T Nation

Easy-Hard Gainer?


CT and others, I've liked many of these articles, but recently read article on the easy hard gainer. I'm conflicted in that I've felt my growth has always been less than other lifters. Friends view me as blessed because I'm athletic, can eat what I want withou gaining weight and am eternally thin. As one who would like to add mass, I see it a bit differently.

The description in the article rang true but I've had others on T-Nation disregard the body-type idea... I'd love to hear your take on my situation. I'm 37, 6', 168. Lifting for 15 years, I've never gone above 172. Over the last year I've bought into focusing on the big movements: bench 275, press 170, squat and dead both 340, c/j 205 (still learning), have done chin w/ 115, and 55" box jump, around a 4.5 40 up to about 5 years ago.

I wear the same clothes i wore when i could only squat 185. I've not been a cardio guy but my body fat stays in single digits. This sound like it matches the article, or do you agree with others that am I just not lifting hard enough and for my whole life I've never eaten enough?
Thanks, Nathen



The "train, eat, sleep, repeat" crowd always responds to any problem either by saying "eat more" or "train harder". That's just dumb. There is a lot more than that but it seems like saying to eat or train more makes you sound hardcore while trying to find smart but more complex solution does the opposite , kinda like in high school where having good grades make you look un cool and being dumb makes you look in.

People are different, Thats a fact. Not everybody can be a pro basketball player... "Play more basketball" will never be a solution if you are 5'5"!

Eazy-hard gainers exist. It is both a blessing and a curse. I trained a few of them, one who want to 2 olympic , and the solution was NEVER training more (their body and cns aren't resilient enough and they can actually regress) or EATING MORE because they simply increase their rate of oxydation or burn more calories through heat.

Its not fun to hear but a greyhound can never become a pitbull.

Everybody can gain muscle, but not everybody can be 240 ripped.

And at your fat level, you probably have as much muscle as someone who is 190-195 with more normal fat levels.

Eazy-hard gainers respond better to training for performance. SPEND ALL YOUR EFFORTS ON GETTING STRONGER ON THE BIG BASICS. Drop the isolation work, they will do more harm than good and supplement your training with heavy loaded carries.

I now find that the key is to keep the workout duration at or under 40 min. But try to train as often as possible . 6 workout of 30 min is much better than 3 of 60 min


Thanks for the reply, its awesome there are people wanting to help others! I'll give these modifications a shot and see what happens! Thx!


Thanks for the reply, its awesome there are people wanting to help others! I'll give these modifications a shot and see what happens! Thx!


Awesome answer. Very informative.


My schedule allows multiple brief workouts so I may try mornings of 5/3/1 (plus a day of heavy singles c/j) most weekdays and then afternoon leg/push/pull circuits for some volume mwf.


You will not respond well to volume work at all.

You would be better off doing heavy carries as a second workout. Although it sounds counterintuitive you will actually build more muscle this way.

Bench day: Bear hug carries; hold on to a couple of 45lbs plates on your chest and walk... if you can't do it with 90lbs you can use pair of 35lbs or a single 45lbs plate

Squat day: yoke walk; put the bar on your shoulders and walk

Military press day: overhead walk; hold a barbell overhead, fully locked an behind your ears and walk (obviously use some weight if you can)

Deadlift day: DB farmer's walk

I was using these with a boxer who has a VERY similar physique to yours and was also an easy-hard gainer and we had to drop them because he was gaining a bit too much muscle since he was close to his weight class limit.


BTW, for the carries. I suggest sets of 1 minutes with 1 minute break between sets.

If you do the carries as a second session you can do 5 sets with as much weight as you can (holding the weight should be very hard at the end of the minute) preceded by 10 minutes of various jumps and then doing 10 minutes of abs work.


Not to sure how walking around is going to go down in a public gym (besides the bench day) ;/

Only reasonable option would be to swap them for DB's which would make it harder ?


If something works I don't care how it looks in a gym and neither should you. Are you more interested in progress or not looking foolish to the other people?

When you think about it, it doesn't look more foolish to the average gym rat than doing squats with chains hanging from the bar.


I meant moreso of the awkward conversation with one of the gym attendants (workers) :slightly_smiling:

Not to sidetrack this one; but for the "Death by" layer - could you replace No.8 with this ?


no conversation problems. when the worker approaches you while you are walking around with a yoke on your back, all you gotta. do, is say you cant hear him, and turn your body so your ear can face him. you will accidentallly whack him with the bar and probably knock him out. then the conversation will be over,and you can finish your workout. :slightly_smiling:


Wow, I'm surprised by that low of volume (I am assuming I'm supposed to really hit the 5/3/1). I figured german volume was obviously out, but from the article I'd have guessed one exercise each (leg, push, pull) with 3-5 sets and 25-50 total reps per category would be your recommendation. Well ill give it a shot! Im a teacher that lifts in our own gym so these walks won't be a problem... Thanks! Hopefully this helps out some other folks too!


You can add some assistance work after the 5/3/1 (same workout) but I'd still make it more performance based than volume and keep the workout under 45 minutes


Awesome, thanks again!


I am an ecto and ny best results came from 6 days upper/lower about 30 min.
More gave me injuries.
I am not big but try 6 X 30 and see.
Bulking is for dreamers, they add weight and dream that it is all muscles.
They believe so much in their dreams that they believe the BS written in most magazines.
A friend added 40 pounds of muscles over many years and never needed to cut a single pound.
Maybe he was busy and never wasted time reading crap.
All the best !


Excellent excellent post overall


Fantastic response, CT.

About time someone spoke up about this in a insightful manner.



To the OP, I think CTs layers program might be built for exactly people like yourself!

Also, I sit here wondering if this is exactly my situation as well. Can't say I remember EVER making progress training sort of bodybuilder style but I sure as hell come alive under some near-max effort stuff. Been skinny since birth...eat whatever I want all the time...


Did the overhead carry today after Push Press - death by layer.

Turning is quite the experience with 50kg overhead ! Though after the death by, even pushing 50kg up proved quite the task :slightly_smiling: