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Being skinny sucks.
There’s no denying that.
But what’s even more soul-destroying is spending hours upon hours in the gym, eating fillets upon fillets of chicken and seeing no change on the weighing scales.
The reason I know it’s soul-destroying?
Because it perfectly described me.
Now let’s be clear…
Bulking up isn’t a walk in the park.
It’s a process that takes time, effort, discipline and ruthless consistency.
It requires you to eat according to the clock, NOT according to hunger.
It requires you to lift according to your workout routine, NOT your motivation levels.
But for some people, the above guidelines aren’t enough.
These people are known in bodybuilding community as “hard gainers”.
And if you are one, you need every possible variable in the muscle building equation to be pointing in the right direction.
This is where supplements enter the frame…
Using the right kind of supplements will create a much better environment for your body to build muscle mass.
And since using the 6 supplements mentioned in this article, I’ve been able to put on 5lb of lean muscle tissue in 6 weeks.
So I have to share this information.
Keeping it to myself would be dishonorable to my fellow hard gainers.
But a quick disclaimer before we begin though.
Supplements aren’t magic pills.
If you intend to use these supplements whilst eating 1500 calories a day and lifting weights twice a week, then you’re wasting your time.
Only when eating, lifting and sleeping properly, will these supplements deliver the results you desire.
Here are the 6 best supplements for skinny guys to bulk up…
What is Vitamin D?
Think of vitamin D as an immune system regulating hormone, rather than an actual vitamin.
By definition, vitamins are nutrients that cannot be created by the body (so they must be taken via our diet.)
However, vitamin D can be synthesized by our body when UVB radiation from sunlight hits our skin.
How does Vitamin D help you bulk up?
The harsh fact is that almost all of us are deficient in this vital substance.
But unlike most other bodybuilding related supplements, the ultimate goal of Vitamin D is to optimize health.
Optimal health leads to a better-functioning body capable of challenging gym workouts and gaining muscle.
That aside, vitamin D regulates neuromuscular functioning and impacts protein synthesis.
A study showed that people with serum Vitamin D levels below 30 nmol/l have decreased strength, weakness and muscle wasting, which of course we want to avoid.
Best Vitamin D for skinny guys
I personally take 5000IU daily since I don’t see much sunlight.
Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble “vitamin”, it’s best taken with fats to help digestion, so I highly recommend Doctor’s Best Vitamin D3 5000IU.
This is a great, effective and fair-priced supplement that you should see results with.
What is Holy Basil?
Holy Basil is a green, aromatic plant grown in the tropics that has been safely used for more than 5,000 years.
It’s locally known as “Tulsi” which translates to “the incomparable one” due to its many healing properties.
How does Holy Basil help you bulk up?
As with Vitamin D, Holy Basil isn’t your typical bodybuilding supplement.
(In fact most wouldn’t consider it a bodybuilding supplement.)
It won’t directly pack muscle onto a skinny frame, but what it will do is create an optimal environment in which muscle gain will happen.
It does this by lowering your Cortisol response, which helps muscle building in a few ways.
For example, it shifts your cortisol-testosterone axis in favour of testosterone, which as I’m sure you’re aware, will do all sorts of amazing things to help you pack on muscle mass.
It also helps to improve sleep quality, which is arguably one of the most underrated components of any bulking plan.
(Muscle is actually built when we’re sleeping/resting, so high-quality sleep is super important for bulking up.)
Best Holy Basil for skinny guys
I personally use Banyan Botanical’s Holy Basil tablets and have had amazing results with them.
Their Holy Basil tablets are made of 100% natural ingredients, certified organic and do what they’re supposed to do.
What are Digestive Enzymes?
Digestive Enzymes are compounds which help your body break down the food you eat more efficiently and effectively.
Although produced naturally in the liver and pancreas, many people (myself included) have seen benefits since taking them in supplement form.
How do Digestive Enzymes help you bulk up?
The saying “you are what you eat” has some truth it.
But a more accurate version would be “you are what you absorb”.
That’s right – it’s what we absorb from the food we eat which ultimately determines how well our body uses it.
And if you’re a skinny guy wanting to bulk up, then chances are:
- You’re not absorbing as much nutrients from food as you possibly can
- Your body needs even more digestive enzymes than normal to cope with the amount of calories required to bulk up
So whilst digestive enzymes won’t give you guns, they will ensure you get the most bang-for-your-buck out of every single calorie that enters your body.
Best Digestive Enzymes for skinny guys
I’ve had excellent results with Doctors Best HCL Pepsin & Gentian Bitter.
These capsules are super affordable, long-lasting and many people have reported great results with them too.
What is Glutamine?
Glutamine or L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the human body.
As you may be aware, amino acids are the small building blocks which make up protein.
How does Glutamine help you bulk up?
I love Glutamine – it helps with bulking in a variety of ways.
First and foremost, it’s been scientifically proven to help prevent catabolism and assist in protein synthesis.
Or in simple terms, it prevents muscle loss and helps muscle building.
For this reason alone, it’s worth using for anyone wanting to bulk up.
But there’s more…
L-Glutamine is the main food source for your gut cells (called enterocytes) and helps improve gut permeability.
By looking after your gut, you’ll have less inflammation, improved digestion and even more motivation to hit the gym.
(Believe it or not, your gut health is linked with your mental health massively.)
And last but not least, Glutamine is super effective at reducing my workout Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
This is the ultra-annoying aches and pains you have in your muscles after an intense workout.
By reducing DOMS, you can squeeze an extra workout or 2 into your gym routine which will ultimately help you pack on more muscle.
Best Glutamine for skinny guys
ON Glutamine Powder is my go-to source of L-Glutamine powder.
It’s fair priced, from a trustworthy brand and has no nasty additives, so it gets the gold star.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is an organic acid which acts as a “back-up generator” for energy to be used by the body and muscles.
How does Creatine help you bulk up?
Creatine is metabolised into ATP in our body, which is the energy currency for our cells.
Every single muscle movement requires energy, hence ATP.
So it’s vital to have enough ATP supplies during intense workouts to provide the required energy to your muscles.
In short, it helps you improve your workout intensity and squeeze out an extra rep or 2, which makes a big difference when it comes to bulking up.
Creatine is generally cheap too, which makes it great for those wanting to bulk on a budget.
Best Creatine for skinny guys
I take 5g of ON Micronized Creatine Powder after each workout, which replenishes my stores for the next workout.
This has worked exactly as I hoped it would, and I’m sure it’ll be effective for you too.
(Or if you want more information, then please check out my original review of ON Micronized Creatine Powder.)
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is a quickly absorbed protein, which is derived from whey (a by-product in cheese production).
How does Whey Protein help you bulk up?
Whey protein is the king of all protein powders.
I rate it so highly due to its fantastic score in the Biological Value (BV) scale.
This scale is a measure of the quality of a specific protein source.
The higher the score, the more nitrogen your body would retain after eating it, which helps you stay anabolic (i.e. in growth mode).
Interestingly though, most people aren’t aware of this BV scale, so they undermine the importance of a high-quality whey protein supplement.
Although I don’t endorse replacing real food with supplements, having 2 protein shakes in conjunction with your meals can only help your bulking goals.
This is especially useful as a whey protein shake is less “filling” than a solid meal, so it’s easy to squeeze these in.
(I personally take a scoop post-workout and a scoop during the day in between meals.)
Best Whey Protein for skinny guys
Recently, I’ve used MuscleTech Nitro Tech but I found this too sweet.
Therefore my gold star goes to ON Gold Standard Whey.
It tastes delicious, it mixes easily and to put it simply – it works!
From personal experience, bulking up as a skinny guy isn’t easy.
But it’s doable.
Although I do take other supplements, the ones mentioned in this article will help accelerate your progress the fastest.
In any endeavour, seeing progress as fast as possible is super important, as no progress will result in motivational issues and you’ll give up.
(Building muscle isn’t a quick process, so speeding this process is vital…)
And please be reminded that unless your diet and lifting routines are point, you’re wasting your time looking into any supplements.
Thanks for sticking to the end of this article and please let me know your thoughts below. 🙂
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.