If you are reading this article then the chances are that you already know what a hardgainer is. However for those of you that do not then basically it is someone who finds it really difficult to put on weight: fat or muscle! Often this is put down to the fact that that person has a really fast metabolism.
Metabolism or metabolic rate is the speed at which your body burns up calories through the natural reactions in the body. If your metabolic rate is very slow then it is easy to gain fat tissue as you are not using up as many calories at rest as someone who has a higher metabolic rate.
For muscle building purposes we need o create a surplus of calories but for hardgainers this is a difficult thing to do with such a high metabolic rate as it is rapidly being burnt off. So, what can hardgainers do to counter this? Here area a few guidelines:
1) Keep the cardio workouts to a minimum. Cardio work actually speeds up the bodies metabolism, as well as using up calories whilst doing the exercises, you will also be increasing the rate at which you are burning up calories at rest after your workout. This you do not want if you are trying to create an excess of calories.
2) Eat for two! You need to get lots of calories on board. To do so try doubling up all the portions that you would normally eat. Buying extra large bowls, plates and cups will help you not to forget this.
3) How many meals a day should a hardgainer eat? Eat 5-7 meals per day. Your body can only absorb a certain amount of nutrients at anyone sitting so spreading out the meals is also a good thing and ensures that your body is never waiting for its next meal. Eating 2-3 meals per day is claimed to slow down the bodies metabolism which is true but this doesn’t mean it is something that hardgainers should do. Why? Because your body goes into starvation mode releasing certain chemicals that are counter productive to muscle building especially for hardgainers.
4) Take supplements. Take advantage of some of the excellent meal replacement powders and protein shakes that are available. These contain very high dosages of exactly the right things that you need. Great times to take them are just after training and just before bed as these are times when your body is going to need the nutrients most.
5) Quit doing exercises such as concentration curls and any other isolation exercises and just do the classic, large multi-joint exercises. Your program should include: Squats, dead lifts, pull ups and bench presses. These are the most efficient way to put muscle in all the right places with the least amount of effort.
6) Quit doing so many sets. You can stimulate growth in short 40 minute intense workouts of just 3 sets per body part and maybe as little as 10 sets per workout. More is less for hardgainers! Stimulate growth then get out of the gym and save your calories for growing.
7) Water, drink it and lots of it. It is required by the body for so many different muscle building chemical reactions that you really can not skimp on this one, not at all. Drink lots and often.
There we go, give those tips a bash. Do not turn around after a couple of weeks and say they don’t work, be persistent and stick with it for a couple of months and see what the results are. Go for it, if not now when?