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How Much Muscle Mass Can You Build

If you're trying to build muscle mass, progress sometimes may seem painfully slow. Although you might lose as much as 5 to 7 lbs. in a month on a diet, you won't see that much weight gain from muscle mass no matter how hard you work. Realistically, you won't gain more than 7 lbs. of muscle over six weeks.

Gaining muscle weight requires hard work, and different people will gain it at different rates. Men gain muscle weight more easily and quickly than women, and bigger people gain muscle weight more rapidly than smaller people. Therefore, your results will vary depending on your gender and the size at which you start.

If you're a man who's already in good shape and you've been working out for a year or two, you might be able to add on muscle weight that represents about 2 to 4 percent of your body weight over the course of about six weeks. For a man who weighs 200 lbs., that equals about 8 lbs. Women might see half that gain, or up to 2 percent of their body weight, so a woman who weighs 125 lbs. might only add 2.5 lbs. in muscle tissue.

You can't diet when you're trying to gain muscle mass, either. To gain that much muscle, you'll have to eat enough so that you don't lose weight, even if you're working out hard and burning lots of calories. If you diet at the same time you're trying to gain muscle, you actually can hinder your efforts. A balanced diet and enough protein are necessary because your body needs that protein to gain muscle mass.

Realistically, most men can't gain more than 25 lbs. in a year from increased muscle mass, and a woman would be lucky to see 10 to 12 lbs. in muscle gain in that length of time. If your weight climbs more than that over the course of a year, you've probably added some fat along with your new muscle bulk. In fact, you'll probably put on 1 lb. of fat for every 5 lbs. of muscle mass you add. Your body fat percentage may stay the same or even rise slightly, but if increased muscle mass is your goal, you shouldn't let a modest increase in body fat percentage deter you.

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