Muscle Mass Tips

14 Tips For A Hardgainer Gaining Muscle Mass

Hardgainer is the term usually used to describe people of an ectomorphic biotype, that is, those who have difficulty gaining weight and muscle mass. If you are naturally very thin, and no matter what you eat and how much training you still can not see the balance pointer go up, you are a hardgainer.

Although genetics is an important factor for those looking to gain muscle, it should not be seen as a obstacle, since ectomorphs can achieve great results with some simple changes in diet and training.

Check out 14 tips for a hardgainer to gain muscle mass and make the workouts worthwhile in the gym.



According to their physical constitution, men and women can be divided into ectomorphs, mesomorphs or endomorphs.

The first one is the aforementioned hardgainer, which has accelerated metabolism and is naturally lean. The ectomorph has great difficulty in gaining muscle mass and even fat.

At the other end we have the endomorphs, which usually have the body in the shape of a pear, that is, have very easy to accumulate fat, especially in the abdominal region.

The mesomorph may be considered an intermediary between the two other biotypes, since people with this body trait do not suffer to gain weight. With adequate diet and training, the mesomorph can gain muscle mass with relative ease.

  • Is it Possible to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle Mass at the Same Time?
  • How to Take Hypercaloric?
  • Diet and Workout for Mesomorph
  • What is Bulking and Cutting?

Tips For A Hardgainer Gaining Muscle Mass

If on the one hand the above biotypes are determined by their genetic load, the good news is that, taking care of food, training and rest you can simulate muscle mass even if it is a hardgainer.

Check out how through our tips for a hardgainer to gain muscle mass:

1- Eat many times a day

This is the simplest recommendation and at the same time one of the most difficult to follow by who is a hardgainer. Many people with this characteristic may have a below-average appetite, or even eat rather but the accelerated metabolism is in charge of burning all the calories and leaving nothing accumulate.

One way to minimize this problem is to schedule smaller meals throughout the day to make it easier to consume many calories a day without having to eat heavy meals.

Although you do not have to consume 6-8 meals every day, it is important to understand that, the more you eat, the easier it will be to increase your caloric intake and inhibit catabolism muscular.

Schedule yourself to eat every two or at most three hours, even if you are not hungry. Food is obviously the best natural anabolic because it boosts muscle growth while preventing your existing muscles from being broken to serve as a source of energy.

For those days when you have a full schedule and do not have time to prepare a snack or a smaller meal, make a substitution with a good hypercaloric that will provide the carbohydrates, proteins and fats that your body needs to remain in anabolic state.

2- Do not run away from fats

Healthy fats are the best allies of ectomorphs because they provide many calories and still help you gain muscle.

You already know you need to eat more to achieve the desired hypertrophy, but consuming a full plate several times a day can difficult for many people, especially since the likelihood of digestive high.

Sources of good fats like avocado, peanut butter, salmon, sardines, eggs, dairy products, bitter chocolate, olive oil and walnuts can help you increase caloric intake without having to resort to large volumes of food.

A small portion of any of the above foods is already enough to add about 200-300 calories to your diet without any great sacrifices.

3- Eat all kinds of carbohydrate


As a person who trains to gain muscle mass worries (and rightly) more about protein consumption, carbohydrates can end up in the background. This can in no case be the case for hardgainers, since carbohydrates are indispensable for ensuring energy for high-intensity training and also for the reconstruction of muscular.

To vary the menu and increase the energy supply, go beyond the "healthy" carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, brown rice and oats, and also consume bread and white rice, conventional potatoes and even sugar from time to time (preferably in the form of fruits dry).

High glycemic carbohydrates can help you not only increase calories in your diet as well also stimulate the action of insulin, the hormone that facilitates the entry of nutrients into the fibers muscles.

4- Do not overdo the fibers

Although indispensable for the health and good functioning of the intestine, the fibers will leave it satiated for longer, decreasing appetite and making it harder to eat more food posteriorly.

Be sure to consume vegetables, fruits and vegetables, but be careful that they do not become the basis of your diet. For a hardgainer, the vegetables should be a complement, not the base of the food pyramid, as it should be in the case of the endomorphs who grow very easily.

5- Leave the usual diet


It is clear that the basis of your diet should be composed of proteins of high biological value and complex carbohydrates, such as chicken, egg whites, sweet potatoes and brown rice, but it should not be limited to these foods if you are a hardgainer.

Escape some of the "healthier" food and consume more caloric options like pizza, biscuit, yellow cheese, whole milk and even cakes and pies can be an option to increase calorie consumption and facilitate gain of Weight.

You will not make it a habit, but get off a little "on the line" and add more calorie options to the menu a few times a week can be a good tip for a hardgainer to gain muscle mass in a way Natural.

6- Drink Calories

To gain weight and muscle mass it is imperative to increase calorie consumption, but eating too much can be quite difficult for some people. Apart from lack of appetite, difficulty with digestion can be obstacles that make the task of making multiple meals a day a great sacrifice.

An option to overcome the problem is to supplement the liquid calorie diet in the form of shakes with or other ingredients of your choice, such as fruits, yogurt, coconut oil, whey protein, peanut, etc.

Another advantage of drinking calories is that as beverages do not bring as much satiety as solid foods, you can take the shake without it causing a great loss of appetite.

7- Suplemente

Food should be the main source of protein, carbohydrates and fats for your muscles, but some supplements can help you stimulate growth and decrease catabolism at specific times day.

A post-workout shake with whey and dextrose, for example, is essential for nourishing muscle fibers and stimulating regeneration, as well as blocking the effects of cortisol released during exercise.

A slowly digested protein (such as casein or albumin) before bedtime is a great tip to decrease the catabolism that occurs naturally during the eight hours of sleep you fasting.

Other supplements to induce muscle mass gain are those already mentioned hypercaloric, the BCAAs (which stimulate recovery), creatine and glutamine. You can also resort to appetite stimulants such as Cobavital and Buclina to facilitate greater calorie consumption throughout the day.

8- Write down everything you consume

Just as people who are overweight are probably consuming more calories than they are hardgainers may also find that they consume more than they are actually eating every day.

A journal with notes about everything you consume from the time you get up to bedtime will help you identify your food pattern and facilitate the actual calorie count you are ingesting daily.

This habit will also allow you to check how many times you are eating per day, the exact amount of each nutrient macro and how many hours have passed without eating. With this data in hand, you can implement the above tips to improve muscle mass gain.

9- Reduce training volume


Now that you know what changes you should make to your eating habits to gain muscle mass, let's check what other factors may be making your weight gain difficult.

The first one is exactly the training, since one of the most common mistakes that hardgainers commit is to exaggerate the training volume in an attempt to stimulate muscle hypertrophy.

Noting that they can not gain muscle like some fellow gym members, many end up series or repetitions or add even more exercises to the worksheet in an attempt to speed up the gains.

In this particular case, less is more, since hardgainers not only do not benefit from a workout as this may even have an effect contrary to the one desired for those who have difficulty gaining mass muscular. This is because the owners of the ectomorph biotype have a lower post-workout muscle recovery capacity than the other biotypes.

That is, if you are no longer able to recover properly from a normal workout, increasing the volume will make it even harder to recover between sessions in the gym.

And you already know: you can not gain muscle without proper regeneration of the fibers that were injured during the exercises.

Your focus should be on larger loads and fewer reps. Try to do sets with a maximum of 6-10 repetitions, and do nothing to increase the number of sets and make supersets to compensate for the smaller number of repetitions.

Supersets are great for anyone who is trying to burn fat or lose weight, but for hardgainers who are after muscle mass, it is best to increase the rest time between sets.

Accelerating the repetitions and resting little between one series and another decreases the process of hypertrophy, reason why you should take a break for at least three minutes before restarting the exercise.

Briefly: increase the intensity of the exercises, rest more and decrease the volume of training.

10- Focus on compound exercises

Compound Exercise

This tip actually applies to all those looking to gain muscle, not just hardgainers. Multi-joint exercises work a greater amount of muscle groups than isolated exercises, and thus end up being more efficient to stimulate hypertrophy.

Mobilizing a number of muscles at the same time allows you to lift loads larger than only one muscle, which in turn translates into a higher muscles And it is already known that the more required, the more prone to hypertrophy will be the muscle in question.

Exercises that focus on various muscles are also better at stimulating the production of testosterone, highly anabolic hormone that stimulates the formation of new proteins from the amino acids of diet.

Example: Instead of making extensions to the triceps and the biceps to the biceps, prefer bench press, dumbbell shoulder development, and incline bench press. Remember, the more joints you are required to be, the better.

Other compound exercises include squatting, bench press, ground lifting, arm bending on the fixed bar, etc.

11- Limit aerobic exercise

Training cardio is important for both fitness and health, but if you are a hardgainer, the best option is to slow down the running, cycling and related sessions.

Although cardio strengthens the heart and helps to open the appetite, the excess of calories spent and the time necessary for post-activity recovery are two effects that run counter to the two main needs of hardgainers.

Imagine adding four or five intense sessions of cardio to the four weekly (also intense) bodybuilding sessions: when will your body take time to recover properly? Not to mention, of course, that all those extra calories we encourage you to consume there at the beginning of the article will simply melt during the exercises.

You do not need to completely eliminate aerobic exercise from your routine, but limit the number and the duration of the sessions is certainly a great idea for those who have difficulty gaining mass muscular.

Two or at most three light or moderate sessions of 20-30 minutes each are already more than enough to maintain the heart health, stimulate appetite and increase blood flow (responsible for transporting nutrients) to the muscles.

12- Sleep well

You probably already know that sleep is critical to gaining muscle, but as important as the number of hours you spend under the sheets is the quality of sleep.

It is during the deepest phase of sleep that the body releases GH, or growth hormone, which is indirectly responsible for the production of IGF-1, the growth factor that stimulates the synthesis of proteins.

In addition to trying to sleep at least 8 hours every day, pay attention to factors that may be hampering your rest, such as excessive consumption of caffeine, the presence of electronic devices (TV and cell phones) and excessive light or noise in the bedroom.

13- Take away the stress


For the hardgainer, as important as caring for food is to keep day-to-day stress as far as possible. Anxiety, nervousness, and excess worry stimulate the release of cortisol, the hormone that can be considered the # 1 enemy of all bodybuilders.

Highly catabolic, cortisol stimulates the breakdown of muscle proteins and can nullify their achievements in academia. To minimize the negative effect of the stress hormone, practice relaxation exercises, attention to breathing and practice yoga or meditation, which help to calm the mind and decrease the release of cortisol.

14- Do not give up


Gaining muscle takes time, even if you are not a hardgainer. It is through consistency, hard work (constant care with food and training) and patience that you will achieve more visible gains of muscle mass.

But if you are still not confident that you can gain muscle due to your hardgainer biotype, check out the example below.

In a time when bodybuilders had no access to the wide variety of supplements and other substances currently available, the American bodybuilder Frank Zane showed the world that yes, ectomorphs can sculpt their musculature and tackle any meso or endomorph.

Winner of three Mr. Olympia titles, the main bodybuilding competition in the world, and owner of what is considered the most symmetrical and perfect of all time, Frank Zane did not let his genetics limit him and managed to gain many kilos of muscle mass even though ectomorph.

Although your goal is not to become a bodybuilder, today, with training tips, food and supplementation much more advanced than at Zane's time, you can actually gain muscle even if you are a hardgainer.

To do so, follow the tips we suggested above and do not get discouraged, as many hardgainers can not see the desired result in a few weeks and end up giving up. You must be persistent and always keep in mind that yes, it is possible, and that you will not be the first to achieve it.

Thousands of hardgainers have challenged genetics and achieved great results, and you can be next on the list as long as you care for food, rest and training.


Do you consider yourself a hardgainer, or do you believe that you still lack the motivation and discipline to achieve your goals? What are your greatest difficulties? Comment below.

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