Muscle-building nutrition can be overwhelming at first. How much should you eat? What foods are considered “clean”? Why are paleo and vegetarian women both healthier than average despite having seemingly contradictory dietary restrictions? What supplements should you be taking? When should you be taking them? Do you even need supplements at all?

Luckily, nutrition can also be pretty simple if you focus on the fundamentals. There are just two factors that make the difference between gaining nothing or gaining half a pound of muscle over the course of the next week. But there are hundreds of things that make the oh-so-small difference between gaining 0.50 or 0.55 pounds of muscle. If you focus on the hundreds of small details you risk struggling very hard for progress that your scale won’t even notice.

This article is designed to help you go from gaining nothing each week to gaining half a pound each week. Keep in mind that building muscle becomes harder and harder as you become more and more advanced, so we recommend learning everything eventually, but there’s plenty of time for that later—once you’re already building muscle!

So. What are those two important factors? And how can you use them to consistently gain weight on the scale, get stronger, and build lean muscle?

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We’ve given you a fair bit of information about why building muscle is so great, and also about why it can be so hard for naturally skinny women. At this point you might be thinking, okay, yeah, this sounds great—I want more curves, more muscle, and more strength—but how do I actually get started?

In this post we’re going to explain exactly how you can get started lifting, either at home or at a gym, and then give you a routine to follow for your first few weeks. If your diet is on point, you should also be able to gain 2–3 pounds of muscle while doing it!

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If you’re naturally thin, keep in mind you’re immediately at odds with the mainstream. Only 3% of people are trying to gain weight, and the majority of that 3% are probably men. You’re such a minority that basically everything you read about fitness will be wrong. Not necessarily wrong for your friends, but certainly wrong for you.

Most of fitness information or advice is either weight loss info in disguise, or exercise designed to improve the health of overweight people.

You might try the new trendy workout routine, try harder than everyone else, not get the results you want, and think that your genetics suck. Your genetics don’t suck, you’re just doing a fitness-ey program designed for people who want to lose weight and hoping that it will help you gain weight. Of course it won’t help you gain weight, but how on earth were you supposed to know that?

Someone who’s overweight probably should be on a treadmill, doing Insanity, or yoga. Overweight people have a really hard time with heart disease and diabetes and whatnot. Becoming more active and working to improve their fitness levels while burning some calories is exactly what they need.

As a result, a lot of thin women will turn to yoga, Zumba, running, Spin, etc. These seem like types of exercise that are designed to make you fit and toned. That’s not true.

These are types of exercise designed to make you fitter and smaller.

So how do you accomplish your goals in a way that suits your body type? That’s what this article is about.

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