“I can’t gain muscle!”
– Common lifting complaint
Hardgainers can get big too
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m naturally a skinny guy.
If I didn’t lift I’d be under 150 pounds.
At six-foot tall that’s like being a living scarecrow.
There aren’t many shirts that can fit you at that size, and you’re practically invisible to girls.
When I first started lifting I didn’t see any immediate results.
Part of my problem was my routine.
Using the Smith machine for squats, doing too many reps, and awful form all kept me from achieving anything.
However, there was another major problem that I faced.
Mainstream diets and exercise programs are made for fat people
A 150 pound college kid who can’t put on an ounce of muscle and a 200 pound office drone are going to have different dietary needs.
Advice like “Don’t eat any carbs” or “Do workouts from those Insanity DVDs,” were detrimental to my growth.
If you have trouble gaining weight you don’t need to limit your meals or run on a treadmill.
What you need are big meals and short workouts.
45 minutes of heavy lifting followed by a giant helping of cottage cheese, oatmeal, and some eggs.
There’s nothing wrong with eating rice or toast.
I like to eat ice cream and still have abs.
As long as you don’t pig out on garbage you’ll be fine.
The best cardio for skinny guys
Do you know what my favorite cardio is?
If you have trouble gaining muscle you don’t need to spend 45 minutes doing jumping jacks and flailing around.
Riding a bike, walking around, or going for a short jog is more than enough.
Mindset is everything
Have you ever noticed that skeptics and people too intelligent for “mystic” beliefs are never exactly at the pinnacle of success?
Stuff like the law of attraction might sound silly, but it works.
Having a vision for your future makes a world of difference.
When you know you’re going to gain weight and build muscle you’ll work extra hard to make this belief into a reality.
A realistic goal will carry you along and help to keep you motivated.
Two other tips for hardgainers
Before closing this post, I wanted to give some final pieces of advice to anyone who is trying to gain muscle. These two innovations were huge for me when I discovered them back in 2013:
1. No whacking off.
While this subject is fertile grounds for all kinds of jokes, there’s actual science behind.
The end goal of every living thing is to reproduce.
Essentially this is what drives us to do pretty much everything in our lives.
If your body thinks that you’re having sex and reproducing you’ll lose a lot of your motivation.
That means less reps in the gym and fewer gains.
Boxers have known this secret for decades and a lot of the greats, like Muhammad Ali, would abstain from any sexual activity for months on end.
This is a little extreme, but it was effective.
Plus, there are a whole ton of other great benefits too.
2. Join a real gym.
Fitness centers are the adult equivalent of Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Most of these “gyms” are cluttered with worthless machines and dumb people doing bad exercises.
The first place I was ever a member of had an epidemic of people curling in the squat rack and making up stupid hybrid workouts.
I didn’t learn a thing, or make any progress, while I was there.
You need to join a place where people are doing actual work.
Look for somewhere that has members who actually look like they know what they’re doing.
Being able to find a lifting partner who can give you advice, or having a trainer who practices what they preach, can make all the difference in the world.