Help with Reasonable expectations

I am female, 5'10" 150#'s and want to add 10#'s of muscle. What is a reasonable rate of gain for someone who has lifted for a year but is in their first bulk cycle. I have my cals set to gain .5#'s a week, but I need to know if I can even gain that much muscle in a week as a female. Would it be safer to shoot for .25#'s a week to minimize fat gain, or will that only hinder my attempts to build muscle?

I understand some fat gains are almost impossible to prevent, I just don't want to gain 50/50.

Replies

  • usmcmp
    usmcmp Posts: 21,220 Member
    Just like fat loss, muscle gain isn't leaner. There are more variables than just food intake. What program you are following can impact your gains.

    Here's my gains since I started my bulk:
    Oct & Nov: 3 pounds
    Dec & Jan: 2 pounds
    Feb & Mar: .5 pounds
    Apr & May: 2 pounds
    Jun & Jul: 1.5 pounds

    The period in which I only gained half a pound of lean mass I was doing a strength program. The rest of the time I have been doing hypertrophy.
  • Just like fat loss, muscle gain isn't leaner. There are more variables than just food intake. What program you are following can impact your gains.

    Here's my gains since I started my bulk:
    Oct & Nov: 3 pounds
    Dec & Jan: 2 pounds
    Feb & Mar: .5 pounds
    Apr & May: 2 pounds
    Jun & Jul: 1.5 pounds

    The period in which I only gained half a pound of lean mass I was doing a strength program. The rest of the time I have been doing hypertrophy.
    Were you at the same cals for all of them?

    Guess it will come down to trial and error to find my groove. I just like simple numbers soo much, why can't it just be simple math!:sad:

    I'm doing mostly hypertrophy with one full body strength day.
  • NRBreit
    NRBreit Posts: 319 Member
    Unless you have great genetics, the weight you gain will likely be close 50/50 regardless of how slow you gain. .5 lbs per week is a good rate to gain. Any slower and it will be very difficult to measure progress because the gain will not be linear week to week as stated. The fat gained can be lost quickly so try not to worry about it during the bulk. You'll get to a point to where you can't stand it and you'll know it's time to cut.
  • usmcmp
    usmcmp Posts: 21,220 Member
    Just like fat loss, muscle gain isn't leaner. There are more variables than just food intake. What program you are following can impact your gains.

    Here's my gains since I started my bulk:
    Oct & Nov: 3 pounds
    Dec & Jan: 2 pounds
    Feb & Mar: .5 pounds
    Apr & May: 2 pounds
    Jun & Jul: 1.5 pounds

    The period in which I only gained half a pound of lean mass I was doing a strength program. The rest of the time I have been doing hypertrophy.
    Were you at the same cals for all of them?

    Guess it will come down to trial and error to find my groove. I just like simple numbers soo much, why can't it just be simple math!:sad:

    I'm doing mostly hypertrophy with one full body strength day.

    Yes, I was at the same calorie level the entire time. I've now reached the point in body fat where I have to cut. I'm sitting at about 23%. There are a few different places that say you can get up to 25%, but I'm at the uncomfortable point. Dropping 15 pounds at this point equals dropping about 6% body fat (if I retain all my lean mass).
  • Just like fat loss, muscle gain isn't leaner. There are more variables than just food intake. What program you are following can impact your gains.

    Here's my gains since I started my bulk:
    Oct & Nov: 3 pounds
    Dec & Jan: 2 pounds
    Feb & Mar: .5 pounds
    Apr & May: 2 pounds
    Jun & Jul: 1.5 pounds

    The period in which I only gained half a pound of lean mass I was doing a strength program. The rest of the time I have been doing hypertrophy.
    Were you at the same cals for all of them?

    Guess it will come down to trial and error to find my groove. I just like simple numbers soo much, why can't it just be simple math!:sad:

    I'm doing mostly hypertrophy with one full body strength day.

    Yes, I was at the same calorie level the entire time. I've now reached the point in body fat where I have to cut. I'm sitting at about 23%. There are a few different places that say you can get up to 25%, but I'm at the uncomfortable point. Dropping 15 pounds at this point equals dropping about 6% body fat (if I retain all my lean mass).
    Well that def puts the gain in perspective! Thanks!
  • usmcmp
    usmcmp Posts: 21,220 Member
    Just like fat loss, muscle gain isn't leaner. There are more variables than just food intake. What program you are following can impact your gains.

    Here's my gains since I started my bulk:
    Oct & Nov: 3 pounds
    Dec & Jan: 2 pounds
    Feb & Mar: .5 pounds
    Apr & May: 2 pounds
    Jun & Jul: 1.5 pounds

    The period in which I only gained half a pound of lean mass I was doing a strength program. The rest of the time I have been doing hypertrophy.
    Were you at the same cals for all of them?

    Guess it will come down to trial and error to find my groove. I just like simple numbers soo much, why can't it just be simple math!:sad:

    I'm doing mostly hypertrophy with one full body strength day.

    Yes, I was at the same calorie level the entire time. I've now reached the point in body fat where I have to cut. I'm sitting at about 23%. There are a few different places that say you can get up to 25%, but I'm at the uncomfortable point. Dropping 15 pounds at this point equals dropping about 6% body fat (if I retain all my lean mass).
    Well that def puts the gain in perspective! Thanks!

    Definitely! Went from 155 at competition to 187 today. The added mass makes a difference. Some of that of course is added gylcogen.

    This helped me get over my fat fears: http://www.jcdfitness.com/2009/10/the-former-fat-boy-syndrome/
  • 3laine75
    3laine75 Posts: 3,070 Member
    Good luck with the bulk. :)

    0.5 lb a week sounds perfect to get the optimal gains. You'll get about 50/50 fat and muscle but that can't be helped.

    Interested in usmcmp's results - I just finished my first bulk/cut on a strength programme (still pretty much clueless) and was leaning towards more of a hypertrophy programme for next time. Those results say that's the way to go.

    Usmcmp: do you do your own thing in the gym or is there a good hypertrophy routine you'd recommend?
  • usmcmp
    usmcmp Posts: 21,220 Member
    Good luck with the bulk. :)

    0.5 lb a week sounds perfect to get the optimal gains. You'll get about 50/50 fat and muscle but that can't be helped.

    Interested in usmcmp's results - I just finished my first bulk/cut on a strength programme (still pretty much clueless) and was leaning towards more of a hypertrophy programme for next time. Those results say that's the way to go.

    Usmcmp: do you do your own thing in the gym or is there a good hypertrophy routine you'd recommend?

    I have a custom one, but I do highly suggest Layne Norton's PHAT if you have 5 days a week to lift (basically a traditional bodybuilding routine) or HST training if you only have 3 days to lift.
  • Just like fat loss, muscle gain isn't leaner. There are more variables than just food intake. What program you are following can impact your gains.

    Here's my gains since I started my bulk:
    Oct & Nov: 3 pounds
    Dec & Jan: 2 pounds
    Feb & Mar: .5 pounds
    Apr & May: 2 pounds
    Jun & Jul: 1.5 pounds

    The period in which I only gained half a pound of lean mass I was doing a strength program. The rest of the time I have been doing hypertrophy.
    Were you at the same cals for all of them?

    Guess it will come down to trial and error to find my groove. I just like simple numbers soo much, why can't it just be simple math!:sad:

    I'm doing mostly hypertrophy with one full body strength day.

    Yes, I was at the same calorie level the entire time. I've now reached the point in body fat where I have to cut. I'm sitting at about 23%. There are a few different places that say you can get up to 25%, but I'm at the uncomfortable point. Dropping 15 pounds at this point equals dropping about 6% body fat (if I retain all my lean mass).
    Well that def puts the gain in perspective! Thanks!

    Definitely! Went from 155 at competition to 187 today. The added mass makes a difference. Some of that of course is added gylcogen.

    This helped me get over my fat fears: http://www.jcdfitness.com/2009/10/the-former-fat-boy-syndrome/
    Great article! One last question. I am currently resting around 25%, IYO should I cut lower before I do this bulk?
  • usmcmp
    usmcmp Posts: 21,220 Member
    Great article! One last question. I am currently resting around 25%, IYO should I cut lower before I do this bulk?

    How have you estimated this? Your pictures look a bit lower than 25%.
  • Great article! One last question. I am currently resting around 25%, IYO should I cut lower before I do this bulk?

    How have you estimated this? Your pictures look a bit lower than 25%.
    Calipers. I carry a significant portion of my fat on my lower abdomen, hips and thighs. I'll put a bikini shot in my profile if you are willing to help me guesstimate.
  • NRBreit
    NRBreit Posts: 319 Member
    Calipers. I carry a significant portion of my fat on my lower abdomen, hips and thighs. I'll put a bikini shot in my profile if you are willing to help me guesstimate.

    My wife has a similar build. I'd say low to mid-20's BF is spot on. Based on your goals, you could either bulk or cut from where you're at.
  • Calipers. I carry a significant portion of my fat on my lower abdomen, hips and thighs. I'll put a bikini shot in my profile if you are willing to help me guesstimate.

    My wife has a similar build. I'd say low to mid-20's BF is spot on. Based on your goals, you could either bulk or cut from where you're at.
    Thanks, I'm gonna go for the bulk! Come Jan-Feb I'll start my cut and try to push down to the 18-20% mark before I bulk again. I just think if I put off the bulk I won't do it till after next summer.