A hardgainer is, quite simply, someone who has trouble gaining weight. It applies to people who have trouble gaining fat, but it’s more commonly used to describe skinny guys who have a hard time bulking up.
The fact that hardgainers exist isn’t controversial. It’s well-documented that some people have a hard time gaining weight. Here’s a quote about Dr Ethan Sims, a famous researcher who conducted several overfeeding studies in the 70s (study, study):
One of his volunteers, for example, began at 132 pounds. He struggled resolutely for more than thirty weeks to gain weight, ate great amounts of food, and reduced his activity to less than half its former level, but was never able to push above 144 pounds. He simply didn’t have the willpower to get fat.
Ethan A. H. Sims, MD
However, even though “hardgainer” isn’t a controversial term, it is a confusing one. It’s often used interchangeably with a few other terms that describe skinny guys, such as ectomorph and non-responder. So here are some definitions:
someone who has a hard time gaining weight. Not every hardgainer is naturally skinny or has a thin bone structure, but many of them do.
someone with a thin bone structure. However, not every ectomorph has trouble gaining weight. It’s also worth noting that “ectomorph” isn’t a scientific term, it’s just used colloquially to describe a skinny body type.
someone who doesn’t get a strong growth response from lifting weights. Not all non-responders are skinny. In fact, if we can eat enough, skinny people tend to get a fairly strong muscle-building stimulus from hypertrophy training.
Eat more to increase your maintenance calories:
Most of us eat maintenance calories and we don’t see any result in the weight because we are eating maintenance calories. It’s time to increase the calories you need to eat 500 calories more than your maintenance calories a day to gain the weight.
Don’t focus on cardio
If you’re a hard gainer, cardio would not be suggested. You’re burning calories that your body is going to have to replenish instead of repairing your muscle. As a hardgainer, you need to focus on gaining weight. The most important thing is to train yourself to eat more. Until you can start putting on weight, you will minimize the amount of cardio you do daily. Running is going to burn those precious calories, and also use up your body’s recovery resources that would be better spent developing muscles. Limit your cardio to 10 minutes/day of low-impact exercise. we’d even recommend you take a couple of months off from cardio while you figure out your diet and strength training.
Choose the right food:-
Though processed foods are typically associated with weight gain and obesity, they can also lead to chronic health conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD),autoimmune diseases, colorectal cancer, and mood disorders including anxiety and depression. You need to eat healthy food if you want to increase your weight. It does not mean that you will start eating pizza, burgers, cold drinks cake etc.
You can have
- Extra Slice of Whole-Grain Toast With Peanut Butter for Breakfast
- Drink Whole Milk, 100% Fruit Juice, or Vegetable Juice
- Add Extra Cheese to an Omelet and Use an Extra Egg
- Slice an Apple and Serve With Nut Butter
- Add Chopped Nuts, Oats, Fruit, and Honey to Yogurt and Potato
- Increase Protein Intake (and Calories) With Protein Bars or whey protein or Meat and Chicken Breast
- Eat Larger Portions of Starchy Vegetables Like Potatoes
- Eat Red Meat (and Choose Lean Cuts for a Healthy Heart)
The best way to healthily gain weight is to consume more calories than you’re burning by eating a variety of nutrient-dense healthy foods. Even though processed foods are high in calories, they don’t have the health benefits and nutritional value compared to real, whole foods. Whether you’re following a weight-gaining diet or a regular diet, keep your diet healthy by boosting your intake of nutrients. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all definition of a healthy lifestyle, and it’s all about what works best for you. If you’re concerned that you may be underweight, be sure to consult your health care provider before making any dietary changes.
I am Ankit Sharma Nutrition Consultant. My approach is holistic and customized to enable you to achieve true wellness – physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am from India but have clients across the globe. I can work with you to say goodbye to counting calories and short-term solutions. You will achieve long-term sustainable change in the way that they are eating, moving, living, and believing.