A Skinny Man’s Guide For Putting On Muscle

You’re too skinny.

Get some more meat on your bones.

We need to fatten you up.

You’re a toothpick.

Do you eat?

Are you sick?

Enough of the skinny comments and questions.


The Skinny On Being Skinny

For most of my childhood years, I was always the skinny kid.

I wasn’t very tall and I wasn’t short either, I guess you could say I was average height for my age.

I loved playing sports, was athletic, and always very active.

I was also very skinny. Not only did I know it, but others let me know it too.

Skinny to the point that my mom actually took me to the doctor to have me checked out to make sure nothing was wrong with me. There was nothing wrong with me. I was just, well, skinny.

It wasn’t like I didn’t eat or like to eat either in fact, given the amount of food I did eat, you would have thought I would have weighed more than I did.


Skinny No More

Once I got to high school, being called skinny began to really bother me, more than ever.

I didn’t like it.

I didn’t like being called skinny although I knew it was the truth.

Guys don’t like to be called skinny. It’s just as taboo as telling a girl she’s fat – it should never happen.

It was then, at 14 years old, that I decided I would be skinny no more.


Let There Be Muscle

I was determined to add more muscle to my body. I scoured fitness magazine after fitness magazine and knew exactly the look I wanted.

I wanted a muscular, defined chest versus the concave chest I had.

I wanted bigger arms, they type you can prominently see veins in from being fit, muscular, and in shape.

I wanted to see my abs, and not just a few, but all six.

I decided I would no longer would be called skinny. Going forward, I would be called lean, strong, fit, muscular, anything but skinny.


The Transition

I knew that transforming my body and adding more muscle wasn’t going to be easy or happen over night and that if it was going to happen, I would need a plan, work my ass off, and be consistent.

Here’s 5 principles I used to add more muscle to my skinny frame:


1. Lift Weights

In order to add more muscle to my body, I began working out with free weights. I worked out 3-4 times per week, exercising different muscle groups each time.

I used heavy weights, heavy enough so that I could only complete around 10 repetitions of each set. I completed 3 sets for each exercise and would do anywhere from 5-6 different exercises.

Here’s an example:

Chest press with dumbbells – 3 sets of 10 reps

Chest flies with dumbbells – 3 sets of 10 reps

Tricep extensions with dumbbells – 3 sets of 10 reps

Tricep dips – 3 sets of 10 reps

Push-ups – 3 sets of 10 reps


For my abs, I completed a variety of different exercises that totaled 100 reps.


Floor Crunches – 1 set of 25 reps

Oblique Crunches – 1 set of 25 reps

Abdominal bicycles – 1 set of 50 reps

The key to increasing muscle is to use weight that’s heavy enough so that every repetition is challenging and 10 reps is about all you can do. This is where and how I made most of my muscle gains.


2. Eat Lots Of Protein

Once I began to lift weights and workout harder 3-4 times per week, I began to eat more protein, lots and lots of protein to nourish and fuel my working muscles in order for them to repair, recover, and grow.

I began to eat lots of eggs, chicken, fish, peanut butter, and protein powders. I made it a point to not skip meals either. I needed all the calories I could get in order to add more muscle to my body.

Growing up in a Portuguese household, chicken, fish, and steak were common meals along with potatoes and some sort of vegetable, which contributed to having a well balanced food plan.


3. Drink Lots Of Water

Muscles are 75% water.

Little water, little muscle. I began to think of my muscles as water balloons. The more water I added, the bigger they would become. Less water meant less muscle.

By hydrating my muscles, they were fully functional and able to operate at maximal capacity during my workouts therefore allowing me to lift more weight and increase put on even more muscle.


4. Sleep More

This was a tough one for me and still is considering I’m both a night owl and an early bird. I’m in bed late and up early almost every day.

Because of my body’s tendency to naturally wake up early in the morning even without an alarm clock, I made it a point to get to bed earlier since I knew my body wouldn’t allow me to sleep later.

I went from sleeping 4 hours or less per night (not good), to 6 hours on average and the occasional 7-8 hours on the weekends. Getting enough sleep it critical for putting on more muscle.

Sleep enhances muscular recovery through a process called protein synthesis. It’s also during sleep that our body releases human growth hormone which helps with muscle growth.


5. Supplements

I began to see and feel a noticeable difference with my body as soon as I began to take some basic supplements.

I began taking a daily multivitamin, creatine before my workouts, and amino acids and glutamine after my workouts.

My recovery time increased drastically after each workout and I wasn’t nearly as sore from the workouts afterwards. My strength also increased which allowed me to lift more weight.

Lifting more weight = more muscle.

There’s many supplements available but I would recommend starting with these four. They made a huge difference for me and they will for you too.


Fast Forward

I still get the occasional skinny comment although these days, it seems to just be from my grandma who always thinks I’m too skinny and that I should weight a healthy 260 lbs instead of 160 lbs. It’s a Portuguese thing. 🙂

No more being skinny for me, those days are past me. These days, I’m maintaining a lean frame and currently training for my very first men’s physique competition.

If you’re tired of being called skinny or even yourself feeling like you’re too skinny, and you’re ready to add some muscle to your frame, follow these 5 principles I just mentioned above and you’ll be well on your way. In 6-8 weeks, you’ll notice a big difference with how your body looks and feels.

I hope my skinny journey and information I’ve shared with you here helps to make a difference for you.

Reach out to me anytime if you have any questions or concerns or if you need more information or guidance specific to you and your situation, I can help.



  • Nothing’s worse for a guy who’s been working hard to build lean muscle (or adding more muscle) than to be called “skinny”! Totally relate to your story, except I came from the other end…a chubby guy to fit guy. Still hated “skinny” though! Great post, Mike!

  • This has been a lifetime struggle for me cuz of my high metabolism. It’s hard to maintain the routine all the time. Can you list certain supplements you use? I usually still go with protein, creatine and glutamine.

    • I understand the struggle Bryan when it comes to a high metabolism, same here man. As hard as it is to maintain that routine, it’s the routine overtime that’ll bring with it results – sounds like pretty much any success come to think of it 🙂 Protein I use is Dymatize Iso 100 Hydrolyzed Whey Protein, Glutamine is Bodytech, and although I am not currently taking it, when I do use creatine, I use N’Fuze capsules.

  • Even though this is a guide for guys, it is very important to be mindful of that transition and the process it will take you through – girls or guys, gaining or leaning. Thank you for the helpful advice above!

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