Can’t put on muscle no matter how hard you try? This is for you.
Hard gainer, skinny, ectomorph… whatever label you chose to give yourself, it’s a tough life when you can’t pack on mass like other guys. One thing’s for sure – stressing about it won’t help. We’re here to help you get your diet and supplement stack in order so you can finally see results you’re proud of!
This Is Why You’re A Hardgainer
Why can some guys gain new muscle in just a few training sessions? When you, on the other hand, have been slogging it out for years and still look skinny? Being a hardgainer is partly genetics and partly lifestyle.
Take a look at your parents, or further back to your grandparents. Chances are, they are mostly slim with small frames. Everyone is built differently, and if you have narrow collarbones, slim hips, and small wrists and ankles then you have a small frame.
But you can put muscle onto that frame! It simply means that your muscular attachment points are different to someone with a larger frame. But take heart – look to athletes like gymnasts, and lightweight competitive bodybuilders. They have small frames, too but they manage to add mass perfectly well!
The other factor behind being a so-called hardgainer is much easier to address. It’s your lifestyle. Adding muscle needs calories. Are you eating enough of them? Or you burning off the energy you eat? Hardgainers tend to have small appetites, not be food focused and to often forget about eating. They also tend to be high energy people who are active throughout the day, and rarely sit still. If that sounds like you, address your energy balance: more calories in, and fewer calories out.
Get Food Right First
To gain muscle, you’ll need to be in a caloric excess. It’s easy to work out how many calories to eat – any online calculator can tell you that. But the question is: why aren’t you able to do it? These 9 strategies will help you sort it out.
1 Make yourself a meal plan which will help you get all the calories in
2 Work out whether you prefer big meals or lots of snacks
3 Use high-calorie foods like nut butters, oils, fattier cuts of meat, and mass gainers like Pro Mass which has fast acting carbs, quality protein, and MCT fats
4 Don’t pack your meals out with low-calorie volume foods
5 Focus on calories, not volume, to make life easier for yourself
6 Consider using a digestive aid – Pro Peptide contains the trademarked DigeZyme™ and Lactospore™ digestive enzymes and probiotics to support your gut health, or even Pro Biotic
7 Liquid callers like smoothies, shakes, and protein ice-cream will help get calories up
8 If you struggle to eat enough, reduce food volume but increase frequency (less food, more often)
9 Are you doing cardio? Stop, or reduce it – you simply don’t need the calorie output!
Sleep Matters Too
Make sure you’re sleeping enough. If you don’t sleep well, your body will be stressed and this is no good for muscle gain. Additionally, the more hours of sleep you get, the more hours your body is at rest (and burning much fewer calories than when you’re awake!)
Aim for 7-9 hours of good quality sleep a night. Get to bed a little earlier than you do right now, keep your room cool and dark, and don’t take your phone to bed. Get out of the habit of scrolling social media late at night and give your brain a break from the disruptive blue light.
4 Supplements For Hardgainers
1 Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine Monohydrate is an all-natural training aid which boosts training performance, enhances cell growth, and helps you get a better pump. It helps your body access energy for training and is every good bodybuilder’s favourite supplement for mass, strength, and size. Plus it’s super easy to take and works out really cost effective.
2 Mass Gainer Protein Powder
Protein powder isn’t a magic food, but a really good quality protein mass gainer like Pro Mass will most definitely help you get the calories in. Sometimes it’s just easier to drink your calories, right? And the bonus of choosing Pro Mass is that you know it’s all great quality – quality carbs, quality protein, and quality MCT fats.
3 Intra Workout
Your workouts need extra fuel if you’re a hardgainer. The absolute worst thing you can do is try to train with just water in your bottle! You need amino acids, fuel, and extra energy – otherwise you could actually end up back at square one or worse. A great intra like Pro Genesis has amino acids, BCAAs, smart carbs, and electrolytes. Don’t go one step forward and two steps back! Use an intra workout.
You need more carbohydrates as a hardgainer, and it can be difficult to get them all in from solid food (rough on the stomach isn’t it?) So use a powdered carb source which will go down easily and be absorbed quickly. Try Pro Fuel – the choice of serious athletes who know how important it is to get carbs in pre and post training.
Go forth and build muscle!