The Beginner’s Guide to Building Muscle and Strength: Top 10 Tips

Being naturally skinny is great: You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. However, if you want to build muscles and strength, you might experience some trouble. Luckily, no matter your body type, these tips will definitely bring results.

#1. Get Ready to Lift Heavy

If you want to build muscle and strength, prepare to lift heavy. Sure, body weight exercises are great for keeping muscles you already have and losing weight, but they will not make you grow big muscles. This means you’ll need access to a gym with a good weight section. Think squat rack, barbells, dumbbells and a bench. Having access to a pull up, chin up and dip area is also a great thing that will make your workouts very effective.

#2. Don’t be Scared to Challenge Yourself

Don’t be discouraged on your first day at the gym. You will probably see guys (and girls) that lift your maximum as an easy warm-up, but that should not faze you. When you start, your max might be 95 pounds on the bench press, but as you go, it will rise and rise. Find something that will motivate you (reaching 135 on the bench press, for instance) and push yourself every day. Once you reach your goal, your motivation will skyrocket!

#3. Don’t Neglect Compound Lifts

The most basic lifts are often the best, especially for skinny beginners, so don’t try to reinvent the wheel. If you’re a gym noob, almost any exercise will be a challenge big enough to increase protein synthesis, but as you progress, your safest bet is to concentrate on large muscle groups (chest, back and legs) that make quickest results. Think exercises like bench presses, squats, rows, pull ups, dips and deadlifts.

#4. Don’t Work Out Every Day

If you want fast results, it might be tempting to hit the gym every day. However, challenging full-body weight workouts can boost your protein synthesis for up to 2 days. So, you can easily have a full day of rest between your workouts. The truth is that your muscles grow and get toned when you rest, not when you’re pumping iron, so don’t neglect your rest days.

#5. Have a Pre- and Post-workout Shake

Lifters who have a shake (especially the type that contains amino acids and carbs) before they hit the weights experience an increase in protein synthesis and build muscles easier. And don’t forget about your post-workout drink. Drinks that contain slow-absorbing casein protein are a good choice. Mix it with water and drink after a workout or before bed. It’s great for building lean and strong muscle.

#6. Eat Like a Beast, but Eat Clean

This is one of the most important things for building muscles and strength. You have to eat a lot, but that doesn’t mean you can have McDonald’s for every meal and munch on candy or chips for snacks. It’s safe to assume you don’t want to get fat, but muscular and strong. So, think more in terms of clean protein like eggs, whey protein, chicken, turkey, tuna and veggies. Experts recommend eating 1, 5 grams of protein for every pound of your weight and 2, 5 grams of carbs. And don’t forget healthy fats! You can find these in fatty fish, fish oil, flaxseeds and other foods.

#7. Eat Often

Eating only one or two meals a day can seriously limit the rate at which your body builds new muscles. The best and easiest recipe is to take your daily calorie intake and divide it by six—that’s the best number of meals you should have every day. Make sure to have some protein every three hours (around 20 grams is a good starting point).

#8. Treat Yourself to Some Ice Cream

Ice cream for muscle growth? Yes, sir! A bowl of any kind of ice cream two hours after your weight training is one of the best things you can do for your progress. This tasty snack triggers insulin production better than almost any other food and it will prevent post-workout protein breakdown. Plus, ice cream is everyone’s fave dessert that will bring a smile to your tired face after gym.

#9. Drink a Lot of Water

This tip is not as fun as the previous one, but you must learn to drink plenty of water. After all, your muscles are 70% water, so it makes sense to keep hydrated if you want big and strong muscles. A gallon of water a day will be enough even if you sweat a lot in the gym.

#10. Join the Community

In order to keep good track of your workout and get some new tips for big guys, you can join a community of lifters. Sites like BodySpace are full of great people who will help you stay motivated and offer amazing advice.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a skinny guy, your journey will not be easy. However, no matter your body type, it’s more than possible to build big muscles and end up strong and hot. With these tips and some discipline, your goals will be just around the corner!

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