Building muscle doesn’t have to be complicated— but it is hard work. Guest contributor JC Deen’s equation is equal parts training, eating, tracking, and setting expectations.

  • Over the course of a man’s lifetime, he can expect to gain roughly 40 pounds of muscle. During the first year of training, he’ll gain about half of that total, and after five years, muscle gains will taper off. Women can expect to build about 20 pounds total.
  • Training to build muscle is simple: Muscles must be continuously overloaded. In other words, during each training session the weights you lift should get progressively heavier. After beginners become more advanced, it’s more difficult to up the weights every training session, and growth slows.
  • Muscle gain requires consuming more calories that you use up. Protein is the key to building muscle— 1.1 to 1.4 grams per pound of body weight is ideal.
  • The last step is easy: Just keep track! Log both meals and training sessions to check back over time and ensure you’re making progress.
The Takeaway:

Weigh In On This Controversial Method

Some swear by it, some curse it. Crossfit-ers have some impressive results, but could joining the movement be risky?

Fun Fact:

One pound of fat takes up about four times the space of one pound of muscle.