Do Hardgainers HAVE to Bulk to Build Muscle?

How Much of a Surplus is Really Necessary?

Food is anabolic, but how much should a skinny guy really eat to build muscle? Here’s what you need to know about bulking.

Should skinny guys eat a significant caloric surplus to build muscle?

The Bullet Points

  • For most hardgainers, the answer is yes. Food is anabolic. It increases insulin, IGF-1, and mTOR activation. It also decreases cortisol. Carbs are the best anti-cortisol supplement.
  • Some people have a greater propensity to build muscle. If you’re genetically gifted, or if you’re on anabolic drugs, you won’t need to eat in as much of a surplus.
  • The less advantaged you are from an anabolic perspective, the more of a surplus you’ll need, mostly coming from protein and carbs.
  • Not sure if you’re a hardgainer? Check out the 7 types of muscle gainers.
  • If you’re certain you’re a hardgainer, here’s what to do about it.

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