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How to know if you're actually building muscle and not just mostly gaining weight/fat?

kontehhalimakontehhalima Member Posts: 16 Member Member Posts: 16 Member
Hi all, I would really love some advice on this. I I've been lifting weights to build some muscle so I can have more curves and to achieve a nice booty. I have broad shoulders and big breasts and would just love for my lower body to match so I can look more balanced. I've been lifting for about 6 weeks now and have been doing progressive overload with a focus on my lower body while eating at a calorie surplus. I've noticed that when I measure my hips I've already almost gained an inch on my hips (went from 35 to almost 36in). It seems too good to be true that in just 6 weeks that this has happened considering how much I read about how it is difficult to build muscle. I know that when building muscle you'll also gain some fat too but am i just gaining mostly fat or am I truly putting on muscle? How can I trust the process and tell if I'm one of those people who can put on muscle easily ( im also petite in stature 5'2 if that matters).

Replies

  • psychod787psychod787 Member, Premium Posts: 3,779 Member Member, Premium Posts: 3,779 Member
    Hi all, I would really love some advice on this. I I've been lifting weights to build some muscle so I can have more curves and to achieve a nice booty. I have broad shoulders and big breasts and would just love for my lower body to match so I can look more balanced. I've been lifting for about 6 weeks now and have been doing progressive overload with a focus on my lower body while eating at a calorie surplus. I've noticed that when I measure my hips I've already almost gained an inch on my hips (went from 35 to almost 36in). It seems too good to be true that in just 6 weeks that this has happened considering how much I read about how it is difficult to build muscle. I know that when building muscle you'll also gain some fat too but am i just gaining mostly fat or am I truly putting on muscle? How can I trust the process and tell if I'm one of those people who can put on muscle easily ( im also petite in stature 5'2 if that matters).

    not enough info to make a judgement on how much muscle you have gained. I suggest pictures and weight stats. As far as telling how much muscle? Well, there are flaws in almost any body fat test, but I would suggest finding one such as calipers, bia, or dexa and sticking with it. Make sure they are done under the same conditions every time by a trained individual. It will not be totally accurate, but might give you an idea on how you are doing.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 43,294 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 43,294 Member
    If you're a female, putting on 1lb of muscle in 2-3 months is considered good. That's 6-9lbs of muscle a year and about right.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

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  • sardelsasardelsa Member Posts: 9,714 Member Member Posts: 9,714 Member
    Keep in mind muscle can hold on to water and give a pump which can affect the measurements. I find my glutes stay pumped for quite some time. Fat and muscle gain is pretty slow.

    As long as you are gaining at a slow/moderate rate, following proper programming and progressing, getting enough protein, your measurements aren't increasing too quickly especially in the waist and your bodyfat looks fairly stable, you are good.
    Just keep tracking your progress and stick to it.

  • ecjimecjim Member Posts: 880 Member Member Posts: 880 Member
    It takes time - In 6 weeks, if you did everything right a 1 lb muscle gain would be a lot. That's for your whole body. If you were following an intelligent training program, you gained some muscle,

    I think in your other thread you said you were getting 120 or 130 gms of protein - that's fine. set your cals for maybe 2 lb gain per month & adjust as needed. add a little cardio if you are getting too fluffy. Eat some carbs, potatoes , rice etc. Be sure you are following a smart weight program - you want to build legs & glutes so squats & deadlifts are your friends. You might want to look at Strong Curves by Bret Contreras - Google it

    edited October 11
  • MT1134MT1134 Member Posts: 174 Member Member Posts: 174 Member
    Dexa scan has been said to be the gold standard.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,071 Member Member Posts: 18,071 Member
    Has the weight on the bar increased, or sets, or reps?

    And is this after you'd been doing the lifts already for awhile, so not talking noobie increases due to better form and CNS engagement that would have occurred even in a diet?
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Member Posts: 8,638 Member Member Posts: 8,638 Member
    There are indications though how much will depend on how sensitive you are in relation to your training. If you were untrained we can expect a decent initial spurt of hypertrophy and strength.

    Certainly taking measurements and paying attention to your weight trend will give you an idea. How clothes fit can also give us some indication.

    When it comes down to it, we have to look at training in long term. Are we trending towards the goals you gave set?

    Hopefully we plan on training for a lifetime and as we become more educated and aware of how our body responds we can make decisions on progressing towards our goals.
  • kontehhalimakontehhalima Member Posts: 16 Member Member Posts: 16 Member
    ecjim wrote: »
    It takes time - In 6 weeks, if you did everything right a 1 lb muscle gain would be a lot. That's for your whole body. If you were following an intelligent training program, you gained some muscle,

    I think in your other thread you said you were getting 120 or 130 gms of protein - that's fine. set your cals for maybe 2 lb gain per month & adjust as needed. add a little cardio if you are getting too fluffy. Eat some carbs, potatoes , rice etc. Be sure you are following a smart weight program - you want to build legs & glutes so squats & deadlifts are your friends. You might want to look at Strong Curves by Bret Contreras - Google it

    Thanks for the advice! I want to say that I think I'm doing everything correct but im never too sure. I also tend to doubt myself very often even if there are differences. I'm just going to continue and power through and hope that I see noticeable differences.
  • kontehhalimakontehhalima Member Posts: 16 Member Member Posts: 16 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    Has the weight on the bar increased, or sets, or reps?

    And is this after you'd been doing the lifts already for awhile, so not talking noobie increases due to better form and CNS engagement that would have occurred even in a diet?

    Yes I make sure to increase the weights and reps whenever my workouts seem easy! I've been lifting on again off again for quite sometime but never kept consistent with it after about 3 months. Back in January when I was lifting I gained an inch in 6 weeks and but in March gyms had closed due to covid so I hadn't lifted in 6 months and instead did at home HIIT and lost some weight. Now that I'm back in the gym same thing happened again, gained about an inch in 6 weeks.
  • ecjimecjim Member Posts: 880 Member Member Posts: 880 Member
    ecjim wrote: »
    It takes time - In 6 weeks, if you did everything right a 1 lb muscle gain would be a lot. That's for your whole body. If you were following an intelligent training program, you gained some muscle,

    I think in your other thread you said you were getting 120 or 130 gms of protein - that's fine. set your cals for maybe 2 lb gain per month & adjust as needed. add a little cardio if you are getting too fluffy. Eat some carbs, potatoes , rice etc. Be sure you are following a smart weight program - you want to build legs & glutes so squats & deadlifts are your friends. You might want to look at Strong Curves by Bret Contreras - Google it

    Thanks for the advice! I want to say that I think I'm doing everything correct but im never too sure. I also tend to doubt myself very often even if there are differences. I'm just going to continue and power through and hope that I see noticeable differences.

    I'm sure you are gaining muscle -
    What lifting program are you following? You will get more bang for your buck if it focuses on compound lifts - Squats are #1 also over head pressing, rows , bench , Deadlift, chins . Increase the weight or the # of reps as often as possible
    I'm going to edit this - You said you are more interested in building your legs & booty - so it's squats #1 deadlifts #2 have fun - you can squat 3x week
    edited October 14
  • kontehhalimakontehhalima Member Posts: 16 Member Member Posts: 16 Member
    ecjim wrote: »
    ecjim wrote: »
    It takes time - In 6 weeks, if you did everything right a 1 lb muscle gain would be a lot. That's for your whole body. If you were following an intelligent training program, you gained some muscle,

    I think in your other thread you said you were getting 120 or 130 gms of protein - that's fine. set your cals for maybe 2 lb gain per month & adjust as needed. add a little cardio if you are getting too fluffy. Eat some carbs, potatoes , rice etc. Be sure you are following a smart weight program - you want to build legs & glutes so squats & deadlifts are your friends. You might want to look at Strong Curves by Bret Contreras - Google it

    Thanks for the advice! I want to say that I think I'm doing everything correct but im never too sure. I also tend to doubt myself very often even if there are differences. I'm just going to continue and power through and hope that I see noticeable differences.

    I'm sure you are gaining muscle -
    What lifting program are you following? You will get more bang for your buck if it focuses on compound lifts - Squats are #1 also over head pressing, rows , bench , Deadlift, chins . Increase the weight or the # of reps as often as possible
    I'm going to edit this - You said you are more interested in building your legs & booty - so it's squats #1 deadlifts #2 have fun - you can squat 3x week

    Thanks! I workout 3-4 times a week and I most definitely do squats. I do barbell squats, barbell split squats, hip thrusts, deadlifts, kettlebell swings and I use machines like the hip abductor and leg press. I increase the weights and reps about every 2 weeks or just whenever I feel like my workouts are getting too easy. After lifting i do 15-20mins of cardio but I try not to overdo it. Im pretty certain that my form is correct because sometimes post workout i will feel soreness around my glutes and hips.
  • ecjimecjim Member Posts: 880 Member Member Posts: 880 Member
    ecjim wrote: »
    ecjim wrote: »
    It takes time - In 6 weeks, if you did everything right a 1 lb muscle gain would be a lot. That's for your whole body. If you were following an intelligent training program, you gained some muscle,

    I think in your other thread you said you were getting 120 or 130 gms of protein - that's fine. set your cals for maybe 2 lb gain per month & adjust as needed. add a little cardio if you are getting too fluffy. Eat some carbs, potatoes , rice etc. Be sure you are following a smart weight program - you want to build legs & glutes so squats & deadlifts are your friends. You might want to look at Strong Curves by Bret Contreras - Google it

    Thanks for the advice! I want to say that I think I'm doing everything correct but im never too sure. I also tend to doubt myself very often even if there are differences. I'm just going to continue and power through and hope that I see noticeable differences.

    I'm sure you are gaining muscle -
    What lifting program are you following? You will get more bang for your buck if it focuses on compound lifts - Squats are #1 also over head pressing, rows , bench , Deadlift, chins . Increase the weight or the # of reps as often as possible
    I'm going to edit this - You said you are more interested in building your legs & booty - so it's squats #1 deadlifts #2 have fun - you can squat 3x week

    Thanks! I workout 3-4 times a week and I most definitely do squats. I do barbell squats, barbell split squats, hip thrusts, deadlifts, kettlebell swings and I use machines like the hip abductor and leg press. I increase the weights and reps about every 2 weeks or just whenever I feel like my workouts are getting too easy. After lifting i do 15-20mins of cardio but I try not to overdo it. Im pretty certain that my form is correct because sometimes post workout i will feel soreness around my glutes and hips.

    Sounds like you're the right track - Keep it up
  • ecjimecjim Member Posts: 880 Member Member Posts: 880 Member
    I have a question about your exercise selection, you listed a lot of lower body exercises . How are you putting them together? Do you have a plan?
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