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How To Gain Muscle as a Hardgainer

There are many people who are hardgainers that think all is lost when weight training. This is a general guide on how to gain muscle as a hardgainer for beginners!

Stay tuned as I have a workout plan in this article so keep reading!

I am here to tell you that you can absolutely gain muscle as a hardgainer if you follow the foundation and workout plan for one week straight.

I have a story to tell you on where I started, however, it’s important you understand that if you consider yourself a hardgainer, I want you to start forgiving yourself for not gaining muscle, because beating yourself up is going to hinder you from succeeding in the gym.

Remember, you create your own reality, so start forgiving yourself! Don’t self-sabotage, it kills your masculinity.

Now why should you listen to me? It’s because I’ve trained several clients and classmates to become the best, most healthiest versions of themselves they can possibly become.

Because if you are worried about what other people think of you, this is not going to work. I can tell you that nothing will change if the only reason you want to work out is to look good for other people.

It’s discipline and internal motivation that you want to develop to drive yourself to the gym and always go back. You can’t make a change without commitment, consistency, and sustainability.


A Sneak Peek Behind Who I Am

I remember about a decade ago, I was going through depression, and at the time I felt like nothing could help my state of mind.

It was constant anxiety and nagging thoughts of over-generalization that consistently went through my mind.

I never would have thought that lifting weights could have helped me, just seemed laughable.

Then I decided to get out of my head and just do it. I started lifting weights and doing high intensity interval training. 

Fast forward fourteen years later to today, I am 30 years old and I am a personal trainer and group fitness instructor.

I am a certified personal trainer for 5 years and I have trained 60 clients.

I have been in that dark state of mind, and I understand that life can be hard and working out can often seem impossible. I’m here to tell you that you can absolutely gain muscle as a hard gainer!

I understand how hard it can be to get out of your head and start lifting. However, I want to be clear that when you start taking action on your fitness, you drastically improve your assertiveness.

Think about it like this, when you are doing something you don’t want to do, it’s going to significantly make you more physically and mentally strong to handle anything life throws at you.

Essentially when you train yourself to get shit done (especially on the hard days) you are becoming stronger, more attractive, more assertive, and more importantly, getting in the action-taking mentality

This is one of my classmates Pam (I am leaving her last name private out of respect) however, to be clear, she was extremely consistent and showed up to all of my classes.

If it’s in the wrong place, then you won’t stay committed. You want to work out even when you don’t want to before you come up with excuses, and you realize that you’re state improves because of the endorphin release.

Now that you know about me and where I came from, I want to start talking about lifting because this is one of the most important articles you will ever come across because I’m about to start busting stereotypes I hear all the time that you probably believe.

The human body burns fat before you build muscle. Wait, what? Yes, I want to say that again, lifting burns fat, meaning when you build muscle it is GUARANTEED to burn fat!

The problem is your mindset, if you believe the crap stereotypes that you can’t build muscle and burn fat at the same time, then you are holding yourself back because you are over-analyzing stereotypes that have been busted time and time again.

That is overthinking. Masculine energy is action-focused and solution-oriented.

This is why I’m dedicating this article to mindset before tactical lifting strategies, because although the exercises are important, you have to overcome your own overthinking.

 

Limiting Beliefs in Your Mindset

You must overcome the limiting beliefs that you may have such as “I can’t build muscle and burn fat.” One of the common ones I hear are “I’m too old to start lifting weights.”

And the most toxic one I hear is “I don’t feel worthy for a better body.” I also commonly hear, “I am over 35, I cannot build muscle without TRT.”

That is a term for Testosterone Replacement Therapy. The thoughts you tell yourself often become your reality.

So we must turn that around to more positive self talk. Firstly, get the two words “I can’t” out of your head.

I want you to hold yourself to a higher level because it is extremely unhealthy inner talk.

Start telling yourself the following affirmations…

“I AM worthy for a better body”

“I CAN do hard workouts.”

“I CAN get through anything.”

“I KNOW I can lift weights and gain muscle no matter what my age is. I don’t let my age that discourage me.”

This is where I started from the left, and to the right is when I attended a fitness physique show. The woman you see is in the program Insanity: Max 30.

This is me, I’m Adam Skoda. I am a hardgainer. It took me about 4 years to see visible muscles. I was skinny and went through major depression.

Here’s what got my head in the right place, it is working out and staying in shape!

Like I said, I’m a Certified Personal Trainer  and Group Instructor and I’ve changed several lives including my own.

Without the right mindset, you cannot gain a single inch of muscle. I know this through experience.

You must develop a masculine mindset. What is a Masculine Mindset?

Its success oriented, action focused and towards energy. What do I mean by towards energy?

I mean you are like a motorcycle on the highway running at 100 MPH. You take constant action because success loves speed!

You take action in spite of fear. You have zero room for procrastination because that is what is truly holding you back.

It’s yourself, whether you want to admit or not, you are your own worse critic.

You can be your own hero, or your own worse enemy. I want you to be your own hero and talk kind to yourself.

@masculinemindsetcoach

This works in relieving back pain after squats every single time #upperbackpain #injuryprevention #personaltrainer

♬ One Step Closer – Linkin Park

Overtraining and How To Recover Properly

Let me make one thing abundantly clear before we go over the seven day plan on how to build mass as a hardgainer.

Gains are not made in the gym, they are made in the kitchen and the bedroom. You want to get good sleep up to 8 hours in a single night. This is extremely important!

The majority of hardgainers end up training way too fucking hard and then they hurt their body in the process.

This is called Overtraining. How you prevent overtraining is you rest when you feel that your body needs it, but that doesn’t mean sit on the couch watching TV

You can still walk your dog, go on a light jog, and train your core mildly.

One thing to keep in mind is to train with proper frequency and technique in order to get in your hard working sets without overdoing it.

Lastly, and the most important is stretching. I have a stretching video here that you can follow along to.

The Weekly Workout Plan

Monday – Chest and Back

Tuesday – Legs (Quads and Hamstrings)

Wednesday – Recovery and Mobility

Thursday – Shoulders and Upper Back

Friday – Arms (Biceps and Triceps)

Saturday – Legs and Core (HIIT Style Routine)

Sunday – Off Day or Foam Rolling

The Foundation of Lifting Weights – Muscle Activation

I want to preface this section by saying you must understand the importance of muscle activation before working out. So here are some exercises to warm up for chest and back:

Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows for 1 Minute

Band Pull-Aparts for 1 Minute

Why is it important to activate the muscles? Because you can injure yourself without warming up. So please do the muscle activation exercises

Here are some muscle activation exercises to warm-up for working legs:

Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts for 1 Minute

Goblet Dumbbell Squat for 1 Minute

This is the most important part of working out! I know I sound like a broken record, however warming up is not in the majority of fitness programs on the market. They just have you jump in to lifting right away and it can overwhelm the muscles. So here are some muscle activators for Shoulders and Upper Back:

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press for 1 Minute

Dumbbell Shoulder Shrugs for 1 Minute

Now that you know the muscle activation exercises, understand that it is not done for a specific rep count. Until you start the working sets, the exercises themselves are for a timed interval, so that means you lift for the entire minute! Here are some exercises to activate the Biceps and Triceps:

Lying Down Tricep Extensions for 1 Minute

Standing Bicep Curls for 1 Minute

Why It’s Important to Warm-Up

I want to ask you a question, have you ever felt tight before lifting? This is what warming up does, it activates your muscles to get ready for the working sets.

It’s extremely important to warm up because it not only prevents injury, you essentially get the body ready for big compound lifts.

This is one of many foundations of lifting, it’s muscle activation.

So now, I want to briefly go over proper technique.

You are probably wondering, why is proper technique important? It’s extremely important because there are a lot of people with lower back issues, so I want to give you a huge tip on dumbbell bent-over rows, for example.

Tighten your core when you perform a bent-over row. If you don’t, you will hurt your lower back!

The Sets and Exercises

I want to introduce you to one of the most efficient style of training called German Volume Training.

You are going to perform 10 Sets of 10 Reps, however I want to be clear about the recovery periods.

You must recover for 1 minute or 90 seconds longest, that means if you see the timer reaching down to 15 seconds before your next set, you must get ready and pick up the weights and be time efficient to be ready for the next set!

Exercises for Chest and Back:

Incline Bench Press and Barbell Rows (WATCH THE VIDEOS FOR EXERCISE INSTRUCTION)

10 Sets of 10 Reps for Incline Bench

10 Sets of 5 Reps for Barbell Rows

Exercises for Quads and Hamstrings:

Barbell Squats and Barbell Deadlifts 

10 Sets of 10 Reps for Barbell Squats 

10 Sets of 5 Reps for Barbell Deadlifts 

Supplemental reading: how to deadlift properly (last exercise)

Exercises for Shoulders and Upper Back:

Seated Barbell Shoulder Press or Dumbbell Shoulder Press and Cable Face Pulls 

10 Sets of 10 Reps for Barbell Shoulder Press 

10 Sets of 5 Reps for Cable Face Pulls 

Supplemental Reel from IG: Barbell Shoulder Press (don’t do eccentrics)

Exercises for Biceps and Triceps:

Barbell Curls or Dumbbell Curls and Lying Tricep Extensions 

10 Sets of 10 Reps for Barbell / DB curls

10 Sets of 5 Reps for Lying Tricep Extensions

I want to be clear, if you have no bench with an incline, then you can modify with an exercise stability ball.

And if you have no barbell and only dumbbells, then I suggest you use the heaviest weight you can handle that you have at your house. There are no excuses in the masculine mind, only action!

The goal to German Volume Training is to maintain the weight you have through all of the working sets.

                        This is my classmate Eileen performing a flat bench press.

Summary

This is a starting point to get a good hard hitting lifting session in the gym. You may notice that there are different workouts such as Recovery and Mobility and Legs/Core from my Ultimate Conditioning Guide article.

Remember that every exercise is designed for 10 Sets of 10 Reps. So here is a strategy to make sure you don’t lose track of your progress, use a note pad.

Write down you’re sets in number down the page 1 through 10. Then check each set as you finish.

This is going to help you make sure you don’t lose track because you tend to forget, it happens.

The ultimate purpose for this plan is for you to gain size. This is an amazing starting point to see visible results in your body. The key is to workout for you, and learn to enjoy the fitness journey because it’s a lifestyle!

6 EXERCISES GUARANTEED TO BUILD YOUR SHOULDERS

How To Get More Success in The Gym 

I have a deadlifting tip here for you to watch to see how you can get the most out of every rep. Remember, when it comes to German Volume Training, every rep counts and it’s HOW you perform the exercise that makes all of the difference! Not just deadlifts, but every fucking exercise!

For every lower body exercise keep in mind to ALWAYS engage your core as this is a critical component people forget and then they wonder why their lower back gets completely fucked up.

The most critical part to every workout is that you know how to train hard with proper technique and do NOT neglect muscle activation work as this can benefit you from jumping in a workout cold and getting hurt!

Also one more tip, it would be wise of you to NOT FORGET to use a notebook and pen to write down the sets 1 through 10.

And then check them off as you go. 

This is how I led my classes, I had a board where I marked 1 through 10.

Like me, I’m sure you lose track from having a bad memory. So you’re gonna want to do this!

If you have questions on the workout plan, feel free to leave a comment, I will get back to you! Peace out brother!