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Updated on April 3, 2014

I Am a Hard Gainer

What is a hard gainer? If you are a hard gainer you know it. A hard gainer is someone who finds it very difficult to put on any weight or muscle mass. They are typically thin and sometimes underweight for their height.

They can eat a lot but never gain any weight, people who know you will comment on how you can keep on eating and never gain weight while they have to be careful. When working out with weights for a period of time they don't seem to show any muscle development but will get stronger.

This guide is really geared toward the super hard gainer that is very thin and really wants to do something about it. They have really tried in the past and could never achieve a weight gain. If you follow this guide you will put on the weight.

An Example Of What A Hard Gainers Life Could Be Like

He would have been very skinny from his earliest years. He probably did not eat much at meal time, and when younger went right out to play after dinner expending lots of energy (of course this would be before we had computers and gaming to keep us inside). As he got older he could eat anything he wanted but never changed, prompting many people to envy him.

As this hard gainer grew up through middle school and high school he had an interest in sports, but. He was too small for Football, he tried wrestling but had no luck due to lack of strength. He was good at shooting the Basketball but was too skinny and was knocked around a lot. He had no idea what to do to gain some weight so he could become competitive at something along with just building his self-esteem.

He tried weight lifting but had no guidance but he tried reading the Body Building magazines looking for the key to getting bigger not realizing these methods were not for hard gainers like him. Yes he did get stronger but only up to a point. He just did not get bigger; his weight stayed the same no matter what. When he graduated High School he barely weighed 120 pounds at 5 foot 8 inches.

There was something he just could not grasp in his pursuit to gain weight, like it was some big secret he would never learn or he was destined due to heredity to be skinny. He did not know that he was all wrong in how he was going about chasing his dream.

He has two approaches he can take to gain weight, both involve three things. First is food consumption, second is lifting heavy weight and third is rest. If he is not in a hurry to put on more weight he has one approach which is slower to see the results but he will get there and the second will give him faster results. We will assume he wants to gain weight fast so that is the direction we will take him.

If you are a hard gainer, the best point in your life to take advantage of a hard gainer workout is when you are younger and the hormonal production is at its greatest. The older we get the less hormones are produced and the harder it is to put on muscle mass, but it can be done. The good thing is if you follow the weight lifting portion as close as you can you will get a boost in your hormones.

This guide is really geared toward the super hard gainer that is very thin and seriously wants to do something about it fast. They have really tried in the past and could never achieve a weight gain of any significance. If you follow this guide you will put on the weight. I grew up a serious hard gainer and I made this program work for me at 30 years of age when the testosterone was not as strong as it used to be. I put on 20 pounds in 4 months, something I could never do before. I had to buy new clothes that would fit my new size.

Of course I do not claim that everyone will have the same results because everyone is different and some will try harder than others. But if you make an honest effort following the tips found here you will put on weight.

The Key to Getting Bigger

You need to take on a whole different approach to weight lifting if you are a hardgainer. Its all about taking in more calories than you expend. Eat more and rest a lot. Work out with heavy weight and do fewer reps.

Later when you pack on the pounds do you cut back on how much you eat, change the workout routine and reduce the body fat through cardio. Following the workouts found in muscle magazines will not cut it for hardgainers, these workouts are for someone who has genetics that allow them to gain muscle mass more easily.

Once you have put on maybe 10 pounds take a break. Shift gears and cut back on your calorie intake change your workout routine and do some cardio to reduce your body fat and see how you look.

If you want to put on more weight switch back to the hardgainer routine. You can cycle this way till you get to the weight you want and are happy you have finally gained weight.

Eat A lot Of Food To Gain Weight

You are going to have to forget what you know about eating healthy for awhile. During your weight gain process you are going to have to eat some high calorie food that may include junk food.

Under normal circumstances this is not a good way to eat but it is something that you must do to pack on the pounds. Just remember this weight gain diet is only temporary, you will go back to a healthier diet after you increase your weight.

If you are worrying about gaining some fat, you will get rid of it later. If you are very skinny, be happy you are finally putting on any kind of weight, Bulk up while you can.

You have to eat a lot of food, at least 6 high calorie meals per day or eat about every 3 hours. You don't want to constantly eat all day you need to spread it out.

Don't be too concerned about eating healthy if you want to pack on the pounds, because you can go back to eating good after you get to where you want. You may reach a point where you just can't eat more food at each meal, you can try easing off every couple days to relax your digestive system.

The last time you eat each day is right before you go to bed because your metabolism will slow down while sleeping and your body will absorb more nutrients. And, many bodybuilders during the off season will get up half way through their evening sleep to eat something again.

If you are not able to eat this many meals you can try some of the meal replacement drinks that are high calorie and have vitamin and minerals, sometimes these can be easier to get down. You could even try drinking milk for your snack and for extra calories try Carnation instant breakfast mixes with your milk.

Don't eat constantly throughout the day, take 2 ½ to 3 hours between meals and snacks, this this way you give the previous meal time to digest some.

Some go by the 1 gallon of milk a day rule to get the calories. Eat foods that are dense with calories. Food like fruit and vegetable will fill you up but they are not calorie dense so don't eat many of them.

Eggs are great, this is a good way to get some good protein. You could make some hard boiled eggs and eat the egg whites.

Don't Burn Too Many Calories If Gaining Weight

If you want to do some cardio work forget about it. You do not want to burn any calories, you're a hard gainer, remember you are trying to add as many calories as possible. You actually want to act like your lazy and not do any thing. Just lay around and watch TV or something.

Get more sleep, this is when your body is repairing itself.

Let it do its job. Take naps if possible, especially after you eat. But then again, if you feel like you want to do a little cardio go ahead, you would just have to eat even more to make up what you burned off.

If you look at how Sumo wrestlers train you will find they are required to take a nap after eating, the idea is for them to put on weight. When you sleep you body slows down and those extra calories are not burned off so easily.

Also while you sleep your muscles are rebuilding from your workouts and getting bigger. If you are normally an active person you may get stir crazy after a while wanting to do something active. Once in a while is OK, just don't over do things with too much calorie burning.

How Do You Boost Your Growth

What you need to do is get the central nervous system activated and the natural growth hormones flowing. This can be done by lifting heavy weight, possibly heavier than you are used to lifting.

Lifting this heavy weight is what will activate your growth by sending a message to your central nervous system to get things moving. Using light weights won't do it for you if you are trying to pack on the weight.

You need to do movements that utilize a barbell so both arms, legs and the whole body are exercised together. Movements such as barbell curls, bench press, squats or dead lifts are examples.

Keep it simple by doing exercises that are more whole body oriented.

To exercise as a hard gainer you have to do squats, this is the key to a hard gainers workout. If you could do only one exercise, the squat would be it. If you could only do two right now, I would say squat and dead lift, if three add bench press. Only my opinion!

You also need to do what some call breathing squats. Breathing squats are when you take a weight that you can do 10 reps with, but you do 20 reps.

As you do them you will reach a point that you have to stop maybe at 10 reps, stop but keep the bar on your shoulders and catch your breath, you will be breathing hard as the name implies.

Do another rep, stop and breath continuing for 20 reps. Hang in there and do twenty no matter how long it takes. Do these twice a month at the most. These will really activate the growth in your muscles.

Try to workout only three times a week with a day off between sessions. You will be working hard on the days you do workout so do not worry that you are not doing through the week. If you are used to working out 4, 5, or 6 times a week you may feel like you are not doing enough to help, but trust me you are.

All those extra days may have been holding you back. I can tell you when I first starting working out this way I felt like 3 days could not be enough, but it was.

You also need to keep adding weight to the barbell, as often as possible make the weight you are lifting heavier with out making your form bad. If you are not able to do squats do dead lifts. A good thing about doing dead lifts is you do not need a squat rack so you can do these at home if you have a barbell and weights.

Something you want to avoid is Cortisol. This is a catabolic hormone that will waste away your hard earned muscle. This is a stress activated hormone that is necessary for our function but excess amounts will rob you of and inhibit the growth of muscle tissue.

So we obviously want to avoid this. Getting plenty of rest, not overdoing it with too much weight lifting and avoiding stress will help keep excessive Cortisol from doing you wrong.

Best Weight Gain Exercises For Hard Gainers

You are going to exercise in cycles, the reason being you need to back off every so often to let your body repair itself so you can go at it strong again latter. You may find that when you start the next cycle you will be able to add on a little more weight than you used last time around.

Another reason for cycling is to avoid over training which will

bring you to a standstill as far as making any progress. Remember you want to workout in cycles, for example for the four months I did this routine I did three cycles.

The first cycle I did, the first two weeks were kind of getting used to the exercises and slowly adding on weight to each exercise with 10 reps for the working set. The third week added more weight to each exercise to were it was starting getting difficult to lift doing eight reps for the working sets.

The fourth week I went all out doing only maybe three reps in the last working set of each exercise. I worked out three days a week only, sometimes one days rest between and other time two days rest. I mainly used the squat as my heavy lift only occasionally using the dead lift.

Best Weight Gain Exercises - Continued

When I did the squat I used enough weight where I could go down till my thighs were parallel to the floor at the beginning of the cycle. Mid-way through the cycle when I did my working set I would use enough weight to allow me to go parallel for eight sets.

And at the end of the cycle I added enough weight to do maybe one rep to parallel and the remaining reps as close to parallel as possible for the working set. I decided partial reps with a really heavy weight was going to work for me and I think I was correct. It allowed me to use a much heavier weight.

The exercises I used were the bench press, pull-ups, shoulder press, curls and rows. These were all done with a barbell and I did not always do all the exercise each workout.

I also tried to do some of them in a variety of ways - for example I would sometimes do inclined or declined bench press. I would do two warm up sets then the working set for each exercise.

When I did pull-ups I would go slow with the reps on the working set so I could only do three to eight reps. Pull-ups where kind of easy for me, but I wanted to use the pull-up because it is such a great upper body exercise.

Remember those breathing squats, try to do them every other week. These will really help you make gains. And if you want to add in some other exercises go for it, just remember not to spend much time working out, get it done and move on.. Remember the rule, less is better.

I always did the squat or dead lift at the end of my workout.

Do you have any tips or tricks that would help hardgainers?

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