Trouble Bulking Up? Tips For Hardgainers To Build Muscle

bulk upPersonal fitness goals are usually defined by our vision of what we want for ourselves, combined with what we have to work with. The overweight guy and the skinny guy may both be seeking the same result, but each of them have a dramatically different road to take in order to get there. Body types dictate the diet and exercise regimen required when big changes are the desired result.

Yet few would argue that the majority of comprehensive studies on this subject focus on the need to lose weight. We are inundated with advice, programs, supplements and medical studies on the various ways to shed body fat and retain muscle, but the skinny hardgainer doesn’t have a whole lot to choose from when it comes to sound advice for them. Left to their own devices, the classic ectomorph is essentially ignored by the fitness gurus. Clearly, there’s a lot more money pandering to the weight loss crowd.

In this article, we are going to reveal some very effective and proven techniques for the hardgainer who wants to pack on some lean, hard muscle. Whether you are a guy or a girl; if you fit into this hardgainer body type you can make some very impressive muscular changes to your physique. You simply need to know the reasons for your unusually high metabolism, and how to overcome it.

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Are You An Ectomorph, Endomorph Or Mesomorph?

The majority of the population’s body types fall into one of three categories: Ectomorph, Endomorph, or Mesomorph. Despite some overlapping, most of us will know which group we belong in.

  • Ectomorph: Thin, skinny, generally small-boned with an incredibly high metabolism. The classic Ectomorph can (and usually does) eat anything they want and never gain a pound.
  • Endomorph: Endomorphs are the opposite of ectomorphs with a thicker, stouter frame, often soft with high body fat. This body type has a slower metabolism and is prone to rapid weight gain when overeating.
  • Mesomorph: Mesomorphs tend to have a large bone structure, compensated with a higher ratio of muscle tissue. Stronger, with less body fat, this type of physique is found on most athletes.

As the author of, I have tried to ‘bulk up’ for many years and have always found it difficult; probably because I am an Ectomorph, making it harder to gain muscle. Since discovering Isogenics products I have been able to significantly increase my lean muscle mass (I really like IsaPro: a pure whey protein supplement) and athletic performance. Isogenics is a complete cleansing program that contains a range of meal replacement shakes, which use a really high quality whey protein.

The Caloric Connection

The ectomorph’s challenges are much different than the other two groups, for many reasons. Often we’ll see overweight clients who, after losing weight, reveal some pretty impressive muscle underneath.  Quick results happened by simply removing a layer of fat from their frame. But for the hardgainer, calories are your new best friend.

Building muscle requires a number of things; but food, without a doubt, leads the pack. This is especially true for anyone with a high metabolism, and for the classic ectomorph it’s essential for adding muscle. Clean calories are of less concern; increased calories should be the priority, with 20 times your body weight as a minimum starting point for your daily caloric intake.

Increase Hormone Levels Naturally

Hormones play important roles in our body’s ability to grow and repair itself. Everyone’s endocrine system is genetically unique: growth hormone, testosterone, and estrogen levels will vary from one person to another, with significant decreases as we get older. However, there are some things we can do to naturally increase our hormone levels, which in turn will help with building lean muscle.

Quiz: Is Your Body TOXIC? Take the Test...
(personalized report)

  • Squats / Deadlifts: Bodybuilders have known for years the amazing full body results you can gain by adding intense squats or deadlifts to your training. Perfect form is crucial to avoid injury; be sure you have taken the time to learn proper technique.
  • Sprints: All out sprints at 90% – 100% max effort are incredibly magical for creating lean muscle… just compare the physiques of Olympic sprinters to marathon runners for proof.
  • Sleep: Medical studies have shown that the growth hormone is primarily released when we are in a deep sleep. Look at your sleep patterns and try to give yourself 8 hours of restful sleep.

Resistance Training

The third part of the building muscle puzzle is resistance or weight training. Everyone knows that lifting weights will tone, increase strength, and build muscle. But for the ectomorph, a slightly different approach should be used.

  • Compound Moves: Compound exercises are movements where larger body parts are involved. Overhead press is preferred over tricep press downs, and squats would be preferred over leg curls. The idea is to use weightlifting movements that require larger and/or more muscle groups to be used.
  • Go To Failure: By forcing yourself to reach absolute failure, you are reaching a condition of maximum muscle breakdown. Once this muscle has repaired itself with lots of food and rest, it has no choice but to become bigger and stronger.

Putting It All Together

By understanding these foundational principles for growth, even the scrawniest among us can make some significant, eye-popping changes. Much like an automobile needing gasoline, oil, and tyres to run, our bodies need all three of the above conditions to create lean muscular growth for the fast burning ectomorph. Let’s review the process.

  • Increase Your Calories: Increase your caloric intake to at least 20x your current body weight.
  • Boost Your Hormones: Schedule sprints or squats twice weekly into your routine.
  • Sleep, Sleep, Sleep: If you’re not getting 7 to 8 hours of good sleep… fix it.
  • Lift Weights: Target your big muscle groups, and be sure to go to failure as much as you can.

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