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Nutrition for Hardgainers

So you want to get big, but you've always been skinny. No matter how much you eat, you just can't seem to put on any weight. Are you sick of wondering how to get as big as the guys you see in the gym? In this article I'm going to show you exactly where you are going wrong, and exactly what you nee to do to put on slabs of muscle mass. I was once in your shoes so I know what needs to be done.

Stop OBSESSING Over Abs / 'Lean Gains' Nothing destroys the progress of young guys in the gym like the 'lean gains' myth. I'm sorry to bust your bubble lads, but increases in muscle mass without a simultaneous increase in body fat is not possible for anyone but absolute beginners. Even beginners only experience this magic for such a short time that it's hardly worth mentioning. Allow me to let you in on a little secret. The guys you see in the magazines, the douchebags who pop up on YouTube ads, or anyone else who is claiming you can have lean gains? They're likely on steroids.

Assuming that you are not going to take steroids, we need to accept the limits of natural physiology. You need to decide if you would rather stay skinny with abs, or actually gain a noticeable amount of muscle.

If you do things right and don't eat a whole load of crap, the fat you gain should be minimal. Plus, once you're big and strong you can just lose the fat with a cutting phase.

How much time do you really intend on spending with your shirt off in Ireland anyway? Having some meat on your body looks much more impressive in a t-shirt than being skinny with a six pack that nobody can see.

STOP Lying to Yourself

If you are struggling to put on weight, you are NOT EATING ENOUGH. I don't care how full you feel or how much food you think you eat, it's not enough. I know because I was once like you, and I was shocked when I realised how much food I really had to eat to gain weight.

So maybe you were born with a high metabolism; boo-hoo, so was I. My natural bodyweight is somewhere between 70 - 75kg. I've eaten and lifted my way to 91kg, and I still have a ways to go.

If a high metabolism is the worst of your problems then your life is pretty good. Regardless, this is a simple energy in | energy out equation, and if you're not gaining then you're not taking enough in.

Embrace that this is going to be hard

If you're not having to force-feed yourself slightly for at least one of your meals then I can say with high certainty that you're not eating enough. Remember, your body does not want to build muscle tissue. It wants to expend as little energy as possible by staying the same weight.

You are going to have to give your body a very forceful nudge in the right direction if you want to see muscle gains. That nudge will come in the form of a few extra mouthfuls of high protein meals.

No BS Weight Gain

I recognise not everyone is the same. Some of us love analysing things and getting exact numbers. For some of us, we do better with easy to implement, practical tips. If you identify as the latter then this is for you.

Basically all you are going to do is keep eating the exact same way you are currently. However, on top of that you are going to add in one extra high protein meal. I don't recommend relying on shakes but for some of you, you just need to get the damn ball rolling in one form or another.

Protein Shake:

2 scoops whey protein

50 grams oats

1 large banana

250ml milk

Fistful of frozen berries

Calories: 650 - 700 cals

Protein: 60 - 65g

This shake should be enough to put most of you into a caloric surplus and will give you daily protein intake a nice boost. Tastes pretty good too. Just remember that you need to be pushing for new personal records in the gym for more muscle to be built.

Track your body weight weekly to ensure the weight is coming on. You shouldn't be gaining more than 0.25 - 0.5kg body mass per week.

Further Reading

For the detailed analysis of what you need to be doing, read this, with particular attention to the 'Protein' section:

Nutrition: What You Need To Know

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