top of page

Definition of a Hard Gainer

The popular definition of a hard gainer is a person who practices bodybuilding that works out hard with weights but has a hard time putting on muscle. Six weeks of working out can go by and no significant changes in muscle size are noted other than perhaps a bit of an increase in muscle tone and definition. According to this popular definition of a hard gainer, all of us are “hard gainers” because for the most part, putting on muscle is not an easy endeavor. 

Definition of a Hardgainer


The easiest period to gain muscle is during puberty when anabolic hormone production is at an all-time high. After that, gaining muscle becomes progressively harder as we age due to the fact that hormonal production starts declining between the ages of 25 and 30.


Is a hard gainer doomed to stay looking the same way forever?

Not at all. Basically, all the hard gainer has to do is modify their bodybuilding training and nutrition program to suit his/her unique metabolism. While most people will do best on a diet consisting of 40% carbohydrates, 40% proteins and 20% fats, the hard gainer will benefit most from a diet consisting of 50% carbs, 25 % proteins and 25% good fats.


In addition, while the typical person gets great results on a caloric intake that equals their lean body mass times 12, the hard gainer is better served by taking in as much as 24 calories per pound of total body weight (as opposed to lean body mass). Therefore, if you are a hard gainer and weigh 150 lbs, your caloric intake will be 3600 calories (150 x 24). 

Your total amounts of carbohydrates per day will be in the order of 450 grams of carbs, your protein will be 225 grams and your fats will be 100 grams of good fats per day. You can take all of this in 6, 7 or even 8 meals. The key thing for a hard gainer to be successful is to minimize their caloric expenditures and maximize their caloric intake. This is necessary as the hard gainer metabolism is a furnace that burns calories at all times and if not enough are supplied at one time or the other, then muscle will be consumed by the body for energy purposes. After all, this metabolic issue is what makes a person a hard gaine.



bottom of page