Sometimes you need muscle in 6-12 weeks and you haven’t got time to figure out the seemingly complex world of sets and rep schemes, carb back loading and exercise selection.
Generally when you become single again the inner beast starts raging even more than usual and you realise that you need to stack on some size to give you the confidence to get back in the game.
It’s how us guys roll and the naturally skinny ones amongst us face an uphill battle to get this done as fast as possible – there’s girls waiting after all.
You’re inspired by the monsters on the internet but suddenly remember that you were built like a lamp post and the rules of the game seem to be different for you.
Life’s a bitch sometimes so you need to go to war with the right weapons for your body type.
The usual response to ‘kinda start eating as much as I can and lift some weights’ but the gains don’t come fast enough.
I like to figure out how to do things as fast as possible because I’m just impatient and want to be at my goals by yesterday.
So here’s 4 things I’ve been doing to get more out of my muscle building sessions to go from 85 to 89kg in 6 weeks and still going well.
This has been done without squatting as I have a knee injury so you guys who can get that bar on your back can supercharge all this because a good couple of squat sessions each week will do wonders for overall growth – don’t pussy out and do more biceps.
I’m also busy as hell so don’t have time for 6-7 meals per day – this is for real world guys who have lives and jobs but still want to add some bulk.
1) Sort your food out instead of guessing.
Time is of the essence so no time to mess about!
This process takes about an hour, then you can just prep food twice per week and you’ve got it nailed.
A little prep goes a long way!
Right now my diet looks something like this EVERY day.
Breakfast: 6 gluten free slices of toast with Guernsey Butter, 8 scrambled eggs whites and 2 whole eggs done in coconut oil.
Pre-workout: Phil Richards Amino Work Capacity x 1 scoops
During workout: 25g of maltodextrin and 1 scoop Amino Work Capacity
Post-workout: Phil Richards Anabolic Drive x 2 scoops in rice milk
Mid-morning: 2 scoop protein shake in rice milk
Lunch: 2 chicken breasts, 100g of rice and salad
Mid-afternoon: 2 scoop protein shake in rice milk
(If you have time you could have another small meal)
Dinner: 300g steak, 6 gluten free sausages, 3 medium jacket potatoes, steamed veg
Dessert: 1 scoop of protein
Total: About 4350 calories.
This has been calculated on 50 calories per 1kg of lean bodyweight then split 40% carbs, 40% protein, 20% fats. This ratio works for me, you could go up to as much as 50-60% carbs as a skinny dude.
If you’re more of an endomorph you’re probably better off losing some timber first using a ratio more like 60% fat, 30% protein, 10% carbs.
Once you know how many calories you need from each macronutrient, you’re going to need to know grams using:
1g carbs = 4 calories
1g protein = 4 calories
1g of fat = 9 calories
4350 calories x 40% carbs = 1740 calories / 4 = 435g of carbs
4350 calories x 40% protein = 1740 calories / 4 = 435g of protein
4350 calories x 20% fats = 870 calories / 9 = 97g of fats
I then use the MyFitnessPal app to play around with the foods I like to hit these numbers over a day.
Don’t worry if it’s not exact as that will be a pain in the ass but once you’ve got this nailed down, you just prep your food twice per week (takes about half hour) then you’re good and will see the gains if you do the rest as below.
Protein supplements are great for making up protein deficits but shouldn’t be the staple.
Oils on food are great for making up fat deficits.
And everyone likes eating more carbs if you need more of them to hit your numbers!
So this takes a little effort but saves WEEKS of getting annoyed because you’re still scrawny.
2) Focus on the big lifts
90% of your training should be the big exercises and their variations. For now you don’t need much isolation work – use those when you’ve been lifting big for a few months and just want some extra definition.
Bent over rows
I then like to add 10 minutes of carries (transferring weight from one spot to another) such as farmer walks, sandbag carries, yoke and prowler work as well as high intensity rowing and sprint intervals on the treadmill to keep body fat down and work capacity up.
Machines have their value for advanced bodybuilders but if you want to just get in and get maximum gains as a novice to amateur, the big lifts are where it’s at especially if you can’t…
Squat 1.5 x your bodyweight
Deadlift 2 x your bodyweight
Bench 1 x your bodyweight
Do 10 dead hang pull ups
3) Focus on getting as much work done as possible in the range of 6-12 reps.
A great way if you’re new to this is to use Escalating Density Training. It’s not the only or even the best way, but a great start point if you’re not used to structured training.
In other words, you’re going to get more work done every week.
Choose two non-competing exercises such as squats and military presses.
Choose a weight for each that you could do 12 reps with before failure.
Set your timer for 12 minutes.
Perform a set of squats leaving ‘1 or 2 in the tank’ then go straight to military presses and do the same.
Go straight back to squats and keep repeating until the last set or two when you can go to failure.
You’ll see your reps drop as the time goes on but that’s fine.
This will cause a lot of stress, get a lot of volume in at the right weights and also improve your training capacity as your heart rate will be pumping for 12 minutes.
You would then do another 12 minutes with two other exercises.
After each block calculate the total weight you lifted for each exercise.
For instance if you did 10, 10, 8, 8, 6, 5 and 4 reps with a 100kg squat you lifted 51 x 100kg = 5100kg
The next time you repeat this session, you are aiming to lift a higher total volume by getting more reps per set, adding a little weight and resting less so you can do more sets.
Very simple but very effective for someone new to structured muscle building.
This will only take half an hour. If you have time, then you can add in some isolation exercises and ab work but your results will come from the big stuff for the first few weeks and months.
A: Squats and Bent Over Row EDT
B: Military press and Hanging Leg Raise EDT
C: Rowing sprints 5 x 200m / Farmer walks / Prowler sprints
A: Deadlifts and Bench Press EDT
B: Chin ups and Leg Press EDT
C: Arms and ab work (3-4 sets)
For 4 weeks alternate the sessions. 121, 212, 121, 212
4) Get more from each set.
Muscle building comes from stressing the muscles.
You can do this with four tried and tested methods.
Slow eccentrics: A lot of weight lifting in gyms looks a lot like an epileptic fit. Slow down the lowering phase of your reps to about 3-4 seconds of tension – no bouncing. This will make your training a lot harder and a lot more effective!
Drop sets: On that last set, instead of just doing another set of 12, finish your set then immediately grab a lighter weight and do another 12 and then do a third time. Not nice.
Elevator reps: Instead of just doing straight reps, do a full rep from top to bottom to top. Then, do a rep from top to bottom to HALF WAY UP then back to the bottom THEN back to the top. So 1 rep becomes 1.5 reps. The tension will bring an amazing pump! Be warned, go lighter….
No lock out: You can optimize the tension on your muscles by not locking out your joints, for instance by keeping your elbows unlocked on a chest press. Generally I advise a mix of both because life and sport requires joint lockout and if you don’t train it you risk injury. So try 3 sets of locked out reps and 3 sets not quite reaching lock out so you get the best of both worlds. You’ll get your ligaments strong and build muscle.
Leave your ego behind and forget just going heavier every week – focus on the tension!
These are just three things skinny guys can do to get started on some serious muscle building – the stuff that counts the most.
As you advance there’s many more sets and rep schemes you’ll want to play with to keep shocking your body but for now, don’t waste your time.
Use these tools to get some work done and size on!