Question – how much muscle can I gain?

Did a little research. On average, a woman can gain between 0.5 and 1 pounds a month. I found another site that has a formula for calculating maximum muscle potential. It says a person* who is 5’5″ can build a maximum of 140 pounds of lean body mass. Of course “lean body mass” isn’t just muscle – it includes bones, organs, and blood.

*I suspect by “person” they mean “men”. Don’t know.

Right now, I’m somewhere around 113 pounds of lean body mass. If I build at the average rate, I can expect to gain another 5-6 pounds of muscle before I have to start seriously cutting body fat. Assuming a competition body fat percentage of around 6%, means I will need to get my weight down to around 126 pounds.

I have no doubt that I can do this, but I don’t know if I can do it by July or August. I can gain muscle, but I’m losing body fat very, very slowly. My current weight is 148 pounds. So I’m supposed to lose 28 pounds of fat and gain 6 pounds of muscle in the next 7 months. I’ve lost 51 pounds of fat since June 2009. I know how to do that, but losing fat while gaining muscle? Building muscle is a lot harder. I’m not training for a bikini diva or figure – I’m training for bodybuilding. That’s not something you can get ready for in months – it takes years.

Oh well. I love what I’m doing. And I’m going to keep doing it as long as I can physically handle it, which I hope is a few decades. I’ll compete when I’m ready.


Just did some more math. Not necessarily accurate because body fat percentages are based on pinches…

Since Oct 29th, I’ve gained 4.8 pounds. 4.1 of that was lean body mass. I’m assuming about 2 pounds of that is water since I started creatine again after the DEXA scan on Oct 29th. I’m happy with these numbers. Probably gained 1.5-2 pounds of muscle along with 0.8 pounds of fat. Many people say you can’t gain muscle while losing fat. I think I can, but I’m still experimenting. Even if I keep gaining 1.5-2 pounds of muscle for every 0.8 pounds of fat, I’ll be OK. I’ll have enough muscle by May and time to lose fat. My first and most pressing goal was to get the cortisol under control so I would start building muscle again. I think I’ve done that. I believe the HIIT cardio will be the key to the fat loss issue. I’ve only done it for a few weeks. Taking a break now while my ankle heals up, but it feels good. I should be able to get back to it after this cold works it’s way through my system. May switch to bike instead of StairMonster to protect the ankle, though.
A couple days have passed. Need to report that I’m pretty excited by the math. A 5 pound gain combined with what I see in the mirror plus new personal records = I’m growing again! I think the real reason I’m thinking about postponing competition is that this is sooo much fun. Once I start the contest prep, life won’t be fun. And I’ll lose muscle. Muscle that I just started building again. I love lifting.

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