Newbie Gains: Are They Real [Study]

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newbie gains are they real

“Noob gains,” “newbie gains,” or beginner gains are the easiest and fastest muscle growth that a new weight lifter can experience.

It’s no secret that newbies have an easier time gaining muscle than those who have been weightlifting for years.

During the first six months to twelve months of going to the gym and weight lifting, you can increase your muscle size and definition faster than at any other time.

Experts in the gym refer to this as “newbie gains” or beginner gains.

The phenomenon is science backed by a 2015 study by several University of São Paulo researchers.

While the gains experienced during this gym beginner phase are not permanent, they are still impressive and worth striving for as it will never be easier to pack on muscle!

This deep dive into “newbie” gains will discuss:

  • What are “newbie” gains?
  • How long do “newbie” gains last
  • Tips for gym beginners to Take advantage of “newbie” gains
  • If “Newbie” Gains Real

“gainz” Meaning

The term “gainz” refers to the increase in muscle size and definition that new gym-goers experience during their first few months of weightlifting.

“Gainz” are most noticeable in beginners because they have not yet built up a significant amount of muscle, so any new growth is evident.

While most of this is from the new stimulus, having a great stack of beginner supplements can also be helpful.

newbie gains are they real

Experienced weightlifters can still experience “gainz,” but they are often more subtle and require more dedication and effort to achieve.

“Newbie” gains are natural and occur because of two main reasons:

  • The new gym environment provides a new stimulus for the body
  • When starting to lift weights, your muscles are not used to the new strain being put on them.

As a result, “newbie gainz” can be built and is the ability for beginner weight lifters or “newbies” to create (gain) muscle fast.

How Much Muscle Can a “newbie” gain?

When beginning your weight lifting journey, you can expect “newbie” gains of anywhere from 3 times to 5 times the muscle growth of more advanced weight lifters.

“Newbie” and more advanced gains are most often seen at the following rate:

Male Weight Lifters

Beginners/Newbie: 1-1.5% body weight per month

Average: 0.5-1% body weight per month

Seasoned: up to 0.5% body weight per month

Female Weight Lifters

Beginners/Newbie: 0.5-0.75% body weight per month

Average: 0.25%- 0.5% body weight per month

Seasoned: 0.25% body weight per month

This science indicates that you will want to stick to a routine and an optimal diet to take advantage of “newbie” gains.

How Much Muscle Can a "newbie" gain

A newbie lifter can expect to see the most gains in the first few months to a year of their lifting career.

“Newbie gains” are more pronounced in men than women, with men seeing up to triple the muscle growth of women in the early stages.

Ladies do not despair – you will still make great strides in strength. You can also work on different poses such as the Zyzz pose or the lat spread pose to increase the look of your physique.

Don’t give up if you do not see significant results in the first month. The “newbie” gains are coming and start to appear when you least expect them.

Consistency is critical at any stage of your weight lifting career.

How to Take Advantage of “noob” Gains 

The newbie gain window is open for about six to twelve months after starting to lift weights, during which time you can expect to see significant increases in muscle size and definition.

To best take advantage of “noob” gains, you may want to integrate the following habits into your lifestyle:

  • Weight lifting or strength training a minimum of three times per week
  • Consistent and varied attention to the various muscle groups when lifting weights
  • High protein diet (0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight on average)
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Ensure 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night as this is when the most protein synthesis or muscle growth occurs.
  • Consider consulting with a nutritionist, personal trainer, or sports psychologist to ensure you are as on point as possible with all aspects of your health.

Can you Waste “newbie” Gains

Yes, you could waste your “newbie” gains by not having great habits in all aspects of your overall health.

If you are not getting enough sleep, drinking alcohol, or eating high-calorie processed foods, you will not see great results.

If you are not lifting weights regularly or not using proper form when lifting weights – you are more likely to see your “newbie” gains diminish.

Bodybuilding is not simply showing up to the gym and lifting iron. It is a full-time and dedicated lifestyle that will take some time to achieve.

This makes “noob” gains essential to rely on when starting strength training.

How Long do “newbie” Gains Last

As stated previously in several peer-reviewed studies, gym beginner gains are seen to last at an increased rate for approximately six to twelve months.

If you also focus equally as hard on your diet and your lifting routine, you can see these two things compound. Lindy Health has found the best way to make your first year in the gym count is by approaching your weight lifting with a 360-degree view.

Often, gym-goers will make quite a bit of “noob” gains, in the beginning, only to lose most of the muscle due to not sustaining quality nutrition or sleep hygiene.

What to do When “newbie” gains stop

If you have been going to the gym regularly and providing your body with great nutrition for six to twelve months, congratulations, you are one of the few who stick with it!

However, if you are no longer gaining muscle, you may be hitting what is known as a plateau.

While this may be the end of your beginner strength gains, it does not have to be the end of muscle growth.

There are several options you have to kick start further muscle gains once you hit your first plateau, including:

  • Deloading weight, slowly lowering the amount of working weight you are using to reset the muscle memory.
  • Starting a new weight lifting program
  • Adjusting the reps and weight, you are using causes muscle confusion.
  • Consume more calories to ensure your body has the fuel to sustain continued weight increases

There are always options on your path to muscle increase and general fitness. As long as you don’t give up and live to fight another day in the gym, you will make it!

Can you Achieve “newbie” or “noob Gains in a Calorie Deficit

If you are starting at the gym, it may be one of the only times you can gain muscle while in a calorie deficit.

noob gains Calorie Deficit

Typically, your body will need the extra energy from food, also known as calories, to build more muscle. The new stimulus of weight lifting can shock a “newbie” that gaining strength is possible and probable even on a calorie cut.

Gaining muscle on a caloric deficit is also possible if you are beginning to work out with excess body fat.

The stored fat can be slowly converted to muscle or lost and muscle gained while in this “noob” phase of lifting.

This is one of the reasons why new gym-goers can lose a lot of weight and gain muscle at the same time.

“Newbie” Gains Before and After

Most new gym-goers can expect to see the most significant “newbie” gains in the first few months of working out.

After the initial newbie gains have been made, it becomes increasingly difficult to make further gains at the same rate. Once your body is used to the stimulus of heavy weight lifting, your progress becomes much more marginal.

What will it look like to put this muscle on as a “noob”? Check out these “newbie” gains before and after pictures:

newbie gains before and after 1
newbie gains before and after 3
newbie gains before and after 2
newbie gains before and after 4

Conclusion: “Newbie” Gains = Real

In conclusion, “newbie” gains are real and occur for two main reasons: The new gym environment provides a new stimulus for the body, and when starting to lift weights, your muscles are not used to the new strain put on them.

What did your “newbie” gains look like when you began your weight lifting program? Do you have any tips or tricks for “newbies” to help them maximize their “newbie” gains? Let us know in the comments below!

Don’t forget to like and share this article with your friends if you find it helpful!

Tess Moser
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Tess Moser

Tess Moser is a nutritionist who lives in Boulder, CO. A self-proclaimed foodie, Tess loves to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen. When she's not cooking up a storm, Tess enjoys hiking and skiing in the beautiful Colorado mountains.

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