With obesity becoming a larger and larger problem by the day, it seems as if we’re constantly hearing all about how difficult it is to lose weight and stay slim. However, some people are struggling with the exact opposite problem. They’re not only a lot skinnier than they should be, but they have terrible trouble gaining weight when they try to fix the problem.

If that sounds like you, then you might be what’s known as a hardgainer. Hardgainers are people that tend to have trouble putting on good quality weight (meaning muscle) because of genetics. It’s not actually about not eating enough or being too lazy to hit the gym often enough. It’s about a type of potential that was determined by Mother Nature before you were born.

How to Tell If You’re a Hardgainer

Hardgainers can be male or female. They can be from any walk of life and members of any ethnic group, country, or region. However, it’s important to realize that the exact definition of the term is open-ended and it can be tough to determine for sure whether or not you yourself are one. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most telling criteria.

1. Determine Your Body Type

Mesomorphs – Mesomorphs have what the great majority of people consider to be the ideal body type. They tend to gain muscle very easily, but without putting on a lot of extra fat. If you have a friend or a relative that doesn’t really work out much, but is constantly getting compliments about how fit and fantastic they look anyway, then the chances are good that they’re a mesomorph.

Ectomorphs – Ectomorphs are naturally tall, skinny, lanky people. They have a metabolism that is much faster than average and they tend to have terrible trouble putting on both muscle and fat. This is the most common body type associated with the concept of the hardgainer.

Endomorphs – Endomorphs are the exact opposite of ectomorphs. They have a slow metabolism and need to be very careful of packing on extra body fat. However, despite their ability to gain fat easily, endomorphs also tend to have the same trouble ectomorphs do when it comes to putting on muscle. For this reason, some endomorphs can also be considered hardgainers.

2. Recognize Distinct Features of Hardgainers

Did you know that the size of certain body parts can help you determine whether or not you’re truly a hardgainer? For instance, take a look at your calves. If you have large, muscular calves, then the chances are excellent that you’re not a hardgainer. However, people with skinnier, sparer calves very well may be. Larger leg muscles are indicators that your body is already hardwired for building muscle and bulking up.

The size of your wrists and ankles is another strong indicator as to your genetic ability to build muscle. Wrists or ankles measuring smaller than seven inches are going to be indicators of a smaller, more delicate bone structure. It’s much harder for people with this type of bone structure to build muscle in the long run.

Three Warning Signs That You Need to Gain Weight

While some ectomorphs and hardgainers aren’t necessarily aesthetically unhappy with their body weight, some find that it’s all too easy to become too thin. Low body weight can actually lead to health problems just as easily as obesity can, so it’s important to make sure you maintain a healthy weight for your height. The following are signs that you might need to consider focusing on packing on a few more pounds.

1. Mood Issues

Believe it or not, one of the surest signs that your body isn’t getting enough nourishment is your mood. If you’ve developed problems with anxiety, twitchiness, and irritability accompanied by a need to move around constantly, this could be a sign your body weight is getting too low. It’s your body’s way of coaxing you to go looking for food.

2. Loss of Period

If you’re female, you may find that if you become too skinny, you will stop getting your period. When you aren’t maintaining a healthy body weight and getting enough nourishment, your system will shut down functions that aren’t absolutely critical for your survival. The reproductive system is one of these and a woman can detect this by the loss of her period when there is no other cause.

3. Insomnia

Sometimes when people lose too much weight, they’ll find they develop a problem with insomnia. If this sounds familiar and it isn’t normal for you, your low body weight may be to blame. People that develop this problem may also find that they develop issues with fatigue that make it hard to live their lives during the day as well.

What Should You Do?

The first thing to do if you think you may be too skinny, especially to the point where it’s affecting your overall health, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. He or she will be able to determine the exact reasons for your troubles and rule out possible causes other than diet and exercise. Some medical issues can be easily treated with medications and other therapies.

You can also start taking steps to make sure your body is better nourished. However, it’s important to understand that gaining weight isn’t just about consuming more calories. Make sure you’re eating more of the right foods. Don’t binge on junk food. Instead, pad your diet with good quality carbs like whole grains and plenty of lean proteins.

You’ll also want to work on making sure you gain the right kind of weight. Instead of packing on the body fat, focus on gaining muscle. Make sure you weight train using a compound exercise program at least three times a week. Add a good quality weight gainer to your routine as well. You’ll be looking better and feeling better in no time!

If you’re serious about putting on some healthy weight, then I highly recommend you read How to Gain Weight Fast right now. It explains 5 simple, but highly effective ways for you to gain weight very quickly.