If you’ve always been the sort of person who has been embarrassed about their skinny built but have had no problems in keeping the fat off your body, you have come to the right page.
There are many names for a body like yours. Ectomorph, hardgainer, and such. It all means the same – that you have trouble putting on any sort of weight – muscle or fat. You have spent the majority of your life being the “skinny” one of the group. This build may have made you slightly more agile, but it’s pretty obvious that the strength that every human sorely needs is absent.
Let’s identify what the problem is: you have a body that was born to burn calories. Your metabolism burns calories at high rates, making muscle synthesis and fat storage difficult. You end up with a thin build, carrying bare minimums of skeletal muscle and fat. This elevated metabolism/increased need for calories could be due to a number of factors including resting metabolic rate (RMR), hormone levels (i.e. thyroid), insulin sensitivity, fat oxidation capacity, to name a few.
But here’s the good news: the basics concerning training will remain largely the same. You have to stick with the compound exercises that build the most muscle (presses, squats, deadlifts, rows and such) to illicit a great hormonal response from your body, along with eating a caloric surplus diet , i.e. more calories must be eaten than burnt.
Here is the slightly less good news: You’re going to eat a lot. Because your body burns the usual amount of calories ingested by you, you’re going to have to give it a lot more of them. Along with exercises with large amount of stress, this gargantuan amount of food will literally force your body to grow. When we say a lot, we mean a LOT. Stock up on whey or a weight gainer, eggs, milk and some sort of healthy carb source.
There are many diets specifically for people who have a fast metabolism and can’t seem to gain weight. Most of them pick one staple food and recommend taking a whole lot of that food. We, being Indians, can pick one which is most convenient: Milk. Drink a lot of milk apart from the usual diet of whey, eggs and staple foods like roti and chawal. Milk contains a near perfect ratio of carbs, protein and fat for muscle building, and comes cheap. Combined with the right supplements, it can be the perfect muscle building food.
A word of caution: if you have been proud of that “mini” six-pack you have been carrying all these years, be prepared to lose them for a few months. Bulking up means putting on as much muscle as possible in a designated amount of time, but it is usually accompanied by some fat as well. The good part is, because you have a quick metabolism, as soon as you start dieting (assuming you diet correctly), this fat will go away far quicker compared to people with slow metabolism.
For most of us, macronutrients need to be consumed in a 5:3:2 ratio of carbs:protein:fats. One should always get 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight, this is your primary objective. Above that, carbs and good fats will constitute the bulk of your calories.
If you are consuming 3,000 calories, this would equate to:
a. Carbs = 375 grams
b. Protein = 225 grams
c. Fat = 67 grams
How weight gainers help: Often, it is nearly impossible to ingest the required amount of calories for a hardgainer. No matter what you eat, it doesn’t seem to be enough. That is precisely why Weight Gainers exist. One scoop of weight gainer gives you the carbs, protein and fat of two or more meals together, making it easier for your body to gain weight.
For example, a single serving of ON Serious Mass will provide you with 252g of carbs, and 50g of protein. A single serving of Gaspari Real Mass provides you with 78g of carbs, and 50g of protein. You may divide these servings per your needs. They eradicate the need to eat a sickening amount of food, and also provide you with a way to literally carry the calories around in a bottle. It’s far easier than taking a break and cooking a truckload of food every time. For fat requirement, I suggest you rely on eggs, milk and softgel capsules for essential fatty acids.
Another thing, do not enter the gym and do tons of bicep curls and tricep extensions. Strength means size. And strength is built by compound exercises, not isolation. Stick to compound movements, at least for the beginning of your training, and you will gain muscle.
It’s a simple formula, really: Lift Big + Eat Big = Gain Big.
Train hard, eat right and stay strong!