Hardgainers

  1. Future
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    Hardgainers


    by Iron Addict

    First things first. MOST lifters that beleive they are hardgainers just don't have a handle on their diet and training. If all is dialed and results suck--then they just might be an actual hardgainer. Here is some info covering that.

    I see posts very frequently by guys that are just completely CLUELESS about the role genetics play in how one responds to training. These posts USUALLY come from one of two types of people. Guys with great genetics that have never had training partners that didn’t, or have never worked with a group of lifters over the long-term, and young guys that REALLY, REALLY want to believe that they can be the next Arnold, Yates, or Coleman.

    Here are just SOME of the factors that ultimately determine how big and strong you get, and what paths are appropriate to get you there:

    Cortisol output
    Adrenaline output
    Insulin output
    insulin sensitivity
    Thyroid output
    Thyroid sensitivity
    Testosterone production
    Testosterone/hormone sensitivity
    Testosterone to estrogen conversion
    SHGB sensitivity
    Testosterone to DHT conversion
    Estrogen sensitivity
    Growth Hormone output
    Growth Hormone sensitivity
    IGF output
    IGF sensitivity
    Digestive capability
    Basic protein synthesis ability
    Muscle fiber composition
    CNS output
    CNS recovery rate
    Digestive capacity

    AND A WHOLE BUNCH MORE


    ALL THESE FACTORS ARE ALL DETERMINED BY AN INDIVIUALS GENETICS. AND THEY DON’T VARY A LITTLE, THEY VARY A LOT. AND THERE ARE MANY, MANY MORE!

    Take a guy that has very little fast twitch fibers, or just very little muscle fibers compared to the average person, or well above average person and this person is NEVER, NEVER going to have anywhere NEAR the growth potential of someone that has more fiber to begin with no matter HOW BIG they hypertrophy them.

    Oh, just add steroids and the below average guy is even. WRONG again. In the Soviet Union where the state spent much time researching these issues, they determined that hormone (steroid) sensitivity varied as much as 2 to 4 times. Which means the response and thus results one guy might get from a gram of gear would take 4 grams for another person to achieve. And these were highly technical studies carried out with good controls. Not what a bunch of gym meatheads observed. YES, THAT IS genetics in action.

    To say genetics only accounts for a small degree of the achieved results is just PLAIN FLAT OUT WRONG AND ANY GOOD STRENGTH COACH OR SPORTS PHYSIOLIGIST WILL TELL YOU THAT.

    This does NOT mean you cannot make great progress or build a great body, but it does mean that most just simply don’t have the potential to be top bodybuilders. And EVERYONE responds differently. I am not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, and potential can only be known in retrospect AFTER you have tried. But all these posts by guys saying genetics are not important and guys just use them as an excuse is pure BS

    OK, so maybe you haven’t been dealt the best hand. Well, you got what you got. Now you have to make the best of it, and guess what? Many hardgainers do a LOT of things that are CONTRARY to their goals.

    I am going to deal with ectos’ this time and leave the endo’s for another article. We have two archetypical types on ectos. Skinny ectos, ectos and skinny-fat ectos. These guys are all over the place and are very often the types that are drawn to bodybuilding because they are dissatisfied with their skinny physiques. Then once entering the bodybuilding world they are quickly left out in the cold and alone as far as applicable information goes as the mainstream publications focuses on genetic elite lifters doing lots of steroids. Hardly the proper role model for a hardgainer with genetic disadvantages.

    I look at quite a bit of lab results from hardgaining lifters and in a good amount of the cases thyroid levels are high, test levels are low, and cortical is high and in skinny-fat hardgainers estrogen levels are high, and glucose tolerance is in the toilet along with high cortisol levels topping things off. Sleep and stress are usually bad for both types. Pretty simple—you can’t get there from here. At least not at a pace that makes anyone even marginally happy.

    From a physical standpoint work capacity levels are most often dismally low and CNS is very delicate. And most hardgainers make matters worse by doing either way too much tonnage or way too much intensity—bad mojo!

    So what is the answer to this dilemma? Well it would take a book to cover all bases but in the most simplistic terms here is what has to happen.

    Skinny Hardgainer
    Training load suited to recovery. Usually low volume and frequency without training to failure.
    Work capacity MUST BE BROUGHT UP—THIS IS CRITICAL!!
    All stimulants cut out!
    Stress reduction techniques used.
    Sleep habits improved
    Supplementation suited to needs
    Eating brought up to a level that exceeds maintenance with at LEAST 1.5 grams protein per lb of bodyweight. THIS SOLVES MANY, MANY hardginers primary issue immediately. If thyroid is too high, diet must be higher!

    Skinny-Fat Hardgainer
    Training load suited to recovery. Usually low volume and frequency without training to failure.
    Work capacity MUST BE BROUGHT UP—THIS IS CRITICAL!!
    All stimulants cut out!
    Stress reduction techniques used.
    Sleep habits improved
    Eating brought up to a level that at least meets maintenance with at LEAST 1.5 grams protein per lb of bodyweight
    Supplementation suited to needs
    GLUCOSE TOLERANCE/INSULIN SENSITIVITY BROUGHT UP!

    One of the biggest mistakes hardgainers make is first understanding they are hardgainers, tailoring the workload to their limited recovery, and then NEVER attempting to raise their work capacity. While that approach works in the short term, it s poison over the long term. That type of loading is needed in the beginning, and may be needed for a long time, but if it is never raised you will find yourself stuck soon and again be blaming your genetics on something you had control over.

    Another HUGE mistake hardgainers make is too high of intensity level training. MOST HG’s have pretty frail CNS recovery. QUIT BEATING A DEAD HORSE.

    These steps will go a long way towards making one an “average gainer” if you will take the time to implement them.

  2. Future
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    Hey guys,

    I have been looking through the old threads trying to gather information before I posted a question. But even w/ all the great information here I find I am still at a loss, so I hope someone will be able to offer me some guidance.

    I have been training for over 20 years and have not gained much in the way of size or strength. I started w/ the magazine routines, tried HIT, Hardgainer routines, bodyweight training, etc. etc. etc.

    I have gained 20 pounds at times, but it was always (as best as I could tell) half fat/half muscle. Then I would diet down and end up where I started. I can gain weight, so I put myself in the skinny-fat class as opposed to a regular ecto.

    I am currently 5' 10", 140#, approximately 16% bf. The bodyfat is all in my sides and back. I have a short torso, so this just looks great (NOT!).

    I can see I am not eating as much protein as suggested here. I also know I need to sleep more. I was working out every other day just a handful of sets or everyday w/ even less sets, but would eventually hit a wall, so I don't think either is good for me.

    I noticed in one of IA threads he said glucose tolerance should be brought up. I know exercise can do this. Any other ways?

    Also, if anyone can unravel and bottom line Trouble's advice to hardgainers I would greatly appreciate it. I have read and re-read her posts and am still lost.

    Answer:

    Muscle fiber test
    metabolic type test
    take two weeks off
    Look at stress and work on it--you likely need it
    log diet
    Eat the minimal amounts of carbs possible
    Do a STRUCTURED routine where the percents are set. Take a look at SB's recommendations for 5/3/1 as a start, and then if you are slow twitch, do something like 15/10/7.
    Quit training to failure if you are currently.
  3. Future
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    by Future

    Hardgainer

    Life is full of labels. The health and fitness industry is no exception. People are sized up for a myriad of reasons. One of the “biggest” labels refers to the hardgainer. The definition is like it sounds. The individual has a tough time gaining either strength, muscle or both.

    The popular definition of a hardgainer is a person who bodybuilding 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 and definition. 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 when anabolic hormone production is at an all time high. 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.

    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 body types: 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; they are the genetic freaks.

    Here are just SOME of the factors that ultimately determine how big and strong you get, and what paths are appropriate to get you there:

    Cortisol output
    Adrenaline output
    Insulin output
    insulin sensitivity
    Thyroid output
    Thyroid sensitivity
    Testosterone production
    Testosterone/hormone sensitivity
    Testosterone to estrogen conversion
    SHGB sensitivity
    Testosterone to DHT conversion
    Estrogen sensitivity
    Growth Hormone output
    Growth Hormone sensitivity
    IGF output
    IGF sensitivity
    Digestive capability
    Basic protein synthesis ability
    Muscle fiber composition
    CNS output
    CNS recovery rate
    Digestive capacity

    All of these factors are determined by your genetics.

    Take a guy that has very little fast twitch fibers, or just very little muscle fibers compared to the average person, or well above average person and this person is NEVER, NEVER going to have anywhere NEAR the growth potential of someone that has more fiber to begin with no matter HOW BIG they hypertrophy them.

    Ok so you are a hardgainer. Now what?! Stop thinking the world is over. You will just use a different set of rules to get where you want to be. 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 their bodybuilding training and nutrition program to suit his/her unique metabolism and recovery. The hardgainer will benefit most from a diet consisting of 40% carbs, 40 % proteins and 20% good fats. 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. 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.
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    WOW. this all actually makes sense. im gonna get a pic of myself up by the end of the month, and then take all this into consideration,

    also. some ppl are just bigger because some muscle tendons connect at different places..

    umm hard to explain but if your bicep tendon has a close connection it will apear smaller than someone whos tendon connects farther away.

    am i making sense?

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