When you first start out Lifting Weights you fall into one of three categories:
1. Very Skinny
2. Skinny Fat (Thin but with some fat on your stomach)
3. Fat or Overweight (From chubby all the way to morbidly obese)
When I began Lifting, I was just fat. But, in this post we are talking about guys who are Skinny.
A Hardgainer: Someone who is “naturally skinny” and has a difficult time gaining weight and muscle.
Some people out there really believe that Hardgainers exist. Supplement companies often try to sell these skinny guys weight gaining supplements, and completely misguide them on what the real issue is.
You’ll hear guys say things like, “No matter what I do, I just can’t gain weight”, or “I’m eating so much food but the scale hasn’t gone up in weeks.”
I take pride in telling people the truth. And the truth is: Hardgainers Don’t Exist.
In order to Build Muscle and Gain Weight, you need to Eat At a Caloric Surplus and Lift Weights.
If you’re not gaining weight, it means you are NOT Eating Enough.
A lot of guys truly believe they eat a lot, but they never actually take the time to count their calories.
They often give up and think they are stuck as The Skinny Guy for the rest of their lives. In fact, they might even be eating at a caloric deficit, this is because they just started out lifting and their bodies are burning more calories than before. In turn, they need to eat even more food to put on size.
You’re a skinny guy who just used my Daily Calorie Calculator, and you found out you need 2800 calories to maintain your weight.
From there you need to eat more. If you really think you’re a hardgainer then start out with a 500 calorie increase, to 3300 calories a day. (use a calorie counting app to track your food, my favorite: MyFitnessPal.)
Before you start eating more, weigh yourself at least 3 days in a row and then take an average to figure out how much you weigh. So, if you weigh 160 lbs on Day 1, 160.2 on Day 2, and 159.9 on Day 3, just call it 160 as your starting point.
That’s when you start eating 3300 calories every single day for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, weigh yourself to see if you went up on the scale.
I suggest two weeks at least because water weight can fluctuate, and if you were at a surplus you’d be at least 1-2 lbs heavier.
What if the scale still hasn’t changed after eating more?
The solution is: Eat Even More.
But before you do that, weigh yourself the next few days and find your average body weight again. You might wake up tomorrow and actually see that you gained some weight.
And if the scale really hasn’t moved you need to up those calories. That 3300 a day should now be 3600 a day.
Every two weeks, continue to raise your calories from that point by 300 cals if you still aren’t gaining weight.
Weeks 1-2: You weighed 160 lbs and ate 3300 calories a day.
Weeks 3-4: You still weigh 160lbs, but now you eat 3600 calories a day.
Weeks 5-6: You still weigh 160lbs, but now you eat 3900 calories a day.
Weeks 7-8: You weigh in at 162 lbs. Continue eating at 3900 until you stop gaining weight. Congratulations Hardgainer.
In reality, it is physically impossible for someone not to gain weight if they consistently eat at a decent caloric surplus.
Being a hardgainer simply means you need to eat more food than the average person to gain weight, due to a faster metabolism. It doesn’t mean you can’t gain weight at all.
You’re not gaining weight? Okay, Eat More.
If you’re having trouble eating all that food, then you should substitute some of your meals with calorically dense foods, (aka, some junk food). Instead of eating chicken breast and brown rice for lunch, switch it to a chicken sandwich with mayo and cheese, and eat potato chips instead of brown rice. You don’t need to eat clean all the time.
To make sure you see success, you need to accurately calculate your daily calorie intake. Also you need to be on a good lifting program. Check out Building Muscle For Beginners.