Help! I'm A Hard Gainer


I’ve been working out off and on for years. I’m what people consider a “hard gainer”. I usually end up stopping from lack of gains. Anyway, recently I bought some weight gainer (Mass xxx… or whatever the GNC brand is).. Will this help me much? I’m trying to consume about 3,000 calories a day right now.

My workout is as follows:

Day 1: Bench press, triceps extensions, and wrist curls.

Day 3: Military press, side shoulder raises, upright rows, and biceps curls.

Day 5: abs/legs? (I usually skip this day because don’t know what to do for legs…)

I was wondering if you could tell me the best exercises with my equipment. I have a bench, an E-Z curl bar, and dumbbells… I have trouble training legs because I’m not sure what to do with my equipment. I can’t get enough weight up there for squats. I do lunges sometimes. I really hate them but I’ll probably keep doing them. Thanks!



Thanks for the question.

I understand your dilemma.

It can be frustrating working out from home when you don’t have all the necessary equipment you need in order to start building muscle and gain quality weight.

The first thing that I need to point out is that in order to gain quality weight, I mean muscle mass weight and not fat, you need to improve in one of three areas.

  1. You need to get stronger;
  2. Do more repetitions; Or
  3. Do the workout faster.

This way, you are constantly improving your body and forcing your muscles to work harder. That is, you are increasing your intensity levels from workout to workout and this, is the real key to building muscle in your workouts.
To be honest, you have all the servings in the world for weight gainers but it’s not going to work if your not increasing your intensity levels from workout to workout.

You see, building muscle is a slow and gradual process of constant improvement. By forcing your body to work harder each and every workout, you force your body, and more specifically, your muscles to adapt to these new changes by getting stronger.

As your body gets stronger in order to adapt to these new intensity levels, the by product of this process is muscle growth. Your muscles have to grow in order to use up more muscle fibres.

The only reason why you want to increase the amount of calories you take in each day is to support more strength gains or other improvements. Consuming extra calories to build muscle won’t work if you aren’t improving with each of your workouts.

So, in order to answer your first question, I need to ask you a question in return. Are you improving with each passing workout? Is so, how are you improving? Now, I’m going to assume your not improving since you mentioned you stop from lack of gains. Since you workout from home, you are only limited by the amount of resistance you have.

You can only do so much with the resources you have at hand. Limited resources will usually mean limited gains. Now, I’m not saying you can’t gain quality muscle because you can, what I’m saying is that you can only take your body so far with limited resources.

For example, if you have 150 pounds worth of weight, you are limited by 150 pounds worth of weight. Let’s say you start off your bench press cycle doing 135 pounds on the bench press. Over the course of 6 weeks, you find yourself doing the same amount of repetitions with 150 pounds. This is a good thing because you’ve improved and are forcing your body to grow. However, there is no more weight to use.

Since you have no more weight, you are forced to adapt and in order to keep improving, you will need to find other ways to increase the intensity of your workouts. For example, may want to increase the amount of repetitions using the same weight or speed up your workouts. You may want to employ other techniques such as super setting, tri setting, giant setting, drop sets, pre exhaust or others.

By the looks of it, your workout is not enough to support muscle growth. Unless each of those exercises is super intense, I can see why your body isn’t growing. Also, you need to train your back and legs.

Let’s take a look at your current routine:

Day 1: Chest and triceps:

Bench press, triceps extensions, and wrist curls.

Day 3: Shoulders and biceps:

Military press, side shoulder raises, upright rows, and biceps curls.

Day 5: abs/legs

(I usually skip this day because don’t know what to do for legs…)

Unless you’re a complete beginner, this routine won’t work for those trainers looking to build muscle mass – This set up simply won’t work. Your simply not doing enough to stimulate the muscles. If you want to grow, you need to do more compound exercise work. You need to start working hard. Here’s a sample schedule:

Day 1: Chest and triceps

Day 3: Legs

Day 4: Shoulders

Day 5: Back and biceps

Your workouts will look something like this:

Day 1: Chest and triceps

Bench press
Incline dumbbell press
Bench dips between bench and milk carton or whatever you have to support your feet

Close grip bench press
Standing french press

Day 3: Legs

Sissy squats
Lunges or duck walks

Stiff leg dead lifts

Stairwell calf raises

To do duck walks, simply squat down like your drawing a picture on the floor and walk around the room in that position. Once you can do this easily, starting doing it with some weight (after two or three weeks or so).

Day 4: Shoulders

Seated barbell shoulder press
Standing side lateral raises
Bent over laterals

Day 5: Back and biceps

Chin ups with chin bar (you can get these things for 20 bucks at Walmart).
Barbell bent over rows


Standing barbell curls
Seated alternate dumbbell curls

This is a simple routine that will build muscle mass. You need to work hard each and every workout and improve with each workout. Each of the above workout shouldn’t take you anymore than 50 minutes to do. If it takes longer, than cut down on your rest time.

Once you start to perform this workout, after week one, have one of your weight gain drinks immediately after your workout. I strongly suggest you have one protein drink as soon as you wake up, one after your workout, and one before you go to bed.

Take a look at the following page for more information on gaining weight:

Gaining muscle mass

All the best,


Blake Bissaillion

Blake has been weight lifting for about 28 years now. He's 45 years of age and started seriously training when he was 18 years old.

Blake is the founder of, a successful fitness website that has been around for more than 15 years.