I’m a hard-gainer on a high-protein diet. But I’m still not adding much muscle mass compared with my training partner. How much more protein should I add?
You didn’t tell us how much you’re consuming, so let’s say you weigh about 160 pounds and you’re consuming at least a gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. You may even be taking in considerably more protein than this. So the question you really want an answer to is: What adjustments should I make to my diet to add more muscle mass?
EMPHASIZE THE RIGHT CARBS
While you can get away with a certain amount of junk food as a hardgainer, specific types of carbs are important for supporting insulin release at the time of day when you want it and others when you don’t. Get 30 to 50 grams of dextrose (or sucrose) immediately after you finish every workout (with the same amount of protein). This will help refeed muscles for much better recovery and growth. At other times of the day emphasize complex carbs such as yams, brown rice, and oatmeal as well as starchy ones such as pasta and bread. You need to get in at least 300g of carbs daily. Target even more until you start adding more body fat than muscle mass.
GET 30 TO 50 GRAMS OF DEXTROSE (OR SUCROSE) IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOU FINISH EVERY WORKOUT.
CONSUME MORE DIETARY FATS
The good news for hard-gainers is that they can take in more fats than those who are trying to reduce body fat. You can choose fattier types of meat and drink whole milk to help you achieve this.
CONSUME MORE TOTAL CALORIES
Everyone gains when they consume enough calories. You should consume 20 to 22 calories for each pound of body weight every day. That means somewhere between 3,200 and 3,520 calories per day for a 160-pound male. You have to eat multiple meals a day to overcome hard-gainer status.
HIT IT AND QUIT IT
Keep in mind that training harder and longer burns more calories. Hard-gainers need to work out with intensity about four times a week for no more than 60 minutes per session. Beyond that, you’re merely tearing down muscle tissue and creating a need for the consumption of more nutrients.