Why Is It So Hard to Build Muscle?

By Drew Stegman


Let's face it. Gaining muscle is not easy.

If it was, everyone would be walking around with ripped six packs and huge biceps. Of course, this is not the case since the average American is soft and out of shape. Many of you go into this whole bodybuilding thing as if it's going to be easy, and you're setting yourself up for failure from the start. Building muscle is not easy and in fact it is very hard. But what about adding lean muscle mass is so difficult?

Why Is It So Hard to Build Muscle?


Simply put, your body does not want to add muscle mass.

Why would it? It's bulky, burns additional calories and makes it easier to lose fat. In terms of survival, muscle was not favored in our primal times. In fact, muscle was more like a luxury item rather than a regular affair for everyone and that still holds true today.

This whole talk about gaining muscle fast completely baffles me. Last week I was at the gym and heard a guy talking about how he added 30 pounds of muscle in the past year, which is complete nonsense! Of course, this is possible if you're taking anabolic steroids, but for the average bodybuilder it's just not realistic. Even with perfect flawless nutrition and a perfect training program we can expect to gain an average of about 5-10 pounds of muscle per year. That's it! Disappointing I know, but you'd be even more disappointed if I lied to you and told you that you will gain 20-30 pounds of muscle in your first year of lifting.

Although gaining muscle is a very slow process, just imagine where you could be 5 years from now if you continue to lift heavy. That 5-10 pounds per year could turn into anywhere from 25-50 pounds!


"But Drew, 25 pounds isn't that much! I'm gonna start taking roids so I can get HUUUUGGE!!!!"

Woah there, slow down there cowboy. 25 pounds of muscle is a lot more than you think. Go buy 25 pounds of lean meat at the grocery store, lay it out on your kitchen table and you'll most likely change your mind.

Now I will say this - There are genetic freaks out there that might be able to gain more than 5-10 pounds of muscle per year, but for the average person it's just not realistic, so don't get your hopes up.

Another thing people don't take into account is newbie gains. During the first year or so of lifting, some new lifters can gain more than the average 5-10 pounds of muscle. I say some, because not everyone is capable of this feat, but it is possible for certain genetically gifted individuals. To be realistic, still expect to only gain about 5-10 pounds of muscle in your first year - any more is an added bonus.

Gaining muscle is not easy in the slightest. Everything from lifting, nutrition and rest needs to be spot on. Even so, ridiculous amounts of muscle gains like 30 pounds in a year just aren't possible for natural bodybuilders. And remember, that is strictly lean muscle mass, not including other forms of weight such as fat, water, glycogen, etc.

Although muscle gains can be painfully slow, given enough time, hard effort and discipline, you can make an amazing physique transformation. So watch your nutrition, train hard, get enough rest in between workouts and watch yourself grow!

Get your muscle and strength-building workouts here.



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