Overcoming being a "Hardgainer"


Hardgainers…AKA those guys we all “want to be” who are living the dream, eating all around them, train their ass off and still struggle to add a gram on the scale, whereas I, like many others, am the complete opposite, I smell a Dorito or lick a Slice of Pizz and gain 5lbs.


Just got to roll with the hand you're dealt I suppose.


If you are one of the chosen few, eating all around you, training hard but still struggling to see the scale move, appetite is shite, you cannot physically get any more food down and your fed up wit not seeing progress. Here are some straight to the point pieces of advice which may help;


1- Eat more, but eat smarter: if you not gaining weight, your simply not in a Surplus of calories and not eating enough. Be smarter with how you get your calories in, 90% of your diet should be composed of nutrient-dense foods with high amounts of micronutrient for Co-factors, Vitamins & Minerals to support the process which is muscle building & Growth of new tissue as well as Recovery & Repair, but you may need to get more creative with food choices.


What is your best friend here is "calorie density" . You can make 2,000kcal a day feel like 500, 0r 3,000 depending on the food choices you make. Some foods known as "High volume" foods are food which offers little calorie density for higher amounts, therefore these fill us more for fewer calories ( a good thing when wanting to diet to make the lower calories easier to adhere too and implement), however, if you're trying to add some muscle and filling your diet with very satiating (filling) foods and struggling to hit your intake, you may need to change up our food sources.


Foods which would be considered "High Volume - Low density" (very filling which we want when dieting) include:


  • Oats

  • Egg Whites

  • Legumes Higher in Fibre

  • White Potato

  • Sweet Potato

  • Lean Protein

  • Greek Yogurt

  • Smoothies

  • Fruit

  • Veg

Foods which then are the OPPOSITE, Offering High Density and low volume to help you get higher total daily calories include:


  • Pasta

  • Fat Sources (remember Fats have 9kcal per gram double carbs and protein) such as peanut butter, oils, seeds, nuts etc.

  • Honey

  • Basmati Rice

  • Cereal

  • Bagels



Even making homemade mass shakes, some milk, peanut butter, oats, banana, and whey, and you could easily have yourself a 1,200 calorie shake which goes down a lot easier than some high-Volume foods.


2- Patience: one of the not so sexy ones but very important, building muscle takes time, fair enough newly gains come quite quick but even at that it still is quite. Allow process so be patient. This "8-week bulk" your looking at, just got to be a bit realistic that the process of Muscle gain takes FAR Longer than that of Fat loss. This is where investing in the process over time comes in handy and playing the long game.

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3- Have some form of structured training: Get yourself a coach or just have a properly structured training program prioritizing specificity based on your own ability, tolerance, practical application, lifestyle, recovery capacity, gym environment, required stimulus etc.

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4- Train Less: Yup, train less. Seems counterproductive, but one area of hard gainers which gets overlooked and that can have a massive effect on preventing gaining muscle is the individual's inflammatory markers may be constantly high and override MTOR and muscle building pathways. How does chronic inflammation occur, overdoing it, more training, crazy volume, double sessions, etc? Anecdotally I have seen this work well with a lot of hard gainers I have Coached, reducing their volume to sometimes 3/4 days a week with adequate recovery helping the scale move further. May not always be the case, but worth considering as sometimes people might train more and more and more in the hopes it yields better outcomes when pulling back Junk Volume and focusing on proper execution and intensity.


5- Sleep, You're best friend. Make sure you are absolutely nailing your recovery and sleep paying attention to quantifiable measures (hours) and also qualitative measures (subjective feedback, feeling well-rested, markers of soreness, tiredness cognition, energy, etc).


Lastly, Numero 6, Dont buy into Quick fix methods, interventions or supplementation, Test Boosters, fancy whey proteins, mass gainer shakes With a well-controlled and nutrient-dense diet, some Creatine Monohydrate (5g a day every day, no need to load or cycle), Well dosed Omega 3's or Krill oil if you dont consume Fatty Omega 3 Rich Fish, and some Simple Whey Protein (if needed) should be more than enough to save unnecessary expenses & Cover all basis with external supplementation.


Happy Gaining, If you found this piece helpful, feel free to give it a share! Any Questions comment away below and ill Get back to you when I can!


Luke.