5 Critical Steps to Go From Skinny to Buff (Written By A Hardgainer!)
“How can I go from skinny to buff?” I remember thinking, as my 14-year-old brain scoured the internet looking for any and all advice I could find. It seemed like everyone was contradicting themselves, and I had no idea what to do.
“Do intermittent fasting! It’s great for your hormone levels,” some would say. “Eat every single 2 hours, you’ve got to get big!” others would tell me. The power lifters told me to focus on strength training, the bodybuilders told me to focus on building mass…just about everyone had their own thoughts on getting from skinny to buff.
The problem is that I didn’t want thoughts…I wanted results. I was a scrawny little kid and was desperate for attention from women, and respect from other men. I wanted to be strong, I wanted to be big, and I wanted to be buff.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but this feeling set me down a path that would take me on one of the wildest rides of my life. Like many of us, working out and putting on muscle is a journey, that teaches us about inner strength, courage, discipline, and of course, our own biology.
My Skinny to Buff Transformation
Now… you’re probably skinny as you’re reading this, and wondering how to get big fast. Well, let me tell you… it takes time.
Watch at the video above. The left is when I was in high school, and the right was taken about two months ago. Big difference, huh?
I was skinny as fuck in high school, because I didn’t eat enough, and I didn’t even hit the weight room. I was scrawny, and my confidence sucked.
…but today? I’m a whopping 175 pounds at 8% bodyfat… and now, I’m going to show you how you can go from skinny to buff just like I did, too.
5 Rules to Go From Skinny to Buff
After years of being skinny, I’ve finally cracked the code. In fact, I’ve put together a list of five solid rules, that you must follow at all times.
If you don’t follow these rules, you may get big, but you won’t really be buff. You’ll just put on a little bit of extra weight.
That being said, if you follow these five rules, you will go from skinny to buff in no time at all.
So, with that in mind, let’s go a little bit more in-depth here, and talk about the most important rules if you want to get big.
Rule 1. Eat Until You Puke
If you want to go from skinny to buff, you need to eat WAY more food. Let me tell you a quick story that illustrates this point.
“I just can’t seem to put on any muscle,” I said. I’d been talking to some of my buff friends trying to figure out what the cause was, because it just seemed that no matter how hard I tried, couldn’t do a damn thing to put on any lean muscle.
“Well, what did you eat today?” they asked. “Uhh, I had a cup of oatmeal for breakfast, a granola bar for a snack, and then a sandwich for lunch,” I said. They burst out into laughing like a pack of hyenas. “You’re shitting us, right? That’s like not even as big as our breakfasts!” they told me. It turns out, they were dirty bulking.
The fact of the matter though, was that they were right. Most so called “hard gainers” who “just can’t seem to go from skinny to buff” are ridiculously underfed.
They eat something like a puny 1,000 calories a day and then expect to somehow bulk up to the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
When I tell guys how much food I ate during my last photoshoot, they can hardly even believe it. I literally ended up eating more calories for my first breakfast than they did in their entire cheat day—and yes, you heard that right. I had a first and second breakfast, like a god damn hobbit.
If you’re trying to go from skinny to buff, you need to eat enough food. Your diet, and the specific ratio of carbohydrates to fats to proteins will change depending on a number of factors, but a good place to start is with Scooby’s Calculator. Simply enter in your height, weight, activity level, and goal—and voila! You’ve got an exact amount of calories to shoot for each day.
Best Foods For Bulking
If you want to go from skinny to buff, you need to eat the right foods. Most guys think they’re eating the right way, but in reality, they’re simply not.
Here are some good foods for bulking:
- Steak, pork chops, and chicken breast
- Sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and yams
- Brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta
- Oatmeal and steel-cut oats
- Almonds, walnuts, and peanut butter
- Cheese, eggs, and milk
Personally, most of my diet consists of steak, chicken breast, pork, and some high quality complex carbohydrates like brown rice and quinoa.
I tend to avoid dairy, because it’s one of the worst foods for testosterone nowadays, but if you can get organic, “raw milk,” then do it.
Rule 2. Optimize Your Testosterone
As much as I’ve beaten this dead horse already, I’m going to continue beating it until every single man in the world has high testosterone.
The fact of the matter is that if you have really low testosterone levels, going from skinny to buff will be virtually impossible.
Unfortunately, most of us have low testosterone nowadays, thanks to all of the hidden testosterone destroyers in our society.
So, if you’re over the age of 30, I highly recommend looking into TRT. If you’re a young buck on the other hand, look to do everything you can to naturally improve your hormonal profile.
How to Boost Testosterone For Hardgainers
First off, do intermittent fasting on your off days. This is a great way for you to boost testosterone levels, which helps with going from skinny to buff.
Yes, intermittent fasting does increase testosterone and lower estrogen, but if you’re a hardgainer and do it on your lifting days, you’ll have an even harder time putting on weight.
Second, get enough protein and saturated fats. You can get these by eating foods like steak, eggs, pork, and ground beef.
Unfortunately, saturated fats have been demonized by the media—the thing is, though, your body literally needs saturated fats to create testosterone.
Just by eating more saturated fats, you’ll find it’s easier to go from skinny to buff. Saturated fats boost testosterone, so they’ll help a lot.
Third, get enough sleep. You want to get a solid nine hours of sleep if you’re trying to build muscle. I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s really important.
In addition to this, be sure to drink enough water, supplement with a good multi-vitamin, and consider adding some more Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin D into your diet.
I have an entire section in “Body of an Alpha” on how to recover properly so that you can improve your hormonal profile. It’s that important.
That being said, don’t become a fucking evangelist. Yes, alcohol lowers your testosterone, but it’s okay to have a drink with a girl every once in a while.
Learn to balance your testosterone-infused alpha male lifestyle with having fun, kicking back, and relaxing like a high achiever.
Rule 3. Utilize P.H.A.T. Training
The day that I discovered P.H.A.T. training, everything changed for me.
Before then, I’d been doing what every other hardgainer does—following advice from bodybuilders, doing what personal trainers say, and spending a ridiculous amount of money on scammy, overpriced online programs.
Yet, no matter how much “Starting Strength” I did, I couldn’t seem to go from skinny to buff, and get the physique I wanted.
Yeah, sure—I got bigger, but I looked like a damn T-Rex. My legs were fricking huge and I had absolutely no biceps, triceps, or back muscles to show for it.
Best Hardgainer Workout
Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training, or P.H.A.T. for short, was a game changer for me, though. It helped me go from skinny to buff, fast.
Suddenly I found myself blowing past plateaus, stacking on plate after plate after plate, with seemingly no end. Using PHAT training, I was able to put on 30 pounds of muscle in just a few months. That’s how powerful it is.
The whole premise behind PHAT training is that it combines strength training and mass training, into one whole, congruent routine—this is a game changer for anyone who wants to go from skinny to buff.
Most people follow a routine that’s either exclusively strength-based or exclusively mass-based, yet with PHAT training, you get the best of both worlds.
My entire Body of an Alpha routine is based off of this principle. It’s literally my holy grail of muscle building, and has been the cornerstone of my workout routine for longer than I can remember.
Like it or not, if you’re a hardgainer, a routine based off of the PHAT principle is likely your best shot at getting the physique of Zeus.
Rule 4. Shakes Are Your Friend
One thing I learned early on in my “skinny to buff” journey was that muscle shakes are your absolute best friend. Do not overlook this fact.
I know of no other way to pack so many calories, so much muscle, and so many nutrients in such a small amount of time, than by drinking mass-gaining shakes.
If you want to see my personal favorite, read my Mutant Mass Review. I used this shake to go from skinny to buff in just 3 months.
Now of course, these aren’t for everyone—if you’re an “easy gainer” or even a “sort of hard gainer” I don’t recommend you go this far.
Yet for those of us who have to eat like a horse just to break even? Mass gaining shakes are a gift from the aesthetic Gods above (thank you Zyzz).
Best Bulking Shake
If you’re a hardgainer, and you’re serious about going from skinny to buff, I recommend you buy some sort of blender and drink one of my famous “protein packed mass shakes” every single day after you workout, or for breakfast if you’re short on time.
I use the NutriBullet, because it’s compact, super powerful, and really easy to clean—it’s by far my favorite way to make bulking shakes.
all in all, it probably takes me about 10 minutes to make my protein shake, drink it all, and clean up the blender so it’s ready to use again.
Here’s some good ingredients for a bulking shake:
- Bananas (great source of simple carbs and potassium, best post-workout)
- Nut Butter (peanut butter is common, but I’m allergic so I use almond butter)
- Oats (yes, dry oats – just throw them in for some complex carbs)
- Creatine (easily the closest thing to legal steroids)
- Whey protein (or some form of mass gainer, which I will discuss below)
Generally speaking you want to stick with chocolate whey protein unless you have a specific recipe that you’re following, because chocolate is the easiest to match with other stuff.
One simple shake that I frequently make is comprised of a frozen banana, 2 tbsp of almond butter, a cup of oats, 5 grams of creatine, and 2 scoops of whey protein—this adds up to around 700 calories.
Just drinking one or two of these shakes each day will help you go from skinny to buff faster than you can say “I want to get jacked.”
You can also add some of Rich Piana’s Mutant Mass, which is my favorite mass gainer, if you want to REALLY pack on the pounds.
Just one mutant mass shake has a whopping 1,100 calories, and if you mix it with the ingredients I mentioned above (replacing the whey protein, of course) it’ll add up to a hulking 1,600 calories.
Rule 5. Skinny to Buff Takes Time!
As much as it sucks to hear this, going from skinny to buff will take a lot of time. “B-b-but Jon, didn’t you gain 30 pounds of muscle in just 3 months?” someone might ask.
Yes, I did—but that’s because I knew exactly what to do, which I outline in my eBook. Most people don’t know the tricks and tips that help you do this.
Will you be able to put on 30 pounds of muscle in 3 months? Maybe, if you know exactly what to do—but even so, it took me YEARS to learn how to build muscle properly.
Despite all of the meathead stereotypes out there, lifting is actually a science, and so you have to treat it like one.
I was able to go from skinny to buff in such a short period of time, because I knew EXACTLY how to do it, whereas most people don’t.
I knew EXACTLY how to boost my testosterone levels, EXACTLY how much to eat, EXACTLY what workout routine to do, EXACTLY how to do it, EXACTLY how much to sleep, and all of the other 10 million things you need to do properly if you want to get jacked.
…it also didn’t hurt that I knew what unexpected benefits you get from being jacked, because I’d been jacked before.
Every time I struggled with getting out of bed or pumping out that last set, I would think of all the girls who’ve complemented me on my body before, and all of the ridiculous benefits you’ll get when you go from skinny to buff.
Even so, it took time. Everything in life will take some effort, nothing worthwhile will come easy. Going from skinny to buff is no different.
It’s taken me years to get to my current level of fitness knowledge; hours of pouring over studies, reading through textbooks, scouring forums, and learning from the best of the best. But if you can do it? My God, more power to you.
How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle?
Like I said, building muscle usually takes a lot longer than people think. Going from skinny to buff will probably take longer than you want.
That being said, you can speed up the process by following my advice.
If you take SARMs (which I talk about below), you can expect to put on a whopping 20-30 pounds of muscle in just a few months.
If you’re building muscle naturally however, you can expect to put on about 10-15 pounds of muscle your first few months.
From there, your gains will level off. The key is to stay consistent, though. As with many good habits, it takes time to reap the rewards.
How to Go From “Skinny to Buff” Fast
Take a look at the picture above… I went from being skinny to buff in just 60 days flat. You may be asking yourself, how in the fuck did I do it?
Well, I did it using a little something known as “SARMs.”
SARMs, otherwise known as “Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators,” are basically a new form of legal steroids.
…and while I certainly don’t recommend them for every hard gainer out there, they can definitely help A LOT if you’re struggling to build muscle.
Most of your benefits will come from the previous five tips, but if you want to take things to the next level, consider looking into some RAD 140.
Want A Full “Skinny to Buff” Program?
If you want a full guide that will teach you how to go from skinny to buff in no time at all, then look no further than my “Body of an Alpha” program.
I literally designed it with hardgainers in mind, and I’ve been using it for years to much success.
When you purchase the full program today, here’s what you’ll get:
- My “Fast Track” Method for Building Muscle and Shredding Fat, Even if You’re A Hardgainer
- The Exact Supplement Protocol I Used to Pack on 30 Pounds of Muscle in Just Under 3 Months
- My Full Nutrition Guide, Including What Foods Will 2x Your Muscle Growth… and More Importantly, Which Foods Will DESTROY It
- …and much, much more.
The program has pretty much everything you need to know in order to build muscle, get jacked, and go from skinny to buff in no time at all.
When you’re a hardgainer who’s trying to get jacked, you want to ignore most advice out there. Probably around 95% of advice in the fitness industry is just made up bullshit, or re-worked, re-packaged advice that we’ve known about for decades since the 1970’s.
I’ve made the journey from skinny to buff, and believe me, it’s not an easy one—it will take a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Yet if you’re willing to put in that work, and pay your dues, you’ll get the physique of Adonis…and the respect and attention that comes with it.
If you guys have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to shoot me a message down below—and, as always, I’ll see you next time.