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Skinny, Trying to Put on Weight

I am 5’11’, 140lb, been skinny all my life. I am trying to put on weight now, eating more, and training more rigorously.

My concern is that my frame is really weak, i.e. my bones are actually thin, is this an obstacle I can go over? Any advice on this?

My goal is modest, get up to 160lb or so. Any advice? Any specific nutrition to bulk up my frame? Is that even possible?

It is definitely possible for you to reach 160lbs at 5’11". I was very skinny when I started (see my photos on my hub) and I’ve since gained 66lbs (and I know I have more in me) without doing anything particularly special. Gaining weight is very simple: it is all about consistency. Consistently eat above maintenance calories (differs for every person) and consistently train (3-5x a week, mostly compound lifts, all muscle groups) for at least a year.

As for tricks to increase your intake: blend whey protein, full fat milk and oats together to make a cheap and calorific snack; snack on a protein source throughout the day (eg nuts/seeds/beef jerky); force yourself to eat bigger portions at mealtimes (you will find your appetite increases and this becomes easier).

What makes you concerned about your bones? Do you have a medical diagnosis of osteoporosis or osteomalacia (if you do I don’t feel qualified to give advice) or do you just have a small frame and narrow shoulders?

If you mean the latter, you have nothing to worry about. Bones increase in size and density with any sort of resistance training and your skeleton remodels, to a certain degree. You’ll never be as broad as someone who is naturally broad and works out, but you can get broader and your bones will get stronger.

Thanks.
What do you think about the fact that my bones are small? Maybe that will prove as a limiting factor for putting on muscle on top of them. I mean, if the bone is not big enough to support it…

As I said, bones grow. Weight training doesn’t just strengthen muscle - it strengthens bones and tendons too.

You won’t ever get to the stage where your bones aren’t strong enough for your muscles, especially if your goal is 160lbs.

Skinny guys with small bone structure do not have the potential to get as big as guys who are naturally huge. So it is true you may not have the same potential as other guys. But even the skinniest guys can add a very good amount of muscle. I don’t think there is a single man your age on this planet who could not reach 160lbs at 5’11". I’d say most could reach a lot more.

You’ve just got to jump in and achieve it. Don’t let any worries like this hold you back. You can definitely get there - now go and prove me right.

All the best with it :slight_smile:

Thanks.
Saw your pictures, pretty impressive transformation.

[quote]trb wrote:
Thanks.
Saw your pictures, pretty impressive transformation.[/quote]

Thanks, but mine is nothing compared to many of the other guys on this website.

I obviously don’t know you, but I have full faith that you can reach your goals. Getting big seems like a mountain to climb at the beginning, and all beginners fall into the trap of setting limitations on themselves. You just have to jump right in and start chipping away. All you have to do is be consistent with both your training and diet and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

Good luck.

@furo “3-5x a week, mostly compound lifts, all muscle groups) for at least a year”
Someone said here, 3-5 days a week, 3-5 exercises per day, 3-5 sets per exercise, 3-5 reps per set…or something like that

Train yourself to eat as much as possible within the first 15 minutes of your meal.
I don’t know if this is broscience or what, but I felt like when I literally forcefed myself my stomach got larger and could handle more food, and it didn’t make me as uncomfortable.

As others said, your bones will get stronger from weight training. And hey, what better way to assist in that than drinking a gallon of whole milk a day?

I am a big advocate of the gallon of milk a day rule, if you can have a big glass of whole milk with every meal and mix it with all your protein shakes, you are going to add size, guaranteed. Its not something i would recommend staying true to for a long period of time, but if you are just starting out and looking to gain 20 lbs or so, hitting the whole milk hard for several months is gonna help big time.

If you’re not too worried about your macros and just want calories, you can always mix heavy whipping cream with your protein shakes too. Be careful with that one though. Dont wanna make that a regular habit.

Do compound movements with HEAVY weight.
You and your bones will adapt.

[quote]trb wrote:
I am trying to put on weight now, eating more[/quote]
What, exactly, did you eat yesterday?

What does your current training plan look like - what days, exercises, sets, and reps?

That’s very modest. If you get your training and nutrition in line, you could reach that in a few months.

This is an awesome article about setting goals:

[quote]chobbs wrote:
Train yourself to eat as much as possible within the first 15 minutes of your meal.[/quote]
This can be a useful trick if you do have trouble getting big meals in. It takes about 20 minutes or so for the brain to register the “I’m full, stop eating you gluttonous pig” signal. It’s also why most competitive eating challenges usually have a time limit under 12 minutes or so.

Would you say that going 140lb -> 160lb is still very modest? What would be the time horizon for this? I am giving myself 6-7 months.
I work out 3 times a week: 1 day chest & byceps, 1 day back & triceps, 1 day legs.
I started off doing 2 weeks of 3 sets x 15 reps, then 2 weeks of 3 sets x 12 reps, and that’s where I’m at. As it progresses, there are fewer reps and more weight.
What I ate yesterday:

  • breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 cups of milk
  • lunch: calzone( I don’t have much choice with lunch, I’m at work)
  • mass gainer shake with some milk
  • dinner: half a chicken with beans and a little bread
  • a few snacks consisting of some milk and peanut butter

[quote]trb wrote:
Would you say that going 140lb -> 160lb is still very modest? What would be the time horizon for this? I am giving myself 6-7 months.
I work out 3 times a week: 1 day chest & byceps, 1 day back & triceps, 1 day legs.
I started off doing 2 weeks of 3 sets x 15 reps, then 2 weeks of 3 sets x 12 reps, and that’s where I’m at. As it progresses, there are fewer reps and more weight.
What I ate yesterday:

  • breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 cups of milk
  • lunch: calzone( I don’t have much choice with lunch, I’m at work)
  • mass gainer shake with some milk
  • dinner: half a chicken with beans and a little bread
  • a few snacks consisting of some milk and peanut butter[/quote]

At 5’11, hell yes its very modest. Using myself as an example, i went from 6’3 170 to 210 and still had full visible abs in my first 6 months of lifting.

its ALL going to depend on your diet. During these first 6 months (hell the first couple years) that i was lifting, i messed around with my workouts a lot and looking back on it, never really knew what i was doing. But i still got bigger and stronger because i ate my ass off like i never had before.

for the record, that sample diet day you posted is not gonna help you put on 20 lbs anytime soon.

Also how much ae you lifting? If you are benching the bar it might be wise to wait a month or so to up to your calories.

But once you are putting up decent numbers you will need to eat a lot more than what you posted.

Had text, but browser deleted. Sorry

I recently joined and one of the links new members was


which in turn lead to vroom’s thread

that contains links to the following articles that are applicable

7 Habits of Highly Effective Nutritional Programs

Massive Eating: I, Caloric Needs
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=460331

Massive Eating: II, Meal Combinations and Individual Differences
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=460327

I’ve been lurking around and read (or at least skimmed) those and other articles about nutririon since I’m sort of in the same situation.

[quote]trb wrote:
Would you say that going 140lb -> 160lb is still very modest? What would be the time horizon for this? I am giving myself 6-7 months.[/quote]
Not sure what you’re asking here. But at your height, you’re underweight and gaining 20 pounds is a modest goal. Again, once you get your training and nutrition in line (meaning, following a well-designed program and eating ample protein, carbs, fat, and calories 7 days a week), I’d expect you to gain muscular bodyweight fairly quickly. But I’m not going to say “You’ll gain 42 pounds in 6 months, guaranteed or your money back.”

[quote]I work out 3 times a week: 1 day chest & byceps, 1 day back & triceps, 1 day legs.
I started off doing 2 weeks of 3 sets x 15 reps, then 2 weeks of 3 sets x 12 reps, and that’s where I’m at. As it progresses, there are fewer reps and more weight.[/quote]
Are you only doing one exercise for 3 sets per bodypart? Because that’s what it looks like from what you wrote. And that would be a terrible plan. There have been oodles of programs on the site. Find almost any one and get on it for a few uninterrupted months.

[quote]What I ate yesterday:

  • breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 cups of milk
  • lunch: calzone( I don’t have much choice with lunch, I’m at work)
  • mass gainer shake with some milk
  • dinner: half a chicken with beans and a little bread
  • a few snacks consisting of some milk and peanut butter[/quote]
    That’s a snack, a snack, a shake, a meal, and a few snacks.

Suggested reading:




Also, “I don’t have much choice with lunch” is a cop-out if you have a refrigerator and stove at your house. Brown bag it. No excuses.

[quote]audiogarden1 wrote:
for the record, that sample diet day you posted is not gonna help you put on 20 lbs anytime soon.[/quote]
Worth repeating. And that’s exactly why I asked.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]trb wrote:
Would you say that going 140lb -> 160lb is still very modest? What would be the time horizon for this? I am giving myself 6-7 months.[/quote]
Not sure what you’re asking here. But at your height, you’re underweight and gaining 20 pounds is a modest goal. Again, once you get your training and nutrition in line (meaning, following a well-designed program and eating ample protein, carbs, fat, and calories 7 days a week), I’d expect you to gain muscular bodyweight fairly quickly. But I’m not going to say “You’ll gain 42 pounds in 6 months, guaranteed or your money back.”

[quote]I work out 3 times a week: 1 day chest & byceps, 1 day back & triceps, 1 day legs.
I started off doing 2 weeks of 3 sets x 15 reps, then 2 weeks of 3 sets x 12 reps, and that’s where I’m at. As it progresses, there are fewer reps and more weight.[/quote]
Are you only doing one exercise for 3 sets per bodypart? Because that’s what it looks like from what you wrote. And that would be a terrible plan. There have been oodles of programs on the site. Find almost any one and get on it for a few uninterrupted months.

[quote]What I ate yesterday:

  • breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 cups of milk
  • lunch: calzone( I don’t have much choice with lunch, I’m at work)
  • mass gainer shake with some milk
  • dinner: half a chicken with beans and a little bread
  • a few snacks consisting of some milk and peanut butter[/quote]
    That’s a snack, a snack, a shake, a meal, and a few snacks.

Suggested reading:




Also, “I don’t have much choice with lunch” is a cop-out if you have a refrigerator and stove at your house. Brown bag it. No excuses.

[quote]audiogarden1 wrote:
for the record, that sample diet day you posted is not gonna help you put on 20 lbs anytime soon.[/quote]
Worth repeating. And that’s exactly why I asked.[/quote]

Those are articles that are pretty much responsible for my weight gain over the last few years.

If OP is smart, he will read adapt his eating habits to them.

Thanks audiogarden1