How to know if you really are a tough winner
The definition of a difficult gainer is someone who has difficulty gaining muscle mass. Unfortunately, because that definition is so loose, it can be hard to tell who accurately fits this description and who is simply trying to blame an outside influence for their lack of progress.
Let’s face it: if you never exercise… you’ll have “difficulty gaining muscle mass.” Does that then qualify him as a tough winner? Not in my book, but I’ve seen plenty of people apply the tough winner label where it doesn’t belong.
So today, let’s clear everything up once and for all. In my book, a true hard gainer is a person who had a hard time gaining muscle mass because of his genetics. Not because of laziness or ignorance…but because his mother and his father didn’t bless him with good genes for building muscle.
How can you tell if a person was gifted with good muscle-building genetics? After all, we can’t open up a person’s DNA and take a look.
There is no way to know with 100% accuracy if a person is hard to beat or not. But luckily, there are some indicators we can use to determine if someone is really a tough winner or if they’re just looking for an excuse to justify their lack of progress.
Rule #1: If you are a mesomorph… you are NOT a tough winner.
There are three categories that are used to classify body types. I use football analogies to facilitate classifications.
Ectomorphs are tall and skinny and often have a hard time gaining muscle. Ectomorphs typically have long limbs and a fast metabolism. An ectomorph on the football field is most likely a wide receiver. If you’re an ectomorph… there’s a good chance you’ll be hard to beat.
Endomorphs tend to larger rankings. Endomorphs can be characterized as having a slow metabolism. Endomorphs generally have no problem gaining muscle, but they are plagued with excessive body fat and must constantly watch what they eat, as they gain fat quickly.
An endomorph on the football field would be a linebacker or offensive lineman. Some endomorphs also have ectomorphic tendencies when it comes to building muscle and therefore could be considered tough winners.
Mesomorphs are blessed with what can be the perfect body type. They seem to gain muscle easily without worrying about fat gains. Mesomorphs are the kind of people who seem to work out for hours every day, but surprise everyone when they reveal that they actually don’t do much. A mesomorph on the football field is usually a well-built running back or a strong safety. Mesomorphs are NOT tough winners.
Rule #2: Do you have small calves?
Calf size is a good indicator of whether or not you are really struggling to gain muscle. In fact, the bigger your calves are before you start training, the easier it will be for you to gain muscle.
So… if you have weak calves, you most likely have trouble gaining muscle. If you were injured with large calves, you probably have a lot of potential to gain quite a bit of muscle. Bottom line: small calves equate to difficulty making gains.
Rule #3: If you have small wrists and ankles…you might be hard to beat.
If your wrist is less than seven inches, it means you have a smaller than average bone structure, and as a result, this may indicate that you will have trouble gaining muscle mass.
If you have small ankles, you’ll probably find it difficult to gain muscle.
Rule #4: Do you often get sick after only 3-4 weeks of weight training?
Skinny guys traditionally need more rest than average guys. While an average man can weight train four or five times a week and still make gains, a heavy weight gainer following a similar program will far exceed his recovery capabilities and he will eventually wear himself out and become ill.
If your strength builds and eventually stops within three to four weeks of starting a new program that has you working out more than three times a week, this may also indicate a harder-than-average time to gain muscle.
Conclusion… and hope for the hopeless
Some of the features of hard winners may apply to you, while others may not. This isn’t an exact science, but if you find that two or more of the above points apply to you, there’s a good chance you’re a tough winner or have some tough winner tendencies.
But there is hope for guys who find it hard to gain muscle. Hard gainers can gain muscle mass. They just have to follow a different set of rules. Because if you weren’t blessed with genetics that allow you to gain muscle easily, you should follow a training program designed specifically for men without great genes.