Part 2 of the Hard-Gainer Guide to Gains
When hard gainers look for advice on building muscle, the answer is “eat more”. But eating more is not the answer. Skinny guys have high metabolisim and usually poor appetite. With the right guidence however, skinny guys can bulk up. Read on for tips on bulking up and what to eat and soon you’ll no longer be a “hard gainer”.
Here’s What You Need To Eat
A basic plan for hard gainers to eat is usually this formula. 20 calories per pound of body weight. So say a 150 pound man would need 3,000 calories per day (150 pounds X 20 calories per pound)
Easiest if you break this down into 8 meals on workout days and about 7 meals on non-workout days.
Workout Day Meals: Wake Up Meal/Breakfast/late-morning snack/lunch/preworkout meal/postworkout meal/dinner.
Non-Workout Day Meals: Wake Up Meal/Breakfast/late-morning snack/lunch/afternoon snack/dinner/bedtime snack.
The macronutrient breakdown of those meals is also important. Protein is arguably the most critical nutrient because muscles aren’t much more than storage bins for protein. Therefore, hardgainers should eat 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight (which would come to 225 grams of protein for our 150-pound guy). That said, carbohydrates are also important, both for energy to promote muscle gains and because carbs pull water into muscles, keeping the tissue fuller. That creates a stretch on cells, and that stretch can induce growth in the long run.
Hardgainers should eat 3 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight per day (or 450 grams for the 150-pound man). We normally recommend getting the majority of carb calories from whole grains — whole-wheat bread, oatmeal and brown rice — because they digest slowly and therefore don’t elicit an insulin rush. However, hardgainers actually benefit from higher insulin levels. Insulin is an anabolic hormone that also helps transport protein into muscle cells. Therefore, faster-digesting carbs (white potato, white bread, white rice, angel food cake) play a bigger role in the hardgainer diet.
The last nutrient, fat, is required in smaller amounts. Hardgainers should eat a minimum of 0.5 grams of fat per pound of bodyweight (or 75 grams for the 150-pound dude). As with all diets, the focus should be on healthy fats, the mono- and poly-unsaturated fats found in seeds, nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, avocados, fatty fish (like salmon, tuna or sardines), though some fat from meat is definitely acceptable.
Training to Boost Metabolism
Training is the most important thing when it comes to building muscle. No skinny guy will gain muscle without proper nutrition. Muscle building starts with hard training, and hard training improves eating. When your skinny, your appetite is poor. When your body is building muscle, it is hungry, therefore increasing appetite. You need to find how much training is key for you. Too much can decrease appetite, and too little does nothing. With the right amount, you appetite will increase.
Wait Out the Two Week Metabolic Increase
You need time to get used to eating more. Two weeks is about the norm for your body to increase metabolic rate accordingly. No worries, you will not need to eat like this forever. Your body need time to get used to eating for gains. Stay on course and your body adapts.
Avoid Pre Workout Supplements-Stick with Post Workout Supplements
Skinny guys do not need anymore stimulants jacking them up. Even though pre workouts help you get through a workout, they can increase metabolism, thus hurting your gains. Stick with post workout supplements, like protein and bulking supplements. These help with extra protein and calories with out filling up your stomach.
Add New Food to Your Menu
Many hard gainers just eat more of what they ususally eat. That gets boring real quick. Adding more flavors helps with all you are eating is rice, broccoli and chicken. Simply adding more flavors and textures will have you gaining in no time.
For example, lets say for breakfast you usually eat 3 eggs, 2 pieces of toast and an apple. Gradually add items to get your breakfast to look like this: protein shake, 4 eggs with spinach, 1 cup of hashbrowns, 2 pieces of toast, 1 apple and a banana.
Learn how to cook tasty-there are plenty of recipes online. Sometimes just adding garlic or marinade can take plain chicken to amazing chicken. Learning new tricks like this will have you enjoying cooking and eating.
Another challenge for hard gainers is poor digestion. Choose food that is easy to digest, so your stomach is not upset while your trying to gain. Foods like eggs, ground beef, fish, protein shakes and coconut oils are digested well. Drinking at least 64 oz of water daily also helps.
Choose the right foods as well-keep it healthy and the less processed a food is, the better it is for you. If your new to building muscle, try to stay away from the “dirty bulk”. Dirty bulking is basically eating whatever and whenever you want (like fast food and other unhealthy foods). Eating at least 3,000 calories is doable. Adding nuts, sweet potatoes and other healthy fats and carbs is easy. It just takes planning and the results will be worth it.
Nutrition and Training
To gain accordingly, you need to plan nutrition and training. You will always have meals ready this way. Here is an easy plan to start with:
Tuesday: Grocery shopping and training
Wednesday: Meal prep
Friday: Grocery shopping and training
Saturday: Meal prep
Sunday: Rest and relax
Learn how to personalize your nutrition and what works for you. Pay attention to how you feel one to two hours after eating. Once eating healthy foods, take note of which foods leave you feeling gassy, bloated, irritated or sleepy. Limit those foods.
Adjust amounts. The most important thing to get is the amount of protein. A simple gram of protein per pound of body weight is the best guide to stick with. Once you have the protein down, you can add carbs and fats. Work with carbs to fat ratios to see what works best for you.
Take At Least One Day Off A Week
When your training and eating to gain, it can be overwhelming. A great way to deal with this is at least one day off from intense eating. You do not have to go into calorie deficit. Just take it easy, just eat what you feel like eating. The mental and physical break helps set you up for the next week. A great way to start the week of training and eating your way to bigger muscles.