By Stuart McRobert
When you read what bodybuilding instructors have to say, ask yourself who it’s geared for, and whether it’s applicable to you. And when you read of a particular bodybuilding program used with great success by a given individual, ask yourself if that bodybuilder is similar to you as far as genetic endowment and lifestyle are concerned.
Consider a report in the mainstream bodybuilding world on how a 20-year-old, 5-8, 215-pound mesomorphic, super-gifted American football star trains. That he can progress well while training all his main exercises full-bore twice a week, on top of extensive skills and endurance work, and match play, is a reflection of his age, recovery ability in general, and lifestyle. Don’t expect an ectomorphic 40-year-old father of three who’s working at two jobs to be able to do the same.
When you read about a professional bodybuilder who had freaky genetics to begin with, and who then bolstered his tremendous natural gifts with drug support, never lift wholesale from that article when you’re looking for instruction that applies to you. Other than perhaps a few small tips, you’re unlikely to find any instruction that’s useful for you unless you’re a genetic phenomenon yourself.
If anyone states or suggests that you ignore structural or other genetic factors, that person is being irresponsible. Of course, there’s a danger that some people overplay genetic factors, because some people are looking for excuses for poor achievement. But I’m not writing for those individuals. I’m writing for super-keen bodybuilders who want to make the most of their potential, but while recognizing their genetic strengths and limitations, and training accordingly. Those who play down genetic factors are, perhaps innocently, promoting the myth that we’ve been fed for decades—that genetics don’t matter.
Some people get offended if you suggest that they are easy gainers. It’s almost as if being an easy gainer is a stigma. Being an easy gainer is a blessing! I wish I’d been one.
But had I been an easy gainer, I would never have had the experiences that motivated me to write and publish what I have. I was driven by the need to share practical and honest information with hardgainers, to spare them having to suffer like I did before finally grasping the truths of bodybuilding.
Being a bona fide hardgainer is the most important qualification for being able to instruct hardgainers in how to train effectively and safely. But it must be combined with many years of in-the-trenches personal experience with the weights, drug-free achievement against the odds, and an unbridled passion for training. If an instructor isn’t a hardgainer himself, he must have had extensive experience in training genuine hardgainers, drug-free.
Sound out bodybuilding instructors on these criteria before you go applying their advice to your own training. If the instructors don’t satisfy these criteria, look for some that do.