Nutrition

Hard Gainers | How To Gain Mass And Keep It On!

For anyone looking to shed a few pounds, look away now. This is for those wanting to pile on some mass but is facing an obstacle or two when it comes to keeping it on.

For trimmers and slimmers, it might all sound like the best problem in the world to have. While you are toiling to burn calories and lose the muffin top that simply won’t let go, there are these so-called hard gainers that are unable to put weight on. It’s not so simple, is the answer to that.

What is a gainer?

The term hard gainers, if you don’t know, applies to people who want to gain muscle mass. What separates them from regular muscle gainers is the fact that, for one reason or another, this doesn’t come easily. Most commonly, the case may be that because of a naturally slim build and a highly efficient metabolism, you might eat like a horse but this doesn’t equate to killer quads and a massive chest.

The right nutrition is fundamental in building muscle. Without consuming enough (good) calories you won’t garner the mass you’re after. Without mass, you’re looking at lean muscle, but for many, that is arguably the same challenge as mass bulking, as you will need to get the protein and carbs in your regular diet to be able to commit to the cardio and weight training required.

For mass-building, your body needs a surplus of protein, carbs, (good) fats and calories. Losing weight and trimming down is a matter of burning calories so that you turn what you’ve consumed into fuel for your fire.

The best way to gain weight

For hard-gainers, the trouble is keeping weight on. Everyone knows that guy who talks about bodybuilding but hasn’t got even an ounce of fat on them despite shovelling food down.

The answer is committing to a lifestyle change that sees you simultaneously increasing both the amount you lift (as in the weight of each set) and the amount you consume.

Eating your body weight in ice cream will result in weight gain, but not the kind of fuel that you want in your body, and probably not muscle gains. The question, then, is how can you be sure you are getting what your body needs to do it properly?

Here are a few suggestions:

Myprotein’s Hard Gainer Extreme can be consumed as a shake first thing in the morning as well as before and after a workout. It ensures that you maintain a calorie surplus, but by consuming the kind of things that your body wants when building healthy muscle. It contains 35g of protein and 61g of carbs, for a massive total of 446 calories per serving. Along with those vital proteins and carbs, it contains 5g of creatine per serving. Creatine is a proven friend to mass builders, increasing your physical performance in successive bursts of short-term, high-intensity exercise. Further to this, Hard Gainer Extreme contains L-glutamine, which helps restore your essential amino acid levels, which are the building blocks for new proteins and helps muscular development.

Full fat milk is a good idea if you are a hard gainer and are struggling to keep your weight on, but you needn’t limit yourself to only consuming supplements in liquid form, you can use it as an ingredient mixed with natural yoghurt, batter, porridge and smoothies so that you can consume it on the go anytime in the day.

The next step is to work out your pattern. Depending on where you have been previously falling short, a notepad and a plan may be your solution. Map out your workout week. Everyone works at different abilities and only you know your recovery rates, but as a general rule aim for four full-on weight sessions, alternating chest, back, legs and arms for each session, allowing them to rest once you’ve cooked them. Plan your sets so that you are lifting 80 percent of your heaviest possible weight and aim for 3-6 reps per set. Go for 3-6 sets of each exercise, but don’t exceed 20 sets in a workout session so that you don’t risk a calorie deficit.

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye has an MSc in Sport Physiology and Nutrition, and puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding. She enjoys a pun, and in her spare time loves dog walking and eating out.


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