of "Hardgainer Project X"
eBook By Jeff Anderson "The Muscle Nerd"
Training to build
muscle mass is one of THE primary reasons people
get into training.
Yet in different people,
the same programs will bring drastically different
degrees of success. Some people look at a weight
and just start piling on muscle and strength. Not
so for everybody, though.
I'm sure you're probably
familiar with the term "hardgainer"....basically,
it's used to describe people who have a hard time
gaining muscle (ok, not exactly a brilliant deduction,
but that's what it means). I'll be referring to
this term throughout the review here.
This is the target audience
Jeff Anderson is writing for in his new "Hardgainer
Project X" manual. And I do have to say, he has done
an excellent job analyzing the physiological reasons why
certain people have a tough time gaining muscle.
Even better, he's also addressed
each one of those physiological reasons with nutrition
and training advice designed to overcome those problems.
Let's take a closer look
and see if his approach holds water...
I'm going to go through
a bit of Jeff's reasoning here and give you my thoughts
on the validity of a few of the reasons he puts forward.
Reason #1 - Your "Fast Metabolism"
Though this might sound
a bit trite (after all, metabolism is always a buzz word
that is frequently misused), Jeff delves a little deeper
to explain that "fast metabolism" basically
means "overactive sympathetic nervous system"...which
means the adrenal, thyroid and pituitary glands (which
control metabolism and energy production) are more active.
More active means more calories burned in everyday activities.
Definitely a valid reason holding back muscle growth.
Reason #2 - Catabolic Hormone Dominance
Cortisol is another buzzword
that is often misused but is a critical component of muscle-building,
in the way that it basically STOPS muscle-building. Hardgainers
tend to have higher levels of cortisol and, combined with
the activity of the glands described above, tend to react
poorly to overly intense or high-volume training.
Simply put, the ratio of
testosterone to cortisol needs to be fixed in order for
a hardgainer to progress. This point is very true as well.
Reason #3 - Muscle Fiber Dominance
It's a fact...some people
have greater numbers of endurance fibers (Type 1) compared
to power-oriented fibers (Type 2). When you have more
Type 1 fibers, you're going to have a tough time building
muscle - this fiber type doesn't grow very easily or respond
VERY valid reason.
Jeff includes 4 other reasons for "hardgainer syndrome"
in his book (I won't dig into those right now)...suffice
to say, he's done his research and his reasoning does
So the next key is...drum
roll please...does his training program sufficiently address
these reasons...enough to promote muscle gain in a person
who has extreme genetic disadvantages to building substantial
The Hardgainer Solutions:
The nutrition section of
this book is going to be an eye-opener for many people.
It goes beyond the standard "eat more protein and
calories" advice that you generally see in magazines
and books. Jeff has done his research and has really put
together an elegant nutritional approach, taking advantage
of your body's hormonal reactions to specific foods.
This is NOT all about quantity...ok,
it's a little about quantity, but it's about WHAT and
WHEN you eat. I like his approach with this...very doable
and makes good sense.
When it comes to training,
Jeff has done a nice job of keeping the specific limitations
of the hardgainer in mind...training only 3 days a week
is a big step because training too frequently (no matter
how much you enjoy) WILL kill progress, even in non-hardgainers.
What really jumps out is Jeff's interesting explanation
of a technique he calls "neuromuscular bridging."
And honestly, THIS section
really stands out to me because I hear echoes of Escalating
Density Training in it...managing fatigue and not pushing
yourself to failure on every set. He fully explains his
reasoning in the book itself.
The way Jeff uses it in
his program is very good. I can definitely see the potential
benefit of his take on the volume vs intensity debate.
It's certainly a technique I can get behind and I'm
glad to see it in his program.
The other thing I like to
see? Jeff's focus is on total workload on each training
session and improving that total workload to the next
In the book, you'll also
find excellent information on how to adjust the program
to your own needs. Just as not everybody gains muscle
easily, every hardgainer isn't the same either...some
will need less or more, depending on how their body reacts
to the training and eating.
I have to say, overall,
Jeff has done a nice job with the training program...we
don't agree on absolutely everything (if we did, it would
be a boring world, that's for sure) but there is plenty
in it where we're right there on the same page.
No muscle-building book
would be complete with out a section on supplements. What
I really like about Jeff's approach is that he has a firm
handle on what supplements CAN actually do for you...they
don't GIVE you results...they can somewhat boost your
body's ability to recover and build from the proper training
and eating you're already doing.
as it were. Imagine that.
His list of recommended
supplements is good - nothing radical...all based on sound
science and research.
If you're a hardgainer,
looking for an effective approach to building muscle,
this is an approach I can recommend.
Bottom line...very good