The Design Studio That Got Carried Away in the Gym
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. Whatever the reason, it's common for us to have trouble gaining weight, building muscle, and becoming truly strong.
We're skinny guys ourselves, we've each gained over 50 pounds with no visible fat gain, and helping skinny guys bulk up has become our specialty. Not only that, but we've also teamed up with Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS, a world-class strength coach who has experience coaching college and professional athletes, including our Canadian Olympic rugby team.
Here are a few of our top articles:
- What's an Ectomorph? Is That Even a Real Term?
- A Skinny Guy's Guide to Hypertrophy Training
- What's the Best Workout Routine for a Skinny Beginner?
- How To Build Broader Shoulders
- How to Build a Thicker Neck
- How to Build Bigger Forearms
- How Big Should Your Legs Be?
- How to Do a Lean Bulk
- The Ectomorph's Guide to Body-Fat Percentage
- Is Intermittent Fasting Good for Building Muscle?
- Are Resistance Bands Good for Building Muscle?
- Is Keto Good for Building Muscle?
- How to Build Muscle With Bodyweight Workouts
- How Can A Skinny Guy Get Abs?
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
- How to Get Bigger Hips to Improve Your Waist-To-Hip Ratio
- The Skinny on Why You're Skinny
- Bombshell Aesthetics: The Most Attractive Female Body (Full Article)
- What Every Naturally Thin Woman Needs to Know About Exercise
- How much muscle and strength can naturally thin women gain? And how quickly can they do it?
Outlift: How to Build Muscle & Get Strong
Outlift is a site dedicated to helping people build muscle and gain strength, especially once they're past the beginner stage and are struggling to keep making progress. We'll help you choose better lifts, min-max your workout routine, break through plateaus, improve your bench press, add another inch to your arms, and continue getting better.
We specialize in helping intermediate lifters get even bigger and stronger.
Here are some of our best articles:
- How Many Sets Should You Do to Build Muscle?
- How Many Reps Should You Do to Build Muscle?
- How Long Should You Rest Between Sets?
- How Often Should You Work Out?
- Which Lifts are Best for Building Muscle?
- The Best Lifting Tempo for Building Muscle
- The Best Compound Lifts for Building Muscle
- The Guide for Skinny Guys With Belly Fat
- The Three Best Forearm Exercises
- Starting Strength Review
- StrongLifts 5x5 Review
- GreySkull LP Review
- Athlean-X Max/Size Review
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
- 5 good reasons why men ought to do cardio, according to science
- The best core exercises—a scientific super guide to getting a rock-solid core and six-pack
- The best bodyweight workout for beginners—no gym needed
- The best protein powder—a super-guide on which type to take, how much, when, what brands and more.
- Q&A: How do I get a six-pack as an average guy?
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