Did you know that one kilogram of Uranium-235 has about 20 billion calories… Tempting, right?
Well, if you aren’t keen on dying instantly, you’re gonna have to eat chicken and rice like the rest of us! But can you actually make a noticeable difference in one month?
According to Christopher Smith, you can – I have my doubts. But here’s a look at his One-Month Hardgainer Solution Program on BodyFit.
Table of Contents
- About the Creator – Christopher Smith
- One-Month Hardgainer Solution Overview
- One-Month Hardgainer Solution Details
- 3 One-Month Hardgainer Solution Program Pros
- 4 One-Month Hardgainer Solution Program Cons
- Christopher Smith’s One-Month Hardgainer Solution – Final Thoughts
About the Creator – Christopher Smith
Christopher Smith is a man with a lot behind his name. Hailing from New York, Chris has always felt inclined to exercise to become his very best – and this wasn’t limited to just doing a few reps on the bench … it also included:
- Track events
- Martial arts
Strength training is probably the common denominator between all of these, and that makes sense since he also holds various records in powerlifting.
As far as education goes, Chris has earned a personal training certification from the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (the latter being focused on the strength). To top it all off, he also has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from St. John’s University.
Chris has a somewhat successful website called Train Better Fitness – which, unfortunately, hasn’t been updated in a few years. Chris also contributes workouts like One-Month Hardgainer Solution and Serious Strength in 8 Weeks to the BodyFit platform.
One-Month Hardgainer Solution Overview
The term “hardgainer” was a term created by the fitness world to describe someone who has a hard time gaining muscle mass. This is usually due to them training incorrectly or simply not eating enough.
That said, the One-Month Hardgainer Solution is the perfect fix – apparently.
- Fitness level: Intermediate
- Duration: 4 weeks
- Workouts per week: 4 workouts per week
- Average workout duration: 45 – 60 minutes per week
- Equipment needed: Full gym
- Goal: Build muscle
The remarkable thing about this plan is that it’s only going to last 4 weeks – or one month. As most people who’ve gained a substantial amount of mass will tell you, you should only be aiming to gain between 0.5 – 1.0% of your body weight per week.
One-Month Hardgainer Solution Details
Rather surprisingly, the plan doesn’t start with a high-calorie shake but rather with a troubleshooting section. Like a parent, Chris wants to focus on the things you’re doing wrong first before getting into what solutions we can use.
Troubleshooting a Hardgainer
When it comes to (most) hardgainers, they simply don’t understand how much you need to eat to actually gain lean muscle – especially if you have a high metabolism. So, Chris wants to focus on teaching you how to eat first:
You’re simply not eating enough.
It’s not uncommon for professional bodybuilders to eat upwards of 6000 calories per day, and yet hardgainers still believe they might get away with 2 eggs on toast for breakfast.
Chris also mentions that you should probably try to stay away from intermittent fasting. This is because, as Chris explains, the body is limited by food when using this technique. If you think about it, why would you ever want to limit food when muscle growth is the overall goal?
Even when we look at studies, plenty suggests that eating normally could yield easier and even better overall results. That’s why you should aim to have a meal containing protein and carbohydrates around every 3 – 4 hours if you’re a hardgainer.
When it comes to macros, Chris has an extremely simple method. “Here are some numbers, follow ‘em”:
- 0.8 – 1.5g grams of protein per pound of body weight
- 2 grams of carbs per pound of body weight
- 0.5 grams of fat to grow per pound of body weight
He then goes on a little rant about how you should optimize your nutrition by improving the quality of your nutrition – and he does have a point. Having better quality foods could not only lead to better gains but to a better relationship with food as well.
Unfortunately, this is where his advice on dieting stops. Yup, a program that was designed to help you gain muscle mass has woefully little about nutrition.
There’s so much room left for improvement here, and very basic things were left out, like:
- Liquid calories: Having a shake thicker than CBUM’s arms is going to help you massively in getting your calories down. Mix some oats, nut butter, whole milk, and protein powder, and you’ve got calories for days. (Chris doesn’t even list foods for you to choose from – disappointing.)
- Intra-workout food: Sipping on carbohydrates is the easiest way to get 200 calories in while training! It can even help with nutrient partitioning if you use it correctly.
- Fat loading: Carbs can have a lot of volume, so eating more of those dense fats can make the process a lot easier.
It’s a really glum sight when a trainer doesn’t take an extra 20 minutes just to give you the tools needed – so far, this plan isn’t doing great.
Let’s take a look at the actual training.
Is the Training Better?
With a rather lackluster start to this review, we move on cautiously optimistic to the training department. Right off the bat, we’re rewarded with a training schedule that you can actually stick to – upper lower, twice per week!
Essentially, you’ll be training the upper and lower body twice per week during the One-Month Hardgainer Solution. This is a higher frequency approach, of which I personally am a fan – for beginners.
But just as soon as we get this glimmer of hope about actually training for muscle mass, we’re absolutely blindsided by supersets…
Don’t get me wrong – supersets are great. But they aren’t the best way of gaining muscle – by far.
The key to muscle growth is mechanical tension. This means the more effort you can put into a single set, the greater chance you have of optimally stimulating the muscle for growth.
Supersets do have a place in fitness, mostly for those who are looking for fast workouts. However, if your goal is size, you should be optimizing the following factors:
- Getting Stronger: Unfortunately, it’s never mentioned in this program that you should be practicing progressive overload. This is a term used to describe the act of “asking” more from the muscle, either with more load or more volume – neither of which is used in this plan at all. Huge miss, as this is the absolute foundation of getting bigger.
- Better Form: We’ve all seen the guy doing squats, and they kinda look like… something is wrong. Well, that’s exactly what you shouldn’t be doing. You should be focusing on having a full range of motion on all the movements (that don’t cause you pain).
- Better Rest: While Chris does slightly mention rest, other methods like low-intensity cardio or better sleep have been shown to aid in recovery. No mention of sleep hygiene or how to decrease cortisol levels – again, disappointing.
Back to the actual training, for the most part, it seems to start on more compound types of lifts and then go into some isolation movements – as it should. Another good thing is that the volume isn’t as overbearing as other programs.
Your volume should never be so much that a single workout takes you hours. Sure, spending time in the gym is fun, and making TikTok videos of “we go Jim” is also nice. But you need to get in, get it on hard, and get out.
You grow when you relax, and you grow when you sleep. Prioritize recovery for better gains.
Recovery for Gains?
Recovery is the last arm of this fitness trifecta that we pursue. You can train and diet all you’d like, but if you don’t sleep or recover enough, you won’t see any real changes in regards to gains.
Does Chris, at least, go into recovery? Well, sorta. It’s a copy of what other programs on Bodybuilding.com recommended, so it’s nothing new, but it can be summarized as:
- Do some low-intensity cardio or do something physical with friends.
- Take some warm or cold baths if you’re struggling with muscle pain(s).
- Do some meal prep for the days ahead.
- Go see a physiotherapist for a massage.
- Foam rolling.
Again, nothing new. But also nothing about prioritizing sleep, proper hydration, electrolytes, or anything like that. And, again, disappointing because a hardgainer could really benefit from every bit of help they can get.
That said, here are some more tips for recovery:
- Ensure your room is cool when going to bed, and try to avoid artificial lights prior to sleep.
- Get a high-protein meal in 1 – 2 hours before going to bed to maximize muscle protein synthesis.
- Try to manage stress as much as you can, as it can increase your cortisol levels.
- Ensuring you hit your macros and the amount of hydration you need every day is also going to help – and don’t forget about salt and other minerals.
3 One-Month Hardgainer Solution Program Pros
- It’s so simple: If you wanted a simpler plan than this, you’re honestly better off just running until you get tired. This plan is simple in regards to training and diet – hell, there aren’t even videos to confuse you.
- It’s sustainable: The plan is not overbearing with total training sessions or volume per week. This makes it ideal for beginners or people who don’t use their caffeine addiction as a personality trait.
- Entry level: I have been quite harsh in this review, and that might be because I expect a lot. That said, this is actually a good plan for a beginner! However, it shouldn’t be marketed as a “solution” because an experienced lifter will not benefit from this plan at all. Advanced-level folks are better with more complex programs like Dorian Yates’ Blood & Guts Program.
4 One-Month Hardgainer Solution Program Cons
- Nutrition is trash: Chris is verbal about how nutrition is important and how the reader is probably doing it wrong… and then does the absolute bare minimum to fix this. This is, honestly, appalling, and I myself have given you more tips in this review than he has.
- No progression: The sessions are all very similar, and nothing is ever said about progression, whether it be with load or volume. This is almost criminal, as that is the only way of getting better.
- Way too short: While an attractive idea, no one is going to be making substantial gains in one month. And, certainly not with the poor nutrition guidance he has given you.
- Creates false hope: This is the biggest “wrong” in this plan, in my opinion. Not only does Chris try to convince you that it’s possible to gain a lot within a month, but he has you believing it’ll be easy. Gaining is simple but not easy. C’mon, Chris.
Christopher Smith’s One-Month Hardgainer Solution – Final Thoughts
This program really disappointed me. I wish there were a ton of good things to say about this plan. However, there’s so little that’s actually good that you can list it in two points:
- It’s a great plan for someone who is completely new to training
- … and the workouts might be short
Other than those two points, there really isn’t a lot of good in the One-Month Hardgainer Solution Program. In fact, the list of wrongs in this plan is way longer:
- The nutrition plan is woeful.
- The training is focused on a burn and not progressive overload.
- It’s too short to actually cause physiological changes.
- There’s no mention of optimizing your recovery for better gains.
There really isn’t much else to say about this plan.
Rating: 1.0 out of 5