There are two options for skinny guys:
Accept their fate and spend the rest of their lives looking skinny and feeble.
Take action to correct the situation. Consume extra calories. Work hard in the gym. Gain weight and turn their body into a suit of armor.
The second option is probably what you're going for. And the thought of following through is exciting as you imagine the newfound confidence of walking into a room with 30 or more pounds of muscle on your frame.
Unfortunately, your good intentions will most likely result in you being skinny fat. You want to get big, just like most lifters who try to bulk but end up getting fat. The bulking diet turns into a perma-bulk, and the majority of the weight you gain is concentrated around your stomach.
This is a very common scenario among slim guys. Their urge to get larger causes them to lose sight of what is actually going on. The scales may be rising, but they're only growing softer.
With a little knowledge and careful planning, you can avoid this tragedy. First and foremost, let's discuss why this search for mass gain so frequently fails. Then I'll show you step-by-step how to solve it.
The human body is an amazing adaptive mechanism. It can adapt to almost any situation you throw at it. One of the most common examples is lifting weights. Everything works when you initially start training. You grow like a plant as you gain power. The body then adapts, and what you've been doing no longer works. This is known as "adaptive resistance" in scientific terms.
To keep building strength and muscle, you must go above and beyond your prior training efforts to put the body under more stress. The notion of gradual overload is derived from this. Do you want to keep progressing? On average, you must train harder and eat more food.
This adaptability is both a benefit and a liability. It's fantastic in the short term. You're gaining muscle at a frightening rate. The body, on the other hand, adapts to the stimuli over time. It adjusts to your workout and the massive amounts of food you're cramming down your mouth. It adjusts by putting up a fight. Muscle growth is slowed by this "anabolic resistance."
What causes this to happen? In a nutshell, insulin resistance leads to leptin resistance, which displays as excess fat gain, lack of "pump" when training, stagnant strength increases, inflammation, and even reduced libido when fully developed.
Everything changes when you're routinely increasing weight to the bar, seeing the scales creep up each week, and getting amazing pumps in the gym. The scale only rises every few weeks, and when it does, you simply appear fatter.
If you've made it this far, you've developed anabolic resistance. Anabolic processes are resistive to your body (muscle growth). Unfortunately, it is not resistant to fat growth. So all those calories you consume will just increase the size of your stomach, not your biceps.
What exactly is going on here? Consider the law of diminishing returns: the more you do something, the less it benefits you. Every time you are exposed to that stimulus, you get a less and smaller positive result. Your high-volume, hypertrophy-focused workout sends less growth signals to your body, and you grow less in response to your high-calorie diet.
When your body's systems are exposed to a stimuli, they adapt. As a result, the amount of homeostatic disturbance induced decreases with each repetition. Because the body has been exposed to it so frequently, the body eventually has no need to respond. It has gotten desensitized to the situation. Trying to force the problem by doing more of the same is akin to hitting your head against a brick wall.
When you consider the body's adaptive capacities, it's self-evident: you need to present a different stimulus to compel the body to create good adaptations again. More training and calories aren't the answer. In fact, it's the polar opposite.
Train and eat in such a way that the body is re-sensitized to bulking. To do so, you must decrease weight and control your fatigue. How?
  • A calorie deficit diet is one in which you consume less calories than you consume. Eat a few hundred calories fewer than your daily calorie need. You can get close by cutting your carb intake in half.
  • Reduce the amount of training you do. Reduce the amount of time you spend in the gym (fewer exercises, sets, and reps) and increase your rest and recovery days. Only train three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
The body will swiftly regain its sensitivity to mass-gain workout and eating regimens. You'll be able to gain more muscle at a faster rate while also maintaining a healthy body fat percentage.
As a bonus, your body will better partition nutrients. Your body's capacity to divide nutrients is harmed when you gain weight. Your partitioning ratio (P ratio) is sub-optimal when you have a higher body fat percentage. More calories are retained as fat, while fewer are used to develop muscle. However, a brief dieting period can correct this.
While these negative adaptations occur in your metabolism, they also occur in your reaction to bodybuilding training. Until your body has acclimated and become resistant, high-volume training is the best way to gain muscle. Just as changing your diet can help you overcome metabolic resistance, changing your workout can help you overcome anabolic resistance.
It's far easier to keep muscle mass than it is to gain it. It can be done with a lot less training time. As a result, your mini-diet should be combined with a lower volume of workout than while you were bulking.
Use a MED (minimum effective dose) strategy: Don't overdo it; just enough to keep your muscle. This permits you to get rid of the weariness that has built up over several months of high-intensity training. It also helps you re-acclimate to typical bodybuilding training.
Your metabolism and muscles will be significantly more sensitive to the growth stimulation of bulking in only a few weeks.
To generate a calorie deficit, start by cutting your carbs in half. If you're 170 pounds and your daily carb intake is 385 grams, reduce it to 192 grams for the mini-diet. That's 768 fewer calories, putting you just under maintenance in terms of overall calories. If not, make the necessary adjustments.
Maintain the same levels of protein and dietary fat as during the bulk.
Train at a maintenance level — no high-volume, high-intensity workouts. 3 times a week, do a full-body workout. Make sure your workouts aren't more than an hour long.
Train only the large complex lifts.
Strengthening your body is essential. Make use of a 3x5 set-rep method or something similar.
You'll be ready to grow after the mini-cut and reduced exercise volume time is finished. Return to your bulking plan and relish the rapid gains, but keep a look out for signs that your progress is slowing. When you reach this point, you'll know it's time to restart the mini-diet.