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Beginning Hardgainer

Begining hardgainer looking to add muscle/mass, strength/power. Includes my routine.

Hey guys. Just came across this site last night after doing some Googling on the benefits of squats and deadlifting which I’m just starting to incorporate into my routine. Anyway, this is going to be a bit of a lengthy read, so I’m just letting you know in advance. I’ll keep it well organized and hope some of you veteran guys can really help me out.

First things first, I’m your typical “skinny guy” hardgainer. I’m about 5’4-5’5 and around 120-123lbs. Growing up, I was a bit more stocky as a kid, but I kind of thinned out in highschool and have stayed around the same weight for the past two years or so. I just finished my freshman year of college, so I’m 19 now. I’ve been told I have good genetics though, and have a very similar build to my uncle who upon going to West Point and the Army thereafter, became extremely jacked.

I started working out at the gym routinely for about 6 weeks in October/November of last year and noticed some good results, atleast other people kept telling me things like “Wow your shoulders look really broad. Your arms look bigger, etc.” The thing is, I was getting cut and a little bit bigger, but no mass was being added on. And at that point, I was eating grilled chicken, tuna fish, and peenut butter sandwhiches religiously.

I completely lost my motivation for the gym and stopped going alltogether. I recently rediscovered my motivation and have been going for 3 weeks now. I’m almost 100% positive the reasons I’m not seeing gains is because of a lack of calorie intake. I don’t live in an environment conducive to lots of eating. So I went out and bought a 10.5lb. tub of MuscleJuice 2544 and had some creatine left over from when I was working out. I havn’t gotten down to taking these religiously yet, but I’m about to.

Anyway, with the 1400 calories or so MJ gives me, how much should I be eating? Or should I just take 2 servings a day to get around 2800 calories, and just get the rest from my normal food intake?

Next I want to post my typical workout schedule. I try to work out 3 times a week extremely intense each time I go. I do something like Mondays - Chest/Tris, Wednesdays - Back-Bis, Fridays - Chest/Tris, Monday - Back-Bis, etc. repeat. I’m starting to incorporate legs in, can I do them every workout or do they need a lot of time to rest too? And when is the best time to work out your shoulders/traps?

Anyway, here’s my typical chest/tri’s routine.

  • Stretch

  • Warmup set on bench-press with just the bar.

  • 12 x 100lbs. bench. 10 x 100lbs. bench. 8 x 100lbs. bench. 4 x 105lbs. bench. 25x 45lbs. bench.

  • 12 x 85lbs. incline bench. 10 x 85lbs. incline bench. 8 x 100lbs. inclide bench. 4 x 90lbs. incline bench. 25x. 45lbs. incline bench.

  • 12 x 90lbs. seated dip. 12 x 90lbs. seated dip. 12 x 90lbs. seated dip.

  • Next I mix in either Iso-Lateral Wide Chest or a similar but slightly different variation chest machine. There’s like 3 that I switch around.

  • I’m not sure the exact name. I think it’s a pullover? I lay flat on a bench, grab a 30lb. dumbbell, hold it over my head with both hands and bring it down over the back of my head till the breaking point, bring it back up. I do 10 reps of those for 3 sets.

  • Dumbell flyes. 10 x 20lbs. each hand. 10 x 20lbs. each hand. 10 x 20lbs. each hand.

  • Not sure if this is the Military press? Lay flat on bench, 25lb. weight in each hand, hold at about chest level, push straight up. 10 times for 3 sets.

  • Tricep cable pulldowns with the metal/rubber upside down “V” attachment. Usually by this point my chest and tri’s are pretty beat up. I do my first set with 45lbs. for 12 reps, then I superset it with 12 dips on a flat bench. After that I go straight to the squat machine where you kind of stand at a 45’ angle, the pads go on your shoulders, you unlock the locks on the machine and bend your legs and push back up. I do 90lbs. for 12 reps. Then I go back to tricep pulldowns but usually have to knock the weight down to 40lbs.

Repeat all of that. Then if I can’t do 40lbs. I knock it down to 35lbs. So that’s 3 sets of tri pulldowns, bench dips, and squat machine.

  • Sometimes depending on how I’m feeling I’ll try to do a trap workout. I arch my back, take a bench bar, hold it just inside my shoulder width and bring it straight up to just under my armpits. I do that till failure then do the calf machine where you lay on your stomach, hold the bars undearneath, and lift your calves.

This workout takes me anywhere from 50 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes or so. What do you guys think of this workout? Is it high-intensity enough to stimulate muscle growth? Is it too much? Am I missing any key excercises?

Immediately after each workout I drink a MuscleMilk. Then I have about a 20 minute ride home. When I get home I take a creatine drink. Then about 45 minutes later I try to take a MuscleJuice drink. Is this a good system to follow?

Through 3 weeks, I’ve noticed I’ve gotten a lot cutter. A little bigger. My biggest gains have been in my arms, biceps and triceps. I get a big discouraged because I get my weight up to 124lbs., and then 3 days later it’s back down to 120lbs. It’s like my body is saying “Sorry we don’t want any extra weight, were just fine at 120lbs.”

My new favorite guilty pleasure is the Crispy Bacon Chicken sandwhiches from McDonalds. I like to get 2 a day, but at $4 a pop, it doesn’t bode well for a broke college kid when MuscleJuice can be add for roughly $2 a day.

Is there a difference between food calories/protein and powder calories/carbs/protein? I think I want to start taking around 3000-3300 calories a day if I want to start seeing muscle/mass results.

Sorry for the lengthy read. I’ll wait for some replies before I post my back/bi’s workout. I’m interested to hear if this workout I’m doing is a good one or if I’m just wasting my time in the gym. I always feel completely exhausted after this kind of workout, and a little “test” I do is to see if I can touch me elbows together, which I can never do right after working out.

Thanks in advance for the replies.

-john b.

I’ll start by saying I am also 19 and I am also about 5’5 (sucks, doesn’t it…haha) and athough I’m a bit heavier, I’m not huge and I’m not an expert, so don’t take anything I say as gospel.

I’ll cover training first:

In my opinion you’re doing too much and not enough. Too much upper body work and not enough leg work, that is.

The advice everybody will give you is stick to the compound movements - bench, deadlift, squat, military press, barbell rows etc. There’s nothing wrong with isolation exercises but since you’re starting out and trying to gain mass - concentrate on the big lifts.

Don’t mistake volume for intensity - marathon workouts aren’t necessarily more intense. I’d say you’re doing too much - you need to cut back. A full body routine might do you good or a basic 3 day split - Chest/Shoulders, Back/Arms, Legs.

Also, you don’t need to do anywhere near that number of exercises in a workout - Bench Press and Dumbell Flyes is sufficent for chest, and one or two exercises for triceps. Maybe keep the pullovers as well. Choosing to squat between sets of tricep pushdowns also seems strange to me - and your routine seems to lose focus towards the end. I’d say scrap the squats (leave for another day), the calf raises and the upright rows - they’re out of place.

Remember, when you’re bulking nutrition is probably more important than training - training harder will not make you bigger if you’re not eating properly.

On to nutrition:

With eating, don’t make it too complicated. When I first started out, I took the recommended daily calorie intake for men (2500, apparently) and added 500. If after a couple of weeks you’re not gaining weight, add another 500. It’s crude but it works. Alternatively, there will be plenty of advice on the site about how to work out how many calories you need to be consuming and in what ratio of protein/carbs/fats.

A general rule would be no less than 1g of protein per pound of body weight. My only other advice would be not to fall into the trap of eating junk just for the calories - as far as I’m concerned being healthy is more important than being big, so don’t neglect fruit and vegetables. Protein shakes are your friend but can’t replace whole food - drink a couple a day (and after a workout) and get the rest of your calories from food.

And finally - be patient. You shouldn’t find it hard to put on weight (especially if you do have good genetics) but don’t expect it to happen over night. Give it time and look for steady, solid growth.

Oh, and drink lots of water. Good luck dude.

www.geocities.com/elitemadcow1 for your training. As for eating, read the articles of John Berardi

How do you know you’re a hardgainer when you’ve never workoud out…!?

Since you just arrived at the site, it would be best if you start by reading. Think of this place as something of a research library. It’s good to ask for advice, but you’re going to have to do most of the legwork on your own (check the post stickied at the top of the Beginner’s Forum for starters).

Regarding your workout: It seems like you’re doing a lot for your chest, arms, and not much else. It would be good to start with a well-rounded program that involves your chest (pushing), back (pulling), and legs. Chad Waterbury and Christian Thibaudeau (and others) have good bodybuilding workouts that you can use for starters.

Regarding your nutrition: Not eating enough is definitely the reason you’re not gaining mass. After all, where is that mass supposed to come from? For your frame, 3000 calories per day is probably a good place to start, but you’re going to have to change (i.e. increase) it depending on whether or not you’re getting results.

Good luck!

Workout longer than 6 weeks. Problem solved.

[quote]krayon wrote:
Workout longer than 6 weeks. Problem solved.[/quote]

But, but, but, he’s a hardgainer.

[quote]PGA200X wrote:
How do you know you’re a hardgainer when you’ve never workoud out…!?[/quote]

Well the fact that I have the fastest metabolism on the planet, i can eat anything I want and not gain a pound, kind of led me to believe I may be a part of the “hardgainer” family.

[quote]johnnyBuz wrote:
PGA200X wrote:
How do you know you’re a hardgainer when you’ve never workoud out…!?

Well the fact that I have the fastest metabolism on the planet, i can eat anything I want and not gain a pound, kind of led me to believe I may be a part of the “hardgainer” family.[/quote]

But you’ve never lifted properly and ate properly at the same time correct? So you cant make the distinction that you’re a hardgainer. Try six months of eating for gains and lifting for gains then see if you’re a hardgainer.

[quote]johnnyBuz wrote:
PGA200X wrote:
How do you know you’re a hardgainer when you’ve never workoud out…!?

Well the fact that I have the fastest metabolism on the planet, i can eat anything I want and not gain a pound, kind of led me to believe I may be a part of the “hardgainer” family.[/quote]

johnny, how consistent with food are you really? Just to give you an example when I get up in the morning I immediately have a shake made with fat free milk. It contains one scoop Biotest Premium Whey, one scoop Metabolic Drive Complete vanilla, and one scoop Metabolic Drive Banana, with a tablespoon of Greens Plus, plus my Flameout and within a half hour of that an omelet and then an apple.

This is done every morning without fail. The rest of the day is consuming some type of protein either solid food or Metabolic Drive shakes with good carbs or healthy fats around every three hours.

I am now including the BCAA’s pre, during, and post workout, as well as throughout the day and before bedtime.

Gym time is built around the basics presses, squats, deads, pull ups, dips, keeping it simple.

Make sure you are following something similar and be consistent with nutrition (the most important), training, and rest and recovery, and you will make gains!

D

[quote]johnnyBuz wrote:
PGA200X wrote:
How do you know you’re a hardgainer when you’ve never workoud out…!?

Well the fact that I have the fastest metabolism on the planet, i can eat anything I want and not gain a pound, kind of led me to believe I may be a part of the “hardgainer” family.[/quote]

There really is no such thing as a hardgainer just not eating enought calories. Last summer i was close the same size 5’3’’ and about 112 I had been working out steady for 2 years before that and hadn’t seen much in terms of muscle gain. I decided that I was going to eat every thing in sight close to 8,000 calories a day. Sometimes I felt like getting sick I ate so much. But by the end of summer I had gained 20 pounds of muscle and only 3 pounds of fat. You can’t worry about getting fat just eat. In terms of lifting I did Legs on monday, chest and tri’s on wednesday, and back and bi’s on friday. I did light pre-hab shoulder exercises on wed and fri. Hope this helps.

[quote]PGA200X wrote:
johnnyBuz wrote:
PGA200X wrote:
How do you know you’re a hardgainer when you’ve never workoud out…!?

Well the fact that I have the fastest metabolism on the planet, i can eat anything I want and not gain a pound, kind of led me to believe I may be a part of the “hardgainer” family.

But you’ve never lifted properly and ate properly at the same time correct? So you cant make the distinction that you’re a hardgainer. Try six months of eating for gains and lifting for gains then see if you’re a hardgainer.[/quote]

PGA makes an important point: I think the problem with identifying yourself as a hardgainer early on is that, mentally, it becomes a limiting factor. It may be subtle, but it’s there. Don’t assume that at all. If whatever you were eating before was not allowing you to put on mass… trying eating more. The negative thinking will end up being your biggest challenge (even if you don’t think calling yourself a hardgainer is negative thinking… it is).

[quote]Konstantine wrote:
www.geocities.com/elitemadcow1 for your training. As for eating, read the articles of John Berardi[/quote]

I thought this thread should have ended after this post.

Original poster: This is what you need to do. Go do it now and work hard at it for six months.

If you think you need more advice at that point, come back.

Best of luck.

eating is definitely the factor holding me back. i just simply don’t eat enough CONSISTENTLY.

some days ill eat close to 3000 calories, and the next day i’ll have maybe barely 1000. i like to eat, i think i’m just a bit lazy when it comes down to it though. like right now i’m kind of hungry and have been hungry for 2 hours or so, but i havn’t gotten anything to eat.

i really need to work on the dieting part i think. i know i’m working out hard and seeing some results, but the weight isnt coming simply because i havn’t disiplined myself to eat for progress yet.

[quote]Kuz wrote:
PGA200X wrote:
johnnyBuz wrote:
PGA200X wrote:
How do you know you’re a hardgainer when you’ve never workoud out…!?

Well the fact that I have the fastest metabolism on the planet, i can eat anything I want and not gain a pound, kind of led me to believe I may be a part of the “hardgainer” family.

But you’ve never lifted properly and ate properly at the same time correct? So you cant make the distinction that you’re a hardgainer. Try six months of eating for gains and lifting for gains then see if you’re a hardgainer.

PGA makes an important point: I think the problem with identifying yourself as a hardgainer early on is that, mentally, it becomes a limiting factor. It may be subtle, but it’s there. Don’t assume that at all. If whatever you were eating before was not allowing you to put on mass… trying eating more. The negative thinking will end up being your biggest challenge (even if you don’t think calling yourself a hardgainer is negative thinking… it is).[/quote]

I was a hargainer too before I knew what “eating” was. Now, I’m alot more mesomorphic than I thought I was :wink:

Thinking that you can’t gain weight garauntess that you won’t gain weight. The sooner you pass this, the sooner you’ll be looking in the mirror and going, “Fuck me, I look different”.

i just completed my 4th week of serious lifting. after the first two weeks, i started getting a bit more cut and toned, but the weight wasn’t there. then, during the third week i gained around 5-7 pounds. bad eating the past few days caused a pound or two to drop, but i’m happy with the gains i made in the past 10 days or so.

just gonna keep it up and keep training hard and trying to consistently get the right amount of calories/protein/etc i need every day.

what about the routine?

i do a 2/1 1/2 split each week. something like:

monday - chest, tris, shoulders
wednesday - back, bis, legs
friday - chest, tris, shoulders

following week

monday - back, bis, legs
wednesday - chest, tris, shoulders
friday - back, bis, legs

repeat. rest when feeling overtrained.

after hitting a small plateau, my weights are once again moving up at a pretty substancial pace. i’m glad with the progress i’ve made so far but don’t want to get complacent because i know there’s still a lot of work to do. also, now that i’m taking weightgainer shakes, and not doing much cardio, i’ve noticed a bit of a stomach begining to form. not really a stomach, just not defined abs like i’ve been accustomed to. i’m thinking of incorporating the decline abs with a 10lb medicine ball every time i go to the gym.