Almost all skinny guys who are looking to gain mass as fast as possible have two fears in common: fear of not gaining mass at all and fear of gaining mass that’s primarily fat tissue. One thing is for sure – ectomorphs have to eat way more than what they’re used to in order to make decent mass gains because no amount of effort in the gym can lead to great results if it’s not paired with an adequate diet plan.
Unfortunately, for some bodybuilders, the bulking season symbolizes a free pass to eat as much junk food as they want, so it’s not very surprising that the end result of this practice is new layers of fat covering their hard-trained muscles. Although ectomorphs have a naturally lean built and tend to accumulate less fat than most people, this can also happen to them if they don’t make sure to eat clean.
So here are a few tips for successful bulking for the skinny bodybuilder:
#1. A high calorie clean diet
You want to get the majority of your daily calories from high quality foods such as lean meats, fatty fish, eggs, dairy products, whole grain breads, pasta, rice, potatoes and nutrient-dense vegetables. You will certainly need a high calorie diet to encourage optimal muscle repair and growth, but you need to focus on providing your body with the best quality nutrients instead of empty calories, and you can benefit the most from a diet that is high in protein and carbs and moderate in fat.
That being said, to make sure that your weight gain will primarily be muscle, choose slow-digesting carbs. While succumbing to your cravings for foods like pizza and doughnuts on rare occasions won’t kill your gains, it’s best to avoid it as much as possible. Your body is your temple and you can’t expect great results if you fill it with trash.
#2. Less cardio
For the ectomorphs struggling to bulk up and build a more muscular physique, cardio can be the worst enemy.
In general, hardgainers need little or no cardio to maintain a lean appearance since they’re very lean to begin with but also because cardio can enhance their metabolism even further and prevent them from putting on mass. Even if you belong to the group of skinny-fat ectomorphs and would like to lose some fat, the best fat loss results usually come from making better nutritional choices, not countless hours of cardio. So while you’re at this phase of your bodybuilding process, forget about cardio and focus on your weight training and diet.
#3. Avoid overtraining
Generally speaking, the ability for systemic recovery seems to be more limited in thin people than most others – and that’s bad news if you train regularly without giving your body enough time to rest and recover between sessions. Naturally, this makes overtraining more common in skinny guys than in other body types, which is an issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
How often have you met skinny bodybuilders who have been passionately training four or five times a week for months and still have nothing to show for it? Too much exercise and too little rest can harm your recovery ability even further and your progress will stall. The best way to overcome this obstacle is by making sure you eat at least six high calorie meals per day, sleep a minimum of 7 hours every night and take 24-48 hours off the gym between two strenuous workouts. As simple as it sounds, that’s your best ticket to the physique of your dreams.
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Being a hardgainer sucks and we know it. Week after week, while every other bodybuilder at the gym seems to be making visible progress, you’re left with no real meat on your bones, despite all of your hard work. But there’s a lot that you can do to improve your performance and results: start by breaking up with cardio, getting your diet in check and allowing your body plenty of rest.