If you are like me. A hard gainer. and you are just starting out I know it can be hard and frustrating! Trust me I know. When I started in the gym I was 145 or so soaking wet. Im about 6″ so you can imagine how skinny I was. Since than I’ve bulked up pretty nicely. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are a beginner starting out and don’t know what to do.
1. Compound movements! Don’t do work outs that target specific muscles. Stick to compound work outs. bench press, dead lift, squats, shoulder press and things of that sort. When you get to arm day, standing dumbbell curls or barbell, standing cable triceps pull downs and so on. Do things that are compound, I cant stress that enough. I see tons of guys in the gym starting out doing targeted work outs and they will do you no good at this stage, all you want to do is put on bulk thats it.
2. Learn to gauge your work outs. I cannot tell you what your intensity in the gym should be, everyones body works different, but what you have to do is figure out if your body likes intense long work outs or short explosive work outs. Depending on your body you may be able to handle longer days in the gym and not be phased by it, some cant handle it. What you DONT want to do is over work. The problem with being a hardgainer is that we can burn our muscles. The body stores fat so that it can use the fat stores as energy when there’s no food to use. Guys like us don’t have fat, so what will your body use to burn? Muscle. SO with that being said you need to figure out how your body burns and uses energy and what kind of work out regiment works best for you and your goals.
3. Stay the fuck off of the treadmill. You don’t need cardio. Cardio is for people wanting to burn calories. YOU NEED THOSE CALORIES TO GROW. If you insist on treadmill its 5 to 8 mins tops walking at a normal pace, no running no jogging. Im talking not even breaking a sweat whilst walking on the treadmill. Got it?
4. Food. This can sometimes be the shitty part of being a hardgainer depending on how your appetite is. You need to eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat. Heres the thing. You can supplement everyone knows that. But you have to supplement with the right stuff and at the right time. Again everyone works differently. You will have to again get to know your body and listen to it. If you are hungry don’t wait to eat. Don’t go to bed hungry. Don’t skip breakfast or dinner and when you need to supplement. There are some good weight gainers out there, some shit ones too. If you want to go that route find what works best for you. For me I got sick of buying expansive weight gainers that had god knows what in them. So I started making my own and they agree with my system a lot better. Heres what I do.
Go to a bulk store and buy the following:
Quick oats (For Carbs)
Soy milk powder (protein, calories, carbs & fiber)
Almond Butter (Fats, Calories, Fiber, calcium & iron)
Brown Sugar (Because this concoction with out it tastes like shit)
Than go to the super market and get some benifiber. (Because you don’t want to shit bricks)
All of this if you get it at a bulk place
Take the oats and grind them in a blender with no water in it as to turn it into a powder form and than store it in a jar or bag.
Now to make your shake. 50 to 100 grams of whey (depending on what you weigh, you want your body weight in grams of protein every day), 100 grams of soy milk, I use only 50 grams of the oats because they make the shake lumpy and I don’t like that, a table spoon of the almond butter, a table spoon of the fiber (trust me don’t skip this one or your butt hole will not like you, we don’t want to get hemorrhoids here) and sweeten with brown sugar to your preference.
Blend that shit in enough water so at to not make it come out like sludge. You’re going to want to use a good bit of water here, and drink it down. You don’t need to slam it down, its going to be a little thick so just get it all in you. Should take you 10 mins or so to drink it all down. Take these 2 times a day or more as needed.
5. How heavy? Do what you can. but generally stay in the 10 rep range. Personally I started off doing pyramid sets but everyone has their preference. Don’t worry about doing low reps right now or doing your max.
6. Rest. Make sure you are getting rest, 8 hours sleep at least. Some days you will need more. Some days your body will almost command you to sleep all day. Listen to your body, if you need a nap take one, just make sure you are well rested. Remember muscles don’t grow when we are in a wakeful state they grow when we are asleep.
7. This one is optional but I suggest doing it. Take creatine. Its going to help you in your development. Take it after you work out if you only take it once a day. if you take it 2 times a day take it when you get up or before you sleep and than immediately after you work out. Another good time to take it is right after or during a meal because you have spiked your insulin level. This delivers it to the muscle faster and more efficiently.
8. Joints. This one is important. Make sure to keep an eye on your joints. Us lean guys can run into joint problems when lifting heavy, and with this said that brings us to number 9.
9. Watch your form. Im not a form freak, when you are doing compound movements and moving up in weight you form isn’t going to always be bang on. But make sure you are controlling the weight, don’t throw it around and DO NOT rest the weight on your joint. In other words don’t lock out. If you still don’t know what I mean, say you are doing bench press, don’t fully 100% extend your arm until your joint locks. Go up 90% and also, when you get to the point in your set that you are getting fatigued, don’t rest heavy amounts of weight on a lock out in order to get a quick rest for 1 or 2 more reps. Have a good spotter and they will help you get the weight up.
10. Control your mind, focus and don’t get psyched out. There are a lot of reasons that people get to plateaus. One is because they never lifted a certain amount of weight before they think “There’s no way I can do that” Its happened to me. Than one day you say fuck it ill try it and its way easier than you thought. I see guys in the gym that are on the juice and way bigger than me and I lift heavier than them. Get all of that shit out of your head. At 1st lift what you can lift in your rep range. After a while put on more, have a spotter. Try it out. If you get it up 3 or 4 times than good! That means you can do it again, and it means you are getting gains. Don’t let your own mind stop you from progression. Don’t let the size of other guys discourage you. Remember that in a lot of gyms a lot of guys are taking enhancements. Don’t compare them to you. Just keep moving and you will achieve your goals.
Hope this helps you newbies.