Realistic expectations about muscle growth
05-28-2004 07:47 PM
Realistic expectations about muscle growth
Realistic expectations about muscle growth.
This topic is important enough to be made a sticky because there is so much absolute confusion, myths, and outright lies made about how much muscle bodybuilders gain or are supposed to gain during a given period. A big part of the problem stems from the mainstream BB mags both focusing on the genetically elite, and their bogus ads about how good ol’ Fred, Bob, and Charles all gained 30 lbs in 6 weeks using cell-tech or whatever the product being pushed. And of course we have steroids and PH’s to lay some blame on too because everyone gains 30-40 lbs of pure muscle in a matter of weeks when on a cycle—BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH…….B ULL****!!!!!
And it has even got worse with the creation of the new very effective PH’s that have all the newbies swearing they are gaining 20lbs of pure muscle in 2 weeks on 10 mg of M1-T. And that is definitely not a M-1T bash, because I absolutely love this product. But…..let’s just say all those people that are talking about the 20 lbs of MUSCLE in 2 weeks on M1-T are talking out their ass. Oh yeah, that brings up another BIG problem….the internet, where ANYONE can say anything, and they do, damn do they ever. To read some of the posts it should be no sweat at all to gain 20 lbs every month like some of these guys KEEP saying they do. A few should be right up to about 375 if they would recall that they already said a couple months ago they gained 20 lbs, and 20 right before that, and of course the 20 this month…and the bull**** goes on and on, and yes, people end up confused and left with unrealistic expectations.
Let’s first talk about the BIG gains and when and how they are likely to occur and then move to what comes next. It is quite common for newbies, and in BRAND-NEW trainees to gain 10-50 lbs their first year when training clean, and even doing quite a bit wrong. 10-30 lbs is more likely than the higher numbers and a good amount of that weight may very well come in the first few months. There is another category of newbie that may experience the same type of gains. These are the guys that are newbies to effective training. There are many, many, OK let me say it again, MANY guys that have trained for years and barely gained a ****ing ounce. Usually because they follow the “routines of the champs”, and eat like little old ladies. When you take one of these guys and get them on a “real world” routine, and get them eating right they too often make newbie type gains because they never made them in the first place even though they have trained for years. I know, because I was one of them, and very often help people make these types of gains after training unsuccessfully for years.
Then we have the quick gains steroids and PH’s can provide many trainees. It may come as a big surprise to all of you guys out there that train clean and have never done a cycle but most people DON’T gain huge amounts of pure muscle when doing a cycle. Almost everyone though gains much better when “on” as long as they don’t make too many rookie mistakes consisting of changing their routine to the “pro’s” style while on, and not fueling it with enough food. Also After your first couple of cycles each subsequent cycle has diminishing returns. You lose a large percentage of your gains post cycle. Don't tell me you keep all or most of your gains. If it worked that way the average guy starting out at 170 that gained 20 lbs each cycle and kept 15 would only need to do 6 cycles spread out over two years to be a 260 lb FREAK. It doesn’t work that way sorry!
Be that as it may, a well planned out 8-12 week cycle will net many people 15-30 lbs of muscle that they can keep quite a bit of if they do things right post cycle. The big gains are more likely to come to those that haven’t already made huge gains clean, and of course, those with better then average genetics.
OK, we have the big gain periods covered. Let’s now talk about what can be expected AFTER these periods are done and over with and the trainee is in for the long-haul. What is realistic, and what is average? Well like anything else that applied to humans it is as individualistic as each and every one of us is the individual we are. But…we can still provide some GENERAL answers to the topic as long as it is understood that many will do worse, and some will do better.
Lets just let the math do the talking and see if that and a little common sense can answer some of the questions for us. Joe average trainee has been training for a couple of years now and started out at 5’10 150, he floundered a lot with bad training and diet, but still managed to put on 25 lbs of pretty solid muscle and looks a lot different than he did at 150, but still is nowhere near satisfied. So…..he goes out and reads everything he can get his hands on and scours the internet forums and sees how poorly he has been doing considering lots of guys out there are talking about the 10 lbs they gained just last month. Hmmmm…..let’s do that; 10 lbs x 12 months and he now weighs 295 and is ready to make his splash on the pro circuit. OK, we know it doesn’t work that way, so lets half that 5 lbs x 12 months = 60 lbs and he’s now a 235 lb guy ready to hit the state level… ****, it’s pretty obvious it doesn’t work quite that way either.
Now let’s get real. How about 2 lbs x 12 = 24 lbs Now a year later our 175 lb lifter is a 200 lb lifter and if he is lean at 5’10 looks like a million bucks, and turns heads wherever he goes. Now if he can repeat that again the following year, or come close to it. He is a bodybuilder by anyone’s standards and if the shape and symmetry are there he can think about competing at lower level events if he is so inclined. That is closer to what an optimal situation looks like. Most guys simply don’t have the genetics to do that good without juice and the gain pattern would probably follow more along the lines of:
Year one (if done right) 35 lbs
Year two 15 lbs
Year three 10 lbs
AND IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING SOME WILL DO MUCH BETTER, AND SOME MUCH WORSE.
This gets you a 210 lb guy at 5’10 in three years. I am talking about 5’10 and LEAN, not a fat guy because 5’10 210 and fat is nothing, but a 5’10 guy that is lean is something altogether different. Anyway, done at this rate 3 years COULD get you there. Is that not soon enough? Then you are in the wrong sport my friend because bodybuilding is not a 6 weeks to a new you regardless of what the supplement company ads may tell you. I very often have personal training clients add a 10-25 lbs of muscle to their frames in a short period of time when first starting and of course then it slows down and many are dumbfounded because they don’t understand why they can’t just keep doing that. The BIG gains only last a short time whether they are newbie gains, or gains from gear use. Enjoy them while they last and then settle in for the long-haul. If you do things right, you can make the long-haul a MUCH shorter trip. If you don’t, it will take a L-O-N-G time if ever to get to that point. Don’t eat your way fat like so many do just to watch the scale go up and stroke their ego. A full 75% of the personal training clients I work with come to me because they are simply too fat and still don’t carry that much muscle under the fat. A LARGE percentage of these guys got fat by using insensible bulk at any cost diets, and this is simply a stupid mistake that can be avoided if you are realistic about what your rate of gain should consist of. Yes, you can and will make great gains when doing things right, and almost everyone can build a physique that will turn heads. But it isn’t an overnight process, and those guys that make it sound like adding 10 lbs of pure muscle is child’s play and can and should happen on a monthly basis are LYING TO YOU!
05-29-2004 10:52 PM
excellent post IA, i read posts saying "i gained 10 and kept it all" "gain 20 in 4 weeks and only lost 4! and it was water!" all the time and was starting to lose true sight, thanks for smackin me back into perspective...
05-29-2004 10:55 PM
oh yea... i vote sticky for the main page
Hey, you got a book comin out right???
05-30-2004 12:30 AM
05-30-2004 04:06 AM
sticky, Sticky, Sticky, Sticky!!
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