After all we live in a society that expects instant gratification. Shouldn’t this be possible for muscle gain?
In short yes, but you do need to put some effort in!
Science can play its part. With a little planning and knowledge it is actually possible to accurately predict the amount of muscle you can gain in a week; but you must be prepared to look closely at what you are eating.
It is often said that overweight people should lose the weight before building muscle. You may even have heard the old adage “you can convert muscle to fat”.
The fact is neither of these statements are true. Building muscle will increase the amount of calories you burn while exercising and when resting.
The right meal plan and exercise schedule can actually do both at the same time! Before you know it you’ll be back on the football pitch running rings round all your kids.
The first step is to have realistic expectations. If you believe you’re going to gain 10 pounds of muscle in one week and you don’t manage it you will quickly become frustrated.
This will lead to you either quitting or making a drastic and unnecessary change.
The truth is there is a science to muscle gain.
Your skeletal muscles, (the ones you are trying to grow) are made up of fine threads. These contract to provide you with strength. The better you are at getting signals to your muscles the stronger you’ll be.
The actual growth occurs when you rest your muscles. You then need the rate of protein synthesis to be higher than the protein breakdown. This allows your muscles to heal and grow.
But be aware, the average man can only add between .25lbs and .75lbs a week.
How To Gain Muscle Through Food
To lose your excess weight you’re probably thinking about eating less. However if you want to build muscle you should consider increasing your calorie consumption and focus on protein.
Protein is an essential part of the muscle repair and growth process.
According to a study in the Journal Of Applied Physiology muscle size can increase by .2% every day for the first 20 days of any strength training program. This is great but you need the right amount of protein to allow your muscles to grow.
You should aim for .73 grams of protein for each pound of your body weight.
So if you weigh 180lbs then you need 130 grams of protein every day!
But the real trick is to load this protein into your body evenly throughout the day; this will help you to lose weight as well as build your lean muscle.
You should also add carbs to your diet after your workout. This will replenish the energy you've used and prevent your body from burning your developing muscles.
Carbs after exercise can also increase your insulin levels which encourages nutrient storage. In this instance the nutrient being stored will be protein; in your muscles.
However, if you have a sedentary job then you may find that carbs after your workout are not necessary.
The real trick to eating right is to consume plenty or protein and go with either low carb or low fat.
It is important to know that protein synthesis starts after you finish a workout. It will continue for approximately 48 hours but it reaches its peak after 16 hours.
Protein breakdown also increases but only for 24 hours.
The secret to maximizing the muscle you can really gain in a week is to exercise three or four times a week. This will ensure that your body is constantly producing muscle at a faster rate than the rate at which muscle breaks down.
But just completing exercise is not enough. You need to make sure that your workouts are full of strength training exercises which work multiple muscles at the same time and push the limits of your capabilities.
In fact, to build muscle you need to increase the weights you are using and reduce the number of reps. The idea is to be unable to complete another rep at the end of your set. If you can do any more than 3 sets of 8 reps you need to increase the weight again.
Variety Is Important
To really succeed at adding muscle you need to adopt a variety of different workouts. This will help you to stay motivated and will keep challenging your body. This will encourage it to react in a positive way and increase your muscle mass.
The more proactive you are at planning your fitness schedule the easier you will find it to stick to.
This means using a planner to set your workout schedule and recording your goals. Knowing that you can gain a maximum of .75lbs of muscle a week means you can calculate how many weeks it will take to achieve your desired muscle gain.
It is also important to have a positive attitude. If you know what is realistically achievable then you can set goals that are achievable and feel positive that you will achieve your goals.
But don’t forget that you also need to push yourself a little harder each time you workout to ensure your muscles keep growing.
How Much Muscle Can You Gain In A Week?
The bottom line is that most men can gain between .25lb and .75lb in week, with the proper commitment.
To achieve this result you need to modify your diet and focus on eating protein with either low carb or low fat menu options.
You also need to complete 3 sets of 8 reps with the maximum weight you can manage. While all exercise will help resistance training is essential to boosting your muscle growth.
Alongside this make sure you have realistic expectations and a positive attitude; this will help you to achieve your muscle gains and inspire you to keep going!
But to really succeed at gaining muscle you need support. Check out our free muscle workout to get started with a new muscle building program.
Your new friend & health coach,
Head Training Staff, The Fit Father Project
Brotherhood Nickname: “The Fit Brit”
Bragging Rights: 16 Years in the fitness industry, Author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide', Father of 4 boys and Husband to a Venezuelan beauty.