How Much Muscle Can You Gain In a Year, Naturally? Time to put down the cards. Are dreams really real?

| November 2, 2014 by Truth Seeker |

The Magic 30 Pounds

Naturals rarely gain more than a few pounds a year after the initial beginner/noob gains. Over the span of 2-4 years, this amounts to 30lbs in the best case scenario. Past that point, all gains come to a practical end.

However, 30lbs of actual dry muscle tissue is a ridiculous amount. If right now you gain 30lbs of muscle, your friends and family won’t recognize you. It’s a lot of mass, but there’s also a catch – this number requires an elite potential for growth.

The First 10-15 Pounds Are The Easiest

Many skinny beginners gain 10-15 lbs of muscle during their first year in the gym. At this stage, the body is eager to grow and is far from its maximum potential. The closer you are to the limit, the slower the gains become.


During this period, you will make most of your strength gains too. Going from a 95lbs to 405lbs deadlift will be much easier than going from 405lbs to 550lbs. This first can be done in a year whereas the second may take three times longer.

The Way You Train Is Very Important

A man can lift for 20 years and still be a beginner. Improving makes you advanced, not the actual time spent in the gym. There are people who do the same thing for years and wonder why nothing is happening. The body needs a reason to change, and you are not providing it.

This does not mean that training is rocket science. It’s relatively straightforward:

1.Find the right exercises for you. 

2.Add more weight and/or reps when you can.

3.Give the body time to recover.

4.Avoid junk food and stick to protein rich foods.

The most important part is to seek progress by either adding weight, reps or progressing to advanced exercises. If today you can bench press 200lbs, and after 10 years you’re still benching 200lbs for the same amount of reps and sets, your appearance will reflect it.

Another factor is, of course, nutrition. You will never gain weight unless the body has something to work with. Skinny guys need to eat more whereas fat guys need to eat less. Unless those requirements are met, nothing will happen. Regardless of training efforts, you will be skinny on a 1000 kcal diet and fat on a 7,000 kcal diet.

It’s a little trickier with skinny-fat guys who have the worst of both worlds – big guts and no muscle. If you find yourself in this group, you need to evaluate your priorities. If you are more fat than skinny, lose weight first. If you are more skinny than fat, fix your dietary habits, eat at maintenance and see what happens. After a while, evaluate where you’re at and go again. Also, if you are skinny-fat, avoid dirty bulking. You will just get fatter.

Remember: As a natural, you cannot become super shredded and muscular at the same time except in your dreams.

Hormones Are The Most Important Factor

If you take a man and a woman with identical stats (e.g., age, height, dedication…etc.) and put both on the same program, the man will get stronger faster and gain more muscle. Even if the woman decides to outwork the man by training more, she will remain smaller because women have low testosterone.

Ultimately, hormones are regulators – if a woman starts taking male hormones, she will acquire male characteristics like body hair, muscle mass, deep voice…etc. The opposite is also true – a man taking estrogen will start to look like a woman too. This is the power of hormones.

The dream is over.

The overall amount of muscle mass that you can gain in your whole lifetime as a natural can be obtained with a few steroid cycles done right. This is one of the reasons why true natural bodybuilders remain skinny and small in the eyes of the public forever. The crowd has been conditioned to believe impossible things.

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