How to NOT gain 20 lbs of muscle (aka How to resort back to being a skinny guy)The last time I left you, I was really proud about my muscle gains. I was doing well. Transforming my skinny physique. My girlfriend didn’t think I was thin anymore and was starting to really enjoy grabbing my arms because they actually felt bigger! I was a svelte 151 lbs with all the optimism in the world and looking forward to more muscle and weight gains. Skinny Transformation Project was in full force. Then it happened. It’s an excuse we can all easily fall into…a little thing called LIFE got in the way. Things got way too hectic with my life and I ended up taking a whole SIX months off of working out. No bulking meals. No working out. No weights. Here’s what happened in my life and led me to lost about 13 lbs that I gained. So in six months of inactivity, I dropped from 151 lbs to 138 lbs. Here’s my own collection things to do to NOT gain weight, and in fact lose the muscle weight you’ve gained:
- Get into a moped accident. Sustain some gnarly road rash. Become a baby about the pain and use it as an excuse to not go to the gym because your knees hurt. Luckily I didn’t break any bones, but my poor knees have some hypertrophic scarring now as battle wounds.
- Moving houses. All the packing, moving, cleaning, unpacking, rearranging. Who has the energy to do all that and cook a nice nutritious meal, nevermind finding the time to consume 3600+ calories?
- Vacationing in Europe. This would actually be a great example of how to LOSE 30 lbs. The meals and portion sizes there are smaller and more expensive. Elevators and escalators are foreign. Two feet and a heartbeat is the most common form of transportation. Staying in tiny hotel rooms without American style guest gyms to use. Once again, more convenient reasons to not eat, workout, and get huge.
- Get slammed with work. I had some success early on in the first phase of Bony To Beastly balancing work with life and my skinny transformation. But then I endured a 2 month period where work just got TOO hectic. I was regularly working 50 hours a week. The most extreme example was one 2.5 day stretch where I worked a 14 hour shift, went home and napped for 3 hours, woke up at midnight, then proceeded to work 30 hours straight. Yep, I had worked 44 out of a possible 47 hours, after already working 36 hours in the few days leading up to that. I seriously had 2 real meals over that stretch. I probably had a negative calorie deficit of 6000. Sad.
A New Year brings new motivation to gain (back) weightAh, what miracles a flip of the calendar can do for you. January 1st signifies big changes, and for many people its the start of another cycle of New Year’s resolutions. For me, it was time to get back into the program. This next 5 week block of the Bony To Beastly workout program really builds on the skills and habits I learned way back in Phase 1. With all this time off I had in between, I was only just a little bit nervous about jumping back into it full speed. But I was surprised that despite losing 12-13 lbs of weight, my strength never really decreased. I learned the proper technique to do variants of full squats and deadlifts, and found that getting back into these exercises wasn’t all that difficult at all. The memory in my muscles was still there, as doing these lifts with proper form seemed like second nature once again. Just like riding a bike, they say. This is one part where I really now fully appreciate all the time and effort that was put into the Training Videos in the Bony to Beastly members forum. I seriously love, love, LOVE these training videos. For every single exercise in the Bony To Beastly program, there is a video clip demonstrated by the fellas on how to properly perform the lift. They also include “nuggets” or “cues” on things to focus on during the lift to ensure you’re doing it with correct form. Many of these lifts I’ve never done before Bony To Beastly, so it’s really nice to see a good example of what I’m supposed to be doing. Before each phase, I’d spend some time basically studying the lifts. And as I said above, I’ve gotten comfortable with them with repetition that they now feel second nature and I can feel the right muscles being worked. My only small suggestion to the Bony To Beastly crew is if you’re ever thinking of modifying the videos, for some of the more difficult lifts, having a view from 2 or more different angles could help demonstrate it a little bit better. But as they are now, they definitely get the job and point across. Much better than trying to search on YouTube for some other grainy poor quality demonstration video.
Heavier lifts, heavier weights, leading to a heavier skinny guyThis five (or in my case, six) week stretch of the Bony to Beastly program was focused on one thing: building sheer size and strength. The hand-holding from the first phase is long gone and in place is a focus on lifting heavier (yet still with perfect form). I really psyched myself up with my workouts. After doing a tough set of squats, I’d really feel the blood, energy, and sweat. Not to mention winded as it felt like my whole body was just put through a ringer. Good thing they didn’t have me doing high repetitions this phase, as the lower number of reps allowed me to push the limit of my weights. By the end of this phase, I felt pretty proud of myself that I was able to lift 165 lbs on the Romanian deadlift with good form. (I know, that’s really light for all those other mesomorph / bodybuilders out there) while also seeing across-the-board increases in my strength on basically every lift in this phase.
Results of 6 more weeks of Bony To Beastly: Total gain 20+ lbs in weight
As you can see in my measurements chart above, in just about 6 weeks I was able to gain over 10 lbs (14.1 lbs to be more precise) to regain all the weight I lost, and then some extra on top for good measure. When I lost the weight, it looks like I lost most of it from my upper body as my leg measurements were for the most part, stable.
And now with the “After” photos. Sadly I wasn’t able to take any photos on December 31st before I re-dedicated myself. I actually think that in these photos, even though my actual weight and measurements are pretty similar to when I finished Phase 1 of Bony To Beastly, I don’t know why but I think I look a bit more athletic and fit. The definition in my muscles seem to be better and I overall look healthier and more filled out.From this front shot, as expected there isn’t much obvious difference from the end of phase 1 when I was 151 lbs compared to when I finished Phase 2 at 152.6. Mayyybeee I could make a slight argument for improved definition in the abs? Alright, now I think this photo shows a difference between phase 1 and 2. I think my back, while being about the same size, looks to have a bit more definition. The line right down my spine really makes my paraspinal muscles pop out. The dreaded IYTs from phase one make their return, but in a tougher variation, and combined with new Romanian barbell deadlifts I think really helped make my back more aesthetically pleasing. Shoulders look more rounded from the front view! There’s more shape to the anterior portion of the deltoids here. I’m somewhat amazed because the only shoulder dedicated exercises this phase were lateral raises and external rotations. Raise your hand if you were like me in years past, trying to get any growth out of the shoulders at all, slaving away with military presses, front raises, side raises, and raises from everywhich angle. I’d never really had any growth like this before. Also from this photo I think you can notice a trend of an area that needs improving and is lacking behind other areas of growth, and that is my chest. I can definitely feel more size to my pecs, but that still doesn’t mean a whole lot when you’re still basically flat chested. I know there’s a method to all this madness, but there seemed to be more lower-body centric exercises over upper body. There weren’t too many exercises that solely promoted pec growth besides some pushups and dumbbell press. I think it’s worth noting that I received a few compliments from my friends who have noticed a change in my physique. Also, they’ve noticed that my face actually looks more filled in and not as bony. I used to have a hallowed out region below my cheeks, and when I smiled, it became even more pronounced. In the newest photo here, my face looks rounder, and with my smile I think the lines and empty cheeks are less noticeable. Who knew putting on 20 lbs of muscle could alter your facial features ? As I mentioned above, here I think you can see the improved size in my shoulders. Also, you can see from this side view that despite gaining weight, over 20 lbs since when I first started , that my chest still has the same profile. I really hope I can get my chest to catch up to the rest ! What’s more important is the continue development of my glutes! I now have a man booty! All of those squats have finally paid off. From the goblet squats to the front squats in this phase (I’ve never done front squats before in my life, and was admittedly nervous thinking about doing them, but once again the training videos came through and guided me until I could do these in my sleep) I’ve definitely felt the back of my pants getting tighter and now the photos back it up. Not gonna lie, the gf loves the man booty too. Besides the scars on my knees from my moped accident, you can sort of make out the increase in size in my legs, calves, and lower extremities as well (err, maybe not, since I was wearing baggy shorts in my prior two photos) I think it’s funny too the progression of my confidence in my choice of shorts too. From when I first started, I didn’t want to show any extra skin due to embarrassment and chose the baggiest basketball shorts I had. Second phase, I’m feeling a bit better and wore shorter shorts but still nothing too revealing. And now here I am brimming with confidence wearing athletic compression shorts / underwear for heaven’s sake and letting the whole world see! haha! I swear this was unintentional and nothing I consciously was aware that I was doing until I looked at these photos now.
Things I learned from my latest 6 weeks with Bony To Beastly / my Skinny Transformation Project:
- TAKE ACTION: Pick a workout program, and jump in. Make a commitment! I highly recommend Bony To Beastly.
- Motivation can be a finicky thing. When you have it, try to hold on to it as long as you can. Motivation can keep you going through the grind and get you one step closer to your goal. When you have it, it’s a powerful force. If you happen to lose it, it can sap you of all your energy and severely detract you from your goals. When I lost my motivation for a few months, I lost 14 lbs. FOURTEEN hard lbs that I worked my ass off to gain.
- If you put your mind into it, you can regain your motivation just like that — in a snap. Re-dedicate yourself to your goals. Go back to square one and really remind yourself of WHO you want to be, HOW you want your body to look and feel, and WHY.
- Really focus on learning the fundamentals when you first start working out. Spend that extra time perfect your form on difficult compound exercises. Trust me, this will pay off. It’s a skill that you’ll learn for life. When I got back in to the swing of things, it felt like riding a bike as I was able to get back in to doing squats and deadlifts with good form because I had really practiced it from the get go.
- Like I said, motivation is a key thing. When I got my ‘mojo’ / motivation back, I regained all that weight I lost, and then some. So despite being a skinny guy susceptible to the daily hazards that try to derail you from your goal and dreams, hard work, dedication, and the proper knowledge of how to gain weight, will get you back on track.
- I really hate my stubborn chest. Here’s hoping the next phase of my skinny transformation will see some targeted chest growth.
- When I first started, I told myself that if I ever reached 160 lbs I’d be ecstatic. Now that I’m getting closer to that 160 lb benchmark…I can’t help but think and feel that I can do even better that! Who knows, maybe next I’ll aim for 170, or 180 lbs! Crazy how a little success with transforming your skinny frame can lead to you hungry for bigger, better, loftier goals. Don’t ever stop dreaming. And always aim to get better!