Is Hardgainer A Myth?

December 20, 2022 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “is hardgainer a myth?”. Hardgainer is a term that is often used in fitness circles to denote someone who has a tough time gaining muscle. 

Whilst it is true that some people do gain muscle easier, this article will explore whether hardgainers can actually build appreciable muscle mass. 

Is Hardgainer A Myth?

What is true is that there are different body types – ectomorphs, endomorphs and mesomorphs. Ectomorphs tend to have trouble gaining weight and are characterised by their relatively skinny frames.

Muscle growth does take longer for ectomorphs, however they can still gain lots of muscle mass over a long period of time. They just have to pay extra attention to consistency of their training, nutrition and recovery. 

Very often people who consider themselves hardgainers are just not eating enough. Everyone can gain weight if they consume enough calories. You have to track your calories and have a rough idea of the macros you are consuming.

The idea of a hardgainer is not a complete myth. There are people who have to work harder to gain a lot of muscle. Genetics also play a role in bodybuilding, people who have great genetics for muscularity and building muscle will have an easier time. 

But true hardgainers can certainly overcome the odds and build a great muscular physique with time and discipline.


Look Into Different Body Types

There are three different body types –  ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph.
Ectomorph’s are generally skinny and it is harder for them to put on lots of muscle. Mesomorph’s have the ideal body type – muscular and lower body fat. 

Mesomorph’s can put on muscle fairly easily. Endomorph’s can also put on muscle quickly, but they have a hard time losing weight and tend to have higher body fat percentages. 

In reality, people often fall into a combination of the body types. You could have an ectomorph who is “skinny fat” for instance. They may be skinny all over but store lots of fat in their midsection.

You can also get endomorph’s who have high body fat percentages but don’t have much muscle mass. These people would need to combine weight training with a calorie deficit diet to lose fat and gain muscle. 

Therefore, there is truth in the fact that it is harder for ectomorph’s to gain lots of muscle. These are the people who are generally referred to as “hardgainers”. However, in some instances ectomorph’s can achieve a more muscular and impressive physique than mesomorph’s for other factors. 

There is a good article from Everyday Health detailing the various body types, you can check it out here

Work Ethic And Determination

One of the biggest weapons that many ectomorph’s have is a great work ethic and determination to succeed. This is because they feel they are disadvantaged by their body type and therefore work harder to achieve a great body.

Mesomorph’s who have the ideal body type often don’t work as hard or put as much effort into their training and nutrition as some ectomorph’s do. This is one of the biggest reasons why many hardgainers can indeed achieve great physiques over a period of 5 to 10 years with consistent effort.

Many will pursue this fitness journey for a lot longer than people with more favourable genetics and body type. A similar analogy can be made in terms of finances. People who come from deprived backgrounds tend to have more hunger and incentive to achieve wealth than people who come from comfortable backgrounds. 

Not Eating Enough

One of the biggest problems that hardgainers have pertains to not eating enough. Simply put, it is not possible to gain lots of muscular bodyweight if you are not consuming enough calories.

Hardgainers have to pay even more attention to being in a calorie surplus, as for ectomorphs it is harder to put on lots of muscular bodyweight. I fell into this same category when I was started training at 17, I was an ectomorph. 

My training was on point but I had to pay special attention to giving my body enough quality calories and being in a good surplus. This allowed me to gain muscular bodyweight.

I have seen some people at the gym who are very determined with their training, but they don’t grow and remain skinny. Undeniably this is down to their nutrition. If you really focus on eating more you will grow!

People make up excuses and blame it on a fast metabolism. However, if you are serious about gaining muscular bodyweight you will do what it takes where nutrition is concerned. 

Have A Proper Plan And Be Consistent

It goes without saying, but without a proper plan and commitment for the long haul, it is just not possible to achieve the results that you desire.

Many beginners who start training at the gym are often seen wandering around aimlessly from one machine to the next. This is not entirely their fault, gyms can be daunting places and especially if you are inexperienced.

However, you should always come to the gym with a plan of what you are aiming to accomplish that day. Ideally you should right down the weights that you are using on each exercise and make some comments regarding any technique issue or how difficult the exercise was.

This allows you to progressively overload a lot better. With a proper plan, you can track and document your progress. This will set you on the path to success as far as training is concerned. 

Final Thoughts

Is hardgainer a myth? The idea of a hardgainer is not a myth, there is an element of truth to it. Some people do indeed have body types that are not optimal for building lots of muscle fast compared to others.

Some people may also have sub optimal genetics on top of this for muscle development. This will make their life even harder from the outset in building a muscular and powerful physique.

However, even in spite of all this. It is very possible with determination, a strong work ethic and commitment to build lots of muscle over a period of five to ten years. If you are consistent and ensure all the bases are covered.

This means consistent training with compound movements and respecting progressive overload, quality nutrition and consuming enough calories to support muscle growth and good sleep. Consuming adequate protein and having a well balanced diet will also serve you well to this end.

If you have any comments on this topic please leave them below. Let me know how your fitness journey has gone over the years.

As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

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