So hopefully you read Part 1 of The Skinny Man’s Guide to Serious Gains. Here is part 2 and most likely the more difficult instalment for most people to take on board.
Why? Because way too many people overuse and rely too heavily on supplements in the hope that they will get results.
In addition, even more people are misguided when it comes to nutrition and either they don’t build much muscle or they get fat in the process.
So here in part 2, we’ll cover both of those issues to ensure you gain the size without the chub…. So, let’s pick up right where we left of and move on to:
Step #3 – Supplements
Before we take a look at which supplements I’d recommend, let’s make something clear.
“Sup-ple-ment” – something that completes or enhances something else when added to it (Defined by Google themselves).
A supplement is something that contributes to your already well constructed plan. Meaning, before you have the right to purchase or take any supplement you really need to have your diet on point as well as your training.
By the end of this article you will have the roadmap needed to create your specific training and nutrition plan, so this shouldn’t be an issue. However, knowing how the fitness industry revolves around pushing the notion that we need a myriad of supplements in order to progress, I needed to ensure you understand the truth.
There are 4 supplements that are worth taking in my opinion and 3 others that I’ll throw in to the mix as optional extras. These can be added in if you have the disposable income or have special requirements, but they aren’t essential.
- Creatine Monohydrate – This is one of the only supplements that has been tested over and over again, without any negative side effects shown in any study. In fact, beyond hydrating and fueling the muscle for more recovery – which can lead to more strength and size – recent studies indicate that it helps with brain function as well. Brand qualities can be variable at times; I suggest finding something with a patented label using only the ingredient of ‘Creapure’ ™
- Fish or Krill Oil – Either one of these will do the job, but the fact of the matter is, the majority of the population does not get enough fatty fish and therefore their Omega 3 to 6 ratio is out of whack. Take a quality supplement and shoot for 1.5-3g of combined EPA/DHA daily – or start eating fatty fish 2-3 times per week. I recommend Onnit’s Krill Oil.
- Multi-Vitamin or Greens Powder – This is just to ensure you’re getting your vitamins and minerals, which many following the bodybuilder’s preferred diet of chicken and rice just don’t get. A good quality multi-vitamin and one greens drink a day should cover all of the micro-nutrition bases. My favourite, once again, is Onnit’s EGN (Earth Grown Nutrients).
- Whey Protein – Whey is the best when it comes to muscle building components, as long as your body tolerates milk products well. Either way, this is simply a great and easy substitute for when you cannot eat whole food protein sources. For example, when you are on the go, or possibly making a massive smoothie-shake. My two go-to brands, because they’ve been tested for purity, are Dymatize ISO-100 or Onnit’s Grass Fed Whey.
- Sleep Aid (Optional) – If you don’t sleep well, have fluctuating working shift patterns, or stress issues, then I’d recommend a sleep aid. You can get Melatonin, ZMA, Onnit’s Sleep Aid, or any other quality sleep supplement. Without sleep, you won’t recover and then you wont grow. For the majority of people with good sleep patterns this is an unnecessary supplement, but I wanted to throw it in to the mix for those who struggle.
- Pre-Workout (Optional) – For me, a banana and some black coffee does the trick. But if you feel like you need it or just love the effect of having a pre-workout kick then go right ahead. Two suggestions I’ll make… First, never pick anything that has a “Proprietary Blend” because it’s filled with nonsense you have no knowledge of and the stuff that actually works will be at such low dose it’s pointless. If you’re not sleeping much, overly sensitive to caffeine, or have damaged thyroid and/or adrenals – take Onnit’s stimulant free pre-workout Shroom-Tech or T-Plus.
- BCAA’s (Optional) – If you’re eating protein every 3-5 hours this is unnecessary and it’s been proven. If you’re on a diet, then maybe during cardio… But you’re reading this because you’re a skinny guy and not on a diet, right? So, the only reason for you personally to use BCAAs, is if you have the extra cash to blow and want something tasty to sip on during training.
Now we could go into the minor detailed supplements like beta-alanine (really only good for long duration – 60 minutes plus) or Citrulline malate (yeah, it can help get a better pump) but for the most part if you take creatine and caffeine, performance will be optimal. Just take care of your health with your nutrition. Speaking of which…
Step #4 – Nutrition
Yes, that is absolutely myself eating sushi while drinking some Rainier Beer (Seattle Native Brewery) after a serious deadlift session. Why would I put this here? Simple – flexibility is key for any result.
You do not need to eat 6 meals a day to burn fat or build muscle. You can go 5-6 hours without eating if your schedule calls for it. You can throw some beer, wine or vodkas in your calorie limit here and there if you can make it fit.
Remember, building muscle takes time and for it to truly happen – you need to turn this into a serious lifestyle. If you are too impatient, it just doesn’t happen. So, slow down and have a beer, enjoy the ride.
Now, I will say that alcohol can negatively impact results depending on a few things. What I mean is, beer has a lot of calories and if you drink too often you will get fat. Simple as that, but is it the alcohol or the calories? We don’t know for sure, but studies are showing it to be the calories.
In addition, studies also indicate that once you reach your “drunk limit” (the point where you’re clearly tipsy) your body will react differently. The body will do anything to get the alcohol out of its system, meaning that building muscle and burning fat get put on hold until it’s all out. So, let’s just plan to save alcohol for occasions only.
Alcohol may also have a negative impact on building muscle if you decide to finish your workout with a beer, like I did above. After a workout, your body wants protein to be the first thing it consumes and although it doesn’t matter much if it’s within 15 minutes or two hours, it needs to come before alcohol if you want maximum gains.
The main driving force here is truly being flexible and understanding that there are no “magic foods” or “muscle building ingredients”.
However, there are a few things to follow in order to make serious gains without the extra fat.
First things first, we need to cover calories. If you’re not in a caloric surplus, then you’re not going to gain much size at all. The only people who can work around this science-based fact are brand new lifters – meaning the people who have been training for 1 year or less. If you’re one of them, you could have stopped reading at the training section and still made crazy gains.
“Ok, so how many calories do I need?”
If you’re a serious hard-gainer then you’ll most likely need at least 14x your bodyweight (pounds) in calories – or about 31x your bodyweight in kg’s.
If you’ve been fat, just got done with a serious diet, or easily gain body fat, then I would suggest starting at your maintenance caloric intake for a few weeks at least first and then slowly creeping up. If you jump up right away, you will put fat on and when you do this, many negative hormonal responses can happen and negatively effect our rate of gain for lean muscle mass (Start with ~12x your bodyweight in lb.’s or ~27x your bodyweight in kg’s).
Second one is protein, bro.
Eat 1-1.2g per pound of body weight – or 2.2-2.6g per kg of bodyweight. With protein, it really can be a range like this because a little extra won’t hurt at all and if you fall short it won’t hurt your gains either.
Protein is very hard to store as body fat and the leftovers will likely be used or burned, but since you’ll be in a caloric surplus we don’t need to worry about falling a little short on occasion either – extra carbs can make up for lack of protein.
After protein, we figure out fats. This way we will have a large number of calories left over and can use them for carbs since we want the majority of our diet to be carbs and protein. Carbs and Protein are going to be the two biggest driving force for putting on muscle mass. Why? Because their jobs are performance and recovery.
For this, we’re going to use an example skinny man who is 170lbs and wants to get his bulk on (hate the term “bulk” but it fits). Let’s do the math for his calories, his protein, his fat, and then plug in his carbs at the end:
170lbs (77kg) x 14 (31) = 2,380 (2,387)
Let’s round that up to 2,400 for easy math. We’re here to get big, not perform maths equations!
His protein range will be somewhere between 170 – 210g, but again for easy maths and flexibility lets settle in the middle and say he’ll eat 185g daily.
185g of protein x 4 (calories per gram) = 740 calories from protein.
For fats, we’re going to make it 25% of his diet. This is going to keep him in a healthy range, keep them high enough for more flexibility, but it will ensure he doesn’t over consume fats and get a bit chubby in this whole process.
25% of 2,400 calories = 600 calories ÷ 9 (calories per gram) = 66.67… Lets call it 65.
So, if we add the above all together, he’s consuming:
65g of Fat and 185g of Protein.
This adds up to 1,325 calories and leaves us with 1,075 calories for carbs.
1,075 ÷ 4 (calories per gram) = 268… Let’s call it 275g for easy math and since we rounded down on fats we’ll round up here.
So now the skinny man’s macros look like:
- Calories – 2,400
- Protein – 185g
- Fat – 65g
- Carbs – 275g
Now how do you fill those macros?
Remember, we want to be flexible as possible here so my suggestions are going to be pretty basic and should work for any of your lifestyles.
Shoot for 3-5 meals per day and make sure you equally spread protein out between those meals when you can. Make sure you get 1 serving of fruits in per day and switch the types of fruit up when you can. Shoot to consume 3+ cups of green veggies per day, colourful ones are great too. Fats can come from wherever for the most part, apart from trans-fat, but try your best to balance out your monos, polys and saturated fats equally – they all have benefits.
On top of that, consume a minimum of 2l of water per day and the supplements suggested above and you’re good to go! I typically throw in carbohydrate timing recommendations to clients as well, but that is all personal preference. Most people work best with the majority of their carbs coming before and after training, the leftovers spread evenly.
The final step: #5 Consistency
Real gains don’t happen overnight guys, so be patient. Anyone who is jacked will tell you the same thing
It takes hard work, consistency, and deliberate practice to truly grow.
That statement can be applied to success in anything in life as well. So, that’s what I’ll leave you with today… Follow this guide, be consistent, put in the right effort, and even the skinny guy is guaranteed to see gains.