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Hardgainers and Primal

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  • Hardgainers and Primal

    Has anybody else who has been fairly physically active thought they were a hardgainer, but upon going Primal, found that that isn't the case anymore?

    The last 4 or so years I have worked out on and off for months at a time and have seen hardly any results. The only thing I ever really saw results on was squat. But in the 4 or so weeks that I have been eating Primal, I have been seeing fairly decent results given the inconsistency of my workouts. I know if I became more regular (damn school getting in the way) and upped the protein in my diet, I would see some fairly impressive gains.

    So again, has going Primal taken anyone else out of "hardgainer" land?

  • #2
    I'm not sure yet. I've always thought of myself as a hardgainer, but it's possible that I've never trained and eaten hard enough to really know.

    I can say that over an 8 month period I slowly lost weight while eating ~ 75 primal grams of carbs day and working out modestly (pushups and pullups). I started out very thin and lean to begin with, and one of my goals was to put on a little weight, hopefully muscle.

    Because of this, I started incorporating white rice into my diet almost daily, eating more sweet potatoes, and adding in whole milk and yogurt on days when I need more calories. I also ramped up my workouts starting at the beginning of this year. I followed PBF for ~ 6 weeks, and have been doing SimpleFit for the past few weeks.

    Over the last 2.5 months my weight has gone up about 3 pounds. I can't say how much of that is due to fat, muscle, or water. Upper body and quads appear more muscular, 6-pack looks the same, etc., so I'm guessing it's mostly muscle and water gain. I'm trying hard to eat at least slightly above my maintenance caloric requirement, but I don't typically get more than about 0.75g protein per pound of LBM. 0.5g is more typical.

    If I continue to gain about a pound or so per month for a year, and I don't appear to be getting any fatter, then I'll probably have to exclude myself from the hardgainer club.


    • #3
      I find most "hard gainers" aren't eating enough. Especially not enough good protein and fats. If you eat 1.5 grams of protein per pound of "desired" body and consume enough fats to put you in excess calories for your "desired" weigh you will gain mass.


      You weigh 160lbs, you want to weigh 175lbs. You need to eat 262.5 grams of protein. How fast do you want to put the weight on? Let's use a pound a week. BMR + high activity = number of calories to maintain weight + 3,600 calories for a pound of mass. Let's break this down to daily calorie intake, 3,600 / 7 = 514 excess calories per day. For a male, 25 yo, 6 feet tall, extremely active at 175 lbs = 1819 (calculator here) 1819 + 514 = 2333

      2333 calories = 262.5 grams of protein (1050 calories) + 150 grams carbs (600 calories) + 76 grams of fat (683 calorie)

      Chow down. Primal food, not sport drinks and/or protein powders. do you look, feel, and perform? -- Robb Wolf

      My Blog.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Conner P. View Post
        Has anybody else who has been fairly physically active thought they were a hardgainer, but upon going Primal, found that that isn't the case anymore?
        That's usually because "hardgainers" aren't. Not saying you aren't, but most of the people that I have met that call themselves "hardgainers" are the guys that can't figure out why incessant curls and smoothies aren't getting them jacked (even when they took gear) and they stay up all night.

        At least you were squatting, but you said you did it off and on. That was probably the culprit right there, as you acknowledged. To build muscle, you have to *constantly* punish it and make it recover properly. Unless you have the genetics of a God (and some do) you can't haphazardly train and expect results.

        Is it because you are now eating more protein and actually training on a consistent basis?

        Sorry, touched a nerve. LOL. There is no such thing as a hardgainer, just a person making excuses for either their ignorance or their laziness. The same is true for dudes that use the excuse of ballooning up so they can power-lift. I was sorta like that until my wife pointed out that I was just becoming a fat fuck instead of looking like I trained.
        People too weak to follow their own dreams will always try to discourage others.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bodhi View Post
          I find most "hard gainers" aren't eating enough. Especially not enough good protein and fats.
          And unfortunately for those of us with naturally modest appetites, all those primal proteins and fats are very filling. It's far easier for me to eat beyond maintenance when I'm stuffing myself with carbs.

          This isn't directed at you specifically, but a huge pet peeve of mine is when people dismiss others' difficulty in putting on mass by saying, "It's simple: eat more." Sorry, but it's not simple for a lot of people to just eat more, myself included. In my experience it's doubly difficult on a primal diet.


          • #6
            By off and on I meant cycles of months. I would go at it hard for 3-5 months and see hardly ANY gains and give up for a couple months, then try again. But I have been eating less on Primal than I was then, yet I have been seeing decent gains. -shrug-


            • #7
              I have a long and lean body type. The comment above about "hardgainers" being just lazy is pretty asinine - the difference between Kevin Durant and Troy Polamalu is LAZINESS? Cmon dude. There are various body types, and different people respond differently to exercise and diet.
              I benefit far, far more from working out, and gain muscle faster, and have more energy to work out, this way. I have to really work to over eat but I can gain a lb a week if I work at it. I have doubled my squat (still pretty weak) in the last few months, that's been very satisfying.
              If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least and this (personal fave):


              • #8
                I'm a hardgainer, it's a constant battle.


                • #9
                  Read "Beyond Brawn" by Stuart McRobert. He has a lot of great strategies for hardgainers. For one, Hardgainers usually need to do less, not more. Part of the reason they are hardgainers is due to a recovery system that takes longer so to dial back the workouts until you start seeing gains. Sometimes this can be only working a muscle group once every 8-10 days.
                  Very bodybuilder oriented but some real solid training tips. ignore the diet section, Mostly CW B.S.


                  • #10
                    My husband is.

                    I don't think it's a battle for him -- it's a way of thinking about how to train best for his body type. No big deal.

                    He started training in the 'typical' way at 19 -- which is to say "overtraining" particularly for the body type. He then got a mentor and started seeing significant gains by training properly, eating properly, and getting enough rest (sleep).

                    He went from 118 lbs to 170 lbs over the course of several years.

                    Two years ago, he had to lay aside his typical strength training (he trains for strength anyway) due to some injuries/mobility issues. He's spent the last two years working on that -- and during this time went primal. He was doing body weight exercises, got much leaner, and of course had good recovery. He dropped down to 155 lbs.

                    Prior to being primal, he was WAPF but only had grains 2x week (oatmeal, sprouted grain toast). So, he was basically primal.

                    Anyway, he has just started lifting heavy again, and has been doing so for about 2 months. He's gained 10 lbs in that time. his body fat is slightly higher, but not much -- he still looks lean. It's probably around 9-10%, and it was probably 8% or so before he went back to lifting heavy. he thinks that the key is in fasted training, but due to the gym he uses (a real, 'garage style' joint), the hours wouldn't make that possible for him -- so instead he's not carb loading after a workout. Before the work out, he already has carbs (veggies, fruit), and he figures that's all that he needs. He made that adjustment this last week, and he suspects he'll see more leanness fairly soon.

                    So, he's about 5 lbs from the weight that he was before, but he suspects that he needs to loose a bit of fat and gain a bit more muscle, so he's estimating that he's probably about 7-8 lbs from his goal weight -- but no where near his goal strengths, though he's doing well considering he's only been back at it for 2 months, and he only goes to the gym once a week (he does a body-weight day in between).

                    I can also agree with Beyond Brawn -- it's a great book. DH knows McRobert -- they've been emailing each other for a fair bit, now.