Last week, a fantastic debate was published on YouTube on the topic of bulking…
Part 2 is here, and this is for those of you who are chasing muscle growth primarily, above all else. Feel free to read part 1 here.
Muscle Gain – Realistic Rates
Most guys can gain 0.125kg/0.25lb of pure muscle per week when they start lifting. That’s about 6kg/12lb in a year. This doesn’t sound like a great deal, but you have to remember, most people mistake their huge weight gain for muscle. They don’t account for glycogen and fat increases.
Trust me, 12 pounds of muscle is A LOT of muscle. This assumes you do an effective training program (such as the ones you will receive for free if you subscribe by email), eat well, and are consistent. Gains slow down after the beginner stage.
|Effective Training||Weekly Muscle Gain||Monthly Muscle Gain||Yearly Muscle Gain|
|1 year||0.125kg / 0.25lb||0.5kg / 1lb||6kg / 12lb|
|2 years||0.06kg / 0.125lb||0.25kg / 0.5lb||3kg / 6lb|
|3 years||too small to track||0.125kg / 0.25lb||1.5kg / 3lb|
*Yes, I know 1 kg = 2.2 pounds, but this diagram is merely for simplicity’s sake.
Your body-weight can increase by a considerable amount more than 0.5kg/1lb per month when you start lifting. Your muscles store glycogen to fuel your workouts. Glycogen binds to water which causes water retention and a fuller look. This water weight increases your body-weight, but it’s not pure tissue.
Some guys can gain more than 0.5kg/1lb per month. Different people have different genetics, but I don’t want you to expect to make more than 1lb of pure lean tissue per month, as you may end up disappointed, or worse, “dirty-bulk” in order to make up for the “sub-par” results, and get fat as shit in the process.
Don’t do that, there’s no rush, and you can’t force-feed gains. If you do struggle to eat enough food, buy my book to learn the best strategies to overcome this.
Some people may gain a little slower than this. Older people gain more slowly because they have less testosterone. Same with females – they usually gain only half of what guys are capable of.
Most of your gains will happen the first three years. In the beginning you’re weak, so you gain very fast – these are the newbie gains. I started out skinny-fat at 70kg/155lb. My weight climbed to 87kg/190lb the first three years, most of it the first year.
But my weight has actually fallen since then, significantly. I’m simply a lot lower in body fat than I ever used to be. This also highlights the impact that body fat has upon your body weight.
If you’re a big, heavy guy, it’s unlikely that you’re lean. Unless you’re on drugs.
It’s easy to gain a load of bodyweight through bulking, but staying lean year-round and looking awesome is a different ballgame.
Furthermore, the more lean tissue you have, the harder it is to gain more. This is the law of diminishing returns – it takes more work to get more, and the return is smaller. Luckily, muscle gains are easier to maintain, and come back faster after a break.
It’s harder to build muscle than to lose fat or get stronger. You can easily lose 0.5kg/1lb of fat per week by eating slightly less. You can easily add 2.5kg/5lb per workout on Squats for weeks with one of my free programs. But you can’t build more than 0.25kg/0.5lb of muscle per week.
This explains why you can’t look like top bodybuilders, fitness models or celebrities in three months. They’ve usually been training for years – Arnold was lifting weights for eight years before winning his first Mr Olympia. And don’t ignore the lightning, tanning, photoshop, drugs, …
The main take-home of this article is this:
Don’t let unrealistic expectations screw you over, have patience, and work very hard and very consistently. That means stick to an eating strategy that works for your goals, and stick to a good training program, regardless of whether or not your gym buddy can make it every single session.