You’ll agree with me when I say that most advice for hardgainers are worthless.
They say eat, we eat. They say lift, we lift. Nothing happens…
And to make matters worse; the world of fitness makes us skinny guys look like the worst thing that can happen to anyone.
Supplement companies love to take advantage of this, they can sell you guys virtually anything!
I’m sick of the hype and BS that everyone promises skinny guys.
I remember when I first started out, I was highly enthusiastic but I would have no idea what I was doing.
I would get so excited about my workouts because it simply helped me get one step closer to my destination.
I had times when I almost lost complete faith though.
When progress seem to have hit a wall, it would be too easy to get discouraged.
Look at all of the transformations in the magazines and on the internet, they shove it in our faces and most of them are plain photoshopped.
There were tons of sources to get information and workouts, it was hard because most of them were designed for professional bodybuilders (easily using steroids, whatever else).
There was nothing for specifically for hardgainers who weren’t on gear and I knew I could get jacked “naturally”.
So here we are.
I’m far past the beginner phase and I’m confident that I can help you reach where I am easily or even further! I won’t tell you what’s best because everyone is different, I will do my very best to build your foundation for success.
Let’s get on with the rules.
Stress is easily one of the major problems that people, especially hardgainers have.
We worry about our calories, workouts, sets, rest, post and pre workout. The list goes on.
And it stops us from going skinny to muscular.
I found that stress caused me to lose focus on what really works and what doesn’t.
The smallest things would be the biggest for me, like conflicts and confrontations.
And what kills muscle gains more than anything in this world?
Well it’s not bunny rabbits and pink pony’s.
It’s catabolism and it can happen from stress.
Stress causes cortisol levels to rise which isn’t good for your muscles.
For hardgainers, cortisol is easily one of our weaknesses as we overproduce them.
I find that being stressed takes away my ability to focus on my mind to muscle connection.
I’m not saying you should completely get rid of your stress. Stress is a part of our psychology and it will never completely go away.
We need stress.
In fact stress will help you make gains by focusing on it.
But the keyword here is being in control.
If you’re in control of your emotions, you will be able to channel that dirty emotion into pure rage to push through your toughest sets and reps.
Take out your stress on your workouts and you will forget completely what you were stressed about in the first place.
2. Lift Big
Bicep curls are nice.
I won’t lie, they always have been one of my favorite exercises.
They just feel crazy nice especially when you’re lifting something that is considered to be heavy by the average person.
But from my own personal experience, they won’t get you very far in terms of muscle gains.
In order to get bigger, you have got to perform bigger.
Note that I didn’t say go heavy, because you still want to be in control.
This doesn’t mean you should go out and grab a barbell and curl it until you whirl it.
Perform exercises that are considered to be “hardcore”.
Go for compound exercises, multi- joint movements like deadlifts, bench press, pull ups, squats, back rows, and so on.
Incorpoate isolation exercises but they shouldn’t be the meat of your routine.
But get the best out of both worlds, and take advantage of the big exercises.
Compound exercises engage more muscles than any other type of lift and it increases strength like crazy.
The stronger you get, the more you’ll be able to handle more poundage and you’ll be likely to have better form for all exercises.
Hardgainers have poor recovery abilities, don’t make it worse. Seriously don’t take your sleep for granted.
Sleep at least 6 hours.
In this perfect world, you might not be able to get a full night of rest, but keep in mind that a single bad night of not sleeping properly could decrease testosterone levels.
To make matters worse, you’ll be more susceptible to cortisol, the evil stress hormone we talked about earlier.
Working out has a systemic effect, it doesn’t only effect your muscles but your entire central nervous system
If you feel like you could use an extra day off, take advantage of it.
I’ve gone days where I felt like I could take an extra day off. I would come back stronger and no I wouldn’t lose any gains.
I would only do this when I really do know I need the rest. If you’re planning to do back exercises but your lower back is still sore from before, then it’s wise to give it time to heal.
Your muscle grows while you recover, not during your workouts.
I know, you eat lots, but can’t gain weight to save your own life.
You may be eating lots of food, but remember that not all foods are created equal.
Eggs are the best source of protein, so if you’re not consuming it, you’re missing out.
A pre workout meal is ideal as you want to be fully prepared for a workout.
Ideally you should be having eggs, oatmeal and some fruit a few hours beforehand, but you can get away with something simple like a handful of almonds, and some fruit an hour or two before if you like.
Your stomach shouldn’t feel full before working out.
Having some food in your stomach will only make you sloppy and weaker during your workout.
This all comes down to the individual, but generally fats and protein take much longer to digest than carbs.
A meal like eggs and oatmeal needs at least 3 hours before I workout.
Don’t worry about eating for 2-3 hours or whatever you’ve heard. It just matters that you meet the requirements of your body for the entire day.
Frequency does not matter.
Show me a study that proves me wrong.
You should eat more calorie densed foods as you want to aim to gain muscle, not lose it.
Don’t overload on calories or you’ll get more fat. Duh!
I’ve been through the “See-food” diet, and it wasn’t pretty.
I didn’t get jacked, I got bloated.
Who wants to be seen as a bloated skinny dude? No, thank you!
Facebook isn’t going to make you any gains during workout.
So get off your phone.
Use your phone for music, but turn off the notifications.
This is your time and your gains. You have all the time in the world to check your phone after your workout.
Use every last drip of your focus and energy into your workouts, even while you rest between sets.
So checking out the chicks nearby won’t get you very far. And wondering what you’ll have for dinner later on isn’t going to help you get any closer to benching 225 for reps.
You should be visualizing between sets.
See that progress and demand that muscle to grow.
Own your body and just do it for that 45 to an hour you spend in the gym.
6. Get Stronger
You’re not very strong as with most of self-proclaimed hardgainers so strength training will do you wonders for gaining muscle.
In a nutshell, training for strength requires low reps, and full out force. Bodybuilding is more about weight training rather than lifting and is traditionally filled with sets of 6 to 12.
Incorporate a compound exercise while keeping the reps between 3 and 6. As you get stronger, drop the rep range but only after you get stronger. You should first perfect the form with a higher rep range.
Plus, you’ll be able to keep making progress by incorporating strength training because it’ll keep things fresh!
You don’t want to keep doing the same style of training or your body will not respond to growth.
I found myself making all kinds of gains after mixing in strength training.
If I didn’t, I don’t think I would be nearly as big as I am today.
Body is made up of 70% water, and muscles are mostly water.
Dehydrate yourself and you’re going throw yourself in a mess you don’t want to be in.
A slight decrease in hydration can result in a 10% loss in mental and physical abilities.
That’s huge! And NOT good news for you skinny guys.
You want to stay hydrated throughout the day, during your workout, and at most of the time.
Carry a water bottle everywhere and use it.
If you’re anything like how I was, I would always drink pop and all kinds of sugary drinks before I got serious into bodybuilding.
I found water to be so boring and tasteless.
I just wouldn’t be able to drink it all day.
So I slowly built up the habit of drinking water.
It didn’t happen overnight.
I would drink it whenever I could, but I wouldn’t overly obsess over it.
Overtime I would slowly crave it over anything else.
It became something that I had to have and now I notice how bad my performance can be if I don’t try to stay hydrated.
You’ve heard it before. But I’ll be the millionth person to tell you this..
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Like building a house, you should know what you’re going to do next.
Walk into a construction site without a plan, let’s see how much you get done without a plan.
When you walk in the gym with a plan, you won’t be lost. You will be able to visualize ahead of time and you’ll know EXACTLY what you should do.
Writing this stuff down helps a lot as you’ll know what you’ve done and what works.
You may not like having a “Diary” type thing, but at least know what you’re going to do for the next 4 weeks.
Keep it simple.
I’ve made the mistake of going to the gym without a plan.
I kept changing my mind on what exercises I should be doing.
I should have been going through my workout in my head, but since I didn’t know what I was going to do, I was lost until the very last minute!
Don’t fall for the same trap.
Do it now!
The beginning days of your hardgaining times will be memorable, but you won’t remember the details like the numbers of your lifts, you’ll know how far you went and came from.
I don’t even remember what I had for lunch yesterday; let alone what exactly I did for my workout last week.
It won’t work well for anyone that doesn’t know what they’ve been doing for the past few weeks! I have random journals all over the place.
I regret not having one in the beginning days of starting out. I do remember what I did wrong and what I did right, but I don’t remember the details.
This is also a better way to reduce risk of injury.
If you’ve been hurting from a specific exercise, you’ll write it down to remember it.
And if you ever hire a coach or a trainer, he’ll probably ask what you’ve been doing and a journal could tell them EXACTLY what you’re doing right and/or wrong.
Everything in life is a learning process, especially muscle building.
The human body is a sopihicasciated machine that is always surprising us.
Don’t stop learning.
As a hardgainer, you’ll be stubborn at gaining muscle, but you shouldn’t be stubborn at learning new things.
Take note of the history of bodybuilding and see what’s been working for decades rather than the trends and fad’s that tend to disappear after a while.
We all have some level of creatine in our msucles.
It’s the ATP energy that we use when we are lifting weights or performing high bursts of any activity. “…a compound formed in protein metabolism and present in much living tissue.
It is involved in the supply of energy for muscular contraction.” – Oxford Dictionaries It’s a combination of 3 amino acids: L-argiine, glycine, and L-methionine.
This is definitely one of the BEST supplements that hardgainers need to use.
It’s not going to you’re your muscles grow without training, but it will provide the best energy that your muscles could ever use.
Unless you’re one of those who don’t respond to creatine because you either eat red meat or you’re blessed with high creatine levels or you just don’t respond to it, you must look into investing some.
It’ll help you workout harder and better.
Remember though, like all supplements, it’s only a supplement, not a super power horsed must have for bodybuilders.
Motivation comes and goes.
It isn’t easy staying motivated, which is why you need to stay consistent with your workouts.
But it won’t work without making it a habit.
Make it a habit to go to the gym and lift the living crap out of it.
Build it into you so much that you don’t feel like yourself if you don’t workout.
It’s just like your cup of coffee, you can’t go on without it.
The first 30 days of working out is the hardest.
That’s why the gym is so packed in January, after they make their resolutions for new years, and empties by the end of the month.
Make it a habit to exercise.
Find a way to force yourself to work out for the next 30 days or so.
Find a buddy if you must.
I prefer to work out on my own, so when I was going, I was going no matter what or who.
Habit leads to great consistency and consistency leads to results.
Bro advice is inevitable.
You’re going to get told what to do because you seem like the perfect target for advice.
You’re a hardgainer and everyone likes to tell you what you can and can’t do.
Question everything; Don’t just do something because someone bigger told you to do it.
It doesn’t make sense.
You should value your time.
You definitely want to see progress.
Sometimes you just won’t find a straight answer, so experiment.
Try something for 30 days or so and see where it gets you.
Write it down in your journal so you don’t forget and make the same mistake of doing something that doesn’t work for you.
And just because someone wears a GNC uniform, doesn’t mean they are informed.
It means they are getting commission to push whatever products they are told to push.
I’ve received some of the worst information from GNC.
I was once told that regular creatine is useless, and that Cell-Tech was the way to go.
Well silly me, I didn’t know much at the time, but Cell-Tech was basically just creatine with sugar!
So even the people who seem to be an “authority” could be giving you the worst advice.
14. Minimize Workouts
You’re not Arnold Schwarznegger.
You’re not going to be able to workout for 6 hours UNLESS you’re truly genetically gifted.
Even with all the steroids in the world, 6 hours is a mighty long time to workout, that’s more like a marathon.
I don’t know how Arnold was successful working out for long hours!
45 minutes is all you need, especially as a hardgainer.
You’ve got average recovery abilities.
And you’ve got to keep in mind that workouts cause a systemic effect that drains not only from the muscles oyu’re working out, but from your entire body’s central nervous system.
Working out is not a marathon.
I once thought longer was better, more was superior.
But boy was I wrong.. I would work out for 2 hours and the day after, I would feel so drained.
Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulks it up into this site.
Having to be stuck as a 110lb skinny guy in the early days, he has had no choice but to keep improving himself until he cannot.
Click here to check out his 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation