Being a hardgainer can be extremely frustrating. The hard work you put in at the gym and dinner table can at times seem to take forever to pay off. While there are many articles that talk about proper training and nutrition for hardgainers, the topic of supplementation is rarely addressed.
This article will do just that. You will be provided with a five supplements stack that will amplify your muscle building efforts, and get you on the track to faster gains. Make sure to use these supplements in combination with intense training and a rock solid diet to maximize your results.
Hardgainer Supplement #1 - Whey Protein
Whey protein is unsurpassed in its ability to provide fast acting protein that is readily absorbed and utilized by your muscles. Whey protein is also highest quality of protein available. Whey protein is a rich source of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), containing the highest known levels of any natural food source.
Whey protein is one of 2 types of protein that comes from milk (the other being casein protein). It's made during the process of cow's milk being turned into cheese. When the milk is being turned into cheese, the whey protein is a by-product.
The cornerstone of any hardgainer’s diet should be frequent protein feedings. Whey protein should be taken at minimum post-workout, and first thing in the morning. During these times the body is craving raw materials, including protein and amino acids.
Hardgainer Supplement #2 – Waxy Maize
Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for the body. You need carbohydrates to keep your energy levels up for intense training sessions. Carbohydrate supplements fall into three main categories, simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates and waxy maize starch.
Waxy maize is a modified starch, a very unique complex carbohydrate capable of being absorbed very quickly. Whereas proteins assist with muscle rebuilding, Waxy maize starch is designed to refuel and replenish glycogen stores. Waxy maize starch can be used before, during, or after training.
Hardgainers especially need to focus on pre, post and intra-workout nutrition. Taking waxy maize during a workout can help to provide an energy boost, leading to more effective training sessions. Post-workout waxy maize helps to rapidly restore energy stores, and assists with faster delivery of protein and other nutrients.
Hardgainer Supplement #3 – Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, without them the human body can't grow muscle tissue. Amino acids aid in recovery, repairing muscle tissue, and the development of new muscle tissue. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are among the most beneficial and effective supplements in any sports nutrition plan. BCAAs are the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
One of the most important amino acids is glutamine. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. It's fuel for the brain and the immune system. L-glutamine plays a key role in protein metabolism, and when supplemented can help speed up recovery times and reduce muscle breakdown (catabolism). Working out can deplete glutamine levels in the body, and glutamine supplements help restore these levels for optimum performance.
Products like Scivation Xtend, Super Amino 4800 or BC + EAA by LG Sciences can enhance muscle recovery and work to fight muscle catabolism during intense, prolonged workouts. BCAA supplementation has also been shown to improve strength and muscle mass gains.
Hardgainer Supplement #4 – Creatine
Creatine is the king of muscle building supplements. It is cost effective, and has a proven track record. Creatine monohydrate is one of the most studied supplements on the planet, and has been shown to cause dramatic increases in muscle size and strength.
Creatine has also been scientifically proven to increase energy. Supplementing with creatine gives you more instant energy (to push out those last few reps in the gym), acts as a buffer to lactic acid, increases muscle volume (users report weight gains of up to 6lbs in 2 weeks) and enhances protein synthesis.
If a hardgainer is looking for the most bang for their supplement buck, creatine is right at the top of the list.
Hardgainer Supplement #5 – Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, play a vital role in fat loss, lean muscle growth, recovery and overall health. EFAs are often overlooked when choosing supplements, but these fats can help you reach your goals faster, no matter what they are.
In a Danish Study, researchers found that EFAs taken in the right dosage can enhance stamina by 40 - 60%, improve muscular development (they are anabolic), allow more frequent training without over training symptoms, speed recovery from exhaustion and training sessions, and improve sleep in some athletes.
Often overlooked, essential fatty acids are one of the most effective supplements on the market. No hardgainer should be without them.
The Ultimate Hardgainer Stack
For more information on this potent hardgainer stack, including information on when and how to take each supplement, please read Supplements to grow on: what to take and when.