If you're a hardgainer, forget about being big and strong because, no matter how much you eat or how hard you train, your genetics suck for size gains and you'll never look like a bodybuilder...
The truth is that genetics aren't the be-all and end-all; in fact, they're nothing compared to the right plan.
So, are you a hardgainer?
Is it relatively easy for you to stay lean but almost impossible to gain quality, lean muscle?
If so, you've probably got the "Bieber Bod."
Lean, yes, but also skinny and weak.
The mainstream media will sometimes suggest that bodies like these are "ripped" or "buff", but you and I know that "abs on a skinny guy are like big tits on a fat chick -- they don't count."
I don't know who originally said that, but it's absolutely true...
Physiques that truly inspire admiration and emit the most sex appeal are muscular and masculine, not skinny and trim.
So, if you've got a Bieber Bod but are ready to sack up and build a big, strong frame before showcasing your ripped abs on social media...
...I've got the right plan for you.
I'm going to give you a tested, foolproof strategy for packing on quality lean muscle and building brutal strength, as long as you're ready to commit to being strong and authentic, rather than the body double for a pop-star whose balls just descended, in the last year or two, to the point of scant visibility.
Be A Believer (Not A Belieber)
First, understand that, no matter how many times you may have tried to gain weight unsuccessfully, you WILL build muscle and strength with commitment and the right strategy. You need to dial in your focus and change your attitude lest you fail out of the gate.
Top 3 Reasons Why You Have A Bieber Bod.
- You're Not Eating Enough. I'm sure you've heard this ad nauseum, but it's true. If you can't gain weight, you absolutely need to consume more calories. This isn't the only issue, but it's a big one. Note that you don't necessarily have to "eat" your calories either...Downing high-calorie but clean protein shakes will do the job just fine (and alleviate the need to spend all day in the kitchen preparing and cooking meals).
- You're Afraid of Getting Fat. This relates to (1), but addresses the mental side of consuming too few calories. Look, I understand wanting to be lean and snap the occasional ab selfie (although I would still argue its pussiness), but remember and repeat what I wrote above: abs on a skinny guy are like big tits on a fat chick...THEY DON'T COUNT. Everyone can have washboard abs -- just eat lettuce and get off the couch -- but being muscular and strong is very different than being skinny and lean. You're reading this because you want to gain muscle and strength, not graze on veggies and listen to pop music. Stop sabotaging yourself with worries of increasing your body fat from 6 to 8% at 132 pounds.
- Your Training Sucks. You might see pro-bodybuilders in magazines doing isolation work (like curls) and think that the way to success is through the same avenue, but let me tell you, you won't build a strong, impressive physique without prioritizing big, compound lifts like squats and deadlifts. Refinement comes after establishment. Build a powerful base first, and then use isolation work to build on that base.
Your Foolproof Strategy For Building Quality, Lean Muscle
Your daily menu will look like this:
- 3 high-calorie (but clean) protein shakes, spaced evenly apart, and
- 2 regular meals with ample protein, clean carbs and dietary fat
Notice that I'm not recommending that you count calories...I'll take care of the mathematics, so just follow the protocol as outlined here.
Also, the diet is obviously high-protein and relatively high-calorie, for two reasons:
- High-protein diets build muscle, and
- Protein burns fat and also discourage the metabolism from storing fat on high-calorie diets.
Next, the type of protein shake used is critically important.
Despite what many believe, protein powders are NOT created equal, and whey protein alone (especially the low-quality stuff in the department stores) is not optimal for building muscle.
To find out exactly what protein is best for rapid lean muscle gains, click here to access the complete nutrition and workout plan.
A few more notes about nutrition:
- As mentioned above, the type (and quality) of protein used for the high-calorie PS is very important, and it can make the difference between success or failure on the program. Don't skimp or compromise on this. If you do, it will show through in your results.
- Your Meals (lunch and dinner) should be robust, and mostly consist of:
- Red meat
- Whole milk (at least 8 oz. with your meal)
- Starch (e.g. potatoes, corn or pasta)
- Feel free to let loose a bit on weekends, and relax the "clean" nature of the foods. Just keep the fast-food in check (not for body fat, but for health reasons).
You'll train with weights 4 times per week, and do NO CARDIO! Weight training will follow these principles:
- Workouts should be about 60 minutes long at a high intensity, 4 times a week, using free weights (barbell and dumbbell exercises).
- Start each workout with a compound, multi-joint exercise (squat, bench press, deadlift, standing overhead press), and then perform assistance (barbell rows, leg press, close-grip bench, etc.) and isolation work for the remainder of the workout (bicep curls, tricep extensions, leg curls, etc.).
- Compound movements should be done for 2-4 sets of 4-6 reps (and be in the 75-85% range of max weight), assistance lifts should be performed for 5 sets of 10 reps, while isolation work should be done for 3-5 sets of 10-12 reps.
- Include relatively short rest intervals between sets (1-2 minutes) for isolation exercises (and approx. 3-5 minutes for multi-joint work).
- Record your workouts in a training log.
The 30-Day Plan Framework
(Repeat the below for 4 weeks)
See below for a definition of terms:
PS = protein shake
Meal = whole-food meal (dinner)
WT = weight training
Click the image below to access the complete nutrition and workout program: