by Cade Thomas
The grass is always greener on the other side, they say. This cliche is nowhere more applicable than the bodybuilding debate of metabolism. Who has it harder? The resident skinny kid who claims he has to eat unimaginable amounts of food to force the scale to budge or the chubster who didn’t know he even had abs but sees gains in strength and muscle mass rather quickly?
There is also the entire side issue of appetite. In my experience, at least 50% of the people who claim to have fast metabolisms actually eat like birds. They might eat junk food so they tell everyone they eat like pigs but they can barely finish a meal and regularly go many many hours without thinking of food. Someone with a legitimate smoking metabolism is going to grow up seeing ribs and have definition in their ab region. I have to laugh every time a skinny fat 175lb guy with zero abs or muscle tells me he can’t gain weight because he has a fast metabolism. False, you probably actually have a normal to shitty metabolism but only eat crap and not much of it so you look like a human loaf of bread under your shirt.
I guess it really depends on how you define “easy”. In my eyes, difficulty is not simply having to do more of something. Difficulty represents having to be mindful and also the complexity of the situation. Is someones diet more “Difficult” because they have to force feed more calories aka more physical work? That is a linear solution, so in my eyes that is not difficult. It might be uncomfortable, and not as much fun as someone might think but it’s a simple solution. The “skinny” kids might have to fight nature to add size, but the path to more size is EXTREMELY simple. More food. More rest. More “supps”.
There is very little subtlety required in the life of a hard gainer. If you aren’t seeing the results you desire, you are not maximizing food/drugs/recovery. That’s it. You might be doing as much as the easy gainer next to you, but not enough for yourself. The life of a fat kid is much more complicated. Sure, being able to add muscle with relative ease might seem like a dream come true to the skinny kid who feels like he has a full time job just trying to gain 5lbs, but fact is there is an endless tightrope walk for those without gifted metabolisms. An extra 100 grams of carbs per day over a relatively short period of time can slap on unwanted bodyfat that requires extra cardio to burn back off. Not to mention if the fat-gened bodybuilder wants to even resemble a bodybuilder year round it will be required to apply at least a comparable level of dedication to the off-season than you would a prep (not the same but still very structured). An extra 1/2 inch on your arms sounds amazing but if there is an extra inch on your muffin tops is it really worth it?
Now to be fair it isn’t completely one sided. One pitfall to having a speedy metabolism is that come contest time you might take for granted how easily you stay in shape and have trouble finding what’s necessary to strip off the last few %. Also, the naturally lean individuals tend to be much more prone to losing muscle mass while dieting and flattening out. This can make the last stretch of contest prep a bit tricky for sure as there needs to be a balance maintained to keep a full and impressive appearance.
Overall, I feel the difference is in definition. There are more things required for the skinny kid to add size but you can pretty much use the kitchen sink approach and the flexibility of the fast metabolism allows for little confusion. More, more, more. It might not be the most pleasant, but it’s very simple in my opinion. Fat kids might require less quantities of food/supps but finding the sweet spot where muscle is being gained and fat is being maintained or lost is a much more delicate scenario.
Contest time almost proves to be the opposite, as skinny kids have to find a healthier balance of maintaining size while body fat plummets, while the easy gainers might be able to hold muscle mass while doing more cardio and eating less.
But if you ever try to tell me having to eat more food is equally as bad as having to do more cardio, I might slap you in the face.