Who are we? We’re Shane and Marco—an artist who loves strength, and a strength and conditioning coach who loves art.
We're the creators of:
Bony to Beastly, teaching skinny guys how to bulk up.
Bony to Bombshell, teaching skinny women how to bulk up.
Marco has a degree in health sciences (BHSc), he’s a certified strength and conditioning coach (CSCS), he interned with legendary strength coaches Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson, and he has a nutrition certification from John Berardi, PhD. He then started up a private strength and conditioning business where he trained college, professional and Olympic athletes.
Shane has a degree in design (BFA) and interned with illustrators. He translates strength textbooks and hypertrophy studies into readable English, and then he illustrates all of it to make it even easier to understand.
We both grew up skinny and underweight. We were 6’2 and 6’4, weighing 130 and 150 pounds. We knew it was a problem. Our doctors kept reminding us. So did everyone else.
We tried to outrun it. We ran track, we played sports, we swam, we jogged, and we sprinted. Still, our postures crumbled, we developed chronic injuries, and we struggled with insomnia and neverending fatigue.
Now, don’t get us wrong. We were happy. We’ve always loved life. But we knew that we were on a downhill trajectory. At twenty, we could already tell that our bodies were beginning to fail us.
The thing was, we had no issues with endurance or general fitness. We were in bad shape, but not the way that most people are. Our bodies were long, lean, light and built for travelling long distances. We weren’t struggling with general fitness, we were struggling with general weakness.
Our muscles weren’t strong enough to hold our postures together. Our tendons weren’t strong enough to withstand getting tackled by guys half as tall but twice as thick. And we were so underweight that our hormones weren’t working properly.
Then we tried to outlift it. It felt wrong at first. Our gangly bodies didn’t seem designed for lifting weights. Our arms were too lanky to bench press with, our legs were too skinny to squat with, and our long spindly torsos twisted and curved as we reached down to deadlift.
But imagine how an obese person must feel as they put on their running shoes for the first time and jog around the block, their weight crashing down into their joints, their hearts struggling to pump blood through their massive frames, and their stocky limbs carrying them only half as far with every stride.
Should they give up? Should they accept their fate as future heart-attack victims and go back to powerlifting? Hell no. They should find a way to work around their limitations. There are stair climbers, rowing machines, swimming pools, and bikes, all of which will help them lose weight and improve their general fitness without wearing their joints down into dust.
Being skinny can be rough. It’s rarer. Fewer people relate to us. There’s less research looking into weight gain. Most bulking information is just repurposed fat-person information that doesn’t work very well for our body type.
We’ll admit it. We made excuses. We used the g-word. Genetics. We aren’t proud of it. We knew that scapegoating our genetics was a loser’s strategy. It was a way to justify ignoring our problem.
But if a wolf keeps coming onto your land and dragging off your lambs, there’s only so long you can ignore it before you lose everything. It’s not desirable to march into the woods, where we are weak and the wolf is strong. But that’s what we ought to do.
We outlifted our problems. At first we benched the bar. Our shoulder joints weren’t strong enough for us to bring the barbell all the way down, so we put wooden boards on our chests to shorten the range of the motion. A week later, we added five pounds to either side and used a thinner board. Within months we’d added a 45-pound plate to either side. Soon we were benching 225 pounds down to our chests, and our shoulders felt strong and stable.
We saw the same improvements on our squats. We started off goblet-squatting light dumbbells. Soon were front-squatting a plate (135 pounds). Then we were back-squatting two plates (225 pounds). And then three (315 pounds).
Deadlifts went best of all. What first seemed like a disadvantage became a strength. Our long arms were amazing for reaching down to the bar. Our lean torsos gave us plenty of hip mobility, allowing us to get in close to the bar. Soon we had built up 4-plate deadlifts (405 pounds), and in the process we regained our posture.
We were holding several hundred pounds in our hands, that weight supported by every bone, muscle and tendon between our fingertips and the tips of our toes. Hundreds of bones, hundreds of tendons, hundreds of muscles. All of them strong enough to support not just our own bodies, but another three bodies on top of that.
Over the course of growing stronger, Marco gained 63 pounds at 10% body fat. Shane gained 55 pounds at 11% body fat.
At Shane’s latest doctor’s appointment, his doctor had him go to three different private clinics to get his blood work tested, retested, and then retested again. The results were unbelievable, and so he didn’t believe them. After the third test, he told Shane that in his entire career, he’d never seen such tremendous health improvements through lifestyle changes.
We grew up with people concerned about our weight, alarmed by how weak we were. Now people come to us for help gaining weight, inspired by how strong we’ve become. We can’t put this feeling into words. We’re so lucky. So grateful. So happy.
Have we caught our wolves yet? No. But we’ve become comfortable in the forest. We feel at peace here. We like it. We think we’ll stay.
If you’re struggling like we were, we want to help. We want you to feel the joy of being strong, the satisfaction of having accomplished your goals, and the confidence that comes from running into the woods after the wolf that has been stalking you for your entire life.
If there’s a problem you can outlift, we’re here to help you do it.