It never fails… Yet, another frustrated skinny guy gives up on his dreams of building a muscular physique. And why!?!! Well, it’s simple… it’s because of the ALL the confusing, contradicting, misinformation found in the bodybuilding magazines, in the forums and plastered all over the internet that make knowing HOW to build muscle so mind boggling.
The natural conclusion that most skinny guys come to… “Well, nothing works for me so I must be a hardgainer.”
In general, a natural trainee CANNOT use the same workout routine as a pro bodybuilder… PERIOD… and that’s where SO many guys go wrong. What’s even worse is when the naturally skinny guys end up using these outrageous workout routines they find in these magazines because it leads them down a path of utter frustration and despair.
Nothing is more depressing then training hard and giving it your all, only to be left smaller than when you started. Even worse, you end up injuring yourself because the training was just TOO MUCH!
Still the biggest thing that pisses me off is when some bozo tells you that there’s no such thing as a hardgainer. “You’re not a hardgainer… you’re just not eating enough.” Although, there is some truth to this statement… the reality is that certain people do have a harder time gaining muscle than others. So, it’s not as cut and dry as they make it out to be.
Been There, Done That, Wearing the T-shirt
Look… I’ve been there and done that. I’ve had to weed through the lies, sales pitches, advertisements and well intentioned advice. I’ve also made tons of mistakes along the way. I spent thousands of dollars on hyped-up, over-priced supplements that did nothing but make my wallet thinner.
Unfortunately, I had to spend over a decade researching health, nutrition, supplementation and bodybuilding before I even started to figure out what works and what doesn’t. It doesn’t have to be this way.
I almost threw in the towel several times after experiencing painful lower back injuries, problems with my joints and then shoulder issues. Nevertheless, I was determined to reach my goals and decided that I would never give up. Well, the persistence paid off!
Over time I was able to find some great strength coaches who have been “in the trenches” and spent years training real people, in the real world. They were stereotypical hardgainers themselves, and knew the struggle I was facing. Through the collected works of these coaches and their programs I was able to heal my lower back pain and injuries, and finally gain 30lbs of muscle. I went from 130lbs to 160lbs at 5’11” tall.
Granted this did not make me look like Arnold Schwarzenhoppa, however, this was my first successful transformation after so many failed attempts. It finally catapulted me out of the scrawny realm forever and now I’m working on my second transformation of gaining another 20-30lbs, while simultaneously sharing what I’ve learned with guys and gals like yourself.
So… is there such a thing as a hardgainer?
Let’s clear this up once and for all. The first thing you should be aware of is that labeling yourself a hardgainer or becoming too indentified with this term can be detrimental to your progress. This is because of the negative connotation it presents to your subconscious mind. There’s no reason to label yourself a hardgainer or use this as some type of excuse as to why you can’t build muscle. You don’t want this to become a self-fulfilling prophesy, do you?
Drop the pessimistic label and pick up a barbell and a fork! We all face different challenges along the path towards our goals. Accept that this is your challenge and make up your mind to overcome it no matter what stands in your way.
That being said, each of us has inherited certain genetic traits from our parents. Some people’s physiology allows them to build muscle and burn fat quite easily and naturally. These are the natural athletes and have the somatotype (body type) classification known as mesomorphs. These lucky bastards have a solid bone structure, optimal hormonal balance and metabolism for easily packing on muscle while staying lean. They suck and everybody hates them, but secretly we all want to be them! Lol
Then there are the naturally chubby guys, known as endomorphs. These guys build muscle fairly easily, yet they can gain fat simply by looking at a donut. They possess an even thicker bone structure which allows them to become extremely strong, yet their hormones, insulin sensitivity and metabolism easily lead to excessive fat storage. They struggle to get lean and dream of having a six pack.
Finally, there are the ectomorphs or the naturally skinny guys like us. These are the true hardgainers because their biology is not conducive to building muscle AT ALL.
Ectomorphs have a thin, smaller bone structure with longer limbs, which makes it quite challenging to lift heavy weights. They also tend to have lower levels of testosterone (a muscle-building hormone) and higher levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that breaks down muscle. Ectomorphs also have a super-charged metabolism that burns calories like crazy. So now you know why you can eat anything you want and never gain a pound! lol
Because of their lighter frame and a dominance of Type 1 muscle fibers, ectomorphs are better suited for endurance type activities like long distance running and cycling versus strength and power sports like powerlifting and sprinting.
The Good News for Ectomorphs...
The good news is that if you have a STRONG DESIRE to build muscle and are willing to put in the hard work and discipline consistently over time… you can transform your body despite being a hardgainer. I have found many examples of ectomorphs who, after learning these principles, have gone of to gain 70+ pounds of muscle. If they can do it, then you can do it too!
You simply need work out routines designed specifically for your ectomorphic body type and the persistence to see them through. The key to success is in remembering what Napoleon Hill said many moons ago, “Every adversity you meet carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.”
Keep that in mind if you choose to walk this path.