While gaining too much muscle is unhealthy, as it is a continuous metabolic stress on the body, and more importantly, the training volume and frequency necessary to gain said muscle mass, is extremely unhealthy and will age you quicker while subtracting years of your life expectancy – however, being a skinny fat and/or underweight and fragile pencil neck is not really healthy either.
With that said, any kind of excessive training is very unhealthy, especially ‘cardiovascular training,’ as in ‘endurance training,’ like jogging, running, bicycling, or playing any kind of physical sport. The unnatural amount of stress will take its toll.
With that said, many men, and even women, want to pack on a few pounds of muscle mass, mostly for aesthetic purposes to look a bit better to the opposite sex, and/or to be able to handle some physical stress better – and many of them struggle, doing unnecessary amounts of stressful training all while remaining underweight. In the fitness industry, they call them ‘hardgainers.’
So, this morning, I happened upon an article over at T-Nation from Gareth Sapstead, who I never heard about, but allegedly is an “elite coach,” so he must know his training and nutrition stuff, right?
His article is called “Scrawny No More!” with a big exclamation mark at the end, so he certainly means business. So, let’s see how the ‘fitness industry’ and bodybuilding coaches of 2023 tackles this “hardgainer” stuff.
He begins with the usual rhetoric of genetics, a pseudo-science never proven. A better word for it would in this case be “physical prerequisites,” as it comes down to how well you developed as a fetus during your mother’s pregnancy and the years after you were born and developing as a child and a teenager. If your mother consumed crap and was stressed, your development would be compromised. If you were not breastfed for at least 2-3 years and had plenty of meat, you did not get enough nutrition to fully develop post birth. Both scenarios would set limitations to both your physical appearances (height, bone structure, head size and shape, shoulder width, etcetera,) and also organ function and thus your hormonal status. I’ve written about this in the past and how it affects the development of a child. And this is also why the silly “transvestigation” by shills in the “truther community” is so hilarious, as they are totally clueless about these factors and the enormous differences there are in any of the sexes when it comes to head development and bone structure, including hips and angles (and I covered that in another article.)
With that said, anyone can build some muscle mass and look somewhat like an athlete without problem. So, let’s continue.
He claims he worked with many ‘hardgainers,’ and then he proceeds to point out their common problems and fixes.
1. Eat More Calorie and Nutrient-Dense Foods
Here he says that, “true hardgainers burn more calories through non-exercise physical activity, but that simply means they need a higher calorie intake.”
Well, hopefully he means ‘energy’ as a ‘calorie’ is a unit of measurement of heat energy, totally irrelevant to food and human physiology. But yes, eating enough, and especially ‘nutrient-dense’ food is the key to gaining body weight, as in muscle mass. However, simply eating more of what you currently are eating is most likely very stupid as most people don’t know how or what to eat. Also, if you have been eating junk, your digestive system will be compromised and that will need some attention in order to actually absorb nutrients.
Then he gets into “calorie counting,” and that “you need to work out your target calories and food amounts and hit that daily.” And then he adds insult to injury by suggesting “nuts, nut butters and tahini, healthy oils for cooking and dressings.”
No, nuts are extremely toxic, ridden with defense chemicals and antinutrients and there is no such thing as “healthy oils.” All oils derived from seeds, as in ‘vegetable oil’ or avocados, are extremely toxic, rancid, full of aldehydes, and contraindicated to the human diet. What you need for energy, as in fueling your body, is animal fats, as in fatty cuts of meat, tallow, lard, egg yolks, butter/ghee, and so on. That is also the only source of bioavailable nutrition, as in ‘nutrient-dense’ foods.
Then he goes into tracking your macronutrients, as in protein, fats, and “carbs.” Here he claims that “we should use a baseline of 1 gram of protein for every pound of TARGET body weight. So, if your target is 200 pounds, aim for 200 grams of protein every day.” Well, that might be sufficient, but you can go a bit higher, especially if your digestive system might be compromised from consuming vegetables, carbohydrates, and especially devastating fiber.
Then he tells us to “aim for 0.3 to 0.6 grams of fat per pound of target body weight, depending on individual preference and tolerance. If your target is 200 pounds, that’s 60-120 grams of fat per day from a variety of sources such as nuts, avocados, olive oil, and oily fish.”
Wow, this guy is totally ignorant and still trapped in the 80’s and 90’s pseudo-science of the big fat scare. No Mr. “Elite Coach,” that is way too little fat, even if you would be dumb enough to consume some carbohydrates. Also, again, you are totally ignorant of how toxic seed/vegetable oils are. While fatty fish is excellent on occasion, all your fats should come from animal foods only as mentioned previously, and the minimum, no matter what ‘macros’ you follow, would be around 0.8 grams per pound of body weight. Actually, when gaining weight, since no one should ever consume carbohydrates, I would say a minimum of 1.2 grams of fat per pound of ‘target’ body weight and go from there. Just add more if your body weight is stalling.
And then he gets to carbohydrates, which is toxic and an enormous stress on the body. Sure, they will help you to gain weight, especially fat weight, but at the cost of your health and longevity.
So, do not fall into that trap of indulging carbohydrates believing that it is necessary or even required. It certainly is not, just the opposite. I have countless of articles explaining this, so simply check the links in the text and at the bottom within the “related posts.”
Well, so far, this article by the alleged “elite coach” reads as any bullocks I’ve seen for the last 40 years or so. Mostly bro-science and pure nonsense. Let’s see if he can redeem himself.
2. Drop the Long Workouts
Here he actually gets it right. To quote, “feeling tired or spending hours in the gym has nothing to do with the message you’re trying to send your body. More often than not, it sends the wrong message. Also, don’t spend more than 50-60 minutes lifting.”
Yes, when I coached within the bodybuilding and fitness industry, which I did for more than 25 years, my training programs never exceeded 50 minutes. Most of the time, each session could be done in 35 to 40 minutes, and for competing athletes, the training volume was no more than 5 to 6 workouts a week, again, never exciding 50 minutes per training day. Also, my athletes never did any kind of cardiovascular training. The only ‘complement’ a few of them did was a few sessions of interval training, ranging from 8 to 15 minutes in total.
3. Cut Conventional Cardio
Here he says that, “Heart health and work capacity are important. Cardio and conditioning workouts undoubtedly help. But when your goal is to gain weight and build maximum muscle, you need all the calories and nutrients you can spare. Additionally, there are certain biochemical pathways activated during cardio-type exercise that can “shut off” your ability to build muscle.”
Nah, a small amount of natural physical work/labor (or some weight-training) and some walking on a weekly basis is all you need for a solid “cardiovascular” base. Doing anything unnatural to try to increase “cardiovascular conditioning” is an unnecessary stress, especially if you go jogging or running. Even worse if you use it to reduce body fat, as that is a mechanic of diet and fasting.
And yes, cardiovascular training/exercise will interfere with gaining weight, especially muscle mass.
And that was all he had. Again, we see that most of these “coaches” are totally clueless about proper human species-specific, species-appropriate nutrition, while they are more versed in the “science” of exercise, something that is actually really unhealthy and damaging as soon as you go above a moderate level, as in most cases of people actually hiring said coaches. Funny how that works. You hire a coach to add some muscle mass and to get “fit and healthy” and then you get a nutrition program based on toxic slave foods with even more toxic man-made supplements, alleged ‘super foods,’ and a stressful over the top exercise program on top of that.
Just as the ‘health care’ business is the complete opposite of ‘health care,’ so is the fitness industry for the most part.
For more on gaining weight, as in muscle mass, check this article: