Help the skinny guy!

Fellow dopers I need your help! I am 6’3 170 lbs and I want to gain some muscle mass. I have been working out regularly since November 2002 and I eat fairly healthy. I am having trouble gaining muscle mass, I have noticed some strength increase but no size increase. Any help would be appreciated.

Search the archives of some major bodybuilding web sites’ forums. You will not have to post there, the info is all in the search option. Search for “help” or “put on mass”.

2 questions:

  1. How old are you?
  2. Do you have a southern girlfriend?

If you are under 25, then just wait a few years. If you don’t have time to wait, find a southern girl that likes to cook. :smiley:

Worked for me. I went from 145lb skinny-as-a-rail 21yo, to a nicely filled out 180 in just over a year and a half. (I’m 6’)

Yeah I am 19, so I know my metabolism is quite high. However the other option is not too feasible either. I live in Canada! Thank you for the advice though.

I think it would help if we knew what you ate throughout the day. I am guessing that whatever it is, it is not enough. So, give us a rundown of your typical meals.

The male body doesn’t really mature until it hits age 25, at least. At your height, you will probably hit 200 pounds just by eating 3 square meals a day, in the next couple of years, regardless of whether you work out.

The only way you will gain mass is by eating more calories than you consume. Just the opposite of losing weight.

What does your diet and training regimen look like?

I would guess that your regimen is not strenuous enough or not focused on muscle mass enough. Hard to say without more details. For a healthy 19 years old, should be pretty easy to put on some muscle.

Start drinking protein shakes… They help add some bulk on your muscles…

If you don’t mind supplements… I would also take creatine…
like Cell-tech… taken correctly… you will bulk up quick…
I put on about 10 lbs in 2 weeks…
granted most of it was water weight… but you will get much stonger, and you will get bigger while taking it…
You will not look “ripped” because you will be bloated… you can do extra cardio to help with that though…

If you work out regularly and religiously, I suggest you increase your protein intake. Avoid sugars and sweets and take a look at your carbo intake. You will need carbos since you are working out but just be sure you dont eat more carbos than protien. Protein is the muscle builder, carbos are energy. lay off the donuts, eat more meat, and dont forget your green leafy veggies.

You might look for some advice on the proper forms of exercises to build body mass. It isnt just doing 3 sets of 20 reps everytime. There will be a time when you need to “shock” your body into fatigue so that it doesnt get used to a particular exercise.

You might look into creatine protein suppliments. Remember these are suppliments not substitutes to a regular meal.

Change your workout routine…I believe that multiple reps at lower weights will give you tone and low reps with heavy weights will give you muscle mass.

I recall hearing from a friend who was working out at a gym. A couple of players from the local pro football team came in and did 3 reps with a massive weight on arms and legs and that was it.

Wrong on both paragraphs. “Tone” (I hate that word) is acheived by losing bodyfat not by doing certain amount of reps. You are right about heavy weight giving mass though.

Just because some football players did something one time doesn’t mean anything.

To look better (whether that is being toned or lean or whatever)go heavy between 3-8 reps unless you are having problems with endurance or want to give your joints a break between phases of heavy weights (periodization).

Everyone wants bigger muscles and less bodyfat. That means lift heavy and eat well, with some moderate cardio and get rest. Very simple. Never do high reps.

Cantara- Low rep, heavy weights are generally for athletes that don’t want muscle gain. They are working on fine tuning the central nervous system. 1-5 reps are generally for the athlete that is concerned about relative strength and staying withing a weight class. Like wrestlers, boxers, martial artists, etc.

Sticking to 8-15 reps is generally what builds muscle mass.

I would also argue the point you make X~slayer(ale). Protein is only a small percentage of a muscles total volume. I believe it is 70% water, 23% Glycogen and only 6-7% protein and other minerals/vitamins. Glycogoen just being chains of glucose, that nifty thing that sugar and carbs is broken down into. Many a bodybuilder has been made by eating lots and lots of pasta and rice. Carbs and protein are necessary for muscular development. So protein isn’t the only muscle builder, it is just an important one.

EMT Mike- I don’t know what your routine or diet looks like and I don’t know if you are one of those skinny guys that eats and eats and never gains any fat. Not knowing this information limits what advice I can give. However I will give some advice.

Diet- If you are one of those that eat and eat and never gain any weight- and gaining weight is the most important thing- EAT A LOT. Of anything. Eating alot is hard to do, especially hard when you are eating oatmeal, chicken and rice. Eat healthy, but eat what you can. Eat calorie dense things, like Pizza, burritos, Whole milk, dozens of eggs, Pancakes, pasta by the pound, etc. Just eat! If 6000 calories a day isn’t gaining you at least 1lb a week, jump it up to 6500. Keep raising it by 500 every week untill you gain 1lb a week.

Training- Full body is very important. Make sure you are not one of those curl jockeys or bench press guys. Focus on getting bigger all over. That is where the mass comes in. Do Squats, Deadlifts, Bench press, Overhead press, curls, bent over barbell rows, pull ups, dips, tricep extensions, and don’t forget core work. (abs, obliques, and lower back) I don’t know what kind of split you are on, or how much volume you do, but loads of volume is not always better.
Try either of these routines: A 3 day split, or a 2 day a week full body workout. Generally it is best to start with 2 working sets for each exercise. One or two warm up sets. Anything more is not really necessary and can lead to overtraining. For example, a sample workout on a 2 days a week full body schedule-

*5 mins warmup on bike.
*Bench press- Warm up with 30% max, 50% max, then two working sets of 70-80% of max. (Do incline one day, and flat bench one day, not both)
*Dips- 2 sets of bodyweight to start, move up with weights as you get stronger.
*OH press- One warm up set at 50% max (shoulders should be somewhat warmed up from benching) 2 working sets at 70-80%
*Deadlift- I do singles myself it is recommended. Generally warm up with 30-50%, do one, add weight, do one, 8 times. I almost always get to 90% or max.
*pull-ups. Supinated or not (palms facing you, or palms facing away) I just do five sets of 3, but I also do wide grip pull ups, palms facing away, for mass, try to crank out 8 for 2 sets.
*Squat- Warm up like usual, One or two sets for warm up (remember you legs should be warmed up and blood flowing from the bicycle) Two sets of 15.
*Abs- No warm up, I would suggest weighted sit-ups for mass.
*hyper-extensions- Use a weight for this as well
*Shrugs- two sets of 10 at a heavy weight.
*curls- No warm up necessary due to blood flowing into them from other exercises. 2 sets
*Side bends- moderate to heavy weight, one set of 8. Obliques are a small muscle, no sense in damaging them and chancing Injury. (they get worked with squat, deadlift, bench, etc as a stabilizer anyhow)

Rest 90-120 seconds in between each set and use proper form. Eat like a horse and you will gain.

Well I think I eat fairly healthy. Three square meals a day so I don’t think that is a problem. However I do have problems eating copious amounts of food so that may be part of my mass building problem. I do use a protein powder by pro-lab which helps increase my protein intake.
My weight training goes something like this: I split it into 3 stages, I do 1 stage every 2 days (1 day of rest in between workouts) 1st stage- chest and back- incline and decline press, dips, fly’s, chins, cable rows, deadlifts and pulldowns 2nd stage- Arms and lats- shoulder shrugs, dumbell press, side lat, rear lat, upright rows, preacher curls, cable curls, barbell curls, closed grip press, french press and bench dips. 3rd stage- Legs - Leg extensions, squats, sissy squats, leg curls, straight leg deadlifts, standing calf raises. I also do an ab workout every second day as well. I also do some cardio workout on the days when I’m not doing a weight workout. As for reps I usually do between 6-12 depending on if I’ve moved up in weight or not. I do not strive for a set number of reps but I do as much as I can do. Thats about all I can think to tell you. Anything else that I can do?

It is easier to consume vast quanities of food if you break them up and eat 7-8 times a day. (every 2-3 hours)


Also, regarding your protein intake, you really should be counting the grams. You should be taking in, at the minimum, your body weight. You say you weight 170, so strive for 170g of protein per day. But, at 6’3", that’s a bit skinny, so you might even want to shoot for 1.5 times your weight. It can be tough reaching that amount with just solid food, so that is where your protein shakes really come in handy.

well, the legal (but mildly dangerous) route would involve taking creatine and about 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass daily (probably about 230 grams a day since your LBM is probably 150 or so) while doing high intensity weightlifting.

You say you’ve been working out since November, so that is less than four months. I was in a similar situation to you before and it took me at least six months before I actually managed to gain any weight. I guess my metabolism had to change a bit. So I would say just be patient, it can take quite a while before anything happens. In the meantime, try not to worry about it too much, it’ll drive you crazy or drive you to quit, just think about getting stronger (I know easier said than done).

The big thing is your diet. It doesn’t really matter how you train if you don’t eat well.

You’ve been given some really good advice. Follow it.