I used to weigh 10 stone and it completely sucked…
As you can see in my 2011 photo I was very thin! I can’t remember my exact weight but I know it was around 10 stone. I’m naturally an ectomorph (skinny guy) and I used to find it extremely difficult to put on muscle. My strategy for gaining muscle back then was completely wrong, damn you ‘Mens Health’!
Fast forward the clock by 5 years and i’m currently 13 stone, so i’ve gained 3 stone in weight. My body fat is lower than it was back in 2011, meaning i’ve gained 42 lbs of pure muscle.
I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way and only wish I knew what I know now back then. That’s exactly what’s inspired me to write this post, I want to prevent you from making the same mistakes I did. I want to help all you hardgainers pack on some serious muscle mass.
The Hard Gainers Guide to Building Muscle Mass…
1) Eat, Eat, and Eat Some More!
No Sh*t Sherlock! You need to eat to get big, muscle isn’t created out of thin air! One of the main reasons I failed to gain size earlier on was the simple fact that I didn’t eat enough calories. You cannot grow without them. Us hardgainers have an extremely fast metabolism, meaning our bodies rapidly burn fuel (too quickly to gain weight!). It wasn’t until I started eating 4,000 calories per day that I started to grow. Foods high in calories like peanut butter, oily fish and dark chocolate are an easy way to increase calorie consumption.
2) Improve Your Strength
You have to get stronger in order to get bigger. Fact. Unless you give your body a reason to change it won’t. Your not going to get big by closing your eyes and imagining it! By placing your body under stress in the form of heavy weight training over time it will adapt, your muscles will get stronger and increase in overall size (1). If you look at the ridiculously BIG guys like Arni, Ronnie Coleman, and Jay Cutler they were all super strong. All you hardgainers need to be looking at progressing your lifts in the form of heavier weight training over time.
3) Master the basics
It’s amazing how complex some hardgainers make their gym programs. I’ve seen it with my own eyes; tons of different exercises, sets and reps. You don’t need a fancy program. Sticking and progressing through the basic compound movements will put you in very good position to slap on tissue. Mastering exercises like the squat, bench press and deadlift are absolutely key if you want a bigger, stronger looking physique.
4) Pull Back on Volume
You don’t need to be doing 40 sets per workout! Jesus not even professional bodybuilders do this. Another thing I see all too often (and i’ve been massively guilty of this too) is skinny guys doing far too many sets and reps each session. More does not mean better. You want to gain muscle right? so you need to be in a chloric surplus (more calories than needed). Long training sessions and too many sets and reps will prevent you from gaining muscle tissue. I’d recommend sticking to 10-15 sets per workout and keeping your workout time around 45-60 minutes.
5) Track your workouts
Can you remember what you did in your last workout? How about the exact number of reps for every single exercise + the exact weight you lifted? Now unless you recorded your workout in a log book my bet is that you can’t remember! You need to pick up a gym log book so you can start tracking your numbers, the aim is to ensure that your progressing in your heavy lifts.
6) Eat every 3-4hrs
You need to keep a high level of amino acids circulating around your blood stream to prevent the breakdown of muscle loss. Eating foods high in protein like: chicken, eggs, turkey, steak, salmon, tuna, mince, cod, and whey protein every 3-4hrs is absolutely imperative for us hardgainers. I typically eat between 5 and 8 meals every day to ensure I get adequate doses of protein.
Words of Wisdom…
Building muscle takes time, it doesn’t happen over night. You wouldn’t expect to go into to business, and 4 months later…. be a millionaire! It takes time and lots of effort. Apply the tips in this post, stay consistent and you will grow. If you can gain 2-5kg of muscle each year your doing extremely well.
Have a question? please leave your comments below and i’ll get back to you. If you’d prefer to e-mail me privately click here