Essential Muscle Building Foods for Skinny Guys

Go from hard-gainer to hench AF by building mass with every bite

arnold schwarzenegger eating muscle building foods

For a bro who wants nothing more than biceps blowing up out of his stringer, being skinny monumentally sucks. You’re what the gym rats would call a stereotypical hard gainer – a strong gust of wind would take you out like a Mike Tyson right hook. You need some essential muscle foods bro.

Before you give up hope and embark on a journey to become a lame-ass marathon runner or something, listen in! What you choose to put on your plate determines your ability to gain pounds elsewhere.

Just like your chick’s Krispy Kreme addiction got her a nice fat ass, too many sh*t food choices will provide you with a p*ss poor physique.

A diet of potato chips, energy drinks and drive-thru ain’t gonna get you jacked son! Even if your ectomorphic metabolism is faster than a pre workout fueled fighter jet.

Being skinny isn’t an excuse to eat tonnes of junk food. All it’ll do is damage your delicate weedy frame, bro. If this sounds like you, it’s time to change the cycle.

What you really need is some essential muscle building get stacked. Food that’s engineered by nature to make even dollar bill thin dudes tanked-up!

Fortunately for you, we’ve listed the best for fire gains! Which also just happen to be both clean and nutritious…

Chicken Breast

chicken breast as muscle building food for skinny people

Per 100 g: kCals: 165  Protein: 31 g  Fat: 3.6 g  Carbs: 0 g

Did you know that a 3oz cooked serving of this lean white meat contains 27 g of protein? Well now you do, so make like Rocky and catch that little sucker.

Chicken breast is probably the most popular protein source among the bodybuilding community. When served up with broccoli and rice it’s pretty much the holy communion for muscular dudes.

That’s because of its super low-fat content and incredible versatility. 3 oz of the cooked stuff contains just 3 g of fat, which is optimal for building lean mass.

It’s relatively cheap in comparison to other protein sources too. Therefore it’s a good gaining ingredient for unlucky guys who’re both broke and a bag of bones.

Beef Steak

beef steak as a muscle building food for skinny ectomorph

Per 100 g: kCals: 271  Protein: 25 g  Fat: 19 g  Carbs: 0 g

If you want to become a beefcake you gotta have cow a right? Before we upset anyone’s feelings, we’re not gonna tell you what to do! But there’s a reason the all-time greats ate steak and egg in the 80s, just saying…

Because there’s no carbohydrate found in steak, a heavy majority of its calorific value comes from protein. So, as we know our bodies use it to build big ass slabs of mass, steak is undeniably a muscle food.

Not only that, but beef is rich in B vitamins, which help aid energy metabolism. If you’re planning on putting some serious iron-hours in, you’ll be needing these, so chew ’em up good.

Disclaimer: Red meat’s got a bit of a bad-rep right now but in moderation its good for muscle development. If eaten responsibly the level of trans fat and cholesterol shouldn’t have too much lasting damage.

Eggs

skinny hard gainers should eat eggs shown on this plate

Per 100 g: kCals: 155  Protein: 13 g  Fat: 11 g  Carbs: 1.1 g

Eggs are one of the go-to protein sources for bodybuilders and for good reason. These puny things are packed full of protein, good fats, and a bunch of vital vitamins.

Inside one singular egg, you’ll find riboflavin, folate, iron, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin E, B6, and B12. Simply put, they’re a nutritional powerhouse, which isn’t bad for their size.

You’ll also find the fat-shredding, muscle-building powerhouse vitamin D3 too!

Eggs are also the most bio-available muscle building macro carrying food there is. Which means the body can process the protein found in them better than anything else.

To top it all off though, eggs are considered to be a complete protein. Every essential amino acid that supports optimal muscle growth can be found in their contents.

As a skinny dude chow down on eggs for breakfast with spinach and wholemeal toast. Don’t skimp on the yolk though, because all those slippery protein, fats, and calories, are exactly what you’re after.

Bison

hard gaining ectomorphs should eat bison steak to stop being skinny

Per 100 g: kCals: 143  Protein: 28.44 g  Fat: 2.42 g  Carbs: 0 g

Ever hear that expression “eat big to get big”? Well, a bison is pretty f*cking huge, so go figure!

For real though, bison is a brilliant mass mustering meat. With a whopping 28.44 g of protein per 100 g, it trumps almost all other natural sources.

As well as being packed with protein, bison is another nutritional monster. Serve up a sizzling side and you’ll have iron, zinc, B12 and healthy omega-3 fats, staring you right in the face.

These nutrients and vitamins are important in keeping the heart healthy and raising energy levels. But, let’s not forget about zinc’s ability to raise testosterone production, which is awesome. Especially if you’re 130lb soaking wet-through and need an alpha-boost!

It is also leaner than beef, meaning less saturated fats and fewer calories in your gut. And yes, you need calories to bulk, but a leaner protein is healthier in the long run. If you’re up for splashing the cash aim for grass-fed option to avoid added fat gained sat in grain feedlots.

Salmon

salmon steak

Per 100 g: kCals: 208  Protein: 20 g  Fat: 13 g  Carbs: 0 g

Salmon is quite literally drenched in protein, pardon the pun. It also contains a tonne of healthy fatty acids like omega-3, which can ward off muscular-protein breakdown amongst other things.

Now it might not have as much protein as it’s land-based rivals but it’s a serious contender. A total of 20 g per 100 g is not to be sniffed at, especially if you’re getting bored of the chicken and broccoli routine.

One of salmon’s best features is that the omega-3 fatty acid. It’s dripping in the stuff which decreases your chances of getting diabetes or heart disease.

And whilst you might think that stuff matters when bulking, listen in. If we didn’t care about your health and wellbeing we’d say bag your surplus from slices of pizza. However, we want you to become the best version of your former self, so keep on top of your healthy fats.

alaskan brown beat catching salmon

Bonus bro points if you catch your salmon like a savage Alaskan brown bear!

Brown Rice

brown rice an essential bulking food for hard gainers

Per 100 g: kCals: 364  Protein: 7.6 g  Fat: 2.9 g  Carbs: 76.8 g

If you haven’t brown rice, chicken and broccoli’d, do you even bodybuild, bro? Brown rice is the staple carbohydrate of muscle building machines. Why? Because it’s so god damn freaking good that’s why.

Protein wise, it’s as complete as they come. It’s so legit that a study involving elite MMA fighters showed brown rice protein to be equal to whey when it came to muscle building and maintenance.

Guess you could say “grains for gains”, bro!

But aside from the obvious protein benefits, brown rice offers even more to bulking skinny’s. As a complex carbohydrate, it’s ideal for powering you through the day. Well… and hitting those heavy AF lifts, let’s not forget that.

White rice is cool but it’s lower fiber and fat content means a greater insulin spike. It just doesn’t keep you feeling as full as long.

Quinoa

bowl of quinoa

Per 100 g: kCals: 374  Protein: 7.6 g  Fat: 2.9 g  Carbs:  21g

Here we have another grain for the gains, brah.

Quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah”, is an ancient food source that has stuck around for millennia. There’s a reason its lineage goes as far back as 7000 years and that’s because it’s a body developer’s dream superfood.

Originating from South America, the fluffy stuff is rammed full of protein and healthy complex carbohydrates. It should be a go-to for any skinny guy looking to get jacked, as it keeps blood sugars regulated whilst still supporting muscle growth.

Also, just like brown rice, it kicks broscience in the teeth because of its complete amino acid profile. Now, we probably should mention at bagging all the essential aminos through the day is really important…

Getting an adequate amount of essential aminos enables our bodies to build and repair muscle. As beasts, we can naturally create a bunch of them ourselves, but some we can’t.

So if you’re looking to take your current frame and transform it, consuming the vital spectrum should be a major priority. There are 20 aminos and almost half (9) are essential, so don’t skimp on them chicken-legs.

Cottage Cheese

strained cottage cheese used for building muscle in skinny people

Per 100 g: kCals: 98  Protein: 11 g  Fat: 4 g  Carbs: 3 g

A lot love it, others tolerate it, some downright hate it. But one thing is for certain, a dose of this dairy is a fast track to getting Judy Dench.

With over 10 g of protein per serving it’s ideal for upping your daily macro intake without too much fuss. You can literally throw cottage cheese onto anything and into everything, including shakes if you dare.

As an ectomorph on a big bulk, you’re going to want to sneak healthy calories into every meal. 100 kcal per 100 g might not sound like a lot, but throughout the day it can add up.

One of the major selling points for you should be this food’s calcium content. If you were to ingest calcium, iron, and zinc, all at the same time, the body would prioritize the calcium.

Calcium must be present for us to fully relax our muscle. This translates directly into our training, as our ability to relax impacts both power production and recovery. On top of all this, calcium is crucial for maintaining strong and healthy bones, especially for ectos.

Peanut Butter

scoop of muscle building peanut butter

Per 100 g: kCals: 588  Protein: 25 g  Fat: 50 g  Carbs: 20 g

A jar of peanut butter should sit on the shelf of any skinny bro wanting to join the swole patrol. As you can see the stuff is soaked in calories due to the super high (healthy) fat content.

Because you’re looking to beat your balls to the wall metabolism, PB is awesome. Throw it onto your breakfast, snacks, and shakes, to raise the roof on your energy intake.

But it’s not just all about the numbers. Not only is the nutty spread tasty, it’s nutritious too! Peanuts contain both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are great for the heart and muscles.

PB is also rich in magnesium. A mineral that is proven to better your sleep, recovery, and performance under the bar. Together with calcium, magnesium plays a key role in controlling muscle activity. Without it, we’d face all kinds of horrible cramps and spasms.

So as someone who doesn’t naturally possess enlarged hams or boulders, you’re gonna have to work hard. That’s why it’s especially important for you to soak up any vitamins and minerals that are helpful.

Because at the end of the day, you can’t just eat yourself jacked, you’ve got to lift!

Spinach

bowl of green leafy spinach

Per 100 g: kCals: 19  Protein: 3 g  Fat: 50 g  Carbs: 20 g

Popeye was one strong ass fella. We’re not too sure what forearm routine he’d got going on, but he ate his spinach and so do we!

When you cook up a bunch of the green stuff (spinach that is), you’re effectively smashing an A-Z of vitamins. In just one serving you’ll come across vitamins; C, K, and B(2,3,6,).

But in case that wasn’t enough, there’s also a tonne of folate, fiber, manganese, and calcium in their too. Magnesium is good for reasons we’ve already spoken about, but wait till you hear this.

Folate is tailor-made for you hard gainers too. One of its roles is to convert arginine to nitric oxide inside the body to boost muscle size and strength.

If you were to grab a handful of spinach right now and throw it into your favorite dish you’d be surprised how much it shrinks. So be daring in your portion sizes and be creative where you add it into your diet.

SpotMeBro uses the good stuff to top our burgers, power up our whey shakes, and bulk up our eggs in a morning. We eat handfuls at a time and we’re effectively walking humanoids at this point.

Summary: Welcome to the Beefcake Buffet

bodybuilder at healthy buffet

Finally, a grocery list that looks more Ronnie Coleman and less Ronald McDonald! Welcome to the all you can eat beefcake buffet.

When it comes to getting a good solid bulk stretching your belt, it’s all about nutritious foods. This list wasn’t written for the gross stereotypical dirty bulker! If it were we’d have just sent you directions to your nearest Dominos and a 50% discount code.

The foods we’ve outlined here are proven to help build lean mass. Notice we said “lean” and not just “mass”. Anybody can become overweight and fat, but we’re bros, not sweaty neckbeards addicted to cheap soda living in our mom’s basement.

We’re crazy dudes that are jacked to the gills. If we lived in the ocean we’d be some kind of shark with traps exploding out of our fin – a real alpha assassin. So we don’t believe in sizing up at all costs, we’re purely about the clean gains life bro.

Finally, if you don’t remember anything else, take this away for free. You must eat in a calorific surplus with an upper level of daily protein intake. Shoot for 2 g per kg of body weight to be sure you’re piling up enough ammunition for them monster guns, son!

 

If you’re serious about adding size and joining the swole patrol, check these out…

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