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How to Tell If You Are Really a Hard Gainer
The definition of a hard gainer is someone who has difficulty gaining muscle mass. Unfortunately, because that definition is so open ended, it can become difficult to tell who accurately fits this description and who is simply trying to blamed an outside influence for their lack of progress.
Let’s face it: If you never work out… you will have “difficulty gaining muscle mass.” Does that then qualify you as a hard gainer? Not in my book, but I’ve seen plenty of people applying the hard gainer label where it does not belong.
So today, let’s clear everything up once and for all. In my book, a true hard gainer is a person who had difficulty gaining muscle mass because of his genetics. Not because of laziness or ignorance… but because his mother and father did not bless him with good genes for building muscle.
How can you tell if a person was gifted with good muscle-building genetics? After all, we can’t crack open a person’s DNA and take a look.
There is no way to know with 100% accuracy whether a person is a hard gainer or not. But luckily, there are some indicators we can use to determine if someone is truly a hard gainer or if they are simply looking for an excuse to justify their lack of progress.
Rule #1: If you’re a mesomorph… you’re NOT a hard gainer.
There are three categories used to classify body types. I use football analogies to make the classifications easier.
Ectomorphs are tall and skinny and often have difficulty gaining muscle. Ectomorphs typically have long limbs and a fast metabolism. An ectomorph on the football field is most likely a wide receiver. If you are an ectomorph… there’s a very good chance that you are a hard-gainer.
Endomorphs tend to largest classifications. Endomorphs can be characterized by having a slow metabolism. Endomorphs usually have no trouble gaining muscle but are plagued by excessive body fat and must constantly watch what they eat as they gain fat quickly.
An endomorph on the football field would be a linebacker or offensive lineman. Some endomorphs also have ectomorphic tendencies when it comes to building muscle and could therefore be considered hard gainers.
Mesomorphs are blessed with what may be the perfect body type. They seem to gain muscle easily without worry about fat gains. Mesomorphs are the kind of guys that look like they work out for hours everyday but shock everyone when they reveal that they actually don’t do much of anything. A mesomorph on the football field is usually a well-built running back or strong safety. Mesomorphs are NOT hard gainers.
Rule #2: Got Puny Calves?
Calf size is a good indicator of whether or not you truly have a hard time gaining muscle. In fact, the bigger your calves are before you began training, the easier it will be for you to gain muscle.
So… if you have puny calves, there’s a good chance that you might have trouble gaining muscle. If you were blessed with large calves, you probably have to potential to gain quite a bit of muscle. Bottom line: Puny calves equals tough to make gains.
Rule #3: If you have small wrists and small ankles… you might be a hard gainer.
If your wrist measures smaller than seven inches, it means you have smaller than average bone structure and as a result, this may indicate that you will have some trouble gaining muscle mass.
If you have small ankles, you probably will have a tough time gaining muscle.
Rule #4: Do You Often Get Sick After Just 3-4 Weeks Of Weight Training?
Skinny guys traditionally need more rest than average guys. While an average guy can weight train four or five times a week and still make gains, a hard gainer who follows a similar schedule will far exceed his recovery capabilities and eventually wear himself down and get sick.
If your strength gains stall and eventually stop within three to four weeks of beginning a new program that has you working out more than three times a week, this also may indicate a tougher than average time gaining muscle.
Bottom Line… And Hope For The Hopeless
Some of the hard gainer characteristics may apply to you, while some may not. This is not an exact science but if you find that two or more of the above points apply to you, there’s a good chance that you might be a hard gainer or might have some tendencies of a hard gainer.
But there is hope for guys who find it tough to gain muscle. Hard gainers can gain muscle mass. They just have to follow a different set of rules. Because if you were not blessed with genetics that allow for easy muscle gains, you have to follow training program tailed specifically for guys without great genes.
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