It’s all about the diet, right?
Well, as usual the answer is a little more nuanced than that. It’s a yes and no thing… There are two dietary reasons why hardgainers struggle to gain muscle mass. And both of them are linked to calories.
As was highlighted in the post the truth about exercise and fat loss we’re pretty damn crap at guessing how many calories we eat. Fat people have been shown to routinely under estimate the amount of calories they’re eating (even food journals they keep get a bit “creative”). It’s not deliberate – there’s some deep seated issue in human psychology that stops us being able to accurately estimate how much we’re eating.
This issue is just the same for hard gainers too – they routinely OVER estimate the amount of calories they’re eating. Most of them are so obsessed with trying to eat enough food they miss the bigger picture of actually making that happen. Simlpy telling a hard gainer to “eat more” doesn’t work.
Are you spendthrifty?
So here’s the second point – they tend to have a genetic profile of the “spendthrifty” genotype. I’m not sure anyone has fully established how this works, but the basic principle is that when you over feed a hard gainer they tend to spontaneously move more. Fidgeting. Shuffling. Getting up to use the loo. All these things that you just don’t notice increase when you feed a hardgainer.
Both of these issues make gaining muscle for hard gainers doubly hard – even when they are accurately measuring food and over consuming calories, they just start moving more to offset that excess. So how do you fix it?
Fix the training
Obviously you need to train right. Most hard gainers are also following crazy-ass training protocols that are pushed in all the big muscle mags. They think that copying the training of bodybuilders will suddenly change their approach to life. It won’t. A hardgainer needs a specific training protocol and eating protocol to ensure they get the results they’re looking for.
It’s quite simple really – you wouldn’t expect someone just starting to run to copy the training of a marathon winner, would you? So why would you set up a training routine for a skinny weakling in the same way you’d arrange one for a musclebound bohemoth of a man? It would be crazy.
So what’s the solution?
The best solution I’ve seen out there to fix this is called Muscle Gaining Secrets by Jason Ferrugia. It’s all based on the same big, heavy, compound lifts I propose for guys on this site. Jason knows what it’s like to be a skinny weakling and has written his book to fix that pain. He used to weigh in at 147lbs, but has used this training methodology to skyrocket that weight to a massive 235lbs!
As an author it’s hard to knock his credentials. He’s written for and appeared in Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, ESPN, Fox and ABC and his 197 page e-book features detailed sections on training, recovery and nutrition – which are the three biggest areas you need to fix if you want to pile on lean muscle.
The best thing about it is the way it’s focused directly at hard gainers. It has everything you need to know on the set and rep schemes, the workouts you’ll be doing, hell the package even contains a workout log book so you just have to write down whether you made the lifts or not! This isn’t some bullshit “copy Ronnie Coleman” book – because you wouldn’t get the same results even if you did (even with the steroids). This is cold, hard facts that are specifically written to help you put muscle on your frame.
Obviously I can’t over plug this book – there are things in there which he’s missing (certainly a beginner who’s never done a squat, deadlift or bench press properly would benefit from Starting Strength or Stronglifts to get a feel for the form), but on the main he’s written some really solid content that would benefit anyone who struggles to pack on muscle mass. What I love about the book is that he uses those same basic exercises, keeps training down to 3x per week, solves the nutrition requirements (without wasting money on useless supplements) and provides actual recipes to follow for the nutrition schemes he recommends. He’s also giving away a month’s free membership to his subscription site where you can ask any lingering questions you might have about the product or approach.
His current price for the 9 component product is $77, and you can sign up and get a free “Muscle Building Sins” report on the same page. Click here to grab a copy today.