T Nation

Hardgainers Don't Exist


This is really starting to tick me off. All I practically see in this forum nowadays is the word "Hardgainer"(and anti-big statements). I have no reason to believe that "hardgainers" even exist, and if there is some type of empirical evidence, please present it to me.

Take for example the latest article concerning hardgainers. Look at the summary-" He thinks that true hardgainers exist and, more importantly, can be cured." Thinks. Key word there. Also two of the four sources cited was Chad Waterbury and Poliquin. CW in a bodybuilding article. Give me a fuckin' break.

You think you're a hardgainer? I think you suffer from these problems:

A) Not eating enough.
B) Not eating correctly.
C) Fucking off in the gym.
D) Doing the wrong exercises.
E) Not being consistent.
F) Not getting enough rest.
G) Not making lifting a top priority.
H) Worrying too much about tempo and BS.
I) Not using enough weight.
J) Using too much weight.

I could go on if I had to. Hardgainers don't exist. Deal with it.


I agree that most of the people who run to claim that title have no clue what they are talking about. It is now being used as an excuse and anyone who would deny that obviously can't see what is going on with this forum as a whole. If someone was a true "hardgainer" (which are about as plentiful as there are Michael Locketts) it couldn't be "cured". They simply could not gain muscle no matter what. I have yet to see someone like that.

In fact, if you have only been training for two years or less, labeling yourself much of anything makes no sense at all.


They exist, but the phrase is totally overused.


I would say possibly in those with a disease that involves muscle wasting or paralysis. Most healthy people are not "hardgainers", they are just lazy or uninformed.


Hmmm. Don't think I'll accept that. The term is most certainly a relative one but if you're naturally low in testosterone you WILL have a "harder" time "gaining" than someone who is genetically gifted in that area. Variations in metabolism plays a big part as well.

Personally, I wish I was a "hardgainer". It seems like a licence to gorge on food all day. Of course, as they say: "The ass is always leaner on the other side on the fence."

I'll agree that, much like overtraining, it's FAR more rare than most people would like to admit and is often an excuse for poor training or dietary habits.


You are using an example of someone with a medical condition and applying it to healthy individuals. How many people who use this term do you think are doing so because they are hypogonadal?


I disagree with that. If you obviously gain weight more easily than otheres, that should be pretty apparent.


From another thread:

"The person who shows up here saying that they've been eating like a champ and training like an animal with little results does not know what those things mean. ANYBODY, barring pathological issues, will make progress if they're eating enough and training hard enough. ANYBODY."

Isn't it interesting that EVERY single person I've ever heard of who labels themselves or somebody they know as a hardgainer falls into this category.

One thing that just plain flips me out is brand new trainees who don't make gains. I don't even know how that's possible if you're moving equipment around at all and not outright starving yourself.


If you "gain weight more easily than others", you have more drive than others. You are more determined than others. You are more motivated than others.

Diet and training isn't the end all.


There are too many factors that do not become apparent in that short a time. Maybe you don't gain as fast as some other guys, but will peak 10 years later at a much higher % of lean mass. All things being equal which they never are. maybe you gain faster, but don't have as much top end potential.

One thing I'm certain of is that if you haven't made gains instantly recognizable to people who know you in the first year you are doing something wrong.

Most people will slow down some after that and it's the long run that makes apparent what you're really made of.


The fault in that line of thinking:
Everyone, no matter how they good they are at something, has someone out there who is better than them at it.

That means your statement makes little sense. My arms grow faster than others yet my calves don't. Should I label myself "anti-calf hypertrophy prone"? Why would I do that? My calves DO grow, they simply take more effort than it may take someone born with 20" calves.

Why would I focus so much on what my weaknesses are that I blame them for any lack of progress as if my own effort is pointless?


Alot of people truly think they are hard gainers. Based on the information they have available I understand why they think this. It's part of the evolution of many people trying to get stronger/bigger. Then they post on here and hopefully realize they aren't doing half the things they should be. Once presented with the information I would hope many would change. The ones that still believe they are hard gainers deserve to be smaller and weaker.

The ones that listen will hopefully spread the word that the hard gainer idea is normally unfounded. No reason to get irritated when them for not knowing...although it's irritating when informed...they don't listen.


This statement should be viewed as fact. Any beginner making no noticeable progress in one to two year's time is simply doing something wrong unless they have some disease.


I agree with that.

Edit: But if this is the case, why would someone EVER label themselves?


Everyone can make gains but not equally.

There are people that are genetically gifted to get huge. I am not one of them. Such is life.


You're right, diet and training ISN't the end all. Genetics DO play a roll. This discussion is over if you disagree.


Agreed. If you are not making gains you are lying to yourself about how hard you are working.


The act of "getting huge" isn't what we are debating though. Very few people have the genetics to even weigh over 250lbs at average height with most of that being muscle mass no matter what they do. It seems most of the people using this as a crutch haven't even made "beginner's progress" yet.


It'd be too difficult (and pointless) to label every part of your body differently depending on how fast it grows. Labeling yourself as a whole is obviously a generalization, but that doesn't mean it's not a good generalization.

And I agree, don't blame your weaknesses for your own lack of progress. I'm just saying that giving myself a label like ecto helps others understand my body type a little better. It means I don't have to stay away from all the garbage food other people do.


I don't believe in hardgainers. But what I do believe is differences in metabolisms.

take two persons both with the same amount of bf and muscle mass, length etc.

Person A is a ectomorph "hardgainer" and let's say he has a daily metabolic rate of 3500 kcal (including basic daily activities like siting on the john). He will have a harder time to eat enough to gain size. He has good insulin resistance so he can stuff down good carbs like oatmeal etc.

Person B in the other end of the spectrum is a endomorph "FFB". His daily metabolic rate is around 2500 kcal. He on the other hand has to keep his diet spot on so he doesn't turn into a tub of lard while gaining mass. He has poor insulin resistance and has to keep carbs in check in his diet.

Note that the comparison above only includes the amount of calories consumed my different body types.

They both have to succeed in:
C) Not fucking off in the gym.
D) Not doing the wrong exercises.
E) Being consistent.
F) Getting enough rest.
G) Making lifting a top priority.
H) Not worrying too much about tempo and BS.
I) Using enough weight.
J) Using too much weight.

in equal ways.

But they both have to succeed differently in:
A) Eating enough.
B) Eating correctly.

because their bodies use the eaten nutrition differently.

I think the most important thing no matter what body type, is to be consistent and learn from your mistakes on the way.