Hardgainer’s Introduction: Are You really a Hardgainer?
So you think you’re a hardgainer?
Thinking back, I bet many people used to envy your super speedy metabolism and the fact you can shovel endless amounts of fast food down your gullet without gaining a single pound… but now things are different… very different, and you may be beginning to resent your parents for passing on the ectomorph gene!
Surely adding a bit of mass and muscle to your frame can’t be hard right? You train hard, you eat right…so why the heck are you not seeing results? Well as the story says “we all want what we can’t have” right?
Here at Myprotein where there’s a will there’s a way and we’re here to help you reach your fitness goals.
First things first… let’s establish if you truly do have etcomorph genes… or if maybe you’re just making a few common mistakes. Many people can often use the hardgainer claim as an excuse…when really there are a ton of other factors that could be causing your progress fail.
1. Your Training
So the training dilemma usually lies within two categories- under training or over training! Ask yourself- are your gym sessions over an hour? If they are- are you doing too much? Or chatting too much?
“I work hard”, “I’m always in the gym”… don’t get me wrong these statements might be the truth but if you’re lifting weights that are too light, doing a lot of cardio or not getting enough rest- these are all concepts that might be causing your lack of progress.
Over training can be a common problem among many people- the dedication and determination is all there but the knowledge is not. It’s important to remember your body needs sufficient time to grow and repair, whereby over training can effectively make the body breakdown hard earned muscle, in exchange for some extra fuel supplies.
2.What Type of Exercise Are You Doing?
If you’re a cardio bunny- it’s time to cut down. Cardio is good for our health and the cardiovascular system and if you enjoy it- even better! But if you’re performing too much cardio, this could be what is severely compromising your attempts to gain weight and muscle.
If you’re a machine hogger, unglue your hands from those machines! Focusing on isolation machines is a big pitfall for many individuals and in order to gain muscle the number one rule is to incorporate the fantastic five in your workouts! …. No not the superhero team- the super compound sets!
-The shoulder press
-The bench press
If these are not in your program, then before you call yourself a true hardgainer you need to make some changes.
3. Your Diet and Nutrition
Ask yourself- do you track your calorie intake? Are you eating enough protein? Are you eating enough at ALL? Do you even know what enough is?
Let’s start at the beginning…. with your macros.
What are macros?
Macros stands for macro nutrients. Macro nutrients include the main dietary components: protein, carbohydrates and fat, which all together determine your overall calorie intake.
Now you may have seen on the back of packets males should be consuming around 2500Kcals… so that may be what you’ve been doing. Firstly, it’s important to know this is an average recommendation based on everyone in the UK population- in reality everyone is different and requires a different nutrition!
Next, eating 200 calories of carbohydrates is different from eating 200kcals of fat or 200kcals or protein. Each of these macro nutrients are unique in chemical structure, have different properties and therefore digest and react in different ways when consumed.
4. Are You Keeping Score?
You may be thinking you’ve got this covered but a major mistake many people in general make is not tracking their workouts and daily calorie and macro nutrient intake.
For starters you should have structure to your training regime and know exactly what you’re doing before you get to the gym. Second- buy a note book. Record your progress- how much you’re lifting and how many reps. By not recording your workouts you’re likely to forget what you’ve done and might leave some muscle groups neglected. By keeping note as you workout, you can see error and make changes based on your progress. Another important way of tracking progress is taking progress photos! Record your weight ,measurements and take photos! Don’t keep hard earned results to yourself.
To keep track of your macros using an app such as myfitness pal can help you to monitor your progress and adapt your diet specifically to meet your metabolism. You may think you have a top memory but research has shown that 24 dietary recalls can have a large source of error coming from a loss of memory and selective recall, so make sure you take note! – Also apps such as myfitness pal which are available on the web and most mobile phones represent your daily intake in an easy to understand way using tables, charts and graphs! So you’ve no excuse.
A Take Home Message
So before you claim you’ve got the genetic short straw and there’s no way you’ll ever build muscle… make sure you’re following these 4 tips!