Everywhere you look, scandalous statements about how quickly you can gain muscle mass are everywhere.
In one book they promise 8 kilograms in just 2 weeks. And there are rumors about one incredibly strong coach who gained 6 kilograms in just 5 days.
Choose any fitness magazine, and you will lose faith in the fact that gaining muscle mass is so easy.
Different sources contradict each other. Who can believe how much you can pump up?
How fast can you actually gain muscle mass?
Honestly, I have no idea. And no one has. Each person has his own muscle growth rate and it is almost impossible to predict how much you will gain in a given period of time.
What affects muscle growth?
Next, I will try to explain to you how this or that factor affects the rate of muscle growth. This will give you an approximate idea of what results to expect in a week, month and year of regular training, in order to better understand how much time you can build up.
There are a number of variables that you can control: a workout program and a nutrition plan. But there is something that has the greatest impact on muscle growth, but does not lend itself to any control from the outside - this is heredity.
Whether you like it or not, but some people gain muscle mass extremely quickly, an amazing result is noticeable in a couple of months. The progress of others may not be noticeable. Someone generally stands still, despite all efforts.
Below are the results of a study in which absolutely identical people (the same nutrition plan, training experience, build, age and initial body weight) were engaged in strength training for 12 weeks (raw results were taken from this study ).
After analyzing the data, the scientists noted that people who gained more muscle mass (with high responsiveness) exceeded those who gained less muscle mass (with low responsiveness) four times.
Then the researchers resorted to the method of gene profiling in order to analyze microRNA obtained from tissue samples of both groups.
MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNA molecules that, among other things, play an important role in protein synthesis (i.e. muscle growth) during resistance training.
Scientists noted that there are significant differences between miRNA-378, miRNA-29a, miRNA-26a and miRNA-451 of both groups. The number of miRNA-378, miRNA-29a, miRNA-26a was reduced in respondents with low responsiveness and invariably among respondents with high responsiveness. And miRNA-451 was increased only in subjects with low responsiveness.
MicroRNA apparently also affects the activation of satellite cells. Satellite cells surround muscle fibers and are the main participants in muscle growth.
People who are prone to rapid muscle gain have a large number of satellite cells surrounding muscle fibers.
Recent studies show that strength gains among people training in exactly the same training programs can be dramatically different.
Respondents were divided into three groups: with high responsiveness (strength gain was 20% or more), average responsiveness (10-19% strength) and low responsiveness (less than 10%).
On average, the increase in strength was 29% among respondents with high responsiveness, 14% with average responsiveness and 3% with low.
In other words, someone achieves results in record time, someone makes progress, but not as fast as we would like, for someone the process of mass gain lasts for months and years.
Yes, all this sounds like an attempt with the help of "bad genetics" to evade explanations why it is so hard for you to gain muscle mass.
In many cases, the fact that you have not been able to gain a gram of muscle mass for years is to blame for an incorrectly selected training and nutrition plan
But the fact remains, there is genetics beyond our control, affecting how quickly you can gain muscle mass and what your maximum limit will be.
The only way to defeat genetics, to agree to participate in the experiments of some crazy scientist, but it is unlikely that the result will please you.
2. The law of diminishing returns
The higher your training experience (i.e. how many years you have been doing strength training), the slower the changes.
In many cases, a person who has devoted 10 years of strength training takes much more time to build muscle than someone who is only 10 weeks in the gym.
Of course, the main problem with the training experience is that it is assumed that you adhere to a diverse training program throughout all the years (months, weeks) of training. But let's face it, few people (even me) change their training program.
Someone who carefully “pumped” each muscle group 30 approaches once a week for two years (by the way, is not the best training option) and gained quite a bit of muscle mass, is unlikely to subsequently be pleased with a significant increase, compared to a beginner, just started regular training.
It would be wiser to talk about your “ceiling of adaptation” or the “upper limit” of what you are capable of in the matter of gaining muscle mass. The closer you are to your upper limit, the slower the process will go.
3. Body Type
The rate of muscle gain also depends on the physique and the amount of muscle mass originally present in the body. That is, the answer to the question how many months you can pump up depends on the number of muscles already available.
Scientists from the Netherlands, for example, used the so-called lean body mass index to rank people as “thin” (people who are incredibly hard to gain weight) and “solid” (naturally muscular guys who just need to look at the barbell and their muscles already grow). Both groups engaged in strength training twice a week for 12 weeks.
All studied in 12 weeks acquired muscles. But the average increase in muscle mass in “thin” was only 0.3 kilograms, and in “dense” 1.6 kilograms. In other words, subjects from the second group gained FIVE TIMES more muscles. Than representatives of the first group.
If you have a strong physique, then you are able to lift large weights and, accordingly, more effectively stimulate muscle growth.
To determine your body type, measure the width of your wrist.
The wrist is 19.5 centimeters wider and speaks of a wide bone (endomorph). The wrist is less than 16.5 centimeters - about a narrow one (ectomorph). Everything between 19.5 and 16.5 centimeters is an average physique (mesomorph).
It is assumed that the size of the wrist is related to the size of the bones in the whole body, but not for all this rule applies. But the main point is clear and understandable. The stronger the physique, the higher the muscle potential.
Your body has a natural level of anabolic hormones (such as growth hormone, insulin, and IGF-1). Training and diet affect these hormones, which in turn determine the rate of muscle growth and maximum muscle potential.
At the top of the hormonal “pyramid” is testosterone. Having a great influence on the strength and size of muscles, testosterone is undoubtedly “King Kong” among anabolic hormones.
For men, the normal level of testosterone in the blood is 350-1230 nanograms per deciliter (ng / dts)
Naturally, a person with a testosterone level of 50 ng / dts will not be able to gain the same muscle mass in the same time period as the one whose level is 1000 ng / dts.
Read the article: how to increase your own testosterone levels in the body .
One way to artificially increase the natural muscle limit is to use exogenous testosterone.
As for the speed of muscle growth, there have always been many rumors and arguments. Basically, they are based on the fact that many successful bodybuilders, which you may have read about in magazines or seen on television, took various medications.
In this short trailer from the movie Bigger, Stronger, Faster, popular fitness model Christian Boving (you may have seen him in an old MuscleTech sports supplement advertisement) admits that he has been taking steroids since he was 16 years old.
In order to get an idea of what effect anabolics have, I will give you the results of a study that examined the effect of testosterone injections (600 milligrams of testosterone every week) on muscle growth among a group of men aged 19 to 40.
Subjects who combined testosterone injections and strength training on average gained 6 kilograms of muscle in 10 weeks. The group did not take testosterone, but performed physical exercises gained 2 kilograms of muscle. Those who refused to exercise, but did not miss an injection, gained about 3 kilograms of muscle mass.
In other words, those who took testosterone and went in for sports gained 3 times more muscle mass than those who limited themselves to only strength training.
And those who simply took testosterone and no longer made ANY effort gained 60 percent more muscle than those who trained.
Think about it.
People taking testosterone and not attending the gym gained more muscle than those who did three times a week.
I'm not going to tell you to take the drugs or not. Each person has the right to dispose of his body as he wants. In addition, in your life there are so many people telling you what to do and how to live. And I'm not going to become one of them.
But I believe that you need to know what is going on behind the scenes. This will help you set more realistic goals and more adequately measure your own progress. Otherwise, you may simply begin a prolonged depression from the inability to achieve the expected results.
5. Muscular memory
Each time a particular actor gains a large amount of muscle mass for a role, a sensation begins around him with endless discussions of how he achieved this.
For example, Robert Downey Jr. weighed about 69 kilograms while filming at Sherlock Holmes. Three months later, by the time the filming of part 2 of Iron Man began, he had gained about 9 kilograms of muscle.
Nine kilograms of muscle in just 12 weeks is a lot. How did he do it?
“In fact, he simply restored the mass gained for filming the first Iron Man,” explains Downey Jr. personal trainer Brad Bowes.
Simply put, these 9 kilograms were not new muscles. Downey just returned the old form to the "deflated" muscles. And it really takes less time than dialing from scratch, thanks to muscle memory.
Studies show that there is a difference between training trained and unprepared muscles
Of course, muscle tissue itself is not capable of actually “remembering” anything. Rather, it is associated with an increase in the number of cell nuclei (which play a decisive role in building new muscles) in muscle cells during strength training even before the muscles themselves begin to grow.
These cell nuclei do not disappear when you stop training and the muscles “deflate”. On the contrary, this stock of "extra" cells allows you to quickly return to its previous mass in a short time.
In most cases, in the “before” and “after” photographs in various sports magazines, you can observe fitness models that have been “lazy” for several months to get a “before” photograph.
But since, even earlier, they were already in great shape, it is much easier and faster for them to return this very form than for those who start from scratch.
By the way, if you ever thought about the reality of these “before” and “after” photos, the next video (only 68 seconds) will be interesting to you.
This is an excerpt from the movie Bigger, Stronger, Faster, which I highly recommend watching if you haven’t seen it yet.
Despite the fact that this is a long-standing practice in the food supplement industry, many people are still surprised that advertising is done in this way.
We all know that in order to gain muscle mass, you need to eat. A diet deficient in nutrients will reduce the rate of muscle growth.
But the most stupid mistake will be to eat much more than you need, in the hope that in this way you will gain muscle mass even faster. And the question of how much you can pump up with protein is not very important, much more important is protein synthesis, the quantity and quality of food consumed.
Our body has limited muscle-building abilities, which largely depend on the body’s ability to create new muscle tissue from your amino acids (protein).
You can eat as much as you like, but this will not affect the speed with which your body creates new muscle tissue. And if you eat more than necessary, then excess nutrients will be deposited in the form of fat, but not muscle.
Imagine that you are a factory for the production of something. (not important, choose what you like)
If you provide workers with less raw materials (i.e. food), they will produce fewer goods, respectively, productivity will decrease. That is, a lack of nutrients will inhibit muscle growth.
What will happen if we provide workers with more raw materials?
Productivity will increase, but only up to a point. Because there is a limit to how much an employee can produce in a given period of time. If the company works to the limit of its own capabilities, then increasing the supply of raw materials will be a waste of money and materials.
In the same way, you cannot make the body grow faster than genetically determined. Your diet will make sense as long as you adequately control the amount you eat. Otherwise, you risk becoming a fat man.
You have probably come across more than once people who assured that they know the “secret” of how to gain 30 kilograms of muscle in 6 months or even faster.
I’m more than sure that they take steroids, and give their results as “natural”.
Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was lucky with genetics, worked hard with a little help from special drugs and was incredibly happy, gaining 11.5 kilograms of muscle per year. He writes about this in his book Arnold: a bodybuilder’s textbook.
Many are trying to slope away from the army, and those who failed to regret the lost time. But for me, military service was not a waste of time. Returning home, I weighed 100 kilograms. At the very beginning of the service, my weight was 91 kilograms. It was the most incredible change in just one year.
Even if the legend of bodybuilding in a year was able to gain only 11.5 kilograms (and not all of them were muscles), how can you hope for more?
If you take into account all of the above, then how much muscle mass can you really gain in 10-12 weeks?
In one of Baylor University’s studies, a group of newcomers, working out 4 times a week, was able to gain 5 kilograms in 10 weeks.
A 12-week study showed that, doing a five-day split program and regularly drinking a glass of milk after training, the subjects were able to gain 5 kilograms of pure muscle mass.
By the way, taking creatine (20 grams per day for 5 days) and consuming more carbohydrates, you can accelerate the synthesis of muscle tissue.
For example, in a week on a high-calorie diet with additional creatine intake, you can get 1.5-2 kilograms of muscle tissue. But remember, “muscle” tissue is not always equal to the number of muscles.
In addition, you will not be able to forever keep the speed of mass gain, it will gradually decrease.
In the first year of training, you can gain about 5-10 kilograms of muscle mass.
If you are lucky with genetics, then with proper nutrition and training, you will gain up to 10 kilograms of masa. Those who are less fortunate with genetics are unlikely to be able to overcome the 5 kilogram bar.
In the second year of training, boldly divide the amount of previously gained mass into two - a maximum of 2-5 kilograms. In another year, it will be 1.5-2.5 kilograms of muscle.
I understand it doesn’t sound very impressive, but believe me, even so many muscles are enough to look amazing.
See also : Muscle gain: how to trick genetics
If you devote a tremendous amount of time to training, but there is still no result, we advise you on how to cheat the body and gain muscle mass.
According to the materials: