The Best Kinds of Supplements for Skinny Guys and Hard Gainers
Hard gainers are guys who struggle more than most trainees to put on solid muscle mass. Most hard gainers are young skinny guys, but not all. Some are older but still very skinny, despite years of working out trying to build muscle. Other types of hard gainers are young but not necessarily skinny. They put on fat more easily than muscle. In this article, we’re talking about the best supplements for skinny guys who have a hard time putting on both muscle and fat. They are your classic type of hard gainer, like me! I used to have a very hard time putting on any weight, let alone lean muscle mass, so I tried a whole whack of supplements that promised different things. It wasn’t until recent years that I finally figured out what works and what doesn’t.
The Hard Gainer Problem
The problem with skinny hard gainers is that they have very low appetites. They’re simply not hungry enough. No matter how hard they try to eat all of their target calories and protein in one day, they will have trouble sustaining it for a long period of time. Or at least for as long as their training program lasts. If they force themselves to eat one day, they won’t be able to eat again the next day or two.
This is where supplements come in to give us a much-needed boost. The trick is to limit the amount of supplement intake as much as possible but also taking just enough to ensure optimum muscle growth.
It’s important to remember that supplements are called “supplements” for a reason. They should only supplement your overall muscle building diet. Do not rely on them solely to build muscle. Instead, use them to your advantage to give you a much needed boost in your muscle gains. Skinny guys and hard gainers can especially take advantage of these supplements as we have very low appetites.
This article will discuss what the best supplements for skinny guys to take are. It will delve into each supplement and investigate how much and when to take each supplement so that full advantage is taken of these muscle building foods. This will ensure optimal absorption of the nutrients.
Hint: the list is much shorter than you might anticipate, because muscle building is not about complicating things – it should be easy and simple! My personal experience tells me that the less supplements we need to take to gain muscle, the better!
First Best Supplement for Skinny Guys: Whey Isolate Protein
Unfortunately, there’s this type of protein being sold out there aimed at skinny guys and hard gainers with the promise of what its name implies: to gain weight. Here’s the problem: a lot of times that weight is fat that travels to the belly, so you’re left with fat gains in the abdomens and no muscle gains. I’ve had skinny guys ask me why they’re not able to put on muscle in the right places (chest, arms, back, etc.) but instead gain fat in the belly. When I ask them what kind of protein they’re taking, they answer their very own question: they’re taking weight gainer protein. If you’re one of these guys taking this type of supplement, stop wasting your money and stop sacrificing your results.
I must admit that I was one of these people who got sucked into the hype of mass gainers when I first started workout out for muscle gains. But I quickly learned that they do no good.
Here’s the thing: weight gainer protein is loaded with lots of sugar to act as a source of carbohydrates, an important macronutrient needed to “feed” the muscles with the protein. However, this surplus of sugar shouldn’t be taken at all times. It should be taken during certain times to maximize muscle building. Weight gainer protein doesn’t give us the ability to control how much sugar we take and when we take it. That’s why lots of skinny guys are shocked when they take weight gainers but don’t see the results that they were expecting. Or even worse, they see fat gains in the belly.
So what’s a skinny guy supposed to do?
Whey isolate protein is the best type of protein you can take. This is whey protein in its purest form. And contrary to what you might think, you do not need the extra junk that is included in a typical weight gainer protein. Aside from not containing all of the harmful junk, pure whey isolate also packs a much higher amount of protein with each scoop. This means you don’t need to take so much at a time, unlike weight gainer protein that requires two massive scoops just to get the same amount of protein. Not to mention how awful it tastes.
So what about the need for carbohydrates? Easy – simply mix your whey isolate protein with a fruit juice of your choice, and that will be more than enough for your carbohydrate needs. Not only is it better tasting, but also healthier and easily digested by the body, unlike weight gainer protein.
Stick to all-natural whey isolate with no sucralose or other forms of sweeteners. Many protein powders contain a list of controversial additives including artificial sweeteners, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and fillers. Stay away from these as much as possible. You’re trying to build muscle, not junk.
I personally recommend un-flavoured whey isolate because I can easily mix it with any kind of juice I want (mostly strong tasting red juices like grape, cranberry, raspberry, etc.) and in any smoothie I make. You can also go for flavoured, of course – that’s just a personal preference.
Second Best Supplement for Skinny Guys: Creatine
Creatine is the metabolic component that powers short duration, high intensity training such as weight training. It is obtained naturally from meat in our diet, such as a beef streak, and is produced in the liver. When we are in the midst of a training program, our body needs more creatine to sustain the higher level of intense activity. This is where a high quality creatine supplement can be of great value to us as skinny guys (it’s hard to eat two pounds of steak every day!)
I’ll save you all of the technical jargon, but just know that lots of research has been done to clearly demonstrate that creatine speeds up recovery and increases strength with improvement in short-term performance in as little as seven days. It also improves muscle mass gains. But the real advantage of taking creatine is to increase strength duration. When we work out, the muscle’s energy stores are quickly depleted as we lift weight. Creatine acts to maximize this energy, which results in more weight lifted for higher volumes. This translates to more muscle mass gained.
How Much Creatine?
Your body mass ultimately determines the daily requirement of creatine: the bigger you are, the more creatine you need. I take 5 grams of creatine daily when I’m on a training program, since this is when the body requires it. There’s no need to be taking creatine when not in the middle of a training program (unlike whey protein which can be taken any time).
You can mix it with anything you like, but I usually throw it into my morning shakes on days when I don’t work out, and into my post-workout shake on my workout days. (Just know that it does not mix well in very cold liquids.)
Stick to creatine monohydrate. There are other forms of creatine, such as Create HCL. I’ve never tried them so I can’t elaborate on them. But I do know that creatine monohydrate works perfectly.
When shopping for the best creatine monohydrate, look for the CreaPure label on the product. This is a type of creatine made by AlzChem in Germany and is widely considered the purest and finest level of micronized creatine monohydrate, which has been vigorously tested for unwanted impurities.
Third Best Supplement for Skinny Guys: High Quality Liquid Fish Oil
Fat should make a part of any hard gainer’s diet regimen. Fat is an important macronutrient, no doubt, and it’s not hard to consume. When you eat enough protein foods, you will be getting more than enough fat.
The trick is in taking in the right type of fat. We want to discuss omega-3 fatty acids. You’ve probably heard about them or read them on labels on grocery items – mostly seafood. But it’s important to understand the importance of them, especially for hard gainers in the middle of a training program trying to build muscle fast. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to bigger muscles, less body fat, and increased cognitive functions. The problem is that they’re quite rare in the foods we eat today, unless you eat lots of fish. So you will find lots of fish oil supplements out there being sold, but not all fish oil supplements are created equal. Some of them don’t contain as much DHA and EPA (the important acid components that make up omega-3 fat).
Personally, I skip the fish oil tables and go for the liquid bottles instead. Namely, Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil is the best. It’s made from deep-water Norwegian fish, which have high concentrations of DHA and EPA. It’s one of the highest quality fish oil supplements out there. Do yourself a favour and supplement your diet with this fish oil. You will see almost immediate results not only in your muscle building goals but also in cognitive function. The reason I take Carlson’s Lemon Cod Liver Oil as opposed to their regular fish oil is because it’s also packed with vitamin D (a big plus) and actually doesn’t taste too bad.
Two teaspoonfuls every night with dinner should do the trick.
What about Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)?
Lots of nutritionists will try to sell you this supplement claiming that it will reduce soreness in the muscles and speed up recovery. Sounds pretty enticing, doesn’t it?
But there’s no need for it! It is just an awful tasting supplement that doesn’t yield anything groundbreaking, as far as I can see. Personal experience tells me it’s useless. Want to reduce soreness? Do a light biking session after your workout to pump toxins out of the muscles. Want to speed up recovery? Try static stretches after your workout (among other tricks).
If you choose a HIGH quality protein isolate packed with essential amino acids, you do not need the extra amino acids. Remember, the less supplements you have to take, the better.
RECAP OF THE BEST SUPPLEMENTS FOR SKINNY GUYS
- Supplements should not replace whole food diets but rather supplement them. The less supplements needed to maximize muscle building, the better.
- Pure Whey Isolate is the best type of protein for skinny guys to build muscle, not weight gainer or mass gainer proteins.
- Creatine is a naturally sourced nutrient in our bodies that is quickly depleted during high intensity training. It can be a valuable supplement to increase strength endurance, volume of weight lifted, and more muscle gains. CreaPure creatine is best.
- High quality fish oil is an essential supplement that optimizes physical performance, cognitive performance, recovery, and ultimately muscle growth.
- There is no need for BCAAs supplements if you’re taking a high quality protein.
Remember: when it comes to supplements for skinny guys to build muscle, less is best. The less supplements we have to take in order to see amazing muscle building results, the better. This is the trick that many hard gainers fail to see. It’s not about the quantity of supplements you take, it’s about quality and cutting out whatever you don’t need. Less is in fact more! That’s why I only stick to a handful of supplements at a time – no more than 3 or 4.
I hope this article has helped shed some light on the best muscle building supplements for skinny guys out there. If you have any questions about this topic, drop me a line in the comment section below and I will answer your directly!
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Author: Yous Kas
Feature Image: California Cow