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Hardgainer Helper

Escape from Hardgainer Hell, Part 3
10 tips for the Skinny Guy!

Hardgainer Helper: 10 Training And Nutrition Tips For The Skinny Guy

Struggling to get past your skinny-kid genes? Man up and grow! Follow these training and nutrition tips for some hope.
dense

You're thin, you're lanky, and you burn fuel fast. Any calories you gobble get snatched and torched by your monster metabolism, making weight gain a monumental struggle. Never fear, ectomorph! You're not an alien; you're probably a hardgainer. For you, getting big is difficult, but it's not impossible. You need to follow your own set of "get huge" rules. You need to pour every ounce of energy into building muscle. Your training and nutrition need to harmonize. Nutrition is a musket, training is your bayonet, and more mass is your target. Fire away with these 10 tips, and then stab the target for good measure.

Hope you're hungry, 'cuz we're serving up a giant plate of Hardgainer Helper.

1
Get Dense, Not Full

Unless you enjoy feeling stuffed to the brim all day, every day, you do not want to include high-volume, low-calorie foods in your diet. They won't help you reach your target calorie intake.

Don't stuff your stomach with mountains of low-cal carrots; instead, focus on eating calorie-dense foods.

To add lean muscle mass, most hardgainers require at least 20 calories per pound of bodyweight. If you're eating all those calories in high volumes of veggies, fruits, egg whites and cooked oatmeal, you're going to struggle.

This isn't to say these foods aren't healthy choices, they're just not ideal for the hardgainer. Choose calorie-dense picks like pureed vegetables, dried fruit, whole eggs, raw oatmeal and steak.

Hardgainer Calorie Calculator

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Calories Needed:

2
Sleep, Son

Hardgainers don't usually have the recovery abilities that other gym-rats do. If you aren't sleeping enough each night, it's going to dramatically impact your progress. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep; get nine if you can.

Hitting the gym before you're recovered will just further break down your body - not what you want. Rest, recover, sleep and grow!

3
Drink some cals

Liquid calories won't fill you up nearly as much as solid calories will, making it far easier for you to reach your daily totals.

In addition to your pre- and post-workout protein shakes, make an effort to drink AT LEAST one more shake per day. Include as many calorie-dense ingredients in this shake as possible: natural nut butters, ground flaxseed, coconut oil, ground or raw oats, milk powder, frozen fruit, Greek yogurt and/or cottage cheese. If you have a really hard time hitting your calorie totals, pick up a weight gainer.

cals

4
Isolation exercises are a no-go

Do away with those isolation exercises that you love so much. I hate to burst your bubble, but knocking out ten sets of triceps exercises won't help you build big arms in a hurry.

Instead of triceps extensions and bicep curls, focus on movements like shoulder press, bench press, and incline press. These lifts will target large muscle groups along with the smaller arm muscles. For a hardgainer, less volume is usually better. Set heavy weight goals and leave out the extra fluff. Focus on the compound moves for maximum mass.

isolations

5
Smart Cardio

You've likely heard that hardgainers should eliminate cardio entirely. While there is some logic to this argument, it's not entirely true. When done correctly, there is a place for cardio in a hardgainer's program. Plus you never want to ignore your most important muscle: your heart. Big muscles don't stay big long in a coffin. You want to put on size and stay healthy.

For optimal results, keep cardio to low or moderate intensity for 20-to-30 minutes. Two or three cardio sessions per week will keep your heart healthy, improve nutrient delivery to muscle cells and may even boost your recovery time.

Low reps, hevy weight

6
Low reps, heavy weight

Since your primary focus needs to be on lifting heavy, keep your rep range low, like 6-to-10. Because you're cutting isolation movements anyway, you won't need to spend 10-to-15 reps on your triceps. Lift big, lift heavy.

7
Heavy weight, long rest

Because you're lifting such heavy weight, extend your rest periods to regain maximum strength. If you're used to 30 seconds of rest, I've got news for you - longer rest means more strength per set, which leads to weight, more reps at that weight, better total growth. Try for two-to-three minutes between sets.

If you force yourself perform another set before you're recovered, you won't see optimal progress. Allow the body the time it needs to recover.

8
Don't Fear Fat

If you're a hardgainer and have a fear of healthy fats, you're headed for trouble. Healthy fats are the hardgainer's best friend because they're calorie dense and loaded with muscle-building benefits. Don't sacrifice your carbohydrate consumption for fats; both need to be included in your hardgainer diet plan.

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9
Choose the right Carbs

Load up on carbs after a workout! After training, your body is in prime muscle-building and repair mode, so give your body the nutrients it needs to replenish glycogen and spur recovery.

Post-workout, you should choose simple carbs like dextrose, maltodextrin, waxy maize or Vitargo. If you normally skip carbs post-workout, this should be your first tweak. The results you experience will be almost immediate - fuller muscles, faster recovery, and increased strength.

10
Be Patient, Be Persistent!

Building muscle takes time, hardgainer or otherwise. It takes patience, consistency and hard work. You play the iron game for life. If you're stuck in the mud after a few months of training, eat more, lift heavier and eat more. Don't give up. Increase your calorie intake, increase your training intensity and increase your gains.

patient

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About The Author

I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.

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fibercrusher

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fibercrusher

Pretty basic but SOLID article! Definitely has some great recommendations that I will be using. Good to see an article that's not all about promoting a supplement.

Jul 10, 2012 5:36pm | report
 
royboy01

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royboy01

I agree. This article promotes the fundamentals!

Jul 10, 2012 6:20pm | report
 
lucneo

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lucneo

yep very good article this can be a solid base for who want to get mass and dunno how should be the first thing to see if you want some pointers to get some heavy mass into your body!

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Jul 11, 2012 4:54am | report
 
AJacks92

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AJacks92

I agree with a lot of this article. I used to rely on isolation exercises alone and did get pretty far, but changing my workout regimen to where it consists of mostly compound movements shows the most growth in a shorter amount of time. And because of this change from isolation exercises to compound exercises, I've also changed my rest time to be from 20 sec to now 1-3 min.

Jul 11, 2012 12:06pm | report
 
Pirolai

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Pirolai

good article and has given me some great info on stuff i need help on thanks!!

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Jul 11, 2012 10:32pm | report
 
fic1990

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fic1990

Now, this is a good article.

Jul 12, 2012 9:40am | report
 
dumpbeast86

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dumpbeast86

very informative read. will definitely be using these tips

Jul 12, 2012 3:57pm | report
 
xiffer10

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xiffer10

That is one of the better articles I have ever read on the so called "hard gainer". I thought I was one for the longest time but then I started actually eating..

Jul 13, 2012 2:18pm | report
 
kinggce

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kinggce

LOW REPS,HEAVY WEIGHT BUT I HEARD FOR MUSCLE GAINS,U HAVE TO DO HIGH REPS

Jul 14, 2012 12:29am | report
 
mattlofting

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mattlofting

No for muscle gains you need to do high weight - low reps - medium sets. for example 4 - 7 reps of 66 lbs 5 sets.

Jul 14, 2012 12:43am | report
RPullen

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RPullen

High reps will tone you great, but for lean guys higher stress sets will really build ya faster!

Oct 31, 2012 4:07pm | report
DPedroso

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DPedroso

if with high reps you can put enough stress in the muscle you'r working it will build the same way as heavy weigh and low rep. and the tone thing is all about body fat. high reps don't tone the muscle, low body fat is the one that tone the muscle

Mar 24, 2013 9:12am | report
mattlofting

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mattlofting

Good article, has some great content that I will certainly be trying.

Jul 14, 2012 12:39am | report
 
martyvdb

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martyvdb

Great article. Well written.

#2 is my nemesis. Sleep.
For the life of me, I just cannot get more than about 3 back to back hours, and at best 6 hours in a night. Between my bladder and my 2yo son I am doomed. I feel fine but I know it is affecting my gains. 8 solid hours seems like a long gone dream...

Jul 18, 2012 7:45am | report
 
lex1981

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lex1981

Good article.

Jul 25, 2012 11:53am | report
 
usman23a

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usman23a

nice artilce

Jul 30, 2012 6:39pm | report
 
adrianrome

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adrianrome

a very good article

Sep 8, 2012 6:54am | report
 
Bad19

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Bad19

informative. now i know what to do.

Sep 8, 2012 11:56pm | report
 
mthinson

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mthinson

well that explains why.

Sep 10, 2012 6:21am | report
 
theyusuf

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theyusuf

Love This article thank you it was very useful

Sep 18, 2012 9:37pm | report
 
super_dork

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super_dork

Great article! From personal experience these tips are tried and true. Took me the past 3 to 4 years (along with 6 months off after lung collapse) to gain 30 lbs... And even then it's constant maintenance. Patience is key.

Sep 19, 2012 11:20am | report
 
yazz1985

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yazz1985

**** dude, what happened with the lung collapse if you don't mind me asking? glad you're feeling better! and thanks for your input! I will be trying this ASAP! I've been avoiding compound workouts mainly because my wrists are killing me, but will try this...30lbs would be GREAT right now!

Sep 26, 2012 7:14am | report
kerwin8232

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kerwin8232

that 's what i needed,this will really help me out!

Sep 26, 2012 8:43am | report
 
urucan2011

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urucan2011

this info seems to be right out of a book i have called Scrawny to Brawny

the book is very well written with all you will need, i went from 205 to 221 in 6 months.....

Sep 29, 2012 11:14am | report
 
sunnyprince

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sunnyprince

i am going running 3 k.m in early morning and weight training in evening is it good ?

Oct 6, 2012 12:44am | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 80 Comments

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