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9 Hardgainer Training Myths: Part II

Written by Jason Ferruggia Topics: Fitness

If you missed Part I click HERE to read it.

Now, back to the story of young Chris, the skinny-fat hardgainer.


“Okay, so I can’t just rely on the big lifts, I should do some single leg, dumbbell and bodyweight exercises and I need to train my neck and forearms.

And if I ever hope to see any growth in my calves at all I’ll have to bomb them like Arnold used to.”

“You are correct, sir.”

Got it. What else,” Chris asked.

Myth #4: Hardgainers Should Train Very Infrequently

“You said you were doing the classic HIT style programs where you only train 2-3 times per week for 20-30 minutes and getting nowhere, right?”

“Yup,” Chris nodded.

“Again, that type of program is okay to get some moderate strength gains from but it’s never going to lead to tremendous size gains or keep your bodyfat at a respectable level.

When you’re skinny-fat and weak you simply need to do more work. You have to force hormonal changes to take place. Your body doesn’t want to adapt so you’ve gotta make it through an increased work load.

I used to think three days per week was enough for guys like you but it really isn’t. A lot of years working with a lot of genetically cursed skinny-fat guys has taught me that. You gotta do four days.”

Chris perked up in his chair.

“Well, that’s great to hear because I love training. I’d go every day if you said that was gonna give me the best results.”

“Yeah, me too. And that’s the thing; most guys I know love training and would rather do more of it than less. Days off drive me nuts, personally.

And anyone who can’t commit to four days per week in the gym doesn’t want it bad enough and doesn’t love this enough. If you don’t love something your results will always be mediocre, at best.

If you work in a job you love you make more money than working in a job you hate. Same thing applies to training.”

“Yeah, that makes sense,” Chris agreed.

“Hardgainers may not be able to tolerate a ton of work at each session but they can recover from more total weekly volume than most of them think. Four strength-training sessions in the gym of moderate volume should be the norm. Any less than that and you’ll be sacrificing gains and will just end up fat.”

Myth #5: Hargainers Don’t Need to Do Conditioning

“Yeah, I always just end up getting fat instead of big,” Chris said as he looked toward a group of people who had just sat down outside. “Man, that wind really picked up.”

“And do you notice how everyone’s hair is blowing except that guys? It’s like plywood. Quite impressive…” I observed.

“So, Jay, is just doing four workouts per week gonna be enough to ensure that I don’t get fat again?”

“I mean the guys hair literally HAS NOT MOVED.”

“Jay… Jay”

“Oh.. yeah. Actually, no, it’s not. The old hardgainer advice doesn’t apply here either.

Despite what you may have been led to believe you SHOULD be doing conditioning.

Doing so will boost your metabolism, improve your recovery and keep you lean. Without it you’ll almost definitely get fat.

Again, if you were a skinny ripped dude who had great genetics I’d say you could get away with no conditioning.  But that’s certainly not the case here for you or for most skinny-fat dudes.

I tried that years ago and ended up fat as a whale. It was quite a disturbing sight.”

“So what should I do,” Chris inquired.

“In addition to four strength training sessions per week you need to do at least one day of sprints, either on a hill or with a sled. If you don’t have access to either you could get away with regular flat ground sprints or even incline sprints on a treadmill.

Then, after 1-2 of your four weekly strength training workouts you should do a 10 minute finisher consisting of some kind of high intensity work with sledgehammers, battling ropes, kettlebells or something like that.”

“Oh, I just started using kettlebells recently,” Alyson said as she came to check up on us. “I’m obsessed with snatches.”

Chris swallowed like Vince McMahon in a serious showdown with Stone Cold.

“That’s awesome. Where do you train,” I asked.

“Well, I’m not really training for anything,” Alyson replied in a sort of confused tone.

“No, I know, that’s what we call it though. I meant work out. Where do you work out?”

“Oh, at Golds.”

“No shit. That’s where Chris trains.”

Alyson gazed in his direction. Chris nervously searched through his pockets, presumably looking for something to say.

“Very cool. Maybe I’ll see you around the gym. Can I get you guys anything else?”

“I’ll have a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and an orange juice,” Chris finally spoke up.

Myth #6: Hardgainers Should Go on a “See Food Diet”

“Chris, we just got done talking about getting fat and you’re ordering bread and juice; two of the most fattening foods you can eat,” I told him.

“But I thought I was supposed to be on a “see food diet” and eat everything in sight. That’s what they always tell hardgainers to do.”

“N-n-no, that’s what Terrel Owens could do when he was your age. And probably even today. But that’s not what a skinny-fat dude like you can do. You’ll be coated in pudding from head to toe. Bill Cosby would be tempted to take a mouthful of your arm if he saw you.

Telling a skinny-fat dude with a horrifically bad hormonal profile to eat tons of junk food is terrible advice. And I’ve given it in the past but that’s because up until that point all the skinny dudes I worked with were ripped. All they had to do was eat pancakes, pasta and pizza all day and they’d get huge.

If you do that you’ll be in line for a role on Mike and Molly.

Nowadays there are far fewer skinny ripped guys than there were in the early 90’s. But skinny-fat dudes are everywhere. And they CAN NOT afford to make poor food choices.

Carbs must be cycled and consumed at the right times. Animal products should always be organic because the last thing you want are more estrogenic compounds floating around inside a body that already has high estrogen levels and low testosterone.”

“Is that why I always get these little bird tits when I start bulking up? Because I have high estrogen levels?”

“Yes, it’s par for the course for every skinny-fat hargainer and we gotta fix it.”


Stay tuned for Part III.

PS. Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0 was designed specifically to target the problems of the skinny-fat, hormonally challenged hardgainer.

Click HERE to get your copy now.