It's a long answer, but trust me, it will help!
You're an ectomorph, so you need to lift weights that are at least 75% and above of your max. Ectomorphs typically have more Type IA muscle fibers (smaller fibers - like the types long-distance runners utilize), so your ultimate goal is to stimulate your Type IIB (large muscle fibers - like the ones used by football running backs and bodybuilders) as much as possible. Lifting weights that are at least 75% of your max will stimulate these muscle fibers.
Lift 3 or 4 times per week.
Also, because you have a high metabolism, don't do cardio while you're trying to gain mass.
Start by taking your lean body mass (total body weight - your total body fat) and multiply it by 20. So if you're 158 and 10% body fat, then your LBM is 158 x (1-0.1) = 142.2. 142.2 x 20 = 2844 calories per day. This is a great starting point for ectos.
Also, you should eat every 3 hours to keep the body constantly nourished so that it will grow. Each meal should consist of lean proteins, fibrous carbs, and healthy fats (except your last meal, your pre-sleep meal, should be a slow-digesting protein and a healthy fat - a good one is cottage cheese with some nuts or healthy oil).
Diet Ratios & Calculation
For most ectos, you should eat at least 1.5 times your body weight in protein. The diet math above will easily take care of that.
30% of daily calories from protein
40% from carbs
30% from fats
* 2800 calories x 30% = 840 calories
* 840 calories / 4 calories per gram of protein = 210g of protein per day
* 210g of protein per day / 6 meals per day = 35g of protein per meal
* 2800 calories x 40% = 1120 calories
* 1120 calories / 4 calories per gram of carbs = 280g of carbs per day
* 280g of carbs per day / 5 meals per day (I'm using 5 because I don't consume carbs on the last meal before I sleep) = 56g of carbs per meal
* 2800 calories x 30% = 840 calories
* 840 calories / 9 calories per gram of fat = 93g of fat per day
* 93g of fat per day / 6 meals per day = 15.5g of fat per meal
Now before you freak out, I know that looks like a lot of fat at each meal. GOOD fats are healthy for the heart, and the only way the body creates testosterone is from monounsaturated and saturated fats. As long as you're eating, even lean poultry or beef, the amount of sat fat consumed will ultimately be converted into testosterone - not deposited in your arteries or on your stomach.
I think a person should always have a "yes" list of protein, carbs, and fat. Simply choose foods from that list and be creative with your meals. For example:
* Extra lean ground beef (at least 93% lean)
* Extra lean ground turkey breast (I've even seen 99% ground turkey breast)
* Venison (deer - most cuts)
* Buffalo/Bison (most cuts and ground meat are very lean)
* Turkey breast
* Chicken breast
* Fish (virutally all fish are super lean and super healthy)
* Fat-free cheese (Kraft and Borden make fat-free sliced and shredded cheese)
* Whey protein
* Cottage cheese/casein protein (casein is the powdered form of cottage cheese)
* I don't recommend pork; maybe only if you're going to eat an extra lean pork loin
* Vegetables (virtually all vegetables are just fine; many are low in calories and high in fiber)
* Fruits (fresh only, but check the GI ratings, some are very low, but some such as dates and cherries are very high)
* Beans (any bean)
* Whole wheat breads (Sometimes, you can look for high-fiber breads; I eat one made by Mrs. Baird's that has 6g of fiber per slice)
* Brown rice (brown rice is preferred, most white rices digest VERY quickly)
* Basmati rice or Uncle Ben's rice (the 2 slowest-digesting rices on the planet)
* Dry oats/oatmeal (no sugar versions)
* Pasta (whole wheat is preferred, but there's nothing wrong with normal pasta)
* Udo's 3-6-9 Oil Blend
* Flaxseed oil
* Extra virgin olive oil
* Chili oil
* Sesame oil
* Sesame chili oil
* Sunflower oil
* Fish oil
* Nuts (virtually any nut is fine)
* Fish (most fish have a great amount of omega-3 fatty acids)
* I don't add canola oil; it's a highly processed oil. Try to avoid processed foods
I can't stress this enough. The ONLY time the body builds muscle is while you're sleeping. Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night if you want to grow.
* Your goal should be compound progression - meaning, work to get stronger EVERY week that you go to the gym. If you don't work to get stronger, you're wasting your time.
* Prior to your workout, make sure that you eat a slow-digesting carb so that you give your body a constant release of energy throughout the workout. Drinks like Gatorade will cause your strength to crash later in the workouts. I always make a protein shake consisting of whey protein, dry oats, and flaxseed oil.
* Keep your workout sessions 1 hour or less. More isn't always better.
* Have a recovery shake immediately after you're done lifting. When you lift weights, cortisol levels rise rapidly in the body, leading to catabolism (breakdown of muscle tissue for energy). Ingesting a fast-digesting carb combined with whey protein drink curves this, gives your body an insulin spike, which triggers the body to release HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and the muscle-building hormone, IGF-1. These will remain elevated for about 36 hours, so your body is highly anabolic during that time period. Great time to eat big! I have 75g of dextrose and 1 scoop (24g) of whey protein as my immediate post-workout shake.
* Your 2 largest meals of the day should be breakfast and post workout.
* Change up your routine at least every 6 weeks. This should help you avoid strength and size plateaus that are so common with most lifters.
* If you're not gaining any weight after 3 weeks, increase your daily calories by 400 (keeping the same 30/40/30 ration) and try again.
* For every 10 pounds of LBM that you gain, increase your daily calories by 400 (keeping the same 30/40/30 ration).
* I know a lot of skinny guys who fear going into the gym because they're worried about what others think of them. Just remember, almost EVERYBODY is in the gym because they are dissatisfied with their bodies.
There's a lot more behind the science of bulking that what I mentioned, but hopefully this will give you some ideas that will help you get started on your journey. I was 120 pounds and 5'7" when I graduated high school so I know how you feel! Simply put, if you you don't eat enough, sleep enough, and lift heavy enough, you won't gain muscle.
Good luck man!
Last edited by rockdawg21; 03-17-2009 at 08:18 PM.