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  1. #1
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    Thread for hard-gainers

    I wanted to start a thread for hard gainers to discuss things that worked and didn't work. First, I know not everyone believes in the term hard gainer but, from my experience, when I consume daily 3/4 can of coconut milk, 3 eggs, bacon, avocado, 2 protein shakes with whole milk, cocoa powder, and honey, Greek yogurt, spinach, 2 bananas, strawberries, blueberries, macadamia nuts, some sort of meat (pork shoulder, ground beef, roast etc.), with sweet potato or rice and veggies for lunch and a similar meal for dinner and still have difficulty putting on weight, I'd say that's a hard gainer.

    That being said, I've found some things that tend to work and others that haven't. I'm still tweaking things so wanted to get others' input. I found that carbs help my workouts but otherwise don't seem to impact my weight. Also, I workout in the am so I try to consume the fruit and yogurt pre-workout and my strength has gotten better. I typically lift 4 days per week and hit the bag 1 day. I run about 3 days a week, 2 miles each run. I tried to reduce my workouts to put it more in line with primal fitness but it did not work. I lost weight and strength. I've found that I need to hit each muscle group hard, twice per week with a split. I.e., chest / back / core on Monday and Thursday and legs / arms / shoulders on Tuesday and Friday. This seems to be effective but I'm not convinced yet. I am having better results doing this than a 3 day 5x5 routine.

    Well, I figure that's enough for now. If anyone wants to contribute, please do and we'll try to figure out what works.

  2. #2
    paul119's Avatar
    paul119 is offline Senior Member
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    You could be a hard-gainer because you exercise TOO much.

    I'm also a hard-gainer, but have now found a pretty good balance. I eat about 2500 calories per day, crank out 150 or 200 pushups in the morning, and do a lot of walking. Every now and then I'll throw in some pullups and a sprint or two. And I'm just as muscular now as I ever was before - and that's when I was doing squats, deadlifts, bench-press, etc.

    I'd recommend limiting your workouts to strength training 3 times per week - MWF - using either StrongLifts or Rippetoe's Starting Strength. Continue to eat the same amount, and I bet you begin seeing weight gain right away.

    Ditch the running, and anything else that doesn't focus in on your main goal of gaining weight and strength.
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    feren6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul119 View Post
    You could be a hard-gainer because you exercise TOO much.

    I'm also a hard-gainer, but have now found a pretty good balance. I eat about 2500 calories per day, crank out 150 or 200 pushups in the morning, and do a lot of walking. Every now and then I'll throw in some pullups and a sprint or two. And I'm just as muscular now as I ever was before - and that's when I was doing squats, deadlifts, bench-press, etc.

    I'd recommend limiting your workouts to strength training 3 times per week - MWF - using either StrongLifts or Rippetoe's Starting Strength. Continue to eat the same amount, and I bet you begin seeing weight gain right away.

    Ditch the running, and anything else that doesn't focus in on your main goal of gaining weight and strength.
    This. You're probably not giving yourself enough time to recover. Definitely cut out the running, lift 3 days a week, eat the same amount as Paul suggested, and see what happens. I bet you'll gain weight.

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    Coach Palfrey's Avatar
    Coach Palfrey is offline Senior Member
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    Would be inclined to agree with the points about the volume of your training. I'd also say that hard-gainer or not, it is always possible to put on weight. If what you're eating isn't enough (irrespective of what others are doing or whether you think it's enough) then eat more. While I'm not a massive fan of some of the nutritional practices of pure strength athletes and bodybuilders you should know that a lot of them hate eating - they eat that much.

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    I reduced my workouts for about 4 weeks going with a 3 day weight program and I ended up weaker so I don't think I'm overtraining. I'm also not sore when I hit my splits (a little tender the day after but not bad). I also reduced my running from approx 12 miles / week to 6.

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    Wanderlust's Avatar
    Wanderlust is offline Senior Member
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    I cut down to just sprinting one day out of the week (100 or 200m sprints).

    My meals, while not the cleanest or best, did the trick to gain weight. They looked about like this:

    Loco Benidict:
    10-12 eggs
    .25-.5 lbs of ground beef
    cheese
    rice w/butter
    covered with hollendaise sauce

    1-1.5lbs of shredded chicken
    .5 Broccoli
    rice w/ butter
    covered with cheese

    1-1.5 pounds of steak or pulled pork
    2 sweet potatoes
    Brussels sprouts

    Heavy cream coffee, wash everything down with whole milk. Drink a gallon of water a day. This was the only way I was able to hit 200 lbs.
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    Fat Kine-230/24% @ 6'2"
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    Gadsie's Avatar
    Gadsie is offline Senior Member
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    Yeah, I need to eat 5000+ calories and eat it secretly from my dad. I have to sneak bacon and butter upstairs otherwise "I eat too much" -.-. Or I open packages right when I bought them from the store and eat it on the street. If only he wasn't the money supplier I could ignore him.
    Makes it very hard for me to eat enough
    well then

  8. #8
    Coach Palfrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emmet Fitz-Hume View Post
    I reduced my workouts for about 4 weeks going with a 3 day weight program and I ended up weaker so I don't think I'm overtraining. I'm also not sore when I hit my splits (a little tender the day after but not bad). I also reduced my running from approx 12 miles / week to 6.
    How did you measure the drop in strength?

  9. #9
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    are you gaining any bodyfat? if not, then you simply aren't eating enough. you'll know that you're in a caloric surplus when you are adding a little fat with your muscle gains. for someone who thinks he is a "hard-gainer" this is probably the best way to gauge that you are actually eating enough.

  10. #10
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    I appreciate everyone's feedback but right now, I'm a few weeks into a new routine that seems to be going ok. I want to give it a chance before I make any other changes. Of course, I always try to eat as much as I can so I'll try to add more.

    I really started this thread not so much as to get input for my changes (at least currently) but moreso to hear what worked / didn't work for others.

    I want to add about 10-15 lbs but don't want to sacrifice overall health. I could suck down milkshakes and Big Macs and put on weight but that's not my goal.

    As for how I measured loss of strength, I got weaker on both my one rep max on bench and squats and on my 5 rep sets. Now that I'm back to working specific muscles twice a week hitting them harder (I.e., three exercises such as bench, decline, cable crosses or squat, less press, and deadlift), my strength has improved.

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