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Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding?

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:20 pm
by KenDowns
Pretty much what the topic question says. Both SL and SS literature says you should be gaining weight fast, Rippetoe goes so far as to say, "If your squat is going up and your weight is not I guarantee your squat height is going up."

I wonder if the term "hardgainer" just gets in the way. I think its one of those terms that never did me any good. Just eat real food when you're hungry, stay consistent, focus on form, get the sleep, and increase the weight according to your program.

Every issue I've had with not making numbers (after finishing SL) has in fact turned out to be technique. I used to assume I was a hardgainer, now I'm not sure the term really means anything. If I were to use that term today I'd feel like it was an excuse.

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:33 pm
by robertscott
I used to whine about being a hardgainer, I would easily consume 4000 calories a day and wonder why I didn't get any bigger. Thing is, the calories were pretty much all coming from sugar (really sugary chocolate milk usually). It's only because I have a good genetics for staying lean that I didn't end up morbidly obese.

Then I increased my protein intake by about 100g more a day, and now I gain at the same speed as everyone else. That's why I don't really believe the whole calories in vs calories out argument, but that's a discussion for another time.

There are definitely people who have a MUCH harder time gaining muscle than other people, and I'm sure we all know at least one lucky bastard that can grow just by looking at a barbell, but I think as long as you just keep plugging away day after day, and make sure you get your macros right, it'll happen. Might just take longer for you than for others.

Dorian said it best when he said "hard work trumps genetics every time"

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:53 pm
by Oscar_Actuary
Ken,
I imagine your potential will increase as you put on more muscle mass. I often wonder if we all domnt underestimate how much of the SL/SS beginnerish gains are not almsot all technique including muscle recruitment. I sense Rippetoe over blows the muscle growth rate potential, for naturals. Example, although, I'm squatting 100 lbs more than I was doing 9 months ago, I'm not really that much stronger. But, one day I'll reach a point that muscle growth will be more of a predictor in numbers than technique. My theory at least.

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:59 pm
by Oscar_Actuary
ps. My change may be more muscle/strength gains relative to normal beginner, because I obviously, progresed at a slower rate. Makes sense in my head. More time, less increase, more time for muscles to have come along.
But body composition still blows, so, hard to tell

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:49 pm
by Khronos8
On the flip side, I gain significant muscle mass without specifically programing for hypertrophy. The down side of this is that if I dont work out, it all just goes to fat. I dont seem to gain or lose significant amounts of weight, but the amount of weight that I lift definitely goes up and my body composition really changes.

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:31 pm
by nygmen
Khronos8 wrote:On the flip side, I gain significant muscle mass without specifically programing for hypertrophy. The down side of this is that if I dont work out, it all just goes to fat. I dont seem to gain or lose significant amounts of weight, but the amount of weight that I lift definitely goes up and my body composition really changes.
I question how you are judging that your muscle "goes to fat". Dense grainy muscle takes years to build. It isn't like you can lift for 6 weeks, look huge, stop for two months and look like Danny Devito. If you are talking about taking years off and looking fat. It isn't that your muscle "turned", it is more likely you kept eating like you were lifting heavy 4-6 times a week, and were actually sitting on the couch.


Anywho.

Hardgainer is a word used by people that don't eat enough. Caloric needs are different for everyone, and there are any number of reasons someone isn't eating enough, but the fact still stands. Hardgainer = not eating enough. Period.

Once you get past a certain point your daily diet will effect your performance, not just weight gain or loss.

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:51 am
by Khronos8
Nygmen,

You're absolutely correct. I dont think I've ever really noticed an actual "loss" of muscle mass when I have taken time off of training. Just the fat that I start to pack on blurs definition. Even after a very long hiatus I find that my maximum strength levels come back pretty fast (and then I make psuedo "newbie" gains for a little before I plateau again).

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:53 pm
by Christianiron.com
The original question was does the term mean anything outside of bodybuilding.. I would say yes; if you powerlift or O lift, you are trying to make strength gains, with or without hypertrophy. If the strength isn't improving, you might say you are a hard gainer. I think the term can be used as an excuse and is often used in marketing a strength training program. In a sense, unless you are genetically gifted, you are a hard-gainer, as gains come only through HARD work, and all the supportive things that are required along with that. It might be harder to quantify the idea for someone who is trying to maintain a fairly static body weight to stay in a certain class while increasing the totals.

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:11 pm
by stuward
I usually lose weight when I don't train, even if it's only a couple of weeks. I don't think I'm losing fat during that time so it's got to be muscle. That's why I train, not to gain but to keep from losing.

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:40 pm
by Oscar_Actuary
stuward wrote:I usually lose weight when I don't train, even if it's only a couple of weeks. I don't think I'm losing fat during that time so it's got to be muscle. That's why I train, not to gain but to keep from losing.
Would that imply you are very lean?
I mean for your body to prefer to break down muscle for energy

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:00 pm
by KenDowns
Oscar_Actuary wrote:Ken,
I imagine your potential will increase as you put on more muscle mass. I often wonder if we all domnt underestimate how much of the SL/SS beginnerish gains are not almsot all technique including muscle recruitment. I sense Rippetoe over blows the muscle growth rate potential, for naturals. Example, although, I'm squatting 100 lbs more than I was doing 9 months ago, I'm not really that much stronger. But, one day I'll reach a point that muscle growth will be more of a predictor in numbers than technique. My theory at least.
Funny thing is they all say your early gains are muscle recruitment and technique, then tell you you better be gaining weight. Which is it? In other words, I think you are more right than wrong.

Getting back to my OP, I agree with those in the thread who've said the word can too easily turn into an excuse. I'm trying to purge myself of all excuses, conscious or unconscious. If I'm going to advance squat 10# next cycle, I *must* be stronger than I was yesterday since I only made 5 reps on the 5+ set, though I finally did them with perfect form (meaning no gross errors). The thought occurred to me I might be a hard gainer and I though "F**k that, I'm getting that 10lb increase."

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:01 pm
by stuward
Oscar_Actuary wrote:
stuward wrote:I usually lose weight when I don't train, even if it's only a couple of weeks. I don't think I'm losing fat during that time so it's got to be muscle. That's why I train, not to gain but to keep from losing.
Would that imply you are very lean?
I mean for your body to prefer to break down muscle for energy
Relatively lean. When I was younger I couldn't find fat on myself, now I have a small amount but you couldn't tell when I have a shirt on. I've just never been able to build muscle in any amount. Any time I've tried to bulk, it goes on as fat. Still, a BMI of 25 so it's not all skin and bones.

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:47 pm
by Paperclip
stuward wrote: Relatively lean. When I was younger I couldn't find fat on myself, now I have a small amount but you couldn't tell when I have a shirt on. I've just never been able to build muscle in any amount. Any time I've tried to bulk, it goes on as fat. Still, a BMI of 25 so it's not all skin and bones.
Actually, I think you must be pretty jacked with a BMI of 25 and having only small amount of fat!

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:37 am
by Jungledoc
I'm a hard loser.

Re: Does "Hard Gainer" mean anything outside of Bodybuilding

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:38 pm
by NickAbe57
I was thinking about this quite a bit today and perhaps this is more appropriate for the sticky on gaining mass/muscle, but i think something that is a little overlooked is patience and experience. For example, when I started training after only four months when I hadn't gained much weight and thought i wasnt getting much stronger, I complained to some of my bigger more experience friends that ya know, this hardgainer thing really sucks. I'd bought the whey protein with all the extra calories at gnc, i was going to the gym 4 times a week, i was on a 'hardgainer' routine with a focus on quite a bit of volume, but i was still unsatisfied.

Fast forward 9 mos or so and I would no longer consider myself a hardgainer. I developed some experience, used my time in the gym to figure out what works best for me, where and how I make most of my strength gains. I altered my diet to optimize recovery and protein intake and quit counting calories. I'm still pretty lean as I am still very active but over the course of a year ive put on close to 25-30 lbs of lean muscle.

This reminds me of a video interview i read with wendler. he pretty much just said get in the weight room, learn the movements, work hard for a year before you worry about gaining and cutting and chains and bands and bulking and all that. be patient. its not gonna happen over night, give your body time to adjust to the new demands youre putting on it.

ok, this may all seem very obvious or perhaps not the most apt analysis for this thread but its my two cents.