18 Aug

How To Go From Skinny To Muscular

How To Go From Skinny To Muscular

Dreaming Of The Perfect Physique

I’ve been doing bodybuilding for the past 10 years. For me, my journey towards a muscular physique started with me sitting in the bus with my high-school time girlfriend. She said: “You know what Tuomas… You would actually look a lot better if you just joined a gym and worked out.” As a reader, you can probably already imagine that a girl saying that to a 18 year old young man has some pretty serious consequences [haha]. I became obsessed with my own body. I just wanted to build muscle and become bigger so that I could feel manly and be a man in women’s eyes as well. What follows next is a story of my journey. At the end of the post I will give some general guidelines for the readers so that they can avoid the mistakes that I did and hopefully cut years of hardships from their road to the ideal physique.

From insecurity to something bigger (no pun intended)

Little by little I learned how to eat properly. I learned how to workout in a way that would allow for me, a skinny 6’4 guy, to start gaining weight and looking better by the week. The problem was that I wanted everything yesterday. That impatience at the beginning made me do all the mistakes imaginable. You know, I thought that just by eating a lot and going to the gym maybe three times a week would make my muscles a lot bigger very quickly. Well it didn’t turn out quite like that. I actually became somewhat chubby. It was thanks to all those pizzas and hamburgers I used to eat in order to get all the calories in for a day.
It took me a roughly four years years to understand how my own body worked, what types of foods I needed to eat, how I needed to train and how often I should lift weights in order to get the maximum results possible. But, after four years of not missing the gym even one time I had reached a point where my body hit a plateau and I didn’t know what to do. I had become chubby and big, but what I wanted originally was to become lean and muscular.

From lanky, thin and chubby to muscular and lean

At the age of 22-23 I got my first coach. I told him that I wasn’t happy with my progress. I had spent the last four years training like crazy and reading everything I could in the topic of bodybuilding. That had led me to a point where there was so much different kind of information that I had become confused in what would actually work for me. The coach I hired was a semi-serious bodybuilder who had competed before. I trusted him to look after my training and diet. It was time to get serious!

The intensity of the workouts was tougher than what I had ever done before. I was always on the verge of passing out or vomiting – especially when training legs. In one year I put on 30lbs of muscle, but also gained a lot of fat. See, my wish for my coach was for him to get me as big as possible. It resulted in me getting fat, since all I cared about was getting big. I figured that I could always lose the extra fat later when I wanted to. When I hit a point where I couldn’t fit into any of my clothes I finally told my coach that it was time for a diet.

We spent the next 6 months losing most of the fat, and – sadly- muscle, I had gained in the past 1,5 years. I went from a fat 236lbs down to lean and good looking 192lbs. Now I felt small again and I didn’t like it one bit! I realized that I had entered the vicious mental cycle of either being to small or too fat. I never looked good in my own mind.

After training with my first coach I tried to other coaches. One had 40 years of experience but now much theoretical and analytical knowledge while the other had 5 years of experience and lots of theoretical knowledge. The best results were achieve by me combining what the exprienced coach taught me with the theoretical knowledge of the more inexprienced coach. At the time of this blog post I’ve been hitting the gym regularly for 10 years. I can safely say that I’ve finally attained a physique that I like very much. I know how to manipulate it to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. I also understand how much cardio I need to do and what type of weight training yields certain types of results. It has been a rollercoaster ride, but one that I don’t regret one bit.

Muscular physique
(Image is fictionary)

How should you start?

I’ve come a long way in terms of doing sport and understanding about the anatomy and functions of the human body. I’m now in a position where I can help others and guide my clients towards their ultimate physique. I will list some of the question I’m being asked most of the time by beginners and intermediate gymrats. I hope these question and answers will allow for my readers to take much wanted shortcuts in their own journey.

“What is the best type of training for me?”

There is no one size fits all approach. When I start working with a new client I try to find out what makes them happy. Some people prefer doing crossfit while others love bodybuilding type workouts. The key to results is consistency. It doesn’t matter that much what the method is as long as the training is consistent and progressive. I would start anyone off with the things they like and implement workouts also outside of their comfort zone.

“How much muscle can I gain in a year?”

It depends on your training history, genetics, devotion to nutrition and overall activity level. Another big thing is which supplement are you using and whether you’re training naturally or not. People can gain a lot of muscle as a beginner. But the rate of gaining slows down as they advance through the years of training. For a beginner with a good coach and healthy eating habits I would say anywhere from 10 to 30lbs of muscle is very attainable. For an intermediate person it would be from 8 to 15lbs per year.

“What is the best way to lose fat?”

There is no single best way out there. I would advice anyone to stay away from those trendy fad diets: paleo diet, juice cleanse etc. These diets are never a long term solution. They can, however be implemented for a short duration inside of a more regular type of a diet to “shock” the body into becoming more responsive to the diet. In my exprience, and many other people can testament to this, the best diet is a consistent one that allows for high energy for your workouts. If you are considerably overweight I might start you off with a keto diet to reduce the amount of water and fat quicker in the beginning. Then transition to a medium and later a low carb diet to make sure the energy levels stay high. I personally love keto at the end of my diets. In the beginning I use IIFYM (if it first your macros) and then transition to a low carb diet before going keto. Once again, there is no right or wrong way. Everyone’s body is unique and it’s up to the coach to tune in to what that body needs.

“Is bodybuilding a lonely sport?”

Yes… unfortunately it can be. If you’re really serious about achieving your dream body in the shortest amount of time possible, it means you have to cook at home, ditch some parties and devote yourself to the lifestyle. There are no shortcuts. The more you party, drink alcohol and go out to eat the longer it will take you to get to where you want to be. However, this only true for the serious bodybuilders and fitness athletes. For the rest of us, we can take a day or two here and there and enjoy life to the fullest. In the beginning I’d advice my clients to stick to a strict diet and stay away from partying just to get used to the lifestyle. As time goes on, you can have more freedom as you know how to finetune your training to accommodate your needs outside of the gym.

“Are supplement a must?”

No. As a matter of fact most supplements don’t even work. The only supplements that I would promote would be whey protein, creatine, caffeine for diets and vitamins. Nothing else is really needed no matter what your goal is. Remember, the supplement industry is based on marketing and taking away your money for marginal gains for you. Nothing beats hard work and natural nutrition.

“How to find a good coach?”

Look for a coach that is obsessed in the things you want to achieve. Some coaches love competing and know everything about contest diets. Some know how to powerlift and some how to stay lean all year round. It all depends on your goals and what level you’re at right now. Make sure you coach has the following:

  • Time for you – The “celebrity” coaches usually don’t have time for all clients and the coaches who have a lot of time most often are not that good. Find a coach who is very good at what they do, but not the #1. I went for #3-#10
  • Scientific knowledge – Experience is good, but each body is different. If the coach’s advice is solely based on what worked for him, it might spell disaster for you. Trust me, I’ve been there. Make sure your ideal coach studies the subject and has the latest news in the industry.
  • Experience – As stated above experience is good if combined with scientific knowledge. Having more than 5 years of experience in doing bodybuilding/fitness/hiit/crossfit should be a minimum for anyone offering coaching services.
  • Price – Never pick the cheapest coach! The problem with a cheap price is that it can only be achieved by “copying” a method for every client. These types of coaches usually offer a static workout regimen and nutrition plan that is the same for every client. You might want to consider paying your coach more for customized programs and time spent face to face with you. I myself and some of my friends have fallen to this trap before and the results were horrible.

personal coach

Enjoy your journey

In the end, the only thing that matters is that you’re happy with yourself. For some it means having tons of muscle on their body. For some it’s just about energy and vitality throughout the day. Whatever your goal is, stick with it! Don’t let anyone steer you astray. The purpose of working out and going after your ideal physique is the journey itself. Ideally you’ll learn how to eat healthly so you can feel good every day, you’ll learn your own limits and surpass them, and lastly you give positive energy to the people around you. Now that is something worth going for!

If you’d like for me to coach you, take a look at the

SILVER LEVEL COACHING

Yeah buddyy!

– Tuomas

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