{"id":555785355337,"title":"Weight Gain Progression: How Much Muscle Can You Gain Weekly?","created_at":"2021-08-13T11:29:48-04:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"Weight Gain Progression: How Much Muscle Can You Gain Weekly?\",\n \"keywords\": \"weight gain progression, muscle, bulking, bulk\",\n \"description\": \"Our MD and research team explain how many calories you need to eat at a surplus daily to optimize muscle gain. We explain the maximum muscle you can gain weekly without gaining fat based on medical research.\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/weight-gain-progression\",\n\"author\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Taylor Graber MD\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/taylor-graber\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/taylor-j-graber-md-81351642\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"Content Partner\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"medicine, health, anesthesiology, iv therapy, science, drugs, pharmaceutical, medical research, scientific research, medical journals, entrepreneurship, healthcare, orthopedic surgery, biomedical engineering\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"University of California San Diego\",\n \"Arizona University\",\n \"University of Arizona College of Medicine\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"contributor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"editor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"DJ Mazzoni\",\n \"honorificSuffix\": [\n \"M.S.\",\n \"R.D.\",\n \"C.D.N.\",\n \"C.S.C.S.\"\n ],\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/dj-mazzoni\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/dj-mazzoni-rd-cdn-cscs-00a33038\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"Medical Reviewer\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"exercise, drugs, pharmaceutical, health, workout, strength and conditioning, nutrition, dietetics, medicine, medical research, scientific research, scientific method, healthcare, patient care, wellness\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"State University of New York College Oswego\",\n \"D’Youville College\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"image\": {\n\"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n\"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Weight_Gain_Progression_Thumbnail.jpg?v=1642382311\",\n\"width\": \"1280\",\n\"height\": \"1280\"\n},\n\"citation\": [\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6710320\/\", \n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4836564\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5786199\/\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/premier-protein-shake-review\"\n],\n\"datePublished\": \"2021-12-22\",\n\"dateModified\": \"2022-01-16\",\n\"copyrightHolder\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n},\n\"publisher\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/\",\n \"description\": \"Illuminate Labs is the most transparent supplement company in the U.S., and is a leading publisher of research-based health information.\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"supplements, science, nutrition, exercise, health, medication, pharmaceutical, wellness, diet, weight loss, medical research\",\n \"publishingPrinciples\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/editorial-guidelines\",\n \"memberOf\": [\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"U.S. Chamber of Commerce\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.uschamber.com\/\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Certified B Corp\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.bcorporation.net\/en-us\/\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Natural Products Association\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.npanational.org\/\"\n }\n ], \n \"logo\": {\n \"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Illuminate_Labs_Favicon_48x48_7595c3cc-e27b-47b8-a4fe-edcc7ed9b29a.png?v=1666502785\", \n \"width\": 48,\n \"height\": 48\n},\n \"foundingDate\": \"2019-01-30\",\n \"Address\": {\n \"@type\": \"PostalAddress\",\n \"streetAddress\": \"50 Union Street, Unit 9\",\n \"addressLocality\": \"Northampton\",\n \"addressRegion\": \"Massachusetts\",\n \"postalCode\": \"01060\",\n \"addressCountry\": \"US\"\n},\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/twitter.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/company\/illuminate-labs-supplements\",\n \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/channel\/UCpgSJAsIPb-fZ25djtTxBEA\"\n ]\n }\n}\n\/\/ ]]\u003e\u003c\/script\u003e\n\u003cmeta charset=\"utf-8\"\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Weight_Gain_Progression_Article_Header_Image_Optimized.png?v=1642382227\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"dc\"\u003eM\u003c\/span\u003eany people new to working out set a weight gain goal. Whether the weight gain progression goal is for the next month or the next year, it makes sense to base the number off how much muscle you can realistically gain in that time period, because most people are trying to build muscle rather than fat.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan class=\"dc\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn this article we’ll review the science behind muscle building and explain how much muscle you can reasonably gain weekly, and how that translates to a healthy weight gain progression for those working out.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eWhat The Science Says\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMost of the articles online detailing muscle building limits just give general recommendations without any evidence, which is useless.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIf you’re starting a weight gaining and exercise program, you want to make sure your goals are within reasonable limits so you don’t end up gaining unnecessary fat.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere is a difference between how much muscle men can expect to gain and how much women can, because of the differences in biology.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6710320\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne of the few medical studies\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e on the topic of muscle gain and caloric intake found that a 3\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e50 \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eto 480 daily increase in calories is ideal for people seeking to optimize muscle gain. The study authors recommended that individuals (or their trainers) use that as a base and then adjust the caloric intake based on individual response.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4836564\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAnother study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e found that experienced lifters (men and women) gained around 2.2\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e5 lb of muscle on average over an 8 week period. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eTheir caloric intakes weren’t recorded unfortunately.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5786199\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe most thorough study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e we’ve ever seen on caloric surplus and weight gain, broken down by fat and muscle gain, suggests that a caloric increase of around 400 calories daily can translate into a 4 to \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e5 lb muscle gain w\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eith no fat gain over an 8 week period.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eWhat Does This Mean for Weekly Muscle Gain?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBased on the above studies, we can assume that a 400 calorie increase, combined with resistance training, should result in a weight gain progression of about 0.6 lb of muscle per week. We’re favoring the studies which actually measured caloric intake over the ones which only measured muscle gain, because it’s a set of more complete information.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIt’s worth noting that individual responses to overfeeding (eating at a caloric surplus) vary drastically, and these numbers are just based on averages from several medical studies.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePeople seeking to gain muscle may want to shoot for a minimum 20g post workout protein dosage. As we discussed in our \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/premier-protein-shake-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePremier Protein nutrition\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e article, this is the dosage medically proven to optimize muscle recovery.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eWhy These Weight Gain Numbers May Seem Low\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere’s a term in the bodybuilding community called “noob gains” which refers to how much muscle inexperienced weightlifters can put on when they first start training. Many of these reports online talk about gaining 20 pounds of muscle or more within a few weeks.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eGenerally, people self-reporting their muscle gains aren’t considering that much of the “gains” are actually increased water weight and fat gain. It’s biologically almost impossible to gain 20 pounds of lean muscle tissue for a natural athlete over the span of a few weeks or even months.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMany bulking diets include a large amount of carbohydrates which increases water retention. This alone can make muscles appear bigger and more “full.”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eActual lean tissue gains, which the medical studies report on, are generally more modest. However, keeping the caloric surplus to a reasonable 400 cal\/day above maintenance will probably lead to better performance outcomes than eating a larger caloric surplus and adding fat just to reach a weight gain goal sooner.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eConclusion\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMost of the articles online about weight and muscle gain progressions are unscientific. We’ve assessed the medical research and determined that a conservative 3\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e50-\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e400 cal\/day surplus should optimize weight gain progression for people who are weightlifting and seeking to put on muscle.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAthletes who have the budget may want to consider hiring a dietician or sports nutritionist, because individual responses to dietary changes do vary significantly, and a specialist can help further improve the diet model to optimize performance.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2021-11-09T01:42:10-05:00","updated_at":"2022-10-23T01:47:18-04:00","summary_html":"\u003cmeta charset=\"utf-8\"\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan\u003eWe review the science behind muscle building and explain how much muscle you can reasonably gain weekly, and how that translates to a healthy weight gain progression for those working out.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","template_suffix":"","handle":"weight-gain-progression","tags":"_related:exercise, _related:weight-gain"}

Weight Gain Progression: How Much Muscle Can You Gain Weekly?

Weight Gain Progression: How Much Muscle Can You Gain Weekly?


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Many people new to working out set a weight gain goal. Whether the weight gain progression goal is for the next month or the next year, it makes sense to base the number off how much muscle you can realistically gain in that time period, because most people are trying to build muscle rather than fat.

In this article we’ll review the science behind muscle building and explain how much muscle you can reasonably gain weekly, and how that translates to a healthy weight gain progression for those working out.

What The Science Says

Most of the articles online detailing muscle building limits just give general recommendations without any evidence, which is useless.

If you’re starting a weight gaining and exercise program, you want to make sure your goals are within reasonable limits so you don’t end up gaining unnecessary fat.

There is a difference between how much muscle men can expect to gain and how much women can, because of the differences in biology.

One of the few medical studies on the topic of muscle gain and caloric intake found that a 350 to 480 daily increase in calories is ideal for people seeking to optimize muscle gain. The study authors recommended that individuals (or their trainers) use that as a base and then adjust the caloric intake based on individual response.

Another study found that experienced lifters (men and women) gained around 2.25 lb of muscle on average over an 8 week period. Their caloric intakes weren’t recorded unfortunately.

The most thorough study we’ve ever seen on caloric surplus and weight gain, broken down by fat and muscle gain, suggests that a caloric increase of around 400 calories daily can translate into a 4 to 5 lb muscle gain with no fat gain over an 8 week period.

What Does This Mean for Weekly Muscle Gain?

Based on the above studies, we can assume that a 400 calorie increase, combined with resistance training, should result in a weight gain progression of about 0.6 lb of muscle per week. We’re favoring the studies which actually measured caloric intake over the ones which only measured muscle gain, because it’s a set of more complete information.

It’s worth noting that individual responses to overfeeding (eating at a caloric surplus) vary drastically, and these numbers are just based on averages from several medical studies.

People seeking to gain muscle may want to shoot for a minimum 20g post workout protein dosage. As we discussed in our Premier Protein nutrition article, this is the dosage medically proven to optimize muscle recovery.

Why These Weight Gain Numbers May Seem Low

There’s a term in the bodybuilding community called “noob gains” which refers to how much muscle inexperienced weightlifters can put on when they first start training. Many of these reports online talk about gaining 20 pounds of muscle or more within a few weeks.

Generally, people self-reporting their muscle gains aren’t considering that much of the “gains” are actually increased water weight and fat gain. It’s biologically almost impossible to gain 20 pounds of lean muscle tissue for a natural athlete over the span of a few weeks or even months.

Many bulking diets include a large amount of carbohydrates which increases water retention. This alone can make muscles appear bigger and more “full.”

Actual lean tissue gains, which the medical studies report on, are generally more modest. However, keeping the caloric surplus to a reasonable 400 cal/day above maintenance will probably lead to better performance outcomes than eating a larger caloric surplus and adding fat just to reach a weight gain goal sooner.

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Conclusion

Most of the articles online about weight and muscle gain progressions are unscientific. We’ve assessed the medical research and determined that a conservative 350-400 cal/day surplus should optimize weight gain progression for people who are weightlifting and seeking to put on muscle.

Athletes who have the budget may want to consider hiring a dietician or sports nutritionist, because individual responses to dietary changes do vary significantly, and a specialist can help further improve the diet model to optimize performance.




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