I'm on the smaller side, and I'm looking to get bigger. I've been lifting heavy and eating healthy, but I'm not putting on the mass I'd hoped for. Give it to me straight: How much muscle can I expect to put on naturally?
How many times have you heard actors say they gained 30 or 40 pounds of muscle for a film in a matter of months? You sit there in disbelief, wondering what type of diet and training program they were on, who their trainer is, and what you have to do to bulk up and mimic their ripped physique by next month.
Well, I'm here to break it to you easy: It's virtually impossible for somebody who's been training regularly to gain 30-40 pounds of muscle in a couple of months or even a year. The only person with the ability to potentially gain 18-20 pounds of muscle in a year is a gym newbie—someone who's never lifted weights or trained before.
Why? Their genetic muscular potential hasn't been activated yet. In other words, they haven't even approached their greatest gains. An experienced trainee, on the other hand, has hit or neared his potential, making lean muscle, fat-free gains much slower.
Still questioning your progress? Let's review some expert opinions.
Alan Arogon's Natural Lean Muscle Mass Gain Model
|Catagory:||Years Training:||Muscle Gain:|
|Beginner||1 year or less||1-1.5% total body weight per month|
|Intermediate||2-3 years||0.5-1% total body weight per month|
|Advanced||5 years or more||0.25-0.5% total Body Weight per month|
According to Aragon, advanced trainees near their genetic potential are lucky to gain 0.25% to 0.5% of their total body weight gain as fat-free muscle per month. That makes the 10-pound-gain claims of already ripped celebrities seem outrageous, right?
In my opinion, it's rare to see a natural bodybuilder or fitness enthusiast close to their genetic muscular potential gain more than 2-3 pounds of lean muscle in a year. This is why it's an accomplishment when experienced bodybuilders manage to gain 7-10 pounds of fat-free muscle in a year.