T Nation

Program for Hardgainer Crossfitter?

Hi Paul,

34 y/o ‘crossfitter’ here. At 5’11 and 160 pounds, I’ve always had a hard time to gain muscle mass since I began lifting weights 5-6 years ago and feel sort of ‘stuck’ with my big lift numbers.

Moreover, I’ve been reading your articles about keeping a low body fat percentage and reaching a certain level of leanness before attempting to gain weight, and though I’ve been told that I need to pack on muscle/pounds to get my lifts up, I’m afraid of losing my leanness and conditioning levels if I were to focus uniquely on lifting and gaining mass for a while.

Would any of your programs help me address this or be best suited for a situation like mine? I really like your work and would like to support it by (at least) purchasing one of your books/programs.

No idea what my body fat % is, though I would guess around 13-14 % based on CT’s insights on how we tend to underestimate BF%. Here’s a picture taken this morning upon waking to give you an idea:


Dude you’re lower than 14% I can tell you that.

I honestly think that you need to just flat out get after it on the eating. Pounding carbs like there’s no tomorrow. That’s really what you need to focus on.

Ok, thanks! I’ve been following a similar approach to the 5/2 you and CT are advocating for, i.e. higher calories on training days and intermittent fasting (1 or 2 meals later in the day) during non-training days. I should probably ditch that for a while until I reach a certain mass I would assume?

Also, as for the carb-pounding, would you recommend that I up the carbs (liquid like maltodextrine) around the workout or just generally throughout the day?

Thanks again.

yes if you want to gain mass you should ditch the 5/2…this is for fat loss !
why do you want to drink liquid carbs ? just eat carbs bro that taste so good


I’d have to agree. If more mass is your goal then the 5/2 approach is not a good one. But bigmax is wrong there about drinking carbs. If you’re trying to pack on mass then drinking calories is always easier than eating them.


Thanks; makes sense. However, I liked the fact that I didn’t have to bother so much with food on the 5/2 + the longevity benefits. I guess I’ll have to return to that later then.

Try this template of Paul’s below -generally full body like this will lean people out, so in your case crank up the (clean)calories and will still have big margin for error so to speak…

1 Like

Lookin aesthetic tho bro

Hey Paul, if the goal was gaining as much mass as possible by hammering the carbs, Would you avoid carbs in the pre training meal like Charles Poliquin recommend to avoid a pre training insulin spike? So still hit a specific carb target but just split between the other meals and increase carbs post workout.

easier of course ! but better than eating them ??

Define “better”?

Post training or peri training carbs? Yes. “Better” in those situations than eating them. If someone is trying to gain mass and is having trouble eating more, then drinking calories is a better option than eating more food because it’s easier. And in that context, drinking calories is better than eating them.

i never had problem eating more maybe that’s why i said that. But yes for someone who is having trouble eating drinking them is way better

1 Like


I don’t understand those who “can’t eat enough.” :rofl: