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How to Tell If You Are Really a Hard Gainer
The definition of a hard gainer is someone who struggles to gain muscle mass. Unfortunately, because this definition is so open-ended, it can become difficult to tell who exactly fits this description and who is simply trying to blame an outside influence for their lack of progress.
Let’s face it: if you never train…you will have “difficulty gaining muscle mass”. Does that qualify you as a hard gainer? Not in my book, but I’ve seen a lot of people apply the hard gainer label where it doesn’t belong.
So today, let’s clear everything up once and for all. In my book, a true hard gainer is someone who has struggled to gain muscle mass because of their genetics. Not because of laziness or ignorance…but because his mom and dad didn’t give him good muscle building genes.
How do you know if a person has good muscle-building genetics? After all, we can’t decipher a person’s DNA and peek into it.
There is no way to know with 100% accuracy whether a person is a hard gainer or not. But fortunately, there are certain indicators we can use to determine if someone is truly a hard gainer or just looking for an excuse to justify their lack of progress.
Rule #1: If you are a mesomorph…you are NOT a hard gainer.
There are three categories used to classify body types. I use football analogies to help classifications.
Ectomorphs are tall and lean and often struggle to build muscle. Ectomorphs generally have long limbs and a fast metabolism. An ectomorph on the football field is most likely a wide receiver. If you’re an ectomorph… chances are you’re a hard-gainer.
Endomorphs tend towards the larger classifications. Endomorphs can be characterized by a slow metabolism. Endomorphs generally have no difficulty gaining muscle, but are plagued with excess body fat and must constantly watch what they eat as they gain weight rapidly.
An endomorph on the football field would be a linebacker or offensive lineman. Some endomorphs also have ectomorphic tendencies when it comes to muscle building and therefore could be considered hard gainers.
Mesomorphs are blessed with what may be the perfect body type. They seem to gain muscle easily without worrying about fat gains. Mesomorphs are the kind of guys who look like they train for hours every day but shock everyone when they reveal that they’re actually not doing much. A mesomorph on the football field is usually a well-built running back or a solid safety. Mesomorphs are NOT hard gainers.
Rule #2: Do you have skinny calves?
Calf size is a good indicator of whether or not you’re really struggling to gain muscle. Indeed, the bigger your calves are before you start training, the easier it will be for you to gain muscle.
So… if you have skinny calves, chances are you’re struggling to gain muscle. If you’re blessed with big calves, you probably have the potential to gain quite a bit of muscle. Bottom line: Weak calves equal hard-to-make gains.
Rule #3: If you have small wrists and small ankles…you could be a hard gainer.
If your wrist is less than seven inches, it means that you have a smaller than average bone structure and, therefore, it may indicate that you will have a hard time gaining muscle mass.
If you have small ankles, you’ll probably struggle to gain muscle.
Rule #4: Do you often get sick after just 3-4 weeks of strength training?
Skinny men traditionally need more rest than average men. While an average guy can train four or five times a week and make gains, a hard gainer following a similar program will far exceed his recovery abilities and eventually burn out and get sick.
If your strength gains momentum and eventually stops within three to four weeks of starting a new program that has you working out more than three times a week, this may also indicate harder than average muscle gain. .
Conclusion…And Hope for the Desperate
Some of the characteristics of the hard gainer may apply to you, some may not. It’s not an exact science, but if you find that two or more of the points above apply to you, chances are you’re a hard gainer or have certain tendencies of a hard. gain.
But there is hope for guys who struggle to gain muscle. Hard gainers can gain muscle mass. They just have to follow a different set of rules. Because if you’re not blessed with genetics that allow for easy muscle gains, you need to follow a training program specifically designed for guys without great genes.
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