T Nation

Skinny Guy In Need Of Real Help



Im a skinny guy and sick of it. I am 5'9 130lbs age 28. Iwant to gain weight and muscle and self confidence. No matter what i eat I don't gain weight. I also Smoke. I do have a bench and weights. However it does not seem to do anything. Can anyone help me out on what I need to do??? I want to be in the 170lbs and not fat either. All i ever got was alot of crap advice from friends.



happy reading...



All through high school I never weighed over 135, and at 5"11 was pretty damn skinny.

Now I weigh a hell of a lot more and am still lean.

Here's my suggestions in a nutshell.

Eat, pick a number of calories and eat that much every meal, 5 times a day. If you don't gain weight up the number. I suggest starting at 500 calories, but you may have to go to 700 or higher (doubtful, but you never know). The healthier the food, the less fat you'll gain. Brown rice, oatmeal, etc. Some fat in ever meal except post workout. Post workout drink a quart of non-fat milk and whatever fibrous carb source you want (fruit, granola bars, bagels). Drink 3.0 liters of water (or more) daily. 30-40 grams of protein each meal. For more food stuff look at John Berardi's articles.

Cut the smoking out, I never smoked so I can't really comment on what it feels like, but it's nasty.

Train 3-4 days a week, screw your abs for now. Keep your workouts short 8-12 hard work sets. Chin-ups, dips, bench press, rows, squats (if you can rig something up, I used to use dining room chairs when I had no gym access), lunges, shoulder press, barbell curls. Keep the reps fairly low and the weights heavy ideally, you may need a few weeks of lighter weights to get your form down and to avoid massive soreness, avoid going to failure.

Train each exercise once a week, if you make progress then you are doing fine. Maybe 2 or 3 exercises a workout. Example squats and lunges. Done. Bench Press and rows done. Dips, chins done. Curls and shoulder press done. As soon as you make excuses on your diet, you will come to a crashing halt.


and don't do cardio until you start reaching your weight and strength goals. When that happens, if you can, then run, best way to lose fat for many people. Work your way up to 2-3 times a week for 30-40 minutes (ballpark estimation).



One of my nutrition professors in college called cigarettes "the best weight-loss drug ever".

It was tongue-in-cheek, but the rationale is as follows:

  1. Smoking speeds up your BMR (basal metabolic rate) by something like 10%. That means that you burn more calories just standing around and being skinny.

  2. Smoking gives you something to do with your mouth besides shove food in it. That keeps you thinner.

  3. After you finish smoking, food doesn't taste as good. Over time, smoking damages your sense of smell, which means that you won't be able to distinguish tastes as easily. Besides the four basic flavors (sweet, sour, bitter, and salty) taste is almost 100% determined by smell. Since food doesn't taste as good, and it's harder to detect a variety of flavors, you tend to eat less.

Since you're skinny, smoking is helping to keep you that way. You know the ten pounds that people are always bitching about putting on after they quit smoking? Well, you can put that to work for you. If you lift weights and quit smoking, you will probably add muscle weight easily without having to conciously alter your diet much, if at all.

Of course, it would help to have a targeted nutritional program, but I wouldn't expect you to go from a skinny, smoking average dude to a weightlifting, non-smoking T-man with a 100% dialed-in diet overnight.

But who knows? Read "Set Yourself on Fire" and "Merry Christmas, Bob" by Chris Shugart (DAFS) and see if you can resist going balls to the wall for a little while.

Go see what your Doctor reccomends in regards to smoking cessation. At the very least, quit with the patch: I hear it makes things much easier.

Anyway, it was the "I also Smoke" part of your post that stood out to me.

Dan "Plus there's the whole cancer thing... but I know you just want to look good for the ladies" McVicker


There's a key element to what you said-'no matter what you eat'
You must eat properly. Correctly balance your carbs/proteins/fats.

I was skinnier than you too [125lbs bone rack thin/5'11" as an early teen]and eventually after hefty/hefty workouts I swelled several years later [in fact to 195lbs a decade later!], but alot of that was from junk food. I went down to 160-150lbs stablizing there for a while.

I turned vegetarian 3 years ago and started working out again. Guess what-now that I'm pretty well versed on the basics of nutrition I'm gaining weight again but properly and healthily.I eat ALOT of brocolli, cabbages, cauliflower, tofu-not much milk or eggs... you say you want extra weight and not fussy on chiseled/bulky muscles-then this diet will be more than adequate too- a few great athletes and bodybuilders are vegetarians too.

I currently maintain 175lbs now with just 1 big breakfast and 1 big dinner-ONLY! and these aren't over stuffing meals either-so when I workout fully again I'll add a couple of modest meals a day to accomplish my extra 20lbs I seek... Like everyone here says, EAT ALOT -but eat healthy and train HARD and consistently. Do all parts of your body-legs too, keep an eye on your entire body that it all developes proportionately-shoulders and back routines especially give you a 'bigger' look and boost to your morale as you see progress of your work outs. And include good stretching exercises prior to workouts.

Do it properly and you'll see results very soon.Expand your knowledge on food content most of all.Hope to hear your successes soon... ps - drop smoking, as everyone recommends.


Quit smoking and read Massive Eating by John Berardi (it's in the thread that was linked to in the first reply).

It takes hard work, determination, and a hell of a stomach. There's nothing more to it, and if you really want it, it's not going to be too hard.


Have a look here too at this 'fat'article/thread in this site; under Recent Articles section;

The F-Word
All you ever wanted to know about fats
by John M Berardi

It's a good 101 on fat intake. As you gain weight you want to make sure you aren't intaking too much junk.

Research online regarding proper daily food intakes of nutrients, keywords being Macronutrients [carbs/proteins/fat] and Micronutrients [vitamins and minerals]. Then go through this site's Supplements and Nutrition area for more details. Consider Whey products as something to look into. I haven't used it but it is very popular for bulking up.