To all my hardgainer brothers out there I feel your pain, trust me on that. I was once exactly where you are right now or possibly worse off. I was skinny fat, training like a maniac, eating as much as I thought I could, and trying to just pack on a little mass. All I wanted was to just be 185lbs and ripped. But week after week I would lose a 1lb, gain 2lbs, lose 2lbs, gain 1lb the cycle was maddening and it continued for many, many months.
For all my efforts in the gym and the kitchen, I fell short month after month, until I started to focus on these 3 quick tips that elevated me over the years from a 165lb skinny fat kid to the 215lb lean strong dude typing this to you today. Now it took me years of doing everything wrong before I did most things right.
So let me share with you some quick tips so you can accelerate your gains so you can get results like me in much less time.
Without further delay the tips:
TIP #1 EAT MORE REAL FOOD
You need to eat more than you think you do. I would ask my older training partners in the iron game….
“How do I get bigger?” There answer 100 out of 100 times – “you need to eat more”…sound familiar to anyone out there?
I “thought” I was eating a lot and in reality compared to how I use to eat …I was, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
I was also using supplements and protein powders way too much thinking they were the answers, I was young dumb and gullible in my early twenties…. aren’t we all?
The fix… tracking your food daily: with all the apps out there now it’s easy logging onto myfitness pal the process is simple and quick. You guys need to know what your daily intake is; this is an absolute must if you’re going to be successful to start.
Otherwise, you will overestimate how much you eat daily, all hardgainers do, I know I did for a long time.
I suggest eating as much real food as possible, using powders or replacement shakes it absolutely necessary. That’s the key guys EAT REAL FOOD!
I suggest eating high-quality organic nutrient-dense foods that also have a high caloric count some examples – eggs, steak chicken, fish, avocado, coconut oil, nut butters, chia seeds, sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, as many greens as you can handle and throwing in some quality fruits wouldn’t hurt your case either.
If there is a gap in your nutrition than throw in a supplement but all great bodies are built on real nutrient dense high-quality foods.
TIP #2 – USE COMPOUND MOVEMENTS
I am talking about the BIG BOY lifts here the ones some of you guys might shun away from when you start out training. WHY? Because they are hard, tough, and they might scare some of you once the weight starts to rise. They also build the most mass and grow your power muscles fast.
The most important lifts for you to make mandatory in your training are below:
Bench Press variations
If I was to expand the list quick I love throwing in things like sled pushes, farmer’s walks/weighted carries, and loaded lunges. Oh and personally I am a huge fan of sprinting to build lean muscle…yes, I said sprinting; don’t fear a little aerobic work on your road to being jacked.
Now I suggest you throw these movements (squat/dead/bench/press) into your program 2-3 times per week, YES you can squat and deadlift 2-3 times per week you will be fine in fact you will get strong and if you eat enough you will get big quick.
Now I am not saying doing the little things don’t matter like hitting your calves, or doing lateral raises those movements do matter and they have their place. However, the base of your program should be focused on the compound movements listed above.
Again it’s ok to have a “bro day” if you don’t know a “bro day” would consist of lots of biceps and lots of bench press – now and again or once a week for fun if you wish a bro day is cool just don’t make it the foundation of your training or you will be sorry.
TIP #3 – TRACK YOUR RESULTS
Having a clear starting point and a vision (goal) for the future makes all the difference in the world. Write it down and track your results on paper and the mirror above all else.
Know your starting weight and have an ideal weight to reach or benchmark weights think of it as checkpoints on the way to your goals. I suggest measuring your body fat, weight, even inches of your waist, legs, back, chest, and arms if you are looking for progress.
Above all else the mirror and how your clothes fit will tell the story, you will be able to see the change in the mirror and how you wear things week by week. And at the end of the day, nobody knows what you weight or what your body fat is, but they do see how you look, move and carry yourself in and out of the gym.
Same goes for your lifts, if you care at all about strength I would suggest jotting down your weights for your BIG 4 – bench, squat, dead, overhead press to see where you start. I am not trying to be the strongest guy on the planet and I am sure most if you are not either, but I will admit it’s pretty cool when you start pulling 400-500-600lbs off the floor on your deadlifting days.
I hope this helps you guys out there starting to get serious about putting on size or for those of you who have struggled with it for months. I will say it again I was once there but when I started really following the tips above, making them rituals in my training my gains accelerated quickly. I know if you are driven and focused it can do the same for you with a little time and a lot of effort.
Jeremy Scott is the creator of Jeremy Scott Fitness in North Scottsdale. He is an Olympia Labs Health Advisor, Reebok Athlete, Fitfluential Ambassador and the Co-Creator of Get Lean Gluten Free.
He was voted one of the Top 20 Fitness Blogs in America. He is a nationally published and contributing author for numerous fitness publications and has helped thousands of people across America get into and stay in the best shape of their lives.