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Let’s face it, being a hardgainer really sucks, especially if you are trying to enter the field of fitness and bodybuilding. Packing on muscle mass can be a labour intensive task even for those with generally good genetics. It requires hours to be spent in the gym and sometimes even more time spent on prepping copious amounts of food with just the right calorie requirements and macronutrient balance to elicit these gains.
For the typical ectomorph (the thin, long-limbed guys who don’t gain muscle or fat very easily), this process can be an even more laborious task. You may have you training and diet on point, you may be making the right food choices and you may be grinding day in and day out but still not seeing results.
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So what on earth do you need to do? Well, there is unfortunately no secret that is going to have you popping out of your shirts in no time at all. It is going to take hard work, discipline, dedication and a fair amount of time. To point you in the right direction, here are a few tips which will help you to unlock your muscle-building potential.
Probably the most important thing in anyone’s fitness journey is consistency. By consistently grinding away in the gym each and every day, giving it your absolute all, keeping your diet clean and consuming enough calories, you are placing yourself in the best possible position to add on lean muscle mass.
Consistency doesn’t mean a week, a month or even a year, it means giving it your all in every aspect of your fitness as long as your journey may take, and then some. For some, they may achieve the body they want in a year, for others it may be 5 years and for the dedicated few, achieving the ideal physique is a lifelong pursuit.
Because the hardgainer’s metabolism generally works like a well-oiled V8 engine which burns through fuel almost quicker than it can get it in, it is necessary to consume a massive excess of calories. When most individuals are trying to build muscle, it is advised that they consume an excess of 300-500 calories max per day or they may end up gaining a large amount of fat weight.
For the hardgainer though, because fat gain is generally not a problem, you can increase your calorie intake by 1000 calories or more per day. It is not uncommon to see hardgainers consuming 4000 calories per day in order to achieve muscle gains. Yes, 4000 calories is a huge amount of food, especially if it is clean, whole foods, so to help you along the way, why not add a mass gainer shake to your regimen? These can contain upwards of 800 calories per shake.
So one before training and one after training and you are almost halfway to your required calorie intake.
For all gym-goers to continually see progress, they need to continually progress their training. This can be done by increasing weight, rep ranges, number of sets or by decreasing rest periods to name a few. This continual progression of training is known as progressive overload.
For the skinny guy, it is advised to perform as many compound lifts as possible in your training session with a rep range of 6-8. Start with moderate weight and work your way up as you get stronger, but make sure not to compromise on form.
Compound lifts are a great means of encouraging the release of anabolic hormones like testosterone and growth hormone for increased muscle-building ability.
Because the hardgainer is not genetically made for building muscle and does not recover as well as say endomorphs and mesomorphs, you should not train as often as they do. 3-4 hard workouts per week are more than sufficient for you to build muscle mass. More and you will be tearing down muscle faster than you can rebuild it. Remember, more is not always better. So rather focus on having 3 to 4 quality workouts per week rather than 6 mediocre ones.
Remember that part where we said drive and desire won’t be enough? Well that still holds true, but it’s a great stepping stone. If you want to see some change in your physique it means heading to the gym as often as possible and maintaining the drive to continue to workout on a constant basis. Change in your physique may be slow going, but you won’t see change if you decide to take days off from the gym. Consistency in training and diet is a must.