How to Gain Muscle Fast for Skinny Guys: A Complete Guide

A skinny but muscled man

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Losing weight isn’t the only reason to get into fitness. Sometimes, you’d prefer the opposite outcome. Building muscle mass isn’t always as easy as it seems, so learning how to gain muscle fast for skinny guys can be challenging.

If you’d like to bulk up in minimal time, this guide’s for you. Let’s get into it.

Why Do You Struggle to Gain Muscle?

If you’re reading this guide, chances are you haven’t been able to build muscle in the past. Why is that? Here’s a look at some of the most common reasons.

The biggest reason skinny guys may struggle to gain muscle fast is that they’re going about it the wrong way. Your routine may be too cardio-heavy and not feature enough resistance. Maybe you’re lifting heavy but aren’t quite getting to the progressive overload — more on that later. An insufficient diet could also be to blame.

Biological factors can be at play, too. Many men have an overactive thyroid, which makes you burn calories faster than normal, to the point of rapid weight loss. Other conditions like diabetes and even depression can also limit your gains.

The human body can be delicate, so slight changes like insufficient sleep or water can affect your metabolism. You may be more genetically prone to these kinds of changes than others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t gain muscle fast. It’ll just take some extra work.

How to Gain Muscle Fast for Skinny Guys

While everyone’s situation is unique, following a few best practices will help you reach your body’s full potential. Here’s how to gain muscle fast for skinny guys. 

Eat More Calories

Meal-prep containers with grilled chicken, zucchini and eggs.
Meal prepping is a great way to keep track of your calories and nutrients.

Start with your diet. The formula for weight gain and weight loss is simple. If you want to lose weight, be at a caloric deficit — burn more calories than you eat. To gain weight, be at a caloric surplus — eat more than you burn.

As simple as that is on paper, it’s often harder in practice. You must track your calories to stick to this diet effectively. Otherwise, you may fall off course and not realize it. Use a fitness tracker to gauge how much you’re burning in your workouts, and write down the calorie intake of every meal, paying extra attention to serving sizes.

Think About the Nutrients in Your Diet

Of course, not all calories are created equal. A caloric surplus will lead to weight gain, but you don’t just want to add weight. You want to add muscle. Consequently, you’ll need the right nutrients in your diet.

Protein is the big one here, as it contributes directly to muscle growth. You’ll also want to get plenty of complex carbs to give you energy and help you recover from workouts. If you’re not getting enough of these nutrients in your diet, supplements like pre-workout can help increase muscle mass when used carefully.

Get Serious About Weight Training

A man deadlifting
Deadlifts are a great movement to work multiple muscle groups.

The next step in how to gain muscle fast for skinny guys is to work out. Not just any workout will do, though. You need to lift, but proper weight training is about more than simply picking up a heavy bar.

The key is progressive overload, a fancy term for gradually increasing the intensity of your workout. Add more weight and reps — but no more than 10% per week — instead of lifting the same weight for the same amount each day. It also helps to go to failure on your last set regularly. Pushing your body until you can’t do even one more rep will break your muscles down so they grow back stronger.

The kinds of lifts you do matter, too. Compound movements like squats, deadlifts and cleans work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, producing faster results. Just ensure you’re practicing good form to not hurt yourself.

Get Enough Rest

As you work out, remember there is such a thing as going too hard. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but you won’t gain muscle fast and keep it on without resting. Overtraining can hinder your progress in a few ways.

Working too hard too frequently can lead to injury. Pain and well-being aside, that means you’ll have to take it easy for a bit as you recover, slowing your results. 

Rest is also important because it allows your muscles to heal. When you work out, you create little tears in your muscles, and the healing process leads to gains. Without eight hours of sleep a night and regular off days, you won’t heal well enough to see improvement.

Track Your Progress

Finally, remember to keep track of everything. You’ll likely have to adjust your plan for maximum results, and you can only do that if you know how well things are going.

Keep a record of your calories and nutrient intake, as well as your workouts. If you want to go the extra mile, track your water intake and sleep schedule, too. If you’re not bulking up as much as you’d like, tweak one thing at a time until you find the right recipe.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Gaining Muscle Fast

Man carrying water bottle
Staying hydrated is essential when trying to build muscle.

Trying to gain muscle fast for skinny guys can be challenging, so it’s easy to go wrong in some areas. Here are some tips to consider for better results and safety.

We mentioned earlier that protein is important, but how much you need depends on your body. People disagree on the perfect amount, but you should aim for between 1.2 and 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to gain muscle.

Hydration is also crucial when you’re working out this much. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks and alcohol for best results. The more hydrated you are, the better your body will heal and process nutrients.

Don’t overlook non-weighted exercises, too. While weight training should be your focus when building muscle, keep heavy lifting sessions to just three times a week. On your off days, you can do cardio — just not so much that you burn too many calories —  or use lighter resistance workouts.

Finally, recognize that “fast” results in fitness may seem slow. Even an extremely rigorous routine may take a month or two before you notice the change. Avoid diets or workout plans that promise big results in weeks or days, as seeing gains that quickly often means sacrificing safety or your overall health. 

Even Skinny Guys Can Gain Muscle Fast With the Right Routine

Gaining muscle fast for skinny guys isn’t easy, but it’s possible. It’ll take hard work to see significant improvements, but if you keep at it, you can bulk up safely and effectively. Take this guide, tailor it to your specific situation and let the gains commence.

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