Lean to Mean Finale! A Summer’s Worth of Packing on Muscle and Tearing Off Fat. From Bony to Beastly.

Lean to Mean Finale, Shane Duquette, Jared Polowick, Willem

Lean to Mean was the name of our four-month “ectomorph transformation,” as we’ve learned it’s often called. We followed a different bodybuilding routine each month, we diligently tracked our progress, and we photographed absolutely everything.

2019 Update: we’ve come a long way since then. Read the updated story in our article about going from skinny to muscular.

Now, Jared and I are both “ectomorphs.” We’re naturally skinny guys, we’ve always had a hard time gaining weight, and we have a lot of trouble eating the sheer volume of food in most bulking diets.

However, to make things more interesting, we added in a control group. Or, rather, we added in an average overweight guy who was trying to lose weight. His name is Willem, and he started his journey last year when we planned out a diet that helped him lose twenty pounds in a single month. (More on that in our article about how to lose fat.)

Jared and I, skinny ectomorphs that we were, decided to do a hypertrophy training program designed to help us gain muscle. Willem, on the other hand, decided to be more physically active and do more cardio.

So, what we’ve got here are before and after pictures and measurements. We’ve all gotten bigger. We’ve all gotten leaner. And we’re pretty happy with our results. We’ve gone from Bony to Beastly (or at least we’d like to think we did) in just one summer.

Shane’s Ectomorph Bulking Transformation

I’m a naturally skinny guy, and I’d been underweight for my entire life. The before picture to the left is actually my best effort of trying to be a beast (mane and all) after sporadically trying to gain weight for years.

In fact, even in my before photo, I’d already accomplished my goal of gaining twenty pounds. I’d gone from 130 up to 150 pounds during the previous summer. I’d already gotten my newbie gains.

After working out for another four months this summer, I went from 150 pounds up to 170 pounds. The weird thing was, it felt like I was still making newbie gains. I later realized that because I had started off so underweight, I was actually able to build muscle pretty quickly!

Skinny guys who have a hard time gaining weight are often called “hardgainers,” and I took that to mean that I would have a hard time gaining muscle. It turns out I was getting my terminology mixed up, though. Guys who respond poorly to lifting weights are called non-responders.

A hardgainer is someone who has a hard time eating enough calories to gain weight. Now, not eating enough calories will certainly ruin a good bulk. However, provided that we can eat enough calories to gain weight, hardgainers are able to build muscle just fine.

Once we figure out how to eat enough calories to gain weight, hardgainers can usually build muscle faster than the other body types.

Before and After Photos and Measurements

A before and after photo of a skinny ectomorph bulking up.

My before and after pictures were taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The lighting set-up is as identical as we could get it in both photos as well, but there are some large windows to the right of us throwing out different lighting. We also bulked up the quantity of furniture in our office.

  • Neck: 14.25″ to 14.5″
  • Shoulders: 43.5″ to 47.5″
  • Bicep: 12.25″ to 13.25″
  • Chest: 37″ to 38.25″
  • Waist: 30″ to 29.25″
  • Hips: 36″ to 37.25″
  • Thigh: 18.75″ to 21″
  • Calf: 13.5″ to 14″

Then, just for fun, we tossed on some fancy lights and flexed our hearts out to see how that would change things.

Ectomorph Bodybuilding Poses

Skinny bodybuilder flexing his abs
Ab flexing pose.
Skinny bodybuilder flexing his back muscles
Back double biceps pose. I forgot to bring my biceps, though.
Ectomorph bodybuilder flexing his biceps
Front double biceps pose. Again, I think I left my biceps at home.
Ectomorph bodybuilder most muscular pose.
I’m not sure what this bodybuilding pose is called.
Here’s another ambiguous bodybuilding pose.
The most muscular bodybuilding pose.
The coveted lat spread, done without having lats.
Side flexing pose.
Side triceps pose.

Jared’s Ectomorph Bulking Transformation

Like me, Jared has a naturally skinny ectomorph body type. He was a hardcore singer, too, so it always seemed to suit him. He wasn’t happy about it, though, and he especially wasn’t happy with his crumbling posture.

Jared was also starting to worry about his health. He’d started struggling with tendinitis in both wrists, and he was having trouble doing his design work due to the pain. It had been getting worse, too.

So Jared’s goal while bulking up wasn’t just to build muscle, he also wanted to improve his general health and overcome his chronic pain issues.

Before and After Photos and Measurements

  • Neck: 13.75″ to 14.125″
  • Shoulders: 38.75″ to 41″
  • Bicep: 11″ to 12.5″
  • Chest: 33.75″ to 35.25″
  • Waist: 27.5″ to 29.25″
  • Hips: 35.5″ to 37″
  • Thigh: 18.75″ to 21.875″
  • Calf: 13.75″ to 14.875″

Ectomorph Bodybuilding Poses

Skinny guy flexing
Jared flexing his abs.
Ectomorph flexing his back muscles
Back double biceps pose.
Hardgainer flexing his muscles.
Front double biceps pose.
Ectomorph flexing his muscles.
Unnamed front flexing pose.
Ectomorph doing a most muscular pose.
Most muscular bodybuilding pose.
Skinny guy doing a really weird pose.
Rear lat spread pose.
Skinny guy flexing his arms.
Side flexing pose.
Skinny guy flexing his triceps.
Side triceps bodybuilding pose.

Willem’s Endomorph Fat-Loss Transformation

Check out how muscular Willem is without ever having lifted weights. He’s got more of an endomorph or perhaps mesomorph body type. He’s just a naturally muscular guy (with surprisingly poor posture for someone with such impressive abs).

I remember looking at before photos like this and wanting to tear my hair out. Well, I wouldn’t actually ever tear my hair out. It’s the only thing hiding my skinny neck. But you know what I mean.

Here’s how Willem’s body changed after a year of spending all day on his feet planting trees in British Columbia:

Before and After Photos and Measurements

  • Neck: 14.25″ to 15″
  • Shoulders: 45″ to 46″
  • Bicep: 14.25″ to 14.5″
  • Chest: 38.5″ to 38.25″
  • Waist: 32.75″ to 32.75″
  • Hips: 39.75″ to 39.25″
  • Thigh: 22.5″ to 21.5″
  • Calf: 15.5″ to 15.25″

Endomorph Bodybuilding Poses

Ab flex bodybuilding pose.
Back double biceps pose on tippy toes.
Front double biceps bodybuilding pose.
Mysterious front flexing bodybuilding pose.
Most muscular bodybuilding pose.
Quasimodo bodybuilding pose.
Side flexing bodybuilding pose.
Dramatic triceps flex bodybuilding pose.

Our Progress Since Then

This summer was a turning point in our lives. Not only did Jared and I start up our design studio (Foxhound), but we also went from being skinny and sedentary to being strong and active. In fact, transforming our bodies like this inspired us to see what else we could do.

I went on to gain 65 pounds overall, going from 130 pounds up to 195 pounds. Jared went on to gain 55 pounds, bulking his way up to 185 pounds.

We posted our bulking transformations online, other skinny guys started emailing us for help. We teamed up with a renowned strength coach, Marco Walker-NG, BHSc, PTS, and the three of us built a whole community around helping naturally skinny guys gain weight: Bony to Beastly.

In fact, our bulking site for skinny guys saw such success that we wound up creating a second site for naturally skinny women who were trying to gain weight: Bony to Bombshell.

Then Jared decided to create a general fitness website to help people improve their health and appearance. He called that website Outlive.

Most recently of all, Marco and I made a site for intermediate lifters who aren’t skinny anymore. After all, Bony to Beastly and Bony to Bombshell are technically for “bony” people, but within a couple of months of starting to bulk up, we cease being bony forever afterwards. We wanted to create a website for people who were already in the habit of lifting weights, who already knew how to build muscle, and who wanted to continue making progress. We called this new site Outlift.


  1. Brent on September 4, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Hey, first off I want to say great work from all of you. What type of workouts did you guys follow? I look like Shane does in his before pic. Im about to start a strength training program just curious on what you did.

  2. W. Shane Duquette on September 4, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Hey Brent,
    We switched our program every month and made tweaks to our diet throughout the process, so I can’t give you just one answer. We had great success with our first month’s workout plan, though, and we spell it out in a video.
    We’ve documented everything we’ve done and we’re analyzing the data constantly to see what’s giving us the best results. Soon I’m hoping we’ll be able to come out with a full-fledged program that includes everything.
    Here are some quick basics to our program:
    A) Heavy strength training. 1-7 reps on most exercises.
    B) Big lifts are the most important: squats, deadlifts, bench press, chin-ups & standing military press.
    C) So far a triple split has produced the best results. Legs one day, back and biceps next, then chest, triceps and shoulders last. Three one-hour workouts per week. We’ll be experimenting with a four day split, and two full-body workouts per week as well. We’ll see how those go!
    D) Explosive contractions with good form with a slow eccentric motion. 1/0/3-5 tempo. We’ll be experimenting with slow and super-slow lifting soon.
    If you want workout tips, we’ve written our five best ones here.
    If you have any other questions I’d be happy to answer them. The more specific the better!
    You’ll be big in no-time!

    Subscribe (bottom left of page) and we’ll keep you posted when we get all our workout information out there.

  3. Fail on September 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    great job guys. glad to see some hope for ectomorph guys. yet i’m full of admiration and envy at the same time.

    8 months ago, when i first started working out, i was 5ft10 148lbs. i could barely manage 2 pullups, and my max for bench press and deadlift were roughly 70lbs and 90lbs respectvely.

    now, i can do 9 deadhang pullups, 130lbs bench, and 180lbs deadlift. and my weight? still freaking 148lbs! after 8 months of hard work, i freaking look exactly the same as when i first started! to make things worse, i’ve hit a plateau for the past month and i can no longer go any heavier or improve my pullups.

    am i a gonecase? i pray you tell me there’s still hope…

  4. W. Shane Duquette on September 6, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Haha you aren’t a ‘gonecase’!
    A) The scale is a good tool to use to determine if you are getting heavier, but it isn’t the best tool out there to figure out if you are getting more muscular. Even scales with BIA don’t do too good a job of figuring out the difference between water weight, muscle weight and fat weight. The mirror is a better tool. I mean, do you really care if you weigh 175lbs? Or would you rather look the way you want to look?
    B) Sounds like you’ve had amazing progress in the gym! Some of this can be attributed to getting accustomed to the exercises. Generally you can go a few weeks with a new exercise and improve drastically each week. My leg press results are still going up by 30+ pounds a week but my legs aren’t actually getting that much stronger, they’re just getting used to the new exercise. It takes a while for them to do it at full capacity and for me to figure out how hard I can push myself at it.
    C) If you aren’t gaining weight turn to your diet. Eat more! And eat well. Lots of lean protein, lots of EFAs (olive oil, flax oil, almonds, avocados) and lots of healthy carbs (legumes, whole grains, oats, vegetables). I’m sure you’ve heard it before and I know it’s not as simple as it sounds. Progressively cut out the bad foods you eat while at the same time steadily increasing your calorie count.
    D) Make sure to avoid overtraining. Go to the gym and give it your absolute all, but only do it a few times a week. 2 times if you’re doing full body, and 3-4 if you’re doing splits. Keep the workouts short, too (under an hour). What might be happening is that you’re spending too much time in the gym (breaking up the muscle) and not enough time building the muscle.
    There’s definitely hope! You’ll be big in no time.

  5. Billy on September 13, 2010 at 12:09 am

    These pictures remind me of the old pictures of men in the 50s who wore those bathing suit shaped body builder leotards.

    You have two more months of getting bigger and then its back to skinny, yeah?

    • W. Shane Duquette on September 13, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      50’s men in leotards? While that imagery is pretty damn cool . . . we aren’t wearing leotards and the pictures are in vibrant colour! You’re crazy, Billy 🙂
      We have as many more months as it takes, but our next major milestone is at the end of December. We’ll have another major shoot then. Back to being skinny? We aren’t planning on reversing our results!

  6. Billy on September 15, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    “Back to being skinny? We aren’t planning on reversing our results!”

    This is news. I guess you forgot to mention when you changed your mind.

    “You’re crazy, Billy”

    It’s because of the poses, I think. I haven’t ever seen like recent body building competitions because they are frightening, so I associate it with those old black and white videos.

    • W. Shane Duquette on September 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      You don’t think my head would look good on Jay Cutler’s body? 😉

  7. Matt on September 17, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Hey guys, amazing and inspiring results. I’m almost 19 and I’m 146lbs at 5’10. I’m just about to start university and joining the gym. I consider me an ectomorph but I’m not too skinny just quite slim. My metabolism is cray and I can eat well over 2600 calories without gaining weight! Looks like I’m going to have to stuff my face…

    • W. Shane Duquette on September 19, 2010 at 3:21 pm

      Hey Matt,
      Nineteen’s a great age to start! Get your ideal muscle mass now and it will stick with you for the rest of your life. Up your calories by 200-500 calories per week until you’re gaining the weight you want to weekly. 0.3 pounds of muscle per week, depending on genetics, is a good amount to shoot for. 1-1 muscle-fat is a good bulking ratio, so 0.6 pounds per week may be enough. When just starting to train though you can put on muscle much quicker—it’s affectionately called “newbie results”—so you can aim for an even higher number. Up to 2 pounds per week. I wouldn’t go higher than that.
      Good luck! Be sure to take good before and after pictures and update us as you go!

  8. Matt on September 17, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Oh I forgot to say, my body is almost exactly your starting body Shane.

  9. Billy on September 20, 2010 at 11:24 am

    I didn’t know who Jay Cutler was but, I looked it up and now that I do I can honestly say that no, it would not. Since when has the decision to stay big and muscley been anyhow? Is it because you feel healthier/enjoy the lifestyle or because of aesthetics? I’m just surprised.

    • W. Shane Duquette on September 20, 2010 at 11:41 am

      I’ve always wanted to be bigger, Billy! Did you read the blog post?
      I was kidding about looking like Jay Cutler. We’re aiming for Ryan Reynolds/Brad Pitt.
      We do feel much healthier, stronger, more energetic and we quite enjoy the challenge.
      Having a goal and going for it I find really enjoyable.

  10. Brendan on September 28, 2010 at 8:12 am

    The lack of hair on your bodies is disturbing.. haha

  11. W. Shane Duquette on September 28, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Believe it or not, I didn’t shave. If you look closely you can see a couple of chest hairs.

  12. Billy on October 4, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    The coveted 15 chest hairs.

    • W. Shane Duquette on October 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm

      I’ve been trying to maximize my natural hormone production (testosterone, HGH, etc). At first it gave me a bit of acne, but that soon passed. More importantly, it’s increased my chest hair count. I’m up to at least 20. Sadly still not enough to create a rug that’s visible from the pictures.

  13. Marthy on October 11, 2010 at 5:21 am

    Talented creative professionals with ripped, buff bodies? You’re everything I ever wanted to be! Dang!

  14. Matt on October 18, 2010 at 5:48 am

    Hey guys, it’s been a month since I’ve posted and I’m settled in at university now, I’ve been on a new bulking diet for a week now and been going to the gym 3 times a week. So far I’m getting so decent results early in. I fell ill only 10 days ago and lost some weight (not good for my body type) I looked terrible. After my recovery even after 3-4 days I’d regained my lost weight and then a week after on my new diet and weight training regime I’ve put on about 2lbs and I can tell. My arms are wider and my chest is more pronounced… it’s so much effort counting calories and macro nutrients but it’s well worth it.

    Your blog/video was my inspiration for starting my bulk journey. I hope to keep it up and I’ll try post here every month or so.

    All the best,


    • W. Shane Duquette on October 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm

      Awesome Matt. We recently got sick too, actually. Managed to keep on most of our weight and went back to the gym stronger than ever. Definitely set us back though. Glad to hear you’ve recovered well.
      Calorie counting is a pain, yeah, but eventually you’ll get good enough at it that you’ll have all of your regular meals memorized. And then it’s really easy. We count calories every now and then to make sure we’re still on track, but we mainly do it intuitively now and manage to hit our marks.
      Make sure to take before pictures! You’ll regret it if you don’t when you’re all bulked up. Grab yourself a gravatar too!
      Looking forward to your next update!

  15. Jared Polowick on October 18, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    I’m sick (again) and going to the gym seems to make my immune system temporarily not as strong, so I’m taking a few days off. Glad to hear you’re back at the gym though and seeing some real progress Matt.

    If you get sick again, just try and keep up with the number of meals and make sure to get a lot of Vitamin C which I’ve read is recommended to have at least 100mg a day when you’re training (and even more when you’re sick).

    I hope you measured and took some pictures as Shane suggested, it really does help motivate you and makes for a good story when you show friends.

    Good luck with the rest of bulking!

  16. sergio on January 24, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    hey i’m portuguese but i’ll try speak in english, first, congratulations about your great job. I am ectomorph too and I’ll try your 1st month workout plan and I have some questions to you: in your workout movies you usually spoke about sets but never about reps, why? Then how many repetitions should I do? And why you change workout plan every month?
    p.s Shane you are looking much better 😮

  17. Breonna on February 2, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Looking good boys. The oily bodies are a plus.

  18. Joe on February 9, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Did you find when you started doing deadlifts that your lower back was aching more than your legs ? I dont know if its down to my form but my backs always worked alot more than my legs

    • W. Shane Duquette on February 10, 2011 at 12:53 am

      A heavy deadlift should look like this. If you’re worried about your form get one of the people that works at the gym to come take a look. I wouldn’t worry about your back being sore though. If you watch that Youtube video you’ll notice that he’s obviously putting a lot of work into flexing his back. The deadlift is, after all, primarily a lower back exercise. It should feel sore in the same way that your pecs feel sore after you bench. If your form is pretty good don’t stress about it.

  19. altie on February 15, 2011 at 4:03 am

    Would be interesting to see how an overweight person would end up on the same plan.

    Grats on the progress

    • W. Shane Duquette on February 17, 2011 at 9:54 pm

      I’m curious as well! I’ve heard that massively obese people have tremendous success gaining muscle while losing fat, because their situation is so extreme. For people that are moderately overweight it’s often best to pick one goal or the other—cut then bulk or bulk then cut.

  20. Nick D on March 3, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Great work. How tall are you guys and how much weight have you gained?

  21. W. Shane Duquette on March 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Jared’s an even 6 feet. He went from about 141 to 155 during the four month period. He’s at 166 now.
    I’m 6’2. I initially started at 141 as well, but by the time we started this program I was 152. My before picture is at 152. By the end of the four months I was 162. Now I’m at about 171.
    Tough to judge based just on weight alone though. We both ended up with much less fat than we started with, so our muscle gains are probably several pounds more than the simple difference. Hard to say.

  22. Aaron on March 12, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Wow you guys give me alot of motivation, my body type is just likes shanes but skinnier, im 6’3 and 138. I hate being this skinny i wish i could put on weight i just need a gym account, you guys should let me move with you for 1 year. im a cool dude

  23. Dan on April 7, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Great site, guys. Amazing information on gaining muscle and losing fat. But once you’ve reached your goal, I was wondering what you’ve come across as the most efficient diet and exercise to maintain those gains? And what are you up to now?

  24. Alex on April 10, 2011 at 2:14 am

    I think I’m in love with you.

  25. B. on April 17, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Hi Shane and Jared,

    Thanks so much for posting these; you guys really are an inspiration! I’ve been scrawny nearly all of my life.

    In January I started following the Freak to Geek protocol in Tim Ferris’s 4HB, and I was seeing some good gains, but I started getting a pot belly!

    Do you have tips for gaining and cutting? Or a reference where I can read more? I’m a complete newby, so even just the titles of books I could read.

    Thanks again!

  26. W. Shane Duquette on April 17, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Hey Dan, good question. That was a big concern of ours when we first started, but after our four month program we found it relatively easy to maintain and improve upon our gains. The most important thing is maintaining a relatively good diet. If you starve yourself your body will be forced to get rid of muscle, but otherwise even hitting the gym twice a month is enough to prevent muscle atrophy.
    That said, Jared and I find we feel better if we go to the gym more regularly, so we’ll go 1-3 times a week, depending on the program. Every month we commit for a new month and then re-evaluate afterwards and adjust accordingly. We have alcohol fairly regularly, we have lots of cheat meals, and we’re much more casual about everything — although we always eat a protein packed breakfasts. We’re still slowly growing, getting stronger and experimenting. The maintenance part is a breeze if you can get through the dramatic change part 🙂

  27. W. Shane Duquette on April 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Hey B. 4HB is an incredible book, but even though it seems like it’s supposed to be, it didn’t seem to me like a beginners book. I’m guessing that your pot belly is due to one of two things: too many calories, or an improper diet. It could be both. Jared and I are planning to put together a guide for people like us. There isn’t one up to date source that covers everything properly. I’m not the biggest fan of Tim’s sarcoplasmic hypertrophy routine. Jared and I responded dramatically better with more of a strength based program that resulted in myofibrilar hypertrophy. If the workout part is going well for you though, the cure to the pot belly will come from the nutrition side. Scrawny to Brawny has a great nutrition section. I’d grab that.
    As far as cutting goes, I wrote a blog article on it! It should have everything you need. Combine it with your current workout regimen so that you can maintain and monitor your strength as you get rid of the fat.

  28. W. Shane Duquette on April 17, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Alex, that’s an issue we often encountered during our Lean to Mean program. We haven’t found a solution for it yet! 😉

  29. Harsha on April 18, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Wow! This is SO AWESOME! Thanks guys for doing your homework as well as mine 😀

    When does Phase 2 start eh? Can’t wait to see a bulkier form of Jared 😀

  30. Arthur on May 7, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Very impressive results to the three of you.

    1) Would you list the supplements you took?
    2) How is it all going now?
    3) This is more of a comment in response to an earlier comment of yours: The data does not completely support the theory that soy protein reduces testosterone levels. In fact, a 2004 double-blind study sponsored by the US National Dairy Council (they wouldn’t have been happy) found that there was no difference in the effect of whey and soy protein on lean muscle mass and testosterone levels in a sample of male participants after 12 weeks. Casein on the other hand is known to be a carcinogen in rats, promoting rapid tumour growth, which may be worth keeping in mind.

  31. W. Shane Duquette on May 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    1) It varied from month to month. We tried to experiment with all the arguably effective/legal ones. We almost always have whey on hand and caffeine, while not directly related to muscle growth, we have now and then. Glutamine we’ve gone on and off of. Jared notices reduced muscle soreness. I can’t tell the difference. We tried creatine as well, which also worked great for Jared. I’m a non-responder so I wasn’t using it.
    2)Things are going great now! We’re more muscular than ever, feel great, have lots of energy, no food cravings, and our lifestyle is really easygoing. We go out, drink, party and travel and our bodies hold out fine. I feel way more confident and happy with myself too. I like how I look and I’m so glad I made the change. Maintaining and slowly improving is easy and enjoyable.
    3)I knew about the casein study, but with the amount of casein they were feeding the rats I don’t really trust the results. I’ve been keeping my eyes open for new studies though. About the soy protein… Interesting. I’ll look into that. Thank you for the heads up! I believe the main concern with soy though is not decreased testosterone levels but rather increased estrogen levels.

  32. Robert on July 17, 2011 at 1:25 am

    Hey! We want to see mooaar! Updates!! I’m sure it’s not news to you but I, and I think many others, discovered Foxhound purely because of your Lean to Mean videos/articles/etc… keep it up!

    I’m about to start my own transformation this week, so I thought I’d let you know that you guys have been a huge inspiration in my decision to do so. It’s a relief to have people who seem real and trustworthy to observe and learn from. Right now I’m 5’11” 142 lbs and looking to change that. Wish me luck.

    • W. Shane Duquette on July 18, 2011 at 7:54 pm

      I’m so so glad that you find this inspirational 🙂
      Good luck! Be sure to take before pictures. You may soon forget how thin you used to be! I know I can barely even believe that I haven’t always been this way.
      If you have any questions we’d be more than happy to help in any way we can. Comment on the blog or shoot us an email!
      And we have a few half finished blog posts that we’re pretty excited about that should be coming out soon 🙂

  33. Dan on August 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Nice gains guys! I’m just wondering though, how did you workout the sets/reps?

    • W. Shane Duquette on September 6, 2011 at 8:43 pm

      Hey Dan,
      We posted a semi-instructional video after our first month of training (during which we saw tremendous gains) that explains what we did in a fair amount of detail. Check it out and if you have any specific questions I’d be glad to answer 🙂
      My best,

  34. […] Popular Posts Lean to Mean Finale! A Summer’s Worth… […]

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  36. Frank Hernandez on November 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Nice job guys. I myself have lost about 50 lbs this past 10 months. I used P90X and just am now finishing up INSANITY. Diet is a HUGE part of the equation. Keep rockin it out guys.

    Oh and by the way……..AWESOME job on the site you guys built for me. You definitely ROCK for sure.

    All the best,


    • W. Shane Duquette on November 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm

      50 pounds?! Woah that’s awesome! Congrats!

      And we’re really glad you like it 🙂

  37. Mr. Kita on November 30, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    The muscular guy. I want to be like them 😀

  38. marketbie on December 14, 2011 at 2:16 am

    A good block. Everyone should exercise the same muscles for you.
    Yes, I like

  39. gabriel on January 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Inspiring pics. I´m 49 years old, 5´10″ and never weighted more than 115 pounds… My stable weight is 110 so figure out… your begining pics are fat compared to mine!!! I´ve done about everything being in good health as I am but seing your results I´ll try again. Congrats!

  40. shingi on January 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    guys i just wanna know what was typical day diet ? and your weeekly workout routine ? i just started gym and i wanna pump hard for summer time . just need your help
    thank you

  41. Love Hissom on January 5, 2012 at 2:02 am

    It’s good to see someone else who thinks like I do. With so much ignorance in the world these days it’s nice to know there’s someone out there who isn’t an idiot.

  42. will on March 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    found you guys off bodybuilding.com and i wanted to see if willem had any tips for me before i go planting in bc. i wanna maintain my mass…planning on taking BCAAs before i head out each day along with glutamine and whey and probably some extra snacks…i have a high metabolism and im an ectomorph so i dont want to loose all my hard earned muscle!

    thanks hope to hear from ya

  43. Willem on April 1, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Hey Will.

    I guess one of the first things is that you compensate the amount of physical labour you are doing with the amount you eat. This means eating a LOT. From my experience, I was eating between 6-8k calories a day!.

    There should be a lot of food at camp, and take advantage of that. Definitely extra snacks are great, because you’ll find as much as you can eat, your body will be loving to burn off anything it can. I took whey for about 2 weeks but found it easier to just get seconds of camp food (we had a great cook).

    I know this doesn’t really fully answer your core question, how to MAINTAIN mass. Honestly, you will be doing a lot of sustained high level physical labour, so eat like a bear, drink water like you were born a fish, and worry the most about staying healthy and balanced.

    A big opportunity that tree planting can give you is to take that hard earned muscle and also convert any and all fat you have to make you a lean, mean, muscle machine.

    On a tangent, when I was planting I ended up making a list of gear to bring, its pretty extensive, even to to the point of a little overkill, but its a great reference:


    Happy Planting!

  44. […] gains through solid and natural workout and nutrition plans . We blogged about the process on our design studio blog as we progressed and got a lot of attention. Fast forward nearly two years and we’ve […]

  45. Abebe on August 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    You guys are awesome. I’m an ectomorph too and an Ethiopian one at that (we aren’t known for being muscular). I’ve been dead set on splitting different muscle groups throughout three days. It took me four years working out with the football team in highschool to get from 145 to 155 lbs. Now over the summer I’ve gotten to 162 by eating a lot more without changing my workouts. Now I hit a plateau so I’m gonna try the full body workouts you suggest. I’m eighteen and six feet one inches. Do you think I’ve hit a weight at which I won’t see much more gains with your program?

    • W. Shane Duquette on August 11, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Not at all! Coming off a plateau is actually a great time to start a new program. You might not see 30 pounds, like some of our relative beginners do, but you’ll still see fantastic size and strength gains and a sweet athletic performance boost.

      You’ve probably got another 20 pounds in you until your gains really start to level out 🙂

  46. Abebe on August 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks. Also I forgot to ask if leg press would be okay instead of squats. I tried squats for a while but once I got to heavier weights my lower back hurt and I couldn’t stimulate my legs enough. would the anabolic hormone production be impaired?

    • W. Shane Duquette on August 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Oo squats are much better—but we’ll teach ya how to squat without your lower back hurting 🙂

      Our squat videos are pretty in-depth, and once you get the form nailed you’ll do great. If for some reason you still have issues we can figure out difference exercises.

  47. truth teller on March 26, 2013 at 8:48 am

    if anyone believs this to be genuine needs their eyes tested. All they have done if anything is lost 1% of fat considering they are already skinny and the rest is lighting and tensing. clearly the photos on the left are darker and the people and standing losely and pretending to be sad. where as the after photos are brighter they are standing more up right and are tensing.

    please tell me what the difference is in teh Jareds photos? i mean really people are so gullible maybe they deserved to be fooled by this.!

    • W. Shane Duquette on April 23, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      Hey man you should check out the YouTube videos! I agree – with photos it’s very hard to judge. We tried to keep it as consistent as possible, but you’re right – they aren’t identical (although the lighting, time of day, and effort spent flexing are). In the videos though you can see us moving around and taking measurements – big different between the before and after!

      Hope that helps 🙂

  48. truth teller on March 26, 2013 at 8:53 am

    tell me why are the after photos taken with proper lighting etc and the before photos are in a dull room with little lighting?

    they all seem pale in the before photo and some how have colour in the after one.

    also look at willem he is standing with a slight bend in the before and tensing in the after

    seriously these gimmicks anger me the way you can fool people and lie just amazes me!!

    theses have got to be the most obvious fraud photos out there

    • W. Shane Duquette on April 23, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      Try looking at the legs! Hard to fake adding a few inches there.

      As far as posture goes, I think improving posture is a big part of any physical transformation! It’s not all about muscle and fat – posture plays a huge role 🙂

  49. truth teller on March 26, 2013 at 8:56 am

    also hwy weren the ‘mandatory’ poses done in the before photos as well, so we really could see

    • W. Shane Duquette on April 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      We didn’t think to do all that posing at the beginning. Would have been cool, for sure!

  50. Jason on September 8, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Were these measurements relaxed or flexed?

  51. weighty on December 14, 2014 at 12:16 am

    what lighting & camera equipment was used to take the photos? I see a diffuser umbrella on the top left

  52. dijet on January 19, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    I can see that Ectomorph body doesn’t gain really big size then other. Only have lean muscle and great small shape only.

    However I find that this website is truth picture, not like other, from skinny to giant muscle.

  53. Alexus on August 29, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Good work guys! I appreciate the documentation & the effort. I’m a female & my preference is NOT FAIR. Why do I say this? Because my oveall preferred body type of the 6 is the “Before” of Shane, and the other 2 guys can’t do a thing to achieve this- it’s due to bone structure & natural metabolism. Shane “after” is too contrived for me. But I prefer the “after” for the other 2 guys to their “before” of Jared & Willem, because I prefer leaner men with light muscle definiton. Like most women I like the inverted V of broad shoulders (mostly from bone structure not muscle), deltoids, and a small waist & hips. Bird legs ok by me… broad hips & thick thighs look feminine to me. I like a “fast light & strong” look not a bulky block look. But a guy’s personality changes my perception of their body!

    • W. Shane Duquette on July 13, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      Believe it or not, my “before” picture was just the beginning of that particular bulk. I’d already gained 20 pounds of muscle by that point, which is similar to how much muscle Jared had gained in his “after” photos. I had a body similar to Henry Rollins (from the survey) at that point: still thin, but already shaped by lifting weights, and already having gained a significant amount of muscle mass.

  54. […] underweight (like Jared and I were) and it takes some work to get into that healthy and fit range (our transformation). Once there though, it’s a blast, and pretty easy to maintain without getting all obsessive […]

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