Everyone has seen the amazing 30-day transformation photos on social media. They sell the story of how fast one can change their life around, gain muscle, and drop fat. However, let’s be real, how much muscle can one gain while training?
Gaining muscle mass is a gradual process for most lifters. When starting out, gaining 2-4 pounds of muscle per month is achievable. Additionally, more intermediate and advanced lifters can gain 1-2 pounds of muscle per month. These numbers are not set in stone and depend on your training style, nutrition, and much more will change your muscle gaining outcome.
Factors Of Muscle Building
Are you taking progress photos and measuring yourself? Unless you measure your progress, It can be really hard to know how much you’re building or losing. Don’t expect changes every time you check though. Gains are hard to come by. There are many variables that are out of your control. Your biological gender, age, muscle fiber type, and training history all can impact your results.
Have you ever heard a lady say she does not want to look like a man? Don’t worry, that does not happen naturally. Men naturally have a higher level of testosterone than women which makes building muscle much easier and faster. Women have to rely on an insulin-like human growth factor to do most of their muscle building. This is why women don’t usually have the same muscle bulk like men.
There is still some testosterone variance within the sexes, with some women having higher levels of testosterone than other women and some men having lower levels of testosterone than other men. This affects how easily each one can build muscle.
Muscle Fiber Type
Not all muscles are composed of the same fibers. Have you heard of the terms “fast-twitch” and “slow-twitch” muscle fibers before? Fast-twitch (type-II) muscles are more suited for activities that require strength, speed, and power. While slow-twitch (type-I) muscles are better for endurance activities like running for a long period of time.
Take a look at a sprinter and a long-distance runner, what do you notice? The sprinter most likely has bigger muscles on their legs. Fast-twitch (type-II) muscles are going to be bigger and have greater potential for growth. Whereas the slow-twitch (type-I) muscles are normally smaller. Your training style can help change how your muscle fibers develop but unfortunately, this is mostly dictated by our genetics.
Let’s be real, muscle building is easier when you are younger. After 25-30 years old, testosterone levels can begin to drop a little, especially in men. This can make muscle building a little more difficult, but not impossible. You may not be able to build as much muscle as you used to, but there is still plenty of opportunity for growth.
As our hormone production starts to slow down as we age, muscle building can become challenging. Strength train and watch your diet, you can still gain a solid amount of muscle in your older years.
When you first start working out, the term “newbie gains” might be used for your results. This refers to the amount and speed at which someone who is just starting training experiences. When you first start going to the gym or exercising in general, it won’t take much for your body to adapt and make gains. Unfortunately, the newbie gains do not last forever. Eventually, you will need to put in more effort to see results.
Another example of quick gain is someone who used to training, took time off, and now is getting back into it. It is easier to build muscle you had before and gain it back. The neuromuscular connection is important in building muscle. If you are forced to grow muscle, your body will recognize this and create new neuromuscular connections. Beginners will need to create these neuropathways, but a former gym-goer has already created these connections.
How Can You Build More Muscle?
While there are parts of muscle gaining out of your control, nutrition and how we train we have control over.
Abs are made in the kitchen. You cannot out-train a bad diet.
Protein is a key macronutrient you need to include in your diet if you want to build muscle. It’s important to remember that not all proteins are created equal and some are better for building muscle than others. lifting weights break down your muscles and when you recover, you rebuild. Protein is needed for the rebuilding of muscles. If you want to build muscle, you need to sleep enough and eat proteins in adequate amounts.
Train For Your Goal
There is a strong link between proper nutrition and building muscle, but how you train can also play a role in this process. You will need to be training consistently.
Next time you go to the gym, focus on exercises that use heavy weights and lots of resistance. This means working on your bench press, overhead press, squats, and dumbbell exercises. Multi-joint exercises are great for muscle building. Experiment with different training styles or follow a workout plan that is designed for your goals in mind. Remember to go to the gym at least three days a week, give yourself plenty of time to get a solid workout in, and more importantly, give your body adequate time to recover and rebuild.
There are things we can control when it comes to building muscle, such as what we eat and how often we work out. We just need to make the most of what we have, and that includes accepting our bodily limitations. No matter your age, experience level, or lack thereof when it comes to working out, you can still build muscle. All you need to do is focus on what you can control.
It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, a seasoned athlete, or never stepped foot into the gym, you can still build muscle — you just need to focus on what you can control.