How Much Muscle Should I Have?

BMI and body fat percentage are something that most people seem to worry about. These two are very important when trying to be fit and healthy. However, muscle mass percentage is another important variable that is often forgotten. A low muscle mass percentage can be troublesome when you have to do physical tasks such as lifting heavy weights or doing everyday tasks. So the question is, how much muscle should you have?

How Much Muscle Should I Have?


It all depends on your age and gender, and normally you should aim to keep your muscle mass within the upper and lower limits as showed in the chart below. For a person that does exercise regularly, the ideal percentage should be around the medium zone since having low muscle can affect your fitness routine badly, while having too much muscle may require a stricter exercise regime to maintain your muscle. If you want to achieve a “toned up” state of body, a higher muscle mass and a more dedicated workout are needed. Getting the desired muscles is not an easy task, but the efforts and the sense of achievement will make you feel great. Here is the muscle mass percentage chart:



Very High






> 44.1



< 33.3


> 43.9



< 33.1


> 43.7



< 32.9



> 35.4



< 24.3


> 35.2



< 24.1


> 35.0



< 23.9

How to Calculate Your Muscle Mass Percentage

How much muscle should I have? Now you know the answer, but how to know how much muscle you have? You can use technologies such as an MRI to test your muscle mass, and another way can also be used.

1. Use Mathematical Formula

There is an easy mathematical formula which can use the body measurements to estimate body fat. This formula varies between men and women. For men, the formula is: [86.010 x log 10(waist - neck)] - [70.041 x log 10(height)] + 36.76; for women, the formula is: [163.205 x log 10(waist + hip - neck)] - [97.684 x log 10(height)] - 78.387. Here is an example: For a 6-feet tall basketball player (male) with neck and waist circumferences of 14 inches and 36 inches respectively, his fat percentage can be located around 22 percent. 

Then subtract the body fat percentage from 100 and divide the result by 2, and you will get a rough muscle mass percentage. So, the same 6-feet tall basketball player has a muscle mass percentage of 39%.

Note: You only get a rough result by using this calculation method, so if you want to get a more precise measurement, you can ask your doctor for help.

How to Increase Your Muscle Mass

How much muscle should I have? You may want to increase your muscle mass after you know the answer to this question. Here are some suggestions.

1. Increase Your Caloric Consumption

By increasing daily calorie intake and keeping a good exercise routine, you can gain more muscles. A 500 calorie increase can work wonders, but make sure you do not eat too much.

2. Get Enough Protein to Support Muscle Growth

1-1.8 grams of protein intake per kilogram of body weight can support better muscle growth. For example, if your body weight is 180 lb, 2.8-5 oz. of protein per day is good for you.

3. Drink Enough Water

Your body needs adequate amount of water to build muscles efficiently. Here is an easy formula to calculate how much water you should drink: Bodyweight (lbs.) x 0.6 equals the amount of water (ounce) you should take.

4. Eat Healthy Fats

Fats are not bad as long as you eat the right kinds and eat proper amounts. Always limit the amount of saturated fats, such as the ones found in butter, bacon or cheetos, to less than 20 g. Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, are beneficial to your body, since they help distribute vitamins A, D, E and K around the body and promote better eyesight. 50-70 g of monounsaturated fat tends to be beneficial for every day training.

Here is a good formula to use in order to determine how much fat you should consume: for transfats, multiply your calorie intake by 0.001; for saturated fats, multiply by 0.008; for good fats, multiply by 0.03. A 2500 calorie diet can include 3 g of trans-fats, 20 g of saturated fats and 75 g of polyunsaturated fats.

5. Work Harder, but Shorter

How much muscle should I have and what to do to increase my muscle mass? Avoid too many reps for a training session; instead you should focus on 3-8 per muscle group and 6-12 reps per set for a daily routine. A good advice is to increase the weight for every set you do, so it becomes harder and harder every time you do it. Limit the overall training time to about 45 minutes per day and try to vary your routine every 4-6 weeks in order to prevent your body from adapting to muscle stress and hitting a plateau.

6. Work Your Whole Body

It is better if you focus on the entire body as part of a routine as opposed to just focusing on one muscle group. The more muscles that are used, the more hormones you will produce which can stimulate muscle growth and recovery. Compound exercises such as squats, dead lifts, presses, rows, pull-ups which use a lot of different muscles, are good choices. 

7. Get Your Rest

Always remember that your body needs time to recover and repair your muscles. It is always advisable to sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours per day to avoid issues like chronic fatigue, loss of strength and depression. Avoid “over-training”; to do this, you can make a schedule that is better suited to your goals and gives you plenty of time to rest and relax. Your body and muscles will get better, healthier and stronger.

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