So you start lifting weights. How much muscle can you expect to gain in your first few months? How much weight should you be adding to the bar each week? And how big and strong can you become during your first year? What are good lifetime goals? Or maybe you’ve been lifting for a while and you’re wondering how strong you should be by this point.
Most women are trying to get toned, lose some fat, you know the deal. They don’t want to get too bulky. That might suit their goals just fine, but it’s going to make it almost impossible for them to gain much muscle and strength.
…But what if you’re willing to gain weight? What if you want “bulky” hips? What if you want to become strong? That changes things. We can do better. Much better. In fact, I have a feeling you’re going to be pretty amazed about what you can do even in just your first year of lifting.
So, to figure out how much muscle and strength you can expect to gain, let’s break the question down into two parts:
1. How much muscle can a naturally thin woman expect to gain?
2. How much strength can she expect to gain?
Let’s dig into the science.
A few weeks from now, as you warm yourself by the hearth, you notice something growing tighter, firmer, bigger. Your living room is already packed full of merriment and there’s no room for anything more, least of all your growing stomach. But it is the holiday season—a time for feasting and family—and these things have been known to happen.
Will you need to undo a button?
If you’re worried that the answer may be “yes,” you may have stumbled upon the wrong blog.
No, it’s not your stomach. This is Bony to Bombshell. Something else is making your jeans feel tight. Something… good.
You flee from the room, knowing what’s about to happen. After all, you’d been warned. You see, I’m warning you right now, giving you plenty of time to prepare.
No, it’s not your stomach growing. It’s the rest of you. It’s everything but your stomach. And with every sip of your holiday musclenog, you can feel your clothing growing tighter. So you run, knowing that your jeans were never meant for a body this powerful. You also know that it will probably be the backside of your jeans that bursts first. That’s always the first place to burst.
You make it to your room just as your jeans are tearing open. You open your purse. You’ve got a new, larger, stretchier pair of pants ready for just this occasion. You slip them on, thanking Santa for getting you exactly what you wanted this year.
As you walk back down the stairs, a hush falls. You know what they’re thinking. You see the wonder and suspicion on their faces. How can a naturally thin woman grow so quickly? She can’t be real. Steroids? Implants?!
They flock to you, full of questions, desperate for their piece of this yuletide miracle.
“How did you do it?!”
“What’s your secret?!”
“Well,” you tell them, “It all started with this musclenog recipe I found on the Bony to Bombshell Blog.”
And yes, it’s true. In this article we’re going to give you an all-natural weight-gainer recipe that tastes like eggnog, rompope, pure power—whatever you want to call it. Not only will it allow you to build muscle at an alarming rate, it will also make it far easier to eat enough calories to gain weight. And it’s even seasonal!
(Updated October 2017) There are a few great muscle-building supplements out there. They’re affordable, healthy, safe and very effective. But good luck finding them amongst the thousands of supplements lining the shelves.
The even bigger problem is that you want to gain weight.
“Are you crazy!?”
Sob. No. We aren’t crazy, just naturally skinny.
So here’s an article about how to buy supplements with our unique goal in mind. We’ll explain the pros and cons of each, and then, if you decide to take them, we’ll teach you how.
Finally, if you hear about a supplement that’s not mentioned here, it’s likely because we don’t feel that there is enough evidence to support it yet. But feel free to ask us about any supplements you’re curious about in the comments.
There’s this movement going on where people are trying to make it more socially acceptable to have a higher body fat percentage, proportionally thicker bones, shorter limbs and a larger waist. The photo above is a good example, where bulimia.com has taken 10 female video-game characters and transformed their physiques into what they feel better represents the average woman. These “realistic” makeovers have been shared to millions of people via BuzzFeed and HuffPo, among others.
Some people argue that these aren’t supposed to be average women, they’re supposed to be legendary action heroes. Due to their world class genetics and lifestyle focused on training, you could argue that them having a lower body fat percentage is more realistic.
That makes sense, but that’s not my issue with these makeovers. I don’t think the person doing the makeover was really concerned about what made sense for the fictional character, but rather what would have the best impact on the self esteem of her fans. That intention seems good, and if this can help people with bulimia feel better about their bodies, then this is great.
My issue is that this backlash against the thin ideal is making it seem like it’s wrong to be thin.
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?
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!
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.
(Updated January 2018) In an era obsessed with getting smaller, we skinny folk, hardgainers, ectomorphs, string beans, babeshows, or whatever you want to call us naturally thin people—we’re outliers. When it comes to fitness, at best we’ll find ourselves slotted into a footnote: “Oh yeah, and if you’re naturally skinny—must be nice—you’ve got a fast metabolism and stuff so, ya know, just eat more.”
That “just eat more” advice would work fine for most people, but the fact that we aren’t most people is precisely why we’re being given that advice in the first place, and also why that advice is rather naive. For most people, eating lots of food and gaining weight is second nature. If you tell the average woman to “just eat more,” she’d be able to. Hell, she’d probably even like it (until she got fat).
What most people don’t realize is that telling us to eat more is as silly as us telling them, “Just eat less—duh.” That’s not going to solve any problems. In fact, if you go around telling people that, you’re probably going to get in a fight. (And if you’re going to go around getting in fights, it might help to build some muscle first. Luckily, that’s what this article is about.)
Anyway, I’m sure you’ve realized there’s a lot more at play here than how much you eat. And you’re right.
So what’s going on here, and what can you do about it?
(Updated March, 2015) I figure there’s no sense denying that when it comes to dating, love and relationships, well, physical attractiveness matters. We’re very visually perceptive and we infer a lot from how people look. Whether that’s right or wrong, that’s just how us humans work. The research clearly shows that whether or not people say they value physical attractiveness they still base their actions on it. Hell, even the people who truly believe that they don’t care about physical attractiveness still care about it just as much as everyone else when it comes down to who they actually date. (study, study)
These studies show that this is equally true for both men and women. Everyone places a great deal of importance on physical attractiveness. (Other very attractive traits include warmness and compassion, earning potential, etc, yet surprisingly these traits are seemingly far less important, at least at first.)
Is that the best way to pick a partner? Who knows. Probably not. However this isn’t an article about what we should find attractive, this is an article about what we do find attractive. Some of it might surprise you. Most people guess incorrectly about quite a bit of it. Just in case you disagree though, I’ll cite all my sources so that you can draw your own conclusions.
On that note, this article is long. I’ll understand if you don’t want to read the whole thing, so here’s a quick and simple trick to make yourself instantly sexier: have a drink. It will boost your attractiveness (to yourself) by 50%. This is called the reverse beer goggles effect, aka, Beauty is in the Eye of the Beer Holder. (study) Best of all, you don’t even need to have a real drink – the placebo effect is more than enough – you only have to think you’re having a real drink.
If you’re looking for a more wholesome and longer lasting aesthetic improvement, or perhaps an improvement that other people will notice too, don’t worry – that’s what the rest of this article is all about. This is an article about the biology and physiology of gut-level irresistible attraction and exactly what it looks like.
So let’s look into what’s actually optimally attractive so you can turn even more heads and drop even more jaws than you already do.