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Mass Expectations

Q: How much muscle weight can a natural bodybuilder realistically look to put on over a given amount of time? Thank you for all the great info you provide and for the added confidence you give me that I can reach my size goals without the assistance of drugs.

A: Thank you for writing and for your kind words. I’m glad my info is not only giving you a confidence boost but also keeping you drug-free.

It’s impossible for me to give you a truly accurate answer about muscle gain because so many variables are involved, the most significant being genetics. Your genetics determine your fiber makeup, recovery ability, metabolism, muscle origins and insertions, hormone profile and more. All of those factors play a role in how much muscle you can eventually add and how rapidly you can add it.

If I were to answer your question based on a natural bodybuilder with average genetics who follows effective training and nutrition and supplement protocols, however, I’d estimate that you could put on 15 to 20 pounds of lean tissue in about a year’s time—that is, during your first year of training. Obviously, when you first start out, you have the greatest potential for new growth, but each year afterward you can expect diminishing returns as you get closer to your genetic potential.

Still, there’s no reason you can’t add another five to 10 pounds in your second and third years of training and about three to five pounds for several years thereafter. With a truly intelligent, consistent and disciplined approach to bodybuilding, you’ll be capable of making improvements to your physique indefinitely. I’m not sure that anyone has ever realized 100 percent of his or her genetic potential, so keep striving.

Editor’s note: Eric Broser’s new DVD “Power/Rep Range/Shock Max-Mass Training System” is available at His e-book, Power/Rep Range/Shock Workout, which includes complete printable workout templates and a big Q&A section, is available at X-Workouts

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