Friday, March 15, 2013

First Things First: Working Out & The Gym

Hopefully you’ve read the two previous posts before reading this one. If you did, now you’re mentally prepared, you know exactly how much food you’re supposed to stuff your face with every day, and are ready to actually start doing the work. Not the hard work, mind you, as I think the actual gym is the easiest—not to mention most fun—part in bodybuilding. You might agree later.

Going to the gym is a daunting prospect for any skinny guy. You’ll always have the insecurity of looking goofy or stupid, having others make fun of you, feeling inadequate next to the larger or stronger guys, etc. Yes, this is a reality you’ll have to face but the good news is that those fears are largely unfounded. Are there assholes in some gyms? Definitely, but they’re the minority. The reality is that the biggest guys in there don’t want to make fun of you—they want you to admire them and tell them how huge their arms are.

Still, the fear will be there. You know what you have to do now? Well, here’s this bridge:

Get over it.
Yes, you can work out at home if you prefer, and I’ll give you some excellent tips for it (the first 2 months, I worked out exclusively at home because the gym was too far away) later. However, working out at a gym, where a coach can help you out, is optimal. So sack up, get in your workout clothes and get ready. The gym is going to be your temple from now on, and you’re going to be going there at least 3, but hopefully 4 times a week for the next eight weeks. Don’t worry; you won’t be there more than an hour a day.

What Machine Do I Use?

Pictured: The Labyrinth of Minos
Here’s where I’ll differ a bit with the general bodybuilding consensus. Most bodybuilders suggest a split (as in, split your week into muscle groups—e.g. Mondays: chest; Tuesday: legs) routine as opposed to a full body (work your entire body, with fewer sets focusing on each muscle group) routine when you want to grow. This is definitely true, but I think that when you start out, it’s better to do so with a full body routine. Only for the first eight weeks.

This will also help, even if a little, with the horrible soreness you’re going to feel the next days. And boy are you going to feel it. Get ready for some of that sweet pain.

I could actually sit down here and give you a full rundown of what machine you should use, for how many sets and how many reps, but there’s no need. There are a million websites you can visit that will give you that particular information. If you want my specific recommendation, I’d give you this one if you’re working out at a gym and this one if you’re working out at home.

Obviously, if you choose to work out at home, you'll need to drop some dough to buy dumbbells, barbells and one of those things you put on your doorframes to do pullups. They're not too expensive, but it's an expense you're gonna be looking at. Good news about buying it is that even if you prefer going to the gym, you'll be able to work out at home if for some reason you can't drive to the weightroom.

Now, naturally you can use other resources if you want, or even if possible ask the gym coach once you’re there to give you a routine (don’t be afraid to do this; they want you to—that job is boring as hell). The only parameters I’d give you are to make sure it’s a 3 or 4 day, and that it’s full body.

IMPORTANT: Do NOT skip any single exercise or muscle group for any goddamn reason.

Oh you don't care about having big legs? Think again, chicken man; legs are the single most important muscle group to work, and I'll get more into this later. Just remember that these workouts are designed the way they are for a reason. Eventually you'll see how your body reacts and you'll see which muscle groups need more work. For now, stick exactly to the program.

How Do I Perform Each Exercise?
Have you picked one you liked? Great, print it out. Now, before you go, make sure you study every single exercise you’ll have to do. Muscle & Strength has a great database of exercises with informative articles and videos to watch. Familiarize yourself and study the ones you'll be doing.

Doing correct form—“form” meaning the exact movement in which you perform an exercise—is extremely important. It’s much better to do 3 perfect squats than to do 15 with shitty form.

So again, study the exercises. If you have any doubts, ask the gym coach or the biggest guy you see there if he’s not too busy with his own workout (most like being asked to help smaller guys because Ego). Make sure you feel your muscles working the weight. It’s a very distinguishable and satisfying feeling.

How Much Weight Do I Use?
Ah this part. This part sucks because no matter how much of a newbie you are in the gym, no one wants to be that guy who’s using the small dumbbells. Sadly, it’s probable that you’ll be precisely that guy because, well, yeah—maybe you’re weak right now. You won’t be for long, but you gotta start somewhere. It’s important to remember that bodybuilding and fitness in general are about progression; you’ll start in one end of the dumbbell rack, but soon enough you’ll be reaching for the other end.
Reminder: these are not poisonous to the touch.

The formula I generally like to suggest is that you have to pick a weight with which you can perform your entire set (8 or 10 or 12 reps) with perfect form, and doing an effort. I don’t want you picking up a heavy DB to do your 10 curls if you’re gonna be using momentum and arm swings to get the weight up; likewise, I don’t want you picking up the 5’s to do 10 perfect dumbbell squats. It needs to be right in the middle. It needs to be difficult, but it needs to be doable. You’ll feel your way through.

I can’t stress this enough: don’t be embarrassed about picking the smaller plates and dumbbells for now. If you don't, all you're gonna achieve is getting hurt, and that's the last time you'll see the gym.

Sometime in the future, when you look back at how much weight used to feel heavy for you will make your strength feel so much sweeter.

How Long Do I Stay?
As little as you need. I never got why some guys stayed in the gym for four hours. What the fuck could you possibly have to do in the gym for that long? Yes, a lot of people use it to socialize, but you're not there to pick up chicks; you're there to shape your body so what I recommend is get in, do what you have to do, and get out.

I think it's best to do your entire routine as it is described, taking roughly 30 seconds between sets, and 2 minutes between exercises. No more. Doing this should, with a regular routine, take no more than 60 to 75 minutes. Hopefully it won't take longer than that because:

After one hour of workout your hormonal levels and basic Everythings you need for muscle growth drop. After about 75 minutes, any effort you do in the gym will be wasted.

So don't waste your time talking to that one friend you found or chatting up the gym coach about nonsense. You're a man on a mission when you're at the gym. Again, it's simple: go in, move some weight around, get out. 

For now, this is enough. I’ll be posting more about gym etiquette (important) and general workout tips in their own specific sections. Only one more “Bodybuilding 101” post to go.

In case you missed the rest of Bodybuilding 101:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

First Things First: Nutrition Basics.

Last post I talked at length about how to prepare yourself mentally—which is much more important than most bodybuilding programs say—to begin your transformation. Now, moving on, I need to say there really aren’t any secrets to getting big so you won’t find here the recipe to the Magical and Secret Megahulk Elixir ™, mainly because there isn’t one. However, what you will find here is a good outline of the most important thing people take too long to understand, or never do, and give up on bodybuilding blaming their body or some similar bullshit.

I’m talking about nutrition, a word often wrongfully equaled with diet, a word often wrongfully equaled with getting a hot fire poker in the urethra. It’s not that. Nutrition basically just means feeding your muscles so they can grow after being exercised. To understand this better, let me explain the process of hypertrophy (that’s “muscle growth” in Fancy) in the simplest of terms.

Flex your arm. So maybe your arm is small and weak, but right now you need to ask yourself this: why the hell should it not be small and weak? Your arms have never before needed size or strength so why the hell would they grow? It’s not like they’re ever going to need to pick up heavy stuff, right? Your body has absolutely no reason to think it needs strength.

Remember 6th grade biology when Mrs. Price talked about some dude’s observation of some birds in some island and came up with the theory of evolution? Basically we learned that living organisms adapt to their environment in order to survive. How the hell does the body know how to adapt and to what?

But really, organisms know how to adapt and to what when they find themselves with particular needs. When giraffes needed long necks to reach them tall leaves so they wouldn’t die, they developed longer necks through a painfully slow process. Of course this is an extreme example, but it leads to where I’m going:

You need to trick your body into thinking it needs to adapt, or evolve, by becoming bigger and stronger.

You do this by working out. Your body can’t tell the difference between you lifting a pair of dumbbells for the lulz or you pushing a rock out of your way in order to reach a drink of water. If your body thinks being stronger is necessary for you to not die, and it has the resources to do it, it will become stronger. You need to capitalize on this concept, which is where the concept of “surprising your muscles” comes from. I’ll get to that eventually.

Those resources I’m talking about up there are, basically, the nutrients found in food. You can have the most brutal workout the word has ever known, the kind that would make your body think that you just straight up fought and murdered a wooly mammoth to feed your family, but if you don’t feed your muscles with the nutrients they need, you know what will happen?

Fuck. All.

This is why so many people go to the gym for months, cry, sweat and bleed on the machines, and don’t see any changes in their bodies. Trying to build muscle without eating enough food is like paying fifty dudes to build your house, but not supply them with bricks.

Yes. You need food. More than anything, you need food. Now if you go ask an expert—id est, someone who knows his shit better than I do—what kind of diet you should take on if your goal is bulking—bulking (getting big), as opposed to cutting (getting rid of fat), more on this later—they’ll give you some complicated numbers that will probably make your head spin at first.

Luckily for you, your goal is becoming huge and to become huge, you just need to eat like a monster. Of course, you need to eat the right foods, but don’t bother yourself with the minutiae of nutrition—it’s not important right now. Measuring your food and counting calories is for when you want to cut fat. Right now your body is so desperate to grow it’ll take any decent diet as an excuse to do so.

But let’s not leave it at “decent”. Let’s make a good diet for you in four easy steps.

How To Prepare Your “Phase One” Diet.

Step One. Determine your BMR.
First, you need to figure out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This basically determines the rough amount of calories your body burns every day. There is no math involved, here, don’t worry. Just go to this calculator here, fill it up, and write the number it gives you. Pro tip: bookmark this because this is a process you’ll have to do more than once.

Step Two. Determine your daily intake.
You have your BMR now. I’m guessing it’s around 2,000 calories? Anyway, you will plot a diet that will give your body more nutrients than it naturally burns; adding this to a workout plan that kicks your muscles’ ass at the gym will only give your body one choice: use the excess nutrients to grow.

Boom. You just became an X-Man. Choose your mutant name.

"Beast" has been taken twice. Watch it. 
To grow, you need to add ~500 calories to your BMR, so take that number and add 500. If it was 2,000, we now know that you need to eat 2,500 calories every day to grow. Sounds scary? Too much? It’s not, don’t worry.

Step Three. Determine your meal plan.
You’re probably eating three meals a day like a normal human being. Well, you’re not a normal human being anymore, motherfucker, you’re a bodybuilder, and bodybuilders don’t eat three meals a day like puny humans do!

No. You’re going to eat at least five times a day. Don’t freak out quite yet, though. It’s not as scary as it sounds. It’ll actually make your life so much easier (since a lot of your life now is eating). At your current BMR, eating five meals means having to eat around 500 calories each.

So are you still on board? At this point you need to eat 5 meals of 500 calories each to grow. This is very, very manageable. Naturally being more active and heavier will mean having to eat more calories a day, so wait until you’re huge and need to pack in ~4,000 calories to get bigger.

Step Four. Determine your meals.
Pictured: you.
2,500 calories a day? Easy! Just two trips to McDonalds and we’re set! Well no, sorry. Naturally it’s 2,500 calories of the right food. Here’s how you find out the right foods: nutrients are largely divided into three groups: carbohydrates, protein and fats. Only one of those sounds friendly (the almighty protein), but truth is we need all three of them. Oh, and here’s the twist:

Protein isn’t the one you’ll be eating the most. Nope. It’s carbohydrates. That’s right. You’re going to be eating nearly twice as many carbs as you eat proteins. Sounds crazy? It’s not. In fact, this is how you’re going to ratio your food:

50% should be carbs.
30% should be protein.
20% should be fats.

This means that at 2,500 calories, 1,250 should come from carbs; 750 should come from proteins; 500 should come from fats. You do your own math.

Knowing what food belongs to what group is tricky at first, luckily there are a billion resources online, not to mention apps for your phone as reference guides, to help you through. Still, I’ll give you a quick summary to give you a broad idea: carbs are fruit, vegetables, pasta, bread; protein is beef, chicken, fish, dairy; fats are seeds, nuts, olive oil, fish oil, etc.

I recommend for this "Phase One", that you focus at least one protein heavy meal to take it right after your workout. As soon as you can without throwing up.

Another thing that is important is that, although you need to keep a surplus of calories, you need to watch out and don't overindulge in certain foods. You might be aware that muscles grow through protein, but you need to know that a surplus of protein will not result in a surplus of muscle. Sadly:

Your body can only process about 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight a day.

If you take more than that it'll just end up packed into a neat brown trunk floating in your toilet.

A word on cheat meals:

You can imagine what "Cheat meals" means. It means a meal in which you cheat on your diet with a sexier diet, one that generally consists of greasy but delicious shit. As a skinny guy, you can get away with shit other people can't, but you shouldn't indulge too much. I recommend having only three or four cheat meals a week.

No wait, I don't recommend. I encourage it. Cheat meals are great mainly because if taken carefully, they don't work against your growth and they work in favor of your determination. Psychologically, it's very important to have the reassurance that, even if you have to eat this dry chicken breast right now, maybe in two days you'll be able to eat a motherfucking Royale with cheese. Until then, hold the desire; it'll make it taste better.

So there you have it. This is all you need to know to begin. Figure out your meal plan, buy the correct foods you’ll need (I’ll make a post about bodybuilding on a budget later), and get ready.

In case you missed the rest of Bodybuilding 101:

Sunday, March 3, 2013

First Things First: Preparing Yourself Mentally.

There are a million reasons why anyone would want to get bigger, and very few of them are wrong. Maybe you want a boost of confidence that you desperately need to make friends. Maybe you want to turn your body into a project to occupy your mind from crap in your life. Maybe you want to get more attention from the ladies. Maybe you want to command more respect and admiration. All common social effects from a large build.

I’m not going to Miyagi this. You have your reasons; hopefully once you grow you don’t turn yourself into the kind of douche or bully that perpetuates the shitty image weightlifters and bodybuilders already have. Just be careful and don’t lose your mind throughout this process.

So whatever your reason, keep it in mind as motivation and that’ll make it easier for you. Now, with that thought, let me give you some quick tips you shouldn’t forget.

  1. Set a goal, but not in stone.
Both are acceptable goals. It's up to you.
Maybe you want to look like Brad Pitt in “Fight Club”. Good news! That won’t take too long. Maybe you want to look like Ronnie Coleman in 1999. Bad news! You have decades of work ahead of you. It doesn’t matter. Whichever your goal is, have it clear in your head, but don’t be afraid to change it. When I started I was sure that I just wanted to weigh around 160 lbs. When I got there, I thought I wanted 180. Now I’m at 220 and don’t have any intention to stop before reaching 250, if I can. God knows what happens then. Feel every pound you gain and decide where you want to go next. You might even get too big for your taste and want to slim back down.

  1. Keep it in the down low.
This will sound strange, but hear me out. Now that you’ve decided to grow, do your best to not be vocal about it. Don’t spam Facebook and Twitter with dramatic announcements of how you’ve decided to change and will start working out. Because of shit like “Friends”, a lot of people are under the impression that ‘friendly bullying’ is a bonding experience, and there’s always some fucking asshole that will make fun of you for it. “Oh man, I just imagined your puny ass working out and it was hilarious!”

Those coonts don't realize how crushing that is to hear, so keep it to yourself at first; your body will speak volumes later.

  1. Don’t be afraid to take compliments.
If you want to get bigger, there’s a chance you’re an insecure guy, which is nothing to be ashamed of (even the hugest motherfuckers in the world have insecurities like yours). When 10lbs from now someone you know notices your growth and compliments it, take it with a smile and a thank you. You’re not a douche for being proud of your achievement. These compliments are one of the most important things that will keep you motivated. This brings me to . . .

  1. Be proud, but not too much.
When you start to see gains, make sure you feel proud of every goddamn pound you put on because it’s a badge of your effort. It’s important to always be convinced that you’re working hard for it, and that you deserve to feel good about yourself. Remember it’s great to be proud of your work, but it’s even better to also be humble. Don’t let it get to your head. Your friends and family will be grateful.

    See? Hulking nerd. As real as Batman!
  1. Never forget what it's like to be small and weak.
If a couple of years from now you’re a lumbering giant, don’t be the kind of lumbering giant that throws his weight around. A lot of people claim—and I love this hypothesis—that ‘roid rage’ is sort of a myth, and that working out just turns you into a bigger version of what you are. If you’re a skinny asshole, you’ll become a muscular asshole, and those guys suck. Wanting respect is one thing, trying to bully it out of others is a whole other one. I really feel some people don't deserve strength.

  1. Take criticism whence it's coming.
Remember when I said that muscular guys have a bad rep? Because of some very legit reasons—*cough*jerseyshore*cough*—people are way too quick to call anyone who is in shape “a douche”. A lot of people use this as a defense mechanism: convincing themselves that anyone with arms bigger than 11 inches is “a douche” is a way for out of shape people to rationalize their own poor body shape. "Well yeah, I could be big, but then I'd be a douchebag, and I hate douchebags so I'd rather just be a twig."

You’re not building a character in Skyrim here. You’re not trading away intelligence for strength. If you’re a smart guy now, why not be a smart guy who can bench press 300 lbs? Like motherf*cking Batman.

Now, perhaps the most important one:

  1. Take it pound by pound.
It might take years and years to get the body you want. Yes, it’s discouraging to think that you won’t be huge for years, but here’s what people don’t tell you: you will feel gigantic with every pound you gain. It will take only weeks before you notice changes, and that’s all you’ll need to work for the next pound. And the next, and the next, and the next.

Don’t look forward to the moment you’ll be huge; look forward to the moment you’ll be bigger than you are now. It really isn’t very far away at all.

I think these are the first mind-and-motivation tips I can give you to start out. There will be several others posted in the “Mind Flexing” section as I write them out.

Important: Read This First

Hopefully this is the first thing you read in this blog. It’s important that this is the case, because otherwise you’ll close the tab never to be back again. Now, all right, this might not change even after you read this, but hey—at least you gave me a fair chance to explain exactly what the hell I’m doing here.

The first thing I must say is that this blog has one specific purpose: to help skinny guys get huge, naturally. You won’t find here information on cutting and reducing fat, where to buy equipment, how to cycle steroids, or anything like that. If you’re reading this, you’re a small fellow looking to get large fellow.

Okay you don’t have to get Kai Greene huge. You can stop whenever you want. So if you’re still on board, let’s continue.

So here’s the deal. Bodybuilding and weightlifting in general get a bad rep, and weightlifters are often thought of as brutes whose only talent is “lifting heavy things now so I can lift heavier things later. *grunt*” Is this the case sometimes? Absolutely! I suppose the stereotype exists for a reason—but like all stereotypes, it’s mostly bogus.

If bodybuilding was as easy as lifting heavy things, every skinny guy who ever walked into a gym would become a monster, and every fat guy who stepped on a treadmill would get ripped. Consider this: how many times have people you know—or even yourself—decided to turn your life around and get fit, only to give up after two weeks because of a complete lack of results despite hours of effort and sweat in the gym?

That’s right, a metric shitload. And here’s the truth:

Making your muscles grow is easy. You don’t need dangerous or scary supplements. You just need to know what you're doing.

And you likely don’t. There are so many ways people rationalize their lack of results. "I'm naturally skinny." "My metabolism is too fast!" "I just can't gain weight!" blah, blah, blah. Bullshit. The load of it. 

This is when I get into my own story. This is me circa 2007:

The girly dude, not the amorphous blob.
I was tearing up the scale at a whopping 120 lbs. I hated being so puny, as many small guys do (and probably lie about). I had several false starts when I went to the gym for a couple of months and saw absolutely no results except maybe a bit of strength gains.

I remember in late 2009 browsing the double-u-double-u-double-u and making the decision of trying again, only this time did the thing I should’ve done ages ago: some actual fucking research. So I discovered about nutrition; specifically, the very simple rule of eat like a motherfather. I got my first "nice arms" two weeks later.

It was that easy. 
At first.

This is me at the end of 2012:

#NoFilter #JustOutOfOcean
I haven’t stepped on a scale in a few weeks, but I was somewhere around 220 lbs then; I might be a big heavier now—dunno; I don’t pay that much attention to the scale (lesson #1!).

In three years (the pic is from 07, but I started working out in 09), I gained more or less 100 lbs. I haven’t used steroids of any sort (I’m too much of a pussy for that stuff). It’s changed my life in every way, and I’ll talk about the details in due time. Am I done? No, not really. Who knows how much more I can change—I intend to find out.

So this is where I want to differentiate this from other blogs:

I will focus on one thing: bulking tips for naturally skinny guys.
Ectomorphs, hardgainers, or whatever you want to call yourselves. I don’t know squat (ha!) about cutting, cycling AAS, etc.; but I do have first-hand experience in dramatic muscle growth. I can help there.

This is aimed at the casual bodybuilder.
I personally have no interest in competitive bodybuilding. I love working out, I love sculpting my body. I love becoming stronger. I don’t much care about posing and being judged. I respect that side of the sport, no doubt, but it’s not for me—chances are it’s not for you either. You can decide along the way.

I don’t set strict rules.
I personally don’t subscribe to almost any of the bodybuilding circle jerks and conventions, and doing precisely that—challenging the cynical already-set “rules”—has given me great success. With that philosophy in mind, I’d like you to read what I write and do with it what you choose, assuming of course that you have the one goal: to grow.

To make this clearer, I don't believe in strict programs because I don't think they are much good. Every body reacts different to certain stimulus. I'd rather tell you what I know and you figure out through experimentation how your body reacts to bodybuilding, and use it to capitalize on that.

Zero bullshit policy.
I have absolutely no reason to lie to you. I’m not selling some shitty PDF. I don’t get a cent out of this blog. I won't ask for donations. I know—why even have it, right? I don’t know. I like writing, for one. But also, I know there are others out there who, like me, want to change their bodies. I can just give you the guarantee that if you learn the basics, you can take off on your own, as you learn how your body reacts to certain things, like I did.

So that’s basically it. I’m giving you something you can choose to take, or ignore. If you pay attention, at least to the basics, I guarantee your muscles will grow and you’ll see results incredibly fast—just learn from my experience and then craft your own.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Just reading this blog makes you huge*.

New blog. New topic. Same writing style. Having been through some stuff lately, I decided to finally launch "Wolf In A Gorilla Suit (In Gym Clotes)", the awkardly named bodybuilding brother of my media blog, the idea of which I had been toying with for a while.

During this following week I'm gonna start filling this bitch with some very important information, the kind I just immediately need to get out in the open to try and differentiate myself from the ten thousand trillion other bodybuilding bloggers out there. I legit believe I have shit to say about this because I've experienced a dramatic change myself, and this is shit that will probably help skinny fellows who want to change their bodies and lives but haven't been able to thanks to crappy sites, misinformed friends, and misguided instincts.

So kindly disregard this first post, and wait a little bit while I start outlining each individual column, writing the very important "About" post, and get things rolling.

*though probably not. Guess it can't hurt to experiment and just read it a lot.