Men who struggle to gain muscle (hard-gainers or ectomorphs) often think that their inability to put on the lean muscle is due to a lack of effort in he gym.
The reality is that it is not purely due to what you lift, but also what you eat also has an impact (our in-depth guide to bulking will help with this).
Read on to see what changes you should make in the gym and the kitchen to finally start gaining muscle.
How should you train?
If you are a hard-gainer then your genetics have made it difficult to gain muscle, despite seemingly spending hours working hard in the gym.
Perhaps what you are doing is not beneficial for your gains? Here are some workout tips that will definitely give you better results:
#1: Cut out the isolation exercises
You don’t have to spend hour upon hour at the gym working every muscle individually.
As a hard-gainer you will likely see better results using compound movements such as the squat, deadlifts and overhead presses.
These particular exercises recruit lots of muscle groups so will give you a better workout in less time.
One particular benefit of these movements is that they will release a surge of hormones such as testosterone that will certainly boost your results.
#2: Get plenty of rest
To build muscle as a hard-gainer you need to lift heavy, which means that you will likely be tired after each set.
To recover fully for the next set of lifts I suggest that you rest for a little longer than normal, probably around 3-5 minutes.
It is also recommended that you get plenty of rest after your workouts too.
Get plenty of sleep (a minimum of 7 hours every night), and make sure you don't workout every day.
Your muscles grow when they heal, which only occurs when they are being rested.
Training everyday will only lead to overtraining, and potential injury, which will definitely slow your progress.
What should you eat?
Chances are you that if you are not seeing any muscle gains then you are not eating enough.
I would suggest to you that you write down what you are currently eating, and work out how many calories you consume daily. You may be surprised by how little you eat.
Once you have worked out what you currently consume the aim is to then add an additional 500 calories to the number.
This will probably involve you adding extra to your portions, and perhaps even an additional meal during the day.
Protein is extremely important for muscle recovery and growth so you need to ensure you consume adequate amounts of it. The rule is to consume 0.6 to 0.8 grams of protein for every pound you weigh.
So if you weigh 150 pounds, then your protein intake should be between 90-120 grams every day.
Often when people start to train, either to build muscle or to lose weight they will cut out fats entirely. Well, this is a mistake as your body needs fat for a variety of reasons.
Just make sure the fats you consume are good fats, so no trans or saturated fats.
Instead try to consume healthy unsaturated fats, like those that are found in nuts, seeds and certain oils.