Supplements For Hardgainer
Are you a hardgainer like me and looking to add some lean mass? Confused about which supplements you should be taking? I know that I was too. There are so many to choose from and they all seem to sell you on the same message. In this article I’ll try and cut through the BS and give you what I feel are the best supplements for hardgainer and supplements that I have been using over the past 18 months with good success.
Let’s face it, there are a TON of supplements for hardgainer and every one of them claims to be unique or special and will provide you with best, fastest unbelievable results and in particular, the supplements for hardgainer. The companies that produce these supplements generally only care about moving product. Don’t get me wrong, many of these supplement companies are concerned with their customers and ensuring that the products they provide them are beneficial. However, there is so much mis-information about many of the supplements, it is difficult for many to get straight-up facts and information without also being pitched to.
Labeling on supplements can also be VERY misleading. The label of a supplement is where the supplement companies take a lot of liberty in highlighting the product’s features and benefits. This is good and bad. Some of the best supplements for hardgainer aren’t “new and improved” or have a “new formula” with a “special blend” that can only be found from a particular supplement company.
Similar to food product labeling, supplements are required to provide the nutritional details found within, but the other “information” that is often included on the rest of the label is nothing more than advertising. Highlighting the “benefits” that the supplement company wants you to believe the supplement will provide. You have to read and review these labels with a little bit of critical thinking and not just accept what they are telling you.
Disclaimer/Pre-Cursor From a Hardgainer
Before I get into what I feel are the best supplements for hardgainer, please note; I am not an expert on this subject. I am not a certified nutritionist of any kind. I am not being paid to write this article. In fact, all of the supplements that I am going to mention are available from a wide variety of vendors and supplement companies. I plan to just give you the details on what I feel are the best supplements for hardgainer like myself.
Supplements don’t provide you with a short-term solution for long-term results. What I mean by that is, supplements are far too often relied on as the end all for great results. They shouldn’t be thought of in this manner. The term itself clearly states this…”Supplement”, meaning: “Something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.”
One supplement that I do not mention below, primarily because I do not use it, is a mass gainer. This one of those supplements for hardgainer that is often tossed around as a requirement. Perhaps for some, but certainly not for all. The goal here, even for us hardgainers, is lean mass, not just mass. Adding 20 lbs. is easy with a mass gainer, which typically contain more than 1000 calories per serving. However, how many of those 20 lbs. do you think are actual muscle? Maybe 2-5 lbs? It just isn’t worth all of the extra weight that comes along with mass gainer supplements for hardgainer. I stick with whole foods as much as possible, just more of them!
This article focuses strictly on the supplements for hardgainer, but in a later article I go into more depth on the topic of nutrition for hardgainers, so look for that soon!
Remember this: You DO NOT Grow During Your Workouts!
Your gains are going to come outside of the hour that you spend working out and this is with Recovery, Nutrition and Rest.
Supplement companies anticipate and expect you to rely more and more on the products that they make available, when in reality you simply don’t need them. The average person isn’t going to take the time to research and validate the claims that are made and how it ultimately affects your body and subsequently your results.
A Breakdown of the Supplements For Hardgainer – I Recommend
Depending on who you ask, the opinion of carbs can vary greatly… Most of this is due to a lack of knowledge about carbs and how most automatically lump all forms of carbs into a single category, which just simple isn’t correct. I have written an entire article on When Should I Eat Carbs that should give you a better understanding on what they are and how to use them to your advantage.
If you read the article mentioned above, you now understand how post-work carbohydrates are critically important, especially when you are strength training. After a killer leg day workout when you have been using one of your body’s largest muscle groups, the glycogen levels in your body have been depleted and you want to restore that glycogen as fast as possible to ensure that the remainder of your nutrition is used for repairing and building muscle.
Dexanhydrous glucose is a mono-saccaride (in layman’s terms a single cell carbohydrate) that assimilates rapidly and requires little to no work on the part of your body to break it down and shuttle it in to the muscle cell as glycogen.
1st Phorm’s Ignition is pure dexanhydrous glucose crystals – the most rapidly absorbing carbohydrate available and also contains a full serving of the micronutrients to replenish what you use up while working out.Check Out 1st Phorm Ignition
Whey protein is the fastest absorbing protein of the two and should be taken post-workout, as soon as possible. Casein protein is slower to digest and should be used as an evening protein source. Protein, in general, is the one macronutrient that takes the longest to digest. Why is this good? This will require more calories to burn/assimilate that protein. Protein has that added benefit of making you fill more full for a longer period of time, which helps to reduce snacking. Whey and Casein protein, again, are supplements, not to replace whole food sources of protein, such as chicken, beef, fish or plant-based proteins. However, protein is also pretty much a requirement to build muscle, which is the goal right?
1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight should be your goal for total protein intake for a given day. For example a 200 lb. person would need/want to consume roughly 200-300 grams of protein daily. This will also vary based on your goals and the demand for protein that your body requires. Protein is definitely the top supplements for hardgainer, so get some!
Best of Both?
The combination of both protein and carbohydrates in a post workout setting is ideal for proper recovery and efficiency. A dexanhydrous glucose source stacked with a hydrolyzed whey protein is a perfect one-two punch to aide in the recovery process. You will be able to recover faster and your body doesn’t have to use the additional nutrition you feed it throughout the day in that recovery process, you’ve already given it what it needs to take care of that.
Looking for an awesome post workout stack that combines the carbs and protein? Ignition and Phormula-1 is a great option that does exactly that and it much more efficient at it than trying to stuff your face with a large meal post workout.Ultimate Post Workout Stack
Fish Oil/Omega 3
Fish Oil and Omega 3 typically available in a 2 for 1 form and is classified as an essential fatty acid. Again, this means that your body can’t actually produce it naturally . It is generally found in a capsule form or found in your daily nutrition with foods such as salmon or flax seed oil. This supplements for hardgainer acts as an anti-inflammatory, heart and liver health compound and joint stiffness/aches and pains. The amount you should be taking may vary, but it should be anywhere between 1-3 grams per day. The concentration of EPAs and DHAs is something you want to pay close attention to when you are looking for a fish oil. Fish oil is available just about anywhere, but the quality of the fish oil is directly related to the EPAs and DHAs in the product.
Fish Oil Benefits
- Heart health
- Joint health
- Cognitive function
- Regulating blood pressure
- Reduce inflammation
If you find yourself struggling to get enough fish in your diet, I highly recommend a very high quality Fish Oil supplement like 1st Phorm’s Full-Mega that provides a high concentration the Omega-3 fatty acids, EPAs and DHAs.Check Out 1st Phorm Full-Mega
Contrary to popular belief, Creatine DOES NOT BUILD MUSCLE! Creatine simply aids in the development of muscle or muscle building process. How does it do this? Creatine allows the muscles (once saturated with Creatine), to produce/exert more energy. This typically means you can lift bigger weights or push through previous barriers with that extra bit of energy. More stress on the muscle = more break-down/tearing of the microscopic fibers of that muscle. The repair of that muscle is where you gain the size and strength. The muscle will need/want to grow back with larger volume and strength to meet the needs of stress you previously placed on it. Make sense?
Creatine <> Bigger stronger muscles
Creatine = more power/energy = lifting more weight = more break-down of muscle fiber = repaired muscle comes back stronger and bigger.
Stick with plain ole Micronized Creatine Monohydrate powder! Don’t bother with any other supplement that claims to be the best or better than any other. Creatine Monohydrate has been proven time and time again to have only positive effects on the body and is another must-have supplements for hardgainer. There is also a lot of back and forth about “loading” with Creatine. I simply don’t bother with that. 10 grams of Creatine per day – 5 grams pre workout, 5 grams post-workout.
Also known as, beta-Hydroxy beta-methylbutyric acid, is related to the essential amino acid Leucine and has been shown to play an important role in the protein synthesis process. Another important note for us hardgainers is that it has been shown to reduce muscle breakdown while at the same time increase muscle mass. HMB has an anti-catabolic affect in the body.
What the heck is anti-catabolic? This simply means that it increases the anabolic (growth) state of your muscles and reduces the catabolic state. HMB acts as a bodyguard against the body’s own metabolism and it’s desire for energy, specifically against using the muscle fibers/tissue for this energy. We don’t want our own body feeding on our muscles for energy…this is NO BUENO!
This is also beneficial for the recovery process. Your muscles are being depleted with every workout, but with HMB, your body isn’y going to need or try to use any stored energy in the actual muscle to help itself recover.
Another amino acid, but not on the list of essential amino acids. L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the entire body. L-Glutamine is the amino acid that is processed/burned the fastest, however, it is also absorbed the quickest. This, combined with the fact that it is not an essential amino acid is why you would want/need L-Glutamine as a supplements for hardgainer, particularly in a post-workout situation. 10-15 grams of L-Glutamine should be taken on a daily basis.
BCAA – Branch Chain Amino Acids, which are comprised of the following amino acids; Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. For me, I have been using a BCAA supplement since I tend to workout in the early AM hours. I don’t have the time to consume a large meal prior to working out, so the BCAA supplement provides my body with a quick boost of amino acids that will be utilized during my workout when your body is in a fasted state. A similar effect, but not as long lasting as HMB mentioned above.
BCAA will also help reduce fatigue and soreness following a workout, so I take it on a similar schedule as Creatine.
A good multi-vitamin is great way to ensure that you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals that you may not necessarily be getting with your other nutritional sources. Generally, I consider my daily nutrition well balanced and clean, so I am likely getting everything I need from the vitamin and mineral standpoint. However, there are those days when the schedule of the day doesn’t allow for 3 healthy meals prepared in advance or at your designated meal times, along with some snacks in between. This means that you are going to be lacking in some areas. Adding a multi-vitamin supplement for hardgainer will ensure that you are getting at least the RDA( Recommended Daily Allowances ) for the majority of those that your body needs.
I know that up to this point, I haven’t suggested or specifically named a particular product that I would recommend for each of the above supplements. However, with a multi-vitamin, I think that would silly for me not to mention that Shakeology is a basically what I use as my multi-vitamin. In fact, I would venture to guess, though I haven’t compared every multi-vitamin available, that Shakeology offers and provides more vitamins and minerals than any other multi-vitamin. Perhaps not in all of the specific amounts of each, but rather in whole. There are over 70 vitamins and minerals in Shakeology and they are all bio-avilable naturally, which is probably not the case for many, if not all, of the other multi-vitamins on the market.
Timing of Supplements for Hardgainer
Taking the supplements I have mentioned above is important, but the timing of when you are taking those supplements is just as important. If you aren’t timing your supplementation correctly, you simply won’t be getting the optimal benefit and quite possibly wasting your money. As a hardgainer, you are going to want to take every opportunity that you can to grow and so you can’t ignore the timing of supplements for hardgainer otherwise, the amount of time it will take you to achieve your goals could be prolonged.
I have broken down the timing of supplements for hardgainer in 4 basic categories and have giving guidelines for each supplement. However, you should ensure that you are reading the labels for the specific supplements that you are taking and follow them accordingly. I follow the schedule laid out below everyday andI think that you will find a common schedule among those that are looking to gain some lean mass.
- Creatine – 5 grams
- Whey Protein – .1 grams per pound of body weight – Example – 200lb = 20 grams of protein.
- BCAA – 5 grams
- L-Glutamine – 2-3 grams
- HMB – 1 gram
- Creatine – 5 grams
- Whey Protein – .25 grams per pound of body weight – Example – 200lb = 50 grams of protein.
- BCAA – 5 grams
- L-Glutamine – 2-3 grams
- HMB – 1 gram
- L-Glutamine – 2-3 grams
- HMB – 1 gram
- Fish Oil/Omega 3 – 1-2 gram/1-2 capsule
- Casein Protein – .25 grams per pound of body weight – Example – 200lb = 50 grams of protein.
- Fish Oil/Omega 3 – 1-2 gram/1-2 capsule
The “Bro-Science” on Supplements For Hardgainer
The term “bro-science” tends to get a lot of play when it comes to recommendations for supplements. What is ‘bro-science”? I am not sure if an actual definition exists, but it basically suggests that something that has been working for a group of guys, whether that is a supplement or a particular exercise, is considered to be proven science. I suppose you might consider this article to be just that… However, there are many other resources where you will find this same list of supplements for hardgainer and the actual science behind their effectiveness on muscle growth and development.
I hope that this article has been helpful in detailing the supplements for hardgainer like myself and has provided you with a bit more clarity on the subject of supplements. Of course, there are many other supplements that you can choose to add to you daily regimen, but these are the money makers! These are the supplements that WILL GET YOU RESULTS!
Make sure you do your own research as well. While I firmly believe in all of the above mentioned products, certainly don’t take my word on the matter. This is similar to what I referred to above with the supplement companies themselves. Here are some resources where I get a lot of my information from, feel free to search each of these site and decide for yourself if the supplements for hardgainer that I have recommended make sense for you.
This article focused on supplements for hardgainer, but shortly, I will be posting another article that discusses nutrition for us hardgainers. Supplements play an important role in adding mass to our ectomorph frames, but nutrition is actually going to play a much bigger role.
If you have any suggestions that you feel I should add to my list supplements for hardgainer, post a comment below and I’ll check it out!
Need a Coach?
If you need to find someone that will hold you accountable, answer your questions, help you, and PUSH YOU for the entire duration of your workout! Luckily for you, that’s what me and my team are here for. If you don’t have a coach yet and want one, I’d love to be your coach and help you through a fitness program. I am available to help you reach your goals!