Learn How To Gain Muscle If You’re Skinny

Learn how to gain muscle if you're skinny

Looking for a full Workout & Diet Plan to follow? If you’re a skinny guy wanting to be muscular; having a difficult time eating enough food, making strength gains, and building muscle size I recommend learning more about the Gain The Muscle Program here

Kinobody welcomes guest author, Trent McCloskey who, despite always struggling to gain muscle and strength, took his physique to astonishing heights while staying chiseled to the bone!

Currently, he is running his own site and YouTube Channel and I wanted him to share some of his insights on how to gain muscle if you’re skinny with you today.

Hope you enjoy it…


Learning how to gain muscle shouldn’t be complicated for skinny guys. If you’re ready to build a strong and muscular body you’re proud of faster than you ever thought possible, make sure you’re getting these things right…

I get it, being skinny sucks. I had more than enough reasons to start hitting the weights. And I’m sure you do too.

Can you believe that girls used to tease me that “they” would be the ones to protect me in the face of danger because I was too scrawny?

It was all fun and games for them. But that shit hurts our bony hearts. Am I right or am I right?

In the past, I failed over and over again to build muscle. I stuffed myself silly and I always made sure to hit the gym for at least 2 hours, 6 days a week. As you could probably guess, I wasn’t pleased with the results.

I was frustrated and confused. Why couldn’t I build muscle like the other big and strong guys?

  • Was it my genetics?
  • Was I just not working out enough?
  • Maybe I wasn’t eating enough protein?
  • Or could it be that I wasn’t taking the right supplements?

I always wished for the “magical” plan or surfed the interwebs all day and night for the muscle-building “secret” that all the other muscular guys were hiding from me.

Well today, I have great news for you.

In this article, I’m going to share all the key strategies and lessons I’ve learned along the way that you NEED to know how to gain muscle if you’re skinny…

Exactly what I did to make this ectomorph transformation:

How to gain muscle ectomorph transformation

Now, let’s dive right in with what matters most…

How To Gain Muscle By Mastering The Calorie Surplus

How much do I need to eat to gain muscle? How many times did this damn question roll through your head?

So really, how much do skinny guys need to eat to build muscle? I believe, and this is the cold hard truth, if you’re struggling to build muscle, there’s a good chance you’re not tracking your calories.

And even though it feels like you’re “eating so much” there’s a big chance you’re under-eating.

If you want to know how to gain muscle and gain weight as quickly as possible, then you need to eat enough calories. If you don’t, you won’t build any muscle or gain any weight to speak of.

I know for me, I need to eat upwards of 4000 calories a day to start gaining just a pound per week!

For some of you fellow skinny guys, it could be the same. It could be less. Heck, it could even be more!

I realized this because I’ve been tracking my calories for awhile now.

So, that’s your first action step on how to gain muscle. Download yourself a calorie tracking app such as MyFitnessPal (that’s what I use every day.)

Seriously, do this! Here’s why…

Not eating in a calorie surplus (but rather a calorie deficit, which you may not be aware that you’re currently doing) is going to make it more difficult for your body to repair itself and add muscle.

It gets worse though. If you’re not in a calorie surplus, your energy levels will be lowered, your hormones (specifically testosterone) are going to take a hit, and your cortisol levels (stress) are going to increase.

And not to mention, your training performance will start to suffer.

Yeah, not the ideal situation on how to gain muscle.

It doesn’t help that all the mainstream diet approaches are geared for weight loss. Even the majority of muscle building programs are created by those who gain weight rather easily.

They don’t understand what we’re working with here in our ectomorph body type.

How To Go From Skinny To Muscular With Just Enough Calories

A great starting point is 17 calories per pound of body weight.

For example, a 150-pound skinny guy would have to eat:

(150 lbs X 17 calories per pound = 2550)

In this case, I would just round up to 2600 calories.

Again, you’ll need to test this and ensure you’re gaining around .5 to 1 pound per week.

  • If you’re still not gaining any weight, bump up your daily calories by 200 and retest.
  • If you’re gaining more than a pound per week, drop calories down by 100 and retest.

Even though we’re skinny, we still need to put an emphasis on lean bulking.

It may not seem possible to gain too much fat, but it can happen trust me. And it will ruin your physique.

We already have the advantage of being lean. We can use this natural gift to pack on muscle and strength while looking incredible the entire journey.

Setting Your Calorie Surplus Macro Split

When we’re talking body composition (maximizing muscle gain with minimal fat gain) all calories are not created equal.

So this isn’t a free for all to eat all the calories in sight.

I recommend eating a diet that’s moderate in protein and fat and highest in carbohydrates.

Starting with the obvious and most important, we need sufficient protein in our diets to build muscle. But not as much as you would think.

Shoot for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight when eating in a calorie surplus.

Fats are needed in our diets as well. Fats are more calorie-dense, making it easy for us to hit our surplus of calories. I recommend keeping fats around 20% to 25% of total daily calories.

Fats play a huge role in the production of testosterone! It’s been shown that low fat diets suppress testosterone levels. Higher testosterone is going to make it a lot easier to gain muscle.

The media sure does a great job with bashing carbs. See what I mean as to why we can’t trust the mainstream for skinny guy advice?

Carbs are going to support our training efforts immensely! As well as support the release of neurotransmitters that contribute to our mood, hormonal production (testosterone), and many other bodily functions.

Fill the rest of your daily calories with carbs after you set your protein and fat macros.

The best diet provides you with the proper amount of calories while breaking them down into the best macro split.

If you do that with your diet and nutrition, that’s how to gain muscle if you’re skinny. Hands down.

But here’s the thing, and being a fellow ectomorph, I know that saying to eat more food can be a very, very tall order!

It’s one of the biggest challenges on our quest to building some burly muscle.

Understanding The Ectomorph Body Type Physiology

When we can figure out how we function, we gain the ability to work with our bodies to easily build muscle and strength.

Do others really understand what we’re going through? I think not. Their advice is to simply “eat more” and “lift heavy.” Then they act like they solved our biggest mysteries as to why we’re still skinny.

I’m sorry, but you didn’t.

Do you feel me? On one side, people will tease you for being so underweight; on the other, they’ll tell you how blessed you are because they’re struggling with weight loss problems.

Ectomorphs are going through a couple of things that actually makes eating more food a bit difficult such as:

  • Heightened insulin sensitivity
  • Fast burning, adaptive metabolism
  • Small stomach capacity

To name a few of the big ones. Again, these aren’t to be used as excuses, but rather, I wanted to shed some light on ACTUALLY why it’s hard for us to eat more food. And this is a topic I would like to expand on in another article.

As for the context of this article, let’s talk about how you can hack your skinny genes and easily eat more food with appetite manipulation.

How To Gain Muscle If You Have A High Metabolism With Appetite Manipulation

Think of how a person would try to find the most filling foods so they can stay satisfied while losing weight.

We need to do the exact opposite.

A food is defined by how filing it is based on its satiety level.

What is Satiety?

This simply means how full a particular food is going to make you feel. Eating a lot of satiating foods can actually cause you to eat less food in your meals throughout the day.

Typically, what makes a food more filling than others is the fiber, water, and protein content.

Therefore, we need to fill our diets with calorie dense, less filling foods.

This can be as simple as choosing steak over chicken. And rice over potatoes.

But, if you like a food that’s rather filling and less calorie dense, this will require you to get a little creative and make that food more calorie-dense by adding oils, sauces, sides, etc.

Here’s a list of foods I always try to include in my diet to easily hit my daily calorie surplus:

Learn how to gain muscle if you have a high metabolism by eating the right foods


  • Red Meat
  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Milk
  • Protein Bars (I like cookie dough Balance bars and Gatorade bars)


  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Grains (whole grain bread, cereal, quinoa, etc.)
  • Bagels
  • Potatoes (just be careful of fullness factor)
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, chick peas, hummus)
  • Calorie Dense fruits (bananas, mangoes, grapes, etc.)
  • Dried fruits (raisins, prunes, figs, dried cranberries, etc.)
  • Granola
  • Oatmeal
  • Pancakes
  • Juices
  • Naked Juice
  • Honey and maple syrup
  • Ice Cream
  • Frozen yogurt


  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Butter
  • Fatty fish / Fish oil
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Coconut Oil
  • Macadamia nut oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Chia

It’s important to strive for wholesome food choices in your diet.

Do the best you can based on your budget and circumstances. I always use the 80-20 rule.

And that’s when you make sure you’re getting 80% of your daily calories from wholesome foods and the other 20% can come from your favorite dessert or treat.

My favorite ectomorph weight gain hacks are dried fruit, liquid calories such as shakes or juices, and making time in my lifestyle to actually eat my meals.

And you don’t need to take an obsessive approach with this either. What I simply mean is working around a schedule that’s most convenient for you but honoring those meal times.

I typically have 3 “set in stone” meal times and I fit in snacks when I can to hit my calories for the day.

How To Gain Muscle If You Are Skinny On A Minimalist Weight Lifting Routine

Things started to click when I stumbled upon Kinobody:

How to gain muscle if you're skinny transformation

Us ectomorphs are energy-burning powerhouses. So we need to be careful about what we spend our energy on.

Your gym sessions should be short and intense. Get in and get out.

I got such tremendous results with Kinobody because of the minimalist training style. All my efforts were put towards the most effective exercises to build a muscular and proportional body.

But what’s most important of all is how strong I got. You need to have a plan on how you’re going to get as strong as possible.

The more weight you’re able to push and pull, the more muscular you will be.

Every ectomorph needs to spend most of their time training with heavy compound movements (80% to 85% of one-rep max) within the 4 to 6 rep range. Heavy Reverse Pyramid Training Kinobody Style, will do the trick!

And only after you build up a solid strength foundation, should you worry about adding in higher rep, lightweight training for additional muscle growth.

The Bottom Line On How To Gain Muscle If You’re Skinny

Typically, every skinny guy’s problem is not working out properly, using the wrong exercises and not eating enough.

If you follow the above strategies for your nutrition and training, you will gain muscle and strength, no matter how skinny you think you are.

As we discussed at the beginning of this article, you need to be tracking your daily calories. But you also need to be tracking the weight lifted in the gym for each workout along with monitoring all your other progress.

It’s the only way to tell if what you’re doing is actually working or not.

If you aren’t getting results, you can simply look back at your log, notes, online spreadsheet, etc. and point out something you can tweak and then retest.

Soon, you’ll have a big database of exactly what works for YOU!

Enabling you to repeat this over and over again and get tremendous results.

Keep moving forward. Even when you don’t feel like it.

My flagship program, Movie Star Masterclass, is the most effective fitness program to slice off fat, gain perfect muscle proportion and look like an absolute Movie Star.