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What is the limit on muscle gain rate? (naturally)


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I used to think it was not much, maybe .5lbs/week. Then one of my friends recently gained much more; 13 pounds in 6 and a half weeks with a slight decrease in body fat. No steroids, and he actually droped his body fat by .5%. So now i just dont know. Also he has been working out the vast majority of his life and is 38 years old. So what is the upper limit on muscle gain?

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Lots of varying factors (age, genetics, diet, how you train, etc.), but on average, most people who train who have been doing so for a short time might be fortunate enough to put on a few lbs. per month in their first year, but will likely eventually slow to the normal rate of 0.5 to 1 lb. per month that most people eventually get to without tons of supplements, steroids, or eating so much that they get more fat than muscle.

 

Pro bodybuilder Art Atwood (RIP) once told me, during his natural days about 18 years ago, that he was lucky to add 1 lb. per month, and this was a guy who weighed something like 225 with 6% bodyfat at about 5'7" at the time, he looked absolutely massive. Said that he eventually found a prohormone supplement that helped him put on 3-4 lbs. per month for 3 months before it stopped working (this was the mid 90s, no telling what was actually in them back then), but he always claimed that for anyone who isn't fairly new to training, 1 lb. of lean mass per month means most people are getting about all they can out of their training.

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Very interesting. I know I have gained a good 2 pounds in the last two and a half weeks. This could be due to increase in glycogen stores, but I have not been staying hydrated which is horrible and I have not gained any fat. Now I am stagnant. I need money so I can buy food and get in the gym, or I will not get much bigger.

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Very interesting. I know I have gained a good 2 pounds in the last two and a half weeks. This could be due to increase in glycogen stores, but I have not been staying hydrated which is horrible and I have not gained any fat. Now I am stagnant. I need money so I can buy food and get in the gym, or I will not get much bigger.

Not staying hydrated can actually cause you to gain water weight, since your body is desperate to retain it. You can easily put on a few pounds that way, too.

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Very interesting. I know I have gained a good 2 pounds in the last two and a half weeks. This could be due to increase in glycogen stores, but I have not been staying hydrated which is horrible and I have not gained any fat. Now I am stagnant. I need money so I can buy food and get in the gym, or I will not get much bigger.

Not staying hydrated can actually cause you to gain water weight, since your body is desperate to retain it. You can easily put on a few pounds that way, too.

 

Very true. Water weight fluctuates so greatly from day to day, the only way to REALLY know lean mass gains are to get regular 6-site bodyfat calipers testing (or, one of the other methods that are accurate, though usually too expensive for most people). Water definitely factors in, as I can vary in weight by up to 6 lbs. in a 24 hour period just from a change in water retention or depletion without even trying. It's precisely the reason that most people should never use a scale frequently as a gauge of progress, since water throws the whole thing off by a considerable margin and often gets misplaced blame or consideration for being fat or muscle gain/loss when it's simply water, and that most people will see such a minor change over a week's time that it probably wouldn't register at all.

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  • 1 month later...

I have certainly been staying hydrated. The last three weeks have been a rededication to the gym and bulk dieting. No increase in fat pecentage, but I did gain around 15 pounds. how much is water? Not so sure about that. But it certainly is not all water weight. I'm getting stronger on every lift every time, and I think my tendons and ligaments are ready for a challenge to see some impressive strength increases soon. I'm taking 5-10 grams of BCAAs with 10-15 grams of protein powder when I wake up, go to sleep, between meals and 15 grams straight during workouts. It tastes so aweful but I've gotten used to it. I have to believe it is responsible for some of this fast mass gaining, because my nutrition is not very sound right now lol. I do see a noticable difference in recovery time with BCAAs and I'm hooked lol.

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