Mastering the Law of Attraction

By Terry Grant

“When you want something,
all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

         – Paulo Coelho

“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.”
              – Anthony Robbins

We have reached a point where I would like to discuss the law of attraction. I’ve mentioned this in earlier blogs and even touched on the basics of universal law. Now we are going to expand upon this because I believe it holds a vital solution for achieving body and life transformation.

;)

The people who are successful in life achieve their success because they harness the power of this law whether they realize it or not. That is not to say that they did nothing to earn their success! I’m sure they did. 

Still, whether it was by fate or luck or simply by the natural course of their lives they learned to think, feel, speak, and act in a way that was highly congruent with their desires. This is the whole point of the law of attraction.

After all, all that the law of attraction is really saying is that your thoughts are the driving force that creates your reality and experience of life. If you learn to tame your mind and control your thinking then you can consciously shape your experience of life. You do this by creating a shift in your consciousness; by being more mindful of what you are thinking and feeling and thus keeping your mind focused on what you want your life to be like.

Instead of doubt, fear, anger or worry… you consciously shift your awareness back to the experience you desire. Instead of doubt, bring your attention to confidence, if that’s what you desire. Replace fear with courage, anger with acceptance and worry with calmness.

Refrain (or do the best you can) from thinking about anything you do not want. Instead bring your intention and focus to that which you want to experience, whether that is building muscle, making money, your relationships. Anything. When we focus on something it expands. When we remove our attention it will wither.

The purpose of this article is to give you a deeper understanding of the law of attraction, as well as, provide several principles through which you may further apply this amazing universal law to your life. Mastering this law will help you to clear the hurdles that keep so many of us from realizing a truly successful and happy life.

Since the release of the Secret Movie, the law of attraction has gained massive attention in the media and thus the public awareness. Now many people may think the law of attraction is nothing more than new age, pie-in-the-sky, hippie, feel good stuff, but that would be a huge mistake and an erroneous assumption.

The law of attraction actually has some science that backs it up, specifically in the area of quantum physics (which we’ll discuss in this article) and neuroscience, which I’ll talk about in my next article.

Neuroscientists or brain scientists have had some interesting insights into the human mind over the last 15 years. Since the emergence of more advanced technologies which allow them to see which parts of the brain are working or not… they’ve been able to learn alot.

Specifically, some of the new research about the unconscious mind (subconscious mind) which controls over 80% of the brain’s functions. Including all of the autonomic functions of your body like breathing, heart beat, hormone secretion and the trillions of other cellular activities that are necessary for you to be alive. Your conscious mind is run by about 1/6 of the brains power.

I know a few mainstream scientists may not agree with the law of attraction or the subconscious mind. Of course no one believed Pythagoras either, when he first postulated that the world was round. What does that tell you? 

Most people’s minds are slow to change until there is an overwhelming amount of proof to back up theories that deviate from the mainstream model of thought. Unfortunately, that’s why humanity is so slow to evolve and why most geniuses are usually considered quacks when they first propose their new ideas… but I digress.

It’s also important to realize that if something is mainstream, then it is the prevailing notion of thought by definition. It represents the common understanding of people, but not necessarily the innovative or cutting-edge wisdom that drives societal progress.

What’s even more alarming than that, is when you really start studying deeper into the law of attraction. Then you begin to realize that people have been telling us that our thoughts create our reality for thousands of years. We just never took them literally or misunderstood what they were telling us.

One thing I am certain of now is that your thoughts and beliefs are the driving forces creating your perception of reality and your experience of life. And I mean that very literally.

The reason I am so certain of this is because hundreds of very wise people have been writing it down for centuries. People like the Buddha, Christ, Lao Tzu, and many others. More recently many authors, philosophers even doctors and scientists have discussed at length how our lives are highly shaped and influenced by our thoughts.

Just to name a few… Napoleon Hill, Wallace Wattles, Earl Nightingale, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Albert Einstein, and far too many others to name here. Now Quantum physicists and Neuroscientists are beginning to provide proof and evidence to support these claims, which I find fascinating.

I am going to explain some things to you now that may contradict the mainstream model of thought. I hope you will have an open mind about this and at least be willing to explore the possibility that there is more to your thoughts than you may have thought!

Yet, I would like to mention that what I am telling you has come to me as the result of almost ten years of research, study and my own curiosity to know the truth about our reality. It was my own personal yearning for a deeper understanding of how the universe actually works that has led me to these ideas.

During this quest I have studied several spiritual traditions like Buddhism, Christianity, Zen, New Age, and Taoism. I have researched further into science, evolutionary theory, physics, and quantum physics. I have studied the philosophers. I have studied the works of successful men and forward thinkers. Now I tell you this not to brag, nor to claim that I am an expert in any of these fields. I am not. Nor is my study even close to complete. I truly agree that the more I learn, the more I realize how little I really know.

However, through my years of reading and researching I have been looking for the common thread or the perennial philosophy, if you will, that combines and connects each of these fields. What do they point to? What are the underlying truths that are common to them all? That’s what I want to share with you here.

What is the Universal Law of Attraction?

Speaker, author, and consultant Dr. Margaret McCraw, Ph.D says that… “The Law of Attraction, just like the Law of Gravity, is an invisible energy force. While we cannot see gravity, we can see the results of it as our feet are planted firmly on the ground. Neither can we see the Law of Attraction, but we can see the results of it as we correlate our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs with the experiences we are creating.”

Think of the law of attraction like the air you breathe. You cannot see it, but if it wasn’t there your life would never be the same. Much like the wind it is invisible, yet when it blows hard enough you can feel its presence. It is force that has always been there, behind the scenes… orchestrating a symphony of energy while the forms dance to the tune of fate. It is integrated deeply within the fabric of the universe.

Okay, enough imagery… lets get down to business!

Your reality, as it is right now, is a result of every thought, and experience you have ever had in your life. All that you have achieved or failed to achieve is a direct result of your own thoughts. Your life and your current circumstance is simply a reflection of your own mind, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. You literally are what you think!

I told you, you would see this quote a lot! 

“We are what we think. With our thoughts, we make our world.”– The Buddha

How is this so? Can this really be true?

Yes, it is possible! Everything in our physical universe, as quantum physicists now understand it, is made up of atoms and sub-atomic particles, which are merely packets of energy and information.

In our universe physical matter exists as particles, yet before something becomes a particle it exists as a wave of energy.

It is to this state of energy that one returns at death.

As scientists have stated in the First Law of Thermodynamics, “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms.” Like ice becomes liquid when it is heated and the water transforms into steam as the temperature rises. You too are a form of energy, which has never be created nor destroyed, but is only in the constant state of changing forms.

Your body is nothing but energy

Your dog or cat, the tree in your yard, a rock on the ground, this earth beneath your feet, especially the stars in the night sky, everything that we consider matter and even intangible things like your thoughts, are fundamentally energy and information!

So, everything at the molecular level of existence is simply energy expressed in one form or another. We live within a matrix or system of intermingling energy. Yet, beyond the matrix of energy there is a state of nothingness or stillness that is the source from which everything arises. Many call this state of nothingness Spirit, God, or even Pure Conscious Awareness. Some call it the ether or even the Source. I like to call it Consciousness. Call it what you will, it doesn’t really matter.

In Quantum field theory they like to call it the zero-point field.

Per Wikipedia, “The electromagnetic zero-point field is loosely considered as a sea of background electromagnetic energy that fills the vacuum of space.” In other words, space is not empty like we once thought, but rather is seething with energy.

In fact, that may be an understatement as scientists have determined that “it has been estimated that there is enough zero point energy contained in one cubic meter of space to boil all of the oceans of the world.”

Just imagine if we could learn to tap into that energy!

As Deepak Chopra M.D. says in his book Creating Affluence, “…the basic conclusion of quantum field theorists is that the raw material of the world is non-material; the essential stuff of the universe is non-stuff.” He then goes on to say, “All of our technology is based on this fact… Fax machines, computers, radios, television—all these technologies are possible because scientists no longer believe that the atom, which is the basic unit of matter, is a solid entity.”

What this means is that every thing you see in your world, including yourself, is not a solid entity at all but rather a wave fluctuation of energy. In other words material reality exists as impulses of energy and information… atoms fluctuating between states of being waves and particles.

What appears solid to the senses is not really solid at all. This is part of the paradoxical and illusory nature of the universe and the recent discovery of quantum physicists.

This is what Albert Einstein meant when he said,
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

Now, don’t let me lose you here with all the science. If you want to get more in depth, then I suggest learning more about quantum physics by reading several good books on the subject or checking out Bob Doyle’s Law of Attraction  Program. That being said, I’ll do my best to further explain this in layman’s terms.

The Law of Attraction at Work

There are three planes of existence; first there is the physical or material realm (think of this as the body); next there is the quantum or mental realm (think of this as mind); then there is the absolute or non-local realm (think of this as spirit- the non-stuff or consciousness from which everything manifests.) So, to simplify there is the physical, quantum, and spiritual realms or body/mind/spirit. Or if you’d prefer a more scientific approach particle, wave, zero-point field.

In the quantum/mental realm, energy exists as electromagnetic waves that vibrate at varying amplitudes and frequencies. There are higher (faster) frequencies and lower (slower) frequencies. Energy that vibrates at a certain frequency tends to attract frequencies of a similar vibration and amplitude. In this way, energy has magnetic properties that draw like energies together.

Now here’s where it gets interesting!

Your thoughts act like magnetic currents that resonate outward from your being, permeating your immediate and local energy field, as well as, the energy field of the entire quantum universe. To grasp this, think of your thoughts as a radio frequency that is being emitted from a radio station tower.  Your thoughts (which are forms of energy originating from your mind) are being broadcast all over the world and beyond.

These positively or negatively charged thought waves attract people, circumstances, and events into your life that mirror the energetic quality or frequency of those thoughts. Just like the radio frequency will only be heard by those people whom have their radio on the right frequency channel or station. Likewise, people, things, and events that are of the same frequency will be attracted to you by your thoughts.

In very simplistic terminology, like attracts like.

Do you find this hard to believe? I agree, if you haven’t spent years researching it… it sounds sort of crazy. Well, before you start thinking I’m a whack job… think about these common observations:

Have you ever noticed that successful people tend to interact with other successful people, while non-successful people tend to relate to each other? Why do you suppose that is? Feel free to substitute successful with wealthy, or healthy, or intelligent, or the opposite of those qualities.

Have you ever met someone and instantly felt a weird feeling or vibe coming from that person, which made you uncomfortable? How do you explain that feeling? Could it be their energy field?

How about the attraction you feel towards certain people more than others or certain places more than others or certain ideas more than others? Could it be that your own thoughts vibrate on a similar frequency to those things you are attracted to?

Have you ever thought of something (a person, a book, a new product you have your eye on, etc.) and then shortly after that very person or thing somehow appeared in your life or that person called you out of the blue? Do you just rule that off as coincidence or is there something more at work here?

This is the law of attraction at work attracting people, events, and circumstances into your life that match the frequencies you are emitting through your thoughts, feelings and attention. Are you beginning to see how you use this law to totally transform your body and life? I hope so!

The Three Keys of Manifestation

“Remember, you attract to your life whatever you give your attention, energy and focus to, whether wanted or unwanted.” – Michael Losier

If you focus all of your energy and attention on transforming your body… sooner or later you’re going to start seeing the physical changes manifest themselves when you look in the mirror. Your positive, confident thoughts, words, and actions are paying off in real results as you master the four pillars of rapid body transformation.

However, if you are taking positive actions in the beginning, but secretly or subconsciously doubt that you will really succeed at transforming your body… you’ve shifted your self-talk and attention from one of confident success to self-doubt and failure.

Thus, failure is what you will ultimately manifest even though it is not what you say you want and despite the fact that you may be exercising regularly. Your self-doubt will begin to cause you to deviate from the four pillars more and more. You’ll begin the downward spiral into self-sabotage and eventually quit or not see the results you were hoping for.

For the law of attraction to work properly you have to be congruentand this is where most people fail. They start thinking positive thoughts, but they don’t really expect it to work. After a little time they abandon it and say “I knew that was a load of horse $#!!.” Their thoughts, beliefs, words, and actions are not congruent.

The law of attraction cannot work unless you understand this fully. This can take some time, study, and evaluation, which most people are not willing to do. There fore, most people fail. What most people have failed to realize is that there are three keys to creating this congruency.

To unlock the door and harness the power of all creation you must use all three keys in harmony.

To unlock the door you must use these three keys

The First Key is the thoughts and beliefs you think

The Second Key is the words which you speak

The Third Key is the actions and deeds you take

Each of these three keys has its own creative power, and to create successfully… your thoughts, words, and actions must harmonize with one another. If not, then you will run into problems every time because you are not congruent. In other words, if you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. Otherwise, you will not be thriving for long.

Remember how I mentioned that quantum theory proposes that every thing is energy and information…. Well this includes our thoughts and our words. Even our actions which are spawned from our thoughts and words are tainted by the energy frequency from which they originate.

For example positive thoughts and feelings such as love, peace, gratitude, courage, abundance and so on resonate at the higher (faster) frequency level or polarity, where as, negative thoughts and feelings such as anger, hate, apathy, guilt, fear and so on resonate at the lower (slower) frequency level or polarity.

In other words, if you have a negative view about life, you will attract negative people, circumstances, and events into your life that act to confirm your negative beliefs. Then when more negativity shows up in your life, which it will, this appears as the evidence to support your original negative thoughts. You’ll then say, “See I told you life sucks!” You’ll then take action or no action based on this conclusion.

In fact, as long as you keep your negative outlook, not only will you attract the negative, you will often unconsciously repel the good and positive things that life has to offer. There may even be tons of great opportunities around you, but because of your belief system you will not notice them or act on them.

However, if you keep a positive and optimistic outlook about life, you will attract the positive people, circumstances, and events into your life that confirm those beliefs. Then when positive things do show up in your life, which they will, this appears as the evidence to support your original positive thoughts. You’ll then say, “Life is good!” and you will act based on this notion.

And as you stay in that FEELING of optimism you’ll continue to attract all that you need to create a successful and fulfilling life, full of friends, happiness, and abundance. This is why it is better in my opinion to be an eternal optimist. I know…. Easier said than done!

Your feelings, thoughts and subconscious beliefs are all interrelated. Did you notice that I also capitalized the word FEELING? I did so because ultimately the law of attraction responds to how you are feeling at any given moment and the stronger the e-motion (energy in motion) the faster you are attracting. Strong emotion broadcasts your energy frequency more intensely. It is this intensity that has a powerful magnetic pull that will attract similar frequencies and manifest people and events that correlate at that level of vibration.

In considering this, just look at how an upset and angry person could easily bring out the anger in a person or group of people that they are in close proximity with. Their anger attracted more anger. A joyful person could have the same effect on people and consequently attract more joyful experiences into their life. Which would you rather attract? It’s your choice.

“The law of attraction responds to how you are feeling in the present moment and the stronger the feeling, the faster you are attracting the physical manifestation of those feelings into your life.” – Brandon Cook, that’s me!

If you feel GOOD you are attracting good things. You are on purpose. You are right where you want to be.

Well the opposite is true as well. If you feel BAD you are attracting bad things. You have strayed from your purpose and are headed in the wrong direction, unless it is your intention to attract bad things.

So, our emotions can provide guidance to us by helping to clarify whether we are thinking positively or negatively. Thus, we should strive to monitor our thoughts and feelings to make sure we are creating the type of life we desire.

When our emotions are positive and we feel good, then our thoughts are in alignment with our desires. However, when we feel bad and our emotions are negative, then likewise our thoughts are no longer in alignment with our desires. We have lost our way.

If we can catch ourselves in the midst of negative thoughts and emotions, we can shift into a higher polarity and begin attracting what we want again. This takes some practice.

Whatever we focus our thoughts on with intense passion and emotion is what we will attract into our experience. So, make sure you are focused on the right things.

This is the underlying principle behind the Law of Attraction and it is essential to understand this law, if you desire to consciously create and transform your body and life. In the upcoming blog posts we will look at several principles or laws that further clarify the law of attraction and provide ways to apply this to your life.

Until, then I suggest you practice observing your thoughts and emotions.

Keep a notebook with you throughout the next couple of days and see if you can be conscious of your dominant thoughts and feelings. Write down any negative thoughts, feelings, or self-talk you experience over the next couple of days.

Would you say that your thoughts are predominantly positive or negative? What do you desire for your life? Are your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, words, and actions helping you to achieve your desires or are they sabotaging your efforts?

Remember it is your predominant thoughts and feelings about life that are creating your experience. This is happening whether you are conscious of it or not. You can choose to create your life consciously or unconsciously. This is the gift of free will and the universe doesn’t care either way, it only responds to your thoughts, words, and actions. Through the use of these three keys you are the creator of your own destiny.

I will leave you with a quote from Napoleon Hill:

“Man, alone, has the power to transform his thoughts into physical reality; Man, alone, can dream and make his dreams come true.”

Brandon Cook

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About the Author:

Brandon Cook is creator of The Awakened Warrior Blog, and co-creator of HardgainerMuscleBuilding.com, a website specifically designed to teach the ectomorph the laws and scientific principles for building a classic, muscular and functional physique.

HargainerMuscleBuilding.com features a free email class covering the basic principles of training naturally, eating a nutritious, muscle-building diet, and understanding the truth about supplements. The website is filled with free articles, videos, and the programs you need to create your ideal body.
Please visit us at http://hardgainermusclebuilding.com

© 2009, Hardgainer Muscle Building. All rights in all media reserved.

The 4 Pillars of Rapid Body Transformation

By Terry Grant

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives,
nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

-Charles Darwin

If you have a great memory, then you should remember that on our homepage we stated that gaining muscle is simple and that all you need to do is four things. Well, in case you forgot, here’s the recap:

In theory…

GAINING MUSCE IS SIMPLE…

All You Need to Do is These Four Things:

1.             Believe that it’s Possible for You
(Have the Proper Mindset and Beliefs)

2.             Give Your Body the Stimulus it Needs to Grow
(Through Optimal Training)

3.             Supply the Necessary Building Blocks
(Via Quality Nutrition and Supplementation)

4.             Then Sit Back and Let Your Body Grow
(By Utilizing Various Rest and Recovery Techniques.)

Well, right there on the homepage we gave you the good news and the 4 Pillars of Rapid Body Transformation! Then we gave you the bad news……

The HARD part is DOING these four things…
consistently and correctly, day-in and day-out!

Welcome to Reality!

Okay, that’s not really bad news… it’s just that it requires a certain mind-set and amount of discipline to incorporate these habits into your daily lifestyle. Making a transformation does require a smidgeon of self-sacrifice, but the little things you give up will typically be things that are holding you back and limiting you anyways. Of course you still may consider them fun… but I digress.

Small Habits Can Change Your Life

Small habits can change your life… for better or worse. Therefore it makes sense to replace any bad habits that limit and defeat you with positive habits that will empower you and allow you to create the life you truly want to live. The choice is yours and your results will be largely dependent on your ability to adapt and embrace positive change. Reread the quote at the beginning of this article.

Humans and all animals to a degree are creatures of habit. We get stuck in our routines and daily patterns. It is these tendencies that have created the body and life that you now find yourself in. So take a good look at your life and decide if what you have is what you truly want. Is this the experience you desire? If so, then change nothing.

However, if you are less than ecstatic about your body image or life situation… then it is up to you and you alone to change it. Whining and complaining will get you no where. No one is coming to save you. No one else really cares; they are too concerned with their own dilemma.

The only savior in this world is the one that stares back at you in the mirror every morning. It is this person that you must depend on. It is this person that has the power to change your circumstances. It is this person and only this person that can summon the desire, willpower, discipline, and passion to achieve success in whatever form success is desired.

Success is nothing more than the realization of the goals you have set forth. As long as you have set an attainable goal and are working towards its achievement, then by definition you are a success. You are never a failure until you quit trying or give up hope. Your victory must start with self-victory and that means your ability to master the self. You must learn to take control over your self, over your thoughts, over your words, over your actions. In doing so, you achieve self-mastery and with it the ability to create the life you desire.

Apply this self-mastery towards integrating the four pillars into your daily habits and watch your body and life transform rapidly. The speed and degree of the transformation lies in your ability to embrace change and use it to your advantage.

The 4 Pillars of Rapid Body Transformation

It’s interesting to note that a pillar is a structure of support used in architectural design, but the term has often been used in literature to describe a fundamental principle or practice that lies at the core of a subject: in this case gaining some muscle mass and making a rapid body transformation. So, these are the core principles you must understand if you are serious about making a transformation.

This is the introduction to a series of articles that will explain these vital and important principles in more depth. They are simple, yet vital concepts that are necessary for building a solid foundation for muscular growth. Basically: if you want to GAIN MASS and transform your body… then focus on these four areas and achieve balance and mastery in them. Again, here they are:

The First Pillar is Develop the Proper Mindset. Now a lot of trainers barely touch on this topic, but in my opinion it is one of the most important aspects of becoming a success in whatever field you desire… strength training included. The mind leads the body! It is the helm that steers the ship. If the mind is wild and out of control… then your ship will probably crash, sink, and you will drown… along with your hopes and dreams of creating a muscular body. The Buddha once said: “With your thoughts, you make the world.” They didn’t call him the awakened one for nothing!

The Second Pillar is Engage in Optimal Training. Optimal training… what the heck is that? Optimal training is the ability to create a sound, balanced, intelligent training program for your specific body type. That is to say a training program that will allow you to progress from an untrained beginner to a ripped, muscular god-like warrior who is as strong as he looks. Optimal training covers everything from proper warm-ups to dynamic mobility to functional weight training, to interval training and beyond. It’s knowing what to do and why you are doing it.

The Third Pillar is Embrace Quality Nutrition. Okay, let’s cut to the chase! You are what you eat. You become what you eat. If you eat small YOU be small. If you eat like crap, you’re gonna look like crap. Just go to any fast food restaurant and observe the health and condition of the people that eat there. Is that what you want? Most people fail to grasp the true purpose of eating. Instead they view it simply as a source of pleasure. They eat only what tastes good to them and are rarely concerned with the nutrient quality of their food. What these people fail to understand is that your food is your fuel for life. Do you think they put the cheapest, lowest octane gas in the top fuel dragsters? The answer is NO! They use only the best fuel. Why don’t you?

The Fourth Pillar is Maximize Your Rest and Recovery. As an ectomorph, this is probably one of the most important principles to grasp regarding body transformation. Your muscles do not grow in the gym. Training is only a spark that signals the brain to grow more muscle. Whether the muscle grows or not depends on if your body was given the nutrients and the opportunity (aka time) to heal and grow. If you short-circuit the recovery process, not only do you short-circuit your results, but you also set yourself up for injuries and burn-out that only lead to frustration. For ectomorphs the recovery process is longer, but there are several strategies for helping the process along if understand the importance of doing so.

Well, there you go… the four pillars of rapid body transformation. These are the four areas you need to get a solid grasp of if you want to take your health, physique, and life to a whole ‘nuther level!

The Synergy of the Four Pillars

As the weeks pass we will cover each of these pillars in more depth and I will reveal the details and specific tips and techniques you can use to take full advantage of each pillar. You see the four pillars work together synergistically, so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

The Syngery of Multiple Pillars is Undeniably Strong!

Your mindset feeds your training. Your training feeds your mindset, which further drives your dietary choices. Your rest and recovery enhances your training, and your nutrition enhances your recovery and so on. The effects of each pillar continue to compound, each supporting one another and enhancing the results.

When you develop the proper mindset, you will be in the proper state of being to make fast, steady progress in every area of your life. Self-doubt and uncertainty will be a thing of the past. You will have the confidence and firm belief to know that you can and will succeed. That faith and certainty will lead you to engage in optimal training and put forth the necessary effort that is required to stimulate the body to promote hypertrophy aka muscle growth.

Your mindset and hard training also leads to higher self- esteem and self-respect, which makes you love and appreciate your body more than ever before (even if it is not perfect.) Therefore, you now take your health and nutrition more seriously and realize it is in your best interests to eat high quality, natural and organic whole foods that provide your body with the essential vitamins, nutrients, enzymes, and phytochemicals that it needs to build and repair its cells.

This in turn further helps your training and gives your mind and body the fuel it needs to focus on realizing its goals in life. You also understand the importance of maximizing your rest and recovery in between training sessions, which allows your muscles, joints, connective tissues, and nervous system the time they need to grow, adapt and strengthen.

With all four of the pillars in place you now have more than enough support and energy to sustain your efforts, prime your body for growth, and transform in every aspect of your life. Your transforming body is like a dream come true and it further skyrockets your confidence and belief in your self and your capabilities. Thus, allowing you to face any challenge life may throw at you.

Herein lies the power of the four pillars!

Brandon Cook

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About the Author:

Brandon Cook is creator of The Awakened Warrior Blog, and co-creator of HardgainerMuscleBuilding.com, a website specifically designed to teach the hardgainer the laws and scientific principles for building a classic, muscular and functional physique.

HargainerMuscleBuilding.com features a free email class covering the basic principles of training naturally, eating a nutritious, muscle-building diet, and understanding the truth about supplements. The website is filled with free articles, videos, and the programs you need to create your ideal body.
Please visit us at http://hardgainermusclebuilding.com

© 2009, Hardgainer Muscle Building. All rights in all media reserved

What’s the Point of Building a Muscular Body?

By Terry Grant

Enough said!?!?!

Whoa, wait a minute buddy, let’s discuss this topic a lil’ more in depth!

When you first landed on our website I’m sure you noticed the header screaming in bold letters, “The Way to Mass: A Muscle Building Resource for Hardgainers.” This website was designed to help skinny guys (and girls too) to add some solid muscle mass to their body and escape the whole hardgainer, skin and bones predicament they may find themselves in.

A big part of living life to the fullest is being comfortable in your own skin and having confidence in your body and the way you look. It’s hard to have that confident self-image when you’re super skinny and everyone constantly points out how skinny and weak you are. Not that other people’s opinions of you really matter at all, they don’t. You know this.

Deep down, you know that you are a great person no matter whether you are skinny, muscular, or even overweight. The way you look is not the determinant of what kind of person you are; rather what you contribute to the world determines that. Yet, even though we know this to be true, we can’t help but want to be our best self inside and out.

We want to have a great looking body and the confidence, respect, power, and admiration that goes with it. This is the reason why many skinny people take up bodybuilding and hope to transform the way they look. That and because chicks really dig fit, athletic-looking men. And yes most men like fit, athletic-looking women as well, not the skin and bones models that Hollywood usually portrays.

The point I want to make, however, is that the purpose of this website is not just to help you put on muscle for the sake of putting on muscle, nor is simply about getting the girls or guys attention.

The point is not just to get as big as you can get, so that people will say “Wow, look how big he is!” … No, we’ll leave that to the pro-bodybuilders.

There is no point in adding muscle for the sake of adding muscle if doing so comes at the price of your health, vitality, well-being and/or quality of life.

There is no point in creating a muscular, fit looking body if you can’t even help someone move a piece of furniture without throwing your back out or God forbid, the need to defend yourself or your loved ones should arise. Looks alone won’t cut it then.

There is also, no point in focusing solely on the physical (the body, world, and materiality) and not developing the mental and spiritual components. To do so would be to miss the whole point of being born in the first place. Unfortunately, over 90% of the population actually misses this point.

“What is the point of building a muscular body then?”

Well, ultimately everyone has to determine that for him- or herself. There’s really no right or wrong answer here.

We are not here to tell you what to believe, think, or do. That’s not what a true leader or teacher does. A true teacher strips away all of the BS, and thus reveals the core principles, so that the student may gain a deeper wisdom and understanding of life and his true nature. All of the answers are already within you. You just have to remember where to look.

It’s not enough to just do… the world is lost in doing. You must understand why you are doing what you are doing if you are ever to be truly successful. Keep that in mind. It’s like the old saying, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”

That being said, your purpose may include some or all of the following:

• to attract the opposite sex
• to look good
• to feel confident
• to get better at sports
• to look good naked
• to enjoy health
• to increase energy and vitality
• to perform better (if you know what I mean!)
• to turn heads
• to run faster, jump higher, hit harder, etc.
• to live longer
• to give you something to do
• to inspire others
• to make a living
• to feel special
• to challenge yourself
• to realize your true potential

All of these are valid points and I’m sure we could expand the list even further if we were to spend more time on it.

However, let’s get to the point.

The Purpose of this Blog

The intended purpose of this blog has three facets to it:

1. To develop a balance between the mind, body, and spiritual aspects of our lives so that you may better understand your true purpose for being here and live a full, meaningful life.

2. To help the skinny guy/girl to add a healthy amount of lean, muscle mass that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, symmetrical, and proportionate to their height and skeletal structure, while keeping body fat levels in check.

3. To build a functional physique that is as strong and as capable as it looks and that can meet the demands and challenges that life requires of it while minimizing its susceptibility to injury.

Now, to fulfill these purposes we must call upon a wide range of experiential knowledge from various sources.

For example, just to realize the first purpose of developing harmony between mind, body, and spirit… we must open our minds to several fields of study ranging from psychology to philosophy, from religion to spirituality, from science to quantum physics, from evolutionary theory to astronomy, from personal development to intuitive wisdom, from the east to the west and everywhere in between.

All of these fields overlap with each other to some degree or other and can help us to develop a higher understanding of who we are, why we are here and how we can better understand the ultimate reality of our universe and how it works.

“Why is this important?” You snap back, and “how can this help me to add muscle?”

Great questions! It’s a good thing to be curious… but hey… watch the attitude. 

A Basic Understanding of Universal Law

The universe, our planet, our bodies… everything… is governed by certain universal laws that preside over the organization and interaction of all physical forms. For instance the law of gravity is one (of many) that everyone knows and is often used to explain the concept of universal laws.

Gravity is the glue that holds the universe together. It keeps the galaxies in alignment, planets in orbit, and you on the planet. Without gravity, the universe would be unable to function properly. Nothing would work right and everything would be chaotic, if it even existed at all.

Likewise, without an understanding of universal laws your life becomes chaotic; it doesn’t work the way you want it to; you seem to have no control over what happens; you are not sure how to make life work for you; it seems like everything is working against you.

Unbeknownst to you, and in ultimate reality, this is not the case. Life is always working for you and with you. That is life’s purpose: to give you the experience you need to grow and evolve.

You just don’t understand the rules and thus you keep breaking them unintentionally. As a result you must face the consequences of doing so again and again. In fact, for as long as it takes you to figure the rules out. Sadly, life doesn’t come with an instruction manual.

Say for instance that you decide it would be really cool if you could fly like a bird. That’s what you want out of life, but unfortunately you don’t understand the law of gravity. So, you climb to the top of a skyscraper and jump off hoping to fly like a bird. What happens? I think you know…

Life is not punishing you by making you fall to your death. No, that’s just a consequence of being stupid… uh, I mean… not understanding the law of gravity. If you understood the law, then you would have made a better choice without such a harsh consequence. Perhaps you would have chosen to ride in an airplane, or a hot air balloon, even skydiving or hang-gliding… all fairly safe choices that allow you to fly in cooperation with the laws of gravity.

So, to answer the questions directly: it is important to understand how reality works, so that you may work in cooperation with life and the universal laws. Doing so will help you to fulfill your goals, dreams, and the desires you may have for your life and your body much sooner than you may think.

When you work with life, with reality, with your body… you can reach your goals much faster, and more efficiently and effectively then you could if you lacked this understanding of universal law. And that’s why we will discuss some of these topics that are not ordinarily associated with muscle-building, health and fitness, or bodybuilding.

There are already a ton of muscle building articles on this website that explain the ins and outs, and the how-tos of muscle building, which were written by some of the top coaches in the industry. Even so, you better believe we will be covering muscle building in more depth, as well. However, it is important to note that we will cover much more than that on this blog and in subsequent posts.

Remember, our main purpose here is threefold:

1. To develop a balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
2. To develop a beautiful, lean, healthy, and muscular body.
3. To develop functional strength, athleticism, and muscular endurance.

We hope these are or will become your goals as well, because in realizing them you will open yourself to receiving all of the benefits of building a muscular body. Including getting the attention of the ladies… if that sorta thing interests you! 

Please take a moment to comment on the blog and tell us your points or purposes for building a muscular body. Are they in alignment with what was discussed here or do you see things from a different perspective? Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.

Until next time (and hopefully it won’t take two months to post the next blog),

“Slacker!!!!” ………… hey, which one of you said that?

Haha… Enjoy your weekend(s)!!!

Terry Grant

——————————————————
About the Author:

Brandon Cook is creator of The Awakened Warrior Blog, and co-creator of HardgainerMuscleBuilding.com, a website specifically designed to teach the hardgainer the laws and scientific principles for building a classic, muscular and functional physique.

HargainerMuscleBuilding.com features a free email class covering the basic principles of training naturally, eating a nutritious, muscle-building diet, and understanding the truth about supplements. The website is filled with free articles, videos, and the programs you need to create your ideal body.
Please visit us at http://hardgainermusclebuilding.com

© 2009, Hardgainer Muscle Building. All rights in all media reserved.

Related posts:

  1. The 4 Pillars of Rapid Body Transformation
  2. Body Transformation Part I: A Window Into My Past
  3. The #1 Tip to Transforming Your Body and Life… RIGHT NOW!!!
  4. Body Transformation Part II: Reflections of the Present Moment
  5. You Are Not Your Body Image

The Evolution of a Hardgainer

By Brandon Cook

a picture of how men have evolved from lean to fat

(The devolution of modern man thanks to Mickey D’s)

Now I know what I’m about to say in this blog post is somewhat
debatable, at least according to those people who believe the Earth is
flat, only 2,000 years old, and is still the center of the universe!
However, I’m going to say it anyway.

Modern scientists estimate the age of the universe to be over 15
billion years old. The Earth itself is over 4 billion years old, while
Modern man, as a species evolved a little over 200,000 years ago.

There I said it… yes I believe in evolution, it just seems to make
sense. Yet, I still consider myself to be a spiritual person and believe
in God… maybe not your God, but a higher intelligence none-the-less.

Now before you close the browser because you think I’m about to get all controversial on you; calm down, take a deep breath and open your mind to what evolution can teach a hardgainer, like yourself, about building muscle and getting the body and life you’ve always dreamed of.

Survival of the Fittest (Understanding Your Primal Purpose)

If there is one goal or purpose that every species on the planet has in common on a primal, fundamental level- it is the ability to SURVIVE and to pass on its genes to the next generation. Humans are no exception.

Your body is an organism that has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years and during that time the human body has become quite accomplished at doing so (surviving that is.) Muscle mass and strength definitely have a role in our survival but it’s not as big of a role as one may think. In fact, the human body has little need or desire to build muscle mass beyond the demands of what it needs to survive in its specific environment.

Did you get that? That last sentence is crucial to understand if you ever hope to pack any mass onto your ectomorphic frame. It’s so important that if you simply grasped this truth alone you’d be well on your way to an awesome, muscular physique. Don’t worry; I’ll repeat it in a slightly different way:

THE BUILD UP OF MUSCULAR MASS IS A NATURAL RESPONSE TO THE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH YOUR MUSCLES HAVE BEEN PLACED.

Let me explain!

Muscle is a calorically expensive tissue to maintain for the body. It requires a constant influx of calories to sustain and even more calories in order to increase in muscular size. The body doesn’t care how beautiful and sexy muscle is (only you do.) It only knows that muscle is costly, requiring lots of energy that could be used for more important matters… like keeping your skinny butt alive!

You know the cliché, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Well this
applies directly to lean muscle mass. If your body has little need for
excess muscle, it will break it down and use it as fuel so that it can
be a more efficient survival machine.

This is especially important to consider for us hardgainers.

Remember, a hardgainer’s metabolism is so fast that the body gobbles
up calories at a higher than normal level. This forces our body to
sacrifice our muscle tissue in the process to meet any caloric deficit
caused by a lack of food intake. This is one of the reasons why you are
so skinny!

Now here is what you need to know. If the demands on the body are
such that the body feels that what it needs to survive IS more muscle,
then by all means it will expend the energy necessary to build and
maintain it. However, it will do so only if certain conditions are met
first. We’ll get to those in a minute.

The key principle to grasp at this point is that you must convince
the body that its survival is at stake and that the only way for it to
survive is to build more muscle. You must create an environment that
DEMANDS the need for more muscle.

You will do this by gradually lifting heavier and heavier weights in a
few basic exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench press, barbell rows,
pull-ups, dips, and overhead presses.

Notice I didn’t say barbell curls or triceps kickbacks, or any of the
other isolation exercises you see most people doing in the gym. That is
because isolation exercises that involve only one joint do not put
enough demand on the body to threaten its very survival. Not like
compound exercises do. Compound exercises use several joints and
stimulate multiple muscle groups at the same time.

Did I mention that they are a lot harder?

That’s why most people would prefer to do tons of isolation exercises
even though they are practically doing nothing for them and they look
the same month after month. Don’t get me wrong, isolation exercises have
their place, but not for skinny guys trying to build a solid, muscular foundation.

In fact, with just two of the hardest compound exercises on that list
(the squat and the deadlift) you can stimulate over 70% of your body’s
musculature and kick in the survival response, which will stimulate your
body to produce more muscle all over your body. Throw in a couple sets
of bench presses and barbell rows and you’ve just hit your entire body
hard.

Three Conditions for Hypertrophy (Muscle Growth)

There are three basic conditions that must be met before your body
will expend the energy to undergo muscle synthesis, which is also know
as muscular hypertrophy. We just discussed the first one, but let’s take
a closer look at all three together:

1. You MUST create a physical stimulus effect on the body that will
be perceived as a threat to its very survival… without (and this is
important) actually killing yourself.

2. You MUST create an internal anabolic environment that provides
your body with all of the water, macro- and micronutrients that it needs
to synthesize muscle tissue.

3. You MUST create an external anabolic environment that allows the
bodily systems (muscles, nervous system, skeletal system, etc.) just
enough time to recover from the physical stimulus that was utilized.

In simpler words you must lift some heavy a$$ weights, stuff your
face with some quality food and water, and get enough rest and sleep to
recover before repeating the process. Simple huh?

Well not so fast there buddy, here’s the catch… every body is unique.
Each person will have to determine for him or herself what is the right
amount of stimulus? What is the right amount of food? What is the right
amount of rest?

This is the reason why some workouts will work for some people and
not others. This is the reason why some people can train six days a week
and others require only two or three days. This is why certain diets
may work for you, but not for others. This is why people on steroids and
with great genetics cannot help you achieve your goals if you’re
training naturally. What works for them, will most likely not work for
you. You’re different. You’re unique. Never forget that.

Even though everybody is unique, certain somatotypes (link to last
blog) have been established to classify people into three distinct
categories. From these categories we can determine where we fit into the
puzzle and what training, nutrition, and recovery methods will be most
suitable for our specific body type.

This is why if you are an ectomorph you would do best to find a trainer who knows and understands the principles of ectomorphic training, preferably someone who is an ectomorph
himself. That way you can get on the fast track to getting huge by
using the principles that work best for your particular genetics.

Look at it this way; if you’re an ectomorph… you’re definitely on the right website!

With that being said let’s dive a little deeper into how you can meet the second condition for muscle growth.

Feeding the Beast (The Hardgainer’s Biggest Dilemma)

Once you have stimulated your muscles through heavy weight training using compound exercises; a couple things have happened.

• You have drained your body of its energy (glycogen) stores,
• You have damaged the muscle fibers causing microscopic tears in them, and
• You have stressed your joints, ligaments, and nervous system to the max.

After you drag your tired butt out of the gym… your body is in shock
and broken down and going into repair mode. You’re probably getting a
little hungry by this time, which is your body’s way of saying… “I need
energy to repair these systems.” Even if you’re not hungry, you’d be
quite wise to eat a mix of protein and carbohydrates at this time. The
food and nutrients you eat throughout the day and especially after your
workouts will be the ultimate determinant of whether you gain muscle,
lose fat, or look the same.

Why is nutrition so vitally important to gaining muscle?

To answer this let’s use a metaphor. For instance, let’s say your
house was in a hurricane. The roof blew off and was damaged badly and is
in dire need of repairs. Just like you can’t rebuild your house without
the necessary building supplies of wood, bricks, mortar, nails,
shingles, etc., your body cannot rebuild itself without the proper
nutrients. With me so far? Good!

Let’s also say that you decide to add a screen porch onto your house
as well, since you would like to have a bigger, better house than you
had before. Well, in that case, you’re going to need even more building
supplies to make that happen. This is all pretty straight forward.

Well, your body is the same way. If you want to repair your muscles,
and then grow even bigger, better muscles; your body is going to have to
have a surplus of calories (building materials) at its disposal. If you
don’t supply the correct amount of building materials to make this
happen, don’t be surprised when your house and screen porch doesn’t look
the way you want it to.

That’s just reality. You can whine and complain all you want, but you cannot build something out of nothing.

Now here’s the hardgainer’s biggest dilemma. Someone who has an ectomorph body type has a super fast, rapid metabolism.
They can typically eat, and eat, and eat and never gain weight. “Oh
you’re so lucky” is what they commonly hear from most people, but to the
hardgainer… They don’t feel so lucky. In fact it feels more like a curse, especially if they’re goal is to get huge.

When you have a hyper-metabolism your body is burning calories left
and right. It’s like you’ve supplied plenty of building materials for
your house, but in the middle of the night thieves are creeping onto the
scene and ganking your precious building supplies. “Bad thieves”, you
yell, but they don’t care about you or your dream house. And to make
matters worse the cops ain’t coming either. (insert smiley face)

Thus, for the ectomorph “feeding the beast” is a rather daunting
chore, plan on eating more food than you’ve ever eaten before in your
life. To determine your basic caloric requirement multiply your
bodyweight times a factor of 20. For example if you weigh 150lbs,
multiply that by 20 and you’ll get 3,000. Thus, you’ve determined that
you need to eat at least 3,000 calories a day. This is a fairly
simplistic method of approach to this, but it is a good starting point
and you can adjust the amount of calories based on your results or lack
thereof.

Here are a few nutrition tips to get you started in the right direction:

1. Eat 6 meals a day (eat a meal every 3 hours)
2. Eat protein and carbohydrates at every meal
3. Make sure you include healthy fats like olive oil, flax seeds, fish oils, etc.
4. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (the more the merrier)
5. Get at least 1-2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight a day
6. Drink at least a gallon of water each day
7. Take a daily multi-vitamin
8. Drink 2-3 cups of green tea daily

The best approach to quality nutrition
is to use natural, organic whole foods whenever possible. However, it
can be difficult to use whole foods for every meal and that’s were some
people choose to use supplements like meal replacements, protein
powders, and nutrition bars. This is fine, to an extent. Yet please
remember that supplements can never replace whole foods, so you’ll want
real food to make up the largest majority of your calories. Whole foods
are more bioavailable, contain more vitamins, nutrients, phytochemicals,
antioxidants and all of the great stuff that your body needs to grow
bigger and stronger.

When I refer to whole foods, I’m referring to foods that have been
around for thousands of years and typically stuff that grows in the
ground, on top of the ground, or lives on the land, or in the ocean.
Remember, anything that is man made is practically stripped of most of
its nutrients due to processing, pasteurizing, and other manufacturing
methods. This includes most (if not all) fast foods, T.V. dinners, stuff
in boxes, cans, and all the fancy packaging you find lining the shelves
of the supermarkets. The makers of these products don’t care about your
health, only about your money. Nature knows exactly what the body needs
and doesn’t have a profit motive, so she is a better choice 99% of the
time!

Become more conscious of what you put in your body, after all your
life depends on it. Stick with fresh fruits and vegetables of all kinds
(a wide variety is very important), whole grain bread, pasta and other
grains, chicken breasts, turkey, salmon, tuna and other fish, lean beef,
nuts, seeds, beans, brown rice, cheese, milk, yogurt, olive oil, eggs,
etc.

The thing I’ve learned is that the closer your diet resembles the
diet of a caveman or cave woman, the better off you’ll be. These are the
foods that humans have evolved and survived on for thousands of years.
Also, make sure to buy organic and natural foods whenever possible. It’s
not only what you eat, but what your food ate and/or how it was grown
and processed.

If you have trouble getting in your daily allotment of fruits and
vegetables, consider buying a juicer and making fresh, natural juices at
home (and NO, pre-packaged juices do not count.) It can get a little
expensive buying all of the produce, but it is well worth it. You can
make great tasting blends of fruits and vegetables that will provide
your body with all of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that it is
craving. I even came up with a super testosterone boosting juice that
blends, garlic, brussell sprouts, purple cabbage, broccoli, carrot,
tomato, apple and half a lemon. Sounds nasty, but it actually tastes
quite good.

Continue to read, learn, and educate yourself about what it means to
eat optimally and maintain quality nutrition. Alas, if you don’t feed
the beast… you cannot grow!

The Sleeping Dragon (Your Excuse to Be Lazy… Well not exactly!)

It has become almost a cliché in the bodybuilding world that “Your
muscles do not grow while you’re inside the gym, but after you leave the
gym.”

It’s quite true! What you do over the next 24-72 hours after leaving
the gym will be the ultimate determinant of whether your muscles repair
themselves and grow bigger, simply stay the same, or worst of all… get
smaller.

Your intense workout (the first condition for muscle growth) is
nothing but the stimulus that sends a message to your brain “Whoa… that
was tough, we need more muscle in case we ever have to meet that
challenge again.” Your body goes to work repairing the damage and if
you’re lucky overcompensating by building new muscle tissue.

Now, you know from reading this article that your body cannot grow
new muscle unless you give it the quality nutrients (the second
condition for muscle growth) that it needs to make this restructuring
process happen.

Alas, we’ve come to the final piece of the puzzle: your muscles and
they’re correlated systems (i.e. nervous system, joints, ligaments,
etc.) must be allowed to fully recover before you repeat the process by
working out again.

In a sense your muscles become like a sleeping dragon. The last thing
you want to do is disturb a sleeping dragon before it gets its beauty
sleep. “Why?” some idiot always asks. ? Duh, because disturbing a
sleeping dragon is not going to help you accomplish your goals in life.
Disturbing a sleeping dragon is a sure fired way to get burned, and it
is very detrimental to your health and safety.

Well, the same thing applies to your muscles. If your muscles and
other systems do not fully recover before you train them again, you
short-circuit the muscle growth developmental process. Not only have you
stopped your muscles from recovering, repairing, and growing larger,
you’ve also put yourself at risk of overtraining. Overtraining can lead
to burn-out, injury, and even muscle loss.

In other words, like waking a sleeping dragon, working out again
before your body has recovered will not help you accomplish your goals
in life (which I assume is to build muscle). It is also a sure fired way
to burn-out (from overtraining) and it is very detrimental to your
health and safety (by putting you at risk of overuse injury.)

This is especially important for hardgainers and ectomorphs to
understand, because our body type has poor recovery capacity and is
exceptionally prone to overtraining and injury. Therefore, once you have
worked out and hit your muscles with a short dose of high intensity
training, recovering becomes your main mission.

Depending on how well your body recovers from intense training you
will need to allow 48-72 hours before training with weights again. Yes,
some people can train every other day, but it all depends on your
genetics, how intense your workouts are, and the recovery methods you
incorporate into your training.

In case you may be wondering how pro-bodybuilders are able to train
two times a day, six days a week… it all comes back to super genetics
and a small pharmaceutical lab they have going on for them. Anabolic
drugs allow someone to train and recover at super-human speeds. Intense
weight training everyday is suicide for the natural hardgainer.

Here are a couple tips and methods you can use to aid in the recovery
process and guarantee bigger, stronger, better quality muscles:

1. Get at least eight hours of sleep each night.
2. Get a massage, use a foam roller, tennis ball or massage yourself.
3. Use ice and heat therapy on your muscles. Ice is a miracle healer.
4. Take contrast showers. Alternate cold/hot water for several cycles.
5. Use meditation, tai chi, and other healing modalities.
6. Take a mineral bath using Epsom salt or other mineral salts.
7. Get in the hot-tub or sauna.
8. Take a power nap during the day.
9. Limit cardio and other extracurricular activities.
10. Spend time stretching and lengthening those muscles.

Just remember that you are the one that wants to have big, strong,
sexy muscles. Your body could care less. Its goal is your survival. If
you want it to build muscle you have to work with your body and your
genetics, not against them. You have to create a demand for muscle that
the body cannot ignore. Then you have to feed your body so that it has
the nutrients it needs for protein synthesis and cellular restructuring.
After that, you just have to allow your body the time that it needs to
grow, repair, and recover. Now get to it!

To Your Success in Training and in Life,

Brandon Cook

The Benefits of Being an Ectomorph

“The narrow waist and tiny joints are actually a blessing, as it will make every pound of muscle on your body look like three pounds. Often slender-boned bodybuilders of 190 pounds are mistaken for 220 pounds or more due to this illusion.” – Ron Harris

a picture of a male muscular chest

As a hardgainer, you should understand that your genetic capacity for muscle growth is not quite on the same level as those lucky, genetically gifted mesomorphs, who can put on muscle just by thinking about bench pressing! Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but not too far from the truth.

You’re going to have to train smarter, be more disciplined, and have the perseverance to overcome the genetic shortcomings of the ectomorph body type you’ve been endowed with.

Especially, if you are training naturally… which is the ONLY way I recommend!

That being said, you should have no fear… even as an ectomorph you can build muscle and develop an impressive physique. Just take a look at Frank Zane, a 3 time Mr Olympia who trained in the same era with Arnold Schwarzenegger. In fact, Frank is one of only 3 people to ever defeat Arnold in a bodybuilding contest!

a picture of Frank Zane posing

Frank Zane stands at 5’9″ and typically competed at 185lbs naturally. However he was quoted as saying that he has won shows both naturally and with steroids.

If so he was probably using lower doses of steroids (remember this is at a time when you could get them legally from your doctor.) Frank has stepped on stage at a ripped 195lbs during bodybuilding competitions and the extra 10lbs could be from drugs. Although maybe not… Only Frank knows for sure.

Even though he may have used some steroids to achieve his Olympia shredded physique, I want you to realize that he is mostly natural and wasn’t using steroids at anywhere near the same capacity as the pro bodybuilder’s of today do.

To me, Frank represents the full genetic potential of an ectomorph. His body type in this picture would now be considered an Ecto-mesomorph because of all the muscle mass he has added. Also, take notice of his smaller frame, thin wrists and ankles. These are classic traits of the ectomorph as you are about to learn.

Now, if I’m losing you with all the ecto-meso-“morph” terminology, then this article should bring you up to speed.

Somatotypes and Body Type Classification

There are three basic somatotypes or body types as proposed by Dr William H. Sheldon back in the 1930s that are used to classify individuals based on their physical traits and characteristics. It is not a perfect classification system, because even though some people fit these descriptions exactly, others will be a mixture of two or more somatotypes (i.e. an ecto-mesomorph.) Never-the-less, it is a great starting point for determining your genetic traits, your capacity for building muscle, and designing a program that maximizes your body’s potential.

Here are the three somatotypes:
• Ectomorphic: characterized by long and thin muscles/limbs and low-fat storage; usually referred to as slim.
• Mesomorphic: characterized by large bones, solid torso, low-fat levels, wide shoulders with a narrow waist.
• Endomorphic: characterized by increased fat storage, a wide waist and a large bone structure.

The True Hardgainers

Most people that are considered to be true hardgainers fall into the ectomorphic category. Since this website is dedicated to helping ectomorphs realize their full genetic potential, we will be focusing our attention on this body type specifically.

As an ectomorph, your metabolism is in overdrive, meaning you are rather lean, and thin and experience difficulty in gaining weight of any kind (muscle or fat.) You most likely lack significant physical strength and this is obvious because you are also lacking in muscle mass. The extreme ectomorph has a fragile and delicate physique, with a lighter skeletal structure, small wrists and joints. The ectomorph may be slightly taller than the average person, and thus has longer limbs, which are not advantageous to moving heavy weights. Recovery ability of the body is also more prolonged than mesomorphs and endomorphs.

Common Physical Traits of the Ectomorph:
• Thin
• Flat Chest
• Delicate Build
• Tall
• Lightly Muscled
• Stoop Shouldered
• Young looking
• Narrow Bones

Common Personality Traits of the Ectomorph:
• Self-conscious
• Preference for privacy
• Introverted
• Socially Anxious
• Mentally Intense
• Emotionally Restrained

As you may have guessed or probably know from experience, all of these characteristics are not favorable in your quest to pack on muscle mass, size, and strength.

After considering this, you may wonder if being an ectomorph really has any benefits. Are you doomed to being scrawny for the rest of your life? You may also wonder whether you should even bother trying to lift weights to begin with. Maybe you should just stick to endurance sports?

To quickly answer these questions I say Yes, No, Yes, and NO! Just because you do not have the genetic propensity to become a massive pro-bodybuilder does not mean you cannot pack on slabs of lean muscle mass to your body. You can, although it will require more work, focus, and desire.

In fact, lots of ectomorphs have gone on to make incredible transformations adding 20, 30, 50, even 100+ pounds to their smaller sized frames in a matter of months rather than years. This all depends on your intelligence as a lifter, your desire and passion to make this type of transformation, and your ability to master the principles of gaining mass.

In short, even as an ectomorph, you can create a classic, muscular physique. Not only that, but there are even some unique benefits to being an ectomorph that you may not have considered. Let’s take a look at these now.

The Benefits of Being an Ectomorph

Besides all of the seeming draw-backs of being a skinny ectomorph trying to pack on some quality muscle, we do have a couple of advantages over the other body types.

1. Less looks like more: Because of the ectomorph’s smaller skeletal structure, a little muscle goes a long way. If through hard work and discipline one is able to add some decent muscle to their lighter frame it will tend to look better, more defined, and create the illusion that the individual is bigger than he really is.

2. Melting the Fat Away: The ectomorph has a super fast metabolism making fat burning particularly easy. If too much fat is added in a bulking phase, it is fairly easy to slightly lower your caloric intake and burn it off quickly or to simply increase your cardio. Although this is an advantage for the ectomorphs, it is also a double-edged sword, as one must be careful not to burn off any of your hard earned muscle while doing so.

3. Enjoying your Food: Because of the ectomorph’s rapid metabolism, one must eat tons of high-quality food to grow and maintain their muscle gains. If you love food then this is a plus. Although sometimes it may feel like a chore having to pack so many calories away, at least you are not feeling deprived. Plus, it gives us the ability to cheat a little on our diet without destroying our progress.

4. Deadlifting: Even though longer limbs make it harder to move weight in a lot of the exercises, including bench pressing, and squats; The advantage goes to the ectomorph in deadlifting (one of the best mass building exercises), where long arms give us the mechanical advantage to move some serious weight.

5. Aging like Fine Wine: As we get older our metabolism begins to slow down and fat storage tends to increase. For most people that sucks, but for the gym going skinny guy this means the ability to add more muscle to their frame and the shift into a more mesomorphic metabolic range.

A lot of time skinny guys can’t see any positive benefits of their body type, and that can lead to a depressed state of mind. A depressed state of mind will be of no help to you and will actually keep you trapped in the very state you are mentally resisting. What you resist persists.

Of course you’d prefer to have more muscle, who wouldn’t, but in order to realize this goal, you must first accept yourself for the way you are, where you are, and who you are. Only after you can accept yourself and your body in this way, can you objectively step back and then map out a plan to get where you want to be in life and actually follow it to completion.

Acceptance of reality and a deeper understanding of it as it truly is… is the first step to changing your experience of it.

You MUST stop focusing on the negatives and start being grateful for the positive aspects of being an ectomorph.

The Proof Ectomorphs Can Build Muscle

Knowing your body types advantages and disadvantages is a vital key to unlocking the door to muscle growth and positive change. It is important to remember that you cannot achieve muscle hypertrophy (aka growth) by working against your body. The Awakened Warrior realizes this and works with his body and his genetics in an effort to overcome his weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

With the proper training, nutrition and recovery methods you can totally transform your body and reach the true potential of your ectomorph genetics WITHOUT USING DRUGS LIKE STEROIDS. In fact, here is some solid proof that you CAN gain weight and build muscle naturally as an ectomorph:

EXHIBIT A: Vince DelMonte was able to pack on 41+ lbs in six months by eating like a mad man and lifting heavy weights. Vince also explains exactly how he pulled this off and reveals the program he used in his No Nonsense Muscle Building Program.

a picture of Vinnie's impressive gains

EXHIBIT B: Anthony Ellis was able to gain 32 lbs in only twelve weeks by following a basic workout program of three days a week. He spells out exactly how he did it in his breakthrough program Gaining Mass.

a picture showing how much Anthony has improved

EXHIBIT C: Through hard work and dedication, I was able to pack on thirty pounds of muscle and jump from 130lbs to 160lbs. With everything I’ve learned over the years, I believe I’ll be able to pack on another 20 or 30 pounds in the very near future and I’m going to show YOU how to do it too!

a picture of Brandon's muscle gains

So as you now realize, the ectomorph who wants to gain muscle is starting off at a huge disadvantage in comparison to guys blessed with better muscle-building genetics. However, once the ectomorph accepts this and decides to start using a training and nutrition program that is designed with the ectomorph body type in mind… good things start to happen! I’m not going to tell you it’s easy… because it’s not…… yet it can be done!

To Your Success in Training and in Life,

Terry Grant

Transform Your Body to Transform Your Life

By Terry Grant

One of the most amazing things about making a true commitment to transforming your weak, scrawny framed body into the strong, ripped, muscular version of your ideal self is the impact that this journey will have on your entire life. For the better I might add.

a picture of Phil Heath

Nothing we do, say, or think in this world acts in isolation from the rest of our life situation. Everything is connected and intertwined and has a ripple effect that moves outward into other areas of our life and even further beyond the boundaries of our own lives.

For example if you begin by making simple changes to your diet in an effort to eat healthier, more nutritious and muscle-building foods, this change will also effect: the way you feel (i.e. your emotional state), your daily energy levels (i.e. your vitality), your interaction with others (i.e. your relationships), your ability to work, focus, and get things done (i.e. your career) and so on.

Beyond that, people will take notice and see the improvement that this effect is having on your life, which could lead them to make more conscious dietary decisions themselves. In other words, you’ve become a positive example to others merely by making the decision to transform your body, and this decision is having an impact not only on your own life but in the lives of others.

When you make the commitment to transform your body, you are, in effect, making the decision to radically transform every aspect of your life.

The WHY is MORE Important than the HOW

Now I realize that the reason most people want to transform their body is not for such a noble cause, but rather to look good naked and to attract the opposite sex.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good naked, I mean when you think about it who doesn’t want to look good naked? Furthermore, who doesn’t want to attract the attention of the women or men we find appealing? Most of us do.

But is “looking good naked” or “attracting hotties” a strong enough, and compelling enough reason to drag your butt to the gym and put yourself through intense, gruelling workouts day in and day out?

Is it a strong enough reason to totally change your dietary habits and eat massive quantities of food spread out over 5-7 meals a day, every 3-4 hours?

Is it a compelling enough reason to make sacrifices, go to bed early, give up bad habits, and do all the things that are required to make a transformation of this magnitude?

Is it a strong enough reason to pick yourself up after you’ve failed or injured yourself once, twice, or more times, to revaluate your plan and give it another go?

Maybe it will be and maybe it won’t be. To some it can be very motivating. To be honest, that’s one of the reasons I started working out and it’s still one of the reasons I work out. It’s a perfectly valid reason and it does have some motivational value to it, but it is not by any means my only reason. And if you’re to succeed at this, it shouldn’t be your only reason either. You need a reason so big and powerful that it will propel you towards success.

a picture of Phil Heath celebrating his 2016 Mr Olympia victory

The number one secret to transform your body and thus your life is to have a burning desire to do so and in order to fuel this burning desire you have to have a strong enough reason, or list of reasons, as to why you are putting forth the effort to make this transformation. So ya best to start writing!

Facing the Reality of Your Mission

As a hardgainer you have your work cut out for you. The last thing I’m going to tell you is that transforming your body or your life is as easy as 1-2-3, because it’s not. It takes commitment, dedication, persistence, discipline, purpose, passion, and confidence.

Now don’t worry if you are lacking any of these character values, because that’s one of the great benefits of weight training. As you: (1.) Develop your strength through consistent training, (2.) make the necessary dietary changes required to nourish your body and build muscle, (3.) give up bad habits and delay gratification to get the body and life you TRULY desire… you are building and forging these values and furthermore, this whole transformation process acts as the catalyst for the emergence of such values naturally.

This is what I mean when I say that transforming your body will transform your life. It has a spill over effect into all other aspects of your being. As you are disciplining your body and your mind through intense physical training, you are forging a stronger character like a blacksmith uses fire to forge the resilient Katana sword of the Samurai.

Thus, like a Samurai, you must be willing to face the harsh reality of your mission and your goals in life. You must be willing to face the truth about what your journey will demand of you and you must ask yourself these tough questions:

“Why do I want to transform my body and my life?”

“What is it going to take for me to transform my body?”

“What are the steps I must take to realize this goal?”

“Am I willing to fully commit myself to achieving this goal?”

“Am I willing to read, study, and learn what it takes and then to apply what I learn?”

“How should I be training for my body type?”

“Where can I make improvements in my diet?”

“What must I give up in order to get what I want? What must I sacrifice?”

“Do I truly believe that I can make this transformation my reality?”

“How can I guarantee the success of this mission?”

Remember, you’ve got to have forceful, convincing, and undeniable reasons, and a purpose for realizing this goal. You must put in the time to develop this “Why” and document it to paper. You must read it every day or even twice a day to remind yourself why you are doing all of this. This “Why” comes by asking your self these tough questions, by coming up with the answers, and doing other introspective soul searching to create and develop a burning desire and commitment to transforming your body.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking this is easy and that you’ll add 50 pounds of muscle in a month or two or even six months without even trying. Thousands of people sign up for new gym memberships every day (people with better muscle-building genetics than you), and within less than four weeks they’ve already thrown in the towel, never to step foot in that gym again. Don’t be like them, set your self up to be successful.

I’m not trying to discourage you, I want you to succeed and to believe in yourself and to realize that you can and will transform your life, and you’ll do it by first transforming your body, one step at a time. My brother and I, as well as, Vince Delmonte, Sean Nalewanyj, and Jason Ferruggia are all here to help you and make sure you have the tools you need to complete your mission, but it is YOU who will inevitably bring about the change you seek by taking focused, disciplined action.

We just want you to realize that this requires a conscious pursuit of both physical, mental, and even spiritual growth. You will be pushed and challenged every day. You will want to give in, give up, and run out on this goal before you have achieved it, but only the true warriors will be able to find the strength and courage within themselves to persevere and follow this path to where it leads… to the strong, confident, muscular being that lies dormant within each and every one of us.

Cultivating the Awakened Warrior Mindset

I want you to become a true warrior, not someone who is out fighting wars and killing people, but an Awakened Warrior; someone who stands up for what they believe in and gives their life for the greater cause. I want you to become a man or a woman who has a higher purpose and a mission for their life and never settles for mediocrity or complacency. You may not know what your purpose is right now, but have the confidence and courage and the heart to believe that you have one. Know that at any moment your mission will be revealed to you.

Yet keep in mind that our purpose is not something we discover in life, but rather it is something we create for ourselves.

The Awakened Warrior accepts full responsibility for the success or failure of his or her life and makes personal growth and development a conscious part of their everyday experience.

a picture of Lee Priest showing his bicep

Weight training, cardio, nutrition, meditation, etc. are all a part of your growth experience and development into a highly conscious being. And that’s what it means to be human: to be fully conscious, to continually evolve in our consciousness, to seek the truth and purpose behind our existence, and to fight for what we believe is true. And when I say fight, I mean to be the example of.

The Awakened Warrior does NOT need, nor want the approval of other men or women. The only approval she needs is her own self-approval. The Awakened Warrior is strong, wise, grateful, purposeful, radiant, confident, powerful, compassionate, and a leader to the men and women in his or her life. He leads by his example and by how he carries himself in this world. He lets his actions speak for themselves.

“Okay, well what does this have to do with transforming my body and life…?”

It has everything to do with it!

Who you are, how you think, how you speak, how you act, how you react, where you go, what you do, what you don’t do…. All of these things determine the outcome of your life. Your thoughts literally create your reality… you may have heard of the law of attraction (and we’ll get more into this in later blog posts), which says: people’s thoughts (both conscious and unconscious) dictate the reality of their lives, whether or not they’re aware of it or not.

Now I know there’s a lot of people out there who think this is a new age, hocus pocus, pie-in-the-sky theory… but it’s not. It’s actually a very radical and scientific universal law, if you will, that has been known in metaphysical studies for decades, and is just now being proven by quantum physicists.

Like I said, we’ll get into all of the nuances and details of this law in the near future, but for right now I just want you to take some time to think about this and wrap your mind around this powerful concept.

Your Thoughts and Beliefs Create Your Reality

In other words, that which you think about comes about, that which you believe to be true (or not true) is reality for you. Now, just because you think of an apple, does not mean an apple will magically appear in the palm of your hand, although that would be a pretty cool trick!

No, this isn’t a fairy tale. However, the consistent thought (burning desire) for an apple may lead you to your fridge, to opening the fruit drawer, to picking up a delicious apple and then enjoying it. Or if you’re getting really good at mastering the law of attraction, someone else may happen to come into your presence (i.e. you attracted them) and then they offer you an apple. And that’s almost as cool as it manifesting it in the palm of your hand.

Of course this is an oversimplification, but you can begin to see the possibilities.

Instead of an apple, maybe you have a burning desire to create a muscular body. Now just because you have the thought of envisioning your new muscular body, the universe will not instantaneously transform your skinny @ss into the form of the Greek God of Physical Perfection.

Again, this is not fantasy land. Nevertheless, the focused thought and burning desire for that muscular body might lead you to turn on your computer, type something in a search engine and land on a website (much like this one) that gives you the secrets and principles you need to transform the thought of a beautiful body into your reality of a beautiful body. And you thought you just accidentally stumbled upon this blog!

a picture of the huge Branch Warren

Although that’s just the beginning… by focusing on the thought and your desire to transform your body, you may decide to join a gym. Already you are attracting information, events, and people into your life that can help take your idea (thought) and manifest it into physical form (a muscular body.) Maybe at the new gym you joined you meet a friend or trainer who is able to explain some fundamental concepts to you, or perhaps become your training partner. According to the law of attraction, this chance meeting wasn’t just a mere coincidence, you’ve actually attracted this individual into your life by resonating on the same vibrational frequency (energy level) as this individual.

As you continue to act and fuel your burning desire by giving it attention and intention even more people, things, and events will begin to be drawn to you that will help you to arrive at your desired outcome (given the fact that you do not push them away by thinking contradicting thoughts, harbouring negative thoughts or subconscious feelings of self-doubt, etc.)

Surely, there’s a lot more to the law of attraction than this, but by learning about and mastering the principles of this universal law, in time you’ll be able to create your body and your life in any way you can imagine… but of course only within the confines of your beliefs.

So, Do You Truly Believe that YOU can Transform Your Body and Your Life?

Well, that is a question you will have to answer for yourself. The only way you’ll be able to make such a huge transformation is if you have a deep belief and knowing that IT IS possible for you. Otherwise, you’ll click away… never to return to this site again.

Unfortunately, for many of you that is exactly what will happen. Realize however that this is your choice. You can choose to be successful. Success is a choice you will have to make daily. You can either choose to keep learning or to click away. At this moment in time, that is your most important choice.

Just look at what you’ve learned already from reading this article;

So far, you’ve learned that by transforming your body, you will begin an amazing journey that will not only make you stronger, healthier, and more muscular, but will also have lasting implications on your entire life.

You’ve learned that you’ll need a strong and powerful list of reasons as to why you will complete this transformation.

a picture of the popular bodybuilder Dorian Yates

You’ve learned that in order to be successful you will have to face the ultimate reality of the mission that lies before you and make a firm commitment to completing your journey.

You’ve learned that transforming your body and life is not the easiest path and that to follow this path where it leads you will have to cultivate the mindset of an Awakened Warrior, who will never give up in the face of adversity.

Finally, you learned that your thoughts and beliefs drive the creation of your reality and experience of life. This is the basic premise behind the law of attraction, a law that when mastered will give you the power to recreate your life and your body into the dream version that currently exists only in your mind.

You still have lots of work ahead of you, but the training has begun… grasshopper!

Believe in your self, in your mission, and in your ability to transform your body and your life. There are many lessons I have to share with you and that I believe will only make you stronger in body, in mind, and in spirit. However, I am not sure that you are ready. In fact, only you can know for sure. When you are ready… I’ll be here.

To Your Success in Training and in Life,

Terry Grant

Character Values of a Champion

By Terry Grant

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made
from something they have deep inside them:
A desire, a dream, a vision.”

– Muhammad Ali

“When your values are clear to you,
making decisions becomes easier.”
                                              – Roy Oliver Disney

So you want to pack on pounds of rock-solid muscle! That’s your desire… your dream…your vision. You sit there and just imagine what it would be like to look as tough as Ali, as solid as Frank Zane, or as Herculean as Steve Reeves… or whoever it is you admire.

“Oh how different my life would be if only I could look like that!” you may wonder. “All the girls would want me then. I’d be rich, famous, and cool. I would be the envy of all men and finally win the respect and admiration that I rightfully deserve.”

“Too bad my genetics suck, I’ve always been skinny.”

“If only I was younger/older/richer and had the time to dedicate to training”

“I’ve tried everything and still can’t gain an ounce of muscle.”

“Oh yeah, and you have to take steroids to look like those guys.”

“I eat tons of food and still can’t grow. It’s hard eating that much food.”

“Nothing I do seems to work for me. I guess I just can’t gain any muscle.”

“I’m a hardgainer… that’s all there is to it… I give up!”

Well there you go! You know you’re right… your genetics do really suck. You don’t have the time anyway, and besides, after all, you are a hardgainer. No hardgainer has ever been successful.

There isn’t a chance in hell that you’ll be able to achieve any significant muscle gains. So yeah, you’re probably doing the right thing by throwing in the towel. I mean why waste all of this hard work and effort on something that’s totally out of your reach anyway. You gave it a shot and it didn’t work out. Now, you’re just being realistic.

I mean that’s what a CHAMPION would do right?

WRONG!!!!!!!!!

First of all, champions don’t give up… they may fail to reach a goal or lose a match, but they never give up. They pick themselves up, dust themselves off, learn their lessons and then act accordingly. A champion realizes that there is no such thing as failure until you have truly given up. If you never give up, then each setback, each problem, or any disappointment you face is simply another lesson… another test of your true character.

Now don’t get me wrong, it is important to be realistic about what you can achieve… if by realistic you mean truthful and accurate in your interpretation of reality.

For example, if you are an ectomorph and training drug-free it is very unrealistic to think you can train and eat to become the size of a modern professional bodybuilder like Jay Cutler.

a picture of Jay Cutler on the Olympia stage in 2009

I remember reading a story about him where he stated that the first time he bench pressed he was able to lift 315 lbs. True or not… I’m not so sure. However, it’s possible though, especially when you consider that he is a 5’9” with near-perfect bodybuilding genetics. Jay typically weighs 250-280 lbs at contest and 280-320 lbs off season. Plus, it’s almost a given that he’s a lil’ heavy on the juice (and I ain’t talking fruit juice!) He still worked hard to achieve his body though. So I give him credit for what he’s accomplished.

All is not lost though if you do not have the perfect genetics and want to train naturally. It’s important to realize that no matter what your genetics or situation you can still add muscle to your frame. It’s not unrealistic to gain anywhere from 15-75lbs of muscle or more… depending on what age you start training and how disciplined you are willing to be. We’ll talk more about this when I get to goal setting. The point I’m trying to make is… yes be realistic… but also remember that a champion also has to be somewhat idealistic or optimistic in what they can and will achieve with their lives.

Remember, as Ali alluded to in the opening quote, a champion has a dream and a vision in their mind and that dream and vision is so strong, so compelling, and so real to them that they will stop at absolutely nothing until that desire has been realized. You see they’ve made it real in their minds and so it is only a matter of time before it becomes a reality in their physical world.

Finally, Champions don’t think self-defeating thoughts like the ones listed above. In all honesty, they may have at some point in their lives, but at that point they were not considered champions. At some defining moment in their lives, the true champion recognizes that negative thoughts only work to defeat and limit you to what you can become. It is at that point that they release the need to think about any other outcome except for the outcome they desire. If a negative thought comes into their mind, they quickly drop it and replace it with a positive one.

You must understand that any statement you make to yourself or out loud is an affirmation to the universe about who you are. Ali didn’t say “I’m okay!” or “I’m pretty good!” No, he screamed “I’m the greatest!”

So decide for yourself, right now, what you want to be.

Do you want to be a hardgainer or do you want to be a champion? If you choose to be a champion, then drop the hardgainer mantra and excuses right now. They will only hold you back from being what you can become.

a picture of Frank Zane who was a known hardgainer who won Mr Olympia 2 times

Drop the Hardgainer Delusion Once and For All

What? The hardgainer delusion… Are you trying to say there’s no such thing as a hardgainer? After all, this is hardgainermusclebuilding.com. You guys of all people should know about the plight of the hardgainer… our inability to gain muscle mass no matter how much we eat… no matter how hard we train… no matter how relentlessly we try. How can you call it the hardgainer delusion? I’m not deluded… am I?

Calm down “skinny”…. You’re burning too many calories!

Here’s the truth: YES, there are hardgainers are NO, you’re not deluding yourself.

Here’s another truth: NO, there are not hardgainers, and YES, you are deluding yourself.

Now that I’ve thoroughly confused you… let me break it down!

Everybody, and by everybody I mean any average joe or jane without some debilitating disease or condition, can gain muscle. Yes, everyone is unique and there are different body types, which cause some people to have more or less difficulty in adding muscular size. For example, the ectomorph (due to their inherent genetic make-up) has a more challenging time gaining muscle than say the mesomorph or endomorph. So, if there truly are hardgainers out there, the ectomorph somatotype would fit the bill of being a “true” hardgainer.

That being said, it is not impossible for an ectomorph to rapidly gain muscle mass if they understand the reasons why their genetics are inferior for muscle growth compared to the other somatotypes and take the appropriate measures to overcome those limitations. In other words, the ectomorph must train and eat in a way that is congruent with his body type. In doing so, one will prevail over any inherited shortcomings and will be able to create an athletic and muscular physique that maximizes their genetic potential.

There are two problems with using the term hardgainer to define your self. First of all, it can be used as an excuse or blaming mechanism to shift responsibility away from your self. Secondly, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy that will keep you small and weak for life.

Many “normal” people underestimate the dedication, discipline, and hard work that goes into building a champion physique. Combine that with our “we want it yesterday” mindset that is so prevalent in the world today and some people easily become frustrated at their lack of progress.

Instead, of accepting responsibility and grasping the fact that their lack of results stem from something (or a lot of things) that they are either doing (or not doing)… they choose to blame their genetics and cry out with desperation… “I must be a hardgainer!” Now they’ve officially shifted the blame off of themselves and put it on their parents.

In reality, the reason why they aren’t gaining muscle is related to their training, nutrition, recovery, or mindset habits. One or more of the four pillars needs some fine-tuning, which means they will have to recognize that the problem is really with themselves and make the appropriate changes to their lifestyle. Changing your habits can be hard work, so it’s a lot easier to just blame mom and dad.

Now let’s look at the second issue with labelling yourself a hardgainer. Not only is the hardgainer identity a convenient excuse for your crappy results, it also becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you identify with and call yourself a hardgainer, the more you actually become one.

a picture of Frank Zane posing in the sun

As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you can or can’t… either way you’re right.”

How do you expect to gain muscle rapidly when you are constantly telling yourself that you are a hardgainer or have bad genetics or can’t succeed or any of the negative statements listed at the beginning of this article?

You will never succeed if you continue to harbour and affirm such negative, self-defeating thoughts. It is weak thoughts like these that are keeping you small and weak. If you want to be big and strong you must think big, strong, powerful thoughts.

“You become what you think about” –Napoleon Hill

You’re going to hear this a lot on this website, and the sooner you truly grasp this fact and understand that this is the key to living a fulfilling life… the sooner you will be able to totally transform your body and life into anything you imagine.

“With your thoughts you make the world” –The Buddha

If you read lots of personal development books like I do or any other life-changing works you will come to realize that this is one of the most common themes that has been repeated in some form or another throughout history. Those who have achieved great success in life or have reached any state of enlightenment have been pounding this into our heads for years. Unfortunately, so few grasp the ultimate reality of this concept and apply it to their lives. Even the bible says “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” Oh, you mean they weren’t talking about farming?

If you sow the thoughts, words, and actions of a skinny hardgainer, then how on Earth can you possibly expect to reap the body of a champion? If you want to be a champion and have a champion’s physique then you MUST have the thoughts, values, and beliefs of a champion. For it is from your thoughts, values, and beliefs that you take the necessary actions required to attain such results.

Anything else is simply a delusion you’ve fabricated in your own mind. So, while the ectomorph does have some genetic challenges to overcome, the reality is that YOU CAN build a lean, muscular physique if you are willing to do what it takes. The question you must ask yourself is… are YOU willing to do what it takes?

Choose to be a Champion

As Steve Pavlina wrote in his blog post entitled Living Your Values, “Values act as our compass to put us back on course every single day, so that day after day, we’re moving in the direction that takes us closer and closer to our definition of the “best” life we could possibly live.”

If you want to have a champion’s physique and live your life to the fullest you must become extremely clear on what it will take to make your vision a reality. That’s what this website’s all about. Yet the knowledge of how to do something is never the same thing as actually doing it. Your knowledge is useless unless you have the heart of a champion and are willing to apply it and live it… and this applies as much to me as it does to you.

Remember, I’m not talking down to you on a perch from high above. These are the challenges and experiences I’m going through as I work to attain my own champion physique and fulfilling life.

And one thing I’ve learned is you’ve got to have a clear vision in your mind and remember that a champion will not stop until his vision has been realized. Trust me; life is going to throw all types of adversity, challenges, and unfathomable circumstances at you to test your will. These tests are there to see if you truly want to live your vision or if you’re just talking frivolously. Those that are not serious and that just think it would be nice to have a great physique will not make it through the swamp or the great divide that separates the dreamers from the doers.

It is only when we’re willing to crawl through the mud, get our hands dirty and push ourselves to keep going that we will pass these tests. There will be times we can’t even see the other side anymore, when it looks hopeless, when it looks like it’s going to be too much for us to handle… that’s when we’ll have to dig deeper than we ever imagined and keep our vision engrained within our minds.

It’s in these times that you’ll have to remain focused when everything seems so unclear. You’ll have to remain calm and optimistic… despite the fury of negativity that surrounds you. You’ll have to remain confident, disciplined, and persistent… despite the pain and doubt urging you to give up and give in. You’ll have to stick to your guns, when everybody is luring you away from your post. For it is in these moments, when your true face will be revealed; it is in these moments when your character is tested and your true values emerge; it is in these dark and unpleasant moments when a champion is either born into the world or dies to what he or she could have been.

Terry Grant

How to Gain Muscle Mass in 2010!

By Terry Grant

“We all have great inner power. The power is self-faith. There’s really an attitude to winning. You have to see yourself winning before you win.”
-Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.”
-Bruce Lee

The New Year is RISING and my plan for how to gain muscle mass in 2010 underway…. I’ve made up my mind to DO THIS and to increase accountability I’m documenting the whole thing on my body transformation page. Stop by and leave me a few words of encouragement and support.

a picture of Jay Cutler at the 2009 Mr Olympia

The pressure’s on and I can already tell a BIG difference in my dedication to making a transformation this year just knowing that I’ve announced this to the world. I’m fully committed.  ;)

That being said I believe there are 4 Pillars you must study and master if you want to learn how to gain muscle mass:

1. Proper Mindset: You have to fully believe in yourself 100%. Drop any fear and doubt as soon as it arises and eliminate any negative self-talk. Focus on your ability to succeed and KNOW that your success is inevitable.

Practice meditation and learn to focus your mind on the present moment. This is your only true point of power.

Use positive self-talk and affirmations with strong positive emotions to train your mind to support your efforts.

Visualize the achievement of your goals right before going to bed. How does it feel to be living the life of your dreams?

Read books, listen to audio programs, watch educational programs. Continue to learn, grow and evolve. Never stop this.

Be confident, optimistic, disciplined, persistent, grateful, and enthusiastic in your approach to achieving your goals.

Be a real man (or woman) and take 100% responsibility for how your life turns out. You become what YOU believe.

2. Optimal Training: If you don’t know the proper training methods to break your plateaus you MUST educate yourself by absorbing all you can from guys like Vince DelMonte, Jason Ferruggia, Sean Nalewanyj, Jeff Anderson, Nick Nilsson and other competent coaches.

Use compound exercises like Squats, Dead Lifts, Military Press, Pull-ups, Dips, Chin-ups, Push-Ups, Rows, Planks, etc.

Do a couple of warm-up sets gradually increasing the weight and then do 1-2 working sets per exercise.

Stay within the 5-8 rep range and work to do another rep or add weight to the bar each week.

Keep your training short and intense. No more than 45 minutes after doing a 15-20 minute dynamic warm-up.

Do three workouts per week while allowing a day of rest and recovery between each training session.

Lift the weight explosively while controlling the lowering portion of the lift. Rest 60-120 seconds between sets.

Here’s your first workout: Squats, Military Press, Pull-ups. Now get going!

3. Quality Nutrition: You are what you eat. You can’t build your best body now, unless you are eating the best foods that will nourish, strengthen and rebuild it. Just like you can’t build your dream house out of scrap materials… your body is the same way.

Know where your food comes from and how it got to your plate. Just because it looks like food or says “All Natural” doesn’t mean that it actually is.

Eat the highest quality food you can afford. There IS a difference! If you got the money go for organic fruits and vegetables, free range, grass fed beef and chicken, cage-free, organic, omega 3 eggs, wild caught fish like salmon.

Eat 5-6 meals a day. Eat every three to four hours.

Make breakfast and your post-workout meals the biggest meals of the day. Eat most of your carbohydrates around these meals. Eat mostly protein, fats and vegetables during the other meals.

Eat like a caveman: fruits, vegetables, lean meats like beef, chicken, fish, whole eggs, nuts and seeds, some grains like brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal.

Master your peri-workout nutrition. Consume liquid carbs + protein before, during, and after your intense weight training sessions.

Use time-tested supplements like creatine, fish oils, multivitamin, protein powder, branch chained amino acids.

Eat enough food to support your muscle growth. You must be in a caloric surplus by 500 calories or so.

4. Rest and Recovery: This is where the magic happens… that’s right… in the bedroom.  ;) Sleep is when the muscles are repairing themselves and actually growing. Neglect this and you are doomed to be scrawny.

Do everything in your power to get 7-9 hours of sleep or more each night. This is vital to your success.

If possible take a power nap during the day or after training to speed recovery

Buy a foam roller and tennis ball and use these tools to massage your body and improve your muscle tissue quality.

Pay to get a massage, use a hot tub, sauna and/or soak in a hot bath.

Use ice packs to soothe sore muscles and joints or heal from injuries. Use a heating pad on sore muscles only. No heat on injuries with swelling and inflammation. Ice is the miracle healer. Use it.

Practice Tai Chi, Meditation, or Yoga to relax and circulate healing energy (chi.)

Stretch your muscles on recovery days. You should be stretching at least as much as you are lifting to prevent tightness and injuries.

If you’re not growing or achieving your goals… the problem is within one of these four pillars. Make sure you understand and are following these tips on how to gain muscle mass. When you have the four pillars in place and they will support your progress and growth in 2010. You can dooooo it!  :)

Terry Grant

The First Pillar: Developing the Proper Mindset

By Terry Grant

“Men and women are not prisoners of fate,
but only prisoners of their own minds.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

“When the ties that bind a human mind are broken,
A man is introduced to himself- the real self that has no limitations.”
– Napoleon Hill

When I first started lifting I really underestimated the importance of a proper mindset. By proper mindset, I mean a mind that is calm, assertive, driven, optimistic, confident, persistent, disciplined, and determined to realize the goals, dreams, and purpose that it somehow conjures up, whatever they be.

In fact, when I first started lifting I was anything but those things. Instead of calm I was angry, instead of assertive, I was passive-aggressive, instead of driven I was lazy, instead of optimistic I was pessimistic, instead of confident I was full of doubt. Basically I wasn’t a man, but a boy.

Then again, I had a dream and a goal and that’s more than some people ever have.

However, this is largely the reason why I believe it took me over ten long years before I started to really achieve the goals I set for myself. I could have achieved these goals a long time ago, if I had a proper and focused mindset from the beginning. Yet, the past is the past and I have no regrets… every mistake you make today yields a lesson for tomorrow.

a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger doing a double front bicep pose

What I failed to realize then is that your success at rapidly transforming your body and/or your life is largely determined by your mindset and your adherence to several universal principles. It has taken me years to discover these values and principles and most importantly reprogram my mind to think in the proper way that produces success. To be honest, it is a process that is still underway, but one that I have made great strides in. I’ve come a long way, Bay-BEEE!!!!

One of the greatest things about lifting weights and martial arts is how these activities not only change your body, but can alter your thinking and mindset as well. If you currently don’t have the proper mindset, it is encouraging to know that this transformational journey can act as a stimulus to reprogram your mind over time. If you make up your mind that no matter what, you will not give up…EVER… even if you fail once, twice, a hundred times… I guarantee you that your body and your life will transform over the long haul. It may take years, decades even, but eventually you will succeed if you are persistent and never quit. It also helps to have realistic, attainable goals, but we’ll talk about that later on.

Conditioning the Mind for Success

Those who make the fastest transformations are those rare individuals who in addition to their physical training, also incorporate strategies and techniques designed to reprogram their minds and subconscious beliefs to achieve success. In other words, they take the time to develop the proper mindset that is a necessity to achieving their desired outcome.

You must understand that your mind, thoughts, beliefs, and imagination are the internal creative forces, which literally cause your external reality to take shape around you. Read that again slowly!

Most people get this backwards. They think that something out there in the world is the cause of their failure or undesired predicament. Whether they blame fate, bad luck, their parents, their genetics, their spouse, their past mistakes, their country, government, age, lack of money, or whatever the common excuse is today. They have an external locus of control.

Those that have an internal locus of control realize something very profound; that we are in control of our own lives and how they turn out. They realize that all of the responsibility is on us because ultimately, we become what we think about all day long.

“We become what we think about” – Napoleon Hill

Take a quick look at everything around you. If you’re sitting at a desk you might contemplate the desk, your computer, a pencil, pen, calculator, your chair, even the building that holds all of these things. What do they all have in common?

a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger posing onstage

Well considering the list I gave you I’m sure you could come up with a couple of things they have in common… but the specific answer I’m looking for is that before they were ever made, invented or created… they all existed as a thought in someone’s mind. Before they became tangible items that you could hold or use, they were first intangible items that were simply an idea is someone’s head. In fact, everything in the world was first a thought, before it became a thing. If not in the mind of man, then in the mind of a higher intelligence.

Your life is also a product of your mind, it is the sum of every thought and experience you have ever had. Therefore, it is extremely important to get crystal clear about what you want your life to be like. You are either creating your life consciously or unconsciously, but either way your thoughts are always creating.

In this blog, I will reveal the proven strategies and techniques that have been passed down by the most successful leaders, businessmen, athletes, and philosophers in the world. If you use these techniques daily, they will help you to attain the proper mindset that guarantees success and save you many years of wasted time. Yet, they will work only if you have the intelligence to use them frequently, and to apply them and to believe in them without doubt, through the sometimes gruelling transitional period that they require.

You need to realize that I am not promising you a quick fix. The integration of these practices will not instantly transform your life and that’s why most people abandon them. You will also recognize that you may have heard of some of these strategies before. The key is to use these methods over time to condition your mind to think in a positive, optimistic way. To condition your mind to think only of what you DO want and NOT of what you DON’T want.

If you haven’t realized this yet, then engrain this in your mind now: “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, the mind of man can achieve.” If at the deepest level of your being you do not believe you can rapidly transform your body, then that small ounce of doubt will find a way to sabotage your efforts and derail your progress over and over.

Know that it can be done and then do it, eliminate fear and doubt and keep your mind focused only on your purpose. Take inspired action. This is vital! If you meet with undesired results, do not despair or lose heart. Simply, look for the hidden lesson that is to be found in any problem, failure, or adversity that comes your way. Learn the lesson and then make another attempt. Rinse and repeat until you succeed. Keep your eye on the prize! You never fail until you quit trying.

Whenever you have conflicting or contradictory thoughts they immediately put a halt to any and all progress. How can you achieve the goals you want, if you secretly or subconsciously doubt that you can obtain them or don’t deserve to have them? You cannot. And that is the point of these techniques; to make your thoughts, words, and actions congruent with what you say you desire. Without that congruency, success will always elude you… always.

The Spiritual Aspect of Training

In addition to these mental strategies, those who make the most rapid transformations of all, also consider the spiritual component to their training. Many do this without even realizing that these are spiritual concepts. They do this by learning to live in accordance with certain universal laws and principles. It is these laws that govern the very interaction of all human civilizations on Earth, even the stars, planets, galaxies, and the universe itself must obey. Now that’s power!

a picture of a very lean set of abs on a male

These laws are not new and on some level you may even recognize them as they are interwoven into the fabric of the world and taught in many different ways, in many different forms, and by many different people in many different cultures. And yet, the majority of humankind fails to apply them directly and deliberately to their aims and purpose in life. Sad but true.

Now, if you are courageous and conscious enough to make this journey, you’ll effectively become one of the five men out of a hundred that achieves true success in life.

Unfortunately, 95% of the population will not, because:

  • One, they are stuck and deluded on the level of form or the physical dimension. In other words they are concerned ONLY with materiality, the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain.
  • Two, they underestimate the power and influence of the human mind to shape the creation of their reality and experience of life. They do not read, learn, or cultivate the human mind to its fullest potential or to even a quarter of its potential.
  • And three, they have lost their inherent connection with nature and the divine intelligence that allows all things to be. Further, many deny the existence of such a force altogether or through years of various social, cultural and religious dogma (aka brainwashing) fail to grasp the true nature of spirit.

Although, I will tell you this: those that master this truth and live in total harmony with the various universal laws go on to achieve a level of transformation that is well beyond the physical transformations of gaining muscle or losing fat that we talk about on this website. Mastery at this level will allow you to transform the lives of thousands, and millions of people… not just your own.

We’re talking the likes of people like Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Lao Tzu, Morihei Ueshiba, and other enlightened beings, in other words, less than 1% of the population.

However, mastery is not required to reap the benefits of universal laws. Even making small, consistent changes in your daily habits that help bring you into alignment with these principles will carry with them great changes into your life.

I can attest to that. I am by no means a master of living in such a way, but by embracing these laws, little by little, my entire life has changed as a result and continues to do so the more I align my thoughts, words, and actions with them. So I encourage you to learn more about them as well.

As we discuss the First Pillar of Body Transformation over the next few weeks, I will present more in-depth information on the following aspects of developing the proper mindset:

1. Character Values
2. Universal Laws
3. Goal Setting
4. Meditation
5. Affirmations
6. Visualizations

The first two topics cover more aspects of developing the proper mindset, while the remaining four topics are the strategies and techniques you can use to condition your mind for the realization of your goals.

It’s important to realize that these techniques and strategies alone will not bring you much success, unless that is, you combine them with inspired action. More specifically to our quest here, you cannot focus on the first pillar alone. You must use the four pillars together in order to make a rapid body transformation. It will do you little good to visualize the body you want to have, unless you also get to the gym, lift some weights, have a post workout shake, eat healthy meals, as well as, get eight hours of sound, quality sleep. The four pillars work together in a synchronistic fashion, but each pillar brings with it its own personal benefits.

Hope you have a great week!

Terry Grant

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