Skinny boy abs: tough love
Published: Monday, December 12, 2005
Updated: Sunday, February 15, 2009 02:02
"I eat so much, yet I never get big because of my super-fast metabolism."
"Girls love my ripped abs. If I bulk, I will lose the abs."
Everybody here knows a guy who constantly complains like that. Don't you just want to smack him? At the suggestion of some friends, I decided to write this article. A few weeks ago, I used a statistical approach to refute anyone who claims they have cursed genetics. Even if you are cursed with skinny genes, make something of yourself. Find the silver lining: muscular endurance. You may not be very fast, but you can go on for longer periods, like the Energizer bunny, if you know what I mean (wink). Genetics only lay the foundation; you must build upon it. All you have to do is eat big and lift big. Use mainly heavy compound movements for your training, like bench presses, rows, pull-ups, squats and deadlifts. Lifting big causes maximal muscle damage, while eating big provides the raw materials for repairing and growing muscle. If you lift big but eat small, you will remain small. Eating small provides fewer building blocks for your muscles, resulting in little or no growth. It's as simple as that. For protein, eat skim/whole milk, cottage cheese, egg whites, tuna, salmon, lean beef, chicken breast, whey and casein. For carbohydrates, eat oatmeal, brown rice, pasta, yams, fruits and lots of veggies. For fats, eat salmon, lean beef, egg yolks, cheese, fish oil capsules, walnuts, pecans and almonds. Don't eat processed junk. For post-workout shakes, consume one scoop of whey and one scoop of dextrose and/or maltodextrin. Eat six to eight meals per day. Don't worry about supplements yet. Supplements will only give you 5 percent of gains. The remaining 95 percent of gains is a result of diet, training and lots of rest.
"But I already eat so much," he whines. Bull. I thought I ate a lot (four meals/day) back in the day, but when I actually counted the calories, it was a measly 2,500 calories per day. That's why I stayed at 135 lbs. for most of my teenage years. I only began to gain muscle when I increased calories up to 4,000 a day. You're not eating big unless you're eating every three hours, stuffing protein and food down your throat until you want to vomit. Too cool to brownbag two or three lunches to school? Whatever then, more power to your royal Smallness.
What makes me sick is that these same skinny folks, who refuse to spare the effort to eat, would rather spend money on fancy supplements and even steroids. They are so desperate for a shortcut that once my friend sold a guy "steroids" that were actually Centrums. Good times-
Before you even think about anabolic "help," you need to maximize your natural potential first. Even with expensive, fancy supplements, those guys aren't making much progress. They are still the same size and lifting the same measly weights year after year. Sure they may appear more ripped, but who cares how ripped you are if you're weak. Skinny six-packs are ribs, not abs, so stop counting them in the gym.
Get big the old-fashioned way. The old-school bodybuilders didn't have access to creatine ethyl esther or nitric oxide. They ate real food, and lots of it. The way of the iron is a lifestyle, not a fad, and there are no shortcuts. If you want the bod, you have to pay your dues.
So if a skinny guy ever complains to you about being small, smack him with my article. They need a dose of reality. Some of these guys have a high ratio of mental size to actual size. In other words, a hugely inflated ego. This is similar to a high P/E ratio because eventually the company (skinny boy) will have to face the facts and hopefully work hard to improve their earnings (muscle gains).
This semester, I have talked mainly about training. Next semester, I will dive into nutrition and supplements. I hope everyone has a great winter break. Happy holidays.