If you're having
a hard time gaining weight and building muscle fast, you're most probably a hardgainer
or have a skinny type body frame. No matter what you're trying to do, nothing
seems to work but there is hope. The truth is there is no magic formula to gain
some muscle mass but you need to adhere to some basic fundamentals of muscle building.
As a matter of fact, you'll need to have the qualities of a bodybuilder. Living
this type of lifestyle will certainly give you the mental discipline and focus
to pack on slabs of muscle mass. First and foremost, you will need to get your
training, nutrition and rest in check.
you performing the right exercises and training intensely enough?
you eating the right kind of foods and enough of it?
you getting enough sleep and rest?
A hardgainer will need to stick religiously
to these 3 building blocks of bodybuilding. There is really no shortcut here.
Don't just think going to the gym and lifting weights is all there is. If you're
missing one or two of the 3 blocks, you won't see the coveted muscle gains you're
Training - Compound Exercises
a hardgainer, you'll need to focus on exercises which will make several of your
muscle groups work in a single movement. These are known as compound exercises
and they will stimulate more muscle growth and make you gain overall muscle mass.
press, rows, deadlifts, squats, military press, push-ups, pull-ups, dips and lat
pulldowns are some of the best exercises you should do. You can incorporate some
isolation exercises too like biceps curls and triceps extensions but your main
focus should be on compound movement. For best results, lift moderate-heavy weights
but always start slowly and progress with the weights. You don't need to perform
compound exercises everyday for a single muscle group as this will easily lead
to overtraining and hinder muscle growth, instead you can train one muscle group
once per week with an array of exercises, for example say you are exercising your
back muscles, you can perform pull-ups, lat pulldowns, bent over rows, one arm
rows, deadlifts and train your muscles to failure meaning till you can't perform
While training is important to build
muscle, you won't go far if you don't provide your body with the required nutrition.
So coming to this aspect of your lifestyle, nutrition is of utmost importance.
Making the correct food choices will make you gain weight and build muscle fast
if you are skinny. Skipping meals is simply a No-No. Here are some ideas:
carbohydrates - sweet potatoes, wholegrain oats, oat bran, brown rice, quinoa,
buckwheat, barley, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread, kidney beans, garbanzo
beans. Avoid anything processed like white bread and white rice. You'll get more
energy and make better gains with complex carbs.
Protein - skinless
chicken breast/turkey breast, lean beef, bison, buffalo, venison, white fish(examples
include tilapia, hake, haddock, Atlantic cod, halibut, red snapper, sea bass,
catfish, grouper, flounder, sole, whiting, pollock, orange roughy), tuna, eggs,
whole milk, cottage cheese, greek yogurt. You'll need adequate amount of protein
and amino acids to repair and rebuild muscle fast and also to sustain your muscle
Healthy fats - omega-3 essential fatty acids found in monounsaturated
fats and polyunsaturated fats. Derived sources include fish oil, olive oil, flaxseed
oil, flax seeds, salmon, herring, sardines, pilchards, mackerel, anchovies, avocados,
walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, pistachio, natural peanut butter and macadamia
nuts. The good thing about the oily fishes mentioned earlier like salmon, sardines
etc... is they are also loaded with protein, so you get 2 in 1 that is protein
and healthy fats. You'll need healthy fats for boosting muscle growth as they
help in protein synthesis. Also, they stimulate faster muscle recovery and also
help to grease your joints which is beneficial for your exercise movements.
Dietary fiber & vitamins - rich in vegetables and fruits. Derived
sources include asparagus, green beans, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, blueberries,
strawberries and bananas. You definitely need vitamins and dietary fiber in your
diet to prevent constipation and to promote effective bowel activity as well as
boosting your immune system.
Water - don't forget to drink at
least half a gallon of water everyday as you'll sweat a lot during exercise. Drinking
adequate water is essential to hydrate your body and also to flush out toxins
Protein shakes - protein shakes can play a crucial
role in your nutrition notably post-workout whereby you need a fast-digesting
meal preferably a liquid meal. I recommend some whey protein shakes as they are
really effective in replenishing your depleted muscle tissues fast and this is
what you need at this critical point in time. Some people call it the "post
workout anabolic window of opportunity" meaning if you don't feed your body
properly within a few minutes after your workout say within 20-30 minutes, it's
like you just wasted your workout in terms of future muscle gains. There is an
ongoing debate on this issue in the bodybuilding forums and from my experience,
I think it's a good idea to consume a whey protein shake within a few minutes
after your workout as this is the time your muscles are craving and hungry for
nutrients, it doesn't necessarily need to be within 20-30 minutes, even if it's
45 minutes or 60 minutes, your workout won't be wasted, then after 1 hour to 1.5
hours, you can have a solid meal with protein and complex carbs. Personally, for
me, if I wait say 2-3 hours before consuming a protein shake, I feel depleted
and weak, so for sure I notice a positive difference when I drink a whey protein
shake earlier. Consuming a micellar casein protein shake few minutes before bed
is also a good idea to sustain muscle growth and keep your body anabolic.
Sleeping - Adequate Rest
common mistake many skinny guys make is the more they train a specific muscle
group, the more it will grow. How many times have you seen some skinny guys perform
endless sets of bicep curls? For sure, your muscles will grow in size after your
workout since you've put load and stress on them resulting in more bloodflow to
your muscles, this is what we call a pump and you get swole, but this is just
temporary, as afterwards your muscles will shrink back to their initial state.
you need rather is adequate rest for your muscles to really grow after eating
the right foods of course. Getting at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night
is best as your muscles really grow during rest and not when you train. Sleep
before midnight preferably to be fitter tomorrow. Sleep early and rise early.
not getting adequate rest will hinder your performance at the gym as your energy
levels and stamina will drop. In fact, it's advisable not to train when you haven't
slept enough and you feel tired.
By following these 3 building blocks
of bodybuilding, gaining weight and building muscle fast can become a reality
for you starting today. Get your butt off the couch and take action by performing
bodyweight training, pumping those weights and eating like a champ. Practicing
the bodybuilding lifestyle not only helps you physically but mentally as well
because it builds self-confidence and self-esteem, makes you more disciplined
and helps you achieve your goals in life.
All the best,