With pro bodybuilding, steroid use, filtered and photoshopped photos in magazines, the mainstream and social media and what we see in movies it can perhaps a skew perception of how much muscle mass can be gained naturally.
It is still common for some females to shy away from weight training in fear of getting “too bulky” despite the benefits of weight training or guys to get disheartened with training because they are not getting the gains, they think they should be getting as they have this idea of gaining muscle is a quick process.
The reality is gaining muscle mass take time, patience, a good training plan and good nutrition. There are factors to take in with how much muscle mass a person can gain such differences in genetics, motivation, gender, diet, work ethic, age and steroids use.
Age will have a big effect- older individuals won’t gain as quickly and younger individuals may gain more quickly. A teenage male full of testosterone will more likely make bigger gains than an older guy and males are more likely to gain more muscle mass than females due to hormones (roughly double).
Steroid use will have a significant effect to gaining muscle mass (refer to the Bhasin 1996 study). Intermediates injecting testosterone gained over double the amount of muscle mass as those who were natural (I will point out there are potentially serious side effects to steroid use as well as moral implications for sport). There is no doubt in my mind steroid use skews peoples perceptions of how much muscle mass can be gained.
Of course, someone who has good work ethic, eats well for muscle gain and a good training plan will gain more muscle than those who don’t, and we have those who are genetically lucky. Then there are those who have the great work ethic, genetics, sound training plans and end up packing on a lot of muscle mass.
Lyle McDonald done a theoretical model of rates of muscle gain.
Lyle States in his article that these numbers are not perfect. Actually pinning down good values for them has been a long-standing problem although there are some decent estimates, based on what limited literature is available, along with some rough estimates and practical experience that can give insight.
As we can see from the table above.
So, assuming I am training and eating well for muscle mass (and of course being consistent). I would be doing well to gain 8.4kg to 12 kg a year
I would be looking to gain around 3.6 to 8.4 kg of muscle per year.
For that 65kg guy around 0.2 to 0.3kg per month or 2.4kg to 3.6kg per year.
The reality is this would take a lot of hard work, time, patience as well as sound training regime and eating well for muscle gain. So ladies, no need to worry about looking bulky with weight training,
Jamie Miller- Personal Trainer
UK Fitness Personal Training