Skinny people are kind of a rarity these days – most American are overweight or obese and have no idea what it’s like to be skinny. The ones that aren’t overweight are often muscular and ripped – perhaps they were skinny not all that long ago, but they weren’t happy with themselves and decided to change their physique.

If you’re skinny, you’re probably more aware of the disadvantages of your shape than the advantages. For example, you might feel self-conscious when breaking in new clothes – even the smaller sizes might be too baggy for you. But you’re unaware when walking around, or running to catch the bus, how much easier it is for you due to your size. People who are bigger built use a lot more energy simple moving around – if they are fat, it’s like they are doing everything with a suitcase strapped to them. If they are muscular, they still have more bulk to move, but they have a high-powered engine helping them. They just have to constantly keep refueling the engine.

Nevertheless, a lot of skinny people feel the need to get ripped – to stay lean, but build muscle. The way for them to do this is quite different from the way that overweight people would do it. They are not concerned with burning fat and it’s likely that they don’t have the strength that overweight people do – big people develop big muscles under all that fat in order to help themselves carry their own weight around.

What’s likely is that you’ll have to change your diet. You may not eat all that much, and that needs to change if you want to build muscle. Building muscle means putting on weight, and to do that, you need to eat. You may have a super-fast metabolism, which means you seem to be able to eat as much as you want without getting fat. This doesn’t mean you can’t build muscle, it just means you have to be smart about it.

You’ll probably have to be consuming anywhere between 2800-3600 calories per day, depending on whether you’re a man or a woman, your build, your metabolism and the amount and type of exercise you are doing. However, going out and eating a whole bunch of cheeseburgers and pizza for every meal isn’t going to cut it. Protein, however, is essential, especially for skinny types. You can get this through a variety of sources – fish, chicken, red meat, eggs and nuts are all good choices. Whey is a useful supplement when you are starting out. The idea is to eat proteins when your body is recovering. You damage the muscle tissue while exercising and rebuild it when resting. By filling up on protein, your body can rebuild the muscle stronger than it previously was, so that it can cope with the jobs you ask it to do (hence increasing the weights you lift over time).

Unlike overweight people, you’ll have to ensure you eat plenty of carbs with every meal. As a naturally skinny person, your body likely burns carbs very quickly, and then proceeds to burn fat (of which you have very little) and muscle tissue. If you don’t eat carbs, you’ll feel fatigued and could end up burning all the muscle that you build. The best carbs are found in potatoes, wholegrain rice, pasta and bread and oatmeal. They are also found in fruit, along with plenty of vitamins. Eat plenty of fruit at breakfast and other carbs throughout the day.

Once you’ve got the nutrition right, the rest is actually simple. You can do your cardio at home, by going out for morning runs or getting a piece of home gym equipment – an elliptical trainer or a rower, for the enthusiasts. When you go to the gym, do a little cardio as part of your warm up and to get your heart pumping.

Hit the gym three times a week, and focus on all muscle groups to build strength. Once you feel that you’re hitting a wall, start hitting the gym four times a week – the first time focusing on shoulders and arms, the second on legs and abs, the third on back and biceps and the fourth on your chest and triceps. Go for fewer reps with heavier weights, in order to build muscle.

Stick to your nutrition and keep working out and it won’t take long at all to turn you from a skinny-type into a ripped hulk.

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Skinny people are kind of a rarity these days – most American are overweight or obese and have no idea what it’s like to be skinny. The ones that aren’t overweight are often muscular and ripped – perhaps they were skinny not all that long ago, but they weren’t...