A Formerly Skinny Guy Shared His Secrets to Going From Scrawny to Brawny

Philip Ellis
Photo credit: Athlean-X - YouTube
Photo credit: Athlean-X - YouTube

From Men's Health

When Athlean-X's Jesse Laico began his fitness journey, he was naturally thin, and incredibly self-conscious. "I was 130 pounds when I started," he says in a new YouTube video. "I'd walk into a gym, putting 10-pound plates on either side of the bar."

He found this embarrassing at first, but soon decided that if he was going to be serious about making a change and putting on muscle mass, he had to get over it.

"I stopped giving a shit," Laico explains. "I realized we all start somewhere... It was forgetting about that embarrassment, going through the process, and learning how to do the lifts the right way. I've seen so much progress, not just in numbers but in my control of the bar." Now, he can squat nearly twice his own bodyweight, and he is in complete control of each movement.

He credits starting slow and taking the time to really hone his technique with his later successes in growing muscle and increasing his strength.

"I'm finding that my legs are where I'm getting the most gains," he says (he's grown his thighs by 3 or 4 inches). "Being in control of the weight has been huge. It's not only carried over a difference to my legs, it's carried over into all of my lifts; my overhead press has gone up, my bench has gone up, my row. I'm adding a second plate to my weighted chinups... It's adding size to my arms, my shoulders, my chest, it's adding size everywhere."

Another area that's had a huge impact on his transformation is nutrition; he cut out sweets and focused on eating healthily, although he adds that sometimes it can be a struggle to up his calorie intake on a daily basis. "A lot of skinny guys think they're eating a ton," he says, "but if you write down what it is that you ate, you find out that you really weren't eating as much as you thought. You thought you were eating like a beast, you were eating like a bird... It's something I'm working on daily."

Laico's approach has been to gradually increase the amount he's eating each day, comparing it to adding weight to the bar: try to do it all at once, and you'll fail. He also admits that at a certain point, he had to come to terms with the fact that as he put on mass in other parts of his body, his shredded abs might become a little less visible.

"It's about trying to find that right balance between size and definition," he says.


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