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However eating a diet overly high in protein is a great way to limit the amount of muscle you build, especially as an ectomorph. I’ve been doing a lot of research lately into clinical studies conducted on muscle growth.
It seems like once the minimum required amount of protein is met, eating more protein on top of that has very little effect beyond the extra calories that you get from it.
Jose Antonio is the director in chief of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN)—the journal that publishes all the best muscle-building nutrition studies—believes that a very high protein diet is ideal for building muscle, and he has been doing a lot of fascinating research into very high protein diets lately. So while we do need to eat enough protein, we don’t need the bodybuilder style 1-2g protein per pound bodyweight when trying to put on muscle. In addition to this, protein is also the most filling of all the macronutrients. Eating a lot of calories while also eating a lot of protein is miserably difficult, and us ectomorphs already have enough trouble eating enough to gain weight. As you may be noticing, us ectomorphs often stumble into doing mainstream appetite control tricks for chubby people trying to be lean and muscular. Second, some of the carbohydrates we eat are stored in our muscles in the form of muscle glycogen, and it’s that glycogen that entirely fuels our weightlifting workouts (study, study).
For most ectomorphs eating enough to gain weight, 20% of your calories coming from protein works out to a little over a gram of protein per pound bodyweight – and that’s more than enough protein while still leaving plenty of room for other nutrients. This may sound counterintuitive, considering that muscle can only be synthesized out of protein, and that carbs are currently infamous for being the fat-causing macronutrient… but they actually have a ton of anabolic effects and really don’t have much risk of being converted into fat if you consume them intelligently. Opening the door to meals that are higher in carbs and just moderate in protein makes bulking a whole helluva lot more realistic. Naturally chubby guys often respond better to a diet higher in protein and fats, and these guys make up the majority.
Protein is a perfectly fine macronutrient, and you can digest over 100 grams of it in a single meal without a hitch. As you can imagine, this opens the door to eating a pretty delicious, nutritious and well balanced diet even when trying to bulk up in a hurry.
If you want to master this once and for all and gain 20-30 pounds over the next couple of months check out our full step-by-step muscle-building system for naturally skinny dudes – complete with training program, nutrition program, recipe book, exercise videos, members community and individualized coaching from us. That’s a really really interesting topic and it would take me ages to dig into it with any kind of thoroughness.
There are potentially some factually false statements and misquoted pieces of information though.
In addition my buddy also confirmed that he didn’t need as much protein as he thought even tho he is more endo.
Eating less meat is also better for the planet I think since we wouldn’t have to farm animals so much, necessitating the need for dirty and unethical factory farms. During the first week I was craving the meat a little but eventually substituted it for more starchy carbs but I never neglected veggies. Normally my body doesn’t react to pasta very well (bloated afterwards) but this time it was fine.
What I definately found about the vegan diet was that tissue recovery was a little slower than a diet with more protein. Shane DuquetteMost whole food carbs are pretty good (potatoes, yams, quinoa, fruits, beans, lentils, dairy, whole gains, oats, etc). The heavily processed stuff, like stuff made out of refined flour (pasta, pastries, etc), isn’t very nutritious, since pretty much all of the vitamins and minerals are processed out of it.
As for insulin, that DOES have a big effect on how much muscle you can build, and it very is something you’d want to be optimizing surrounding your workout! Just stumbled across this site a few days ago and being a tall ecto-mesomorph (or something like that) I find the concept of your site very intriguing.
I’m a type 1 diabetic, so consuming large amounts of carbohydrates in a single sitting becomes somewhat problematic. Yes, I realize I should talk to my doctor before making changes to my diet, blah blah, but one dude to another, do you have any thoughts on my dilemma, or is this the reason I’ve never gotten truly beastly? Everyone is a little different and having a medical issue certainly warrants adjusting the diet to suit your particular needs.
The good news is though that you don’t NEED to consume massive amounts of carbohydrates in a single sitting.
Shane DuquetteSome think that women respond better to diets with a few fewer carbs and a higher protein intake, so perhaps, yeah. I am a (french ) ectomorph, i have improved my posture and my strengh during othe last year.
Most people in the health and fitness industry advise AGAINST drinking calories, and for the most part, they’re right!
Steak, fish, and chicken are my favorite foods for mass, but they’re expensive and time-consuming to prepare.
High-volume routines will eventually have their place in your routine, but stick to the basics for now. This should be a no-brainer, but pathetically few hard gainers actually put in the necessary work to grow. As a naturally scrawny guy who had struggled with the inability to put on size for the majority of my life, I know how painful it can be to train your ass off and eat like the worlds food supply is going to disappear only to step on the scale, week after week, and realize that you have not grown at all. With that being said, I want to share 3 muscle building mistakes that were keeping me skinny. After being frustrated for so long, I started to do lots of research on how to build muscle for skinny guys.
What we must know is this…each and every workout you read about (for the more part) all work and produce amazing results. If you have been training 5 days per week for the last 4 weeks and have not seen any results, common sense would say that you aren’t training hard or long enough. When I finally packed on 27 lbs of muscle in 12 weeks, it was because I said “I want to build 21 lbs of lean mass by March 21st”. My workouts usually last only 20-30 minutes, but I rest only 30-45 seconds between each set. It is not about how much time you spend in the gym, but how you spend that time in the gym. Hi Alain I have read your book on mass in a flash and all of the info I found in it was great I just wanted to ask you one thing, you see I go to the gym four days and week then I usually play football for today’s during the week as well and since I’m an ectomorph I know I may not be resting enough, but is it ok for me to be doing this or should I not play football at all and rest and just train in the gym? About Alain GonzalezMy name is Alain Gonzalez and I am NOT a bodybuilder; however, I have managed to gain over 27 lbs of drug free muscle in record time and I am here to show you how you can as well. My goal is to help over 1 million naturally skinny guys to build muscle and achieve a physique they never thought possible. It is not necessary for you to understand the microscopic molecular details on how to build muscle, but it will be helpful for you to have a basic understanding of how the human body responds to the stresses of weight training and how the stresses of weight training cause muscles to grow.
The muscles of the body need to be placed under sustained stress in order to be stimulated to grow. As the muscles that were broken down during your weight training session go through the process of recovery, they will actually grow larger as your body uses the nutrients in your blood to repair your strained muscles and add new muscle tissue. The human body requires certain amounts of the right nutrients in order to use them to build new muscle. Most of them are funded by supplement companies who pay their bills by selling protein powders, so these companies have a huge vested interest in proving that more protein = more muscles.
Beyond that amount it hasn’t been proven that more protein results in any more muscle growth whatsoever (study, study, study, study).
If you get even just 20% of your calories from protein you’re eating 170 grams of protein. Your body expends a certain amount of energy digesting and processing nutrients, and this is dubbed the thermic effect of food (TEF).

Bulking diets become far easier when you’re getting more of your calories from carbs or fats. If you try to bulk on high protein diet you’ll probably be eating tons of meat and tons of dairy (especially whey protein powder).
Things like muesli cereal with milk, or peanut butter and banana sandwiches—these are super cheap, super healthy, super easy to prepare, quite high in calories, and the nuts, grains and dairy will still provide the minimum amount of protein per meal that you need to spike great muscle protein synthesis (20g). It may unfairly vilify certain foods, but it’s easy to understand and works pretty well for the vast majority of people.
If you were asking me how to maintain your muscle mass or lose fat my nutrition advice would be different… but we’re trying to build muscle here. It won’t strain your kidneys, stress your liver, make you ugly, lower your sperm count, or any of the other anti-protein myths you may have heard (study).
You just don’t need ludicrous amounts of it when trying to build optimal amounts of lean muscle as an ectomorph. Everyone is a little different, which is why it can be really helpful to track your results and adjust accordingly… but likely you’ll want to be getting 50% or so of those calories from dense and healthy carbohydrates—potatoes, yams, fruits, grains, rice, dairy, legumes, etc.
Thanks for bringing it up though, and this is a great place to at least expand on it a tiny bit. Many researchers believe that the most, if not all, of the information in the book has been refuted by studies that are conducted in a manner that are far more scientifically reliable (randomized controlled trials > epidemiology and correlation).
But he also trained really hard and that’s where I think training is underrated and eating right is overrated.
That being said I do love my meat but maybe we all should cut back to a few times a week and preferably from free range animals.
SunWarrior makes some pretty good stuff, and you can even get vegan creatine, BCAAs, b12 and DHA. All of those are packed full of vitamins and minerals and excellent at building up tons of lean muscle.
The calories can help though, and added into an already very nutritious diet it can certainly do the trick! I have read contradicting information about the benefits of carbs in a post workout shake in these two articles.
I liked to blame my diabetes as the reason for being skinny growing up and since come to believe that wasn’t the case, but perhaps I wasn’t too far off the mark? You’re totally right, in that you should consult your doctor before making changes to your diet. I definitely wouldn’t let something like this discourage you from accomplishing your goals.
As a frame of reference, I’ve managed to gain 20# in a year (still in the same clothes size though- go muscle!) by eating and lifting like a dude but lately have kind of stalled and my lifts are starting to plateau. Pretty lucky, as they’re the cheapest macronutrient out there, pretty quick to prepare and they taste pretty great! And about low carb athletes and their diet like developed in “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance from Volek?
The Paleo diet, like most other diets, also does some great things though: avoiding processed food, eating plenty of veggies, getting in lots of protein, etc.
Losing fat by entering into ketosis is EQUALLY as effective as losing fat by not entering into ketosis, so it’s really a matter of preference. Beer, soda, and sugary coffee drinks are terrible for everyone, and I’m certainly not saying you should drink them. Skinny guys can’t afford to waste calories on endless sets and reps, and you don’t need advanced techniques until you’ve already built your base. Running, cycling, pick-up sports – these are all fine, healthy activities, but they’re not going to help you get big.
I soon came to realize that a million different people were saying a million different things.
Problem is, every time we read something more appealing to us than the previous trend, we want to try it.
However, if we continue to question everyone’s theories based off of what we learned last week, we will never give any program an honest shot.
Problem is, muscle is actually created in the time that we are at home resting, eating, and sleeping. This will allow your body to get an adequate amount of rest in order to recover and build new muscle. For the given amount of time, simply pretend that this is the only information or strategy that exists. I do 4 sets, and all the compound exercises, i still do reps between 10-15 and 6-8, is this ok?
Just remember, more physical activity means you’ll need more calories to ensure you are in a surplus. Before I play football about 15 mins before or so should I take a pre workout shake just in case my body starts burning my muscles for energy or should I just stock up on carb before I play? I offer simple, science based, fluff free training and nutrition advice for anyone who has struggled to put on any weight in the past. More carbs and more calories means we’re able to build more muscle out of less protein. However, his studies still aren’t showing that much of a benefit despite the incredibly high protein intakes.
For chubsters this is often the express highway to fatville, but for us ectomorphs this is an incredible tool for loving a calorie-heavy diet that will have us building loads of muscle. In fact, you can build tons of extra muscle just by having carb-filled post-workout shakes without any protein in them at all, especially if they have creatine in them (study).
In order to do this we need to intelligently stimulate our muscles and increase our calorie intake. Even beefy guys will often benefit from consuming plenty of carbs within the two hours following their workouts if they’re looking to maximize muscle gain while minimizing fat gain. And maybe 30% from nutritious fats—olive oil, butter, avocados, fish oil, nuts, coconut oil, eggs, cheese, etc. Is it possible for an animal rights activist to be unbiased when it comes to animals products and health … of course. I think it’s really noble, and all the vegans I know are really kind and incredible people. The point referring to insulin counteracting growth hormone levels is an interesting one that I thought you might be able to address, as I am quite confused about which method to go with.
Nutrient timing and carb cycling are just bits of the puzzle, and not nearly as significant as the quantity and quality of what you eat overall!
Women and men both respond really favourably to lifting heavy and eating a wholesome balanced diet. Still, liquid calories are far easier to get down than solid food, making them a godsend for skinny guys.
Chock full of both protein and healthy fats, eggs are calorie dense, cheap, and easy to eat. You’re burning enough energy in training as it is, and you don’t need to be heaping more stress on your body. Skipping workouts and missing meals may be fine for the average Joe, but you’ve got to be 100 percent dedicated if you want to get big. I had soon realized that the things I THOUGHT I was doing correctly were actually the exact reasons I was stuck in the same, pathetic, 115 lbs soak and wet bony body. These are some of the same mistakes that I made before I packed on 27 lbs of lean, rock hard muscle, in just 12 short weeks.

And as if that weren’t bad enough, these million different opinions all contradicted the next.
Instead, we will continue to mix and match theories and continue to follow programs based on 10 different approaches. However, if you haven’t already found out the hard way, this can easily become a recipe for destruction.
So although common sense would drive us to want to spend more time in the gym, science proves otherwise. Train every other day instead of back to back and concentrate on big compound lifts that target more than one muscle group at a time.
Not only did this create unrealistic expectations, but there was absolutely no deadline to hold me accountable for making progress. I would keep the rests at about 40 seconds and if you are training full body, stick to big compound exercises and make sure to hit every group.
In fact it can’t build muscle, since muscle is build directly out of digested protein.
That will give you more than the required amount of protein, and any extra is muscle gravy. I have one qualm with this post, however and that’s the, excess amounts of protein have no adverse affects on health.
Your growth hormone levels will be stellar overall just from training heavy, eating well and getting plenty of quality rest anyway.
If you’re having trouble eating all the food you need to grow, try switching at least a couple of your meals to shakes. For each workout, pick a lower body movement (squat or deadlift), some type of press (bench press, military press, dips), and some type of pull (rows or pull-ups).
And I certainly know how disappointing it is to bust your ass, day in and day out, only to step on the scale or look in the mirror and realize that nothing is working. The crazy part was that everyone who was giving the information was in great shape so they must know what they’re talking about, right? The only way you are going to get the results you want is to PICK A DAMN PROGRAM and stick to it. This will help take advantage of anabolic hormones that are essential to building muscle mass quickly. Knowing that every week or so I was going to get questioned about my progress made me that much more motivated to stay on track.
Since overweight people living that lifestyle are so prevalent, this is great nutrition advice for the masses.
If our goal is rapid muscle gain we should even be eating plenty of carbs up to 48 hours after our last workout (within reason).
We’re always on guard for things that indicate that things may or may not be good for us or our goals. The trick is finding what works best but if you are a conscious human being you will wake up and put in the effort.
I hear some people have a strong preference for it though, as it’s good at eliminating cravings. Only 3% of the population wants to gain weight, so, for better or worse, we are not the masses.
Throw protein powder, milk, peanut butter, oats, and even ice cream into a blender to make delicious, easy-to-drink “meals.” These are far healthier and cheaper than weight-gain powders, and they’ll make it a lot easier to hit your daily totals. Those exercises will allow for maximum progression in minimum time, and they’ll stimulate your body to produce the most anabolic hormones. If you work a physical job, or you’re on your feet all day, you’ll just need to compensate with even more food. As ectomorphs we have higher metabolisms and naturally expend a lot of energy (often as heat). It’s amazing how many guys tell me they “eat a lot,” when they really only consume one or two meals per day!
If you’ve been skinny your whole life, then you’re going to have to accept some discomfort in order to grow. To hit the bag or do a light lift on a weak point.Aside from my testosterone boosting cocktail, I have yet to eat.
I love writing and working on ways to help you build your dream body, and construct your legendary life. I walk up the stairs to my gym, headphones on, coffee or Extreme Rush, already having been consumed.
As have my first round of BCAAs, I have my training notebook in my hand, gym bag over my shoulder. Meaning I let the rep count and the failure goal dictate the weight I choose.I hit the first exercise hard. I fail 4 times in that first set, which is great because I’ve brought my muscle to the brink 4 times. Will I quit early on a set, take it easy and look for an excuse, or will I push through?Half way through the workout I take a few more BCAAs, then continue on. I blast through the list in 24 minutes. But my body is completely broken down.One thing you want to avoid in training is to leave the gym having done too much. You want to walk out of the gym, blood still inflating your muscles.You want to break your muscle down as much as possible, in as little time as possible. Walking out of the gym without a big cortisol release, and ready to start the recovery process.This is when you have a post workout shake, and a cold shower. Which is something I do after the workout when the muscle is warm, not before (can be dangerous to stretch before a workout).Lactic Acid. The bodybuilding sets that have 2 minute rest periods, or allow for full recovery before picking up the weights again for the next set.In a workout we want to build up as much lactic acid as possible in as short a time as possible (within reason). Or we need to be doing a challenge workout like the one previously described.Lactic acid increases the acidity of the blood and as a result can cause a dramatic increase in growth hormone (GH). GH is probably the most important hormone (along with testosterone) for repairing muscle tissue and burning fat.Our workouts need to be excruciating, but short. Saturated fats (and cold showers) are one of the only ways men can naturally raise our testosterone levels. So where’s the balance?Focus the majority of your carbohydrates in your post workout shake, and post workout meal. Make these meals massive, with low fat content, high carbohydrate (fast carbs like fruits, sugars, white flour) content, and high protein content. No need to measure the macronutrients, just eat a lot.Then, eat fats with low carbs the rest of the day. It was usually a couple whole eggs, an avocado, or a grass fed beef burger paddy.============================Muscle Building for Skinny GuysFor years I trained more and more in hopes of gaining more and more muscle.
But a longer workout can completely kill your progress, keeping you skinny, weak, and frustrated.
He’s a former 9-5er turned entrepreneur, a former scrawny amateur boxer turned muscular published fitness author. Ever tried a 4 day upper lower split at 4 days a week with sprints for cardio?Great mix up for gaining lean mass.
Your biggest challenge is to mentally not quit, not take it easy, and force yourself to push through.

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