If you’re planning to undertake a half-year body transformation, then chances are you’ll be wondering exactly how much muscle can you gain in 6 months. That’s exactly what I’ll be answering!
The average untrained beginner can gain up to 12lbs (6kg) of muscle in 6 months. This is the maximum muscle growth potential for a typical male in half a year. Females can typically gain half this amount.
Below, I share my personal 6-month skinny to muscular transformation story as well as the research to support the claims!
A Realistic Rate Of Muscle Growth
Up to 2lbs of muscle can be realistically gained per month. This is the maximum muscular potential for the average untrained male. Females can expect to build muscle at approximately half this rate.
Check out David De Las Morenas’ video on how much muscle you can realistically expect to build per month.
Now you may wonder where this number comes from; who says you can’t gain more than 2lbs/1kg of muscle in a month?!
Well you may be glad to know that the number isn’t just pulled from thin air.
It’s based on the Lyle McDonald model of maximum rates of muscle gain; a widely accepted template for realistic muscular growth potential.
Lyle is a world-renowned health and fitness researcher and writer.
Here’s the Lyle Mcdonald model for maximum muscular growth rate.
You can see the average untrained male beginner can expect to gain around 2lbs of muscle per month (max).
Females can expect to grow at around half this rate since women have around 40% less total muscle mass compared to men.
Furthermore, you can expect to see the fastest rates of muscle gain during your first year of training.
This is due to the “Newbie Gains” phenomenon; a period of accelerated muscle and strength gains in naive individuals.
Expect the newbie gains period to last around 1 year before muscle growth rates diminish.
However, don’t expect the newbie gains period to last forever.
Growth rates will start to plateau at around 12 months as your muscles become increasingly adapted and experience the law of diminishing returns.
But within your first year of training, you can realistically expect to gain around 1-2lbs of muscle per month.
With that said, you can keep reading to see how much muscle can you realistically gain in 6 months (half a year)!
Expected Maximum Muscle Gain In 6 Months
Here’s a realistic timeline for maximum rates of muscle gain based on the Lyle McDonald model (explained previously):
|Month||Max Pounds Of Expected Muscle Gain||Max Kilograms Of Expected Muscle Gain|
So you can realistically expect to build up to 12lbs (6kg) of lean muscle in your first half year of training.
That’s the maximum muscular potential by the way (let’s assume this to be a male with good genetics).
What is meant by “good genetics”?
Simply put, the following genetic factors can affect rates of muscle growth:
- Hormones. Natural anabolic hormone production and release (e.g. testosterone, growth hormone, and IGF) will increase your muscular potential.
- Gender. Men naturally produce more anabolic hormones compared to women.
- Metabolism. Cellular metabolism affects how intense you can train and therefore your muscular potential.
- General health. Same reason as above.
A female can expect to build around 6lbs (3kg) of lean muscle in her first half year of training.
Taken together, the average person (considering both genders) can expect to gain up to 6-12lbs (3-6kg) in 6 months (half a year).
To realize your true muscular growth potential, you may be interested in my other post for tips to gain 10lbs of muscle in half a year!
Likelihood Of Gaining X-lbs Of Muscle In 6 Months
A popular question amongst beginners is:
“Can I gain x-lbs of muscle in x-timeframe?“
“Can I gain 15lbs of muscle in 6 months?” or “is it possible to build 30lbs of muscle in half a year?”.
The table below is based provides clarity to this common question.
|Muscle Gained In 6 Months||Likelihood||Notes|
|5lbs||Highly likely||Easily achievable by males and close to the 6-month muscular potential for the average female.|
|10lbs||Realistically achievable||Just under the maximum 6-month muscular potential for the average male.|
|15lbs||Rare but possible||Just over the maximum 6-month muscular potential for the average male.|
|20lbs||Extremely unlikely||Some high genetic outliers may be able to build 20lbs of pure muscle mass in 6-months but this is extremely rare.|
|25lbs||Almost impossible||It is possible to gain 25lbs of total weight (including fat) in 6 months but impossible for this to be pure muscle mass.|
|30lbs||Impossible||30lbs of total weight gain (including fat and muscle) is possible in 6 months but impossible from just muscle gain.|
|35lbs||Impossible||35lbs of total weight gain (including fat and muscle) is possible in 6 months but impossible from just muscle gain.|
|40lbs||Impossible||40lbs of total weight gain (including fat and muscle) is possible in 6 months but impossible from just muscle gain.|
|45lbs||Impossible||45lbs of total weight gain (including fat and muscle) is possible in 6 months but impossible from just muscle gain.|
|50lbs||Impossible||50lbs of total weight gain (including fat and muscle) is possible in 6 months but impossible from just muscle gain.|
It’s based on my 6-month skinny to muscle transformation experience and the muscular potential data shared above.
Can You Build A Noticeable Amount Of Muscle In Half A Year?
A noticeable amount of muscle can be gained in 6 months. Most beginners can expect to gain around 10lbs of muscle in their first half-year of training. This is a visibly noticeable amount of muscle, especially on the upper body.
This is what 10lbs of muscle looks like on a skinny beginner!
You can refer to the above image for a better idea of how noticeable 10lbs of muscle gain is.
You can see from my own 6-month transformation that I developed:
- Broader shoulders.
- Wider back.
- Increased pectoral definition.
- Larger bicep diameter.
- Slightly thicker legs.
Based on this Quora thread, these are typical results for the average natural beginner following a good training and diet plan (not using steroids).
Progress tracking is essential to make sure you’re actually gaining muscle and not just fat during a bulk. You can check out my other post to learn how to tell you are gaining muscle.
6 Tips To Increase Muscle Gain In 6 Months
Here are my best tips to realize your true genetic muscular potential in half a year as a natural lifter not using steroids:
- Focus on the compound movements. Classic examples include the 5 big lifts which are enough to build an impressive amount of muscle across the whole body.
- Lift heavy and progressive overload. Any weight that’s above 80% of your 1-rep max is considered to be heavy. Now add more weight over time to promote muscle growth!
- Do not overtrain. Aim for 3-4 heavy weight training sessions per week. Anything more than this and you risk overtraining. You can check out my 3-day skinny to muscular workout here.
- Eat a pre-and post-workout meal. Your body needs the energy to build muscle. Eating a nutritious meal 2 hours before and after a heavy workout helps a lot.
- Go on a bulk. Skinny beginners need to go on bulking diet to gain muscle. I recommend a lean bulk for moderate muscle gains with low fat gains. Or a dirty bulk for high muscle gains and high fat gains.
- Consume at least 1g of protein per lb of body weight. Protein serves as the building block for muscle. So make sure you’re eating enough of it. As an example, a 140lb skinny guy would need around 140g of protein every day!
- Be patient! You already know how much muscle you can realistically gain in 6 months. Don’t fall for anything that promises to get you faster results in crazy short periods. You can check out my other post to learn how long it takes to get buff and muscular!
Check out my other post for more diet and training tips to go from skinny to buff!
Looking To Build Muscle At Home?
I used this simple, affordable, but effective dumbbell-bench setup to get bigger and stronger at home!
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I’ve explained how much muscle you can gain in 6 months as a natural lifter without steroids.
Depending on your gender, most people can realistically expect to gain between 6-12lbs (3-6kg) of pure muscle mass in half a year, which is highly noticeable on most physiques.
This is of course also dependent on the effectiveness of your training and diet program.
You can follow my muscle-building tips to realize your true genetic muscular growth potential!
How do you plan to transform your body in 6 months?
Let me know in the comments!
You may also be interested in the downloadable Kalibre Blueprint PDF which details exactly how I gained 40lbs of lean muscle (it’s 100% free!). It details the exact exercises and nutrition I used to go from skinny to ripped!
Thanks for reading guys!
(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)