The Crazy Worries of the Hardgainer
Aug 16th, 2012
The past several months have given me the opportunity to see a side of the skinny hardgainer I never knew existed, but appears to be a common one nonetheless.
The side I’m referring to is the side that worries about nonsensical details. Specifically the worry of building muscle too fast!
I realize this sounds ridiculous, but I’m not kidding when I tell you that I’ve had two recent conversations with the skinny hardgainer type in which I was told that they were afraid of getting too big and bulky.
I wanted to respond by telling them to shut up and then swiftly advise them that it wouldn’t hurt to eat few cheeseburgers every once in a while. But, I held my tongue and responded by calmly explaining that getting too big for their own good was the least of their worries.
My Hardgainer Past
Many people don’t know this about me, but I was on the extreme end of a hardgainer as a teenager. I lifted weights, felt like I ate everything in sight, but couldn’t seem to put on muscle despite all of my efforts.
Because of how frustrating that was for me I now have a special place in my heart for those with similar struggles. Although, I can honestly say I was never worried about getting too big and bulky.
If you’d have told me that there was a way for me to pack on fifty pounds of muscle in a matter of weeks I would have been all in.
I suppose I get why someone wouldn’t want to be so big that they couldn’t walk through a doorway without turning sideways. What I don’t get is why someone that weighs one hundred and thirty pounds soaking wet is worried about such things.
Worry about putting on a few pounds of much needed muscle first!
My hardgainer problem eventually went away after my metabolism slowed and I was pounding back 10,000 additional beer calories every week while in college. This ultimately left me with a different problem: sixty pounds of excess body fat that I had to figure out how to get rid of.
Anyway, that’s a story I’ll delve into some other time, so I won’t get into it here and now.
What Hardgainers Need to Worry About
The concern of the skinny hardgainer should be on one thing: adding muscle mass to their frame. After all, having a physique like Ghandi isn’t going to do much for you, physically or otherwise.
It won’t help you athletically. It won’t make you appealing to the ladies. Girls aren’t looking for a guy that weighs less than they do.
Besides, having an amount of muscle mass that rivals that of the average ten year old girl isn’t good for any guy’s self esteem.
Adding muscle mass for the hardgainer really is a simple formula…
First, eat more food. I don’t care how much you say you already eat. If you aren’t putting on weight, you need to eat more. Get a weight gainer shake, drink a gallon of whole milk every day, eat a tub of peanut butter…
I don’t care what you have to do. Find a way to eat more calories and do it daily.
Also, make sure you’re eating lots of complete proteins like chicken, fish, whey, steak, beef, and dairy products. My recommendation is to eat one gram of complete protein for every pound of weight you hope to eventually be.
So, if your goal is to weigh 200lbs, you need to be eating 200g of complete proteins every day (or more).
Second, train with weights. I’m not just talking about simply lifting weights. Doing a bunch of high repetition isolation movements aren’t going to do very much in terms of adding slabs of new muscle to your frame.
You need to focus on lifting heavy weights that you can only perform five or six reps with and doing the big compound lifts: squats, dead lifts, bench presses, power cleans, barbell curls, weighted pull ups, and barbell rows.
These lifts activate more muscle fibers than any others and also provide a hormonal response that will put pounds of muscle on any properly nourished hardgainer.
Building muscle isn’t as simple as just going to the gym and lifting weights a few times a week. You have to give your muscles reason to grow. This is known as progressive overload (or muscle confusion).
In other words, if you aren’t introducing new levels of strain on your muscles, they aren’t going to grow any larger. Every time you train you need to be going to battle with your training log, trying to lift more weight on each lift than the last time you performed it.
Even adding a seemingly measly five pounds will make a big difference over time. The more weight your muscles move the larger they will be, period.
The Positive Aspect of Being a Hardgainer
Before I wrap up, I want to give a quick note of encouragement. Guys like me with slower metabolisms have to always be careful about their nutrition in order to not put on significant amounts of fat.
Hardgainers, on the other hand, have lightning fast metabolisms and can typically eat whatever they want without having to worry about gaining too much fat and losing their definition in the process. This is an incredible benefit because this leads to most of a hardgainer’s gains being in the form of lean muscle mass.
Nobody wants to build pounds of additional muscle mass only to have it covered by layers of fat and having little definition. Fortunately, this doesn’t tend to be a problem for hardgainers.
Those that struggle with putting on mass are not genetically precluded from being able to build an impressively muscular physique, but they do have to go about it a little differently by aggressively eating nutritious foods and training with a purpose.
And you needn’t concern yourself with worries of becoming too big and muscular. You won’t put on fifty pounds of muscle overnight and you’ll have every opportunity to back off your nutrition if you want to stop gaining.
Although, I imagine that getting too jacked will no longer be a concern to you after you experience the incredible feeling of building a strong, muscular, ripped physique – and the positive attention it brings you.
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