You eat and eat some more but you are still small. You step on the scale but the needle won’t budge. You can’t remember where was the last time you put some more weight on the bar. Chances are you are a hardgainer. As a true hardgainer you’ll always have tough time gaining muscle and strength, but have no fear, there is still a solution. Check out these 8 hardgainer tips, maybe you missed some of them before.
1. Sleep more
Hardgainers recover slower than other people. If you don’t sleep enough, it will affect your results big time. Try to sleep at least 8, and preferably 9 hours a night if there is a possibility. Working out before you recovered enough will only destroy your hard earned muscle — a situation you are trying to avoid. Relax, sleep, recover, and grow!
2. Eat more food, but don’t overeat
Unless you fond of walking around all day with a full stomach, stop eating low-calorie foods. These foods will not help you reach your goal. Try to eat high-calorie foods instead. The majority of hardgainers need at least 20 calories per 1 lb of body mass to start gaining weight. Concentrate mainly on protein and complex carbs, but don’t skip the fats either.
3. Drink high-calorie drinks
Liquid form calories are digested faster than the solid ones, thus, it will be easier for you to consume the required amount of calories per day.
In addition to protein shakes before and after workouts, drink at least one high calorie drink a day. The drink should contain high calorie foods, such as : peanut butter, olive oil, oat flour or cereals, milk, yogurt, frozen fruit, and/or cottage cheese. If you find it difficult to consume the required amount of calories on a daily basis, try consuming another one of these high calorie shakes during the day.
4. Stop training muscle groups separately
Stop repeating your favorite exercises per muscle group. I don’t want to disappoint you, but ten exercises for chest or back or whatever muscle group will not help you grow that muscle group bigger. Try working your whole body in one workout for some time, ore if that doesn’t suit you, try the upper/lower split.
For example, instead of barbell curls and triceps extensions for arms, perform exercises like bench press and chin ups. These exercises involve a large group of muscles, including the smaller muscles of the arms. Hardgainers will do better if they reduce the amount of exercise. Try to increase the weight you are lifting and reduce unnecessary volume (exercises, reps and sets).
5. Lower number of reps, more weight
Your main task is to lift more weight, allowing you to perform repetitions in the range of 5-8 reps. Try cutting out the isolation exercises (like triceps extensions, biceps curls, cable flyes etc…). Instead, do the main few exercises and try to move more weight. A good start would be to concentrate on : bench press, incline bench press, shoulder press, squats, lunges, deadlifts, chin ups, barbell and dumbbell rows. Nothing complicated.
6. More weight, longer rest periods
Lifting heavier weights takes its toll on the body. This is why you need longer rest periods between sets to recover. Try to rest about 2-3 minutes between sets. Forcing yourself to do a set before you are fully recovered will not help you move more weight. Give your body more time to recover.
7. Don’t be afraid of the fat
If you’re a hardgainer, you need to consume enough healthy fats as they are the best best friend to a hardgainer. Fats are high in calories and contain substances necessary for muscle building and anabolic hormones production. But we should not replace carbohydrates fats — in your diet should include all together and in the right proportions.
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8. Be patient and persistent!
Building muscle takes time — regardless of whether you are a hardgainer or not. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. You need to be patient and work hard – day by day, week after week. If after several months of training you are still stuck in one place, increase your weight and eat more. Don’t give up. Increase your calorie intake, increase the intensity of your workouts and your muscles will grow.