My whole childhood and most of my high school years I was a very skinny boy and to some I still am. I remember my mom having a 6th sense as when to come drag me out of the pool or lake because my lips would turn blue and I’d be close to becoming hypothermic. I had little body fat and also little muscle. I first started to lift weights the summer before I got into High School. I can remember going into my room with a bench press and not having 25’s on each side of the bar wondering how in the world can anyone be able to do 45’s on each side.
I instantly became addicted to weight training as it was forced in my head from coaches that it would directly make me a better football player and put weight on me. Making me a better football player it probably did; but not much weight gain came about. I didn’t break the triple digits on the weight scale until I was in 7th grade and got into high school only weighing 120 pounds. By the start of football season I was able to put 45’s on each side of the bar but still didn’t see much weight getting put on my body. I thought I ate a lot but eating a lot at one meal wasn’t going to cut it. Parents would actually be in awe of how much I could eat at one sitting and I’m sure they weren’t too happy when I became a semi-regular guest at their dinner table (sorry Miss Massaglia!). The problem I’m getting at is I didn’t eat enough throughout the day and at the end of the day it was due to laziness and lack of preparation. I had no one else to blame but myself. I was putting in the work in the weight room but not at the dinner table. If you have heard me talk before you know that weight gain comes at the dinner table not in the weight room. This simple fact can be proven by America’s 60%+ overweight population. They don’t lift but they keep on gaining weight. The lifting portion only sets your body up hormonally to put on muscle mass and provides an ideal situation to rebuild lean tissue.
It took me a long time to finally understand this concept, even though I had read it over and over again and been told by friends, who had been hard gainers and finally put on some serious muscle mass. The realization came when I went and visited my friend, Kyle Thom, during a winter break my greyshirt freshmen year of college. I was currently 185 pounds after suffering an injury after football season and after seeing and talking to Kyle I was able to get up to 215 pounds before football season my sophomore year.
What really changed was my approach to gaining weight. I made it like a job, like eating was as important as breathing. Every two hours I had to eat or else I wasn’t a very pleasant person to be around. My meals were timed around my workout schedule to maximize muscle growth. I made dinners for 6 so I could have 3 dinners each night in addition to my pre-bedtime snack, cottage cheese.
I sacrificed most of my social life and leisure time to ensure I was able to have adequate healthy food at my disposal and eventually it paid off. It became a full time job and I probably needed one after all the tuber ware and silverware I had lost at school or had to throw away. If you aren’t buying new tuber ware every couple months you probably aren’t trying hard enough to gain weight. Hard gainers need to realize gaining weight it going to be HARD! It isn’t going to be easy like it is for some people but that is not an excuse. If there is a will there is a way!
Here is a sample of what my meals for a day would like look when I went from 185 pounds to 215 in one off-season.
Shake w/ 1.5 C old fashion oatmeal, 1 scoop whey protein, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 banana.
6 whole eggs and 2-3 pieces of toast with butter(lots of butter).
1 pound of chicken, 1 cup peas or green beans and 2 cups rice with butter (lots of butter).
Shake w/ 1.5 C old fashion oatmeal, ½ scoop whey protein, 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 banana.
Shake w/ 1.5 C old fashion oatmeal, 1 ½ scoop whey protein, waxy maize, maltodextrin and 1 banana.
I would typically make around 2-3 pounds of chicken or steak and eat as much as I could of it throughout the remainder of the night with brown rice or potatoes and veggies. Normally 2 or 3 meals.
1 cup cottage cheese or 2 scoops casein protein