We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Even in overweight America there are plenty of under-developed (lacking muscle) or even scrawny (I don't mean anorectic) guys and gals who want to work on their strength, endurance, and overall fitness for life or to improve their athletic performance in some area. Chestless men and bony women.
My trainer tells me it's always an interesting challenge for him to train endomorphs (basically, skinny runner's builds) or, even more difficult, thinner or under-developed people with middle-aged guts.
People built like this will likely never have big muscles, but big muscles and functional fitness are not the same thing at all. Women, of course, can not build bulging muscles under any ordinary or non-chemical circumstances.
Weights and good nutrition are the keys to a sturdy body, but everything else is needed for balanced fitness too. A typical first-year program would be something like this:
- Weight-lifting 3 hours/wk (under age 45, 3/wk; older, maybe only 2- 2 1/2 hrs/wk with slower progress) - Calisthenics and lighter weights, 1 hr/wk - Endurance cardio 1 hr/wk - HIIT cardio 30-40 min/wk (including rests)
You can't build muscle without adding a little fat to your bones along with it. The added nutrition to support a program like this, for the skinny or the under-developed, might be something like this:
- protein and fruit shake after workouts - 2 mostly dairy snacks daily (eg yoghurt, glass of milk, some fruit or nuts) - 3 modestly-sized "balanced" (ie protein, fats+oils, moderate carbs, greens, fruit) meals/day.
This volume of food intake can be a challenge for many, so it is something to work up to gradually. For most people to gain solid (vs fat) weight, the food intake will need to match the exercise intensity.
A program like that ought to be able to build 1 lb/month of solid (not flab) gain. A 10-12 lb gain in 12 months would be a good target. More might be too much because muscle builds very slowly. Let the scale be your guide and nourish yourself accordingly. If there is a gut, it should eliminate it. A gut on an under-developed guy or gal is not useful in life except in times of famine.
Aside from being Instapulpit's completely unthought choice of rightist mascot, Rippetoe is dead flat wrong about consuming cow lactate like an overgrown child. Not that that will concern anyone on the same BS lifestyle bandwagon.
If you're skinny and trying to put on muscle mass, lift at least 3 days a week and do the following:
1. Figure out your TDEE (google it)
2. Eat your TDEE plus 500 calories every day.
3. Make sure you eat approximately your body weight in grams of protein (e.g., if you weigh 150 lbs, shoot for 150 g of protein a day).
4. Track your body weight; aim for a gain of 1 lb a week. (Adjust up or down if you're abnormally tall or short—we're already assuming you're skinny). If you're not gaining at least 1 lb a week, increase daily caloric intake by 250 - 500 calories.
5. Run this "bulk phase" for 3 months. Then take 1-2 months of maintenance (eating your new TDEE daily). If you feel too fat, do a cut for 1-3 months (TDEE minus 500 calories daily). Then repeat the whole process.
This is gleaned from the guys and gals at Renaissance Periodization and my personal experience implementing their advice. This is not a gimmick, this takes discipline, but it's what really works. If you're unwilling to do this, then don't complain about your lack of results.