Are you the skinny, slim, hard-gaining guy trying to bulk up while everyone around you is desperately trying to decrease their body fat percentage? We know what you’re thinking: Gaining weight is not easier than losing it. Thought for some it can prove to be a struggle, that’s a common misconception that we’re here to settle. If no matter what you eat or how heavy you lift isn’t giving you the results you want, don’t worry, we have the top tips to help you bulk up cleaner, faster and more efficiently than you thought possible.

Low Reps, Heavy Weightheavy barbellThe most effective training approach for bulking up is to perform fewer reps with each rep at its maximum strength. The weight you are lifting should be heavy enough to allow you to do 4-6 reps of each exercise, but not be able to do more than 8. It’s all about quality, not quantity this time.

Target Large Muscle Groupsshoulder press‘Your body is one, so train it like that’. Say goodbye to isolation exercises and hello to compound exercises. Bicep curls and tricep extensions are nowhere near as effective as shoulder presses, for example. Compound exercises allow for more muscle recruitment with each rep, which is exactly what you want.

Eat Lots (and Well)peanut butter sandwichDespite popular belief, bulking up doesn’t mean you can have four extra cheese pizzas and 12 chocolate bars a day. You need to space your meals evenly throughout the day so that you are eating something every 3-4 hours, never allow your body to start using its reserves as fuel.

In order to make sure you are taking in more calories than you are using up throughout the day, eat mostly calorie dense foods. Most hardgainers will need about 44 calories per kilogram of body weight each day. So, if you weigh 60kg, you need 2,640 calories to pack on muscle. Nuts, nut butters, avocados, oats, and milk are your best friend from now on.

If you tend to feel full faster, try looking at liquid calories. Pre and post workout protein shakes are a great option and will make you feel less full while giving you the calories and nutrients you need.

RecoverMan Drinking after Exercise ca. 2001Many fitness experts will argue that progress is just as dependent on recovery as much as the time you spend at the gym. After all, you destroy muscle in the gym and rebuild it outside. You need to make sure you are resting efficiently so that your body can repair and rebuild its muscles. Eat well, sleep enough, listen to your body and never over-train.

Bulking up is a tough job, but definitely not impossible if you give it your all.