Personally, I believe gaining quality muscle is the hardest goal to achieve within the realms of resistance training. It is harder than getting ripped and harder than increasing your strength, in my opinion. Fortunately, I am not an ectomorph therefore I can gain muscle with the right level of effort relatively easily. Having said that, I have many friends and people who ask me how to gain muscle as an ectomorph. For those who are unsure, an ectomorph is a body type whereby you’re naturally skinny generally with low body fat. As a result, their metabolism runs at the speed of light making it hard to gain size! Here are my top 3 tips for all ectomorphs who cannot gain size; to me it is all in your eating habits! Try these for size!
For muscle mass and fat loss you will often hear about the importance of muscle frequency, and there is good reason for that – it works! However, when you are looking to add muscle mass and you have a naturally ultra fast metabolism eating solid meals every 2-3 hours can fuel the motor, making it harder to gain size! As an extreme ectomorph, this is the kind of sample diet I would recommend.
Based on a 200lbs male athlete
Wake up – 2 scoops of PhD Whey HT+
Breakfast (40 minutes later) – 10 egg whites, 2 whole eggs, 80g oats, handful of blueberries, 1 banana, 1 pro-biotic yogurt, 2 slices of white bread with jam.
Mid-morning – 2 chicken breasts, 1 large avocado, broccoli, cauliflower and a handful of almonds.
Lunch – 150g lean mince beef, 125g brown pasta, tomato & onion sauce, mixed greens.
Mid-afternoon – 2 scoops of Gaspari Real Mass, with 1 large tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter.
Post-workout – 2 scoops of CNP Pro-Recover
Supper – 150g lean steak, 2 whole eggs, 400g baked potato, mixed greens.
Later on – PhD Growth factor 50 Brownie
Before bed – 2 scoops of PhD 6Hr Blend, 150g cottage cheese and 1 large tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter.
As you can see, you get the bulk of your complex carbohydrates from breakfast, lunch and supper. In between you are still getting plenty of calories but not so many from complex carbohydrates. What this does is help prevent the speeding up of your metabolism, and when you do have a carb meal the quantity is so large your body is almost forced to grow! Remember, this is specifically for a hard gainer; the type of person who could eat a kilo of chocolate and have MacDonald’s between meals as a snack and still lose weight!
As we touched on in point one, your 3 pivotal meals of the day are significantly larger than normal. This is in place to overload the body with calories at certain points, so you are in fact getting a lot of complex carbohydrates it is just that you are not spacing them out so much. This means that your metabolism isn’t able to burn off all the calories so easily, leaving a surplus for growth!
There are a couple of times in the day where we really load up the calories. The first being breakfast, where you’re getting a load of fast and slow digesting carbohydrates from oats and white bread as well as fruit and yogurt. This will really help drive nutrients into the muscle cell and saturate the body with calories, creating a surplus. For the average guy, you wouldn’t require this level of nutrients but for an extremely hard gainer from experience I believe you do at breakfast! Later on at night you’re having a PhD Growth Factor 50 bar, a delicious way to get in muscle building calories. Usually, I wouldn’t advise you take in this level of carbohydrates this time of night but it is when your metabolism is at its slowest. This represents the perfect chance to load the body with muscle building calories.
As you can see, it is about manipulating certain nutrients at certain times of the day. Having used this very approach on many people who have really problems gaining muscle, I really believe in this kind of approach. I have found that many of them have actually maintained great condition because of their body type, so they literally build muscle whilst remaining pretty lean!