Today we’ll talk about gaining muscle mass – this is the main goal of most newbies who come to the gym and a worthy goal. What man doesn’t want to look more muscular, more prominent, and stronger? However, achieving this goal is not an easy task. In addition, it is impossible to say unequivocally how long it will take this or that person to gain muscle mass.
The behavior of an animal organism, including humans, depends on many genetic, psychological, and physical factors. We are all different people with our own unique traits, be its strengths or weaknesses. We have a different diet, metabolism, training regimen, and recovery from each other. Therefore, it would be more correct to ask the question, exactly how much can I pump up? With this, we want to help our readers to understand by presenting interesting facts and useful recommendations.
If you scientifically approach the issue of the speed of gaining muscle mass, you can get rid of most of the illusions and avoid many problems associated with the development of physical fitness.
In the case of novice bodybuilders, high expectations don’t bode well, but they are fraught with injury, overtraining, and frustration. There are enough videos and articles on the Internet in which newly minted iron sports gurus tell how they increased their muscles by 15 kilograms in 4 weeks. But the amount of fact in them is inversely proportional to the amount of water. In reality, for such a period it is impossible to achieve adequate results, no matter what genetics you have, and no matter what sports pharmacology you use.
It’s good when a young athlete gives an account of his own abilities, slowly but surely mastering the technique of exercises and laying the foundation for future growth. It’s bad when he’s being fooled by ubiquitous ads, buying useless nutritional supplements, or forgetting about rational training and recovery. Then, at best, he will get an upset stomach and overwork, at worst – for the rest of his life he will put up with the consequences of injuries, diseases of the digestive and excretory systems of the body.
It’s even more difficult with girls. After all, they dream of getting an elastic ass, toned hips, and a flat stomach, but they do not want to look like professional bodybuilders, whose tongue cannot be called the fair sex. The problem is that many women who go to the gym for the first time are subject to prejudice. Like, you will become like a gorilla if you do deadlifts. Therefore, more and more novice fitness girls resort to the help of “miraculous” means for weight loss or expensive surgeries and less and less follow the recommendations of professionals.
And, of course, you shouldn’t forget about laziness. She also plays an important role.
As a result, we have former jocks and athletes with a passive-aggressive position, who, having spent a lot of time on outright nonsense, returned to a comfortable position “lying on the couch”.
How Much Muscle Can I Gain?
Gaining muscle mass is not a priority research topic among domestic or foreign scientists. However, there are currently several science-based positions on the potential and rate of muscle gain.
In particular, according to the results of the experiment of Arthur Jones, it was found that a healthy man who does not use anabolic steroids or other doping agents but systematically exercises, fully rests, and eats properly, can gain up to 8 kilograms of muscle mass in a 12-week cycle. In this case, we are talking about high-quality muscle growth (without water or fat). So the figure is impressive.
In turn, biologists argue that in a lifetime, the muscles can be increased by 20-25 kilograms (men) and 10-15 kilograms (women). Again, we are talking about natural bodybuilding and lean mass.
How, then, do professional bodybuilders achieve results of 100-120 kilograms of body weight (and more), which is actually a mountain of muscles? At the very least, they use sports pharmacology. With the help of the same steroids, one can approach the limits of the capabilities of the human body. But it should be understood that anabolic steroids are not magic pills. Without proper training, nutrition, and recovery, progress will not work.
There are other data as well. For example, there is allegedly confirmed information on the network that a man is able to add up to 100-200 grams of muscle per week. True, there is one “but” here. All this applies only to the average genetic endowment. That is, there are both positive and negative exceptions to the rules. On the one hand, we have genetic monsters, which are the majority of performing bodybuilders, on the other hand, genetic mediocrities who will never achieve similar heights.
In addition, the type of a person’s body directly affects the potential for gaining muscle mass: endomorph (large build), ectomorph (lean build), or mesomorph (intermediate build). It is obvious that endomorphs and mesomorphs have a higher propensity for muscle gain than ectomorphs. However, they usually find it harder to lose weight or burn fat.
How much can I pump up?
So, we found out what are the maximum indicators of muscle mass gain for the average man. It remains to deal with the main question – at what speed, that is, how much is such a man able to pump up?
It is believed that, without outside interference, an athlete can add 100 to 200 grams of muscle per week (about 0.5-1.0 kilograms per month), and an athlete – from 50 to 100 grams of muscle per week (about 0.2-0.5 kilograms per month). In other words, if the goal of the pitching is to increase the muscles by 10-15 kilograms, then he can approach this result in about 1 year of training.
Do such numbers meet in reality? Of course, but usually muscle gain is either faster or slower. There are many factors that can affect it, including the ratio of BJU and the balance of trace elements in the diet. Also directly or indirectly affected: the level of stress, medication (drugs, not doping drugs), even colds and diseases.
Sometimes work or family stress is so strong that the trainee literally falls out of hand. Someone suffers from vitamin deficiency, and someone from sleep deficit, without realizing it. The result is a slowdown in progress. Therefore, without deep examination, it is extremely difficult to calculate the rate of muscle gain and assess the actual potential of a person.
Factors affecting the rate of muscle growth
Frankly speaking, it is not possible to consider all of them. Indeed, as mentioned above, even a banal cold can affect the progress of an athlete. Therefore, below only the key, in our opinion, components of muscle growth will be discussed in detail: training, nutrition, age, experience, genetic potential, muscle memory, and, of course, sports pharmacology.
The topic is already hackneyed, but still relevant. Someone is lucky with genetics and he, being a mesomorph from birth, at a conscious age looks like a competitive bodybuilder, and to someone not, when, how much you train, and how not to eat, you cannot get powerful muscles.
Unfortunately for many, a genetic predisposition to certain sports, including bodybuilding, is a reality. Hormonal balance, the quality of the bone structure, the number of muscle fibers, the tendency to accumulate fat, the metabolic rate (metabolic rate) all play an important role, directly affecting the speed and potential of muscle gain.
The hormonal explosion inherent in young guys and girls must be used to the maximum if you want to look athletic and have a strong body in the future. With age, the level and synthesis of anabolic hormones (testosterone is no exception) inexorably decrease. Therefore, the further, the more difficult it will be to pump up.
Moreover, young athletes have an advantage not only in terms of hormones but also in terms of the central nervous system. That is why it is easier for those who were involved in some kind of physical sports in their youth to gain muscle mass in the future. They have already developed neuromuscular connections. All that remains is to choose an effective training program and create an effective nutritional plan.
By the way, natural bodybuilding can be practiced without consequences, starting from 14-16 years old.
Beginners in bodybuilding are able to simultaneously gain muscle mass and burn subcutaneous fat. After all, they have room to grow. And at the start, the increase in muscles will be really high-speed. Many people manage to add 10-15 kilograms during the first 12 months. But then progress slows down.
In fact, the more experienced, the lower the results, as the athlete approaches the limits of his own capabilities. On the other hand, experienced pitching people who have mastered the nuances of training and exercise techniques are able to correctly work on their strengths and weaknesses. There would be a desire.
This phenomenon primarily applies to men and women who previously played physical sports, be it bobsleigh, tennis, hockey, or powerlifting.
Muscle memory is a long-term change in the structure of muscle and nerve cells that develop as a result of exercise. It provides quick physical recovery after a long rest – planned, like pregnancy, or accidental, type of injury.
Here’s an example: as a result of injury (or for some other reason), an athlete is forced to stop training. Due to the lack of proper load, his muscles begin to atrophy. Nevertheless, if he subsequently decides to return to classes, then he will need less time to restore the previous muscle volume, strength indicators, and level of endurance.
Training program and diet
In bodybuilding, you cannot achieve any significant results without the appropriate loads for muscle growth and a balanced diet for recovery. At the same time, in order to get the maximum response from the same workouts and food, many nuances must be taken into account. In particular, their own way of life, motor characteristics, and level of training.
Many beginners use ready-made workout programs that they find on the net or in magazines, which, in our opinion, is a serious mistake. They go to the gym 3-5 times a week, doing the exercise according to someone else’s scheme, but do not succeed. Excessive exercise only increases calorie expenditure. As a result, the level of hormones decreases, catabolic processes intensify, and instead of progress, overwork is formed.
What am I getting at? Moreover, the training program and diet should be selected individually. Of course, there are some general rules from which you need to build on. But it is better to determine the details on your own, taking into account your own, and not others’ predispositions and tolerances. The athlete must be fully armed to gain muscle mass. Knowledge is never superfluous!