How to Gain Muscle for Skinny Guys – Diet&Training Tips


It is quite difficult to gain weight for thin guys with long arms and legs.

If you are an Ectomorph, most probably you wonder, what should you do to see that mass gain?

What should be the training program for Ectomorphs?

In this post, I will tell you how to gain muscle for skinny guys.

A common reason for refusing to work out in the gym is the lack of results. Guys come to the gym for building muscle, they train for a month, two, three.

Every day they look at themselves in the mirror, tighten their muscles trying to see some results, but, unfortunately, most of the time, all is in vain.

As a result, willpower fails, and guys stop their training.

And the matter is not only in the structure of the body. Bodybuilding is a slow thing, muscles grow quickly only in one case – if you take doping which is highly NOT recommended.


How to Gain Muscle For Skinny Guys


In this case, of course, you will get the result only for the duration of the course, after which everything will return to the initial state.

Should I mention that you will cause harm to your body? After all, you use drugs without any prescription. If you still want quick results, you can refer to legal steroid alternatives which are a completely safe solution for you that produces the same bulking or cutting results, without any harmful side effects. Here are some legal steroid alternatives you may wish to check:

Crazy Bulk Supplements – Are They Really Safe and Work?

Brutal Force Review – Is This The Best Legal Steroid Alternative on the Market?

Alright, now let’s continue on. In terms of the amount of adipose tissue, Ectomorph is an excellent physique. However, a negative factor for mass gain is an accelerated metabolism, which under normal conditions burns a huge amount of calories.

All you need to gain weight and look great is to eat a lot, sleep for eight hours and train hard. If you do these 3 simple steps, you are set for success towards the body of your dream.

But before going into any of these aspects, if you are an Ectomorph, you need to have away more patience than your Endomorph or Mesomorph mates. This is the main thing you need in order to see results in a mass gain.

Nutrition: We Are What We Eat

Here I want to touch more about the nutrition aspect. Because too often I see people understand the phrase “eat a lot” not quite what it actually means.

When somebody wants to gain weight and build muscle, with that “eat a lot” in mind, often does a mistake by eating literally a lot of “wrong” food, like burgers, sandwiches, pizza and stuff like that.

And these guys are awaiting the desired results to show up and they don’t. Why?

Just because all these “wrong” food is an empty food, it doesn’t deliver any nutritional value to our organisms and is not able to build anything.

If you are reading these lines and recognize you in this description, if you tend to do the same thing, then after a month of eating like that, you will want to measure your chest, your biceps and notice that nothing has changed, your shoulder and other parts remained the same.


How to Gain Muscle For Skinny Guys


Instead, if you go and check your weight, you will see that you gain 3 or 4 more kilograms and when you measure your waist, you will find out that it increased by 5 or 7 cm.

So, what actually happened as a result of this kind of nutrition is everything turned into fat on your sides!

What picture did you get in this way? Even worse than before you have decided to eat a lot of food to gain mass. Your waist became wider, while your shoulder remained the same.

If you are an Ectomorph, most likely you shouldn’t be afraid of fat stores simply because your metabolism is so rapid that these fat depositions don’t manage to accumulate in your body.

This is your lucky advantage if to compare with Endomorphs or Mesomorphs. Still, if your goal is to bulk muscle, this kind of food will not help you to achieve this.

The good news is that there is a very lucrative solution for solving this issue. All you want to do is to change the food you are eating from “wrong and empty” to qualitative and healthy food.

What do I mean by this? Well, it is quite simple! For example, for the breakfast eat not sandwiches, but oatmeal (qualitative and slow carbs) and an omelet (qualitative protein).

For your lunch, instead of a burger or shaurma, choose to eat brown rice with a piece of cooked meat and fresh vegetable salad. This is what will satisfy your muscles the best.

You eat protein which is a building material for your muscles and healthy carbs that provide energy for your organism. Now, your body has enough resources to build up muscles.

Instead, what happens when you eat a shaurma? Metaphorically, your organism thinks like that: “All right, some calories just came in.

But, what shall I do with these? There is no protein, carbs are fast, the insulin level went up”. As a result, your organism will quickly pack all these into fat stores.

That is why your path to success lies in eating “the right” food 6-8 times per day (intake of protein shakes should also be considered as a meal).

Include proteins (chicken and beef meat, fish, eggs, milk, cottage cheese, minimum 5% fat), carbs (oatmeal, brown rice), a lot of vegetables in every meal. Protein in the diet should be 1.5–2 grams per kilogram of your body.

Recommended Read: Best Protein Powder for Muscle Growth

How to Gain Muscle For Skinny Guys


Also, of the total number of calories, 25-30% should be in protein intake, 50% of the diet should be carbohydrates, and fats 20-25%.

It is best to eat pasta and other quick-carbohydrate foods before dinner. They are not recommended for dinner, because if the mass grows, everything can go into abdominal fat.

At the same time, you will want to increase servings of slow carbohydrates and healthy fats (these are found in peanut, olive, sunflower, rapeseed and corn oil, seeds and nuts, flaxseed and butter, nuts, fatty fish like herring, mackerel, salmon).

Remember, that every organism is individual and may react differently, that is why it is always best to conduct a kind of experiment.

First increase the number of carbohydrates (I want to emphasize that here we are talking about slow carbohydrates, not fast ones). Observe for one month. If there are no changes, try increasing the daily amount of fat.

Be sure to get a weight gainer. There is no sense for you in drinking just protein shakes. Besides that, you want a portion of high-quality carbohydrates in addition to protein.

You can use pre-workout complexes. Gainer can be consumed no more than twice a day. It is better not to use it at night.

Start the day with a hearty breakfast, after an hour and a half, it is good to have a light breakfast. Then a hearty lunch, a light lunch, and the same with dinner.

Try to consume daily up to 3500 calories or more, but only at the expense of proper and good food.

Or, you can easily calculate the number of calories you need to consume using the formula based on body weight: 45-55 calories per kilogram of body weight.

A good result is a weekly increase in body weight by 0.3-0.4 kg. If you gain less, then gradually increase the calorie intake to see the desired result.

Important Note: Remember that without proper training, such nutrition can harm you, as the body will receive excess fat.

Training Plan for Ectomorphs

Now, let’s take a look at how to gain muscle mass for skinny guys with the help of training. 

Training programs for Ectomorphs for gaining muscle mass should be based on the following principles:

  • exercises are done not more than three times per week; the duration of the workouts should be at least 40 minutes, but not more than an hour;


  • you want the exercises to be exclusively heavy, no extras for the first time. The aim is to produce testosterone on heavyweights basis.


  • basic exercises are applied; it is required to take maximum working weights on the slopes;


  • long rest (2-3 minutes) between sets, until you feel restored.

The entire program consists of basic exercises since only these can provide Ectomorphs with the necessary degree of muscle stress during training.

This will allow you to gain a noticeable muscle mass in, as short period of time, as possible. Every 8-10 weeks, it is necessary to gradually increase the load – only the progression of the loads will give you good results.

Besides gaining muscle mass, this training plan for Ectomorphs also adds strength.

This allows you to prepare for the next workout cycle for mass growth, in which training is supplemented by isolating exercises.

If you are just starting out with your workouts, don’t begin with maximum loads. This is because, firstly, you still do not know which weights are difficult for you to work with and which are not.

Secondly, you have not yet developed the right technique. So you have to spend a couple of months to master the basic exercises and a smooth approach to your working weights.

In each approach, you want to do not more than 6-12 repetitions. The more you do the reps, the more calories you spend.

Also, forget about light exercises. Focus on only complex physical exercises (like deadlifts, pull-ups, dumbbell presses, barbell lifts, etc.)

Performing complex (compound) exercises involve all the muscles in the process, which, on the background of a large amount of protein and calorie intake, will have no other way than growth.

Recommended Read: 5 Best Exercises for Muscle Gain: The Basis of Strength Training

How to Gain Muscle For Skinny Guys


The main motivating factor for anyone who wants to gain muscle mass is the appearance. Every change that occurs in the body is the result of hard work and exercise.

In order to be satisfied with yourself, you want to concentrate on lifting weights, improving your own endurance, and then it will not take a long time for results to show up.

In the beginning, do not do more than 12 repetitions at a time. The optimal range of exercises is 6-12 reps, but not more than that.

When you do a maximum of 6 reps, it is logical that the weights will be those with which you will have difficulty making the last repetitions. Believe me, these are big weights.

When you get more or less experienced and achieve your first results, do not stop there. If at the very beginning of the journey, you were lifting relatively small weights, then, show your perseverance and increase the weights.

The main thing is not to be lazy and force yourself to work hard through strength. This will develop perseverance, endurance and, of course, will bring you to the desired shape.


How to Gain Muscle For Skinny Guys


Don’t neglect cardio workouts, but also don’t overdo it (5-7 minutes of running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike is enough).

Training programs for men, even Ectomorphs, should include cardio workouts, at the same time, you want to be very careful with them because they burn calories that are gold for you! 

You can do a maximum of 1 high-intensity interval cardio workout in order to accelerate the heart rate. Then just knead the joints. 

You want to give your muscles enough time for recovery. It is not recommended to work out one muscle group every day.

Otherwise, exhaustion is guaranteed. Optimally, wait at least two days, and only then work on the same muscle group again.

If you get to the so-called “plateau” (it happens when you practice the same exercises, at the same intensity and with the same degree of difficulty; as a result, your workouts are no longer as effective as they have been before), all you want to do is to be patient and continue to work hard.

Just get the most out of your abilities. Over time, you will be able to lift more, or your external results will somehow change. A good way to get out of the “plateau” is to add one repetition to each approach.

If this does not help, increase the amount of protein in the diet, try special supplements (like BCAA, or creatine).

Important Note: Keep in mind that “plateau” does not occur in the first months of training. If you stopped seeing results in the second or third month of your training, just give the body a break. If your weight has stopped growing for several months, review your diet and your physical activity.

Get Some Healthy Enough Sleep

It is unreal to grow muscle mass without proper sleep. No training program will give results to an Ectomorph if he doesn’t sleep normally.


How to Gain Muscle For Skinny Guys


Sleep at least 8 continuous hours, an optimal time for this is between 23.00 PM and 7.00 AM. If you have difficulties with getting some deep sleep, you may wish to check out Resurge Deep Sleep Formula. 

Take into Consideration Your Genetic

The nature and rate of metabolism are programmed, most of the time, at the genetic level. If the metabolism is fast, then all the calories received with food are burned and not used to build mass.

A solid part of the population lives like that. But most of this part is quite happy with their appearance since the fat does not interfere with the sporty well-looking body. This is how metabolism works for Ectomorphs.

Others have a slower metabolism. They are on diets and still gain extra pounds. Perhaps Endomorphs sometimes even envy thin people

The state of the endocrine system is also very important. If there are failures in it, a person can gain fat very quickly.

It turns out that not every thin guy can hardly gain weight. Sometimes, if you establish nutrition and regular training, progress is pretty good.

Take into Consideration Your Age

Age is another factor that influences mass gains. From the age point of view, everything again comes down to metabolism, because it has a different speed for different age groups.

For example, you did not limit yourself in nutrition and did not get fat until 30 years old, and then you notice that fat begins to be deposited around the lower back and on your sides.

You trim yourself a little in calories, but deposition continues to haunt you. As a result, you have to severely limit yourself in order to stop getting fat.

This is a typical example of a slowdown in metabolism with age. For girls, this slowdown occurs after 25 years, for men – after 30, on average.

So, you may not have to brag about your beautifully shaped body for a long time. Years will take their toll. Even Ectomorphs after 30 years notice the appearance of fat stores.

They still have thin arms, legs, narrow shoulders, but their belly risks becoming a small ball 🙂

Fortunately, there is a solution to this: making workouts and training your everyday lifestyle, which I highly recommend.

Recommended Read: How to Build Muscle After 50 – 5 Tips to Follow

The Bottom Line

Remember, gain muscle mass for a thin guy is not so easy, but still, it is possible. Someone’s muscles grow faster, someone’s slower. It is difficult and incorrect to put everyone on the same level.

To conclude all the above-mentioned, in order to gain weight and build muscle, you need to:

Be Patient. If you pay attention to the biography of athletes who have gained their excellent shape naturally, without steroids and doping, you will notice that these people have spent more than one year to reach such results.

Let’s say more – not one dozen years. And they are far from the dimensions of steroid lovers.

Painstakingly, step by step, kilogram by the kilogram, they walked towards their goal, breaking themselves, training their mind and body. And they did that. Be patient! If you are an Ectomorph, there is a long way to go. 

Eat a Lot of Healthy Food. Forget about junk food, it will not help you to build muscle, just make you fatter.

Because you have a rapid metabolism, in order to gain muscle mass, you will want to eat away more calories than your Endomorph and Mesomorph mates.  

Tip: In order to be able to consume a lot of food, try to include into your diet products that stimulate your appetite ( like apples, oranges, pomegranates, lemons, grapefruits, fat-free yogurt, a glass of wine, ginger, etc.)


How to Gain Muscle For Skinny Guys


Exercise Properly. If your goal is mass gain, then you want to make training a part of your daily routine. At the same time, if it is permissible to skip workouts sometimes, then you don’t want to do this with your meals.

Otherwise, all efforts to gain weight will be reduced to a minimum. You can devote all your free time to training, but without a good and nutritious diet, you will not see any progress.

The emphasis of your workouts should be on power loads. Reduce cardio workouts to a minimum, still, don’t neglect them at all.

This applies to long-distance running. If you necessarily want to include jogging in your training program, then you need to run either uphill or do sprints, that is, reducing distances to a minimum.

Sleep Enough. Muscles continue to grow even while you are sleeping. And to make this process as effective as possible, you need to sleep at least 8-9 hours. If you sleep less than 6 hours, then the effectiveness of the diet and exercise decreases dramatically.

To make things simpler, try to look at these 3 aspects like different pieces of a puzzle. The picture is not complete if one piece misses, right?

The same is with these main aspects of bodybuilding. If you don’t follow even just one of them, you will not get the expected results.   

When you follow a mass gain program, together with the muscles, fat deposits are also accumulated, which is a completely normal process.

To avoid undesirable consequences, it is advisable to set a clear goal regarding how many kilograms you want to add.

When this goal is achieved, reduce the number of carbohydrates in your diet. At the same time, you still want to continue to eat vegetables and fruits, but it is recommended to reduce the consumption of pasta, rice, and bread.

Continuing to workout and run sprints, you can easily get rid of the fat layer.

Just in case if you are looking for the best muscle-building program, you may wish to check out My #1 Recommendation.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about how to gain muscle for skinny guys and if Ectomorph is your body type, now you are more informed about what you want to do next towards obtaining the body of your dream.

If you have any questions or thoughts about the above aspects, please share them in the comments section below and I will get back to you asap.

If you liked this article and think it might be useful for someone else too, please share it with your friends and family through social media channels.

Be Fit!

Ionut Voicu

6 thoughts on “How to Gain Muscle for Skinny Guys – Diet&Training Tips”

  1. This is a great post. The information is broken down to explain the correct way for a skinny guy to build muscle.

    You know there are a lot of skinny guys who just do not know how to correctly build muscle, it is just as you said in your post, they are wolfing down everything in sight, not realizing they are just eating for the sport of it if the foods they are eating have very little to no nutritional value.
    I use to be one of those skinny guys until I learned how to properly exercise and more importantly eat foods high in nutritional value such as carbohydrates, which helps you pack on the pounds, but with the correct exercise routines they go hand in hand.

    • Hi, Jerry,

      Thank you very much for your comment.

      I am glad that you have found this article useful. We all start with zero knowledge on any topic, but if we have a real interest in it, then there is no way for us to not fully discover it sooner or later.

      I am also delighted that you have made your research and understand that results are real only when good nutrition, together with proper training and enough rest are respected.

      Look forward to seeing you again here as my reader.


  2. Excellent, so much great information. I am a skinny guy that has been trying to gain good weight/muscle for a few years. You have definitely given me so much more to think about and work on. I’ve read a lot in my time in regards to this topic and I have found your approach to be exactly what I needed to get me on the right track. Thank you.

    • Hi, Douron,

      Thank you very much for your comment.

      I am happy that this information was helpful to you and I hope you will also use it in order to achieve the body condition that you aspire for. Remember, knowledge in terms of what you need to do is only halfway towards your goal, while the other half lies in taking action and implementing that knowledge.

      I also hope to see you again here as my reader.


  3. Dear Voicu

    Thank you very much for your fantastic website. It is amazing that you show people where to start and what steps to make towards their healthy living and perfect body. I hope more people will know about your website and follow your guidance.
    Kind regards,

    • Hi, Andrey,

      Thank you so much for your appreciation!

      When I first started out with my workouts many years ago, I had little to no knowledge of how to build my body in the correct way and I really lacked a good mentor and a helping hand that would point me in the right direction.

      As a result, I have made some mistakes, for example, I tend to think that the incorrect weight training that I have done when a was a teenager, influenced my natural growth and if I had to do it right, today I would be much taller (I am only 174 cm).

      I really hope that my website will be valuable and helpful to other people around the world and I will try to develop it as much as I can.

      I wish you have a wonderful day and a lot of success in what you do!

      Ionut Voicu


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