How Much Muscle Can You Gain in 90 Days?

by Brian VanHooker

It’s way less than you — and apparently, most sports reporters — think

It seems like every time spring training starts, guys who left the field worn down at the end of September come back in mid-February super-ripped, with tons of new muscle — Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, for example, added an extra 20 pounds to his frame over this last winter. Same for the Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes, whose newly bulging frame ESPN’s Buster Olney can’t stop talking about on the Baseball Tonight podcast: HE’S BECOME SUCH A MONSTER IN SUCH A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME. HE’S JUST HUGE. SO, SO, SO HUGE.

But does this mean the average guy, eyeing a calendar and seeing it’s three months till his next beach vacation, can do the same? Nutritionists often warn that it’s not safe to lose more than a couple pounds a week when dieting, but what about when you’re trying to put on weight?

The Amount of Muscle You Can Add in… One Week

Bad news, last-minute gym-goers: Not too much is going to happen to your body in the first week of working out. If you’ve waited until seven days before spring break to nix the fast food and start pumping iron, it’s basically too late, according to health, nutrition and lifestyle consultant Michael Kuhn, founder of Mike the Caveman Consulting. He says that you can expect to gain “about 0.2 to 0.25 pounds [of muscle] at most” in the first week. More depressingly for on-again, off-again exercisers, that applies as much to those who’ve taken some time away from the gym as it does to first-timers.

The simple reason for this is that building muscle takes time. “The protein turnover rate — that is, the breaking down of damaged muscle proteins and the creation of new and stronger ones [which is what you’re doing when you gain muscle] — is the time limiter,” explains Carolyn Dean, a member of the Medical Advisory Board at the Nutritional Magnesium Association.

This doesn’t mean you should be put off, though: While the first week will be slow going, with little in the way of visible results, it has the benefit of getting you into an established routine, setting you up for bigger rewards to come.

The Amount of Muscle You Can Add in… One Month

If you’ve put things off until a month before your deadline — say, you’ve decided you’ve got to be Wolverine for an upcoming Con but only have four weeks to get in shape — you’ll be relieved to hear that you can actually see some decent results in that time period.

“Things will start to pick up after the second week — from that point, you could probably expect 0.5 pounds of muscle gained per week,” says Kuhn. As for the full first month: “You can expect at most to gain about two pounds of muscle, if you’re really dialed in,” he adds. And by “dialed in,” he means not just hitting the gym, but eating the right food and getting enough sleep.

“As a general rule, the key to successful muscle growth is that muscle protein synthesis [the creation of new muscle] must exceed muscle protein breakdown [the shedding of old muscle],” says Dean. To accomplish this, she says it’s vital to eat a balanced diet that includes both protein and carbohydrates, as well as getting enough rest.

In other words, despite what most people think, the gym isn’t really where your muscles grow — the process of tissue repair that makes your muscles bigger actually happens after you work out, when you’re at rest, so be sure to hit the sack early if you’re trying to bulk up.

For exercise, Kuhn recommends doing lots of heavy resistance training. “In terms of pure muscle growth, you want to be on the higher end with reps, about 8 to 15 reps per set.” He advises doing a lot of pushing exercises, like bench presses and push-ups, as well as pulling exercises like pull-ups and curls. Don’t overdo it, though: Three days a week of this type of workout should be plenty.

Diet-wise, he recommends “lots of protein and fats to maintain your hormone levels.” High protein foods include fish, beef and chicken. But don’t stop there — fat is also really important. “A big problem I run into is that people don’t get enough fat,” he explains. Sadly, this doesn’t mean shoving a bunch of greasy burgers into your mouth, but quality fats like coconut oils, avocado oil and eggs (especially the yolks).

The Amount of Muscle You Can Add in… Three Months

By doing the math, you can figure out that two pounds of muscle per month must mean you can pack on at least a good six pounds in 90 days, right? Well, while that’s not an impossible goal, Kuhn likes to be more conservative. “Three to six pounds max is reasonable, but by this time you may begin to see muscle-building slow down,” he says. This is because your connective tissue — like joints and ligaments — can only grow so much at once — and it’s why so many fitness “challenges” are eight weeks or twelve weeks: You won’t see such startling results after that point.

Now, it is possible for your body can grow more muscle than this, but it requires you to change up your tactics for at least a month. “After two months, I recommend switching things up from muscle-building to more strength-based exercises, with lower reps and higher weight,” says Kuhn. “If you did 10 pounds at 10 reps in the muscle-building phase, you might do five reps at 20 pounds for the strength-based phase.”…




Why You Feel the Urge to Jump


TEMPTATION: Deception Pass Bridge rises 180 feet above the ocean.Amit Chattopadhyay / Wikipedia

The science and philosophy of looking down from a high place.

Have you ever stood in a high place and felt the urge to jump? Judith Dancoff did one beautiful, clear day on Deception Pass Bridge, a narrow two-lane causeway that ribbons between two islands north of Seattle. If she followed her compulsion to leap, death at the bottom of the steep ocean gorge 180 feet below would be almost certain.

A novelist known for literary flights of fancy, she did not feel suicidal—and never had. Though normally fearful of heights, she strangely was not afraid then, though Deception Pass Bridge is ranked among the scariest in the world. Its slender concrete span cantilevers over jagged cliff-tops and reportedly wobbles in high winds, with only a minimalist 1935 railing separating you from distant roiling waters.

None of that registered with Dancoff, who was also unaware of the bridge’s history of attracting jumping. Instead, she saw herself as if in a dream, climbing onto the pedestrian railing then diving off. She was so unnerved that she sat down cross-legged on the pavement to stop herself. “It was terrifying because of the possibility of doing it,” she later recalled. “I felt a bit foolish. I thought, ‘where did that come from?’ ”

The seemingly irrational, but common urge to leap—half of respondents felt it in one survey—can be so disturbing that ruminators from Jean-Paul Sartre (in Being and Nothingness) to anonymous contributors in lengthy Reddit sub-threads have agonized about it. While the French philosopher saw a moment of Existentialist truth about the human freedom to choose to live or die, ramp_tram called it “F***king stupid” when he had to plaster himself to the far wall of a 14th-floor hotel atrium away from the balcony railing because “I was deathly afraid of somehow jumping off by accident.”

The French explain it as L’Appel du Vide, or call of the void. Are they just French, or can the void really beckon you to kill yourself? New science on balance, fear, and cognition shows that the voice of the abyss is both real and powerful. Heights, it turns out, are not exactly what they seem.

Traditional theories attribute extreme phobic reactions—whether fixated on heights, snakes, or the sight of blood—to emotional problems, negative thinking, anxious temperament, and past traumas. “With fears and phobias, psychologists like to say that you are afraid of this because you don’t have coping mechanisms or you are afraid because of anxiety,” says Carlos Coelho, known for his groundbreaking psychology research into acrophobia, or the fear of heights. “But where is this anxiety coming from?”

When it comes to heights, there is more going on than the projection of past anxieties, as once thought. The nature of extreme heights mixes together sense perceptions, body kinesthetics, and our mental states. “We take perception as the grounded truth: Seeing is believing,” said Jeanine Stefanucci, a professor of cognition and neural science at the University of Utah who studies how emotions, age, and physical condition change how we relate to space, especially vertical space. 

Her research belies the truism that seeing is believing. Subjects in her lab see poop on a table (actually a messy blob of chocolate) as closer than it really is, and the width of a plank they’ve been told to walk over as smaller than it is. Other researchers have found that subjects have underestimated the time to encounter a snake or spider, but not a butterfly or rabbit.1

Fear may also explain why humans do not see up-down the same as sideways. To understand how that works, let’s stand on a high balcony, near the railing. Look at a disk placed on the ground below, then back up until the railing is as far away from you as the spot is below you. You’ve just matched a vertical and horizontal distance.

Acrophobia can produce a bizarrely counterintuitive effect: the impulse to yield to the source of panic and willingly jump.

But you’re probably wrong. Study participants have been observed to overestimate verticals by anywhere from one-third bigger to double their actual size.2 Yet people usually have no problem correctly estimating horizontals. The vertical over-estimation bias makes high places scarier than they are for some people: Stefanucci and others have found that people most afraid of heights overestimated verticals the most, heightening their fear and creating a feedback loop.3

“A lot of people who hear about our work want to know why it would be good for someone to overestimate heights. I argue that it’s adaptive,” says Stefanucci. “Taking a step back is a good thing.”



Europe is on the Brink of Completely Banning Bee-Killing Insecticides

by Alex Pietrowski, Staff Writer, Waking Times

As the first North American bumble bee has been officially added to the list of endangered species in the U.S., the European government is making a move to prohibit the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, which are widely believed to be a major contributing factor to the rapid collapse of the world’s bee and pollinator insect populations.

The European commission (EC) has drafted regulations which would end the use of neonics, a family of agrichemicals which pose a ‘high acute risk to bees.’ As The Guardian reports:

“The EU imposed a temporary ban on the use of the three key neonicotinoids on some crops in 2013. However, the new proposals are for a complete ban on their use in fields, with the only exception being for plants entirely grown in greenhouses. The proposals could be voted on as soon as May and, if approved, would enter force within months.” [Source]

Other pesticides are also included in the ban, and for those who consider the loss of pollinator insects to be a most critical issue today, this is also good news.

“However, the European commission (EC) has decided to move towards implementing a complete ban now, based on risk assessments of the pesticides by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa), published in 2016.

..the EC concluded that “high acute risks for bees” had been identified for “most crops” from imidacloprid and clothianidin, both made by Bayer. For thiamethoxam, made by Syngenta, the EC said the company’s evidence was “not sufficient to address the risks”.” [Source]

While agrichemical companies would like us to believe that more research is needed to disprove the presumption that these chemicals are of no harm to the environment and necessary to feeding the world, others insist we need to stop using them now.

“The science is catching up with the pesticide industry – the EU and UK government must call time on neonics. Going neonic-free puts farmers more in control of their land instead of having to defer to advice from pesticide companies.” ~Paul de Zylva, Friends of the Earth

Final Thoughts

One has to wonder when the reality will sink into American public and political consciousness that bees and pollinators are critical to our lives, our food supply and even our economy.

“As honey bees gather pollen and nectar for their survival, they pollinate crops such as apples, cranberries, melons and broccoli. Some crops, including blueberries and cherries, are 90-percent dependent on honey bee pollination; one crop, almonds, depends entirely on the honey bee for pollination at bloom time.

For many others, crop yield and quality would be greatly reduced without honey bee pollination. In fact, a 1999 Cornell University study documented that the contribution made by managed honey bees hired by U.S. crop growers to pollinate crops amounted to just over $14.6 billion.” ~American Beekeeping Federation

The new proposals could be voted on in coming months, and if passed implementation of this policy could begin as early as this year.

About the Author
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for and Offgrid Outpost, a provider ofstorable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.
This article (Europe is on the Brink of Completely Banning Bee-Killing Insecticides) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.