You have spent time in a gym or around bodybuilders, you have probably heard the term “hardgainer” a time or two. Even if you have just done your research into protein powder supplements, you have probably encountered references to this term.
While there are many hardgainers in the world, many do not realize that the term fits their bodies. In fact, many people do not even fully understand what this word means.
A hardgainer is simply a person who has more difficulty putting on lean muscle and maintaining a muscular body than many other people. These people can follow the same workout programs as others and put in eve more hours lifting weight, but their results are not as spectacular as the results seen by others. They may show some muscle definition, but they are by far less pumped up than they expected to be after putting in all of that hard work.
If you can relate to any of the following statements, there is a good chance that you are a hardgainer:
- You can eat whatever you want without worrying about getting fat.
- You have always been skinny, so it never crossed your mind that you would get fat.
- No matter how hard you lift or how many hours you spend in the gym, your body does not put on muscle mass quickly.
- You can follow a moderate weightlifting program for a month and see little to no results.
- You have to work twice as hard as everyone else if you want to look muscular and fit.
Your body may give you other hints that it struggles to put on muscle, so you can add those to the list. These are just some of the most common hints that you fit into this category.
You’re a Hardgainer – Now What?
Don’t look at this as a negative label that will forever mark you in the gym. Don’t assume that being a hardgainer is the end of your bodybuilding dreams. Absolutely do not think that you have no hope of ever developing the muscle you desire.
This is not an excuse to go back to unhealthy eating habits. Your body may struggle to put on muscle mass, but that doesn’t mean it can’t put on muscle mass.
For most people, realizing that there is a term for their problem is a relief. Once you see that you aren’t underperforming in the gym and your body is not a mystery, you can start learning more about what stops your body from putting on muscle easily. You can then take action to work with your body so that real muscle gain is possible and you see the results you deserve for your hard work.
Much of what you are doing right now may actually work against your body. Once you learn how to work with your body, putting on muscle and developing the body of your dreams will become far less agonizing.
Why are You a Hardgainer?
Most people who make the cut as hardgainers are naturally-skinny people with fast metabolisms. Ask those who gain weight just by looking at a morsel of food, and they will tell you how lucky you are to have this body type. You are technically referred to as an ectomorph body type, which simply means your body burns through calories at a rapid pace. Little is stored as fat because you body is so efficient at burning what it is given.
Even when you eat a diet considered high in calories by the standards of other people, you may not eat enough calories to support massive muscle growth. This is simply because your body will burn through those calories at a much faster pace than bodies of other types. Your fast metabolism may help you avoid obesity, but it can also work against you if bulk is what you crave.
How Hardgainers Gain Muscle
The best way to combat your speedy metabolism is to give your body more fuel. This does not mean that you get to eat whatever you want because your body isn’t likely to gain weight. Unhealthy foods that do not provide the nourishment your body needs will only make it even harder to gain muscle.
You need to follow a well-balanced diet with adequate calories to make up for your fast metabolism.
Your higher-calorie diet should still consist of healthy fats, lean protein and wholesome carbohydrates. You will just need more of each of these food types in order to meet the demands of your higher-calorie diet. This is why there are some protein powders dedicated specifically to hardgainers.
If you fit into this group, you need more protein than someone else trying to gain muscle. You need more protein, and that makes you more likely to rely on protein powder, protein bars and other supplements. It is much easier to meet a high protein intake goal when you can down a delicious shake to obtain a large percentage of your needed protein.
You may still find that you need to work a bit harder in the gym or take a different approach to weightlifting than some other people. What’s important is that you understand this term and know how to work with your body to get the muscle you desire.