06-03-2010, 10:03 AM
Sorry if this has probably been asked a million times before.
How much muscle (in weight) is it possible for a woman to gain in a one year period? What about for a man? What sort of variables are there that would hinder or help muscle gain?
06-03-2010, 06:43 PM
There are a lot of variables...
Amount of effort
General health level
06-04-2010, 04:23 AM
Lyle McD wrote a good article about maximal genetic potential here: http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/whats-my-genetic-muscular-potential.html
goes through a few of the different variables associated with gains...
He also has a bunch of other articles here: http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/category/muscle-gain
06-04-2010, 04:54 AM
The guess is, "10 or 12lbs in the first year for an average healthy woman who works hard, eats right and rests well." The true answer is, "try it and see." As Adelaide said, there are a LOT of variables.
Older people take longer to recover from workouts, and grow muscle more slowly. Adolescents are already growing, so they grow muscle fast.
Women have less testosterone than men, so their growth and ultimately possible muscle is less, too.
Nutrition is key. Most people trying to grow muscle have a morbid fear of getting fat with it, too - so they undereat and gain neither.
Rest is important. Olympic-style weightlifters on well-supported national teams get to nap each afternoon, whereas your typical recreational gym-goer is stressed and doesn't sleep even 8 hours a night.
If you begin as quite heavy already, well it takes muscle to support that weight, so you begin with more muscle - won't be able to grow as much. But if you begin as underweight, you'll go pretty quickly to a healthy bodyweight unless you have previously messed up your system with starvation dieting and hours and hours a day of cardio.
Workouts are important. For your body to change, it must have a reason to change - be subjected to stress. A stress is doing more in every session, more weight or reps or sets. This is bloody hard, the limits are more mental than physical. Anyone who's ever been trained by another person will have experienced a moment where they said, "I can't go on," the other person said, "yes you can, keep going" - and you went on, you actually could do it. Most people work out on their own, however, so that mental limit will kick in.
given an imaginary "average" healthy woman (though the average is not healthy) of healthy bodyweight and body composition, who works hard, eats and rests well... 10-12lbs in the first year of training, 5-6 in the second, 2-3 in the third, and then struggling to get a pound or two a year after that.
Men can achieve twice that. After about 35, halve it for both. That's the theory - see note below.
Basically, everyone has a certain muscular potential, and for someone starting at 18, in ideal circumstances they'd take about 10 years to reach it. But most people will never come anywhere close to their physical limits, because as I said, their mental limits stop them.
90% of new gym members don't go after the first three months. Of the 10% who stay, if you look around, you'll see that most of them don't progress. For example, last year I joined the gym, starting out with my 30kg bench I was impressed by the older guy with the 80-90kg bench. Four months later I had an 80kg bench, he still had an 80-90kg bench. Now, what held him back was back strength - strong lats are needed to move much more than your bodyweight on bench, and he did no deadlifts, rows or chins or anything like that. He said, "I don't like back work." That's not a physical limit, that's mental.
Now, I'm not saying every one of us can be a world champion weightlifter, or sprinter, or dancer or whatever. We all have physical limits. I'm just saying that those physical limits aren't really relevant since our minds stop us from coming anywhere near them.
So, try it and see.
Note: with the Lyle McD article, I would note that he's saying a bit more than he really can from the evidence. What they did was look at a heap of drug-free bodybuilders, and see how much muscle they had on them, their "fat free mass." They compared that to the average sedentary guy, and came up with a difference of around 40-50lbs. They looked around at a couple of studies about the biggest fat-free mass any drugfree male bodybuilder manages today, and it worked out the same - 40-50lbs more than the ordinary guy.
They then guessed how long it'd taken those guys to get there, and combined it with their own experience training people, and said, "well, seems like it takes about 10 years to add those 40-50lbs."
Then they considered again their experience about how fast this was added in those 10 years, all at once or evenly spread or what? and it plainly wasn't linear - not 4-5lbs a year for 10 years then nothing. More like half the gains in the first year, half of those in the second, and so on. They looked also at studies of muscle gain, which is usually a dozen college-aged previously untrained males put onto training for 12 weeks - and they got 6-12lbs. So that seemed to match the "20-25lbs in the first year" thing.
No-one has done a study on ordinary people taking up training to see what happens to them over 10 years. No-one. This is just guesstimates. And no-one has ever figured out the biggest fat-free mass a woman bodybuilder or athlete can have.
To be clear: it's pretty certain how big you can get without drugs, as a man. It's less certain for women, because women rarely want to bulk, so it's hard to do studies on it. It is not certain how quick those gains can be. We've got coaching experience, but nothing certain.
06-04-2010, 05:36 AM
^^^^^ Bloomin' awsome post Kyle!
Tried to rep you but I've gotta spread my reps around :(
06-04-2010, 06:00 AM
The rep system is designed so you spread the lurv around, and don't give it all to just one person, however much they may deserve it for their kindness, brilliance, wit, good looks and modesty.
06-04-2010, 06:32 PM
Very interesting! thanks for the replies. Reps for all!