5 Tips for Hardgainers to Ensure
Continuous Muscle Growth
We’re all built differently and have different genetic traits that determine our height and build, but also our natural muscle-building potential. Some people have a relatively easy time packing on pounds of muscle on their frame quickly, and they’re naturally strong and resilient to boot. On the other hand, many people are not as genetically blessed, and fall into the category of hardgainers. Essentially, these are the people that have a very difficult time building muscle, and sometimes it seems like they’re not making any progress no matter how much effort they put in the gym.
While the situation might seem hopeless at first, it’s important to remember that even the least genetically gifted among us can achieve some amazing results, but only if you tidy up your nutrition and supplementation, optimize your time in the gym, and make other vital changes to your lifestyle. That’s why today we’ll be uncovering the five key tips you need to introduce into your fitness journey in order to ensure continuous muscle growth as a hardgainer. Here’s what you need to do.
It all starts with nutrition
First and foremost, in order to pack on quality mass, you have to focus on your nutrition. You might think that bulking up is all about lifting weights and being consistent in the gym, but if your nutrition is not on point, you won’t be able to achieve your goals. This is why optimizing your daily caloric intake should be your number one priority. Needless to say, your focus should be on eating calorie-dense foods so that you get as many calories into your system as possible without feeling like you’re going to pass out.
For example, say you’re having a salad for dinner. A hardgainer’s salad is vastly different than a regular salad, because you need more calories, so aside from green leafy vegetables and tomato, you need to add meads, cheeses, dressings, the whole lot. Apply this mindset to every meal in your day and aim to get as much protein and as many calories in as possible. It also helps to know how many calories you should be eating, so be sure to use a calorie calculator as well.
Focusing on strength training
Too many hardgainers make the common mistake of focusing too much on “the pump” at the gym, when they should be investing their energy in strength training. Yes, chasing the pump is a good thing, and we will talk about the importance of hypertrophy training in a bit, but always remember that building strength is your foundation for muscle gain down the road. To that end, be sure to adapt your training schedule to include strength movements and start adding weight to the bar every week.
You can base every training session on a single strength movement, and these usually include the squat, the bench press, the deadlift, and the overhead press. These are the four pillars of strength, and they will help you pack on muscle quickly if you stick to heavy weights and four to six repetitions per set. Afterwards, you can add more repetitions for other exercises to stimulate your muscle fibers completely.
Add supplements to your routine
Of course, eating wholesome calorie-dense meals is the key element of long-term weight gain, however, hardgainers often find it impossible to get enough calories during from food alone just because they can’t eat that much food in a single day. This is where supplementation comes in as one of the most important elements of a hardgainer’s diet plan. When you choose the right supplements, you can accelerate muscle growth and gain lean mass more quickly, but you need to know which supplements to get.
For example, you can go with a standard whey protein powder if you just want to add some protein to your diet, but protein shakes don’t have a lot of calories. That’s why as a hardgainer, you want to choose something like a protein powder for weight gain that was specifically designed to get you more calories, more protein, and more nutrients than other supplements. These weight-gainers are perfect for those of you struggling to put on and even retain mass, so be sure to find the supplement that has enough calories to fill your daily requirements.
Mixing in hypertrophy training
Strength training is the foundation of your training split, but another crucial element is hypertrophy training, otherwise known as those exercises you do to get that amazing pump and burn in your muscles. Pumping up your muscles has many positive effects on your body, but it mainly stretches out the muscle fibers to allow more blood to pass through, and it creates those much-needed micro-tears that, when repaired, will become new muscle tissue, making your muscles bigger and stronger.
To achieve this effect, though, you shouldn’t train with light weights even when you’re looking to get a pump. Instead, you should add repetitions to your sets but still use moderately-high weights to really push your muscles further than before. You can still do an amazing set of 15 repetitions with a heavy weight, just remember to adhere to proper form.
Optimizing sleep and recovery
Last but not least, you can’t hope to build muscle efficiently if you’re tired and sore all the time, so you need to take post-workout recovery and sleep seriously. Firstly, make sure to stretch thoroughly after every workout to support blood flow. Secondly, allow your body to recover and your stress hormones to dissipate by getting some good sleep every night, preferably a solid eight hours. This will ensure that you feel rested and ready for the next workout and that you make incremental progress consistently.
Building muscle as a hardgainer can seem like an impossible task, but nothing could be further from the truth when you follow the right steps. Be sure to use these tips to set yourself up for years of building muscle and sculpting your dream physique.