You Are Not A Hardgainer

Posted by Nat Olympus on

If you think you're a hard-gainer then you are wrong.

Hard-gainers generally do not exist.

What actually does exist is this:

Those who don't consume enough calories. 


Those who train poorly.

If you don't consume enough calories, then guess what? 

You're not going to put on muscle.

Unless, that is, you're brand new to lifting weights.

But even newbie gains don’t last long.

Once you’re a bit more experienced, unless you start doing the right things, then your growth and development will stall.

This is because the #1 thing you need to do to build muscle consistently after you’ve had your newbie gains, is consume more calories than your body needs to maintain weight. I.e. a calorie surplus.

Forget protein.

Forget carbs.

Forget creatine.

Forget BCAAs.

Forget glutamine.

Forget pre-workouts.


The number 1 thing for muscle hypertrophy is sufficient calories. 

But that's not the end of it. This is where it gets neat.


Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything that is not sleeping, eating, or sports-like exercise. (1)

NEAT is: "...the most variable component of energy expenditure, both within and between subjects, ranging from 15% of total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) in very sedentary individuals to 50% or more of total daily energy expenditure in highly active individuals." (2)

You get that?

NEAT could account for up to 50% (or more) of the total daily energy expenditure in highly active individuals. 

Let’s get this straight.

The bricklayer, gardener, carpenter etc who works hard manually all day, walks to the shops for lunch, goes to the gym in the evening, does his own cooking, walks the dog etc is going to use way more calories, than, lets say; an office worker, who gets in his car at his home driveway, drives to work, sits at a computer desk all day, has lunch at his desk and then returns home to dinner on the table and a night in front of the tv.

NEAT is highly variable and can make up a large amount of additional calories used day by day.

Things that come under NEAT include the following:

Doing the laundry. 

Doing the dishes.

Walking the dog.

Sex (this may take longer for some than others).

Travelling to work

Walking to the shops.

Brushing the yard.

Splitting logs.

And everything else that isn't strictly exercise but uses energy.

Even standing and sitting.


If your NEAT puts you in a calorie deficit, despite your efforts with high protein, adequate carbs/fat, and all the supplements in the world, then unfortunately your efforts are just an exercise in futility.

Those with higher NEAT may include:

Builders, labourers and contractors.

Personal trainers and fitness instructors (Especially group instructors).

Manual labour workers. Such as council workers and mechanics.

Workers who must walk long distances.

Those with hyperactivity.

Fidgeting buggers. (Not sure what the plural is...fidgeters perhaps?)

Agricultural workers.

Those with lots of muscle mass.

House wife/husband.


Essentially, anybody who uses a lot of energy doing daily tasks, chores, leisure activities or within their employment role.

Not many outside of nutrition circles have heard of NEAT, but it may just be the single piece of the puzzle that you're missing.

If you think you’re a hard gainer you’re probably wrong, you’re just not consuming enough calories to get bigger.

Luckily for you, here at Olympus Health we have put together the solution.

Introducing HERCULES Mass Gainer a super high calorie protein shake. 

Packed with a whopping 65g of protein and 1178 calories + the required 5g daily dose of creatine monohydrate.

Not only is this a supreme amount of calories per shake but also research suggests that calories attained from liquid sources are not as filling as those from solid food.

Ultimately, this means that you may be able to consume more calories when using liquid foods rather than solid food alone. 

This shake is perfect for those self confessed hard-gainers and will go a long way to offsetting the amount of calories you burn day by day.

HERCULES Mass Gainer is our best selling product and sometimes stock is limited so grab it whilst you can.
All in one mass gainer



What about training?

Training for size

Even if your training blows then you can still gain muscle and strength with training, especially if you're new to lifting weights. 

But if it really blows, and I mean hurricane level blows, then you need to sort that out first and foremost. 

If you truly believe you're a hard-gainer or you generally struggle to put on muscle, I personally recommend dropping the split routines (Bro splits - i.e. chest/triceps, back/biceps and legs/shoulders) and try out a full body routine or DUP in which you work the same body parts multiple times per week. The extra frequency might just be all you need.

To keep things simple here's a free bonus program which will grow the whole body and build strength in the big 3 lifts with only 3 days per week worth of training + it’s suitable to pretty much anyone.

Monday (Hypertrophy)

High bar squat 3x8 
Romanian deadlift 3x8 
Incline Press 3x8
Lat Pulldown 3x8
T Bar Row 3x8
Shoulder Press 3x8
Ez Bar Curl 3x8
Tricep Pushdown 3x8

Wednesday (Power/Hypertrophy)

Low Bar Squat 6x2
Deadlift 4x2
Bench Press 6x2
Leg Press 3x12
Pull Up 3x10
Underhand reverse bench press 3x8

Friday (Strength)

Low Bar Squat 5x5
Deadlift 3x3
Bench Press 5x5

Enjoy the piss-easy gains. 


P.S. Take the mass gainer and consume enough calories and you'll put on muscle and strength using the above program in a matter of weeks, even if you are a hard-gainer... whatever that is.

Mass gainer


Nathaniel Brown is a freelance fitness blogger, personal trainer, online coach, educator and sports nutritionist with over 10 years worth of experience working in the field of health, fitness and education.

For coaching or programming you can contact Nathaniel personally by emailing

Alternatively, for free hacks and advice.

You can follow him on Facebook



Share this post

← Older Post