Is Gaining 15 LBS LBM In a Year a Realistic Target?

Assuming that I am training consistently with effort in the gym 3-4x/week plus conditioning/running, eating in a caloric surplus (mostly healthy food but also not stressing about fat gain), and following recommended programs (here and elsewhere) with none/minimal changes longer than 2 weeks, is gaining 15 lbs lean body mass a realistic target for one year? Not 15 lbs body mass (that would be easy).

Relevant background statistics: age 36, height 5’10", bodyweight ~175 lbs, recent bench max 180 lbs, recent deadlift max 240 lbs, estimated squat ~135 lbs (right knee not 100%), recent 1 mile time 8:34. Exercises on and off since age 18, most recent consistency since March 2021 (118 training hours in 2021, 130 training hours in 2022 - includes all training-strength, running, conditioning).

So many variables to consider eg training age, intensity etc

I’d personally be looking at a slow bulk where I’m aiming for 1lb weight gain per month.

Male or female?

I completely misread your post (night shifts brain fog kicking in, I should get off the internet). As above, what’s your current set up looking like, Inc the running / conditioning?

Most estimates are 1lb/month, but what’s the importance of 15lbs lbm, and how do you plan to measure this?

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It’s a placeholder metric for a specific look I’m visualizing. If at the end of the year I measure 14 lbs LBM gained (via bioimpedance scale or US navy calculator), but I visually look more muscular than the beginning of the year, I will deem the goal a success.

I don’t plan on taking bodyfat measurements frequently, as I’ve found that to be an exercise in frustration. Instead, I’m going to focus on training performance and take bodyweight measurements every couple weeks to make sure it’s trending upward.

Currently I go to the gym three days a week using the westside for skinny bastards program (ME upper, ME lower, RE upper) with 2-3 conditioning workouts (mostly running, but also kb swing/bodyweight circuits, dumbbell complexes, and rowing ergometer).

Am I misunderstanding this? That seems like a small amount of time dedicated to just weight training.

130 hours/year = 2.5 hours/week.

If some percentage of those 2.5 hours/wk is devoted to exercise outside of weight training, IMO, you won’t get the lean muscle gains you desire.

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Yes, realistic. Keep working.

Please start a log so I can follow along as you reach 200lbs, Christmas 2023.

can’t spot the lie.

More precisely, it translates to an average of 2.37 weight training workouts per week (mostly 2, sometimes 3) and 1 hour of conditioning per week (including an average of 2 miles run per week). I know I need to do more. I’ve been going to the gym 3 times a week for the past month, so I’ve already picked up the pace.

For comparison, total exercise was 118 hours in 2021, 26 hours in 2020, and 17 hours in 2019.

The fact that you put in 100+ hours of training in each of the last two years, and your lifts are what they are, I’m going to say that this isn’t going to happen for you. Those are poor results given the time you’ve spent in the gym, regardless of your starting point. Unless, of course, you have a significant illness or physical defect that you didn’t mention. I’m also assuming you’re male, if you’re female, the numbers look better.

That being said, I do believe a beginner CAN put on that sort of muscle in a year, or at least something close to it. I hope you prove me wrong about yourself!


Yes, it is realistic for someone with not much training experience and, say under 45 years old (my estimate).

If you want to add as much muscle as fast as possible, it might be most efficient to train like a bodybuilder, not with the program you’re on.


So if you gain only 10lb LBM it will be a failure and you won’t look better?

This. If you’re putting in this time and your lifts are where they’re at, there’s some disconnect. You are either executing the lifts extremely poorly and need to learn the basic lifting techniques/approaches, or your effort is just not there. Also, your run time is not good enough to make me think you’re simply focusing on running and thus seeing your results there. (Don’t mean to send like a jerk).

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2021 was mostly spent getting back in the habit of exercising and losing a lot of weight (30 lbs). I have no excuse for 2022.

I’m moving to a house later this year where I will be able to invest in a home gym and I am planning on using a bodybuilding program. For now, I can only go 3 days a week.

If I objectively look better in the mirror, no it won’t be a failure.


Prefect. Fix your training then.

DoggCrapp has churned out a TON of monsters… I’m going to recommend starting there. (Its a 3x per week program)


You’re not wrong. I need to do something different than I’ve done before. I’ve identified that as keeping with a consistent program, more consistency in the exercise I do, eating more and more conditioning

If you enjoy the lifting and conditioning, can I recommend Tactical Barbell? Several of us ran that program to excellent results. It is a minimalistic strength program alongside a conditioning protocol. It’ll get you strong and conditioned like you’ve never been. If you do this, get books I and II (the book TB II is the conditioning book and really lays out the plan). As a nearly 50 year old at your weight, I can do a 400 lb deadlift, 290 lb bench press, 31 pull ups, while also being able to run a 6-minute mile largely due to the gains I made on this program (although admittedly I was pretty far along when I started it). My current goal is a 9-minute 1.5 miler. I got close (9:15) but not quite there when I give it a solid go two years ago.


I’m going to give it a big “no” from me. If you were under 25 and new to training that would still be a big achievement but doable. By mid 30s and with training under your belt already it’s not happening without PEDs. Even with PEDs it will happen maybe a couple times.

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Always love hearing someone beat that Tactical Barbell drum

It’s a program I hold close to my heart

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