What are hard gainers? They are individuals with a slim body type who find it hard to gain weight and muscle mass. There are so many hard gainers out there who have given up their pursuit of building a muscular, bulky body because they believe it is impossible for them. This, however, is not true. With the right diet, and certain knowledge that they did not have before, hard gainers can build up as much muscle mass as they want.
The Diet of a Hard Gainer
The primary rule of muscle building is not just weight training; it is feeding your muscles. Hard gainers need a surplus of proteins, carbohydrates and good fats scattered throughout the day to increase muscle mass and strength. It is recommended that they set their daily intake goal to be, in calories, 15-18 times their body weight.
To achieve this, hard gainers need to aim for at least 6-7 small meals per day to ensure adequate intake of food. In a nutshell, the basic components of a hard gainer’s diet are:
1. Proteins – Have a high intake of proteins, about 2g per every weight unit. Red meat (lean) is a very good source for hard gainers. You should also aim to consume more chicken and fish, especially salmon; nuts and peanut butter are staples.
2. Carbohydrates – These nutritional packets contribute a lot towards gaining weight. Junk and fried foods should be skipped; you should concentrate on heavy, starchy and complex carbohydrates such as pastas, oatmeal, whole wheat grain products (e.g. bagels), potatoes, vegetables, and bananas.
3. Fats – Concentrating more on the good fats like those found in nuts, olive oil and flax seeds are most rewarding.
4. Dairy Products – Whole milk is one of the most touted items on a hard gainer’s diet. Eggs are also a great source of proteins and fats.
5. Protein Supplements – Shakes and powders can help fill your dietary deficiency when you cannot eat as much, especially post-workout.
Sample Daily Diet Plan
First meal – Breakfast: Eggs, oatmeal with milk, and a banana.
Second meal – Midday snack: Peanut butter on bread or a serving of nuts/flax seeds, and a glass of milk.
Third meal – Lunch: Tuna sandwich and side of vegetables, or meal of pasta, 1 cup chicken or beef, and vegetables (e.g. broccoli). You can alternate pasta with brown rice.
Fourth meal – Second snack: Banana, glass of milk and peanut butter.
Fifth meal – Post-workout: Supplements rich in whey proteins, rolled oats with water or milk, and a banana.
Sixth meal – Dinner: Same as lunch.
Seventh meal – Third snack: Protein shake, or cottage cheese, milk and flax seeds.