Hardgainers And Their Nutritional RequirementsNEWS FEED
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Posted: Dec, 6, 2013
Hardgainers And Their Nutritional Requirements

What’s a Hardgainer?
The popular definition of a hardgainer is a person that works out hard with weights but has a hard time putting on muscle. Six weeks of working out can go by and no significant changes in muscle size are noted other than perhaps a bit of an increase in muscle tone. According to this popular definition of a hardgainer, all of us are "hardgainers" because for the most part, putting on muscle is not an easy endeavor. The easiest period to gain muscle is during puberty. After that, gaining muscle becomes progressively harder as we age due to the fact that hormonal production starts declining between the ages of 25 and 30.

Ectomorph Somatypes
My definition of a hardgainer is the naturally skinny person, who no matter what he or she eats, always seem to remain the same body weight.

This is what Dr. William H. Sheldon referred to as an "ectomorph" somatotype when he came up with the theory sometime in the 1940’s. Sheldon’s theory states that human bodies are divided into three main somatotypes; the ectomorph, the endomorph and the mesomorph. In a nutshell, the ectomorph is the naturally skinny person who has trouble gaining weight, whether in the form of muscle or fat. The endomorph on the other hand has the opposite problem, it is too easy for a person with this body type to gain weight. While endomorphs are easy muscle gainers, provided they diet and train correctly, they are cursed with a slow metabolism, which makes it imperative that they be strict with their diet year round if they wish to have any abdominal definition. The mesomorph, however, is the naturally muscular person, who also has a higher metabolism than the endomorph. Mesomorphs make excellent bodybuilders and for them, gains in muscle and reduction in body fat come rather easily provided they maintain a great training and nutrition program; life is not fair.

So You Have Determined That You Are A Hardgainer - Now what?!
Now, having said this, is a hardgainer doomed to stay looking the same way forever? Not at all. Basically, all the hardgainer has to do is modify the training and nutrition program to suit his/her unique metabolism. While most people will do best on a diet consisting of 40% carbohydrates, 40% proteins and 20% fats, the hardgainer will benefit most from a diet consisting of 50% carbs, 25 % proteins and 25% good fats. While the typical person will do best on a caloric intake that equals their lean body mass times 12, the hardgainer is better served by taking in as much as 24 calories per pound of total bodyweight (as opposed to lean body mass). Therefore, if you are a hardgainer and weigh 150 lbs, your caloric intake will be 3600 calories (150 x 24). Your total amounts of carbohydrates per day will be in the order of 450 grams of carbs, your protein will be 225 grams and your fats will be 100 grams of good fats per day. You can take all of this in 6, 7 or even 8 meals. The key thing for a hardgainer to be successful is to minimize their caloric expenditures and maximize their caloric intake. While the hardgainer may not be able to start out with such a high caloric base, a diet like the one prescribed below is a good starting point and then add on nutrients from there. This is necessary as the hardgainer metabolism is a furnace that burns calories at all times and if not enough are supplied at one time or the other, then muscle will be consumed by the body for energy purposes. After all, this metabolic issue is what makes a person a hardgainer.

Muscle Weight Gain Sample Diet For Bodybuilding
(Male Hardgainer Version)

Meal 1 (7 AM)

1-1/2 cups of dry oats mixed with water
1 banana
1 cup of egg beaters

Supplements:


Meal 2 (10 AM)

Low Sugar Weight Gainer (2 scoops) mixed with 16 ounces of skim milk and 1 Tablespoon of Flax Oil or Natural Peanut Butter

–or-

Meal Replacement Powder with complex carbohydrates.
1 Piece of Fruit (Optional)

Meal 3 (12 Noon)
1-1/2 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or sweet potato
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6-8 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 4 (3 PM)
Same as Meal 2

Meal 5 (5:30 PM)
1-1/2 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or sweet potato
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6-8 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Pre-Workout Supplements (6:30 PM):

Weight Train (7 PM-8 PM)

Post Workout Supplements (8 PM) – Have as soon as done w/ workout


Meal 6 (8:30 PM)
1/2 cup of cream of rice
1 banana
2 scoops of whey isolate

Meal 7 (10:30 PM)
2 scoops of slow released protein mixed with 3 scoops of complex carbohydrate powder
(Note: If you wish to consume as a pudding, mix w/ 4 ounces of water; and stir with a spoon)

Supplements:

  • 1 Tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil (can mix w/ shake)
  • 1 tsp of Glutamine
  • ZMA


NOTE: On non-workout days, trade the post workout meal for a solid meal consisting of chicken, 1 cup of brown rice and green beans or any other lean protein source, complex carb source and green vegetables. Also, for Meal 7, eliminate the use of the carb component.

 

 

Muscle Weight Gain Sample Diet For Bodybuilding (Female Hardgainer Version)

Meal 1 (7 AM)

1 cups of dry oats mixed with water
1 banana
1 cup of egg beaters

Supplements:

  • Multiple Vitamin/Mineral formula
  • Chromium Picolinate 200 mcg
  • 1 tsp of Glutamine


Meal 2 (10 AM)

Low Sugar Weight Gainer (1 scoop) mixed with 8 ounces of skim milk and 1 Tablespoon of Flax Oil or Natural Peanut Butter

–or-

Meal Replacement Powder with complex carbohydrates mixed with 1-2 scoops of complex carbs and 1/2 Tablespoon of Flax Oil or Natural Peanut Butter.
1 Piece of Fruit (Optional)

Meal 3 (12 Noon)
1 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or sweet potato
1-2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
3-4 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 4 (3 PM)
Same as Meal 2

Meal 5 (5:30 PM)
1 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or sweet potato
1-2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
3-4 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Pre-Workout Supplements (6:30 PM):

  • 1/2 tsp of Creatine
  • 1/2 tablet of 200 mg Caffeine (optional)

Weight Train (7 PM-8 PM)

Post Workout Supplements (8 PM) – Have as soon as done w/ workout

  • 6 capsules of BCAAs
  • 1 tsp Creatine
  • 1/2 tsp Glutamine
  • 2 grams of Vitamin C


Meal 6 (8:30 PM)
1/4 cup of cream of rice
1 banana
1 scoop of whey isolate

Meal 7 (10:30 PM)
1 scoop slow released protein mixed with 2 scoops of complex carbohydrate powder
(Note: If you wish to consume as a pudding, mix w/ 4 ounces of water; and stir with a spoon)

Supplements:

  • 1 Tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil (can mix w/ shake or pudding)
  • 1/2 tsp of Glutamine
  • ZMA


NOTE: On non-workout days, trade the post workout meal for a solid meal consisting of chicken, 1/2 cup of brown rice and green beans or any other lean protein source, complex carb source and green vegetables.

Also, for Meal 7, eliminate the use of the carb component.

Conclusion
Now that we have dealt with the nutritional needs of a hardgainer, on the next article we’ll address the subject of training for the hardgainer.

 

 

Written by Hugo Rivera, BSCE, CFT