In part 1, I touched on general weight gain rules and reasons why you can’t gain weight. Now it’s time to get into workout specifics…


  1. The first thing you need to do is to stop listening to the ridiculous advice you are getting from the gym or read on a message board.


A client of mine recently told me that someone at work told him that he was working out all wrong.  He told my client that he needed to workout 5-6 days per week with higher reps.  I think he said he should be in the range of 15-20 reps…


This person apparently was quite confident about the advice he was giving my client.  Supposedly this guy did have an impressive physique.  He was the typical “listen to me if you want to look like me” advice. The guy was larger than my client so even though my client knew better and that his advice was absurd, his “unrealistic mentality” took over so he took the information seriously.  So much so that he changed his program without letting me know…until about a week later. My client was making great progress with the program I designed but he allowed this “pro” convince him that his program was inadequate.  Unfortunately it showed in his lack of further progress.

The truth is that you cannot judge the validity of what a person tells you by how they look. This guy may have been huge but it does not mean that he is giving pertinent advice for YOU. A lot of guys are big despite their training.  I know some massive guys who know very little about how to train and diet correctly. These are the type of people who will gain muscle no matter what they do.  The reality is that it doesn’t mean that you will.  It is imperative that we approach things intelligently.


Workout Routine



  1. Workout Less Frequently


Sounds easy right? It’s not.  This is one of the most difficult tactics to understand.  Reason being it involves less action instead of more. It is natural when you start a program to want to do as much as you can.  We fall into the trap of “more is better”.  Thinking all along that training more means you will gain more muscle, faster.  This is as far from the truth as you can be.

Gaining more muscle mass does not mean more training.  The purpose of training with weights is to stimulate muscle growth.  These training sessions take very little time. But afterwards the muscle needs to recover and repair.  New muscle needs to be built. The only way to achieve this is to rest.  You do not build muscle in the gym; it is built when you are not training.  If you are constantly grinding it out in the gym, breaking down muscle tissue, when will it have the time to build new muscle?  Think about that for a minute.

If you are a hard gainer like me and have a difficult time building muscle; the importance of rest increases.  People who are naturally thin require less training and more rest.


  1. Multi-Joint Exercises Are Imperative


The exercises that stimulate the most amount of muscle fibers are multi-jointed exercises. Performing multi-joint exercises work many different muscle groups unlike isolation exercises.  These are ideal for those who need to gain weight because it puts your body under the most stress. This stress will shock your nervous system causing the biggest release of muscle building hormones.  This results in greater amounts of muscle gain all over the body.

Doing isolation exercises can still be performed but it should not be the focus of your workouts.  The best way to add in isolation exercises is after you have performed your multi-joint exercises.


workout routine


  1. Focus on Using Free Weights


Why should you focus on using free weights?  There are many reasons but the most important is because they allow the stimulation of supporting muscle groups.  These stabilizers and synergistic muscles will help get you stronger and  grow much faster.  Machines can help you grow new muscle but do not activate as many muscle fibers as free weights do.  Remember, the key to growing more muscle is to activate as many muscle fibers as possible at each session.


  1. You Must Challenge Yourself


There is no doubt, and science to back it up, that lifting heavy weight will build muscle mass.  This allows you to activate the muscle fibers that cause the most amount of mass.  These fibers are called Type IIB muscle fibers. The key is to choose a weight that allows you to complete around 4-8 reps per exercise.

Using a lighter weight and doing more reps can stimulate some Type IIB fibers, but again if you have a difficult time gaining weight, why make it more difficult? You need to try and stimulate as many as you can with the use of heavy weights.


  1. Focus on the negatives..Eccentric Movement


There are two phases when you are moving a weight.  They are eccentric and concentric.  These are referred to as the negative and positive. The concentric (positive) movement is when you are pushing or flexing the muscle.  The eccentric (negative) movement is when you are lowering or extending the muscle.  There is also a midpoint which is the short pause between the eccentric and concentric movement.

For example, when doing push-ups, the positive motion is the actual pushing up motion. Once you have pushed all the way up, you hit the mid point. The negative motion begins when you start to lower yourself back down. A lot of people perform the push-up fast.  I would recommend slowing down the lowering part of the movement and explode off of the floor. Slowing down the eccentric part of the lift will help to stimulate more muscle growth. It actually activates more of the Type IIB fibers mentioned about in Rule 7.


  1. Intense But Short Workouts


The key to performing a workout that is most beneficial is the get in, stimulate your muscles, and get out.  Doing set after set and “destroying” your workout is counterproductive.  Yor goal should be to stimulate not devastate your muscles.  It is also not necessary to work your body at different angles. This should only be a concern of someone with an already developed, mature physique who is trying to improve weak areas.


If you lack pec development don’t waste your time working different portions of your chest. Just go in, use heavy weight, and perform the bench press.  You should do no more than 2-3 exercises per body part. That’s it. Doing more will not help you build more muscle. In fact it could possibly lead to muscle loss. Training sessions that last for hours cause your body to release more cortisol which can have a catabolic (breaking down) of muscle tissue. While at the same time, long training sessions suppress the hormones that actually build muscle.


Training sessions lasting longer than 60-75 minutes will NOT help you gain more muscle mass.



  1. Limit your aerobic activity and training


Although you can gain some muscle while doing aerobic sessions, if you’re a hard gainer I would suggest not doing them at all.  As you learned in Part 1 of this series, you probably have a fast metabolism already, so increasing it will not help you gain weight.  Your body needs rest in order to grow so adding in intense cardio session will not give you adequate time to recover from your weight training. I do understand that people have lives and other activities that they don’t want to give up, so it must be kept to a minimum. It won’t hurt your progress as long as you don’t over do it.

A lot of people do aerobic exercise for the wrong reason.  The do it because they want to lose body fat.  Although this holds some truth, scientific evidence tells us that you will burn more calories and lose more body fat by performing a weight training program and building lean muscle.  It is also important to remember that your body will need more calories to build muscle and getting shredded on a mass building or weight gaining program will leave you achieving nothing.


  1. Stick With The program


After my 20 something years in the fitness industry and after training hundreds of clients, I still can’t understand when someone decides to move on from a program that they’ve been having success with. This is how it usually goes down; you’ve read about an Epic training routine that is suppose to pack on pounds of lean muscle.  Even though you have been having success with your current program you decide that you want more muscle faster.  So after a few weeks you decide to vacate your successful program for the unknown.  Besides, the guy or gal in the ad looks awesome.

I have a name for these types of people, “program hoppers”.  These types of people are very exicted when starting a new program and follow it.  They are seeing results and begin to get noticed.  However these types of people are easily distracted and drop whatever they maybe doing to follow this latest “hot” trend.

As an experienced trainer my advice to you is don’t do it!  This is a bad habit to get into and usually leads to a negative outcome.  Understand that it takes time for any program to work.  Your body needs the time to adjust and then change to meet the demand of your current program.  So you must follow your current program consistently. There are many many different training methods out there.  Some of them are very interesting, but you can’t do them all!  Most of all you can’t do them all at the same time.  None of them will be effective.  So the key is to choose one that is focused on your goals and stick with it.  There will be plenty of time to try the others during you Fitness journey.  But NOT NOW!

In Part 3 of this article, I will cover your eating rules and guidelines to MAKE SURE you know how AND what to eat to build muscle mass.


If you missed Part 1 of this article click HERE to get to it!  PART 1

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