So over here on the east coast in America it is the winter bulking season and I have a new plan of action to pack on mass during these cold winter months. In this blog post I will be addressing a simple, straight forward workout plan for hardgainers. In this little blog post I will also recommend the best muscle gaining supplements including best creatine for bulking.
Before I begin, the image you see at the top of this post is me back in 2014 at 140lbs standing at 5’11”, hardgainer to the max. Below is me at 192lbs in June 2018. It took me 4 years of mistakes, learning and more mistakes just to get to that point but it is possible to overcome your hardgainer status and reach your goals.
The Workout Plan
The workout plan is simple: training in the appropriate rep ranges for the appropriate amount of time. Hardgainers should focus on hypertrophy and building work capacity early on then taking those realized gains and teaching it to move more weight. This is not exactly a plan as much as it is a method of training.
I have been following the Juggernaut Training Systems for almost a year and I have received a ton of information regarding how to train for appropriate goals. This may come as a surprise to people who are aware that I have been training for over 5 years now. This is part of the reason why this journey is so fun, there is always room to learn and grow.
One important piece of information that I have learned and plan to put into action this winter while focusing on gaining mass is simple, extending my training phases.
People who take their training seriously are practitioners of using the principle of periodization. I have been using periodizing daily as a way to incorporate both hypertrophy(muscle fiber expansion) and strength gain, training in the 6-15 rep range and 3-5 rep range, respectively. The issue I’ve found is that using daily periodization is too short to make any meaningful gains in either endeavor.
Here’s my new plan of action: I am still running the Juggernaut Method 2.0 but I’m going to apply a little tweak in the way that I run the phases. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Juggernaut Method 2.0, this program does a great job with periodization by way of 10, 8, 5 & 3 rep waves. Each wave allows for you to build on a particular aspect of training. The 10 and 8 waves allow for building work capacity and hypertrophic gains and the 5 and 3 waves allows for you to build strength and neural calibration, lifting heavy with the newly built mass from the 10 and 8 waves.
These waves typically run for a month each. How I’m going to run it is by extending the 10 and 8 waves to 3 months each and the 5 and 3 waves to 2 months each. To round out my training, I am going to add my own little peaking phase with 1 rep maxes tests(still working out the details on this)
The reason for these extended phases, specifically the 10 and 8 waves, is to fully realize hypertrophic gains. For years I have been making the mistake of not focusing on one aspect of training which is the whole meaning of “training” in the first place. I have the bad habit of getting caught up in trying to train too many aspects at once and I end up getting a whole lot of nothing done. To reiterate, my plan is to train in the 8-10 rep ranges in the main lifts per each muscle group, for at least 6 months to realize mass then take that mass and train it to move more weight.
Supplements for hardgainers
By now if you have been keeping up with my content, you know how I feel about supplements. Supplements are the paint you put on a completed house with a proper foundation already established, structure intact and ready for the finishing touches. Supplements are to be used after we have already established a caloric surplus to insure mass gain. Calories are the most important thing to gain mass, especially for hardgainers. Now that we have that established, here are the best muscle gaining supplements:
- Protein – be sure to be consuming anywhere from 0.8g-1.0g/lb of bodyweight while being in a caloric surplus. If you are a hardgainer, you want to make protein one of your top priorities when it comes to supplementation. As a hardgainer myself, I know how hard it can be to eat which means that we may be missing important nutrients such as protein in order to gain mass. Oh and another thing, use whey protein isolate, preferably from grass fed sources. Antler Farms is where I get my whey protein isolate from. Give it a try.
- Creatine monohydrate – I have been using this supplement for years. I specifically use Body Tech Creatine Monohydrate. Creatine allows for more ATP production and allows you to push hard for longer in the gym.
- Caffeine – I wouldn’t exactly call this a muscle building supplement but those of us who have issues with our energy levels and focus due to busy schedules, sleep schedules, etc may want to try this supplement to help with training days. The issue with this supplement is that it requires the trainee to cycle on and off to maintain effectiveness. Caffeine causes the brain to up regulate caffeine receptors which in turn forces the trainee to consume more caffeine over time to maintain or produce effectiveness from the inception of use. Another issue with caffeine is that it can cause insomnia which makes it hard to train if one didn’t receive a good nights sleep, which causes one to use more caffeine and the cycle continues. It is best to prioritize proper sleep rather than rely on this supplement.
So that’s pretty much it. A quick little blog on my plan of action to take my training to the next level as well as a few tidbits for my fellow hardgainers and ectomorphs looking to put on size and mass. In the future I will be going more in-depth on the principles and keywords mentioned in this blog.
This website is all about the basic fundamentals of training and if you are a regular consumer of my content you will consistently come across posts and articles that emphasize these basics.