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  1. #1
    Senior Member serpico7's Avatar
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    Hard-gainers - Any tips to share?

    I am hard-gainer in that I cannot easily put on muscle mass (or any mass for that matter), though I can easily lose it if I stop lifting weights. Like many hard-gainers, I have the following "problems":
    1. Fast metabolism
    2. Insufficient caloric intake
    3. Insufficient recuperation time (overtraining)

    Obviously, I can't do much to change my metabolic rate, at least not in a healthy way.

    As to the caloric intake, everyone tells hard-gainers to eat more - but I think many of us don't have a huge appetite. So how can we eat more - just stuff ourselves even when we feel full? That sounds unpleasant, and guaranteed to kill productivity (will just want to sit on a couch and vegetate afterwards).

    Recuperation time seems like the easiest thing to modify. How much rest is too little? If I do exercises for a particular muscle group, how many days should I rest before hitting that group again?

    Any tips that fellow hard-gainers have found useful?

    Would love to hear from true hard-gainers - guys who in their late-20s/30s/40s/etc. still weighed within 20% of what they weighed in high school, but found a way to gain and maintain more weight.

    I'll share a tip that seems to help somewhat. I started cycling and losing the little weight I had (mostly from upper body). I have stabilized that by consuming a recovery drink (the powdered drink mixes that contain amino acids, etc.) immediately after every ride, and then eating a meal. It seems that the meal alone wasn't getting the job done - perhaps because it takes too long to digest, whereas the recovery drink gets metabolized and put to use more quickly.
    Last edited by serpico7; 10-15-06 at 08:01 PM.

  2. #2
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    I dunno. I asked this question a while ago as well. Apparently it has to do with the ratio between the kinds of muscle in your body and hormones.

    Maybe do some weights. Three sets of 10-12 reps, then rest a lot . I did a little more googling and found out that sitting around grows fast twitch fiber. Makes sense to me.

  3. #3
    ambassador of good will *new*guy's Avatar
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    How much are you riding and how much time are you spending in the gym?

    Your appetite is most definitely tied to those things.

  4. #4
    Senior Member serpico7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by *new*guy
    How much are you riding and how much time are you spending in the gym?
    Your appetite is most definitely tied to those things.
    That's certainly true - my appetite increases quite a bit when I'm riding or lifting weights. But the increase in food consumption seems to be only enough to offset the increased energy consumption of riding and lifting.

  5. #5
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    Here's the best tip for real hard gainers - drink your calories.

    You can drink a WHOLE lot more calories in than you can consume in the form of whole foods. A 20 oz. MRP made with high calorie ingredients can be well over 800 calories. To eat that much nutritious food would leave you stuffed for hours.

    If you can afford it, using liquid nutrition will let you pack in alot more calories without feeling stuffed.

  6. #6
    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ efrobert's Avatar
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    As far as lifting, working each muscle group twice a week or even twice every ten days is plenty. Stick with basic movemnts, squat, bench, dip, chin ups. Forget about the machines stick with free weights. Your muscles only grow when you are recovering, working down breaks the muscle down, As far as eating goes, consuming more calories does not mean eating a ton of food in one sitting, it means eating five or six meals a day. Good quality protiens and carbs.
    An example
    Meal 1 Oatmeal, eggs, juice
    Meal 2 Protien shake, fruit
    Meal 3 Big meat sandwich (Turkey, roast beef, tuna...) salad, fruit
    Meal 4 Sports bar
    Meal 5 big chicken breast, potato, vegies
    Meal 6 protien shake.
    That's just an example, but it worked for me.

  7. #7
    Senior Member serpico7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riv-Lantis
    Here's the best tip for real hard gainers - drink your calories.

    You can drink a WHOLE lot more calories in than you can consume in the form of whole foods. A 20 oz. MRP made with high calorie ingredients can be well over 800 calories. To eat that much nutritious food would leave you stuffed for hours.

    If you can afford it, using liquid nutrition will let you pack in alot more calories without feeling stuffed.
    What's MRP? I have tried various protein powders but all the brands I have tried upset my stomach. There are a few brands of protein bars that I like, but as you mentioned, calories in liquid form don't leave you feeling as stuffed.

    Any recommendations on protein powders for sensitive stomachs?

  8. #8
    ambassador of good will *new*guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by serpico7
    That's certainly true - my appetite increases quite a bit when I'm riding or lifting weights. But the increase in food consumption seems to be only enough to offset the increased energy consumption of riding and lifting.

    I have found that I have to walk around carrying a food baby at all times in order to make any significant gains. Also, eat before bed... a PB&J on good bread with a tall glass of milk, using natural peanut butter rather than the over-processed junk=tasty. As stated above, breaking your meals up into 6 or more units a day is a big part of making gains. Always have food on hand... don't limit yourself to 3 squares a day.

  9. #9
    ambassador of good will *new*guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by serpico7
    What's MRP? I have tried various protein powders but all the brands I have tried upset my stomach. There are a few brands of protein bars that I like, but as you mentioned, calories in liquid form don't leave you feeling as stuffed.

    Any recommendations on protein powders for sensitive stomachs?
    I really love muscle milk products. Lactose-free if that's what you're senstive to.

    http://www.supplementwarehouse.com/b...&Criteria=milk

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by serpico7
    What's MRP? I have tried various protein powders but all the brands I have tried upset my stomach. There are a few brands of protein bars that I like, but as you mentioned, calories in liquid form don't leave you feeling as stuffed.

    Any recommendations on protein powders for sensitive stomachs?
    MRP = Meal Replacement Powder. They have more calories than just protein powders.

    I had good luck with EAS Myoplex poders. The chocolate, made with whole milk and with some natural peanut butter added came in near 800 calories for a single shake. You could also use the vanilla and add fruit. They included a recipe booklet with the box of powders that had some good ideas in it.

    It gets expensive, but you can get some really good deals if you stay away from GNC and shop at little hole in the wall bodybuilder suppliment outlets or on the net.

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    Several years ago when I was very much into lifting weights, the plans for hardgainers were centered around total body workouts 2x a week focusing on complex movements such as squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, overhead presses, power cleans, etc.... Isolation exercises, training to failure and many multiple sets were avoided.


    Here is a link that provides more spcific info:

    http://www.faqs.org/faqs/body-building/hardgainer-faq/

  12. #12
    Senior Member serpico7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woody_1029
    Here is a link that provides more spcific info:

    http://www.faqs.org/faqs/body-building/hardgainer-faq/
    Thanks for the link - this seems quite different from the usual lifting regimens you see in the health and muscle magazines. Makes sense that different body types respond best to different lifting regimens.

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