The Design Studio That Got Carried Away in the Gym

shane-duquette-jared-polowick-foxhound-studio-toronto

Skinny to Muscular Graphic Designers?

We were graphic designers once. Lifting weights? That was for bros. And besides, we'd already tried and failed several times. We'd already decided to blame those failures on our crappy ectomorph genetics.

We're Jared Polowick and Shane Duquette. We were university roommates while getting our design degrees at York University in Toronto, Canada. We became fast friends, and when we graduated, we decided to start up a graphic design firm together. It went well, for a time.

We even built an entire business selling WordPress themes to bands: Foxhound Band Themes. Life was good, for the most part.

But after many long days spent hunched over our computers, our bodies began withering away. We had always been skinny, but "clinically underweight" became painfully underweight, and soon we couldn't ignore that pain any longer.

We decided to bulk up. We would do whatever it took, even if that meant going back to the gym. (We really didn't want to go back to the gym.)

The thing is, this time it worked. Jared gained 22 pounds in five weeks, Shane gained 12. We had finally found a way to bulk up.

The emails started flowing in. Other skinny guys were asking us for advice. Not-so-skinny guys were accusing us of taking steroids, photoshopping our photos, and suggesting that several years must have passed between our progress photos.

Honestly, we were just as surprised as everyone else. Why did this bulking attempt work when all of our other attempts had failed?

We were getting these emails asking for advice, and yeah, we were pretty excited about our gains, but the process was miserable. Eating that much food sucked. It sucked so, so bad. Our skinny stomachs weren't designed for bulking diets. We had to spend several hours each day force-feeding ourselves. We felt nauseous all day long. Moreover, our newbie gains were starting to plateau, and we had no idea why.

The Science of Bulking Up

We realized that we were out of our depth. So we found an expert to help us: Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS, PN, a certified strength coach who was helping college athletes, professional football players, and our Canadian Olympic rugby team bulk up.

Impressive qualifications, yes, but what truly impressed us was that he was a naturally skinny guy who had gained 63 pounds. He had also studied under Eric Cressey, MKin—a hero in the bulking world. Eric Cressey is the guy who helps all the Major League Baseball players bulk up.

We offered to help Marco build a website if he would help us build our bodies. Best trade ever.

He taught us how to make a homemade weight gainer, and immediately our diets got easier. He gave us a proper bulking workout routine, and within a couple of weeks our muscle gains were back on track. He taught us about balancing stress and recovery, and soon this new lifestyle became incredibly rewarding.

Not long after that, Jared had gained 45 pounds, Shane had gained 55 pounds, and the emails from other skinny guys kept rolling in. We kept on doing our best to help them, and with Marco's workout programs, it was going astonishingly well. At first, we had a couple of beta testers gain 20 pounds over the course of a couple of months. And then one of them, Obe, gained 20 pounds in just four weeks. (Now, of course, your results may vary. Everyone's bulk looks a little different. These are just examples.)

The emails kept coming in. Our testers were stoked with their results, and we knew that we were onto something.

Not only had we gotten results ourselves, but our client transformations were so dramatic that they had made us internet famous. Now, to be clear, I don't mean to say that we have the best all-around transformations ever. Our expertise is specialized on a small niche. What I meant to say is that we have the best ectomorph transformations ever. We became famous because we were succeeding at helping naturally skinny guys bulk up.

Back then, in 2010, we were the only ones talking about building muscle as naturally skinny guys with tiny stomachs, insane metabolisms, and hardgainer genetics. We were the only people writing articles about: how to make a weight-gain workout shake, how to eat more calories, and how to build broader shoulders.

Bulking Programs for Ectomorphs

We had hated being skinny, people were asking us for help, and we wanted to help them. So the three of us decided to create Bony to Beastly together. Marco would be the strength coach, program the workouts, teach the lifts; we would be the writers, illustrators, designers, videographers, and marketers.

The three of us made made a 6-month bulking program, filmed hundred of lifting tutorials, wrote a detailed lifting and diet plan, and created an online community where we could coach people through the program.

And it took off! In fact, it was doing so well that skinny women started complaining. Why were we only helping skinny guys? That was bullshit. And we agreed. It was. So we made a program for skinny women, too. Bony to Bombshell was born.

Bony to Bombshell took off too. For example, our article on female aesthetics was a huge hit. And that left us with a difficult decision. We decided to shut down our design studio and pursue Bony to Beastly and Bony to Bombshell full time.

We have eight years of experience now, and we've had the honour of helping nearly 10,000 skinny clients finally gain weight, along with the many millions of ectomorphs who have read our articles.

Outlive: A Dream Body for Everybody

In the meantime, we kept fielding questions from our non-skinny friends and family. On top of that, we kept getting emails from Bony to Beastly and Bombshell alumnis, asking if we could help their non-skinny wives/husbands/mums/dads, etc.

So Jared decided to head up a new project called Outlive. It would focus on helping the average guy and gal get their dream body—not just skinny people.

Marco is still the strength coach, and Jared's wife, Michelle, joined the team as an illustrator. Shane is an advisor.

Outlift: Even Bigger, Even Stronger

We also realized that Bony to Beastly and Bony to Bombshell had a pretty big limitation. After bulking up, our members weren't bony anymore. They would complete our bulking programs, love our approach to bulking, but then have nowhere else to go. They would outgrow our brand.

Shane decided to head up a new project called Outlift. It would focus on helping intermediate lifters become even bigger and stronger, building an even healthier and more aesthetic physique.

Again, Marco is still the strength coach, Jared is the advisor.

Outlift is still a bulking website, and it's still written from the perspective of an ectomorph. But this time it's not centred around helping skinny beginners bulk up. This is a site for skinny guys who are already in the habit of lifting weights and who want to take their physiques to the next level.

We didn't want it to be like every other bodybuilding site, just interested in getting bigger on a superficial level. And we didn't want it to be like every other strength training site, just interested in getting stronger, no matter the cost. Most of all, we were fed up with "powerbuilding," which combines bodybuilding and powerlifting together. If we aren't trying to become bodybuilders or powerlifters, why should we do both.

However, stronger and healthier bodies tend to look better. In fact, strength seems to be almost synonymous with aesthetics. Moreover, a strong muscle looks big, a big muscle is going to be stronger, and being bigger and stronger seems to improve general health. There's such a thing as a body that's just all-around badass.

That's what Outlift is about. It's about finding the link between size, strength, health, and aesthetics. We only get to live once, right? So why not be a total badass while we're at it?

Bony to Beastly

Bony to Beastly is our bulking website for skinny guys. Skinny guys are often referred to as ectomorphs, because of our thin bone structures, or hardgainers, because of our small stomachs and fast metabolisms. As a result, it's common for us to have a lot of trouble gaining weight, building muscle, and becoming strong.

We specialize in helping people who have trouble bulking up finally bulk up.

Top 5 Most Read Articles

Bony to Bombshell

The Bony to Bombshell mission is to help skinny/thin/hardgainer, ectomorphic, and string-bean women build muscle no matter how skinny they are, and even if they’ve failed in the past. There’s no unproven fluff, there are no filler ingredients, and there are no techniques that are not evidence-based.

Top 5 Most Read Articles

Outlive

The Outlive mission is to those who want to have get bigger, get leaner, and more athletic—without moonlighting as a professional bodybuilder.

We make systems designed to fit into real life. Outlive is for those who need to put their career, studies, or their family as their first priority, but still want to take their body to the next-level.

Top 5 Most Read Articles

Here Are Some Recent Blog Posts Here on Foxhound

Illustration of an Overweight Person

Why Are Overweight People So Muscular?

By Shane Duquette / September 4, 2019 / 0

As a skinny guy, I always wondered why overweight people were so much stronger than I was, especially in their lower bodies. I mean, I didn’t exercise and neither did they. I didn’t eat well, neither did they. Where was all that extra muscle coming from? I understood how they…

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

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

By Shane Duquette / September 4, 2010 / 72

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…

Read More
What's the most attractive male body-fat percentage according to women? Do women like abs? Is the healthiest body-fat percentage the most attractive?

The most attractive male body-fat percentage: is it possible to be too lean?

By Shane Duquette / July 17, 2019 / 7

The main scientific theory explaining why we find certain traits attractive is that they showcase genuine advantages (study, study, study). For example, the healthiest body-fat percentage range for men is between 10–20% (study), so we’d expect that amount of fat to be considered the most attractive by women. That’s not…

Read More
guys-girls-ideal-body-survey-results

The Ideal Male Body: Which Bodies Did Women Rate As the Most Attractive?

By Shane Duquette / September 7, 2011 / 266

We wanted to figure out which male body types women would find the most attractive, as well as which body types men thought women would find the most attractive. To do this, we ran an informal study, surveying a little over 1000 people to see which bodies they preferred. The…

Read More
Illustration of an overweight and a skinny guy

What happens if you lose weight without exercising?

By Shane Duquette / September 4, 2019 / 1

What do you think would happen if you lost weight by either: Just dieting Dieting and doing cardio workouts Dieting, cardio, and weight training Which protocol is going to cause the most weight loss? The most fat loss? And what’s going to happen to your muscle mass? There are two…

Read More
Fat Loss Fast Tips

How to Lose Fat Without Losing Your Mind

By Shane Duquette / September 7, 2010 / 49

Our specialty is helping skinny people bulk up. However, over the years we’ve had a lot of friends and family ask us for advice about how to lose weight. Our skinny clients also have friends and family members who are overweight. I thought I should write a short article about…

Read More