Today’s article is for the ectomorphs (aka skinny guys) in the audience.

Specifically, it’s for those guys who want to look a little less like Michael Cera and a little more like 1970s bodybuilding legend Frank Zane….or maybe somewhere in between.

  • And I’m here to tell you that it can be done.
  • It isn’t going to be easy…but it can be done.

frank zane beardmichael cera


So, let’s get started…

First off, let’s discuss why you are so darn skinny in the first place.

Answer: Genetics + Lifestyle


When it comes to your genetics, you’re kind of stuck.

There is nothing we can do about your genetic inheritance….unless you are willing to submit to some freaky stem cell operation being performed by former East German scientists.

So, let’s just drop the subject of genetics and move onto lifestyle.


Ectomorphs never like hearing this, but when it comes to “bulking up”….success depends entirely on:

  1. stimulating muscle growth &
  2. eating like a pig.

That’s it……That’s the big secret.

So, why is it that every single skinny client that I have ever had has sworn that they:

  1. work out harder than anyone in their gym &
  2. eat like a pig.

…and they still can’t gain any muscle.

The Answer?

They lie to themselves.

Like most of my obese clients, they think that they are doing all of the right things.

But, after a week or two of tracking their workouts & their food intake, it becomes clear that they need to:

  1. stop doing so many cardio workouts, bicep curls, crunches &
  2. start eating like a pig

Let’s start with the workouts

Start with this mass building program.

Now, on to the food

First off…we determine how many calories you need to eat per day.

Start by determining your Lean Body Mass.

  • Hop onto a bathroom scale that measures body-fat percentage along with your weight.
  • Record both numbers
  • Multiply your weight by your BF % (150 lbs. x 9% = 13.5 lbs.)
  • 13.5 is your body-fat in lbs.
  • Subtract your body-fat weight from your total weight (150 – 13.5 = 136.5 lbs.)
  • 136.5 is your Lean Body Mass

Now, if your body-fat % is 10% or lower

  • Multiply your LBM by 17 to calculate your Maintenance Calories
  • Using our example, our test-skinny would need to eat (136.5 x 17) 2320.5 calories every day just to maintain their current level of buffness.

If your body-fat % is between 10% – 15%

  • Multiply your LBM by 16 to calculate your Maintenance Calories

If your body-fat % is between 15% – 18%

  • Multiply your LBM by 15 to calculate your Maintenance Calories

If your body-fat % is between 18% – 21%

  • Multiply your LBM by 14 to calculate your Maintenance Calories

If your body-fat % is above 21%

  • Multiply your LBM by 13 to calculate your Maintenance Calories

And now that you have determined your Maintenance Caloric Needs, if you want to gain muscle, you need to take it up a notch.

I recommend increasing  your daily caloric intake by between 500 – 1000 calories.

That would mean that our test-skinny would need to eat between 2820.5 – 3320.5 calories per day.

And that’s a lot of food.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Commit to a minimum of 2 weeks of non-stop big eating
  • Set an alarm to remind you to eat at least 5 meals per day
  • Write everything down – a food log is essential
  • Chug a minimum of 2 meal replacement shakes per day – Muscle Milk & Monster Milk are 2 of my favorites
  • Carry high calorie snacks with you everywhere – nuts, seeds, granola
  • Post workout – drink a shake & eat additional carbs (fruit for the Paleos & grains {bread, rice} for everybody else)
  • Eat a protein/carb meal right before bed – meal replacement shake, cottage cheese, meat & potatoes, ham sandwich, etc…
  • And always, always, always…make sure you hit your caloric target

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