The latest post on fitness, food and travel comes from guest author, Chris Brown. Chris is the owner of gainbuildmuscle.com which has a TON of content for fitness enthusiasts. His website coveres all kinds of topics from nutrition, training, mental well-being and more. Whilst Chris enjoys going to the gym himself, you can also check out his Sample Hardgainer Meal Plan on his blog. Don’t forget to follow Chris’ social sites as well!!!
Read time: 7 minutes
What is hardgaining?
Gaining muscle if you’re a hardgainer may seem like an impossible, contradictory notion in and of itself. After all, if you’re genetically inclined to be lean and skinny, training to gain muscle means undergoing twice the challenge that individuals normally have to go through just to build muscle mass. However, it is certainly doable, and it would only ever motivate you more once you start achieving positive results. Of course, the sense of achievement is greater for hardgainers as well.
As said above, the main reason why some people are hardgainers hinge primarily on genetics. This is especially evident in most with an ectomorph body type. Nonetheless, this doesn’t excise the fact that every person has similar muscle fibers that are essential for bodybuilding. These muscles are namely slow-twitch and fast-twitch, and their balance in your body are determined from the outset by genetics. Any person can train these muscle fibers in order to achieve optimal muscle growth, regardless of your natural body type.
Slow-Twitch and Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibers
In most exercises that people do (especially aerobic ones), slow-twitch muscles often bear the brunt our exertions. Fast-twitch muscles are only ever activated if the body is nearing its limit in exercise. They are the more powerful and larger of the two as well (hence their critical role in bodybuilding) but they wear out quicker.
While it’s important for you to focus on fast-twitch muscles to build muscle mass and improve strength (it’s the only muscle fibre that makes it possible for you to gain bulk, after all), you should place equal importance on slow-twitch muscles as well as they are responsible for increasing stamina and oxygen distribution in the muscles (allowing you to last longer in your workouts).
Why You Shouldn’t Overlook Your Diet
Food is also one aspect of your bodybuilding endeavor that is equally vital. In fact, this should already be a no-brainer as the majority of us have an innate notion that taking in more food means gaining more weight and building bulk. Increase your calories, and voila, you gain weight. And, in this case, it really couldn’t be simpler and truer than that. However, this doesn’t mean that you should start chomping down any type of food that comes your way. Another key to successful muscle-building is getting optimal nutrition while increasing your caloric intake.
How would you be able to achieve this? Well, you can start by avoiding low-calorie foods that are high in protein. These only ever make you feel fuller for a longer amount of time, making it close to impossible to achieve the high-calorie targets that you need. Opt for bulking protein foods instead like chicken and red meat. As for carbohydrate sources; rice, eggs, pasta, oatmeal, and bread are some of your best choices. Of course, you shouldn’t miss out on fruits and vegetables as well. For fruits, you can opt for high caloric ones like avocados, bananas, and dried fruits in addition to vegetables like sweet potatoes.
Importance of Lifting Weights
It should come as no surprise that you should make it a point to do proper weight-lifting if you want to build muscle mass. Again, this can be traced back to fast-twitch muscle fibers. Since they are the muscle types that have the most potential in building mass, you have to do workouts that recruit them more often. Lifting weights just happens to be the best workout for this purpose. Why else do weight-lifters in international competitions like the Olympics look so bulky? A general rule of thumb is that the more weight you add-on the bar, the more fast-twitch muscle fibers are bound to be recruited.
Other forms of exercise that you should consider adding to your regime should be those that involve more than one muscle group if you do them. Good examples of these are bench presses, deadlifts and squats. But as for why this is so, the main reason lies in the fact that these kinds of exercises give your testosterone levels a good boost. This hormone, in turn, makes it more amenable for the body to build muscle. It also wouldn’t hurt to focus on exercising your legs since they practically contain the largest muscle fibers in the body.
As can be ascertained from the facts stated above, there are two important variables in the bodybuilding equation for hardgainers: diet and weight-lifting. It’s certainly not rocket science, and this is why coming up with a well-organized regime for both should be your top priority if you want to achieve your goal.