Hard gainers are often left in the dark in this industry because everyone wants a 6 pack therefore a lot of the magazines cater for it. What if you aren’t a diehard bodybuilding fan but you can’t gain weight and want to? What then? I am going to give you some good news – I don’t think you’re in a bad position at all – far from it in fact. To grow muscle it is preferable that you stay lean and that can be hard when you increase calories through carbohydrates. Extreme ectomorphs on the other hand are able to eat, eat and eat without much concern for their waistline. That’s a blessing I wish every day I had at birth – as such I am almost at the opposite end of the spectrum but there we go!!
Here are 3 areas I believe anyone in the category of ‘’hard gainer’’ needs to address.
1 – Numbers Game
You need calories and lots of them to facilitate muscle growth. Whilst there are indeed generic calculators out there I have my own thoughts on it and I believe in the number 25. Approximately, as a starting point I think a real ‘’hard gainer’’ should start on 25 calories per pound of body weight provided that they are fairly lean (I would expect you to be if you are an extreme ectomorph). From here I would start by splitting your protein, carbohydrates and fat intake into a 40:40:20 split in the order as they are written – P/C/F. Eat across 6 meals and have a post-workout shake with a 2:1 carb to protein ration on top of your daily calorific goals. We are getting aggressive here, indulge yourself to see growth.
2 – Forced Adaptation
One of the fastest ways for an ectomorph to grow is to get strong and FORCE it to happen!! For two weeks have a strength workout for the upper and lower body and then finish with 2 higher rep workouts. Monitor your lifts and beat them across those two weeks – in the third week have a HIGH rep week across 4 workouts and then repeat the cycle. Get strong, get big! The high rep weeks will help create a state of ‘’super compensation’’ and they will also allow you to target your slow twitch fibres which as an ectomorph you will have plenty of!!
3 – Supplements
There are fewer people I believe to need supplements more than I do ectomorphs. There are several key areas we need to address. Digestive performance is a big one due to the fact you are taking in so many calories therefore I recommend a high quality digestive enzyme such as Udo’s Choice! Reflex BCAAs are also essential to take during your workout to help support anabolism and counter-act catabolism. Intra-workout carbohydrates are also a must in my opinion; Gaspari Glycofuse is the best in the field and tastes amazing!! Even a mass gainer is advised sometimes, I would personally choose PhD Growth Factor Mass.
For those hard gainers among you I hope this has provided some deep insight into what I think will work for you! Now go and grow!