Newbie gains are some of the great things you may experience at the beginning of your fitness journey.
And like many other good things, it doesn’t last forever, and it’s typically minimized after a year of training.
Let’s read on to learn more about newbie gains and how long do newbie gains last.
I will also give a proper strategy to maximize this newbie phase, including the five tips that help you keep adding more muscle mass even after your newbie period end.
What are Newbie Gains?
Newbie gains are also known as beginner gains. It refers to the rapid increase of muscle mass in a short period of time when people just start training intensively. And surprisingly, the gains can be visible even if you’re following a poorly designed diet or workout plan.
In other word, when you start gym training with little to no previous weightlifting experience, you’ll feel an exponential growth in muscle size in a short time frame; we can call it newbie gains.
How Long Do Newbie Gains Last?
Although the time frame of newbie gains varies on genetics, age, body fat percentage, and others. But we can approximate that phase for most people.
Generally speaking, your newbie gains can last for the first six months to a year of intensive resistance training. And you can reap the maximum gains from this period by following a proper training and diet plan.
However, you can still progress after this period by increasing your training intensity and consuming a high protein calorie surplus diet.
When you just start exercising, your aim should be hitting the gym for at least 3-5 days a week along with the right nutritional strategy.
Typically after a year of training, the newbie gains will come to an end, and your muscle gaining rate has been slowed down (we’ll get back to it later on how you can still progress fast).
How Much Can You Gain From Newbie Gains?
Many researchers reavailed how much muscle people can gain in their first year of resistance training.
According to Lyle McDonald (a well-known bodybuilder and researcher), the potential rate of muscle gain is:
|Years of proper training||Men||Women|
|1||20-25 lbs (2 lbs/month)||10-12 lbs (1 lb/month)|
|2||10-12 lbs (1 lb/ month)||5-6 lbs (0.5 lb/month)|
|3||5-6 lbs (0.5 lb/month)||2-3 lbs (not worth calculating)|
|4||2-3 lbs (not worth calculating)||0.5-1.5 lbs (not worth calculating)|
So, according to his model, you can gain 20-25 pounds and 10-12 pounds for men and women, respectively.
This model only applies to people who train, eat and sleep properly.
But the downside of this formula is that it doesn’t check your age.
If you’re in your 20s or 30s, you can gain muscle faster than those who are older and don’t have favorable hormonal profiles for muscle growth.
So, to wrap it up, we can achieve those numbers efficiently, even more than that as a beginner if we are consistent with our training, diet, and sleep routine.
And make sure you’re not making these mistakes that ruin your progress.
Why Do Newbie Gains Stop?
To discover why newbie gains stop, we need to understand why they happened in the first place.
The newbie gain happened because the stimulus we created by doing intensive training was completely new, and our body was learning how to adapt them to become more efficient.
That’s why our body rapidly shows results at the beginning of our training.
And this is where a vital concept comes into play, the repeated bout effect.
This effect researched within a strength and conditioning community found that doing the same thing or certain kind of exercise over and over again isn’t going to impact us the same way every time.
In other word, as we accumulate more and more training experience over time, we’ll get less and less muscle and strength gain.
Furthermore, you should also keep in mind that our body has a different capacity to add on muscle mass. Generally, it’s nothing more than 30 to 50 pounds of additional muscle, which most natural lifters can achieve.
However, the closer you try to go to 30 to 50 pounds of additional muscle, the harder you’ll be going to have to train to overload your body to get any bigger.
Summary: The reason newbie gains end is that our body becomes a lot more efficient to the resistance training and less responsive on adding muscle mass in the body over time due to the repeated bout effect.
How to Maximize Newbie Gains?
So, we have about 6-12 golden months in our hands to make the maximum muscle gain. So, our aim should be to reap the most out of it.
How? We’ll go through that now!
The top three fundamental things you need to do right to increase muscle mass fast at the beginning of your training.
1. Intensive Training
The first and one of the most important things to build muscle is, of course intensive training.
As a beginner or skinny guy, your number one focus should be lifting heavy compound movements.
Exercises that use multiple muscles in the same movement, we can call them compound exercise.
For example, a standard bench press that is one of the most traditional compound movements works not only for your chest but also your triceps, shoulders, and abs.
Here’re the examples of compound exercises:
- Bench press
- Barbell row
- Overhead barbell press
Doing compound exercise not only boosts your muscle-building rate but also helps you increase your testosterone naturally.
Besides compound exercises, your aim should be lifting heavy. This means you should pick a weight that you can perform only 6-8 repetitions (reps), not more than that.
Performing fewer reps with heavy loads will help you to maximize your body’s potential for strength and muscle gain.
If you’re looking for a perfect beginner workout plan that you can follow to utilize that newbie period maximally, head over this article which will guide you in a step-by-step fashion.
2. Enough Healthy Calories
The second thing we need to do is fuel the body with enough healthy calories.
What does “enough healthy calories” mean?
This means you should consume a “calorie surplus diet” from healthy food sources.
More specifically, consume 300-500 extra calories on top of your required daily calories.
To find out your required daily calories, first, calculate your BMR:
- Men: 66.5 + (13.75 × weight in kg) + (5.003 × height in cm) – (6.755 × age in years)
- Women: 655 + (9.563 × weight in kg) + (1.850 × height in cm) – (4.676 × age in years)
Then multiply it by 1.55, which is your daily required calories.
Now add 300-500 calories to your required daily calories in order to gain about 1lb lean muscle mass per week.
This is where good calories and bad calories come into play.
You shouldn’t consume ice cream, pizza, or other unhealthy foods to quickly reach your daily calorie requirements as they’re high in calories.
So, instead, you should consume a healthy diet with a combination of carbs, protein, and fat (50%, 30%, and 20%, respectively).
Related: 30 Awesome High Protein Foods to Eat
3. Adequate Rest
The last crucial thing that completes the top three muscle-building fundamentals is rest.
You need to understand that the exercise itself works only as a stimulant for muscle growth.
You overload the muscles and break down muscle fibers during training.
But then, if you provide your body with the proper nutrition and give enough time to recover, they will grow bigger and stronger in order to endure higher workloads in the future.
Remember, muscles don’t grow while we train, but afterward. The body builds larger muscle fibers only when it gets enough time to recover.
And this is done mostly while we sleep.
So, make sure you should be getting at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
And also, you should make sure that your muscle groups are fully recovered between two workout sessions. Sometimes you may need an extra rest day for optimal recovery and here, listening to your body is the key.
So, don’t hesitate to give your enough recovery time if needed because that way, your body will be able to recover and grow the muscle fibers to their fullest potential.
What to Do After Newbie Gains are Over? (5 Effective Tips)
After 6 months to a year of lifting, you may hit a plateau where you may experience little to no soreness on your working muscles and decreases your muscle-building rate.
And now you need to make some changes to your routine to break that plateau and keep your gains consistent for the long run.
Here’re the five best things you should do after your newbie gains are over:
1. Maintain Calorie Surplus Diet
As I mentioned earlier in this article, you have to eat 300-500 extra calories per day in order to gain 2 to 4 pounds of muscle mass (for men) in a month.
Where women can experience about 1 to 2 pounds per month after the newbie phase is finished.
Follow the “Enough Healthy Calories” section above to determine how many calories do you exactly need per day, or you can read this article.
2. Lift Heavy and Change Program
The second thing you need to do is try different workout programs or alternate your exercise between your cutting and bulking routine.
For example, you’ve followed a training plan where you perform fewer reps for strength and mass. But after 2-3 months of following that routine, go for higher reps (like 15-20) which will increase your endurance and muscle definition.
So, keep changing your workout plan in two to three months intervals to shock and force your body to grow. You can follow the program mentioned below to gain muscle.
3. Increase Protein Intake
After a year of training, your body will contain a healthy amount of muscle mass, and to maintain or add more muscle, you need to increase your protein intake.
But, how much protein is enough for you?
A 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound body weight can be sufficient for beginners. But after a year of training, your body will experience enough, so you’ll need about 1 to 1.2 grams per pound weight to gain muscle over time. (1)
However, having between 0.8 to 1 gram protein per pound bodyweight, spreading between 3-4 meals, seems ideal for intermediates. But if you’re lean or on a calorie deficit diet, you can increase your protein consumption slightly higher than that.
4. Add Creatine
If you’re hitting a plateau, a creatine supplement can be very effective in speeding up your muscle gaining rate.
Creatine is one of the most widely researched and proven supplements to enhance athletic performance and physical appearance and is also safe for both short-term and long-term use.
An extensive review of creatine concluded that creatine monohydrate is the most extensively studied and clinically researched supplement available for athletes to increase high-intensity workout capacity and lean muscle mass fast.
All you need to do is take 3-5 grams of creatine before or after a workout with some carbs and protein sources to maximize creatine’s muscular retention.
Make sure you’re drinking at least 3-4 liters of water throughout the day to keep your body properly hydrated.
5. Recover Well
Making all the above points right can’t help you unless you prioritize your recovery time.
Because our muscles don’t grow while we train, but afterward. The body builds larger muscle fibers only when it gets enough time to recover.
And this is done while we sleep.
Taking enough quality nighttime sleep is crucial because it influences your muscle-building goal and your overall health as well.
Taking anything between seven to nine hours of high-quality sleep can significantly enhance your overall recovery and speed up muscle growth. (2)
Okayyy, we’ve done it.
So, focus on your training, diet, and sleep in your newbie phase. And after newbie gains end, keep changing whether it’s your workout routine, diet plan, or by including supplements as discussed above.
If you need help to begin your fitness journey the right way or need to break the plateau efficiently, drop a comment below. I will be glad to help you out!