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    #1 TIP FOR "HARDGAINING" BEGINNERS [Quality Over Quantity. Keep it SIMPLE!]

    Are you a hard gainer or are you just making it hard on yourself to make gains? As someone who has lived the skinny guy life, I know what you're struggling with when it comes to gaining weight and building muscle. I've gone through all the frustrations and I've made all the mistakes. So today, I want to share the best piece of advice I could give you that I wish someone had told me when I first started, so you could speed past all these road bumps and progress through your transformation without a hitch.

    So right off the bat, what are the two biggest factors that will have a major impact on the quality of your transformation? Diet and exercise! Not surprisingly, what are the two biggest factors that most people overcomplicate when it comes to fitness? You guessed it: Diet and exercise! These two things commonly get completely blown out of proportion and lead to extremely overwhelming expectations out of yourself. More often than not, overwhelming you to the point where you don't even want to pursue it anymore! It happened to me numerous times and I don't want it to happen to you.

    But why does it happen? Well, I can tell you it's because you're getting bad advice. How do I know? Because I was given the same horrible advice you're probably being given now. Overgeneralized, blanket statements, that sound like they make sense but are really hurting you in the long run. You know what I'm talking about! Things like, "You wanna get big? Eat big! Lift big! Get big!" You're expected to see quality results from eating tons of food, lifting heavy ass weight for hours on end, and those two things put together are going to get you gains. On paper, it sounds like a great formula, right? It's simple enough. And I'm all for simple. But this is the wrong kind of simple because advice like this demands that you put quantity over quality. You should NEVER put quantity before quality. Let me explain why:

    When it comes to your diet, you don't have to be eating tons and tons of food to see results. Absolutely not. You don't have to eat "a lot", you only have to eat "enough." And that "enough" part of your eating better be properly balanced in nutrition if you want to see good results. Bottom line is, if you put crap into your body, you're going to get crap out of it. You do not have to eat bland, non appealing foods either. You don't even have to eat any special organic or magical foods. Just find the macronutrient balance that works best for you within your small muscle building caloric surplus and create a balanced nutrition out of that. I generally recommend a 50/50 balance in life boosting foods versus comfort foods. Your weight gain surplus should only take about 300-500 calories over your maintenance intake and you can easily find that with a little trial and error. The biggest pitfall of the "eat big to get big" formula is that since quality is thrown out the window, the amount of quantity becomes the focus and almost always ends up in unnecessary large amounts of fat gains. You don't have to get fat to build muscle guys! If you're getting fat, you're eating too much. First, focus on establishing the base of a quality diet. Once you've got that in place, then you could start considering increasing the quantity of it if need be.

    Your workouts should be approached in the same way. If you're going to be doing this naturally, you can either workout hard or you can workout long, but you can't do both. Trust me. So if it's between the two, you better workout hard! Despite what you may have heard, it doesn't take 3 hour workouts to see results. It doesn't take 2 hour workouts to see results. Hell, it doesn't even take 1 hour workouts to see results. You should be able to complete a solid structured muscle building training routine in or around 40 minutes. If you workout in multi-hour sessions, especially as a newbie, you're doing more harm than good. In 40 minutes, you can get 20 quality sets of exercise done. That's 1 minute of time per working set and 1 minute of rest time in between. 2 minutes per set x 20 sets = 40 minutes. Even if you added 10 more sets to your routine to bring it to 30, you'd still be able to get it done within an hour following this guideline. And avoid being an ego lifter! Don't lift heavier than you need to just to stroke your own ego. By doing that, you're putting pressure and tension everywhere on your body except where it matters most: your muscles! Your muscles won't grow if you're not working them and you can bet that you're not working them if you're ego lifting. Don't work your ego, work your muscles!

    Here are a few simple guidelines to get you rolling:
    For your diet:
    To get a good estimation of your maintenance calories, multiply your body weight (in pounds) by a number between 12-14.
    12 = you are not active at all
    13 = you are moderately active
    14 = you are very active every day
    Once you've multiplied those two numbers, the answer you get will be a rough estimation of the amount of calories you need to consume in order to maintain your current weight. To start GAINING weight, add 300-500 calories to that number. Your aim should be about .5 pound per week. It doesn't seem like much, but that amounts to 2 pounds per month and 24 pounds per year. That's a TON of weight and it will include a lot LESS fat gains than you'd typically experience with a higher surplus. Discipline, patience and consistency are your main allies here.

    For your workouts:
    Keep it short and simple! Do what you need to and be done with it.
    As a general recommendation, I'd say start off with 20 sets per training session and gradually up it to 25-30 after a few weeks of settling into familiarity with your exercises. Train in a 3 day split with a good balanced combination of body weight exercises and compound and isolation resistance training. Here's a good beginner's routine (sets x reps):
    Day 1: Chest/Back/Traps
    Bench Press: 3x10
    Push Ups: 3x10
    Chest Flies: 2x10
    Lat Pull Downs: 2x10
    Pull Ups: 2x10
    Rows: 3x10
    Shrugs: 2x10
    Deadlifts or Rack Pulls: 3x10

    Day 2:
    Shoulder Press: 3x10
    Side Lateral Raise: 2x10
    Rear Lateral Raise: 2x10
    Dips: 3x10
    Close Grip Bench Press: 3x10
    Tricep Extensions: 2x10
    Chin Ups: 3x10
    Curls: 2x10

    Day 3:
    Squats: 4x10
    Lunges: 4x10
    Leg Press: 4x10
    Calf Raises: 4x10
    Stiff Leg Deadlifts: 4x10

    Always focus on completing a full range of motion for each exercise and movement. Never sacrifice form for resistance. It's not about how much you lift, it's about how you lift it! Do not worry about just getting a weight from Point A to Point B, but focus on the quality of the contraction between Point A and Point B. Time under tension is just as important as the tension itself. Make sense?

    When it comes down to it, most guys fail because they're simply trying to do "too much" instead of just doing "enough." There's a minimum effective dose for everything guys. A minimum effective dose for medicine, a minimum effective dose for cooking, and yes, even a minimum effective dose for muscle building. There's no need to overcomplicate things. Your major role players are always going to be the fundamentals and the basics. Focus on perfecting those instead of taking on the latest fad or gimmick.

    I hope some of this "simplicity" talk had an impact on you and how you're going to approach your transformation moving forward. For more detailed advice on how to overcome your hard gainer attributes and transform your skinny guy life, follow the link in my signature to my free YouTube Training Series designed specifically for beginners and hard gainers alike. I'm all about keeping it simple and focusing on the fundamentals. Let me know what you guys think. I'm here to help!
    Not here for you to follow my transformation. Here to help you create YOURS.

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