Five Reasons You’re Still Skinny Even After Hitting the Gym

Almost everybody is familiar with Captain America and his unique transformation. If you are not, imagine going immediately from skinny to buff using a super soldier serum. You will agree that that will be some miracle – well, there is a serum. However, going from skinny to buff is not as miraculous a process as that. You have to work hard for that needed transformation. The problem is just that for what seems like ages now, there is no change in your physical attributes. What then could be the reason? Below are five reasons you’re still skinny even if you regularly hit the gym.

  • You Don’t Eat (Well) Enough

This is one of the most common reasons why skinny guys will never go buff. If you want to get big, you have to eat. It’s as simple as that. No matter how much time you spend in the gym. No matter how heavy the weights you lift are, you WILL NEVER build any form of muscle mass unless you eat. We cannot stress this enough.

At this point, you’re probably saying to yourself, “But I eat a lot!” Newsflash, you don’t. If you did, you wouldn’t be so skinny now, would you? Even if you did eat a lot, the chances are that you eat a lot of junk food like burgers, pizzas, and sodas instead of healthy whole foods rich in macronutrients. There is no way around this. You need to eat if you ever want to gain muscle. Understood? Good.

Now that you’ve gotten this part down pay attention to what comes next if you ever want to get bigger and stronger.

Among the classes of food, proteins are by far the most important for putting on size. Your diet, thus, needs to consist of whole foods rich in protein like chicken, eggs, and fish. It would help to consume one gram of protein for each pound you weigh every day. Note that various foods’ protein content varies. So, bear this in mind when preparing your meals. Also, you need to eat between 250 – 350 calories more than you need for maintenance.  This is the only way your muscles can grow. You can calculate your maintenance calories here

In summary, eat like it’s your job and watch your body transform like never before.

  • You Don’t Lift Enough

Along with not eating enough food, this is another crucial reason why you’re still skinny. When building muscles, you need to LIFT WEIGHTS. If you can curl the barbell for 20 reps without breaking a sweat, then you aren’t lifting enough. If you can easily do five sets of 15 reps on the bench, you aren’t lifting enough to stimulate muscle growth. When you lift weights, your muscles should protest from the effort. You should feel every fiber of muscle working to lift whatever weight you’re lifting at that point.

Now we definitely can’t give arbitrary numbers on how heavy your weights should be when lifting. But below is a good guide.

If you can go 15 reps easily on any program, then it isn’t heavy enough to stimulate growth. Your goal should be to stack the weights to the point where the 7th rep feels like hell. And the 9th feels like two hells. Once you feel this way, give it one last push to the 10th rep, and voila! You’ve found the exact weight of the weights to lift. Do five sets (10 reps in each) of these for the next two weeks. When you can lift every set with ease, increase the weights again. This is the holy grail to putting on size.

Before we go to the next point, we need to clarify a few things. If you’re skinny and trying to bulk up, you should avoid any “strength training” exercises. At this stage, your priority is building more muscle and nothing else. Avoid doing any “1-rep maxes” or “5 x 5 strength training” exercises. You don’t have enough muscle mass to reap the benefits of those workouts. Your reps should always be between 8 – 12 reps. Anything less is too low to gain muscle. Anything higher is too light to be of benefit.

  • You Don’t Have A Defined Program When You Get into The Gym

In every gym, there’s always a skinny guy who walks in, does a few quick reps on the bench, then runs to the squat rack and repeats the same. When he’s done there, he performs a million bicep curls for about 30 minutes, attempts a few pull-ups, and rounds off with an endless number of crunches. Whatever you do, don’t be this guy.

You’re never going to get big with this scattergun approach. Muscle growth never happens this way. If you ever want to go from skinny to bulky, you need a defined training program. And it doesn’t have to be a $150 PDF you purchased from some fitness guru on YouTube. All you need is a simple workout program to guide you through your exercise selections on the days you’re at the gym.

You see, bodybuilding is more than aimlessly lifting weights and putting them down. When building muscle, you need to work for all muscle groups with the right programs at the right time. Perform compound exercises like the bench press for your chest and the overhead press for your shoulders. Do pull-ups/chin-ups for your back and the squats to build your legs. These exercises are indispensable for muscle growth. The squats and deadlifts, in particular, are excellent for strength and conditioning.  But you cannot do all these on the same day. Dedicate a day to work for one or two related muscle groups and never waiver from this. You’d be amazed at the progress you’d make.

  • You Do Too Much Outside the Gym

This is closely related to the point above. Sometimes, you remain skinny because of the things you do outside the gym. 10 mile runs every morning, intense cardio, cycling, swimming, and boxing. All these may sound like wonderful exercises to do. And in truth, they are. But when you’re trying to build muscle, you need to understand that too much activity is as bad as no activity. Your body needs to rest after your workouts at the gym. Performing a whole different set of exercises before or after lifting weights is the last thing your body needs. It is a sure way to ensure you never get the best of your bodybuilding regimen.

There’s no need to run or cycle 10 miles on the day you have your leg workouts. Squats are more than enough to build strong legs. If you do them well enough, you’d be too tired to do anything else when you’re done.

Workout five days a week and rest for the other two. Refrain from intense physical exercises outside your bodybuilding regimen. The boxing gym would always be there. The pool would always be there. However, you may not have as much time in the future as you do now. If putting on size is your priority, you should focus solely on it until you see some reasonable gains.

  • You Haven’t Given It Enough Time

This is perhaps the biggest lesson you need to learn from this article. When you start bodybuilding, you need to give it time before you see any visible muscle growth. Nine out of ten guys who complain they are still skinny despite hitting the gym have not given enough time. That’s the plain truth. Whether you want to burn fat or build muscle, time must pass. It makes no difference if you become a gym rat who works out 25 hours daily and eight days a week. It is impossible to gain muscle mass within three weeks or a month. You CANNOT rush the muscle-building timeline.

On average, you notice visible muscle gains within the first three to four months of working out. And even this happens only when you eat well and work out five days a week. So, if you haven’t done this for at least three months, you shouldn’t complain yet. This isn’t a super-soldier serum after all.


The conclusion here is simple. Eat well, work out five days a week with the compound exercises, and keep at it for nothing less than three months. It sounds easy. But from our years of experience in coaching bodybuilders, it isn’t. However, we guarantee that you will end up as the Captain America of your own story if you manage to do this.

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