The Top Ways to Gain Muscle As a Skinny Guy

Skinny nerd in retro workout gear struggling to lift a barbell

There’s no question that gaining muscle is hard ⁠— no matter your body type. It’s a testament to hard work and dedication whenever you see that one guy at the gym who’s spent years shaping his body into what it is today.

These guys have worked hard, and their muscle mass shows their results very clearly. It’s like a sort of history book of their achievement. Not everyone is built equally ⁠— to start, at least. And because of this, there’s no doubt that it’s hard to begin building muscle and increasing your weight gain as a skinny guy.

It’s easy to say skinny guys have it rough. Whether you’re underweight and have to figure out how to gain weight as an underweight guy, or you’re just skinnier than everybody else at the gym, this can be extremely demotivating.

At least, it can be demotivating at the beginning. Hear me out, though. There’s no chance you should slack or give in to the belief that you’re unable to gain weight and muscles as a skinny guy. That’s just a lie, and there are skinny guys everywhere who can tell you this.

It might not feel like it right now, but you’re just as able to gain muscle as a skinny guy as anybody else in the gym, and these top ways to gain muscle as a skinny guy are just the icing on the (protein) cake to help you unlock your true potential.

You’re Not Alone

You are not alone. That’s the first thing you need to realize before even checking out these tips and secrets to help you gain muscle and weight. Strength training can be difficult, sure. Healthy eating can be difficult ⁠— that’s true, too.

Nobody is pretending that this will be easy. And nobody is pretending that exercise is something that has an effect overnight.

No doubt you can build yourself up and gain muscle as a skinny guy, just like anyone else. There are thousands ⁠— no, hundreds of thousands ⁠— of skinny guys who’ve been able to achieve incredible results just by following some easy to stick to tips. And, of course, by staying motivated and dedicated by working out and never stopping until they find the success they want. Please continue reading for our tips to get the physique you deserve! 

slim man and muscular man standing side by side, shirtless

The Top Ways to Gain Muscle As a Skinny Guy

1. Stop Worrying About Being Skinny

Okay, here’s one thing you must do before you can even start gaining muscle. You have to stop worrying about being skinny and convince yourself that you’ll be able to work through this.

There’s nothing more demotivating than believing that you cannot make changes to your own body. The science of motivation is the game’s name for gaining muscle as a skinny guy.

Motivation is important no matter what you’re trying to achieve ⁠— in some cases, you have to use more motivation than in others. Protein intake is important for a skinny guy ⁠— but how do you convince yourself to follow through with changing your diet?

Motivation. Motivation. Motivation. (If we say it enough, maybe it’ll manifest, right?)

Bodyweight exercises are key to gaining weight as a skinny guy ⁠— that’s true too. Minimizing weight loss is another important part of this. But what enables you to accomplish both of these things?

Motivation. Determination. Will Power, baby!

And here’s the kicker ⁠— you can’t be motivated if you don’t believe you’ll be able to succeed. So drop the attitude of constant worry about being skinny and get to work! You don’t need a personal trainer (although we’re not against them!). You need to focus on muscle building and bodybuilding; to do this, you need to be motivated.

2. Follow Workout Routines for Mass Gains

Now that you’ve got that bit of self-sabotage out of the way, it’s time to start working out. To do this, though, you can’t just focus on any general workouts without considering what exercises will maximize your muscle weight the quickest.

So what’s the ideal workout routine for you? What do you need to focus on to quickly improve your body weight with the largest lean muscle mass?

Without question, building muscle is all about strength training. Rather than focusing on cardio or endurance workouts, you will want to swap these exercises out for pure strength training and muscle gain. As a skinny guy, you’ve more than likely been blessed with higher endurance than other body types ⁠— and even if not, strength training will still be your go-to workout routine.

Usually, strength training exercises are related to weight lifting, calisthenics, and other workouts that maximize your muscle gain while reducing the amount of cardio and endurance training you participate in.

You can focus on those aspects later if you want. It is about building muscle as a skinny guy, and there’s nothing better for this than maximizing your strength training.

Beyond this, you can focus on compound lifts if you want to maximize that “bigness” that strength training is famous for. Bench pressing, squats, deadlifts ⁠— you get the gist. You want to ensure you include these in your workout routine if you’re going to have a remote chance of success. 

Let’s say, though, that you’re not done there. You don’t want to stop at that. You’re way too damn motivated for that! What else do you add to your schedule to improve even further?

Serious sportsman doing calisthenics exercise on floor

3. Add More Protein to Your Diet

Adding more protein to your diet ⁠— whether it’s eating meat for people with diets that include that or soy for vegans ⁠— will be crucial in developing and increasing your muscle fiber. Muscle building requires a lot of protein. It is because building muscle largely includes protein synthesis, meaning that you will have to constantly consume protein to supplement your muscle gain.

Overall, this means you need to eat protein-heavy foods. Red meat is a fantastic example of this ⁠— and probably the best food you can add to your diet. Lean red meat contains an insane amount of protein, meaning that using this to supplement your diet is an easy way to start seeing that progress in building muscle.

Beyond this, you can eat eggs, chicken, soy, nuts, and other protein-heavy foods to maximize your muscle gain while keeping your healthy eating to a maximum.

If you want to get serious, you can even consider adding a protein shake to your dietary supplements when you feel like you’re not consuming enough protein. It can go the extra mile in providing the required amount of protein to your diet and helping you achieve your desired success.

4. Eat Lots of Clean Foods

You don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you that eating foods with tons of preservatives, pesticides, and other largely unhealthy aspects isn’t going to be beneficial when it comes to increasing your muscle mass as a skinny guy. You need to eat tons of calories per day if you’re focusing on building up your size, but these absolutely cannot come from unhealthy foods.

Because of this, ensure the foods you eat are clean, packed with vitamins and minerals, and every other healthy part of the food you can imagine.

Don’t skimp on your food if at all possible, either. Say, for example, that you’re on a tight budget. Rather than skimping on the required amount of food, look toward other cheaper options that can accomplish the same dietary requirements you have for successfully gaining muscle as a skinny guy.

You get the idea: egg whites, whey protein, fish oil, flax seeds. You can get creative and stay successful at building muscle without breaking the bank. Frozen veggies are another win by being full of nutrients for a fraction of the cost of fresh produce! 

Ultimately, though, eating lots of clean foods will be a crucial part of improving your muscle gain as a skinny guy. You can’t just expect this to improve when you’re not focusing on yourself and improving every part of yourself that you’re capable of improving. Your dream body is made 20% in the gym and 80% in the kitchen, so don’t slack in the food department!

Also, don’t eat fast food. Instead, start making healthy, protein and calorie-heavy meals at home. Do this, and you’ll soon find that instead of struggling to gain weight and muscle mass, you’ll be bulking up your muscle weight and building that sweet lean muscle mass all the dudes at the gym are constantly talking about.

An arrangement of healthy, clean foods like vegetables, salmon, yogurt, eggs, legumes, and hearty bread

5. Eat Carbs After Working Out

So what’s the reason behind eating carbs after working out? Well, you want to gain muscle ⁠— don’t you? Interestingly enough, this little trick can help your body with muscle growth and give you the much-needed assistance you need as a skinny guy.

Eating carbs after working out spikes your body’s natural insulin levels, helping your body to build up muscles on your days off.

It might take a bit of research to get the number of carbs right, but this is a sick way to help your body with its natural production of healthy muscle mass. Plus, carbs (sweet potatoes, whole-wheat bread, beans, etc.) are delicious. No argument there. 

6. Challenge Yourself When You Work Out

If you’re struggling with motivation while lifting, one of the biggest things you can do is to challenge yourself when you work out. Make yourself a goal ⁠— an achievable one (or maybe not, depending on your style) but a goal you can work toward every time you get to the gym.

It is a surefire way to ensure that you’re putting your all into working out ⁠— and this is especially helpful if you’re a naturally competitive guy. If you like competing, you can challenge yourself (or one of your workout buddies) to a competition. See who can achieve their goal faster!

If you’re competing against yourself, turn it into a fun game. Bet that you won’t achieve so-and-so lifting amount by day, and then go for it head-on! It is one of the many ways to increase your motivation, and you shouldn’t underestimate it. Just think of the burger-with-everything-imaginable-on-it reward to yourself for achieving it!

The male human body needs a challenge to grow. And soon, you’ll find your body able to take on challenges that would have you quaking in your boots a few months back.

At this point, you’ll feel that sense of pride that doubtlessly will propel you forward to the next level.

One young man spotting another while he lifts weights at a gym

7. Drink Plenty of Water

Yeah, but if we didn’t say it, you’d never think to include it. Understanding how much water you need to drink per day ⁠— and then actually drinking it ⁠— is an absolute must to take your body to the next level.

Remember ⁠— your body is largely composed of water. Muscles are heavily water-based compositions and can benefit largely from increased consumption of healthy water.

Please don’t overdo it. Take it from us ⁠— it’s possible to drink too much water. Truly, it is. Because of this, ensure you’re drinking a reasonable amount, and you should see incredibly positive effects.

So, drink water! Far too many people struggle with drinking plenty of water, so start calculating how much water you need to drink and then make that a daily goal. Even water bottles have time signals for how much of the bottle you need to drink by a certain hour in the day—stupid simple. 

8. Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting plenty of sleep is another way to assist your body in building muscle mass as a skinny guy. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll suffer from a lack of motivation, clarity, and drive that will easily stop your body in its tracks.

Your metabolism works around the clock ⁠— so if you eat before bed, your body will work on your success throughout the night.

Despite popular belief, sleeping doesn’t mean you’ve stopped working. Instead, it means that you’re following a well-rounded schedule and giving your body rest ⁠— the reward it needs after a hard work day.

cute young man sleeping in bed

9. Don’t Quit

This one will be short, simple, and sweet (ish). Don’t quit. Whatever you do, stick to your guns and focus until you achieve what you want.

It’s easy for people to give up when they don’t succeed ⁠— us included. Discipline and motivation are key success factors. These are probably the most important factors of success. So don’t let yourself quit.

Keep on keeping on, even when you don’t want to. You’ll thank yourself (and us) later. 

10. Develop and Stick to a Schedule

Working out isn’t just about your workout techniques, what you eat, and your muscle gain. If you want to get serious about muscle building, you must also develop and stick to a schedule.

It’s important to research what parts of your body you want to focus on and then focus on a specific muscle group daily while giving your body several days between working out to rest and recover. This way, you can maximize muscle growth while ensuring that your body fat percentage remains low. Skinny guys usually have a fantastic ability to increase their lean muscle mass while remaining reasonably unhealthy in their eating (and by this, I mean they can eat a lot). It is because a skinny person usually has a higher metabolic rate when compared to someone who isn’t usually skinnier.

You don’t have any excuse to slack off and not develop a schedule. We don’t care if it’s easier for you to slack off and still stick to the progress you’ve made than for other people. It is about discipline and motivation; if you don’t have either of those things, you won’t see progress.


So don’t let your guard down even if you see success. Make a schedule and stick to it, and don’t deviate from that schedule.

It’s your job to focus on your improvement ⁠— and if this means making a schedule for eating, working out, and every other aspect of your life, then do it. In the wise words of Shia LeBeouf and Nike, just do it. 

Workout schedule sheet and dumbbell on white background

Sit Back and Watch the Progress

If you’re motivated and you’ve begun following even a portion of these tips, you will succeed. Nothing will stop you from gaining an incredible amount of lean muscle and showing off your muscle growth as the weeks go by.

You might be a skinny guy right now, but all it takes is following these methods and tips, and you can go from that to a bodybuilder, confident in yourself and able to build muscle like anybody else.

These are the top ways to gain muscle as a skinny guy, and the biggest gift you can give yourself is to follow through with these.

Do this, and you won’t be the “skinny guy” on the block much longer. It is the power of your strength, and it will carry you through every workout you’re doing until you have no choice but to succeed.

We know you’ve got this. We believe in you!

Was this article helpful?