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Am I a hard gainer or soft gainer?



  • 1. Ectomorph: Am I a hardgainer?
  • 2. Endomorph: Am I a soft gainer?
  • The 3 body types: Do they really exist?

If you have ever dealt with the topic of building muscle, you have probably come across the terms “hardgainer” and “softgainer” during your research. But what do they actually mean exactly?

We’ll tell you which characteristics are attributed to the different body types and how you can use this knowledge for your training.

1. Ectomorph: Am I a hardgainer?

If you are very slim, have barely an ounce of fat on your body (although you eat well at every meal) and find it difficult to build muscle, you could be classified as an ectomorph body type.

The English terms “hard” and “gain” describe exactly these characteristics, i.e. it is difficult for you to store fat and build muscle mass.

Hardgainers gain muscle slowly

Hard gainer features:

  • long, sinewy muscles
  • mostly tall and slim
  • long limbs & neck
  • narrow shoulder area
  • flat chest
  • faster metabolism
  • low body fat percentage

Hardgainer-Training: Focus on strength training to build muscle, classically with equipment and bodyweight (exercises with your own body weight)

2. Endomorph: Am I a soft gainer?

In contrast to the hard gainer, the classic soft gainer quickly accumulates fat. Building muscle mass is easier for men who have the so-called endomorph body type.

But the subsequent muscle definition is difficult due to the sluggish metabolism and the tendency to accumulate fat.

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If you overdo it with the mass phase, it will be difficult for you to define your muscles

Features of the soft gainer:

  • Round, short or stocky stature
  • Short limbs & neck
  • soft muscles
  • undefined but powerful
  • Slow metabolism
  • Tends to accumulate fat

Softgainer-Training: Focus on fat loss through a combination of strength training and endurance sessions; HIIT exercises such as Tabata are particularly recommended.

  • Protein-rich diet
  • Rather low in carbohydrates
  • Avoid constant snacking
  • It’s best not to use a classic mass phase for building muscle, but rather a lean bulk (we’ll tell you what that is here)
  • Disciplined tracking and maintaining a slight calorie deficit for muscle definition

Or are you perhaps a normal gainer?

If neither body type applies to you, you are probably a “normal gainer” with a mesomorphic body type. In other words: You are of a normal build, perhaps have a naturally athletic appearance and don’t gain weight at the sight of fries etc. Building muscle is not difficult for you.

The 3 body types: Do they really exist?

The division into different body types actually seems somewhat obvious at first glance and is taken up again and again in various places on the internet.

The body type theory is neither scientifically proven nor useful.

The idea of ​​the 3 body types came from the American psychologist William Sheldon in the 1950s. He put forward the thesis that one could draw conclusions about a person’s character traits based on their appearance (body shape). However, his studies were never about topics such as muscle building or metabolism. The terms like hardgainer or softgainer were also not used back then.

Nevertheless, supplement providers in particular still like to use this body type theory to sell “hard gainers” special weight gainers for building mass. Don’t get us wrong: They can definitely be useful in order to meet the increased calorie requirements. But they are not absolutely necessary; they should only be taken in addition to a healthy muscle-building diet.

And thanks to the body type theory, softgainers have a perfect excuse at hand as to why building muscle simply doesn’t work for them like it does for others. “My body type is to blame, there’s nothing you can do about it.” But that’s not true.

The fact is: your “body type” is not an obstacle to effectively building muscle or losing fat. A clear assignment to just one body type is usually not possible anyway.

Anyone who consistently sticks to their diet plan and their training in the gym with iron discipline can successfully transform their body – regardless of their alleged body type.


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