I'm a (very dedicated) beginner lifter (1,5-year experience)
Since the start of my fitness adventure, I gained a good deal of muscles while staying relatively lean.
I'm currently 71kg (156 lbs) at 178cm (5'10) and used to be 63kg (138 lbs) when I started.

I can notice an immense difference in my physique during the training, however after the workout when the pump lowers down I look basically almost the same as I used to.
I noticed that I grow much more significantly than the rest of the people at the gym, but they have better day to day looks.

Is it possible to be a muscle equivalent of "grower not a shower"?
Is that genetic, or can it be worked on as well?

  • 2
    A lot of this is probably mental. What you see and what other people see is probably very different. An almost 20 pound gain in muscle would be clearly noticeable to the people around you. That said, I do have a friend of mine whose biceps go from what seems like grape-sized to watermelon-sized (slight exaggeration) when he gets his pump. It really is amazing how different it is.
    – Frank
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 22:55

2 Answers 2


The age old "you'll never be as big as your pump" adage applies to everyone. If you're carb depleted you'll be relatively 'smaller' or less full looking. Dehydration can make you look leaner as well. Eat a big meal with lots of carbs and then hit the gym to get a peak veiny pumped look. Keep working out and maintain good nutrition to add size. You might not notice it but others will. Body dysmorphia is pretty common amongst lifters so don't let it get to you too much.


One possibility is that the lighting and mirrors in the gym are making you look bigger. You can always measure your biceps (or chest or legs) at their peak pump and then when they are "cold" to determine the real difference.

I have heard that you have to gain 15 pounds of muscle to gain an inch of muscle on your biceps. So I would guess that you probably gained at least an inch on your biceps since you started lifting weights.

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