Product was successfully added to your shopping cart.
Product was successfully added to your comparison list.
Being a hard gainer comes with some advantages and disadvantages. Some of the advantages are:
• Being able to diet for competitions in half the amount of time compared to others
• Being able to eat not as clean in your off-season and maintain a relatively lean physique year round
• Not having to do as much cardio compared to others to get show lean
• Being able to get more re-feeds throughout prep
Some of the disadvantages are:
• Takes twice as long to put on muscle which means a longer off-season
• Can’t stay lean too long or you’ll lose all of your hard gained muscle
• Can only do a few shows a year since the ability to hold onto muscle isn’t easy
• Most hard gainers are never really hungry and find it difficult to eat enough food to grow
That last point greatly affects me every single day in off-season. My max off-season weight is 150 lb. and it’s an absolute struggle to get there. For the last 7 years of competing, I’ve always come into a show sitting anywhere between 134-137 lb. Right after a show, for about three weeks my body is slightly sensitive to the extra macros and sodium, but then it stabilizes out and I can fully proceed in off-season growth mode. However, as soon as I hit 143-144 lb., my metabolism slows down every single time because it has stabilized from being on prep. It doesn’t help that the hunger I used to have on prep vastly diminishes. So I go from eating every two hours without fail to struggling to eat four times a day.
Although I’ve always struggled to put on size due to a lack of appetite, I know the only way to put on muscle is to consume more quality food than I burn. I’ve found that I can’t eat enough quality food to match my caloric expenditure for each day. The only way I can get enough calories is to eliminate a few meals and replace them with mass gainer shakes. My personal favorite is Universal’s Real Gains in the chocolate flavor. There was some trial and error when I first started using mass gainer shakes as I ran into the same problem that I was having before. I got incredibly full on the shakes so when it came time to eat a real meal, I wasn’t hungry.
I eventually received some advice from someone who had more knowledge and experience with how hard gainers should eat, which I began to implement and still do today. If you’re trying to gain weight, eat your meal first then consume a shake. If you’re trying to lose weight, have a shake or a glass of water then have a meal. It’s easier to drink your food, however the volume of the shake/water fills up your stomach and registers it as being full. If you try to eat right after consuming a shake/water, you won’t eat as much because you won’t be as hungry. The opposite is also true—if you eat your meal first then have a shake soon after, you’ll be able to eat your meal as well as consume your shake since your second meal is a liquid and not a solid. Once I switched to having solid food first (then having a mass gainer shake within an hour and another real meal two hours later), I was able to eat more. Ultimately my caloric intake went up which allowed me to put on the size that I wanted. I have stuck to this routine for years now as it’s the only thing that has worked for me and allowed me to put on some muscle.
My current off-season meal plan for the last few years looks like this:
9-10am Mass gainer shake (Universal Real Gains)
2pm Mass gainer shake (Universal Real Gains)
5-6pm Training (BCAA, glutamine, Universal Carbo Plus)
8-9pm Sometimes a small snack or Universal Torrent
On days that I’m really not hungry at all, I’ll have breakfast and then I’ll have a mass gainer shake immediately after. That way I have a full three hours until my next solid food meal. Try to move your meals around if you’re a hard gainer like me. This will allow your body enough time to digest the food, as well as be able to eat again within a couple hours. Before you know it, you’ll be eating your way to big gains.