zen habits : breathe

How to Go From Skinny to Muscular in 7 Steps (with a diet plan)

Editor’s note: This article was submitted by Mehdi of Stronglifts.

A lot of people who are skinny wish they could gain weight and a muscular physique, but don’t know where to start. And going to the gym can be intimidating when you’re a beginner.

Today we’ll look at the biggest reason people are skinny, and how to begin to build muscle, the healthy way.

If you’re skinny, you might think you eat a lot. But you probably don’t. The No. 1 reason people are skinny is because they don’t eat enough calories.

Even if you have a fast metabolism, you’ll need to eat more to gain weight. Couple that with strength training and you’ll go from skinny to muscular. Here’s how.

1. Eat More. Skinny people claim they can eat everything they want without gaining weight. The truth is, you can eat everything you want without gaining weight because you’re not eating a lot. But you can change that.

2. Eat 6x a Day. No more kicking off the day with coffee, then nothing until lunch time, then a big dinner, then some late-night snacking. Build the habit of eating 6 times a day, without forgetting in-between meals.

3. Eat Calorie Dense Food. Veggies are healthy but don’t work well if you want to go from skinny to muscular. 250g broccoli for example has only 100kcal. You need calorie-dense food.

4. Build Strength. The stronger you become, the more muscles you’ll have. Get into strength training. Do exercises that hit several muscles at the same time: Pull-ups, Bench Press, Overhead Press, Deadlifts and most importantly, Squats.

Start with an empty barbell. Learn how to do the exercises first. Increase the weight progressively.

5. Prepare Food in Advance. Nobody has time to cook 3 times a day. Preparing your food in advance is easier. When it’s time to eat, take it out of the fridge and put it for 2 minutes in the microwave. And you’re done.

This isn’t as much work as it sounds. You have to make breakfast anyway, prepare your other meals in the meanwhile. Make double rations. Keep leftovers for the next day. You’ll get used to it.

7. Take Food With You. Avoid situations where you don’t have access to food for more than 3 hours. Built the habit of taking food with you.

Don’t care about drinking protein shakes in public. Don’t care about eating the food you prepared at work while colleagues go out eating junk food. Care about gaining muscle and being healthy, not about what people think.

The Skinny to Muscular Diet. Some inspiration to get started. Use FitDay and the bodyweight x 20kcal rule to know how much you need of each food.

Do What it Takes. You’ll sometimes have to force yourself to finish your meals. And yes preparing your food is more work than buying food on the road. If you really want to lose your skinny look, you’ll do what it takes. Else, you don’t really want it after all.

Become a breath-taking reader: rss | email | twitter