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Top 5 Advices for Hard Gainers


Hard-Gainers rejoice! This one is for you.

Being a hard gainer myself, the uphill battle of trying to pack on weight and build muscle is one that I am very familiar with. Even at 31 years of age, it is a hill I am still climbing as I write this. I am 6’0 tall and have always been naturally lean. I have had a six pack ever since I was 16 years old – even at my biggest when I was 208 pounds.

I was an absolute beanpole in high school and even in my early twenties weighed around 170 as I pursued a modeling career for a hot minute. It wasn’t until I was about 23-24 that I got serious about getting absolutely JACKED and began to crack the code of winning the hard-gainer’s battle.

This is the code I am going to share with you today…


No more bro splits. If you are a hard gainer, you will never get big doing a body-part-a-day program – unless you’re getting some pharmaceutical assistance. But this article isn’t written for them. It’s written for those who want to do things the right way – I digress.

We need to attack the body with blunt-force-trauma – squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, etc. We need the exercises that are taxing the entire body and all its facilities.

Now ‘heavy’ is a relative term. When I say heavy, I mean heavy for you. We NEVER load the bar up with more than we can handle. Respectable form is always required – you can’t gain shit if you’re hurt!

A majority of our training will take place within 70-90% of our max effort. This submaximal training allows for the accruement of volume with good technique – which will create the DEMAND for our muscles to grow. However, training is only one side of the equation…


This one was hard for me to grasp because I LOVE to train! I would almost trade the gainz if it meant I could train every single day….almost.

Now I almost put 3 days per week, because honestly that is where I found my biggest difference. However, as I have gotten older and have become savvier at programming, I believe you can still train 4 days per week and get just as good of gains – but 3 days per week would be good too! Just know moving down to 3 days per week is an ace up your sleeve if you find yourself not making the strides you want.

Now you may ask yourself, ‘why would working out less help me add muscle?’

That is a good question – seems almost counter intuitive. But it comes down to the calorie war. The more you train, the more calories you are burning – and when you are a hard gainer, every calorie counts. Now because we are only training 3-4 days per week, that means when we do step into the gym, it is all business. You train like a FREAK. You are going to have plenty of recovery time over the course of the week, so the intensity needs to be there.

If you are unsure as to what a training program like this should look like - look no further than the Strength Foundations program:


We need calories. There is no way around it. Without a doubt the biggest and hardest battle of the hard gainer is eating enough. If you only eat when you are hungry then you will never eat enough to pack substantial size on. You must force feed yourself often in the beginning – eating not only when you’re not hungry but sometimes you might still even feel full.

However, this is the worst in the beginning which is the unfortunate truth that most lifters don’t realize. It takes time for your body to acclimate to the influx of calories. A big mistake hard gainers make is going from 0-100 right from day one. They are extremely full and bloated and after a few days they throw in the towel.

If you need to be eating 3500-4000 calories a day (which is where I find most hard gainers need to be) and you’ve only been eating 2000 calories a day for the last few years, then jumping right to 4000 on day one is foolish. You need to take 1-2 weeks and gradually ramp up to your calorie goal by increasing by 200-300 calories every few days. This allows the body to gradually acclimate, and you won’t feel so sick. Don’t get me wrong, eating 3500-4000 calories a day is a lot of food and you will still be eating when you aren’t necessarily hungry, but you will feel a lot better when you bring the body along slowly.

If you want some help figuring out how many calories a day you should be eating and a basic Macro breakdown, check out this video:



4.       POWER SHAKE

When you need to consume upwards of 3000-4000 calories per day, that is a lot of food. Especially when you are prioritizing healthful, whole foods (YOU NEED TO!). Most people who eat a healthy diet will never come close to hitting those numbers.

It can be strenuous to eat and chew on meal after meal – every two to three hours. This is where our Power Shake comes to give us some assistance. Our body can digest liquid a lot faster and more efficiently than solid food. It takes less energy and resources to break it down and absorb. It is also a lot less filling.

Therefore, we can pack a big calorie punch in our power shake which will take the place of a normal meal. Whereas a typical meal can run 400-600 calories, our Power Shake will consist of 600-800 or even sometimes 1000 calories and be less filling than the typical meal and contain a lot of good nutrition.

You have a lot of freedom when it comes to making your own. Just try to get a lot of calories in it, through nutritious foods, blend it up and THROW IT DOWN.

5.       CHEAT MEALS

Now hold your horses before you take off to Taco Bell. Cheat meals have their place to help us hit our high calorie goals but there are a few rules I like to implement with myself and my clients.

First and foremost, fast food is NEVER acceptable. That is not food, and it is not going to do our body any good in trying to attain the physique and performance we are after.

Secondly, we only get to indulge in them if our training has been on point and the other 90% of our diet has been successful throughout the week. Cheat meals are obviously not overly nutritious food choices and when you aren’t consuming a healthy, nutritious diet then you can easily ‘overly inflame’ the body when you eat these things on a regular basis. An inflamed body cannot and will not build muscle. It can’t.

Lastly, try and consume cheat meals that have redeeming qualities. Something like a burger and fry is much better than 6 donuts. The burger at least has a quality protein in red meat and veggies (toppings) whereas the donut is just packed with fats and sugars.

One last trick I found when utilizing a cheat meal is to eat it as your last meal of the day. A lot of times these meals can be very filling and when you are struggling to gain weight, you can’t afford to skip meals because you’re too full – so save these meals for your last of the day to ensure you are getting them all in.


When you are a hard gainer, putting muscle on is a long and arduous journey – but it can be done! The biggest thing you must understand is that it takes time. There will be long stretches where it seems like you are not making much progress, but you are. A lot of things happen under the surface. Focus on your training and getting stronger as well as hitting your calorie goal every day. Then one day you will start to notice little things in your physique that you’ve never noticed before – then you just start rolling and the gainz will be glorious.

Get to it,



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