A question I am often asked when it comes to building muscle mass, “how long does it take to build muscle?” How much muscle can be built in a short time? I would like to deal with this question in this article.
Interestingly, the question of how long does it take to build muscle for a variety of reasons is asked. The men can usually not go fast enough and they want to know how realistic it is possible without resorting to anabolic steroids. Women, on the other hand, are often afraid that it could be too fast. They quickly fear to be “too masculine” when they start weight training.
To get to the bottom of this, I’ll cover the following topics in this article
- how long does it take to build muscle?
- Which factors are decisive for muscle growth?
Finally, I will then briefly comment on what to keep of programs and supplements that promise an extremely fast muscle in a short time.
How long does it take to build muscle? What is realistic?
One thing I want to clarify in advance: Natural muscle is more of a marathon than a sprint. So be prepared that it takes longer than you might like. But how much is really concrete, realistically possible?
The Lyle McDonald Model – A good orientation for muscle building duration
It is very difficult to make a 100% reliable statement. However, as an approximation, there is a good and proven model by Lyle McDonald that can give a good orientation on what is possible. It is important that these values are only achievable if you consistently follow a suitable training plan designed for muscle growth. In addition to the training, you should also consider the other factors influencing successful muscle growth and try to keep it as best as possible.
|Year||Possible muscle growth in one year|
|1||up to 12 kg|
|2||up to 6 kg|
|3||up to 3 kg|
|4+||up to 1-3 kg|
As you can see, it is still quite fast at the beginning, with about one kilogram a month. After that, the possible muscle gain becomes smaller and smaller. Anyone who has trained hard and consistently for (nearly) optimal conditions for four to five years has almost reached the end of the flagpole. In most cases, only minimal growth is possible under strict compliance with optimal training and living conditions. At this point, you have reached your genetic limit and probably run (almost) full-time bodybuilding.
Do these guidelines apply equally to everyone?
Of course, not everyone achieves these gains in time. Depending on how good your framework conditions are, it can take a few years longer. For example, if you trained badly for the first three years, malnourished, and constantly slept way too little, then you might have built up just 12 pounds of muscle mass. If you start doing everything right now, then you will not start at year four but actually in the second year.
Likewise, other rules apply if you have already built muscle mass once and then lost it again. Muscle, which your body once had, he builds up much faster than the first time. These “recovered” muscles would, of course, be considered separately in a usual procedure with mass phases and definition phases. In the definition phase usually also always some muscle mass is lost. This will be rebuilt in the mass phase again. The values shown in the table are increases beyond these.
It should also be noted that these are averages, which are partly correlated with genetic factors such as height. So, if you’re taller (1.90m +), chances are your absolute gains will even be slightly larger than those of an average tall man (about 1.77m). By and large, however, the above values are always a good guide.
How Long Does It Take To Build Muscle For Women
Lyle McDonald assumes in his model for women that they can build about half as much muscle as men. As a woman, you do not have to worry about looking after a few months in the gym, like the Hulk. In addition, women usually start with lower muscle mass than men.
Of course, it is also always a matter of predisposition and where you start with women. However, a slim-skinned woman will never naturally and, above all, quickly mutate into a muscle mountain when she starts doing weight training. So do not worry!
Either way, I can only advise you, if you want to have a tight and beautiful body as a woman, then you should do strength training. You women are good at building muscle, that suits you. Remember: fit is the new sexy!
Which factors you can influence to accelerate your muscle growth?
You now know what is possible in terms of your muscle building. Now you may wonder how you can influence it to reach these maximums as well. For this, I can recommend the following article, in which I have described the most important things that really make a difference:
In the following, however, I will once again very briefly present the core success factors for a minimal muscle-building duration or a maximum muscle build-up in as short a time as possible.
1) The right workout
The correct training principle (primarily hypertrophy training), the right training frequency, is part of proper muscle building training. In addition, you should have a good, tailored to your training plan. Whether split training or full body workout is better depends entirely on you. However, any muscle building workout plan should build on complex basic exercises. However, he can also include isolation exercises to set individual priorities.
2) The right diet
If you do not eat enough and/or not the right one, you are slowing down your muscle growth enormously. The right mass phase diet with a calorie surplus is therefore essential if you want to build muscle fast. I recommend about 500 kcal over your daily consumption as a guideline. In addition, it is also important that you take enough protein for you. This consists of amino acids that your body needs for building muscle.
I recommend you to take at least 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight a day to you. If you are doing so hard with your diet alone, you can also help with one or the other protein shake.
Most of all, I use the WPC 80 Whey Protein. This is very soluble, tastes delicious and has a great value for money. You get the WPC 80 at Amazon * or even cheaper directly in the manufacturer’s shop *.
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Incidentally, besides the protein, you should also make sure that you take the right fats to you. I can only recommend your intake of omega-3 fatty acids to you (regardless of muscle gain for health reasons). Personally, I take five Omega 3 Fish Oil Capsules each morning along with my Greens Shake.
3) Sufficient breaks
Gladly underestimated is the keeping of breaks. However, that can make a huge difference to your muscle building duration. So stick to the recommendations for the right breaks between sets during strength training. And of course, it is also important that you do not exercise too often. Your muscles need time to regenerate. Since daily training is rather counterproductive.
4) Enough good Sleep
Do not underestimate the topic of sleep! A good night’s sleep is essential for your recovery. This works on so many levels, from the physical to the mental, to the psychological regeneration. Therefore always try to get enough good sleep. If you find it difficult, then inform yourself about how you can sleep healthier and better. This is probably also my biggest stumbling block on which I have worked a lot and always work again.
5) drink Sufficient water
You should drink at least 2-3 liters of water a day. If you do sports, then every hour of sport comes to a good liter again. Most do not know that they drink too little. When building muscle, however, a lack of water has a directly negative effect. Make sure you keep well hydrated. This is also very good for your mental capacity.
6) Motivation and Mindset
Your motivation and your mindset are the basis, that you can even manage to set a goal for you and then achieve it. They are massively underestimated by many people. The necessary knowledge is easy for most to acquire. The real challenges occur, the more you change your behavior, and the longer you have to keep at it.
What to expect from people who promise extremely fast muscle growth
Some people promise extremely fast muscle growth, much faster than what I wrote above. These can be “coaches” who want to sell their “revolutionary” training program. But it can also be a manufacturer/seller of muscle building supplements. But what about such offers?
More muscle building through nutritional supplements
Let’s start with nutritional supplements. Are there any products that can help build your muscles? Yes, there are quite a few useful supplements that can help you build muscle and reduce your muscle-building time a bit. For example, creatine monohydrate would be mentioned here. Also, one or the other protein shake can certainly be helpful to meet your protein needs. But miracles are not to be expected from such things.
Dietary supplements mainly compensate for deficits in the diet. If your diet is on the point and you eat enough protein, healthy fats and fruits and vegetables for the micronutrients, then you do not necessarily need them. They can make your life a little easier and more flexible.
More muscle through the “revolutionary” training system
If someone wants to sell you an innovative training concept for expensive money, which promises you a massive muscle gain and a reduced muscle-building duration beyond the values mentioned above, then take the legs in the hand. Such promises can not be kept. In addition, these concepts are usually completely standardized and you’ll probably even give away potential in contrast to a good, individual training plan.
Reference values advertised as evidence by such “coaches” are usually overkill and often ignore the following facts:
- Mass is not equal to muscle mass
- Reconstruction is many times faster than building muscle
This combined with a few well-made photos and testimonials on a pretty sales website makes such a program that promises 10 kilos of extra muscle in less than half a year, then of course quickly become a bestseller.
how long does it take to build muscle? the conclusion
Building muscle takes time. It’s more like a marathon and not a sprint. However, if you stay on the ball for a few months and years, then you can make some very good progress. There are some factors that you can actively influence to get the most out of it. If you follow these rules, you will also exploit your potential.
A good trainer and the right nutritional supplements can definitely support you on your way. Do not be fooled by people who promise you the blue sky.