Building muscles can be a daunting task. Before starting your fitness journey it is important to understand how much muscle you can possibly gain in a week to create realistic fitness goals. There are many factors that determine your muscle-building potential. However, the results ultimately depend on one thing – you.
The following guide will explain various factors that impact how much muscle you can gain in a week up to a lifetime, as well as create realistic expectations on what to expect during your fitness journey. We’ll also provide a quick guide to support building adequate muscle.
First, let’s discuss Newbie Gains. Newbie Gains is a common gym term for beginners who build a significant amount of muscle in a short span of time. Usually, this tends to occur to people who have little to no experience with exercise; particularly weight lifting. During the Newbie phase, a dedicated male weight lifter can gain 20 to 25 pounds of muscle in a single year.
Women can expect to gain 10 to 12 pounds within the same time period. A drastic diet or training improvement can also provoke Newbie Gains in those who have been lifting actively but followed a poor diet or exercise routine. Depending on the individual, this phase could last as short as 2 months or as long as a year.
This drastic increase in muscle gains is due to the body being hyper responsive to the new stimulus created through weight lifting. Overtime, as the body becomes accustomed to the stimulus, the less hyper responsive the body becomes. As a result, the amount of muscle a active weightlifter with a healthy diet and training plan can incur decreases.
During the Newbie Gains, it is important to take full advantage of this opportunity. Once you go through the Newbie Gains phase, assuming you maintain an active lifestyle, it’ll become increasingly difficult to acquire the same result you gained during this phase.
You can take advantage of this phase by following a proper exercise routine and nutrition plan. FItnessVolt has many resources for amazing workouts and diet tips to help with your health and wellness goals. You’ll also get a quick guide on how to take full advantage of your muscle-building ability with this article.
Factors that will impact your ability to gain muscle
Since everybody is unique, there are many factors that will impact your ability to gain muscle. The five primary factors that impact your ability to gain muscle are age, genetics, training experience, workout routine, and diet.
As the general rule, the younger you are the easier it is to build muscle mass. This is due to the decrease in testosterone as we age. A person in their roaring twenties will likely pack on much more muscle in a short time period than a sixty-seven-year-old longing to feel young again.
As much as it hurts to admit, some people have it better than others. Hormone levels, bone structure, muscle lengths all play a vital role in your ability to gain muscle. Some hit the genetic lottery and build muscle by simply existing. Others have to work twice as hard to obtain half the results.
Whether you’re the genetic winner or the latter, gaining muscle is still possible, it’ll just require more or less effort than others.
As mentioned above, the longer you’ve been training the harder it’ll be to gain muscle. If your training routine is poor, you may be able to take advantage of some Newbie Gains through a drastic improvement in your workout regime. If you’re a complete Newbie, you have the ability to gain twice as much as an experienced lifter within the same time period.
A good workout routine can make all the difference in your muscle-building results. If you give half your effort in the gym, you’ll likely get half the results. Many times, you’ll get less than desired. If you Give 100% effort and remain consistent you’ll likely meet or exceed your expectations.
Similar to your workout routine, a good diet can make all the difference in your muscle results. A balanced diet, rich in protein, greens, and nutrients can outperform even the worst genetics. A poor diet full of simple sugars and grease can diminish even the most genetically gifted person.
Other factors that play a role in your ability to gain muscle include Steroid use, drug use, and muscle memory. Muscle memory is simply building back the muscle that you previously had. This tends to occur at a faster rate than building new muscle for the first time.
Don’t confuse muscle memory with Newbie Gains; Newbie Gains produce muscle you never previously had, muscle memory is regaining lost muscle. While all of these factors play a significant role in how quickly and how much muscle you can gain in a week, the old saying remains true – Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
A genetically gifted individual with a poor diet and nonexistent workout routine can still struggle to gain muscle over an older genetically disadvantaged individual who works hard every day to maintain a proper workout routine and balanced diet.
Now that you know the factors that impact your ability to build muscle, it’s important to create and understand realistic expectations of how much muscle you can gain in a week. The average individual can expect to gain 0.25 to 0.5 pounds of muscle a week.
That’s equivalent to 1 to 2 pounds a month. This number would vary based on the factors described above, including whether you are a beginner as well. If you are a Newbie, you may experience muscle gains up to 2 pounds in a week.
However, the rate would significantly decrease over time. In a lifetime, the average man can expect to gain about 40-50 pounds of muscle. A woman can expect to gain 20-25 pounds of muscle in a lifetime. Keeping these numbers in mind will be vital to maintaining healthy and realistic fitness goals throughout your fitness journey.
Quick Guide to Building Muscle Mass
1. Consume More Calories Than Burned
Building muscle mass requires you to be in a caloric surplus. The muscles need fuel to grow and repair their cells. To figure how many calories are needed to gain weight, add between 250-500 kcals to either the Mifflin-St Jeor, Cunningham, or the Harris-Benedict equation times activity factor.
Related: Weight Gain Calculator
2. Exercise at least 3x/week for 1 Hour
Eating is only one part of the equation. After you determine how much you need to eat to reach a caloric surplus, you want those added calories to turn into muscle. This requires lifting. A good routine would be lifting 3 times a week, moderately heavy for 1 hour.
3. Make Sure to Get Adequate Rest
Lack of adequate sleep places unnecessary stress on the body, not allowing the muscles to recover from lifting and daily activities. According to experts, seven to eight hours and thirty minutes of quality sleep are recommended on a daily basis. Experiment with the number of hours needed to feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Try starting with eight hours (no more than eight) of sleep and slowly decrease hours by thirty minutes.
“The Ultimate Guide to Building Muscle Mass” provides a full detailed workout, meal plan, and step-by-step guide to building muscle mass.
The urge to build muscle as quickly as possible is very prevalent. However, in reality, building adequate muscle is a slow process that requires commitment and patience. While factors such as age, training experience, and genetics all play a role in the amount of muscle you can gain in a week, being dedicated to a proper workout and diet regime will ultimately be the deciding factor on how much muscle you truly gain.