Q: I am currently following your Hypertrophy Training for the Ectomorph routine and was wondering if you could talk about soreness. The routine has a 1 day on, 1 day off layout. My question is: If I am still sore after a rest day, should I still lift? Should I only lift the muscle groups that are not sore? Did I strain my muscles too hard on the previous training day?
My Answer: Soreness is a normal thing that you will eventually get used to. Normally people get sore, because:
1) They haven’t worked out before.
2) They haven’t worked out for a long time.
3) They did a new exercise.
People think that soreness equates to damage, but in reality, the soreness occurs in part because the lactic acid created from training leaves behind waste by-products which “tickle” your nerves. The only way to get rid of these waste by-products is to train again, clearing them out by pumping blood into the sore muscles.
If you stick to the same program with the same exercises, over time, you will be less and less sore until you are no longer sore.
Bottom line is you should stick to the program, and train on the scheduled days, even if you are sore. It is important, however, that you can distinguish soreness that normally occurs from exercise and sharp pains from an actual injury.
Q: Hi James. I am an ectomorph. I am 19 and a freshman in college. I have always been disappointed with how I looked and how fast my metabolism was. I thought it was some sort of disorder because of how small my body is. I am embarrassed to say that my weight fluctuates in between 109 and 116.
I have just recently started to try to eat more and gotten into lifting weights and trying to gain weight and put on muscle. I am a very busy person, so I find it hard to eat 5-6 times a day. I am never THAT hungry anyways. I read somewhere that ectomorphs can actually lose some of the weight they gained earlier in the day when they go to bed. Is there any truth in that?
I don’t have any training program, but I would like to choose one. I eat fast food more than anything, because I work at a fast-food restaurant, and I wanted to put on weight. But I can eat all of the fast-food I want, and I won’t gain a single pound. Either my body doesn’t digest it or my metabolism is just ridiculously fast. Maybe I am not eating as healthy as I should be. Could you possibly point me in the right direction that I need to take? Any books or articles that could help me gain some weight? I have always hated being the small guy.
My Answer: Books or articles on how to gain weight? Oh… I don’t know… How about MY book which compiles a bunch of my articles on how to build muscle: Strength and Physique, The Articles.
There are a lot of guys at your age who are skinny, but can eat a lot of food without gaining a pound. This is very common.
Now if you don’t have an appetite, then that is a problem. You must have a voracious appetite in order to eat a lot of calories. You can create an appetite by training very hard. This means heavy free weights on compound exercises. Hypertrophy Training for the Ectomorph will work well in this regard.
You have to push yourself in your training. If you don’t train intensely, then your body has no use for the extra calories you’re ingesting. One of the signs that you pushed yourself to the limit at a workout is when you become extremely hungry a few hours later. That’s a sign that your body wants all sorts of protein, carbs and calories to build muscle.
If you can’t eat 5-6 smaller meals, then just go for 4-5 larger meals. Meal frequency doesn’t matter as much as total daily caloric intake. So eat a big breakfast (lots of eggs!), big lunch and big dinner and fit in a small snack somewhere. If you’re finding it hard to eat, then your small snack should include an apple, since the fruit’s acidity will stimulate your appetite.
You work at a fast food restaurant, so get the highest calorie meals (the restaurant should have nutritional charts), but substitute water for soft drinks.