Do Hardgainers Have a Fast Metabolism?

By Joe Talarico on Jul 2, 2021 8:30:00 AM
3 Minutes Reading Time


Yes and I hate them for it. Just kidding. But in all seriousness for someone with a very average metabolism, I am very jealous at the amount of calories my hardgarning friends can eat and still not gain weight.

Fast Metabolism = More Eating

There is a flip side to that. Those same hardgaining friends a lot of times don’t have a very big appetite. Hell, it’s not easy for anyone to eat 4,000+ calories just to MAINTAIN their weight IF you try to stick to mostly whole foods.

Yup. If you are a hardgainer, and struggling to put on size, you most likely need to eat more food. Don’t compare yourself to your average metabolism friends like me. I start seeing the scale move at 2500 calories. Assuming you have a sound workout program (shameless plug to check out many of the MAPS muscle building programs if you are in need of one), the only way to fuel those workouts is to have enough food to recover. Your metabolism is so revved up you most likely need twice as much as the average person. It may help to track your food just to ensure you are getting enough each day. I had a friend swear he was eating tons of food and still wasn’t growing. It wasn’t until we started tracking that we realized how inconsistent his eating was. Some days he ate 4,000 calories while others was barely 3,000. Tracking isn’t a must but if something isn’t going your way then we need to start paying attention.


Once you get your eating in order, the next thing is to make sure you are doing compound movements that hit multiple muscles with heavy weight. You need to be increasing in reps or weight every week. Some week’s you might plateau, and every 4-6 weeks you should take deload to let your body catch up. But overall, over the course of the year your weights on your key lifts (squat, deadlift, bench, overhead press) SHOULD be increasing otherwise we’ve found our issue. If the weights aren’t going up, there is a good chance you aren’t pushing hard enough. 

This doesn’t mean you can’t do isolated movements. I just want to make sure you are choosing the exercises that will yield the best results first before you start spending extra time on smaller less important exercises that won’t lead to as much growth. Again, I recommend tracking. What gets measured, gets improved. If there is an issue, you need to be looking at your workout routine and figuring out what’s stalled.


Cardio is great for your heart, and overall health. I’ll never say you should NEVER do cardio. As a hardgainer however, you should be lowering your cardio to twice a week. Remember, your metabolism is ALREADY burning a TON of calories at REST. Adding cardio is just further increasing your caloric expenditure each day, and thus adding even MORE calories on top of what you are already eating just to get by. Cardio isn’t a bad thing, but it is giving you more eating to do.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully a good troubleshooting guide if you are someone who is a hardgainer and struggling to put on weight. Try these tips out and I guarantee you’ll start to see the scale move.

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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