Article By Chris Chew, Singapore based AMFPT Certified Master Trainer
Site to Friend
I Don't Care If You're A Hard Gainer, Skinny Or Just Thin(Ectomorph... You Can Gain Weight And Build Muscles!
We have always been obsessed with articles after articles on cutting losing weight and losing fats leaving out one segment of people who want to gain weight on their thin and skinny body frame. In the bodybuilding and fitness industry, these folks are commonly referred to as the " hard gainers ". If you are one of these people who are genetically thin and skinny but want to gain muscle weight and look solidly built, then this article is written especially with you in mind.
Amongst the many reasons why you are skinny and thin , having difficulty in gaining weight, it is probably due to your genes. Your built-in calorie burning furnaces metabolize calories much too fast and too efficiently. Many of your obese counterparts will part with their last dollar to have a genetic predisposition like as yours. If your parents and siblings are naturally skinny and thin with small body frames, then you will most likely have the same small body type, what is commonly called the " Ectomorphs ".
Although the words ectomorph and hardgainer are commonly used interchangeably, there is a distinct difference which many people do not realize. An ectomorph is someone who is genetically thin and skinny. A hard gainer is someone who finds it difficult to gain muscle mass . A hardgainer need not be an ectomorph but is commonly assumed to be one.
You may have been training very hard to pack on muscles. You may have experimented with many bodybuilding and weightlifting exercises . Some of the exercises may have worked for you but most don't. You are so frustrated that you may have accepted that your thin and skinny frame is going to be with you forever and that you cannot do anything about it. Don't blame it on your genes so quickly because you can certainly gain muscle weight and pack on muscles on your frame. Thousands and perhaps millions like you have succeeded and so can you. I know this for a fact because some of them are my happy clients.
I have to concede that it is more difficult for you to gain muscle mass weight relative to another who have average metabolism but if there is a will, there is a way.
- Build Muscle Gain Weight Science
Firstly, must know the science of building muscles and how your metabolism works. As they say, knowledge is power. If you do not know what went wrong, how then can you fix it? You either have to read up extensively on these subjects and labor your way thru trial and error (which may also be very frustrating and time wasting affair) or engage a professional personal trainer with successful track record on helping skinny and thin people to gain muscle weight and mass.
- Have Written Down Goals And Objectives
You don't want to grope your way through something as important as your health and physical appearance do you? How do you determine what to do, how to do and when to do to get to the body shape that you want without written down goals? For example, if you are in a dark room, how long would you take reach for the exit door when compared with a room that is fully lighted up? It is thus imperative that you must have a tool to measure your progress and check yourself when you are doing things wrong. Otherwise you will be without focus and perhaps from your past experienced, you will know that a directionless approach will get you nowhere, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this article right? Having a specific program to follow allows you to take specific action each day. You need an organized plan to eat and exercise correctly until you have achieved what you wanted, to pack on muscles and gain muscle weight.
Do not change your plan mid way because you just heard someone has a better program. It maybe true or it may be false and most likely it is the latter because fundamentals are fundamentals and the fundamentals are what you will learn in this fitness tips article. Do you want to take the risk of having your goals derailed by something that is new and not proven?
- Dare To Dream
Dare to dream. Visualize where you will be and how you will look like if you follow your written plan in 3 months time and six months time. Man walked on the moon because they dare to dream and then execute the plan to make the dream come true.
Once you have begun your plan, you must have faith and believe in what you are doing. Stays focused and avoid critical or negative people. These people are called "dream snatchers". They snatch away your dreams of becoming a hunk and want you to remain where you are, thin and skinny. Stay away from people who say that you can't do it, you can't change what is fated or it's in your genes and you can do nothing about it. They will be correct if you had listened to them because you won't be doing anything then. By listening to them, you will prove them right. Instead, take those negative comments as a challenge to you. When you succeeded in gaining your muscle mass and gain weight, show your new fabulous body to them and see them gawked in amazement at your determination and your fit and healthy body . You will gain tremendous respect and self confidence .
Show me a naysayer and I will show you a loser. A winner never quit, a quitter never win!
- Avoid Overtraining
One reason why hard gainers or ectomorphs failed in building muscles and gaining lean muscle mass is that because they train too hard, thinking that training for long hours and frequently will get them the results. Over training not only impedes your progress, it may actually make your muscle shrink. Also avoid too much cardio exercises. You already naturally possess a highly efficient fat burning machine. Too much cardio exercises not only burn fats, it burn muscles too. So have enough cardio exercises just to improve and maintain your cardio vascular fitness and no more.
You need not train everyday and need not stay too long in the gym. 45 minutes and you are out because if your training is intense enough, the longer you train, the more muscle eating hormones will be produced. You do not want to lose those hard earned muscles, do you?
See my other article "Build Muscles and Smash Plateau For Beginners".
Remember that in the sport of bodybuilding and weightlifting, more is not always better.
- Do Compound Exercises
Compound exercises stimulate the most many muscle fibers because in a compound movement, many muscles are being utilized. For those needing to gain weight and muscle mass, this is terrific because these lifts put your body under heavy stress. This is the stress that will shock your nervous system and cause the greatest release of muscle building hormones. This results in increased muscle gain all over the body. Yes, muscle gain for your entire frame for overall musculature growth.
See my other article on this Squat To Grow Huge Muscles about compound exercises. Add dead lifts, Chin ups, Dips, Military Press and Bench Press into your routine and watch your muscles explode in strength, power and size!
- Use Free Weights Instead Of Relying On Machines
Free weights utilize many more muscles for balance and support than machine exercises. That means that you will have a more complete overall workout and build more muscles in more places. Skip those shiny machines and train heavy on dumbbells and barbells.
- Use The Correct Weight For Your Lifts
To build mass, you must lift heavier and heavier weights to force you muscles to grow. If you do not stress your muscles enough, why should they grow? As an indicator, if you can lift a particular weight in good form for more than 8 reps, then the weight that you are lifting is too light for you. By the same token, if you can't lift the weight more than 4 reps, then the weight that you are lifting is too heavy. Never sacrifice form and technique so that you can lift heavier. Doing that is disaster in the making, putting your self at risk of injuries and poor muscle growth.
- Eat and then Eat and Eat Again
Lucky you. Because of your high burn fat rate, you have more liberty over food because you have wider choices of food.
To build mass, you must consume more calories than you expand. So do not be afraid to eat. But do bear in mind that not all calories are the same. Eat primarily the good calories. Calories you get from your soft drinks and pastries are fattening ones and do almost nothing for your muscle growth. Eat calories laden with proteins. Given your high metabolism, treat yourself to a burger, pasta, pizzas and the likes now and then. You have the luxury to indulge in these starchy and calorie rich food where many people will have to do their utmost to avoid them. However, do not overdo it. When your consumption of calories is more than your expenditure, your body will have no choice but to grow.
Eat frequently. Eat up to 6- 8 small meals a day if you can. Drink plenty of water. Soft drinks and coffee don't count.
- Use Nutritional Supplements
Many people think that by popping some pills or drinking some shake, they will get results fast. That is not true as supplements are not some magical formula. Too many people think that just because you buy the latest product, it is a sure fire that you will automatically begin to pack on the pounds. The truth is that supplements are only there to enhance an already solid diet and workout program.
If you do not have time to eat so many meals a day, try getting some meal replacement bars. Essential supplements to help you gain mass are phosphagen , creatine , glutamine , desiccated liver and protein powders. Never never succumb to the temptation of taking anabolic steroids. The harmful effects far out weigh any temporary muscle gains that it may provide. Also take multi-vitamins and anti-oxidants . These not only provide you with more nutrients but also mop up free radicals for immunity building which can be compromised by intense exercises such as weight lifting.
Yes! It is possible for you to gain mass and weight. But the battle will not be easy. You have to stick to the above rules, have the burning desire and motivation to stick to your plan. You must be mentally very strong as you are probably fighting a battle against what your body is genetically programmed to do the opposite. However, with sheer grit and determination, the pot of gold when you come to at the other end of the rainbow will definitely be worth the journey of climbing to the rainbow to get to that end. However tough that journey may be to you, dare to dream, my friend and then reach out and grab that pot of gold. SFO
[back to top]