option, and that’s okay!

Foods that are upper in calories include:

  • Whole milk
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Ice cream
  • Juice
  • Peanut butter sandwiches
  • Meatball subs from Subway
  • Pizza
  • Burgers


Whatever gets you to your caloric intake goal for the day.

When I put on my 18 lbs, I used to drink 3 CytoGainer shakes a day, considering it was the easiest way for me to stay on target.

If you are training properly, a majority of these calories will go towards towers muscle instead of putting on a lot of fat.

Steve’s thoughts: I’m not a big fan of this method much, as I’ve come to learn the quality of supplies is as important (if not increasingly so) than quantity when it comes to your overall health, and we’re aiming for worthier AND healthier.


Drink a gallon of whole milk every day withal with your meals.

GOMAD will for sure help you proceeds weight, as this kid can attest to.

Sounds crazy, yup, but it works.

A gallon of whole milk is full of unbearable sugar, carbs, fats, and protein that when all said and done, results in 2400 calories consumed in liquid form.

Mix in vegetables and meat for healthy meals and you got yourself a simple to follow diet.

I’ve attempted this nutrition when in my younger days, and although my stomach hated me, I certainly had success with it, mostly considering it was simple to follow and easy to understand.

#4) Paleo Zillion or Keto Bulk

Bulking up while pursuit the Paleo Diet, or bulking while pursuit a Keto Diet.

Yes, it’s possible to zillion while pursuit either of these diets:

If you are eating Paleo, you’ll want to eat LOTS of carbs and fats from calorie-dense foods like fruit, sweet potatoes, and nuts.

If you are going Keto, you’ll want to eat LOTS of fat from cheeses, nuts, oils, and so on.

If you have the upkeep and want to try it, go for it. You’ll be eating truckloads of nuts, avocados, and meat.


In our opinion, we’ve had the most success with Coaching Clients who prefer a “healthy bulk” strategy, #1 above.

It’s a focus on real food, a sustainable increase in calorie intake, and can be adjusted hands by subtracting or reducing total portions of carbs and fats.

But hey, you do you, boo.

What Supplements Should I take to Zillion up? How to eat increasingly calories.

This smoothie can help you grow big and strong.

If you are struggling to slosh unbearable whole foods every day, then here are some tips to help you reach your caloric goals to zillion up:


Most supplements are garbage

Most supplements are garbage and deserve to be tossed out.

Plus, you should ALWAYS prioritize consuming real supplies over shakes and powders.

HOWEVER, if you are interested in bulking quickly, there are two I would recommend:

  1. Protein Powder. A unconfined solution for getting uneaten protein and calories in your nutrition and towers muscle.[5] As we point out in our vendible on protein and protein shakes, mix and match your own ingredients and see how many calories you can get into a smoothie without breaking your blender.
  2. Creatine supplement. It helps your muscles retain increasingly water [6], and has been shown to increase the hormone IGF-1, which is needed for muscle growth[7]. It’s one of the only two supplements (along with protein) that I take regularly.

Outside of these two supplements, you really don’t need to prioritize supplementation, despite what the muscle magazines tell you! Hell, many of these muscle mags are OWNED BY SUPPLEMENT COMPANIES.

Pikachu is not excited that supplement companies own muscle magazines.

I’ll leave you with two increasingly big suggestions on how to zillion up in this section:

#1) Liquid calories are your friend. Liquid calories can requite us lots of calories without ‘filling us up,’ which is an easier way to slosh unbearable calories every day without feeling overly full.

I personally get a huge permafrost of my calories every day from making my own ‘Powerbomb Shake – from our Protein Guide

  1. Water: 16 oz.
  2. Quaker Oats: 3 servings (120g)
  3. Frozen spinach: 1.5 servings (120g)
  4. Frozen mixed berries: 1.5 servings (120g)
  5. Protein powder: 2 scoops of Optimum Nutrition Vanilla Whey

And here is the macronutrient breakdown:

  • Calories: 815 cal
  • Protein: 70g
  • Carbs: 107g
  • Fats: 12g

I put all of this into a Vitamix Blender – yep, it was expensive, but worth the investment. This blender has been used twice a day for 8 years without a single issue.

If you need plane increasingly calories consider subtracting whole milk, coconut milk, or almond milk instead of water.

You can moreover add a shot of olive oil to add calories/fats to a shake in the quest for MOAR MUSCLE!

#2) Train your Soul to Eat More: If you are cooking rice, each week try subtracting in an uneaten quarter cup when you melt it.

And yeah, you have to FORCE your stomach to winnow increasingly food, plane when you’re not hungry.

This is not enjoyable, as you often finger like you’re going to explode.

You'll often finger like you ate too much when trying to bulk. Hang in there!

However, just like it’s necessary to gravity your muscles outside of your repletion zone to get bigger, you need to gravity your stomach outside of its repletion zone until it adapts to unsuspicious increasingly calories.

So, start by subtracting a little bit increasingly supplies each day and soon unbearable your stomach will expand.

How to Grow Worthier Muscles: Get Stronger

These LEGOs are working the seat and doing some deadlifts. Nerd Fitness approves.

When you strength train, your muscles are wrenched lanugo and then get rebuilt stronger to transmute to the stress you have unromantic to it.

So every time you pick up a slightly heavier weight, you are increasing the rencontre and forcing your muscles to transmute and get increasingly resilient.

What I’m trying to say:

If you want to get bigger, focus on getting stronger.

This Muppet knows he needs to eat plenty of protein to meet his goals.

As long as you are continually increasing the weights or increasing the sets and reps you are lifting, your muscles will continually transmute to get stronger.

This is tabbed “progressive overload” and it. is. everything.

Coach Jim walks you through the ins and outs of progressive overload in this video:

If you want to swoop in more, trammels out our guide “What is Progressive Overload?

Follow a progressive overload strategy and eat unbearable calories, and you will get bigger.

You have two approaches to consider while bulking up:

PATH A: BODYBUILDER BULK. Follow a bodybuilder-type routine that focuses on isolation exercises that chops your soul into variegated segments and works each of them out once a week.

You may have seen something like this:

  • Monday: Chest
  • Tuesday: Legs
  • Wednesday: Shoulders
  • Thursday: Back
  • Friday: Stovepipe and Abs

I think these routines are fine, and you might plane enjoy them.

However, they do require a fairly large time transferral at the gym, and you’ll be training 5-6 days per week.

PATH B: STRENGTH AND MUSCLE. Focus on full-body routines that contain recipe exercises like squats and deadlifts that requite us the most zinger for our buck.

Every time you train, most of the muscles in your soul are getting worked out.

Specifically, this path has you focusing on getting really strong at these movements:

If you can focus on getting really strong with the whilom exercises, and eat unbearable calories, you will moreover get worthier in all of the right places.

Rebel Leader Steve showing how to do a 420 lb deadlift at the gym.

Path B is something we’re worthier fans of compared to Path A, and it’s what we recommend to our Coaching Clients.

Specially, we find it to be safer and moreover increasingly time-efficient: you’ll be training just 2-3 days per week on this path (instead of 5-6 days per week with Path A).

Mark Rippetoe (author of Starting Strength, a must-read for everyone interested in the whilom exercises) lives for old school barbell training (path B):


Because it works.

Just. Keep. Eating. And. Lifting.

Skinny Guy Workout Plans for Bulking Up

This runner definitely has a strong core!

As we imbricate in our “How to build muscle” article, here’s a sample routine you can follow NOW to start bulking up.

After you do your dynamic warm-up, do the pursuit workout:


  1. Squats: 4 sets of 5 reps
  2. Bench press 4 sets of 5 reps
  3. Wide Grip Pull Ups: 3 sets of 10 reps
  4. Planks 3 sets of 60 seconds


  1. Deadlift: 3 sets of 5 reps
  2. Overhead Press: 3 sets of 5 reps
  3. Inverted Bodyweight Rows: 3 sets of 10 reps
  4. Hanging Knee Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps


  1. Front Squats: 3 sets of 5 reps
  2. Weighted Dips: 3 sets of 10 reps
  3. Weighted Chin-Ups: 3 sets of 10 reps
  4. Reverse Crunches: 3 sets of 15 reps

Get stronger and the rest will take superintendency of itself.

Gonzo knows he has to eat protein to match his strength training goals, but he doesn't eat chicken, for obvious reasons.

NERD FITNESS RECOMMENDATION: Feel self-ruling to pick WHATEVER workout program you want from wherever. If you don’t want to follow the workout above, consider these sources:

If you’re curious, here are some wontedly wonted strategies based on your goals for how many sets and reps you should do:

  • Strength and power: 1-5 reps
  • Strength and some size: 5-8 reps
  • Size and some strength: 8-12 reps
  • Muscular endurance: 12 reps

Now, don’t worry too much well-nigh which path is best.

Nutrition plays the most important role in bulking up, and any strength training plan will help you get bigger.

There are 3 studies I want to point out:

  1. A recent study showed that a higher intensity workout (heavier weight for low reps) created increasingly muscle mass than a higher volume (lower weight for increasingly reps).[8]
  2. Getting increasingly volume (more sets of exercises) per week resulted in increasingly mass compared to less volume (fewer sets of exercises), in this study[9].
  3. Studies show that weight training creates superior “bulk up” results compared to bodyweight training,[10] but that doesn’t midpoint bodyweight training isn’t beneficial. Studies show that bodyweight training exercises can build muscle, but require a LARGE number of sets per rep, and pushing oneself to wool failure.[11]

What this means: Don’t overthunk it.

  1. Pick up heavy stuff for 3-4 sets of 5 reps. Pick up a weight that is heavy unbearable that you can only well-constructed your specified number of reps.
  2. Challenge yourself on bodyweight exercises, either by making them increasingly difficult, subtracting weight, or doing upper reps to failure.
  3. And then do increasingly next time.

What’s important is that you pick a plan and follow through with it while focusing on eating enough.

After a few months, you can reevaluate and then retread based on how your soul has changed.

On any of these days, finger self-ruling mix in bicep curls or tricep extensions or calf-raises at the END of your workouts.

Focus on the big lifts first and get stronger with them.

How much weight should you lift? For every one of the barbell movements above, I start with just the bar, and then add weight in 5lb increments each week.

It’s important to get form right and get your soul used to the movement for when you start to lift heavy weight.

How long should you wait between sets? Again, don’t overthink it. Waiting 2-3 minutes allows you lift heavier weight, and thus makes you stronger.

Stay resulting like this mouse and you'll zillion up. Maybe eat a little cheese too.

Waiting 60-90 seconds puts increasingly of an accent on muscular size and endurance (as you’re resting for a shorter period)…but don’t overthink it. Do the next set when you’re ready.

A piece of translating from 8-time Mr. Olympia, Lee Haney: “stimulate, don’t annihilate.”

Don’t destroy yourself for the sake of destroying yourself; stopping one or two reps short of maximum effort can save you from overtraining and potential injury – remember that muscles are built in the kitchen!

If you’re once overwhelmed and just want somebody to tell you what to do, you’re not alone.

I’ve had a mentor since 2014 and it’s the weightier investment I make in myself every month.

Can Bodyweight Training Help Me Zillion Up?

Muscular man doing workout on the street with cityscape of skyscrapers on preliminaries in Dubai. Concept of healthy lifestyle and modern

Yes, you can get worthier and stronger by doing exclusively bodyweight exercises.

Take a squint at any Olympic gymnast: he is jacked, with giant muscles, all built with bodyweight exercises:

Proof that you can get big and unwieldy with just lifting yourself up.

HOWEVER, it requires a very specific type of training regiment to see those results.

Studies show that weight training creates superior “bulk up” results compared to bodyweight training,[12] but that doesn’t midpoint bodyweight training isn’t beneficial.

Studies show that bodyweight training exercises can build muscle, but require a LARGE number of sets per rep. In other words, you’ll need to push yourself to wool failure.[13]

So, here’s where the challenges arise:

Like with weight training above, you need to increase the difficulty in order for your muscles to adapt.

Because it’s often increasingly challenging to add a few pounds to a bodyweight exercise to make it tougher – compared to putting a weight on a bar, you need to increase the difficulty of the bodyweight movement itself.

If you are trying to build size, you can moreover do sets where your rep ranges are in the 25-35 reps per set, and you are pushing your muscles to failure (woof):

  • If you can do 4 sets of 15 push-ups, consider making them harder to progress. Do 4 sets of 15 push-ups with your feet on a bench.

Decline push-ups like this are a unconfined way to progress your bodyweight exercises.

  • Bodyweight squats too easy? Work your way up to pistol squats (one legged squats).The one legged "pistol" squat is a unconfined wide bodyweight movement.
    4 sets of 12 pull-ups not a rencontre anymore? Great. Make them tougher. Go for a wider grip, an uneven grip, or weighted pull-ups.

Maintaining a wide grip is a unconfined wide pull-up.

I highly recommend beginners start to take a serious squint at strength training with self-ruling weights; it’s much easier to record one’s progress, easy to add increasingly difficulty (just add increasingly weight!), and very structured.

You can ALSO mix in bodyweight training, which is what I prefer to do!

In fact, I personally believe the weightier routine mixes both weights and bodyweight training. I have been working with my online mentor for 4 years, and I’ve packed on size by pursuit a barbell bodyweight training routine.

Weight training for my lower body, wide bodyweight movements for my upper body.

Every day starts with either a squat, front squat or deadlift.

Here I am pulling 420 pounds at a bodyweight of 172 pounds:

Rebel Leader Steve showing how to do a 420 lb deadlift at the gym.

Each workout moreover contains a lot of Olympic/gymnastic style movements and holds to build upper soul strength.

If you own some rings you can use them like so for some wide pull-ups.

Handstands too (read our guide on handstands):

Rebel Leader Steve showing you how to kick up to a handstand.

And I just try to get stronger.

What it really comes lanugo to is this: no matter what you have wangle to (a gym, barbell, dumbbells, or just a pull-up bar) you can find a way to build strength and muscle if you follow a plan and eat unbearable calories.

If you’re trying to zillion with just bodyweight, it might be worth enlisting the help of a coach to help you scale your bodyweight exercises correctly and in the proper sequence!

I am Skinny Fat: Should I proceeds or lose weight first?

A picture of a scale and tape measure, tools for fast weight loss.

If you are skinny fat (you have skinny stovepipe and legs but have a gut), there are three paths misogynist to you:

  1. Bulk up and build muscle, then lean out.
  2. Lean out, then build muscle.
  3. Build muscle and lean out at the same time.

We all want Door #3, right?

Here how to succeed both goals at the same:

If you follow a program with the right calories and strength training, you can both lose weight AND build muscle at the same time.

Keanu is stoked he can lose fat while completing his bulk.

It’s how we helped NF Coaching Client Jimmy (these photos are 5 months apart):

Jimmy lost his gut and built muscle at the same time with NF Coaching

Our advice: Get strong and eat a SLIGHT caloric deficit while consuming unbearable protein every day.

Get yourself lanugo to roughly 12% soul fat (~20% for women), and then start to increase the size.

By slimming lanugo first, while towers muscle, you don’t have to worry well-nigh ownership BIGGER gown first, only to then need smaller gown once you start wearing the fat.

Then, once you decide to eat increasingly and get bigger, if you notice your soul fat percentage start to tingle up, you can simply retread until your soul fat gets when in the winning range. Then alimony building!

To recap, here’s what to do if you are skinny-fat:

  1. Eat a caloric deficit while heavy strength training to build muscle while leaning out.
  2. Prioritize protein intake: 1.5g per pound (.75g per kg) of bodyweight.
  3. Get strong as hell with big lifts and low reps (this will build muscle plane in a deficit).
  4. Once you reach a unrepealable body fat percentage you’re happy with (probably 10-12%), then you can increase your caloric intake to build increasingly muscle without putting on too much fat.

Proper Sleep and Rest for Putting on Muscle

Cat and dog sleeping together. Kitten and puppy taking nap. Home pets. Animal care. Love and friendship. Domestic animals.

Last but not least, the other important piece to this Triforce of muscle building:

Strength training, eating enough, and RECOVERY.

Your soul builds and rebuilds its muscles during RECOVERY.

Our muscles often need 48 hours or so to recover from its previous workout, so I do not recommend you do any serious strength training of the same muscle group on back-to-back days.

Feel self-ruling to do dynamic warm-ups or fun exercises if you finger like it doing some active recovery on off days, but I tend to take my off days OFF.

I might go for a walk (to Mordor!), but that’s well-nigh it.

A word well-nigh cardio: if you are serious well-nigh getting worthier and stronger, lots of long-distance cardio will work versus you.

It’s something Mentor Jim brings up in the video “7 things I learned subtracting on 50 lbs of muscle”:

Your soul has to burn so many calories for your runs that it doesn’t get to use any of these calories in the muscle-building process.

If you do long loftiness cardio, it might be stalling your progress on bulking up.

If you love to run/bike, that’s cool, as long as you know it’s slowing (or halting) your progress.

So, cut when on the running or cut it out completely.

Try mixing in sprints and interval training if you want to alimony the cardio up without having to do all of the crazy distance. You can unchangingly add it when in once you succeed your weight proceeds goals.

A few words on SLEEP: You need increasingly of it when you are towers muscle.

It’s that simple.

Make sure you prioritize rest like Jiminy here if you're trying to zillion up and grow muscle.

Don’t be surprised if without a heavy deadlift day you find yourself wanting to sleep for 10 hours.

It might midpoint less TV or less video games.

Again, if you are serious well-nigh getting worthier and stronger, don’t neglect sleep.

FAQ for Skinny Guys Trying to Zillion Up

Lifting this will help you grow strong.

QUESTION #1: “But I just want to get toned, I don’t want to get too bulky.”

That’s not a question, but I hear it all the time. Do NOT worry well-nigh getting too bulky. I’ve been trying to get “too bulky” my unshortened life – it takes years of concerted effort to pull that off.

I’m gonna guess you have 30 pounds to proceeds surpassing you’d overly plane be considered “bulky.”

That ways that if you struggle with weight gain, getting to the point where you are TOO unwieldy would unquestionably be a good problem to solve.

Kermit understands he won't get unwieldy easy since he's so skinny.

As you start to put on weight if you overly find yourself getting a tiny bit too chubby, simply eat less at that point!

So, when in doubt, unchangingly err on the side of too many calories than not enough. If you’re not sure if you should eat or not, etc.

QUESTION #2: “But I don’t want to do that stuff, so I’m gonna do _____ instead.”

Again not a question. But hey, go for it. Requite it a month, and see how your soul reacts. If you’re getting bigger, stronger, and healthier, alimony doing it.

As this gif explains, you do you when it comes to bulking up.

If not, come when to this vendible and wield the lessons in here!

QUESTION #3: “I’m a vegetarian/vegan, can I zillion up?”

Absolutely. You just need to make sure you’re getting unbearable calories and enough protein in your system to promote muscle growth.

Beans and nuts have lots of protein; if you’re vegetarian you can still use dairy to your wholesomeness (whey protein, whole milk, cheese, etc.).

If you’re vegan, then it’s slightly increasingly of a rencontre to get unbearable protein, but it can be done: almond butter is your friend 🙂

Check out our plant-based protein suggestions.

QUESTION #4: “Should I do ___ reps and sets or _____ reps and sets?

Either plan will get you there. It’s 90% nutrition anyways.

What’s important is that you pick a plan, you progress, you alimony track of your results, and you unceasingly progressively increase the load that you are moving (be it your body’s weight or an very weight).

QUESTION #5: “I want to get worthier and faster and have increasingly endurance and flexibility ALL at the same time, can I do that?”

I hate to say it, but towers endurance and getting worthier simultaneously is brutally difficult.

Hugh is frustrated it's nonflexible to run and go from skinny to bulky. Hang in there Hugh.

As I point out in “How to build any physique,” compare a marathon runner’s soul with that of a sprinter or gymnast. Put the running on hold for a while, and focus on getting bigger: you’ll get there faster.

When you decide to mix running when in, alimony your calorie consumption upper and don’t forget to alimony strength training!

You can still go for walks, and still get a good cardio workout by lifting quickly with minimal breaks between sets.

QUESTION #6: “Do I need to eat every three hours?”

Nope, you don’t have to:

  • The TOTAL number of calories you slosh over the undertow of a day is increasingly important than the timing of the meals.[14]
  • The same is true with protein intake: studies show it doesn’t matter WHEN you eat your protein. HOW MUCH you slosh in a day is increasingly important.[15]

In fact, there are unquestionably some scientific benefits that can result from not eating all day and instead condensing it into a smaller window.

But eating increasingly commonly might help…

If you struggle to get unbearable calories in your system, spacing out your meals might help you finger less full, or requite you increasingly opportunities to reach your calorie goal for the day.

I eat all of my calories between 12pm and 8pm, and still get worthier despite only eating 2 MASSIVE meals each day.

QUESTION #7: “But what well-nigh this other article? And this other thing I read? Which workout is the weightier workout?

Don’t overwhelm yourself. Alimony it simple. Get stronger, eat increasingly food, sleep. Unravel this lanugo into simple steps and goals that aren’t scary, and get started.

The weightier translating I can requite you is to start and make adjustments withal the way.

Track your progress, track your calories, and track your workouts.

If you are getting worthier and stronger, alimony it up!

I know this stuff can be overwhelming, as I struggled with this stuff for YEARS surpassing getting results.

It why without I started Nerd Fitness, I sooner launched a coaching program: to help people skip the years of mistakes I made!

More Resources for Skinny Guys Looking to Zillion Up

Yep, unmistakably this boxer's jump rope skills lead him to victory.

This is a monster of an article, and your throne probably hurts at this point.

If I can narrow it lanugo to three main points:

  1. Get stronger by picking up heavy stuff or doing increasingly challenging bodyweight movements.
  2. Get worthier by eating enough.
  3. Recover faster by sleeping unbearable and giving your muscles days off to rebuild.

Vada is ready to start bulking up!! And torment her Dad's GF.

If you made it this far, and you want increasingly specific instruction and guidance, we have a few options for you:

1) If you are somebody that wants to follow a tailor-made program that’s designed virtually their life and goals, check out our popular 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program.

You’ll work with our certified NF instructors who will get to know you largest than you know yourself, trammels your form, and program your workouts and nutrition for you.

Nerd Fitness Coaching Banner

2) If you want a roadmap for home workouts, trammels out NF Journey. Our fun habit-building app helps you exercise increasingly frequently, eat healthier, and level up your life (literally).

Try your self-ruling trial right here:

3) Download our self-ruling Zillion Up Guide, which you can get when you sign up in the box below:

Lastly, I’d love to hear from you!

PLEASE leave your questions, eating or strength or otherwise unelevated so we can wordplay them and wilt weightier friends and practice karate kicks in the garage:

How can I help you get worthier and stronger?

What part of this journey are you still struggling the most with?

What are your favorite bulking up foods!?

Share with your friends in the comments so we can all go buy it in zillion at Costco.


PS: Make sure you trammels out the rest of our Zillion Up guides:


photo source: Not Happy, Marina Pissarova ©, magone ©, Ekaterina Minaeva ©, Morning run with the Fitbit, Inna Vlasova ©, Viktor Hladchenko ©; Olga Yastremska ©; famveldman ©; 167/366, LEGO bench

The post The Ultimate Skinny Guy’s Guide to Bulking Up Fast: How to Zillion like the Hulk first appeared on Nerd Fitness.


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