Welcome to the site, or Welcome Back!
I have written a lot of articles in the past on how to grow your muscles, and I will continue to do so in the future.
I have also written a number of articles on nutrition and supplements and how they are related to weight loss and muscle gains. I will continue to write these in the future as well.
Natural, you say? Aren’t all bodybuilders natural. Well, no. Believe it or not, lots of bodybuilders take supplements that are not natural to enhance their muscle growth.
A quick search of the internet will take you to lots of sites and videos that expose bodybuilders who are not natural; that is, they take steroids. Their choice. No judgment. It’s not for me.
So, how much muscle can you expect to gain by lifting weights, eating properly, taking the correct supplements, tracking your progress, and sleeping the correct amount?
That is the topic for today.
Let’s get started.
Given the sheer volume of information available on muscle growth, it must be a popular topic.
Google will return 375 million results for “How much muscle can you gain?“, 519 million results for “How long does it take to build muscle?“, and 1.79 billion (with a “b”) results for “How fast can muscle be built?“, all in under a second.
Just in case you thought muscle growth wasn’t a popular topic, it is!
The answers to these three questions are actually quite important, if we are going to set realistic goals for ourselves.
The Answers – How Much Muscle?
It is important to know the answers to these questions before you set goals, because if you believe everything you read online or even in reputable magazines, you will believe that you will gain many pounds of muscle mass and several inches of size to any given muscle group in a month.On this cover alone, you can expect 4x The Gains – Build Your Beach Body, Grow Your Arms – 5 Moves For Huge BIs, and Rock Hard Muscles in Just 8 Weeks. And next month, more of the same.
We read these articles, try the programs and products, yet don’t see the results. So next month, we read the articles, try different programs and products, and still, not the results we were promised.
The reason we don’t get the promised results is they are unrealistic; in fact, they may be outright lies. We, the average mortal, cannot expect to gain massive amounts of muscle every month, naturally.
In reality, studies have shown that the rate of growth of muscle is quite slow.
The Colgan Institute of Nutritional Sciences (located in San Diego, Calif.) run by Dr Michael Colgan PH.D., a leading sport nutritionist explains that in his extensive experience, the most muscle gain he or any of his colleagues have recorded over a year was 18 1/4 lbs. Dr Colgan goes on to state that “because of the limiting rate of turnover in the muscle cells it is impossible to grow more than an ounce of new muscle each day.”
Over a life-time, the average male can expect to gain somewhere between 40 and 50 pounds of muscle. That’s muscle weight. You can gain a lot of weight in your lifetime, but it won’t all be muscle mass.
For women, they can expect to gain somewhere from 20-25 pounds of muscle mass.
Keep in mind that this is over a lifetime. So if you are in your 40s or 50s before you start to lift weights for muscle mass gains, the amount of muscle mass gained would be less. You can still look ripped by losing fat and toning and gaining muscle, but don’t expect to look like the Rock any time soon.
How Fast Can You Build Muscle?
Here is where the rubber meets the road. According to the internet, I can add 3 inches to my arms in one year by doing three simple triceps moves. Or, if I switch to one of these 5 workouts, I’ll add inches to my arms.
The reality is, if I do these exercises in theses specific ways, I will see some muscle gains. Will I gain 3 inches to my arms in one year? Probably not.
It is physiologically impossible to gain more that about half a pound of muscle a week, based on the amount of time it takes our bodies to go through the protein turnover process. Our cells regenerate through this process every 7-10 minutes, but it takes about 6 months for our muscle to regenerate through the same protein turnover process.
So realistically, we can expect to gain, at most, 1-2 pounds of muscle per month for men and 0.5-1 pound of muscle per month for women.
So even if we are young, in perfect health, eat the perfect diet for muscle growth, and work out 5 – 6 times per week, we will still only gain about 24 pounds of muscle naturally in a year (12 pounds for women).
Also, only expect these gains if, as I said, you are young and the conditions for growth are perfect.
And the news doesn’t get any better from there.
Another study conducted by Lye McDonald claims that every year the amount of muscle that we are capable of gaining declines.
The decline in the ability to gain muscle year after year is due to the physical capabilities and capacities of our muscles. As they grow, it gets harder to grow them more. Simple physiology.
Other Factors That Matter
I have not told you all of this to discourage you from working out. Quite the opposite.
If we know what our bodies are capable of achieving, we can set realistic goals and achieve them.
First, the growth that you see in the muscle monsters on the internet is fueled by drugs, namely steroids. Again, their choice, no judgment, but it is a proven fact that steroids are not good for longevity of life and overall health. Just don’t.
Another factor is experience. You will see the greatest gains in your first year of serious training. That is good news, because it will motivate you to continue, as the rates of gain will drop off by about 50% each year after that and level off in the fourth year and beyond at just a few pounds of muscle each year.
We also must consider genetics and age. If you start working out when you are young, you will have a solid foundation to continue to build muscle onto for the rest of your life. The longer you have waited to start, the slower the progress.
Also, you are stuck with your genetics. If you are lucky enough to have great genetics, as The Rock inherited from his dad, I’m happy for you. Use them; don’t waste them. Some people will build muscle mass faster than others. That is just reality. Get over it and work hard to meet your goals.
And finally, a lot of your success will depend on your diet and your workout.
If you continue to eat poorly, don’t expect the gains. If you are inconsistent with your workouts and do not have a set plan that you follow and are not tracking your progress, don’t expect the gains.
It is all up to you. You will gain muscle. You just need to get started and stay at it.
So there you have it.
The truth about muscle mass gain. It is a slow and steady process, but it is possible to change how you look in as little as a year. Imagine if you changed your eating habits and lost 25 pounds of fat and started lifting weights and gained 20 pounds of muscle. This is possible in one year. Imagine how you would look and feel.
That is the reality. Losing fat and gaining muscle will happen if you really want it to happen.
It is all up to you!
Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am not a doctor or a professional and I am only offering my opinion.
As always, if you have questions or comments about my opinions, please leave them below.
Also, if you are a father (or mother) (or anyone for that matter) who would like an easy to follow program that includes a menu and work out information, check out this article from a few months ago.
See you in the next post.
Have a great day!