How to gain muscle as a hard gainer
We all know that one person that is blessed with eating whatever they want and gaining no weight. Although this may seem ideal to us, for them this is can be bad for their fitness goals as in many different sports you are required to lose and gain weight to improve performance or looks, and if you find gaining weight hard then doing this may seem impossible. These people that find it so hard to gain weight are called hard gainers and usually have a skinny ectomorph frame. Not being able to gain weight can be very frustrating as you can see all your hard work training and dieting not having any effect on your body which can knock your motivation. If you are a hard gainer looking to gain a few pounds, then this article can help as we are going to be sharing what you can do to gain weight.
What is a hard gainer?
A hard gainer is someone who find it challenging to gain weight. Although usually skinny they come in a range of shapes and sizes and find it hard to gain fat and muscle even with adequate training and nutrition. Although putting muscle on can be an already difficult task with training and diet, the task has been made even harder for hard gainers. They usually have an ectomorph body shape, which is a term used to describe someone who is has a skinny frame. So, if you have been putting in the work when training and staying strict in the kitchen but fail to see any results then you may be a hard gainer.
One thing to remember is that building muscle can be hard for everyone. So, if progress is slow you may not be a hard gainer but may need to change things around in your training or the kitchen. The one thing that you need to remember is to be patient. Muscle mass does not grow back instantly after a workout, so don’t expect to outgrow your clothes by 3 sizes in the next few days. This is due to your body being efficient and muscle mass being seen as not important enough to waste precious energy producing.
One of the first things you can do as a hard gainer is consume more calories. More food means you will gain more mass either as fat or muscle, but whatever it is as a hard gainer increasing your mass is a step in the correct direction. To make the going a bit easier you can eat more calorie dense foods, so the volume of food won’t be so high. Whatever you are eating you want to make sure you are in a calorie surplus. This is when you’re eating more calories than your body needs to maintain itself, the extra energy can then be stored as fat on your body making you gain mass. The average recommended calorie intake for men is around 2500 calories per day. If we are in a surplus, then we want to go over this to around 2900 calories a day.
If you’re eating for maximum muscle, then just consuming calories blindly isn’t the way to go. Try and stick to your macro intake goals and make sure you’re getting enough protein to stimulate muscle growth. You also want to be making sure that you are getting enough carbohydrates so you can use these for energy and get some fat stored. If you feel like your calorie surplus is not working, then you can try slowly increasing it.
Hit the gym
If you’re looking to get bigger and gain more muscle, then hitting the gym is a must. Here you can work your muscles so they can regrow stronger and make you look bigger. If your current training regime involves a lot of cardio, then you want to be cutting this out of your schedule. Cardio is burning the precious calories you need to grow and there is little muscle mass benefit from doing cardio. Meaning if you want to get big you need to be focusing on lifting weights rather than running on the treadmill.
When trying to gain muscle you want to centre your training around gaining as much muscle as possible. Doing heavy lifts will benefit you as these cause more micro tears in your muscle which cause it to grow back stronger. Compound movements are also good as they incorporate multiple muscle groups. Examples of compound movements are squats and deadlifts. You also want to be making sure you are training frequently and with sufficient intensity. There is no point doing half-hearted gym sessions, so you really need to make your training count.
Get enough rest
The benefits of rest are never ending when it comes to gaining muscle and mass. Allowing your muscles to rest means they have time to recover after a workout which is the time that muscles really grow. Resting allows time for the microscopic tears in your muscles to repair and heal the tissue. This is why it is recommended you get around 8 hours sleep at night as this is sufficient time for the body to heal itself. Also taking rest days is a common practice to allow muscles to grow and reduce your risk of overtraining.
Getting enough rest time also reduces your risk of injury. This is due to your muscles getting enough time to repair themselves before it comes to training them again. By not giving them enough time, you put yourself at a higher risk of a muscle tear or possible joint damage. This will mean more time out of the gym which is going to put a halt on gaining more muscle mass. By making sure your muscles are ready for the next time you train them your performance will also get better as they are fresh and not fatigued.
When trying to gain muscle the results can be slow, and you will be required to make some lifestyle changes that can be hard for some people. It takes around 2 weeks to turn something onto a routine, so in theory all you need to do is survive two weeks of your maximum muscle lifestyle to get used to it. This means that you may only feel uncomfortable for the first few weeks and then it should be plain sailing from there.
Like many things we work hard on and want to succeed, if we are not seeing any results then we will start to lose motivation and feel depressed. It can feel like all that hard work was for nothing and maybe make you want to quit altogether. This is what separates the wolf from the sheep and carrying on can although results are not immediate shows great self will and drive in a person to achieve their goals. Sticking to our goals also offers many lessons to be learned along the way.
Overall, if you find it difficult to gain muscle mass and deem yourself a “hard gainer” then there are many things you can be doing to help you maximise your muscle growth and get you on the right track to reaching your goals. Many people may blame their genetics or may just say they where never meant to be big, but the real question is who ever was? Everyone is capable of growing muscle mass and reaching their goals when it comes to their physique and its never too late to make a change. So, stop making excuses and do something to help you reach your goals.