Listen up, hardgainers. You’re not alone. The majority of bodybuilders are in that unflattering category’which is the reason they got into bodybuilding in the first place. They were tired of being puny, pushed around and mistaken for walking buggy whips. They wanted to fill out their physiques with pounds of raw muscle. Unfortunately, most hardgainers’ genetics are more suited to running marathons than to becoming mastodons. Supplement companies zero in on their get-big longing with promises of huge muscle gains and wild strength increases’but is it all really just a lot of hope, hype and hoopla?
Yes and no. Supplements may not be the key to a Mr. O body, but they can be a large piece of the hardgainer solution, creating gains that hardgainers thought they could never make. To get results, however, you have to analyze why you’re a hardgainer and then use the supplements that solve your specific problems, rather than using every supplement in the book.
The first step any hardgainer should take to accelerate progress is to eat more nutritious calories and more meals. Six meals a day is the norm for almost any serious bodybuilder, with 20 to 40 grams of protein at each of those feedings. If you don’t get enough calories and protein, your hardgainer metabolism will chew up muscle for energy’and then you’ll be in the vicious circle of training, building some muscle and then burning it off before it can accumulate. Such is the nature of the hardgainer energy furnace.
One solution to the need for frequent feedings is meal replacements, and one of the best formulas for that purpose’developed specifically for hardgainers’was created by a nutrition guru who emerged in the late 1950s. His name was Rheo Blair, n’ Irvin Johnson, and his dietary concepts were based on a frequent intake of milk-and-egg protein in a base of specific fats. While his radical strategies were ferociously attacked and ridiculed by the majority, they proved their merit again and again, transforming hundreds of bodybuilders who had been struggling to put on muscle. Hardgainers became easy gainers in a matter of weeks. Blair presented his ideas in Iron Man magazine, with many before and after photos as proof, and he eventually catapulted muscle-building nutrition to a new level that set the stage for unprecedented gains by almost everyone who went with his program. His strategies worked like magic, but as the drug culture was ushered in, they were forgotten, and bodybuilders gained on almost any nutrition-and-training program.
Today Blair’s ideas are being rediscovered, especially by drug-free hardgainers. Thanks to companies like Muscle-Link, with its Muscle Meals meal replacement, hardgainers can experience the success many of Blair’s students achieved. Muscle Meals was designed as an updated version of the Blair formula, with a fusion of various proteins, such as whey and micellar casein, that research has shown produce both fast anabolic uptake and a slow anticatabolic trickle-feed effect.1 It also contains egg protein and is packed with vitamins, minerals and glutamine peptides’10 grams per serving’with no aspartame. Oh, and it tastes delicious. (One bodybuilder said he had a flavorgasm every time he used Muscle Meals.)
A balanced meal-replacement powder mixed in water’or milk if you’re seriously calorie deficient’is perfect for between real-food meals, just as Blair suggested with his formula. Muscle Meals protein fractions are designed with human mother’s milk (one of the most anabolic substances on earth’babies can double their bodyweight in a matter of weeks) as the blueprint.2
Muscle Meals also contains essential fats, just as the Blair formula did, and lactoferrin, a potent protein fraction that can cut the time required for tissue repair in half. You see why it’s the core supplement for those wanting to explode out of the hardgainer ranks.
Of course, eating often and getting the right protein and healthful fats at regular intervals are only part of the equation. You also have to control your endocrine system.
Stop Burning Your Precious Muscle Tissue!
Cortisol is a catabolic stress hormone that’s been connected to everything from heart disease to ulcers. Bodybuilders are familiar with it because when cortisol is high, the body eats its own muscle for energy, an effect that’s part of the fight-or-flight mechanism. Cortisol is an emergency response by your body, and it’s devastating to muscle growth. Man’s four-million-year-old evolutionary biology accounts for your overproduction of cortisol. It’s one of the by-products produced as your body prepares its defenses. Every time you encounter stress, your body produces cortisol and smothers muscle growth. That’s one of the reasons high-strung people, a.k.a. hardgainers, have a hard time putting on weight’too much cortisol smothers muscle growth. It’s like throwing a wet blanket on a campfire. Stressors, such as your job, relationships, finances’plus intense training’over-amp your stress circuits, causing cortisol levels to rise and remain elevated. Fortunately, phosphatidylserine, a soy-based lipid, has been shown to control cortisol, disarming the catabolic bomb and enabling you, the hardgainer, to break through old genetic-cortisol limitations and unleash your mass potential. A study done at California State University, Chico, established the ability of phosphatidylserine, or P.S., to significantly reduce blood cortisol during and after the kinds of workouts bodybuilders do.3 Fahey’s study built on prior Italian research that found that P.S. lowers the cortisol produced as a result of endurance exercise.
P.S. is a breakthrough bodybuilding supplement, especially for hardgainers, because a big part of their problem is cortisol and its muscle-wasting effect. If you can keep your cortisol from becoming abnormally high, you stoke your anabolic environment’and that’s a bodybuilding boon for any trainee looking to build maximum muscle.
Unleash an Anabolic Surge
If you’re a hardgainer, muscle-cell volume is exactly what you’re looking for, and creating an insulin surge with the appropriate nutrients right after you train can increase muscle by leaps and bounds. The time immediately after your workout is known as the anabolic window, and at that time you need to get enough fast carbs and protein to spike your insulin to drive muscle-building amino acids into your muscle cells. You want about 60 grams of fast carbs, usually some type of sugar or fruit juice, and about 40 grams of fast protein, such as whey protein.
Rather than mixing a concoction, you may want the convenience of a premixed powder’like RecoverX. It gives you hydrolyzed whey protein, which is a superfast form of whey; fast carbs; glutamine peptides, the most potent form of glutamine, which is the most prevalent amino acid in muscle tissue; and L-arginine, which can open up blood vessels for better nutrient delivery. Arginine also helps muscles store more glycogen, and it’s linked to growth hormone release. One serving of RecoverX immediately after you train can boost your muscle gains significantly.
What about creatine? It works for most trainees, and the best time to take it is with your postworkout drink. Creatine affects the anaerobic energy mechanisms in the muscle, which means it can help you train harder. It can also increase muscle volume, possibly through water retention in the muscle cells. Reports of 10-pound muscle gains after just a few weeks of creatine supplementation are not uncommon, especially in athletes who don’t eat a lot of red meat, a high-creatine food.
The best form of the compound currently available is titrated creatine. It completely dissolves in water and then provides maximum absorption by altering the pH of the stomach, much as the effervescent versions of creatine do’but without the expense. Some creatine mixtures, like Muscle-Link’s CreaSol, you can put directly into your postworkout shake. So why didn’t Muscle-Link simply put the water-soluble kind in the RecoverX formula? Many people like to cycle their creatine, a good strategy considering the studies that suggest its continued use can lead to receptor-site shutdown and decrease its effectiveness. Here’s what the Physician’s Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements says about chronic creatine use:
‘Chronic creatine supplementation in rats downregulates creatine transporter protein expression. If this is also the case in humans, then chronic creatine supplementation would lead to lower amounts entering cells at any given time.’
So your best bet is to cycle creatine for optimal results, using it for eight to 12 weeks and then stopping for three weeks. When you cycle off creatine, however, you don’t want to stop using RecoverX. You still want its postworkout anabolic acceleration.
True, quality supplements can be pricey, but the IRONMAN Research Team is here to help. We’ll get you a two-month supply of all the above hardgainer core supplements at a deep discount so you can crush the hardgainer tag into so much dust without going broke. We call it the Hardgainer Eradicator Special. Here’s what you get:
‘Three 20-packet boxes of Muscle Meals meal replacement (choose vanilla, chocolate or creamy orange), a $120 value.
‘Three 60-capsule bottles of Cort-Bloc, the phosphatidylserine cortisol-control supplement, a $120 value.
‘Three four-pound canisters of RecoverX postworkout supplement, a $120 value.
‘Two bottles of CreaSol, the water-soluble, completely dissolvable titrated creatine supplement that you can put right into your RecoverX drink, a $40 value.
Add it all up and it comes to $400, but you can get everything listed through the IRONMAN Research Team for only $299.95. (Keep reading; there’s more.)
What about training? You can’t make the best gains without precision workouts, and genetically challenged individuals have special needs, considering their low neuromuscular efficiency and endurance-oriented muscles. To make extraordinary gains in muscle size, they require specific techniques, like drop sets, supersets and full-range bodypart hits. It’s all outlined in the new Hardgainer Size Surge, which is yours free if you order the Hardgainer Eradicator Special now. It lists step-by-step routines in a 10-week muscle-building program and has descriptions and illustrations of every exercise so you make faster gains. Plus, there are exercise templates you can photocopy and take to the gym to record your workout poundages, sets and reps. It’s a complete handbook that’ll have you busting out of your hardgainer shell.
Jump on this offer pronto, and you’ll get all the supplements listed above plus the book, a $15 value, for only $299.95. Now you’re savings more than $100! The book even includes supplement-use suggestions in the Hardgainer Size Surge Diet on page 41 so you know exactly how and when to take what for the best gains possible. Call 1-800-447-0008 and ask for the Hardgainer Eradicator Special today. Gear up for a 10-week commitment to make your best gains ever, and get ready to pack your frame with more muscle ASAP. Products can still be ordered after the special is over by dialing the above number or going to Home-Gym.com. Even if the limited-time offer is done, you can still find some great savings.
1 Boirie, Y. (1997). Dietary protein quality influences postprandial protein utilization. Repro Nutr Dev 37:337.
2 Vigi, V. (1994). Milk formulae for normal infant. II. Recommendations, energy, physical characteristics and protein composition. Acta Paediat. 402 (Suppl):18.
3 Fahey, T.D., and Pearl, M.S. (1998). The hormonal perceptive effects of phosphatidylserine administration during two weeks of weight-training-induced overtraining. Biol Sport.
Editor’s note: Remember, you get three 20-packet boxes of Muscle Meals, three 60-capsule bottles of Cort-Bloc, three four-pound canisters of RecoverX, two bottles of CreaSol and the free booklet Hardgainer Size Surge for only $299.95 (you save $115) for a limited time. Call 1-800-667-4626, ask for the IRONMAN Research Team Hardgainer Eradicator Special, and prepare to terminate the hardgainer tag forever. All products also available at Home-Gym.com. IM