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Project Size: An 8-Week Hardgainer’s Muscle-Building Plan
I started my fitness journey in 2012 after I went to the beach with my wife and then-almost-2-year-old son, and my wife snapped a picture of me in my board shorts with no shirt on. When I saw the picture, I was upset.
I had no definition. My puny arms dangled at my sides, sprouting from shoulders with no form to them at all, connected to a chest that was as flat as the wet sand I was standing on. I was a scrawny dude.
I had always been skinny. This benefited me through middle school and high school, as I was a pretty good cross country and track runner specializing in the mid- to long-distance races, and I had the body and the stamina for it.
But after seeing that picture of myself that day on the beach, something in me snapped, and I decided right then I was sick of being the skinny guy.
There was just one problem. I’m a hardgainer. A hardgainer is simply someone who has a hard time gaining size and adding muscle mass – an ectomorph. We’re not blessed with the mesomorph body type that gives some guys the body of a Greek god seemingly without stepping foot in the gym.
Hardgainers seem to have the metabolism and bone structure of a desert jackrabbit.
When I began working out the week after that trip to the beach, I weighed 132 pounds. I had tried committing to working out in the past, but I would always get discouraged by how slowly results seemed to come.
But this time, I was determined to change up my approach, stick with it, and put on some serious size – for me, at least!
In the years since, I’ve dedicated myself to living a healthy, active lifestyle by working out at least five times a week, usually six. I’ve changed my diet, for health reasons (gluten intolerance) and because so much of our health is directly linked to the foods we consume.
In July 2016, I became a certified personal trainer (NASM-CPT), further enhancing my dedication to fitness and health.
And it has all paid off. I now check in at 160 pounds, hovering at 6-8% body fat (thanks metabolism!). That’s nearly 30 pounds of lean muscle I’ve packed on.
Over the years, I’ve learned through trial and error and through educating myself on workout splits, rep ranges and nutrition what worked and what didn’t when it came to achieving my goal of adding size and definition to my frame.
This workout plan, Project Size, is a compilation of the lessons I’ve learned that helped bring me the results I wanted. If you remain dedicated to this program and push yourself to go hard each and every workout, while also paying attention to what foods you consume and how much, you’ll get the results you want.