If I could sum up how to gain muscle in 3 easy steps they would be:
Most guys who have trouble gaining muscle are missing one or more of the above elements. Instead, they mistakenly believe that the answer to the quest to build muscle relies on costly, ineffective supplements and/or working out every day for hours.
You can't force muscle growth. You're either in an anabolic (growth) state or you're not.
Skinny guys or hard-gainers need to get the training right before anything else. These guys need to look at weight training as a science when struggling to add mass.
Common training mistakes for hard-gainers and skinny guys are:
training every day without a days rest in between workouts
training too long (anything over 45 minutes will hinder your progress)
using the wrong exercises (you need the correct exercises in the right amounts when you're a hardgainer
You grow when you rest. The workouts at the gym do nothing more than break down the muscle tissue. The actual growth occurs when you leave the gym. This is where your nutrition becomes vital.
Common eating mistakes for hard-gainers and skinny guys are:
eating like an "easy-gainer" (hard-gainers need a different ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fats than an easy gainer)
eating too often (hard-gainers should NOT eat 6 times a day like everyone tells you to)
using supplements instead of food (it's not necessary to use expensive supplements in order to get strong... even when you're a hardgainer. You just need to feed your body according to its needs)
not drinking a post-workout drink (in order to gain muscle you MUST drink a recovery drink within 20 minutes of your workout. The cheapest, most-effective way is to drink a big glass of chocolate milk!)
Most big bodybuilders and easy-gainers suggest eating 6 times each day when you want to gain muscle. This is very effective if you gain muscle easily. But if you're a skinny hard-gainer, eating this frequently increases your metabolism too quickly. The result is less muscle growth.
A little trick you can use to gain mass is to reduce the frequency of your meals from 6 down to 5. Keep the same amount of food but cut back by one meal. This gives you a little more calories at each sitting. It keeps your muscles fed by your metabolic rate slightly slower. The result is an easier time growing like a weed.
So there you have it... train correctly, eat correctly and rest. Those are the 3 components of my growth formula.