Wondering how to gain weight?
I’m about to share with you the story of my size increase. It is not typical, but definitely you can repeat it if you listen to what I say.
No absurd workout routines.
Just you, going to the gym, and actually building mass very quickly. And yes, learning this would allow these results even if you are plagued by the “skinny” gene.
Here’s the most intriguing part…
… what if you could gain this weight even if you’ve already been lifting weights for many years and have reached your so called “genetic muscular potential”?
A lot of fitness experts would say that this is impossible. The common assumption is that the only guys who can actually pack on any serious muscle mass are gym “newbies” who’s genetic muscular potential has not been activated yet. Basically guys who’d never touched a weight in their lives.
Many experts believe the above chart is “set in stone” muscle building gospel.
Obi Obadike, writer for bodybuilding.com is of this opinion:
“In my opinion, it’s rare to see a natural bodybuilder or fitness enthusiast close to their genetic muscular potential gain more than 2-3 pounds of lean muscle in a year”
And actually, I totally agree with Obi… it is “rare”.
But, although it’s “rare”… it is by no means impossible when you put yourself in the right environment!
The problem that you and most other guys are facing is that you are simply picking up the limits placed on you by guys who have never gained any serious mass.
I am not going to say that what I’ve written in this article is right or wrong. All I am going to do is make a case that while the “average” guy might not be able to do it, you can absolutely smash through the limits that a lot of these experts have placed on us. And if you are a guy who claims he is a skinny “ectomorph” and there is no hope… I am going to show you that you are absolutely wrong!
Basically much of building muscle has become far to analytical and scientific.
I really don’t give a shit if you are an ectomorph, endomorph or the coveted mesomorph… if you are doing the things that actually trigger growth, you will grow.
Many people know my personal story, I walked-on and played football for the University of Wisconsin.
You have to be invited to walk-on by a staff member. I was because I had a reference and some very good high school credentials. I was two way all-conference tight end and linebacker and all region.
On top of that, you also have to make the team. We had a large number of guys that year, so you had to actually make the team.
Yes, I was a talented player, but my desire to get “big” definitely was among the biggest reasons I made it.
Anyway, the UW training environment was literally an environment that seamed to “fly in the face” of what most experts believe about gaining weight and getting big.
The truth is that I had been lifting weights religiously from the time I was around 14.
I remember when I first got started, I would literally lay on my floor with those old 70’s plastic cover weights and do bench press the best I could. I was skinny and wanted to get HUGE!
When I got into middle school it really picked up.
I was constantly in the gym. I was obsessed. The high school football coach saw my drive and actually put me on their training routine.
I mean, an actual scheduled gym routine 4 days per week with all the basic compound lifts. It was a solid routine. We would do the standard bench, squats, shoulder press, and hang cleans. This was a gym routine that could certainly be used at any major College football program… and professional for that matter.
I know this to be fact because the one we used when I played at the UW was very similar to my one is high school.
The point is, I was no stranger to the gym by the time I was 19.
I was an “experienced” lifter.
According to the chart I should have reached my “genetic muscular potential”.
The heaviest I got in high school was around 200 lbs. I was just shy of 6’2. I was heavier than most standard charts said I should be and I was quite muscular with pretty big legs.
Stay with me if you are wondering how to gain weight… it’s about to get interesting!
So, I’m at the beginning of the summer around June 1 after I graduated high school and the day came when I would begin training at the UW strength and conditioning facility along with the rest of the team.
Right next to the stadium. It was awesome!
I remember walking in at just 184 pounds.
Remember how I said I had reached 200 pounds in high school?
Well, I had lost some weight in the spring because I ran track. About 15 pounds to be exact. I was a pretty good hurdler and made it to sectionals for both 110 meter high hurdles and 300 meter hurdles. That’s one stop before state. (I wish I had ran all four years instead of just my senior year, I’d have been much better!)
Anyway, I walked into the UW football gym and was literally just about one of the smallest guys in there!
At just 184 pounds I was only about big enough to be a corner or a receiver. I was set to play linebacker!
Now, to most people, 184 pounds is good size and actually above average at 6’2″. But, like I said, this was not your typical environment.
It was an intimidating situation to say the least.
I didn’t care though, I had my mind made up and I was going to make this team. And as I said, I was no stranger to lifting weights either. We basically were doing a lot of the lifts I had been doing in high school. I new the techniques a lot better than many guys there who were just starting out.
The supplements I started taking right away were creatine monohydrate and vitamins which were provided for players.
That’s basically it.
Keep in mind, college football is very heavily regulated so you could not get by with any banned substances. I was actually drug tested on several occasions throughout my career. Pretty much all of the players were randomly tested at least a couple times.
Back to the story…
So it’s June 1st and I’m 184 lbs at 6’2″.
Fast forward two months to August 1. (That’s just 60 days from the point I started training.)
I am now weighing 210 lbs!
That is 26 lbs in almost exactly 2 months.
Now, a lot of guys would say that I had already weighed 200 back in high school so my body was easily capable of reaching that. And also, not all 26 lbs was muscle. My body fat was right around 12 percent. I looked very muscular. I mean, I didn’t have a full six pack but the upper abs were evident.
I looked athletic and strong.
I was beginning to look “big”!
I was red-shirted my freshman year, which means I suited up and practiced, but I didn’t play games. I was in the group of players who went through an enhanced training program during the season.
Fast forward to the end of the season, around January 1.
I was now weighing around 220!
I remember the head trainers commenting on how fast I was packing on mass. One of my favorite trainers was a Russian guy named Oleg. He literally would weigh me every Monday and was very impressed with the gains I was making. He left shortly after my first year to become a trainer with the Chicago Bulls.
Let’s do some math…
June 1st to January 1st = 7 months.
I had gained 36 pounds!
Still right about 12 percent body fat, which is very respectable.
I’m not done yet.
We had a few weeks off after the season and then we began our “off-season” training program.
After off-season training and before we started spring practice beginning of April I was now weighing about 225.
Let’s do some math…
I began June 1 with the team at a weight of 184 pounds.
It was now around April 1 and I weight approx. 225.
June 1 to April 1 = 10 months
225 pounds – 184 pounds = 41 pounds of total weight gain.
That means I was gaining an average of about 4 pounds per month!
Again, I realize a lot of that gain came right at the beginning of my training, but that’s getting “nit-picky”. The truth is also that it’s a lot harder to put on weight during the season because you are literally practicing hard-core 5 days a week.
The heaviest I ever got in college was 235, and that actually came when my college career was finished.
I no longer had practice so all I did was train.
So that is my weight gain story.
Keep reading, I’m going to tell you how to basically mirror what I did and shove it in the face of all the “experts” and their “genetic muscular potential”.
Now, do you think this is a rare thing?
I mean, it is to the “average” guy who is not exposed to this level of athletics. Your average trainer and even the vast majority of “experts” have never been involved or even around anything like a major college athletic program.
It is intense to say the least.
Here’s the thing, I was not even close to the extreme case of weight gain transformation I had witnessed.
My college roommate came in at 220 pounds. Good size, right?
He was 6’8″ and an aspiring offensive tackle. Guys joked around that they were afraid they were going to “break him in half” he was so skinny! After his first full year he was now weighing 300 lbs! Not so skinny anymore! And not a guy that anyone is going to mess with. He would go on to max out at around 310 (He is the guy standing next to me to YOUR right in our senior picture above. #68.
Did he look fat?
Not even in the slightest!
He carried the weight well.
Now, weather he or I had reached our “genetic muscular potential” before we gained that weight I really have no clue. I mean, like I said, I was no stranger to the gym. I was a very seasoned lifter by the time I reached 18. Of course, I was only 18 and testosterone was coursing through my veins and I was still developing. A lot of guys will say, well, you were just at the beginning of your prime when gains are easy within that 18 to 23 mark.
I don’t buy it though.
I mean, some of it is true.
But here’s the thing…
… the reason that I do not buy it is that I have no doubt that I could do the same thing today.
I currently weigh about 220. I am pretty certain that I could go from 220 to 240 and beyond in less than 6 months and still look pretty lean. The reason I am so confident is because I have done it before. I know the formula! I have the definitive guide and trust me, it is nothing too complicated. I also don’t pay much attention to the limits that experts try to set. You need to realize that most well educated fitness industry experts are just real-life humans. And the shocking thing is that the vast majority of them are NOT guys you’d call “big”. At least not from what I’ve seen and I have been around this industry for almost two decades.
Is every doctor good?
Is every mechanic created equal?
Does every person who writes blog posts for major muscle magazines and moonlights as a personal trainer on the side actually understand how to put on mass… let alone have actually done it themselves?
Not even close!!!
Before I share with you the 5 things I credit with my mass gain allow me to share the following.
… one of the worse things that guys looking to pack on some serious mass can do is listen to a bodybuilder.
Every professional bodybuilder (I’m not talking the “natural” circuit here) is taking steroids.
You will see them eating super clean and getting huge, but if a skinny guy tries to follow there “isolation” lift routine 9 times out of 10 it backfires and the results suck. I am not saying that my routine will work for everyone… well… at least I can’t really say that. Let’s just say I am confident it will work for 99.9 percent of the “skinny” guys out there. I would imagine that you are in that group.
Were there other things I did other than these 5 when I went through my massive growth?
Sure. But these are the things that worked the best for me.
Gain Weight Get Big Insight 1:
I Was Lifting With Guys Much Bigger And Stronger Than Myself.
Call it spiritual… call it what you want… but this is the single greatest secret to putting on massive amounts of muscle in my opinion.
I attribute this to my awesome gains back in college. I was literally lifting with the biggest and strongest humans I had ever been around. Your subconscious just absorbs this environment.
It’s like, you all of the sudden believe it’s possible and even “normal”.
I’m telling you right now, if the average guy showed up on one of our lift days he would stand in awe at how big people can get.
I can’t begin to stress the importance of this for you guys who lift your asses off and yet are still scrawny as hell. You need to literally put yourself in the presence of big strong weight lifters. Guys who are actually as big as you want to get. Besides just picking up the “big-vibe”… you are going to learn things from them because they know what they are doing (in most cases).
If you are into self help you are probably familiar with the Jim Rohn quote “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”
I’ve found that this can be readily stated for the gym “you gain mass in proportion to the people you lift with”.
That is, assuming you are wonder how to gain weight and get big. I mean, if you want to stay small then it won’t matter.
It would be nice to quote a study here, but honestly I can’t really find any on this that are a really good fit. If you can hunt one down, by all means leave a comment below and share it.
It’s kinda a “intangible” thing and because of that most people avoid discussing it.
Here’s the bottom line though, I have never had more impressive gains than when I lifted along side of really big strong people. It’s like surrounding yourself with successful people, you start to think bigger. It’s on a subconscious level. For example, if you are anything like the average guy you go to the gym and do your routine. 80 percent of the guys there are not actually serious about making mass gains. They just show up for the social benefit of it.
Also, the vast majority of the guys are not big and strong.
They might be tall, but not big. You know what I mean?
I’m just stating a fact here. Each gym is different, but for the most part, your average public gym is like this.
Gain Weight Get Big Insight 2:
The Body Lies. I Would Eat Until Full… And Then Eat More!
Think back to a recent time when you just were not hungry.
If I’m not feeling good I get this way.
I’m sure you can relate?
I mean, I could go to the gym and go through the whole day and just not be hungry.
Does this actually mean that my body does not need food?
My thinking is stupid simple here, your body always needs nutrition and it simply needs more of it if you are training. This is obviously a given so I assume that even if I am not hungry, it doesn’t mean that I can’t eat. My general rule of thumb is you need to be lifting hard enough so that you can get away with a diet that is not “too damn clean“.
Is clean eating important?
You better believe it.
But I see so many guys getting themselves in trouble trying to be too clean. Throw out the calorie counter. Stop freaking out if you eat a piece of pizza. In fact, throw a couple slices in your mouth. Just eat.
Eat a good healthy diet, but remember, your goal is to train hard enough to make up for a not so super clean diet.
This is the epitome of what I was doing back when I was playing.
Especially during that first year when gaining weight was imperative.
Literally, had I not gained that weight I would most likely have not made the team. It was an impressive thing. I actually had the coach who invited me to walk-on tell me that the progress I was making was fantastic. In other words, it caught his eye.
I know for a fact I would not have made camp that first year had I not gained all that weight.
I made it, when a lot of guys did not.
You need to stop listening to the average fitness blogger who has 7 percent body fat. Many of these guys weigh less than 160 lbs soaking wet!
I recently was having a beer next to a young guy who was talking about his upcoming fitness competition.
Really nice guy and we got to talking about fitness.
He remarked how when he cuts down nobody can beat him because he gets so ripped. I didn’t say it out loud because I didn’t want to come across as being disrespectful, but in my mind I was like “dude, you weigh about 150 lbs”… getting ripped at that weight is not a big deal!”
Don’t get me wrong.
It does, of course, take work and is a great accomplishment to keep your body in shape.
There is nothing wrong with being 150 lbs. But you are not training to be a fitness model. You are training to gain weight and get big. 150 pounds is probably not your goal! When you come across a big guy who is also very muscular and ripped… pay attention.
If you are listening to guys that are 150 soaking wet, you are probably setting yourself up for failure.
Gain Weight Get Big Insight 3:
I Was Supplementing With Good Ol’ Creatine Monohydrate.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, creatine is hands-down the best muscle mass building supplement I’ve ever taken.
I wrote a very popular article on creatine monohydrate here.
Here’s how serious I am…
… if I had a gun to my head and had to make a choice, I would throw all of my whey protein powder in the trash and take only pure “old school” creatine monohydrate.
And this is saying a lot because of my immense respect for whey!
Creatine monohydrate is really cheap too.
People get very confused with creatine. What most don’t realize is that your body has natural circulating levels of this amazing substance. You get it from the food you eat. That’s why meat eaters naturally have higher levels than vegetarians.
I mean, this has actually been studied feel free to Google it.
For the purpose of this article I’m not going to go into all of the studies… I’ve already done that in my article called “How Creatine Monohydrate Actually Amplifies Results.”
What you need to know is that the amount of creatine circulating in your blood is directly correlated to muscle mass size.
The purpose of one study published in The Medicine and Science Journal was specifically designed to test the increases in muscle fiber sizes of those supplementing with creatine vs. those who were not.
The results were as follows…
“After 12 wk, significant (P < or = 0.05) increases in body mass and fat-free mass were greater in creatine (6.3% and 6.3%, respectively) than placebo (3.6% and 3.1%, respectively) subjects” [that is approximately twice the increase in size of mass!] … … “Compared with placebo subjects, creatine subjects demonstrated significantly greater increases in Type I (35% vs 11%), IIA (36% vs 15%), and IIAB (35% vs 6%) muscle fiber cross-sectional areas.” [the respective muscle fiber growth was astounding!] – bold bracketted text was added by me
What you really want to pay close attention to is the dramatic impact creatine supplementation had on Type II muscle fibers.
That is where the major growth potential is! – (I will talk Type II muscle fibers below).
Bottom line… the results that I have personally had with supplementing with plain old boring creatine monohydrate have basically mirrored the study. I was taking this supplement alone back when I had my massive gains when I was playing ball at the UW.
That was it. Just creatine and multi-vitamins.
I have tested the results of supplementing with creatine since then. I am now over 30 years old and the impact of supplementing with creatine monohydrate is still the same for me.
When I take it, I gain weight and build mass far easier.
It is a major muscle mass builder!
And no, I do NOT do the standard loading face anymore.
A typical load calls for 20 grams per day or so for five days. This is ridiculous to me. I have had extremely great results just doing 2 grams or less after my workout. It takes longer for the results to kick in, but by the end of the first month you will have built it up in your system and the results will begin to show.
I have found that you do not need the loading phase so don’t buy into the b.s. that you read online telling you that you do.
Gain Weight Get Big Insight 4:
We Were Lifting To Activate “Fast-Twitch” Muscle Fibers.
You have two types of muscle fibers: slow twitch and fast twitch.
Slow twitch = Type I.
Fast twitch = Type II.
Fast twitch muscle fibers are more powerful and provide greater growth potential.
Slow twitch fibers are dense and are the first to be activated when you are lifting. They are less powerful but fatigue slower.
Most guys don’t lift heavy enough or intense enough to trigger their fast twitch muscle fibers and this becomes a problem because fast twitch fibers offer much greater mass potential.
So, how do you activate these bad boys and force them to grow?
You need to get a quick education in the difference between compound and isolation exercises.
Common Compound Exercises:
- Dead lift
- Hang clean
- Overhead press
Common Isolation Exercises:
- Lateral raise
- Leg extensions
- Leg curls
- Preacher curls
Most guys go to the gym and waste half of their time (and more importantly, ENERGY) doing isolation exercises. They typically do this because they have been brainwashed by reading muscle magazines and copying the routines of pro-bodybuilders.
Your goal is one thing and one thing only, trigger fast twitch muscle fibers.
Listen. Hark unto me.
If you are wondering how to gain weight and get big then take your pen and cross off every single isolation lift that you are doing from your weekly lifting routine.
You will now place your complete and total focus on only compound lifting and waste no extra precious energy on isolation lifts. You do not need arm curls.
Back when I was training for football at the UW and I made that amazing 41 pound in 10 month mass gain we did not do one isolation exercise!
No leg extensions!
No leg curls!
No lateral raises!
I take that back, we actually would throw in a set of bar bicep curls at the end of our leg day lifts. AT THE END!
Compound lifting triggers massive growth.
Especially Olympic lifts like hang cleans.
Now, there are a lot of different ways to go about this and lots of different opinions, but what works for me is dropping my rep range down under 6 reps per set. I examine the benefits of high vs. low rep range here.
I know you are probably used to doing 10 to 12 reps.
The issue becomes that in order to knock out 12 reps you need to use a much lighter weight than if you are only doing 6 reps or less. As a result, your fast twitch fibers do not hardly activate unless you are using a weight that forces you to really strain on that last couple of reps. The common thought is that a fast, explosive rep would be better at stimulating fast twitch fibers. This is not the case though. According to Henneman’s Size Principle:
Under load, motor units are recruited from smallest to largest. In practice, this means that slow-twitch, low-force, fatigue-resistant muscle fibers are activated before fast-twitch, high-force, less fatigue-resistant muscle fibers.
Anyway, one of the most beneficial things the training staff did was constantly increase how heavy our weights were each week.
There were on average 3 to 4 trainers standing by during each lifting session. On the last set they would stand there and watch every single guy. When the set was done they would take our card (we all had lifting cards for each day of the week to track the weights we used for each exercise) and add weight based on how easy that last set was performed.
For instance, if I was doing a set of 6 and I did my 6th rep of bench on my last set very easily and the weight was 275… he could add +15 to the card and next week that last set would be 290… and all the other sets would be heavier too!
He could easily add +20, +30, +10… whatever… it was a judgement call and it really ensured that those last reps were not easy.
The point is, they made us work.
Most guys just don’t push themselves.
Every set is basically easy and you significantly rob yourself of size when you do that.
You want to focus on heavy compound lifts.
I don’t give a shit if you go to the gym and spend your whole leg day knocking out 6 sets of 4 reps squats. In my book, you just had an awesome workout that is going to trigger some massive growth hormone.
Why waste your energy doing stupid shit like leg curls?!
Gain Weight Get Big Insight 5:
We Had Insanely Intense Cardio Sessions!
Again, this has a lot to do with triggering fast twitch muscle fibers.
Sprinting requires massive amounts of muscle power to move your muscles at a fast pace. It’s a fast twitch exercise.
The other benefit is that it triggers an insane amount of growth hormone.
You can basically think of walking and jogging as the same exercise done at different speeds. They are totally identical, the only difference is the intensity exerted.
The reason I point this out is simple, the magic happens at higher intensities.
The muscle growth potential that sprinting offers is insane. Basically, there is a reason why sprinters get so ripped and much of it has to do with HGH (human growth hormone). I’m convinced that one of the main reasons I was able to gain that 41 pounds over the course of a year, without getting fat, is because of the amount of high intensity cardio drills we were doing.
To give you an idea of how powerful this can be take a look at an older study published in the Journal of Sports Science. The study compared cycle sprinting and it’s impact on the trigger of HGH. One group cycle sprinted for 6 seconds and another for 30 seconds and found that the highest measured mean serum hGH concentrations after the 30 s sprint were more than 450% greater than after the 6 s sprint.
HGH is basically your bodies natural steroid.
The more you can trigger it, the better your gains.
You can certainly overdo the sprinting sessions. For me one intense bout of about five 30 second sprints is plenty per week. I sprint and rest for a couple minutes and then sprint again.
Our cardio sessions when I was training a the UW were insane.
I always looked forward to (and dreaded) the days we would run stadium stairs after our insane leg workouts!
We would literally come into the gym and do our leg workout. There were over 100 guys on the team so workout sessions were split into like 5 sessions, 20 guys each, staggered throughout the day.
In the afternoon the whole team would meat back at the stadium to run the upper deck stadium stairs!
Our stadium held over 80 thousand fans (more today) and the upper deck was at about a 60 degree incline. Steep as hell!
There were no less than 20 sections on that upper deck and by the time you reached the top your legs were on fire! I really felt for the 300 lb linemen!
Anyway, these would be timed and the head training coach (great guy and total drill Sargent) would blow his whistle and the first group would go. Then when we reached the top the second group would go. In the meantime the first group had to jog down to the other end of the upper deck (a full football filed length away – 100 yards) and then when all the groups were done running the other side, the head trainer would run down and blow the whistle and we would start again!
We would go through that about 6 times.
The following week would be 7.
We would work our way up to like 10 by the end of the summer.
It was insane! You can imagine how hard it was after we had all had our legs worked to the core during our squatting and other leg lifts just a couple hours before!
The point is that we did insane cardio sessions.
They will really trigger growth, just don’t be doing this every day!
Gain Weight Get Big Insight 6:
We Took Our Weights Every Monday.
One of the single greatest detriments to your psyche is not feeling like your making progress.
If you go for a long period of time and don’t physically see results, well, it begins to erode your motivation. Going to the gym is not as fun anymore. What’s the point if you are not getting what you want?
I realize all the “you rah rah” b.s. about how you just keep your chin up and keep going, but if you don’t see any mass gains for weeks and weeks on end, eventually you are going to throw in the towel… or just become indifferent.
But image if you saw the scale going up weekly?
It can certainly happen.
Like I said, I showed up that first day of training on June 1 at 184 pounds.
10 months later I was 225.
That is 41 pounds in about 10 months.
4 pounds per month on average!
Realistically, it was more like 8 to 10 pounds per month those first few month until I reached my desired playing weight!
This is motivating as hell and one of the major reasons I made the UW Football team.
The training staff would literally take out weight every Monday before we lifted. I loved walking up to the scale and stepping on and actually seeing the weight increase from the previous week.
I used to actually drink a huge cup of water or something before I stepped on the scale on mornings that I didn’t think I gained much. I would weigh myself before the trainers actually were there just to see what my weight would be. If I didn’t make any gain from the previous Monday, I would drink a couple 24 ounce cups of water or sports drink.
Listen, I don’t recommend doing this by any means!
Looking back, I would not have done it, but I was obsessed. I can totally relate to you if you are a skinny guy who is desperate as hell to get big.
The point is that weight gain comes over time. Some weeks are quicker than others. But it comes!
Seeing the scale show I had gained kept me moving forward and my motivation insanely high.
I gained 41 pounds in 10 months.
That is about 4 pounds every month.
If you want to absolutely defy logic then follow the steps that I have laid out here. I do not claim that I am smarter than other people out there trying to help skinny guys pack on serious mass. However, I have seen things that your average trainer and fitness expert have not.
Size increases that are unimaginable.
I was fortunate enough to play Division I college football for the University of Wisconsin. If I had not been able to gain weight like this, I never would have made the team.
So that’s my story.
If you are wondering how to gain weight and get big, I dare you to follow the 6 insights I’ve laid out here.
Post your questions and comments below. The quickest way to get in touch with me is to simply book a paid coaching session by clicking the tab at the top of this page. I do answer emails, but I am very busy and have to get to my paying customers first.