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Ectomorph Question


I am a true ectomorph:
It seems very hard for me to make gains and takes a super long time. I will lay out my workout plan and diet would like to find out if i should keep up what im doing to expect some gains or where to change things to help benefit my growth and progress.

As an ecto- i only lift 3 days a week and try to keep my activity on the low side to avoid burning extra calories.
Friday biceps and back
Warm up 3 sets dumbbell rows
Pull ups(overhand widegrip) 3 sets 8/6/4 reps
Bent over rows (underhand) 3 sets 8/6/4 reps @ 105lbs/110/115
Standing shrugs burnout set. 12 reps at 155lbs
Ez bar curls 3 sets 8/6/4 reps @ 95lbs/100/105
Decline alternating sit ups. 3sets 15/12/10 reps

Sunday chest tries shoulders
Warm up bench 3sets
Heavy bench press 3sets 8/6/3reps @ 135lbs/145/155
Clean press 3 sets 8/6/4 reps @ 105lbs/110/115
Lateral raises burnout set 12 reps 20lbs
Bar dips 3sets 8/6/4
Crunches 3sets 15/12/10
Weighted sit ups burnout set 12reps 50lbs

Tuesday legs
Warm up 3sets squats
Heavy squats 3 sets 8/6/4 reps @ 135lbs/145/155
Deadlifts 3sets 8/6/4 reps @ 225lbs/235/245
Calf raises 3sets 8/6/4 reps @ 135lbs/145/155
Burnout sets on all 3 exercises 12reps starting weight

My meal plan consists of 4200 calories a day 300g protein 400g carbs 115g mono fat
I will not go into great detail about the meals but i do understand the importance of proteins simple and complex carbs good fats and fibre. I never let my stomach become empty eat every 3 hours or less. Its all quality foods fruits veggies lean beef poultry milks nuts fish whole rice lots of beans whole breads pastas and protein poweder + creatine. I eat at 7am shake with bananas. 10am chicken rice beans v8 12:30 pm salmon potatoes v8 3pm ground beef rice and beans 6pm dinner (different everyday) 8pm post workout shake and 9:30pm tuna sandwich on wheat bread with peanuts and milk.

I sleep at 10 to 6 most nights so a full 8 hours. I have been on this plan for a month now. If i keep this up should i expect to see some big gains within the next few months? Any tips or spots i should change things. Please help as i do not want to waste anymore time and money on not training or eating properly!

Thanks alot


How can you expect to see "big gains" when you've already classified yourself as a "true ectomorph" and thus base your actions on such a classification instead of letting your results dictate your actions?


My advice, mind you I still consider myself new, would be to get stronger in your main lifts. If you have only been lifting for a month your numbers seem fine (well to me at least). But l think you are leaving a lot on the table by not following a premade program. If you used a basic linear program for your big lifts, you would probably see results much faster then the 8/6/4 reps you have picked. There are some great programs out there a few include StartingStrength and StrongLifts.



Big gains? No idea. Depends on you. Follow for 6 months and let us know.

And CT has a lot of good info for "us" ecto's.


I have read jeff mastersons hardgainers guide to muscle building and i have constructed my meal plan and workouts using the information from his book. He went from 160lbs to 205lbs in 6 months using that very program. The excersizes change slightly every 2 months to create muscle confusion and avoid plateau. He claims this program will work for any hard gainer or ectomorph struggling to out on muscle mass.

I thought id throw this plan out there and see what some more experienced lifters thought of the program rather than trusting the word of one man (jeff) thanks for the input guys i will keep posted about my progress


How has your progress been for the month? Have you hit those diet numbers consistently every single day?

Have you gained weight over the course of the month?


I gained a few pounds over the month. Deffinately not consistant every day with the numbers. My workouts are always intense and completed fully i somtimes struggle to fill the diet. I started at 174 hit 182 after the first month but have seen myself at 178 and 180 since then. I cant seem to push forward past 182 and reach my first goal of 200


I may be in the minority stating this, but I think targeting 4-6 lbs a month is probably about as aggressive as you ever want to be with weight gain.

Very very simplified breakdown. A certain amount of calories are required simply to meet the daily needs of the body; anything in excess is stored as fat. This is for anyone.

Next step, lifting signals your body to put on muscle. (There's several different pathways... training to muscular fatigue sends some different signals than training at high intensities... but "lifting signals the body" is probably the simplest way to put it.) In the case of the lifter, some of that excess calories are used to build muscle; protein provides the building blocks, fat and carbs provide the energy to build it.

However, again, anything over that is still stored as fat. You can't eat your way to more muscle.

If you started at 174 and hit 178 in the first month, that's very good. If you're at 182, you may be putting on more excess fat than you need.

If you aggressively pursue 200 lbs, you may find you managed to put on 5 lbs of muscle and 20 lbs of fat. Time, patience and consistency guarantee that the increased bodyweight is primarily muscle and not fat.

Now... that said... since you're a beginner and you're relatively underweight, it's possible to put on more muscle quicker. As you get more advanced, the muscle gains come slower and slower. High level lifters are lucky to put on more than a pound or two in a year.

Just to put some things in perspective.


Overall your plan looks fine to me.

4200 calories sounds like a hell of a lot more then what you were previously on so this might be difficult to keep up but as long as you realise that it's the food that is going to make you grow then you should be fine. You maybe eating a bit too much but that's usually not an ectomorphs problem. You can always adjust a bit as you go.

As for the training I quiet like the idea although I'd tweak it a bit.
Take out shrugs and add in underhand grip pull downs 3 sets of 8-10 at same weight.
Add in more sets of pull ups.
Add in Low Incline Dumbbell Bench Press. 3 sets of 8- 10 at same weight.
Add in Leg Press 3 sets of 10-12 at same weight.
(Oh just a reminder that you still work up to the working set weight it's just that only working sets are counted).

I'd also add in a 4th day where you repeat so it could be Monday Pull, Tuesday Push, Wednesday Off, Thursday Legs, Friday Pull and so on but depends how often you want to train I guess.

Stick at it, train hard, eat properly and you should start to see some good results.
Good luck with it.


You just need consistancy with the diet. Everday. You cannot just go on short binges, gain a few pounds, and then revert to prior eating habits.

You need to find a way to make all this part of your lifestyle. Once you form a daily routine of eating consistantly it all gets easier.

Just don't go the other extreme and try to gain 20lbs in a month. Moniter your bodyfat levels and make sure your lifts are going up.


Also, get that hardgainer/ ectomorph crap out of your head. This is a self defeating mentality that will follow and affect you everytime your gains slow to when you go for a PR in the gym. It will make you consider dumb things like a test and tren cycle at your level.


100% right.

I was a 'hard-gainer' for most of my life until I learned to be consistent with my diet.

If you aren't gaining weight, it's due to a caloric deficit. It's not rocket-science, but it is science.


You're doing really low volume and low frequency, which isn't a combo that usually leads to growth. You're only doing 3 sets for chest and 6 sets for back and 8 for legs each week. That's just not providing much reason for your body to grow. I'm not saying low volume plans can't work for bodybuilding, they totally can, but not the way you have it laid out.

A well-designed upper/lower or full body plan would probably be a better bet, or at least some kind of program from the Archive here.

As was said, eating for size has to be a seven day a week gig. It's very, very common for the "gorge a few days, feel super-stuffed, slack a few days" yo-yo diet and that's why lots of guys don't really see results. With tall, skinny guys, it's even more important. Tall, skinny, lean guys (since you're 6-8% as per your other thread), it's even more reason to not hold back and just go full throttle at mealtime. At least once a week, try to eat enough that you get a little embarrassed. :wink:
See the "Hour of Power" here:

This works out to a hair over 3800 calories. Just saying, be consistent and accurate in what you're actually eating. It's definitely good, though, that you're not avoiding carbs or healthy fats.

Depending on your appetite, consider trying "big breakfast, big lunch, big dinner, and nursing a big shake through the day." In any case, a calorie-dense shake or two between meals is a relatively-easy way to bump up your daily calories.

This is totally due to the inconsistent eating. Consider eating meals just as important as getting to the gym. If you wouldn't skip a workout, don't skip a meal.



Good luck with that. Hope you put that $67 to good use.

Anecdotal evidence of one works, right?


I get what you're saying and, for the majority of people the majority of the time, I agree that's a good guideline to shoot for. But...

Just to clarify, there are certainly variables that make people outliers - being very tall; very lean; very underweight; very short; very heavy; very fat; or any combo of those extremes (short obese guys, strongmen that are "fullhouse" at 6'8" and 350, or tall, lean, underweight guys like the OP).

The closer one is to any of those extremes, the less the normal rules and guidelines apply and the more we can and should expect "abnormal" (for lack of a better term) results because the body's inner workings aren't coming from the same starting point as an "average" person.

That's why it's relatively-slow progress for a 6'2" 150-pound guy who gains three pounds in a month, but on a 5'8" guy the same weight or a 6'2" 200-pound guy, it'd be good work.


Thanks for your advise guys. I will b more consistant with my diet and may look into finding a more intense workout plan in the near future!.


Chris, you keep throwing that term around. What is 'underweight' to you? Anyone with a BMI below 25?


BMI is crap for most people who exercise, let alone those who weight train and/or intentionally try to build muscle and lose fat. While I'm sure we all pretty much agree on that, just for laughs, The Mighty Stu who's 5'8" and was around 175-180 on stage when bodybuilding, would've had a BMI that put him in the "overweight" category. Bwahahaha. So, yeah, no. Not BMI. :wink:

"Underweight" is an admittedly vague term and I was just going to say "skinny" but figured that wasn't too much better. It's kind of a know it when you see it-thing. While it primarily refers to overall bodyweight, muscle mass (or lack thereof) is certainly a factor.

Ribs showing, safe bet he's underweight. A poor height-to-weight ratio (a concept I might be making up, but I think we know what I mean. Relatively-tall and not heavy), underweight. I'd even say sometimes, certainly not all the time, people who call themselves "skinny fat" are often just underweight and lack muscle mass. The stereotypical marathon runner, for example.

This isn't to say that every human male needs to either weigh 210 pounds or hand in their man card, because that's a hypermacho bullshit line that I'm kinda tired of. Fortunately, I do think that attitude has died down a bit from a few years ago.

There are some situations where technically being "underweight" is part of the goal. Fighters, for example, or really any weight class athlete. Also, certain sports where bodyweight can become a hindrance, like rock climbing and high jump (on my mind because that libanbolt dude had another recent thread).

Basically, in terms of trying to build a muscular physique, I guess I use "underweight" to mean "in a position where adding total body mass, regardless of long-term goals, is urgently needed in order to bring the body into a better starting point to elicit further progress".


OK then. I kinda sorta agree with the BMI thing - or not. When coupled with a bodyfat percentage, it it actually a pretty useful tool. Stu, for instance, is not a 'big guy' by internet standards if we only consider his bodyweight of 175 on stage. But for a 5'8 guy in contest shape? Monster.

I just asked because I think I remember you once calling a 5'11, 170 guy 'underweight'. While that's definitely not a height/weight ratiofor the Incredible Hulk, it is pretty far from my definition of underweight.

Again, no offense intended.


Other than the time aspect, and everything that goes along with it from a motivational standpoint, does it ultimately make much of a difference to take a slower approach?

I mean, certainly getting bigger and stronger sooner than later is desirable for most, but as long as progress is being made and things are actually moving in the right direction (and not stagnant), does it matter that much?