A hardgainer is anyone who struggles to put on muscle. You know the type: they’re well intentioned by no matter how much they eat or how hard they workout they just seem to stay skinny. We call these people ‘hardgainers’ because no matter how hard they try, they can’t make the gains they want. Of course what science would call them is ‘ectomorphs’ but that’s just terminology.
Basically these people have fast metabolisms and they struggle to put on muscle mass or fat as a result. That’s great if you want to look skinny but not if you want to look like Arnie. So what can you do? Here are some powerful tips…
1 Quit Your Whining!
The first tip? Stop whining! While some people are legitimately hard gainers, you don’t want to be constantly complaining about it all the time or all you will be doing is shooting yourself in the food. Don’t let your fast metabolism become a crutch or an excuse – work through it like plenty of other people have and focus on the benefits. At least you’re not fat! A good mental attitude can go a long way in the gym, so exercise some positivity!
2 Eat Hard
If you’re going to put on size then you need to go big on your diet. That means eating a ton of food and just doing everything you can to get calories in you. Don’t think you can eat a regular diet and look like the Hulk – it just doesn’t work like that. Make sure you put as much effort into eating as you do your training. Don’t like eating five meals a day? Well tough, if you want to be big, you have to.
3 Eat Well
That said, you should still focus on nutritious food that your body can actually use. Empty calories are likely to get stores as fat or pass right through you, so look for nutritious foods like coconut oil that you can add to your diet.
4 Stop Eating So Clean
Which isn’t to say you should aim for a completely ‘clean’ bulk. If you’re only eating salad and steam chicken then no wonder you can’t eat the amount you need to in terms of calories. And apart from anything else it’s actually really boring! Shots of olive oil can add tons of calories to your diet and are actually very nutritious. Likewise, try drinking more full-fat milk. It’s not ‘clean’ but it’s healthy and it’s packed with calories and good fats.
5 Compound Movements
Compound movements are exercises that involve multiple muscle groups – like squats, bench press and deadlift. This is what triggers the release of real anabolic hormones that encourage growth – not little dumbbell curls and other isolation movements that are just about adding definition to specific body parts.
6 Time Rests
This is something everyone should be doing. If you’re sitting for about five minutes between sets then you may as well go home. Workouts should be fast and they should be brutal!
7 Get At Least 8 Hours Sleep
Finally, make sure you’re sleeping! Sleep is when our body makes use of everything we’ve put into it, it’s when we’re at our most anabolic and it’s when we repair any injuries or microtears throughout the day. Put simply, this is when hypertrophy occurs and if you don’t get the amount of sleep you need you’ll be breaking your body and muscle down without giving it any chance to build itself back up again. This should be priority number one.