Muscle Building Problems – Am I a Hard Gainer?

Why am I not gaining weight? Problem: muscle building. Is this the fate of the hardgainer? In this article, we’ll reveal 12 common muscle building mistakes and how to avoid them.

The hardgainer

You are going to train regularly, but muscle growth is not getting started? You’ve always been the skinny type: long, lean body, thin shoulders, little muscle. This body type is called ‘ectomorph’ and ‘hardgainer’. Hardgainer simply means: it is difficult for you to build muscle and muscle mass. Is it your genes?

Muscles consist of two types of muscle fibers . Type I are the thin ‘endurance fibers’. Type II are thick ‘power fibers’. The distribution of the fiber components is genetically determined.

Hard gainers often have a higher proportion of endurance fibers . But don’t worry, muscle building is still possible !

Muscle Building for Hard Gainers: The Basics

The basic principle of muscle building is in the combination of training, nutrition and regeneration .

Intensive and regular strength training provides a growth stimulus in your muscles. After training, your muscles need the right nutrition and sufficient regeneration. This is the only way in which your muscles can adapt to the training stimulus and thus grow. This adaptation to the training stimulus is called the principle of supercompensation .

12 mistakes in muscle building

If you’re having trouble building muscle, it could be because of the following common mistakes:

# 1 You exercise too little

Get out of your comfort zone! If you regularly train a few times a week, but at too low an intensity (too little weight, too few repetitions or too few sets), your muscles will miss the optimal growth stimulus. Intensive training, on the other hand, signals your muscles that they are “too weak”. During regeneration, your muscles start to adapt. They increase in size and become stronger to handle the next load.

Choose your weight so that the last few repetitions are difficult. But also not so heavy that you can no longer perform the exercises properly!

Increase your training load . You can increase your weight moderately, do more reps or an extra set. Increase the weight, but not every week. Your ligaments, joints, and tendons take a little longer to adjust to a new training weight.

If you train heavily, but only once a week, the break between workouts is too long. Your muscles will return to their original level . Try to exercise at least 2-3 times a week .

# 2 You don’t have the right training technique

Check your technique. If you exercise incorrectly run makes or evasive movement, you reduce the training effect. You do not train your target muscle optimally.

# 3 You exercise too much

It’s great that you are motivated. Set your motivation so that you can last as long as possible. Your muscles only grow when you give them a break. Sometimes less is more .

# 4 You have the wrong workout schedule

Does your training schedule match your goal? Do you need a training schedule for hard gainers ? Do you mainly do exercises that you are very good at? Structure and plan your workouts well. Also include basic exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, pull-ups, etc. in your workout. Unlike isolation exercises, basic exercises, also called compound exercises, target several large muscles at the same time. This causes your body to release more growth hormones such as testosterone.

If you are unsure whether you have the right training schedule or do not know the correct execution of an exercise, ask for help. Talk to the fitness trainer in your gym or treat yourself to a few hours with a personal trainer .

The number of repetitions you do should be between 8 and 12. Do 1 or 2 warm-up sets first, then 3 to 4 sets for each exercise. Don’t forget the break between sets . For large muscle groups, such as legs, pause for 90-120 seconds. And for small muscle groups, such as the shoulders, 60-90 seconds.

You can vary your training schedule every 2 to 3 months by adding new exercises. This way your training will never be boring and your muscles will always receive a different training stimulus.

# 5 You do too much cardio

Cardio is good for your cardiovascular system and can help you build muscle as a hardgainer. You will last longer and your regeneration time will be shorter. But don’t just focus on endurance training. Moderate cardio training twice a week is sufficient.

You burn calories with endurance training . Include the extra calories burned in your nutritional schedule. On these days you have to eat a little more to get the calories back in.

# 6 You sleep badly

No muscles without sleep. Your muscles don’t grow during exercise, they usually grow at night. When you sleep, hormones are released that are responsible for muscle growth . Try to get enough sleep.

# 7 You’re under too much stress

The hormone cortisol breaks down muscle proteins during stress phases to provide your body with energy. Allow yourself a conscious break every now and then. Care for some relaxation and bring structure to your daily routine to keep your stress level.

# 8 You don’t drink enough water

Your body consists of 60% water. Your muscles even for 75% ! Exercise ensures that you lose extra moisture. Compensate for the loss of moisture and drink at least 2-3 liters per day .

# 9 Alcohol

Alcohol prevents an optimal supply of carbohydrates and proteins to your muscles. Your testosterone production slows down and your body is no longer supplied with water.

This does not mean that you can no longer drink alcohol at all. But be aware that alcohol has a counterproductive effect on your muscle building.

# 10 Not enough calories

Diet plan for hard gainers: If you want to successfully build muscle mass, your diet should match your training goal. If you want to build muscle, you have to eat more. We recommend a calorie surplus of 300 to 500 calories per day . Provide a balanced and healthy diet.

If you have difficulty eating large quantities: please choose high-calorie foods with low volume . A good example of this are nuts, avocado and oils.Plan and arrange your meals so that your body is supplied with sufficient macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, trace elements and minerals). Build your muscles with healthy food.

Try to eat something more often during the day or, for example, make a hard gainer shake with milk, oatmeal, nuts and protein powder . Also keep a food diary for 1-2 weeks to get an idea of ​​whether you are really eating enough.

# 11 You’re not getting enough protein

Muscle cells are made up of proteins. We recommend eating at least 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day .

# 12 Wrong mindset

“Why am I not gaining weight?” Don’t underestimate the power of your thoughts ! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Building muscle doesn’t happen overnight. Stop doubting yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Anyone, hardgainer or not, can build muscle and muscle mass. Have patience, hardgainer!


  • So-called hard gainers can also build muscle.
  • Exercise intensively, 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Perform the exercises neatly and in a controlled manner.
  • Maintain a light calorie surplus of 300-500 kcal per day.
  • Provide adequate recovery for your muscles.
  • Don’t pressure yourself.
  • Be patient. Muscle building takes time.

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