Dividing a random sample of drug-free bodybuilders into degrees of “hardgainingness” can’t be done accurately because of the difficulty of specifying, identifying and then quantifying with consistency the characteristics of bodybuilding potential. But for the purpose of getting at least an approximation, here are some suggested figures.
At the “hardest” end of the gaining spectrum are the near-zero gainers who, for reasons of health or extreme structural problems, find it almost impossible to gain (but not impossible if they train and recuperate properly). They number fewer than 5% of any random sample from the training masses.
At the “easiest” end of the spectrum are the super easy gainers who have phenomenal genetics and fantastically-responsive bodies. The phenomenally blessed — the genetic freaks, and I’m not using “freaks” in a pejorative sense — number much fewer than 1% of the whole training population.
The genetic freaks have a blend of bodytype, muscle insertion points, neuromuscular efficiency, muscle belly length, muscle fiber type and number, tendency for leanness, and recovery abilities that give them a tremendously responsive body. For competitive bodybuilding there are pivotally important aesthetic factors that are also genetically determined. See BRAWN for a detailed discussion on how genetic freaks are assembled.
Behind the extremely responsive easy gainers are the “regular” easy gainers who are able to gain to some degree on most programs, although they don’t have the talent to become fantastic unless pumped to their jowls with chemicals. There’s a considerable number of these easy gainers, perhaps as many as 10% or so of a random sample of weight trainees. It’s this group that provides gyms with most of their successes. But these successful trainees use programs which are training suicide for genuine hardgainers. Many trainers and coaches belong to the category of “regular” easy gainers. But these easy gainers often have a body part and an exercise or two they struggle in, relatively speaking. While easy gainers typically adhere to conventional training routines, and often gain well from them, they gain far more when they adopt programs like those described in this guide.
Near-zero, easy and extremely easy gainers total about 15% of a random sample of trainees, leaving 85% or so who are “regular” hardgainers that get nowhere using popular routines. (These approximate percentages are strictly for a drug-free population. Drug use would distort the percentages.) Hardgainers have a lot of potential for growth, but to realize it they must train appropriately. The harder a gainer you are, the less room for error you have in your exercise, rest and nutrition program, and the more educated you need to be. This book will educate you.
Although “hardgainer” is a well used term in the bodybuilding world in particular, and also used in this book, it’s actually a misnomer. Because hardgainers are the majority it would be more accurate to call them “normal” gainers. As it is, the term “hardgainer” implies a condition that’s abnormal.
Whatever genetic potpourri you’ve been dealt is all you’re going to get. Whatever shortcomings you may have, you have to live with. Rather than spend time complaining about your genetic fate, pour your energy into achieving your genetic potential. An average or even a less-than-average potential for bodybuilding, if achieved, is stunning to an untrained person, and respected by almost any trained individual.
Focus on achieving your bodybuilding potential, not on comparing yourself with ideals. Apply yourself intelligently and you may discover that what you thought was a modest potential is actually a lot more.
If you’re consumed with the achievements of others, enviously look at the natural talents of a gifted but tiny minority, and bemoan your own genetic fate, you’ll never deliver the consistent and savvy dedication needed to do what will satisfy you most of all — the full achievement of your own bodybuilding potential.