Packing on size and mass is not an easy thing to do, but it can be extra tough if you’re a ‘hardgainer’. A hardgainer is simply someone who finds it harder than others to increase their size and mass. Some people will find it easier to get bigger, whereas others struggle, with slow progress. Here are 5 nutrition tips for hardgainers to bulk up.
Relax with what you eat
Those who find it easy to add size, will usually eat far leaner to keep their body fat level down. If you struggle to gain size, then that approach won’t be effective – your body needs far more calories in order to grow.
Try to relax when it comes to your nutrition. The fact that you’re a hardgainer means you need more calories, so it’s okay to eat less ‘clean’. This doesn’t mean that you should just eat whatever you want and go completely off track, but it’s okay to be less strict. Your diet should mainly consist of healthy foods, just more of them. Eating a few more comfort foods is totally fine – you’re not going to add on a ton of body fat when you’re finding it hard to increase in size.
Don’t be afraid of fat
Fat is your friend if you’re a hardgainer. Carbs and protein have 4 calories per gram, whereas fat has a whopping 9 calories per gram. Focus mainly on sticking to unsaturated fats, and keep the saturated fats to no more than 8-10% of your daily intake. Fats can help you to pack in those extra calories without having to eat a lot more food, due to them having more calories.
Up the carbs
Whether you want to bulk up or trim up, carbohydrates will need to be a part of your diet. The one adjustment hardgainers will need to make is to increase the number of carbs in their diet. If you’re struggling to add mass, then you’ll need to up your carbohydrates (the amount will depend on your current stats, training level and frequency, and goals).
Eat more and eat more often
This is one of the most common mistakes when it comes to nutrition and mass building. Some people are afraid of eating too much and risk putting on excess body fat. If you’re a hardgainer, you need to be eating more than the average lifter, so it’s okay to up your overall calorie intake.
Eating regularly will ensure your body is consistently being fed which will aid growth and repair, therefore gaining in size. Also, by eating more regularly, you can then split your calories into manageable meals and not trying to consume 3500kcal in 3 individual meals for example.
Try a mass gainer
I always say that whole foods should come first when it comes to nutrition, but sometimes people need a little help. If you lead a busy life, sometimes whole food meals can be hard to get your hands on when you need them, and that’s where mass gainers can be beneficial.
Mass gainers are high calorie shakes, designed at giving you a calorie hit of anywhere between 500 and 1000+ calories. Some are just filled with fat and sugar, whereas others contain a good balance of protein, fats and carbs. They’re very convenient and excellent if you’re on the go regularly. Also, not everyone can physically consume the food needed to gain mass, so a high calorie shake is far easier to digest.