It might not be ‘bulking season’. But for some of us hardgainers, the bulk never stops.
For many people, summer is coming. In fact, for everyone, summer is coming, that’s the beauty of our calendar. But – whilst many are cutting the carbs, smashing the cardio, and hunting for them abs, some of us are more worried about looking too slim on the beach. If this is you, do not fear, it is not too late. Whether you are a complete newbie, a seasoned gym goer, or somewhere in between, read on if you want to bulk out a bit before you put on them speedos. DISCLAIMER – Never put on speedos.
Below I am going to outline 6 things you should be doing if you are interested in making some quick, good size and strength gains. In the future, I will be releasing a much more detailed ‘long game’ approach, but for quick impact, to get you started, or to get you back making gains after some time off, these are tried and tested approaches:
- Do not be afraid of carbs! No carbs before carbs, no pizza before Ibiza, no chips before skinny dips (no idea) it’s a load of rubbish for us hardgainers.*Leave a comment on your best carby holiday puns*.
But – the point is, carbs are your friend. Carbs are every hard gainers friend. For too long I would eat something like eggs for breakfast, a shake in the day, fish and veg for lunch, a couple of eggs as a snack, followed by dinner and then another shake. It is easy to get bogged down in obsessing over protein intake, which is perfect for muscle growth, but carbs are essential for size. It was when I started adding toast to my breakfast, cereal as a snack, rice cakes with my fish and veg, and oats into my shakes, that I started to see some solid gains.
- Compound lifts – If you’re looking to gain size, don’t get too over enthusiastic and start putting in sessions to target your achilles or your wrists or anything. Leave that to the professional bodybuilders prepping for competitions. Keep your lifts simple to compound lifts. Split your sessions into upper and lower body if you are training 4 times a week, or 3 full body sessions. Mainly focussing on the Deadlift, Bench press, Shoulder Press, Squats, Tricep Dips and curls. Do some research around compound lifts for each muscle, and put your effort into these.
- Do not spend too long in the gym – This one is nice and simple. My gym sessions pretty much always fall around the 45 minute mark, at the most an hour. Get in, get your workouts done, don’t rest for too long, and get out. Hardgainers react best to short and effective workouts.
- Find a good mass gainer – As I have previously mentioned, I have pretty much tried all mass gainers out there. My two favourites are Mutant Mass (chocolate) and The Protein Works Vegan Mass Gainer. You may think that you are eating enough calories and getting in enough nutrients. I would recommend using a calorie tracker and you will no doubt be surprised with how little you are actually getting in. Adding a mass gainer is a great way to bump this up. Pectomorph Tip – The serving sizes on mass gainers are usually pretty extreme! Split this serving in half, twice a day.
- BIG Breakfast – Do not underestimate the power of a good breakfast to start the day. We have been told this since the age of 5. Check out this post on my instagram that gives a great example.
- Be consistent 7 days a week – I am not practising what I preach on this one… yet. I am frustratingly inconsistent with diet, sleep and water intake on weekends. A way to resolve this is to always carry round water, try and keep sleep hours similar to the week, and meal prep for the weekend too. In general, for substantial gains, you want to be eating every 2.5 hours, eating foods with great macros. If you can keep this up 7 days a week, you will be doing yourself a massive favour.
So, summer is round the corner. But relax, stay calm and follow these tips and you can put on some solid size and grow in strength before you hit the beach.
Have a spiffing weekend.
*Posts will now be done weekly, released on Fridays.
*Best carb pun wins a £10 MyProtein voucher, why not ay.