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Muscle-Building Workout and Diet

What’s going on, guys. Sean Nalewanyj here,
and the question today is how much muscle can you gain naturally and in what timeframe? Now, this is actually a very difficult question
to answer, simply because the numbers can vary so much from person to person depending
on a lot of different factors. So keep in mind that any answer that you get
from anybody on this topic is always just going to be a rough approximation. That said, having an overall ballpark figure
in mind will at least give you some accurate expectations, so that number one: you don’t
get scammed out of your money by bullshit supplements or miracle programs or other products
that give you totally unrealistic ideas of how much muscle you can gain over a specific
timeframe. Number two: so that you can set practical
achievable goals and stay on track with your plan, rather than just program hopping from
one plan to the next like so many people do because you were convinced that your program
isn’t working that you should be making faster gains. So how much muscle can you gain naturally? Again, ballpark figure, but assuming you’re
on a properly structured program and you’re following it consistently, guys ranging from
slightly below average genetics to slightly above average genetics are probably going
to be capable of building somewhere between, and I noticed this is a pretty wide range,
but probably somewhere between about twenty to forty pounds of actual lean muscle mass
naturally. Now your body weight can obviously go up by
more than that because you’ll always gains some body fat while you’re bulking and you’ll
be holding on to additional water weights in the process, so it does depend on what
kind of look you’re going for. But in terms of actual lean muscle mass that’s
a pretty safe range I would say. So if you have average genetics, then you’ll
probably land somewhere in the middle at about thirty pounds of muscle. Slightly below average, maybe around twenty
pounds. Slightly above average maybe around forty
pounds. And females can take those numbers and reduce
them by about half. Again, I know it’s kind of a wide range,
but like I said, there’s really no way of say exactly how much muscle any specific person
is going to be capable of building. And around thirty pounds, give or take, will
probably cover the majority of the lifting population. And then in addition to that you’re also
going to have small percentage of genetic outliers, who’re going to fall on the more
extreme ends of the spectrum. Meaning that you’ll have guys with a particularly
poor muscle building genetics who might only able to gain, say ten pounds of muscle or
less, regardless of what they do. Unfortunately that is the case for some people. But again, it’s only a very small percentage. And then on the far other side you’re going
to have another very small percentage with exceptionally good muscle building genetics,
who might be able to gain upward to, say fifty pounds of muscle. Again, this is just an educated guess but
it at least gives you some sort of realistic idea to work with. I’ve seen a lot of other figures thrown
around online and in my opinion a lot of them really overestimate what’s realistic or
at the very least they overestimate what’s realistic while staying at a decently lean
body fat percentage. And thirty pounds of muscle is not a small
amount by any means. If you took a guy who was a complete beginner
at a hundred and fifty pounds with an average build, and then you put thirty pounds of pure
muscle on his frame, plus a bit of extra fat and a bit of extra water, that’s a lot of
overall mass for someone to gain. Now, how long will it actually take to build
that muscle? Again, just an approximation, but assuming
everything is done on a properly structured program and you’re consistent with it, you
can probably expect to achieve about fifty percent of your noticeable genetic muscle
building potential in the first year of training. And it will then slow down by about half for
every year after that. Remember that muscle growth is not a linear
process, and as you build more and more size it’s going to become increasingly harder
to make further increases. This is because muscle is metabolically very
expensive tissue. Your body doesn’t want to hold on to a high
amount of excess muscle, and so it has a certain genetics limit in place that prevent you from
putting on too much. So the further and further you get away from
your natural set point, the harder and harder your body starts pressing on the brakes, to
slow that process down. But using that figure, you’d be at around
fifty percent of your genetics potential after one year, about seventy-five percent after
two years, maybe eighty-five to ninety percent after three years. And then after four years and beyond you’d
be pretty close to your natural limit. You’d still be able to make continued gains
from there. there are guys training for a decade or more
and they’re still able to make improvements to their physique but the level of diminishing
return would be so steep at that point that you’d have to train hard for multiple years
with your nutrition dialed in as well, just to gain maybe a few extra ponds of actual
new muscle. That’s my answer. I think it’s pretty accurate for most people
in most situations. As a natural trainee, a realistic expectation
would be anywhere from about twenty to forty pounds of total lean muscle mass depending
on your genetics, with about thirty pounds being the average. And you could build not all but the vast majority
of that muscle over a span of about four years. For some guys it might be three years. For some guys it might be five. But four years, give or take, is a pretty
safe bet. Now, what are the factors that are going to
influence exactly how much muscle you can build and how fast you can build it? There’s a few main things. The first huge one to take into account is
of course genetics. Regardless of what anyone tells you genetics
do play a very significant role in any given person rate of muscle growth as well as their
ultimate muscle building potential. As well as what that muscle will actually
looked like from an aesthetic stand point once it built. In terms of actual muscle growth itself we’ve
got things like testosterone levels, growth hormone levels, muscle fiber type, insulin
sensitivity, myostatin levels, these are just a few factors of many. And then along with that you have to take
into account your height, your joint size, your overall bone structure, your muscle shape,
your muscle insertions, all of these things will affect how your physique actually looks
once that muscle is gained. For example, fifteen pound of new muscle on
a guy who is 5’5’’ with a smaller bone structure, that’s going to appear much differently
than those same fifteen pounds on a guy who’s 6’4’’ with a lanky frame. Age also comes into play here as well, because
guys who are in their late teens and twenties are naturally going to build muscle at the
fastest rate because their testosterone levels will be in the optimal muscle building range. Whereas guys who are in their early teens
or who are in the forty to fifty plus age range, they’re going to gain muscle at a
slower rate because testosterone levels won’t be as high. Experience levels also comes into play like
I already touched on, the less experience you are the fasters you’ll make gains and
vice versa, and also whether you’re gaining that muscle for the first time or regaining
muscle that you lost. And that’s because regaining lost muscle
that happens a lot faster than building brand new muscle. So if you took a lay off in training, your
rate of growth would be faster. Or if you’re someone who was recovering
from an illness like an eating disorder, the overall amount of muscle mass that you could
gain from when you start would be a lot higher. And then on top of all of this, the assumption
here is that you’re natural, because steroids will dramatically alter how much muscle you
can gain. And the assumption is also that you’re following
a proper program and consistently sticking to it, because if your program or your consistency
are subpar then all these figures are obviously go straight out the window. In then end though, the whole question of
how much muscle can you build it honestly isn’t something I’d spend too much time
getting hung up on, because you really have no way of knowing from the outset what your
exact muscle building potential will be anyway or how that muscle is going to look on your
frame once its built. So as long you just have rough idea of what’s
possible in mind then that’s going to be good enough and it doesn’t have much practical
use for you beyond that point. So the best thing you can do is just get your
training and nutrition dialed in. Be consistent. Be patient. And focus on maximizing your individual rate
of muscle growth and then see what your genetics have in store for you and just make the most
of your situation depending on your goals. That’s really all there is to it. So, I hope this was helpful, guys. If you want to get a complete step-by-step
plan to help you maximize your genetic muscle building potential in the most efficient way
possible, including fully structured workout plans, meal plans, supplement guides and one-on-one
coaching, then make sure to head over to and grab my complete Body Transformation Blueprint
System. You can do that by clicking here at the top
of the screen or by using the link in the description box below. If you enjoyed the video, as always make sure
to hit the like button, leave a comment and subscribe to stay up to date on future videos. You can also check out my official blog over
at for all of my latest updates. And you can follow me social media here if
you aren’t already. Thanks for watching, guys. And I’ll talk to you again soon.

100 thoughts on “How Much Muscle Can You Gain Naturally, And How Fast?

  1. I'm in my mid 40's and I've been lifting for about 30 years … what he says in this video is the spot on truth. A natural lifter basically won't get any bigger after the 5th year or so. I certainly didn't. If I had known that back in my 20's I might not have continued working out but it is what it is. You can definitely get stronger over time, though. The question is…after 5 years is it a labor of love or a love of labor? I'm starting to think maybe it's the latter.

  2. cool video sean ! just a quick question , consider a 35 year old person who has been training for 15 years . how is it possible for that person to not gain muscle when he is under a protien and calorie surplus while engaging in consistent muscle hypertrophy ? sure testosterone levels drop but where does all the training and the eating go ?

  3. not interested in maximising muscle size as much as actual strength gains, so maybe a video on maximum strength on basic compound movements per body size?deadlift,squat,pushpress,pullup and pushup/benchpress?

  4. Can someone achieve the body you currently have in one year? Given good genetics, nutrition and training?

  5. Thanks Sean, your videos are very informative/helpful and you always know how to avoid those click-baity titles. Keep up the work, because you deserve a hella lot more subs!

  6. Hey Sean I am 6'3 200 pound around 10% body fat. I do look pretty muscular in real life, however someone like Bradley Martyn is around my height but is around 260 ish pounds lean. I mean even with steroid in effect, can those gain be realistic? Or sometime its just genetic?

  7. guys it also really depends on when you actually start lifting and natural testosterone production, if you start working out at 15 compared to someone starting to work out at 21 the older person is going to have the most dramatic gains. thats what is happening to me. at the start of my bodybuilding journey around early 14 i had very small amount of size gains but did have some strength gains but now im 20 and peaking in test production i am putting much more quality muscle than when i first start and ever before. my muscle building hasnt plateaued over the past 5 years but has been very consistent.

  8. I managed to put on about 12kg of muscle, which was the maximum I could achieve, in 3~4 months when I was 20 years old. Even after having several years of rest, it didn't take me more than a few months to gain the same amount of muscle. I can confidently say that I am not a genetically gifted person because I can only probably do a couple reps of 100kg on an incline bench. Does it truly take more than three years for most of you to gain that much muscle? I am very curious.

  9. you know what I love about your videos besides all the amazing info? it's how they all have a transcription in their description. great for the hear impaired or if you can't play the audio. keep it up and thank you!

  10. Fantastic!, please do same video but focusing in fat loss; safe / healthy lose rate, range, impact in testosterone….
    Thanks for your time

  11. I've got lean bone structure at 5'10, I had a superbug stomach infection at 19 so I don't get hungry often and can't each much, I've got a metabolism that burns calories like a furnace, I have insomnia so I can't sleep or stay asleep when I want to (like now), and I'm too poor to afford a car or a gym membership. But good to know what my progress could've been if I was born into a different life.

  12. Liked and subscribe, as the information you were given was very informative and realistic. I'm a skinny guy myself, and started heavy lifting about 5 months ago. My muscles have definitely growing bigger, but I wanted it to grow faster without using roids. Which was unrealistic, as my brother gave me some advice, and said it would take me about 1 and a half year, to see a much bigger noticeable change. It's a long stretch for a skinny guy like me, but I will keep fighting. The point is, it will take dedications, hard work, eat the right amount of macros, lift smart and get enough sleep to improve the process. And as you said, it also depending on age and genetics.

    Your video inspired me, and let me keep going and be patient. Thanks.

  13. I started lifting back in September as a sophomore in our school's rec center weight room. I was benching about 95 pounds comfortably for 2 – 3 reps and by the end of June (only 9 months!) I was able to bench around 250 2 – 3 times and was finally able to do around 15 – 20 dips.

    I started out around 180 bodyweight @21% bodyfat. By the end of that school year in June, in only 9 months, I weighed 225 pounds at around 19.5% bf. I tried cutting at the beginning of summer, and got bored. Lost 15 pounds so I'm now 215 and I am around 18.5 % bf.

    My question is, is it safe to have gained 45 pounds in only 9 months by losing some fat and gaining muscle. So that would be what, equaling out to around 50 pounds of muscle gained?

    Extra info: I'm 5 foot 7 inches

  14. Hi Sean, awesome channel! Scientifically sound, fact based and objective. Could you please do a video on cardio, specifically the effectiveness of the elliptical as a cardio tool. I find the treadmill hurts my joints and I hardly have time to run outdoors. Thanks

  15. Started lifting at 16 years old … Was about 70 kilos. I'm 20 now, and I'm 93 kilos all natty at a similar body fat

  16. Great vid man!! The 20-40 lean muscle that u are referring is additional muscle from your starting point or total muscle gain overall ??

  17. if I was really really skinny when I started lifting , gained 45 lbs of lean mass trough the year even tough I've trained shitty and sawapped 5 programs , am I still got to 50% max potential? cause my starting point was really poor

  18. I love this channel, no bullshit and based in reality instead of many of those people training for a few months with steroids and gain 50+lbs muscle mass and then bragging about it.

  19. Good video. My upper body responds pretty well to lifting but my legs seem stubborn. Have you ever ran across this before? I'm doing squats currently.
    Do you have a nutrition/lifting program?

  20. 6 months working out regular and eating well everyday. I system out at 127 lbs could only bench 135 once after the six month I was 179 lbs benching 275 @ 10 reps maxed 305. all natural.

  21. My work buddy laughed when I told them I was planning to lose fat with just implementing Fenoboci Diet Plan, but after I showed them great effects right after I used it they are begging me to tell them about it. Of course I won't tell them the details about this diet plan, lol

  22. Saying you reach natural limit in only 3 to 4 years doesnt sound right at all, I was a skinny boy 150 at 5'11 I gained a solid 20 pounds in the first year, I went from 150 to 185 inn the firet 2 years easily, and I wasnt even doing squats or deadlifts yet, Ive been progressively advancing my training and Im still gaining strength and size and I dont see me slowing down anytime soon honestly im 225 now, granted Im not 6 pack ripped but Im not fat either very slight belly fat, yet me arms back chest and legs have grown significantly, I think I have a lot of room to gain strength, and as a natty size equates to strength

  23. If i started lifting when i was 15 and still continue to lift (17 now) does that mean I am already close to my lean muscle mass limit?

  24. I went from 165 30% BF – 206 27% BF in 15 months, and then cut down to 178 15% BF in 3 months. That's 40 pounds of muscle in 18 months. I went ham 2 hours a day 6 days a week, with no breaks. 40-60 sets every day. That's how you do it the natty way.

  25. Any ideas where I can stand, I have never lifted before, but I'm 130 lbs and 5'7". I'm 16 and a twin so I don't know if that contributes something. My father and grandfather were big guys but I'm kinda skinny. Only been working out for 1 month, learning proper form but now I'm going to start being serious.

  26. Started at 17 120 lbs (was underweight) now 20 215 lbs and relatively lean (under 15% body fat)… about 4 years of training.

  27. I do love your videos as a Natty lifter I have a lot of respect for you.
    Your information is bang on very interesting.
    Beast 🏋💪

  28. My cooworker laughed when I told them I was going to become slimmer with just implementing Fenoboci Diet Plan, but after I showed these people great effects right after I used it they're begging me to tell them about it. Of course I won't let them know the detail about this diet plan, hahaha

  29. you can never give a round number because a 6'6 natural lifter will gain a lot more pounds of lean muscle then a 5'5 lifter

  30. Please answer this. I've been getting upset because I haven't been gaining weight and almost in my 2nd year of lifting, can I build the same amount of muscle in my 2nd year?

  31. I finished puberty at 135 lbs with no abs at all, and got serious about lifting shortly after that. Today I'm 165 lbs at 10% body fat. I already know I'm getting near my natural limit, but who cares? Every body has a different starting point and different goals; it's just about seeing how far you can take your physique naturally.

  32. My goal this year is to gain around 12 lbs/5 kg muscles. I havent been working out anything for a year now, so its needed. I weigh about 182 , and my plan is to replace 12 of those with muscles instead of fat. Not an extreme change but still noticable.

  33. Ugh what? 30 to 40 pounds of muscle, shit I got over 180 pounds of muscle right now, and until Dec 25th I hadn't worked out in years. How much muscle you can gain is totally based on bone mass, height, and your wrist and ankle measurements, within 3 percent.

    Much of what you say is true, but you can't just say 30 to 40 pounds without saying in how long in years, along with what year in lifting you are in. You can't say everyone can only gain 30 to 40 pounds of muscle, not if you mean no matter how long and hard you work out.

    Actually, I haven't even did it all yet, but I can tell you almost to the pound how much muscle I can carry based on my genetics info, this is based on facts, Math and formulas that actually work.

    Do more research.

  34. So does your genetic limit apply to your body in a general way? or do individual muscles have their own genetic limit so to speak? If somebody hypothetically only ever trained their upper body for 5 years and maxed out their development, would they then struggle to gain on their legs because the cost of maintaining their lean mass is already so high? or would they be able to build their legs effectively up to the genetic limit once they met their nutritional needs etc? should you prioritize the development of certain muscles before you reach your genetic limit..

  35. Very interesting about the limits. Probably a stressor to the body if you try to gain more than your set point.

  36. It’s definately hard to answer this question but I agree with what your saying! There are a lot of variables to really put a number on it.

  37. This was great, I've been looking for "max muscle gain rate" for a while now, and I think this has helped. Have you ever come across – Lilyhen Strength Sabrmetrics – (should be on google have a look ) ? Ive heard some great things about it and my neighbour got amazing results with it.

  38. This was great, thanks, been searching for "max muscle plan workouts" for a while now, and I think this has helped. Ever heard of – Lilyhen Strength Sabrmetrics – (do a search on google ) ? Ive heard some incredible things about it and my mate got cool results with it.

  39. Then how is it possible for actors like Christion Bale , Chris Hemsworth (thor) to put on >40 pounds of muscle and cut bf within 6 months?

  40. When you say your first year, do you mean a whole entire year of training to gain or do you mean the first year of training which includes your bulking and cutting?

  41. Finally, a guy who tells it like it is! I was 64 kilos from the age of 16-38! I was put on SSRI drugs for an anxiety disorder and depression which gave me an appetite. I was finally able to enjoy food and I went up in weight to 72 kilograms. Instead of looking like a holocaust victim too afraid to step into a gym, I finally made the effort. I have very, very skinny genetics which comes from both sides of the family. I trained for 18 months and ate two big after a Macks with fries after a work-out and went home to a big meal, Oh, not to mention all the Whey protein shakes and eggs I consumed. I ate like a horse. At six feet tall I was lucky the weight distributed evenly. I thought- in my naivete-I was gaining a shit load of muscle until a doctor told me I was at least 30% body fat!

    I did get stronger, but there were smaller guys in the gym lifting heavier. I am now 52 and am back at the gym and loving it. I weigh 115 kilos, my ideal weight would be b/w 78-82 kilos. The hard part at my age is getting the weight off. These days, I am not concerned with looking big. Having skinny genetics is not a death sentence. Looking lean and yet being as strong as an ox is achievable even at my age. I started training again about 4 months ago and the muscle memory kicked in very quickly, and I am still making strength gains. I will never be huge like many of the Youtube natties, even the vegan ones (I'm am vegan), simply because of my age and that my T levels are low, which happens to all of us men. What I guess I am trying to say is, don't worry too much about your skinny genetics. I tall lean bloke when he rips off his shirt can be quite impressive with the ladies. Lifting weights to your best ability is an ongoing process, that's the fun of it for me. I am competing against myself. And to alll you fellas with great genetics, I hate you all! 🙂

  42. In a year, cause some say your can only build 3 pounds of muscle a year and I've you gain 20 to 30 pounds it's mostly fat. On a lean bulk though so I see why on a lean bulk you don't really gain that muscle cause it's a slow process, and if your a natural.

  43. I trained for 1 day and I am now stronger and ripped like hercules. My nutrition was simply carbs and I followed a hulk hogan vitamin plan.

  44. I gained 40lbs in 2yrs there after only around 1-3lbs each year. I started out at 98lbs 10yrs ago. I now weigh 168 and am stuck.

  45. According to a body composition machine after 7 years of 80% serious training as soon as I went fully serious with a programme I gained 8kg of lean muscle in 3 months, went from 64kg lean mass to 72kg lean mass at 5ft 8inches and stayed 16% body fat before and after, good or bad?

  46. So no matter how many years I train I will only gain 5-10 kg muscle? I've been training constantly for 4 years now (first 1-1.5 years was weight loss)

  47. There's different levels of bodybuilding… most people stay at the beginner level forever… if you're doing the same old same old month after month year after year… don't expect any progress!

  48. Your bodybuilding progress is determined by your starting point… I didn't start at the normal level, I started at the Subterranean level!

  49. A big factor that's often overlooked in bodybuilding is the learning curve… people that don't know much won't gain much!

  50. Ugh only 20 lbs of muscle!?

    I’m 6’2” 135-140 lbs and if I can only get up to 155 lbs that’s gonna SUUUUUCCCCKKK

  51. I think most people with avg genetics will be able to gain at least 30 lbs of muscle in their lifetime and 15-20 lbs in a year

  52. This video should only be taken srsly if you started lifting past puberty years and out of teen years. If you started at 160 at 16 and are now 200 at 18, and you look almost as lean as when u were 16, 40lbs heavier u probably gained 30lbs of muscle in that time. So, by this videos explanation, at 18 years old your already about to tap out your natural limit. Again if you start lifting in your teen years this just probably won’t ring true for u.

  53. Its still surprise me just how a number of people have no clue about Fenoboci Diet Plan although lots of people with it. Thanks to my buddy who told me about it. I've lost lots of weight.

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