It sounds weird, right? An endomorph hardgainer? Does that even exist?
As a fellow endomorph hardgainer myself, it sucks. Absolutely sucks. I wouldn’t wish this body type on anybody.
But, you got to deal with the hand you’re dealt in life. And life isn’t fair. That’s simply the truth. No amount of whining and blaming God or government or whatever will change this reality.
So you got to suck it up and make the best of what you got. The good news is that you’re not alone here. Like I said, I have the ectomorph hardgainer genetics. I’ll teach you what I’ve learned over the years to help you maximize your muscle building potential.
I would make the argument that the endomorph hardgainer is the worst body type to have. But, anybody who struggles to build muscle will make that same argument for their own body.
So, let’s just not blame any condition for our woes. It does us absolutely no good and we’ll never make progress in the gym with a shitty mentality like that.
I’ve also never been big or fat or whatever. You would assume that this goes against the ectomorph body-type, but it doesn’t and ‘ll explain why in a minute.
If you feel that you may have a similar body type to me, then I’ll teach you how to workout if the endomorph hardgainer label does fit you. But before we do…
It’s important for you to know that I have always been a skinny-fat, 140-150 pound male.
It took me over 5 years before I started to workout correctly and add mass to my body. Yes, you read that right: 5 fucking years.
Why did it take so long?
Because with this body type, you have to do everything right or else you’ll either get too fat or lose all the muscle when you diet or take a break from the gym.
You’ll never get big and shredded with this body-type as a natural. The best you’ll ever look is the Zac Efron type from Neighbors. And that isn’t a bad look at all!
That is the Lean Warrior physique which I believe is one of the most attractive physiques to have. You’re not big at all, but you’re cut and shredded which creates the illusion that you’re big and strong.
That’s the goal to aim for when you’re the “endomorph hardgainer”. It’s the goal I teach on this website for natural lifters.
Obviously if I knew everything I did today when I started, then my story would be completely different. But, that’s part of the journey and you got to suck it up.
What Exactly Is The Endomorph Hardgainer?
Putting the words “endomorph” and “hardgainer” together sounds silly. Most people associate the endomorph with someone who gains weight easy with a fat waste. Your love handles bulge from all sides.
However, you do not have to be obese to be an ectomorph. You can be skinny-fat and have all the features of a classic endomorph. This is my exact body-type that I’ve had to deal with for years.
Here’s how to tell if you’re a skinny endomorph:
- Do you have a big ass and large thighs even if you rarely work your legs?
- Do you tend to store a lot of fat in your love handles?
- When you’re skinny, do you still have a lot of belly fat that pokes through your t-shirts?
- You might be 140 pounds, but do you still have a 34 inch waste?
- Do you find it incredibly hard to build size in your arms, shoulders and chest?
If you answered yes to these questions, then you are a skinny-fat endomorph hardgainer. Not a bad term, right? But it’s completely true and fits the description best.
An endomorph is someone who, due to their genetics, is naturally more “fatty”. Your hips are wider than others (which explains the natural fat ass) with smaller limbs.
I find it hilarious that so many people think building a butt is about doing squats and such. It’s a load of shit! Before I ever stepped foot in the gym, I already had a big ass. It’s what I get complimented on all the time by women.
They are shocked when I would tell them that I have never squatted in my life, nor worked my legs out for that matter.
Just for the record, I DO work my legs out these days. But, I abstain from squatting because I don’t need a bigger ass. I stick to quads, hamstrings and calves work, plus explosive/athlete exercises like box jumps.
But, I’m also a hardgainer. My definition of a hardgainer is simply an individual who struggles to put on muscle mass even when your diet and training is on point.
Most people tend to believe that only those skinny ectomorphs are the only hardgainers out there. Bullshit! I can guarantee that my body type struggles to add mass just as much as these ectomorphs.
While I can bulk and gain weight with a 3,000 calorie diet, I’ll add about 10 pounds of fat before I add a pound of muscle. Bulking isn’t fun because all the fat goes to my hips and waste.
Like I said before, the skinny-fat endomorph hardgainer is the worst body type of them all.
You will find it incredibly difficult to get shredded with this body type. You’ll keep leaning down and losing weight, but your belly fat doesn’t go anywhere.
This is because your body will use up every single fat store on your body before going for the belly fat and love handles. It isn’t fun.
The good news is that you’ll probably never reach obese status as a skinny-fat endomorph. Like I said, I would have to eat 3,000+ calories per day just to gain 1 pound per week (90% of it is fat).
Eating this many calories every single day for months on end is virtually impossible. You must have a serious eating problem if you find this to be an easy task.
The other issue with this body type is that we’re skinny, but a bit “doughy” as well. By contrast, those ectomorph’s who like to complain look lean year round. All they need are some defined muscles and they’ll look better than us within a few months.
This means that while struggle to put on muscle, the skinny-fat endomorph hardgainers have it much, much worse. And like I said, if we try to gain weight, more of those extra calories turn into fat than they do for those ectomorphs.
Similarly, when endomorph hardgainers try to cut body fat, a distressing amount of it is muscle. This is why after several years of lifting I would end up looking the same after dieting down.
So Who’s The True Hardgainer Here?
It’s clear to me that the true hardgainers are the skinny-fat endomorphs. The ectomorphs have it 100 times easier in my opinion. Meanwhile, the mesomorphs are too busy having it 1000 times easier and achieving great results in just a few months.
Side note: I find it disturbing that all these mesomorphs push their workout progroms that simply don’t work for endomorphs and ectomorphs. But, because these types of people are so desperate for change, the mesomorphs take advantage of that.
The reality is that anyone who claims to be a hardgainer, but isn’t of the skinny-fat endomorph, isn’t really a hardgainer. They’re just lazy. They don’t know how to eat and train properly.
On the other hand, you can eat and train properly for several years and make very minimal muscle gains as an endomorph hardgainer.
Lots of folks who find it challenging to gain muscle or lose fat tend to label themselves as hardgainers, when in fact probably less than a quarter of these people actually fit that description. This phenomenon is due to a couple of factors:
First, people believe the lies they see in commercials and ads for exercise products, and think they can build an action-movie physique in a few weeks.
Literally no one can do this naturally – not even action movie stars, who spend months slogging through grueling, professionally designed workouts and eating very clean diets just to prepare for one shirtless scene. Oh, and they also use steroids.
But you wouldn’t know this from reading most of the zillions of fitness and diet books, magazines, etc., that have flooded the market promising bull-crap.
It is obvious that all of us are deceived these days. That is why I am here to bring the truth to a specific type of person: the endomorph hardgainer.
My website probably isn’t that helpful for mesomorphs or ectomorphs. I write my articles for the skinny-fat hardgainers. That is my audience. These are the types of people I want to help since that is my body type!
Second, and probably more common, is that many people simply use the wrong approach when it comes to building muscle. They eat too much of the wrong foods, don’t exercise enough and/or in the right way, or don’t do all of the above consistently for enough time.
Is The “Hardgainer” Label A Real Thing?
Of course it is. But only if you’re skinny-fat with an ass that most women would be jealous of. Everyone else complaining about being a hardgainer? They have it easy.
Some people in life can do all the right things and yet still have a terrible time gaining muscle. This happens for a variety of reasons, all of which boil down to genetics. They include:
- A less-than-ideal p-ratio, which describes how much muscle vs. fat is burned in a calorie deficit and where those calories go (muscle or fat) when you consume a surplus.
- Below-average rate of muscle growth and/or muscle quality.
- Muscles, bones, joints, and/or tendons that are structured in a way that’s not optimal for growth.
- A below-average recovery rate and/or work capacity.
- Below average genetic ability to gain muscle over a given period of time.
- Hormone issues, especially when it comes to testosterone, thyroid hormones, and others that are important for muscle building (this one is massively overlooked).
- A higher injury rate than average.
And you could have more than one of these “features of a Hardgainer.” Perhaps you have all of them. It’s entirely possible!
So, while most people aren’t actually hardgainers despite what they might think, there are a small percentage of people who are.
It’s these people that I write for because you need to know what to do about it, especially how to approach their workout routine to build every ounce of muscle they’re genetically capable of building.
But before we get to that, first we need to talk about how not to work out.
Common Workout Mistakes Skinny-Fat Endomorph Hardgainers Make
Chances are you’ve heard most or all of the following tips for building muscle, especially for hardgainers.
- Focus on low volume, low number of sets, low number of reps to prevent “overtraining.”
- Only training each muscle group once a week, again to avoid overtraining.
- Using heavy weights exclusively, and performing most sets to failure.
- Only doing multi-joint exercises like the bench press and squat – no exercises that isolate one muscle group.
- Never using machines.
- Keeping workouts to 45 minutes or less.
- Using HIIT (high intensity interval training) often.
While I’m not going to say whether this type of training will or will not work for you, I do know what type of training is best for the skinny-fat hardgainers like myself.
Follow this advice and stick with it. You will get results, I guarantee it.
Let’s fly through it so you can get to training correctly ASAP.
How You Should Train As A Skinny-Fat Hardgainer
First things first: with this body-type, you need to get to lean. I’m talking about 8-9% body fat before you even think about adding size to your body.
Ideally, you will be lean enough so that your lower body fat is gone. You want your lower abs to be visible.
This is because with our body type, most of the weight we gain builds up around our lower belly and love handles.
As a result, getting that V-shape is incredibly difficult. This is why you want to be as lean as possible before moving into a caloric surplus to build muscle.
Trust me on this: even if you’re already skinny, it’s important that you cut as much body fat as you can before you try to add muscle.
Failure to follow this advice will result in pain later on as your cuts will need to be extended for a long period of time (which can strip away all that muscle you worked so hard to build).
Once you’re lean, your primary focus will be on progressive overload — make sure you’re routinely adding small amounts of weight to your exercises. Otherwise, you won’t get stronger.
Your primary muscle group to focus on will be the shoulders. The best muscle growth you’ll get will come from the standing overhead barbell press. It is easily the most important exercise for skinny-fat hardgainers.
But, don’t go too heavy with this exercise. Start pretty light and aim for getting 3 sets for 10 reps each.
I follow this up with 3 sets of heavy sitting dumbbell presses. The reason I go light on the overhead press and heavy on the dumbbell press is simply to prevent injury to my spine.
Therefore, follow this guidance: aim for 10 reps with light to moderate weight on the overhead press, and 5-8 heavy reps with the seated dumbbell press.
Once you’ve completed 6-8 total sets of shoulder pressing, you can do whatever you want. Just make sure you’re hitting your shoulders twice per week. I hit them once every 5 days.
I fill in the rest of my workouts with whatever body part I feel like hitting. That could be chest, arms, back, legs, etc. Performing incline bench press is a great exercise to move into after shoulder pressing.
Keep It Simple As An Endomorph Hardgainer
The advice I’ve just given you above is truly all you need to get your body moving in the right direction.
The biggest hurdle will be the initial leaning down phase. You may already be pretty damn skinny and tempted to move into a bulk.
But, until you’re at 8% body fat, don’t quit the cutting phase. You need to trust me on this. If you don’t, you’ll bulk too soon and all that fat you stripped away will come right back.
Therefore, get really lean. Once you’re lean, start to add calories SLOWLY while you progress in your lifts.
Start by adding just 200 calories and track from there. Are you gaining weight? Still losing weight? Maintaining?
The ideal situation is that you’re adding no more than 0.5 pounds of weight per week, while gaining strength in your shoulder exercises.
It’s a true trial-and-error process that has taken me 5+ years to figure out. Seriously. What I’ve taught you here has taken me forever to figure out.
The skinny-fat endomorph hardgainer is a real thing. Hopefully this guide helps you transform your body and get the results you’ve been wanting.