I have a confession to make….Gaining lean muscle has always been incredibly difficult for me!
I used to be super skinny!
In fact, I used to be so skinny I would look at myself in the mirror and be disgusted.
I was 6 ft 3 and weighed 155 lbs. Can you imagine?
That’s because I used to run, eat a sh*t diet and had absolutely no clue to how to gain and maintain lean muscle.
Then I decided one day – screw this! I’m going to do something about it! I’m going to look how I want to look, once and for all!
I began learning all I could about how to gain muscle. I learned how to put on weight by eating the right foods, but also by eating the right amount of food at the right time.
I also learned that compound lifts would help me gain more muscle than the isolation exercises I was doing haphazardly.
This was the result in just over a couple of years:
I went from 150lbs of skinny-guy-itis to 200 pounds of solid, lean muscle. And I didn’t get fat in the process, either.
So how did I do it? I decided to write this list on the subject so that you can follow in my footsteps and overcome the inner skinny guy who has been haunting you all of your life, gain slabs of lean muscle, and not have to pump your body full of chemicals and un-natural, nasty sh*t like synthetic testosterone and anabolic steroids in the process.
If I can do it, so can you. I’ve only just begun my journey into bodybuilding, and I intend to take it to the next level from here on in.
Will you join me?
Five Important Facts About Gaining Lean Muscle Naturally
Fact 1) You Do Not Need Anabolic Steroids
Anyone who tells you that you need to take steroids to gain lean muscle is full of sh*t and they are only saying that because they can’t do it via their own willpower.
Yes, if you want to compete in Mr. Olympia you need to take anabolic steroids out the wazoo. But, to gain a natural, lean look (which looks far better anyway), you do not need to pump your body full of health destroying chemicals.
I know this from first-hand experience because I have tried Dbol before. I fully put my hand up and admit that I have used the drug, and I gained exactly 5lbs muscle in a month before abandoning the idea because of how it was affecting my sleep/moods. I threw out the rest, pick up a how to build muscle naturally guide, and that was that.
I got a lot stronger, yes, but I gained virtually nothing from it. I then pissed most of this weight off as soon as I came off. It was just water retention! It was all an un-natural illusion.
Anabolic steroids taken over the longer term will get you swollen, no doubt, but you do not need them if you are playing the long game and are willing to put in the work.
It’s like taking a chopper to the top of Everest and saying “I’ve been there”. Well done, fella, but you cheated. I’d rather take three years to climb my way up than take a chopper to the top.
Ditch the steroids, and pick up the eggs and understand that the best way to build muscle is slowly and steadily. You’ll be thankful you did in the long-term.
Fact 2) Most Supplements Are Bullsh*t In Fancy Wrapping – The How to Build Muslcle FAST Industry is a Con
Have you ever heard of Madison Avenue or Fleet Street?
These are two of the most famous streets in two of the most famous cities in the world – New York and London.
Despite being so far apart they both have something in common – they are jam-packed full of ad men and marketers scheming, plotting and finding creative ways to convince you to part with your hard-earned cash.
These guys are head tricksters of the premier division and could sell snow to an Eskimo. They know what makes people tick, and since sports nutrition is one of the biggest industries on the planet, they know how to get men to hand over fat wads of cash for junk that will make them look more buff.
You don’t need 99% of these supplements. The only two supplements I use are Creatine Monohydrate which will increase your strength, and Whey Protein to recover after a hard workout. These are literally the only two supplements you will ever need to gain lean muscle.
Some guys even go so far as abandoning supplements altogether. If that is your choice I fully understand and respect that decision. You can indeed get into stellar shape just eating good old natural food. Look at the old guys from before all this crap was invented. They may not be as massive, but they still look great.
I use creatine and Whey because these are the only two supplements I actually have gotten any real results from. When I use Whey I don’t feel that muscle soreness a day or two after the workout. When I use creatine I notice I am able to lift a fair bit more. It’s as simple as that. That’s the only evidence I have to back up these two supplements – personal experience.
However, the point remains. 99% of supplements are pure and utter BS dreamed up in some marketers mind with a fake science lab full funded by the company trying to sell you their product churning out the data needed to sell you the goods.
Marketers are no dummies – they know people respect and are intimidated by “science”.
Don’t fall for it. Listen to me and stick with the basics. Throw in a few extra eggs and some peanut butter before bed and you’ll be all good.
The real science happens in the gym, and when you are sleeping and recovering from a hard workout after eating some protein, not from popping the lid on some fancy bottle and gulping down some sugar laden poisonous crap.
Fact 3) Gaining Weight Is A Science
There’s this myth going around about gaining weight and muscle that some people are doomed to not be able to gain and grow.
“I’m just not built that way” they say.
“My genetics aren’t right for bodybuilding”.
I call absolute horse crud on both of those statements. Look at the picture below. I am the absolute definition of the wrong type of body for bodybuilding and gaining muscle, yet I did it.
I’m so skinny my collar bones and ribs are visible, yet I gained 40+lbs in a couple of years! If I can do it, you can.
The secret to this is actually quite simple. It’s not rocket science, it doesn’t require PHD in nutrition or a consultation with a world-renowned sports scientist.
The secret to gaining weight and muscle is simple – you have to eat more than your caloric maintenance load.
Your WHAT? I can hear you ask.
Your caloric maintenance load. It simply means the amount of calories you need to eat in order to maintain your current weight.
To figure out what your caloric maintenance load is click here.
Once you get the answer which will be tailored to your individual height and weight and activity level, you need to eat more than that. You need to eat a good 500-1000 calories more than that, and voila, as if by magic, provided you have the actual self-discipline to stick with it for a period of months and not give up and cry and eat a cookie and knock back a coca cola for breakfast, you will gain the weight that has eluded you for so many years.
I’m not saying this is easy. I’ve had to eat until I was ready to vomit. I’ve eaten so much tuna and pasta mixed up in a bowl that I had to physically lie down and sleep afterwards because all the blood drained from my brain and limbs to go digest it.
Nothing good is easy. The only question that you need to answer is how bad do you want it?
That being said, don’t worry, I have a few secret weapons I want to share with you. Which brings us to fact 4.
Fact 4) Some Foods Are Highly Dense In Nutritious Calories
Stuffing your face full of hamburgers, cookies and ice cream is not going to help you gain lean muscle.
What’s going to happen is that is going to turn into sugar in your bloodstream and start laying down layers of fat. You’re going to go from skinny to skinny fat. Nobody wants that!
What you want is highly nutritious, calorie rich foods. You want foods which are going to nourish your body and help your muscle grow. You want quality calories, not junk calories.
Now if you aren’t too concerned about a few extra pounds of fat which you can shred later, go ahead and have a McDonald’s once or twice a week. It really won’t make a huge difference as long as you are eating the right foods most often.
So what are the right foods and how often do you need to be eating them to gain muscle?
The truth is, you have options.
There are guys out there who obsessively write down everything they eat, count calories, freak out of they miss a meal and then lose sleep worrying about that extra pound of muscle nobody will even notice or care about anyway.
Don’t be that guy.
I have never lived this way. All I do is eat three big, solid 700-800 calorie meals per day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and snack on almond and cashew nuts as well as fruit. I also drink olive oil straight off the teaspoon in the morning and before I go to bed.
This is one of my secret weapons. Drink that olive oil! Not only will it actually improve your cardiovascular health and lubricate your arteries, and not only is it full of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, but each spoonful of virgin olive oil has a whopping 120 calories.
You do the math. Three tablespoons is 360 calories. You’re doing that twice a day.
You see how easy it is to make up the calories you need to gain? I swear when I introduced olive oil and a few other calorie rich foods into my diet this made a staggering difference. I laid down a little fat around my arms, but it’s super easy to burn off again and get all those muscle fibers showing.
Remember, olive oil is full of GOOD fats. You aren’t laying down stubborn, hard to move saturated fats like a big mac and chicken wings will lay down. You’ll burn this stuff right off with ease when you decide the shred and cut, so don’t stress too much if you gain a little chub around those slabs of muscle you are building underneath.
Once you cut in, the true sculpture will be revealed.
I’m not going to spoon feed you every single calorie rich food there is out there. Part of true learning requires you to discover things for yourself. However, here are a few to start you off.
Olive Oil – 120 calories per tbsp.
Peanut Butter – 94 calories per tbsp.
Almond Nuts – 576 calories per 100g.
Rib Eye Steak – 852 calories per 300g.
Oats – 607 calories per cup (156g).
These are the bodybuilder’s secret weapons. When you are trying to bulk up and gain muscle, eat plenty of these. Later when you are trying to shred and cut in, you’ll want to limit them.
It’s worth repeating before leaving this point and moving on. You do not need to obsess over, count every calorie and act like a high school teenaged girl afraid to gain a pound or two of fat. If you are a pro bodybuilder, OK maybe, but then I can’t really help you and you should head on over to John Doe Bodybuilding.
For those of us who are just looking to bulk up and gain solid muscle without worrying about being in competition shape, just eat plenty of the calorie rich foods mentioned in this list as well as your three regular meals, make sure you are getting above your caloric maintenance load, and you will be all good.
Of course, eating alone is no good, you’ll have to actually rip those muscles to shreds, which brings us to fact 5.
Fact 5) Compounds Lifts Trump Isolation Exercises
Do you know how many days per week I worked out in the gym to gain that massive amount of weight?
Three max. More often than not, two.
You see, I’m a big fan of and believer in rest. You need to work your muscles hard for sure, you need to tear them down so they can build themselves back up, but all of the building happens when you are resting, not when you are in the gym.
When in the gym, however, you have to work hard. You have to really go at it until it hurts so bad you can’t do another rep. If not, I’m going to be brutally honest with you, you’re just dicking around and wasting time.
Muhammad Ali once said “I never counted my reps at the gym until they started to hurt because those are the only ones that count.”
That’s the truth right there, spoken by one of the greatest athletes who has ever graced this planet.
But what lifts should you actually do? I followed a simple, 6 step compound exercise list.
Behind Neck Presses
This is not a flawless, all in one body workout by any means. There are a few muscle groups you’ll want to focus on more as you grow. Later I started adding in a few isolation exercises like bicep curls, but to begin when bulking up the above program will be plenty and will take you to the level you need to be at.
Just lift big, eat big and get plenty of rest.
Gaining lean muscle and bulking up isn’t easy, that’s why most people say they can’t do it or aren’t made for it. They say this as a cop-out because they don’t want to admit they simply do not have the willpower to make the changes they need to make over a sustained period of time in order to get the results they want to see.
I’m living proof that it can be done. I have a long way to go myself before I reach my full potential, but I’ve only been seriously lifting for a year and three months, with a little body weight exercise before that.
All you have to do if you want to get the same results of a 40lb+ gain in a couple of years is remember the five facts above and put them to use.
That second part is crucial. Remembering these facts then closing down this site and going to jack off to pornhub while some muscular stud pounds a beautiful woman you can only dream of isn’t going to get you anywhere.
You have to desire it. You have to decide to do it. Then, you have to persist.
Until next time,