No Nonsense Q & A with Vince Del Monte

No Nonsense Q & A with The Skinny Guy Savior Vince Del Monte

If I’m a skinny person how do I gain muscle and weight without any protein shakes or buying stuff from the net?

The same way the great bodybuilders of the 60s and 70s did it – hard work, quality nutrition, sleeping 8 hours a night and eliminating daily stressors.  Who ever said you need to buy stuff from the net to build muscle anyways?  First off you need to be prepared to eat like a bodybuilder if you want to build muscle – five to six meals a day, protein and veggies with every meal and clean carbs like yams, oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown rice, beans, fruits and veggies are the top sources.  Next, you need to find a weight training program for at least three workouts a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday is a good start.  Finally, the most important thing in building muscle is creating a mind-muscle connection which comes from proper form.  If you’ve never been taught on how to lift weights consider working out with someone more experienced or hire a trainer who can put his/her hands on you and ensure you’re working the muscles and not just moving weight.  Keep reading everything I put up on my blog too.

Which exercise should be done with proper technique to make my arms grow?

Here’s a little secret: for roughly every inch of size on your arms you gain be prepared to gain at least ten pounds of overall weight.  That’s a rough estimate.  So if you’re 150 pounds with 13 inch arms you need to climb to 160 pounds to have 14 inch arms.  Focusing on the big movements like chest presses, dumbbell presses, bent over rows etc will build up your arms but then you can always include some isolation moves to really target them.  Incline biceps curls and preacher curls are favorite for biceps.  Between the two moves you get the stretch and a peak contraction, 2 critical elements of bicep growth.  For triceps, stick to dips and close grip presses because those two moves allow you to go heaviest so you’ll recruit the most muscle mass.  Small increments each week add up over time.  Just keep plugging away and they’ll have no option but to grow.

Decline Close Grip Presses awesome way to increase arm size

Should I take a day off after a hard workout even if I don’t work the same muscles? Or would I be better off training 45min everyday working on different muscles? eg Monday Chest,Triceps,Shoulders Tuesday Back,Biceps Wednesday Lower Body OR Monday first workout , Wednesday second workout?

I could write a 300 page book just on program design options.  There are SO many and they all have pros and cons so the key is to pick one method and learn as much as you can from it.  When you’re first getting started I prefer full body workouts three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Then after six months of full body workouts we progress to a 2-day split for another six months and that might looks like: Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, Tris, Quads.  Day 2: Back, Bis, Hips, Abs.  And we rotate those 2 workouts every 2nd day for 6 months.  Then after a year of training we get you into a 3-day split.  After 6-months of a 3-day split we’ll start up on a 4-day split.  I don’t recommend 5-day and 6-day splits until you have at least 2-3 years of training behind you.  You need to scale up the volume while doing your best not to lose intensity in the workouts.  Hope that helps.

Do you have to be in a calorie surplus in order to gain muscle and if so, how much? Is there a way to be in a calorie surplus without putting on fat?

Good questions.  According to science, yes, you need to be in a caloric surplus to gain weight and muscle.  How much?  I’ve seen plans that recommend you stay anywhere from 200 calories to 1500 calories over your daily metabolic rate.  The answer lies in trial and error.  If you’re a young guy with a soaring metabolism then you might be able to afford a higher daily intake with minimal fat gain.  If not, you might have to be more cautious and conservative and start 200-500 calories over your maintenance. How do you calculate your daily caloric needs?  There are several ways of calculating these numbers. One of the best known formulas is the Harris-Benedict equation for estimating the resting energy expenditure or REE (which is the same thing as basal metabolic rate or BMR).

Harris-Benedict Equation:

For men: BMR (REE) = 66 + 13.75(weight) + 5.0(height) – 6.76(age)

For women: BMR (REE) = 655 + 9.56(weight) + 1.85(height) – 4.68(age)

That’s ONE method!  And even though it’s super fancy, it’s just an estimated guess.  You can also just take your bodyweight and multiply it by 17-22 and that can be your daily caloric needs.  Add more or remove depending on how your body is responding.

To gain muscle without fat is much more challenging but possible – you simply need PERFECT nutrition.  This will require you to get a food diary, food scale and start number crunching and weighing in once a week to monitor your changes from a oby composition stand point, not just scale weight standpoint.  I would start with “The Easy Method.”

That was my 1st fitness show back in 2005 when I placed 17th of 35 guys.  About 171 pounds in that pic.

You’ve written that cardio should be done on an empty stomach or after weight training.  If you do cardio after weight training, when should you take your post-workout supplement – between weight training and cardio, or after cardio?

By post-workout supplement, I am assuming you mean a shake with with eight branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) or whey isolate protein along with some simple carbs like dextrose or honey.  Since the body will burn carbs for fuel if it has access to them, you definitely want to hold off on that shake until you are done with both your weights and cardio.  Since that is awful long time to go without eating or drinking anything, you should have some BCAA powder or a little bit of whey protein (150-20 grams should be fine) after weights, but before you start cardio. I just throw these supplements into my gym bag and carry them everywhere.  This will prevent your body from scavenging your own muscle tissue to get amino acids for fuel, since without glycogen (stored carbs) in your system, there is the risk of the that taking place.  It’s not a bad idea to have either BCAAs or some whey protein even before an early-morning cardio session to prevent that catabolic event from happening.

When do you take glutamine and creatine, and which supplements do you consider your staples, or most important?

I always have to qualify this question because my staples today are not the same staples when I transformed from “Skinny Vinny” eight years ago.  When I gained my first 41 pounds of muscle I did it with only creatine, protein powder and a multi vitamin and some fish oils (but not very many).

Today I’m 226 pounds (as of yesterday) and I’ve been experimenting with many more supplements than I used to.  Why?  I’m curious, nothing more and I have the financial means to justify certain curiosities.  Keep note that I monitor any new supplement I take because if it’s not making a difference I have no problem dropping it.

After a few years of experimentation, my staples have increased to BCAAs, creatine, glutamine (sometimes), Greens, fish oils, sometimes digestive enzymes, glucosamine, MSM, ZMA, protein powder and of course my multi. Lately I’ve been getting everything from Seems like quite a few but most of them get mixed together at two times of the day: breakfast and post workout.  Lately I’ve been mixing creatine (5-10 grams), BCAA (5-10 grams), Greens (1 scoop), honey (2 tbsp), 1 scoop of Iso-Smooth, 1 tbs Udo’s Oil and having it within 5 minutes of waking up.  I also have this within 5 minutes after my workout.  Real food follows both those shakes shortly after.

If you want to take glutamine, you could take it up to four times daily: breakfast, pre and post workout and before bed.  Take 10-20 grams each time (I find this stuff only works at high dosages).  In terms of creatine, take it at breakfast and post workout.  In terms of BCAAs you could take them with glutamine: breakfast, pre and post workout and before bedtime at 5-10 grams a dose.

None of this stuff is necessary to build muscle but it certainly gives you an edge.  You have to understand my nutrition is almost perfect, I train at a very high level and I sleep 8-9 hours a night so these supplements help optimize my nutrition and training.  If you had to pick only one supplement to  begin with I would say fish oils.  Take 1 gram per percentage body fat.  Omega Blue is the one I’m using right now.

How do I get boulder shoulders?

My hands are getting tired so I’m going to share a video of some of my shoulder training tips with you:




Okay folks, I enjoyed those questions, keep them coming and be sure to use the “Search” feature on my blog to dig out old articles and Q & A because you may find your question already answered in detail  Some of the questions I receive have entire blog posts dedicated to the subject so be sure to take responsibility of your results by doing your own homework and research.

I’m always here for you though.  Keep kicking butt and making yourself proud!


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5 Responses to “No Nonsense Q & A with Vince Del Monte”

  1. Vince

    @Joe. Because your more insulin sensitive which means your body transfers your calories to your muscle tissue instead of your fat stores more efficiently.

  2. joe

    why do u gain musle more wen bf is down.

    that171 is my goal !! :D

  3. Vince

    @James. Natural peanut butter and jam on bagels is great too!

  4. Vince

    @James. It would be interesting to see if you stopped your heavy cardio for a week to see if you gained some muscle. You’re definitely not done growing so throw that thought into the trash. I wold focus on packing some nutrient dense foods with you: nuts, dried fruit, blend oatmeal into your shakes, fish oils, avocado and try to eat some pasta and beef each day. That will keep you growing and help you determine if it is in fact a nutritional issue. Hope that helps.

  5. James Fleeting

    Q) I have been training for best part of year, and found i had made substantial gains in the beginning as my whole body was shocked into growing, i now find im stuck at 75 kgs (bodyweight) and cant put on any more weight, is it still possible for me to develop muscle ? i eat regularly, protien shakes but im in a job where im doing heavy cardio for 3 and a half hours ( postman) so im burning it all off and cant keep weight on, any tips advice?