If you wanna go from skinny to buff and gain muscle, of course, it can be done. But I will tell you right now, THERE IS NO OVERNIGHT SOLUTION. Two things are key in order for you to see results:
- Eating a hypercaloric diet consistently
- Weight training
If you want to gain flab and not muscle, then skip number 2. But a hypercaloric diet along with weight training done consistently will work very well in taking you from skinny to buff.
How to go from Skinny to Buff
1 How much do you have to eat?
This is the part that trips a lot of people up. Finding out where to start on the journey of skinny to buff.
To gain weight, in our case muscle, you need to eat a surplus of calories over time.
This is where most people go wrong. Lots of people simply do not eat enough calories for their body to gain significant levels of mass.
A surplus of 250-500 calories is the recommended amount to try and hit every day to gain mass, any more than this then even the skinniest guy is at risk of putting on too much fat.
How to Calculate Calories Per Day?
There are many different formulas you can use to figure out how many calories you need to hit per day, the one I have used and had the most success with is the Harris-Benedict equation.
Basically, you multiply your body weight by 15 and then add a 500 (calorie surplus) to get your final amount.
So for my current weight (230lb), it would be as below.
Bodyweight in lbs x 15 + 500
230 x 15 + 500 = 3950 Calories
2 Pay Attention to the Macros
So with the calorie calculation information you have now, you need to consider your macros.
Basically, the number of your carbs, proteins, and fats in the foods you eat that will enable you to reach that 3950 calories per-day goal.
I split it up as below:
Carbohydrates @ 55%
Protein @ 25%
Fat @ 20%
So now you have the numbers, the next thing you need to figure out is consumption. How are you gonna get this stuff down you?
If you are an ectomorph seeking muscle mass it may be best to spread your meals out throughout the day, so maybe between 5-7 meals.
Doing so should combat the naturally high metabolic rate of the ectomorph – although it can be viewed more as an option than a necessity.
Make sure you eat and do so frequently.
The trouble being a tall skinny guy
Being a very skinny 6ft 5 tall guy, at first it was very hard to put weight on.
Eating 5-7 meals a day may not seem do-able to all but it can be easier than you think.
My method was to eat my breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day as usual but before bed, at night I would make a high-calorie shake which both tasted really good and had quality ingredients that contributed to my daily macro goals.
This was vital for me because having to eat so many times per day to reach my daily calory target was just not possible.
From Skinny to Buff –
Some people do what is called a ‘dirty bulk‘ which I really don’t recommend, a dirty bulk is basically eating everything and anything possible without taking the consideration of carbohydrate, fat, and protein quality.
So a person who is doing a dirty bulk will literally eat fast food, pizzas, fries, donuts, etc in order to meet their daily calorie goal.
This will enable you to gain weight, of course, but it’s more likely you will gain a lot of fat.
Not only that, high amounts of junk food won’t be good for your overall health, it may make you visually go from skinny to buff but your organs won’t thank you for it, your sleep quality, skin, and overall mood and energy levels could suffer too.
When it comes to training, I cannot stress enough the importance of compound exercises, these are exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time.
Moves like deadlifts, squats, overhead press, are much more efficient than exercises that just isolate one muscle group such as bicep curls.
Make sure you do a workout which includes Squats (my personal favorites) Deadlifts, overhead presses, bench press, lunges, and so on.
A good place to start is the 5×5 Stronglifts program. As long as your muscles feel worked and your form is on-point then you’re doing good.
TLDR: Don’t worry too much about finding the perfect workout plan, focus on heavy compound movements, check out the 5 x 5 Stronglifts program if you’re stuck.
This is my favorite part.
As mentioned previously, when I first started on my skinny to buff bulking journey, getting the number of calories I needed per day was very difficult.
My solution was these shakes that I would drink every morning and evening just to add the much-needed numbers to my daily calorie target.
The shakes would be a bit improvised and not the most beautiful to look at, but they were rich and full of good ingredients so they worked very well enabling me to get closer to my daily calory targets and seeing the muscle grow.
Here are some recommended ingredients.
Giant Chocolate Shake Recipe
- Whole milk
- Rolled oats
- Protein powder
- Olive Oil
- Natural Peanut Butter
I would make a shake that gave me ~800 calories twice a day that’s an easy 1600 calories.
The protein powder I used back then was this one, you can, of course, tweak the recipe to your liking, it’s not an exact science so don’t be afraid to try new things, but you get the idea, the focus is on lots of nutrient-dense foods rather than pizza, chips, and donuts.
5 Don’t Quit!
Some people are persistent and will never quit at something they want to achieve.
Others give up when they come up against obstacles or don’t see results as fast as they had expected.
Going from skinny to buff takes time and commitment, as with any other worthwhile endeavor.
Rather than thinking of it as failing or succeeding, look for results, when you start seeing your shoulders, chest, and thighs get bigger you will definitely be motivated to keep going.
That’s when you’ll realize all the work was worth it.
When you feel you’ve reached another level you can, of course, switch your training regimen to something more advanced.