How Can Skinny Guys Build Muscle?

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In general, people trying to get into shape have one of two goals (and sometimes both!): to build muscle and lose fat. The questions that we get all circle around these topics, but this week especially, people are intent on ways to ensure that they’re doing all they can to either increase muscle mass or lose as much fat as possible. Whether you are focusing more on your diet, or more on working out, we have some insight and helpful thoughts & links that deal with both.

Here’s the short list of questions based on topic:

Question #1 | How Can I Keep My Runner’s Physique & Build Muscle?

Question: Do you have any tips for building muscle to someone who has more of a long-distance runner’s physique? I’m 6 ft 2.5 inches tall and 150 lbs, which gives me a BMI of about 18.7. I don’t really need to lose any fat, just build muscle. Specifically, I was wondering about my diet, what my protein intake should be, etc.
Answer: Hey Zach,

Thanks for the message. You reminded me I MUST write a solid article on how to build muscle. I want to write a good 1500-2000 word article on it.

Here’s the very brief summary:

Eat more calories – If you don’t eat more calories than you burn, you won’t gain weight. Period.

Shoot for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight

Lift progressively heavier weights. For example, if you can currently do dumbbell bench with 25lb for 10 reps, work up to 30lb for 10 reps, than 35, 40, etc. Takes time, but each week you may be able to add around a 5-10% weight increase depending on the exercise and your progress.

Get plenty of sleep – Your body gets bigger and gains muscle when you are not working out. Sleep helps a lot.

If you keep these keys in mind, you will be well on your way to getting more muscle. Will follow up hopefully in the next 3-6 weeks with a huge article on building muscle!

…and one more important thing to mention, there are different philosophies about building muscle regarding exercise. I believe it’s about choosing the hardest compound exercises and doing them for several sets. For example, you can have a killer leg workout by pairing squats with lunges in an alternating fashion for 4 to 5 rounds. That’s all you need. Similarly, you can do 4-5 sets of bench paired with DB rows. A combination of thoroughly fatiguing the muscle and lifting heavier weights combined with ample calories forces the muscle to grow bigger and stronger. You need to give your muscles a reason to grow bigger.

– Marc ( Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

Question #2 | Diets To Lose Fat?

Question: Thanks Marc, if this isn’t too much can you refer me too any of your article on diet to help me lose fat?
Answer: Hey Joshua,

I would recommend the following articles as sort of a primer on diet/nutrition as it relates to fat loss:

How Many Calories Should You Eat To Lose Weight?

7 Reasons to Keep A Food Journal

The (New) 5 Food Groups to Get Lean & Healthy

Divide & Conquer: Small Changes Add Up

Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Hope these are helpful for you!

– Marc ( Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

Question #3 | Run 5K 4x A Week To Lose Fat?

Question: What happened to the to the old weight-loss approach of running a 5k four times per week?
Answer: Hey Marvin,
It still exists, and some poeple continue to use that strategy to this day. However, as more research is done on the human body and fat loss, fitness experts have discovered different and more efficient methods of training to lose weight. There is nothing wrong with running long distances to change your body and improve your health and fitness, but there are more intense and time-efficient methods to achieve a lean body.

-Kwesi (Kwesi Peters, CPT, Community Manager)

Question #4 | Are Vibrams Really The Best Minimalist Shoe?

Question: I have a question. Do you think that the vibram shoes offer more than the other minimalist shoes out there (eg minimus or merrill)? I know you touched upon it, but I want to wear these shoes for everyday wear and feel that the vibrams are too funky looking for casual wear.
Answer: Hey Paul, I think the barefoot feel of the Vibram Five Fingers is really unmatched. It’s a combination of the exoskelotan design, which essentially is like just a shield for your foot, and the separate toe pockets. I own the New Balance Minimus sneakers and have put them on once since I’ve owned them. They are certainly not bad sneakers at all, and I think they are actually very good as an alternative to traditional sneakers, but the feel of the ground and how the foot moves is simply not in the same category as compared with the Vibrams. I think the New Balance Minimus are a good transition from traditional sneakers to Vibram Five Fingers, so you may consider getting a pair of both.

– Marc ( Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

Question #5 |Can Fruit Stop My Goal To Get Lean?

Question: The Harvard Pyramid says to only eat 2-3 servings of fruit per day. I estimate that I am eating 5 or 6 a day, sometimes more. It has become my replacement for all other snacks like pies, tarts, chips, and chocolate bars. I’ve lost over 30 lbs in less than 9 weeks so far, but will eating all this fruit eventually get in the way of my fitness goals, vis-a-vis getting lean?
Answer: Hey Matt, If you’re replacing fruit with the carbs and overall calories that the Harvard Pyramid suggests you get from not only fruit sources but whole grains, then you should be fine. Also, if what you’re currently doing is working and not unhealthy, I would continue it and if you stop seeing progress, you know what your next step is (decreasing your fruit intake).

– John ( John Leyva, CSCS, CPT)

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1 Comment on “How Can Skinny Guys Build Muscle?

  1. tim
    November 27, 2012 #

    Hey, I was hoping to get the Built Lean approval for this Granola. I know granola should be confused modestly, but this one seems to contain the good, healthy stuff. It would mean a lot me thanks.

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