How an "ectomorph" can add muscle to his frame

You’re skinny. You call yourself an “ectomorph”.   You claim no matter how much you eat, you can’t put on weight, let alone a bit of muscle.  I was in the same boat.  In my senior year of high school, I weighed 160 lbs, with a body fat percentage of about 10%.  I worked out, but no matter how much I did, I could not gain any noticeable amount of muscle.  Fast forward a few years and now I have just finished my sophomore year of university.  I have started working out 9 months ago, 3 days a week.  I now sit at 188.5 lbs, with a body fat percentage of about 12%.  I put on nearly 30 lbs with only a minor increase in body fat percentage, and without stepping foot into a gym.  Follow these 5 tips and I guarantee you can achieve the same results I did.

1.  The most important tip…EAT

Seriously, eat more.  This is the most important tip when you want to put on size.  Just as important, keep track of how many calories you are eating per day.  Keeping track of your calories is the single most important thing in changing your body, period.  Yes, more than lifting weights or running.   As a skinny dude, you are probably going to be eating anything from 3000 to 5000 calories a day.  I started at 3300, made minimal gains, then went up to 3500, made minimal gains, and then boosted it up to 4000, and now I am seeing major progress.  Get your calories in every day.  Make sure you aren’t just filling yourself up with junk.  You will be aiming to get 1 gram of protein per your bodyweight per day.  So if you weigh 140 pounds, you will be eating a minimum of 140 grams of protein a day.

2.  Get the right equipment (or get a gym membership)

I did not have to go to the gym because I had equipment at home.   All I had was dumbbells, a barbel, weight plates, and a pull-up bar.  That’s all you really need.  With these, you can do squats, deadlifts, bench-press, and other proven muscle-building exercises.  Getting all of this equipment won’t run you over $300, and you can get it for much cheaper on Craigslist.  Try and get an adequate amount of weight plates as well.  You can always get a gym membership, but I did my workouts in my basement and made great progress.  Either buy the equipment you need, or get a gym membership.

 3.  Find a good workout plan

Next up is to find a solid workout plan for what you are trying to do – build muscle.  I recommend StrongLifts or Starting Strength, but there are many plans that will help your gain muscle provided you do them consistently and eat the required amount of calories.  Do your research and find a good workout program that involves you adding a bit of weight on each lift each week.

 4. Stay motivated

Building muscle is a slow, slow process.  It’s a marathon.  You can expect to put on maybe a lb or 2 of muscle a month if you do everything consistently.   Take progress pictures every Sunday.  If you only want to work out for a month or two and get your dream body, then you might as well not start.  Stay motivated from the beginning, and think of it as a long-term project.  You might not look different in 4 months, but when you start to see results at around 6 months in, there is no better feeling.  So if its girls that motivate you, or just the feeling of getting a new PR, stay motivated and be consistent in your plan every week.

5.  Research

Read about building muscle.  Watch YouTube videos.  Posts on forums where others are also trying to build muscle.  Look up some safe supplements that have proven results for building muscle.  Always expand your knowledge base on the subject of building muscle, and your results will follow.  The more research you do, the more you learn about building muscle, and the more you can apply that information to your workouts. 

What are you waiting for?  Go buy some food, some weights, get on a plan, and get rid of that skinny frame.