Hard- Gainer Struggles: Solutions to those Skinny Problems

Hard- Gainer Struggles: Solutions to those Skinny Problems
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I often get asked, what should I eat to lose weight, how much should I eat, more carbs, less, fat? The questions don’t end, but one question that recently came up has got my brain turning. “I’m naturally thin, and I don’t gain weight easily, but I want curves. How can I get them?”

In the fitness world this is more commonly seen in male magazine, trying to bulk up those skinny tween boys. What I haven’t seen very often is a magazine, video, or article specifically answering this question for the thin girl or women. It’s almost like they got skipped over because they are skinny, so they must be happy, right? Wrong.

In fact 22,200 people search online for the exact phrase “How to gain weight?”

That’s an incredible number when you consider that is an exact phrase, who knows how many variations of this phrase could be searched to add to the number. My point is, this is an issue and I am here to offer some advice. I am not a nutritionist, however I do have a couple pointers to help out my skinny girls out there who dream about having a Kim Kardashian booty.


First things first, every body is different. Depending on your own body, you may have different result. That being said, let’s give it our best shot!


The Skinny: Rule #1

Your first step is to make up your mind and commit to your goals. A great goal for a thinner person hoping to gain would be to have a “Lean Mass Gain.” Lean mass is key. We don’t want to pack on unhealthy pounds, we want lean muscle. Once you have committed to this goal you will need to make some changes in your nutrition.


Woman controlling her measures using a tapeNot So Skinny: Rule #2

This might be tough for those of you who skip meals here and there, or are picky eaters, but if you really want to achieve something different than you already have then you need to make nutritional changes. Higher carbohydrate ratios augment lean mass gains. What does this mean?

You will want to achieve these ratios in your meals:

40-60% Carbs

25-35% Protein

15-25% Fat

You may ask, fat? Why fat? I’m not suggesting you go chug down milkshakes, and McDonalds, but I am asking you to eat more avocados, egg yolks, olives, nuts, peanuts, butter, coconut oil, salmon, and other fish, grass fed beef, chia seeds, ground flax seed, soybean tofu, edamame, beans, wild rice, and walnuts. These are all extremely healthy fats and should be included in your meals from now on. Choose your favorites and stick to them if you like, as long as you’re eating them!

For those of you who are looking for a little more detail on this question. It is important to note that hormones are constructed from cholesterol and other fat molecules. If you are not eating enough fat you can actually suppress normal hormone levels. This ultimately causes problems with growth and development, metabolism, reproduction, and mood.


Do You Know Your Skinny?

It’s time to get to know your own body type. Most slender people are considered an ectomorph. They usually have delicate bone structure, small shoulders and chest, and a very fast metabolism. An ectomorph by another name is a classic “Hardgainer.” Like you they find it hard to gain weight and put on mass.

Set of female body types

On the flip side, its easy for a person with an ectomorph body finds it easy to get lean.

If this sounds like you, then we highly recommend you start eating more carbohydrates to prevent muscle catabolism. Stick to the high end of the carbs, between 30-60 percent of total calories. However, please remember we do not want to rely solely on carbs. 25% of your calories should come from protein and the remainder after fat and carbs should come from fat.


What Would Jessica Rabbit Do?

Sports nutritionMany girls picture body builders loading up on ground turkey, potatoes, pasta, meat, and veggies, but they never consider their diet should be similar. And why should you, most magazines and advertisements are targeting weight loss, not weight gains. This is where you have to come out of your comfort zone and break the stereotype that girls should only eat greek yogurt and Smart Ones. Be brave, go where you haven’t gone before! Consider eating 5-6 meals a day that are proportioned with your carbs, protein, and fat in mind.




Tips for the Truly Serious Siren:

Va-Va-Voom Tip #1: Your portions don’t have to be huge if you eat more meals throughout the day. This can often help those of you who feel like you can’t possibly eat another bite.

Va-Va-Voom Tip #2: Keep snacks on hand. Healthy nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are great while your on the go. Find a healthy almond butter that pairs well with apples and other foods to keep your body building!

Va-Va-Voom Tip #3: Invest in a good protein powder. Protein is key to building lean muscle. Chances are your not getting enough protein through out the day, so get a yummy protein powder to make shakes and smoothies with. Also look into some great recipes using protein powder in other foods! Visit this cool site for ideas: http://www.proteinpow.com/

Va-Va-Voom Tip #4: Pre-make your meals. I use Sundays to make my go-to quick meals. Cook pasta, turkey burger, and more in bulk portion into containers and keep it in your fridge. This will help you stay on track with your gaining goals.


Keep your eyes out for the second part of this blog covering workout regimens and other tips to gain lean muscle mass! Please share tweet, and do your thing! It really helps bring us more readers and help more people

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A little more about Natasha Hawkins...

Experience: Division 1 Fastpitch Softball player at San Jose State. Degree: B.S in Marketing and Advertising Certifications: Certified Level 1 CrossFit Trainer Interests: She loves the way the brain works and how personalities and attitude can create a warrior of an athlete that will always persevere and make success for themselves. While she is not a certified nutritionist she studies and practices the Paleo diet and Zone eating. Quirk: I am an avid archer and hunter. Yup, it's true. I have shot archery since I could walk, and hunted with my Dad since I was born. I also have a sister (Cheridan Hawkins) who is a stud pitcher for the Oregon Ducks Softball Team and is on the Junior Olympic Team. My youngest sister Charli Hawkins trains with me at CrossFit and is also a catcher on the 12U California Grapettes. Follow Natasha on Twitter: @NatashaBHawkins