The former skinny guy never gets enough credit. Many of us have been there before—have tried and failed—probably even too many times to remember. Sounds a lot like the heavy guy trying to lose weight, right? Truth is—the answers are straightforward, but when it comes down to the execution, things seemingly get a bit more difficult.

Tired of being 140, 150, or 160 pounds? Want to gain muscle? Then you'll need to lift and eat. And with that, progressively getting stronger and eating more than your body is accustomed to. (If you're a big man trying to lose weight, give this plan a try instead.)

First, we start with the training plan, or in this instance, THE FOUNDATION. It's your four-day plan built around basic bodybuilding exercises. There's no bells and whistles, it's strictly liftin'. And get this—you'll be surprised by how low the volume is. Why? Well, far too many beginners hit the gym too hard out of the gate, which can make it harder to grow bigger and stronger. When it comes to weight-lifting, THE FOUNDATION plan is about starting small and progressively adding onto it every couple weeks or so. See below for more details.

As for your diet: If you've been stuck at the same weight for weeks, or even months—immediately try eating 250 more calories per day in week one. In weeks two and three—500 calories. In weeks four and five—500-800 calories. Still stuck? Keep loading up the plate. If you're still looking for easier ways to get your protein macros up—check out these creative ways to sneak in more protein.

Where to get extra calories:
If you're not drinking a protein shake—start now. That's about 100-120 calories per scoop with 20-30 grams of protein. Then, you need nuts in your life. All different kinds. Peanuts, almonds, walnuts—they all are incredibly calorie-dense and easy to put down. Think about this: If you add two peanut butter sandwiches into your diet, you've just added 1,000 calories. Yes, 1,000 calories. A couple of rules—don't work out on an empty stomach, and don't forget to eat after a workout.

For questions about this beginners program or The Shred below—follow Mike on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Start thinking long-term. Don't you want several programs you can follow throughout the year to keep things interesting—and get you the results you want? DOWNLOAD the expanded package of The 21-Day Shred—The Shred Series. The package now includes The original 21-Day Shred program, plus The 21-Day Bulk, The 21-Day Transition, and The 21-Day At-Home Shred.

- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are workout days. Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday are off/recovery days.
- Complete this program for four weeks. After the forth week you may recycle the plan, however, add 1-2 sets per exercise and attempt to increase the weight used.