How Long Does It Take To Build Muscle?

Building muscle makes you look better, feel stronger, and increases your confidence. It’s also an extremely important part of staying healthy as you get older. 

You can focus on building large muscles, strong muscles, or a combination to get the best results in aesthetics and performance, though splitting your focus can slow the growth in each area.

The time it takes to build muscle will depend on the level of effort that you put in and ensure that other factors like protein consumption, rest, and optimized training are used for your workouts.

How Long It Takes For Muscle Growth

Assuming you are not using performance-enhancing drugs, there is a standard length of time to see certain levels of muscle growth; within your first month of starting resistance training, you should see “newbie gains,” which provides around 2 lbs of muscle growth.

TimeNew Muscle Growth (LBS)
1 Month2
2 – 6 Months7.6
7 – 12 Months6.7
2 Years8
3 Years4
4 Years2
5 Years1

This is a standard amount of muscle growth for your average person that hasn’t been training consistently in the past few years or longer.

Your ability to grow larger muscles maxes out at a certain point, and as you get closer to that maximum amount of muscle mass, the progress and ability to grow muscle slows down.

Maximum Amount Of Muscle Growth

The maximum amount of muscle growth while remaining natural differs for each person, but the average is around 35 – 50 lbs of muscle growth over a man’s lifetime and around 20 – 25 lbs of muscle growth for women.

It can take you 4 – 5 years to reach around 85% of your genetic potential maximum muscle mass, and it could take you a further 5 – 10 years to reach 100% of your natural potential.

The ability to reach 85% – 100% requires that your training is on point, along with your eating and ability to rest, which is when your muscle growth happens.

Calculate Your Maximum Muscle Potential

You can calculate your possible maximum muscle growth potential with a formulation created by Casey Butt, Ph.D., and this is considered the most accurate and helps you determine at what point your muscle growth will slow or even stop.

You need to know the following measurements:

  • Height (H)
  • Weight
  • Body Fat Percentage (%bf)
  • Wrist Circumference (A)
  • Ankle Circumference (W)
  • Maximum Lean Body Mass = H1.5 (√W ÷ 22.667 + √A ÷ 17.0104)(%bf ÷ 224 + 1)
  • Maximum Chest Circumference = 1.6817W + 1.3759A + 0.3314H
  • Maximum Biceps Circumference = 1.2033W + 0.1236H
  • Maximum Forearm Circumference = 0.9626W + 0.0989H
  • Maximum Neck Circumference = 1.1424W + 0.1236H
  • Maximum Thigh Circumference = 1.3868A + 0.1805H
  • Maximum Calf Circumference = 0.9298A + 0.1210H

Keep Realistic Goals And Focus On Gaining Muscle Slowly

Getting fit and strong doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to keep working hard to get the results you want. However, if you see only a small amount of muscle gain after a few weeks, you might start to get discouraged and lose motivation.

You might have noticed that during your workout, you started to see some muscle definition. This phenomenon is called transient hypertrophy and occurs when the blood rushes to your muscles to provide them with fuel and power.

According to Matt DeLong, this muscle pump begins during a mid-workout and disappears within a few hours after you leave the gym. Aside from being able to gain muscle, other factors such as diet and training can also help determine how much muscle you should build up.

One of the most important factors that you should consider when it comes to gaining muscle is the type of weight you want to increase. As long as it’s not fat, water retention, or excess fluids, then fast weight gain is not ideal.

Unfortunately, being able to gain muscle quickly isn’t realistic for most people. In reality, it takes a lot of time and patience to get the desired results.

How Muscle Growth Happens

Microtraumas in your muscle fibers must be repaired in order to build muscle. The following is a breakdown of this incredibly complicated procedure:

  • Thousands of microscopic muscle fibers make up each muscle.
  • Lifting weights (or doing body weight workouts) causes micro-injuries to your muscles’ fibers.
  • When you rest your muscles, your body works to heal the muscle cells that have been damaged.
  • Torn muscle fibers are fused back together, and new proteins are laid down within each muscle cell throughout the repair process.
  • As a result of the mending process, your muscles get bigger and stronger.

Each muscle is made up of cylindrical cells, and weight training helps break them down and grow. After a session of weight training, these cells can then be regenerated. Aside from the muscles, a recovery session also helps nourish the other systems in your body.

Optimal Process In Building Your Muscle

Building muscle is a process. It starts with developing the muscles after doing something new and challenging. Doing so often leads to stress and damage to the cells that are related to muscle.

As the body repairs itself, it begins to lay down new contractile and structural proteins. This process then produces bigger and stronger muscles. Depending on the amount of damage that’s caused to the muscle cells, they can take anywhere from a few days to several days to grow back to their pre-injury state.

Initial Muscle Growth

Most of the muscle gains that people make during the first couple of weeks of a new exercise program are not due to protein synthesis and muscle hypertrophy. Instead, they’re the result of the body’s learning how to fire its muscle cells.

The first time that you perform a new exercise, it can feel like you’re a bit nervous. However, once you get used to it, the soreness usually goes away. This is because your brain is working on getting used to the new movement.

The majority of strength training benefits are attributed to the neurobiological changes that occur during the first few weeks of a new exercise program. These changes are very impressive and can lead to significant improvements in strength. Although muscle-building changes are still happening, they are starting to account for more and more progress as the weeks go on.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Resistance Training

According to a study published in 2021, the amount of muscle gains and decreases experienced during a training session varies depending on the group. For instance, strength gains can occur faster in high-performing individuals compared to those who aren’t training.

Getting the most out of your training sessions is by developing a healthy lifestyle and following a proper nutrition and exercise program. According to Simpson, most people can increase their lean muscle mass by around a couple of pounds a month. Professional bodybuilders can typically increase their muscle mass by around two to three pounds a month. They are living and breathing their muscle growth.

Although it’s important to maintain a consistent training schedule, it’s also important to realize that building muscle becomes harder as you get older. For people who are new to strength training, this can be achieved through a lower percentage of 1RM.

For individuals wanting to maintain their natural muscle growth, it’s important to start training and nutrition programs that are specific to their needs. Fortunately for impatient muscle builders, there are efficient methods for gaining muscle quickly no matter how long you’ve been training.

Optimize Your Muscle Growth

To optimize your muscle growth and reach your maximum potential over the shortest amount of time possible, you need to be optimizing your rest and nutrition, and a variety of other factors. However, creating the most optimal training program that targets your muscles at the right time for the best resistance over specific sets and reps will be required.

Five of the most important factors in gaining muscle quickly include:

  • Each muscle group should be exercised twice a week.
  • Consume one gram of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight.
  • Do 6-12 reps with a 60-second break in between.
  • Consider resistance training for range of motion.
  • If you’re a beginner, increase the frequency of your workouts.

Train Each Muscle Group Twice Per Week

Any resistance training you perform will help you grow muscle, but for optimal muscle growth when you’re just starting, you should be training the major muscle groups twice per week and the minor muscle groups 2-3 times per week. No matter what type of split training you do, make sure to allow 48 hours between training the same muscle group.

Push/Pull WorkoutFull Body Workout

You can focus on training six days a week for 45 – 60 minutes each session utilizing a push, pull, legs split, which breaks your workouts into days where you perform pushing exercises like chest press, pulling exercises like bent-over barbell rows, and legs here you perform exercises like squats.

If you don’t want to train almost every day, you can train full-body workouts, which focus on major compound movements split between two days in the week, which take a little longer and require more intensity but mean you have more days to rest and do other things.

Training optimally is all about finding the number of days that you can consistently workout and then determining how to fit training different muscle groups twice per week into that time.

How To Optimally Train

Try breaking up your weekly routine into three or four days by training different muscle groups. Doing so will help you avoid overtraining. The repetition continuum is a concept that relates to designing training programs that stimulate muscle growth.

The concept states that lifting weights for a few repetitions increases strength and endurance, while lifting weights for 12–20 repetitions increases muscular endurance. The goal is to create a range of varying sets that will stimulate muscle growth. For instance, a set of 8-repetitions will build strength, while a set of 3-repetitions will stimulate muscle growth.

Recent studies also suggest that varying the repetition ranges can help different individuals develop stronger muscles. For instance, people who are more active may benefit from lifting heavier weights, while those who are less active may benefit from lifting lighter weights.

Doing 6 to 12 reps is a good strategy for increasing muscle mass and training volume, according to Smith-Ryan. Doing multiple exercises per muscle group can also help boost that group’s training volume. Resistance training can help improve the lower body’s muscle tone, but it’s not clear if it’s beneficial for the upper body, according to a study published in 2020.

Eat A Gram Of Protein Per Your Ideal Body Weight

Eating at least one gram of protein per KG of body weight is required to build muscle, but the requirement increases the higher intensity you’re training, and the faster you want to build muscle. The minimum protein requirement for a sedentary person is 0.8 grams per KG of body weight or 1 – 1.2 grams if you’re over 40 years old.

If you’re actively fitness training, your protein requirements are between 1.2 g – 2 g of protein per KG of body weight.

Protein RequiredFemale (# Per KG Weight)Male (# Per KG Weight)
Teenagers1.1 g1.5 g
Average Person0.8 g0.8 g
Older Person1 g1.2 g
Cutting1.4 g2 g
Maintenance1.2 g1.7 g
Bulking1.2 – 2 g1.2 – 2 g

A study published in 2018 suggested that a protein intake of about one gram per kilogram of body weight is ideal for building muscle mass and strength. Getting the proper amount of calories is the key to building muscle and preventing body fat. First, figure out how many calories you should consume each day to reach that goal.

For sustainable muscle gain, you should consume around 300 to 500 calories per day over your baseline needs. Your baseline needs are influenced by a variety of factors, such as your age, sex, and physical activity level.

You can estimate your calorie expenditure using an online calculator. Once you have this information, add 300 calories to reach your daily calorie goal.

If You’re A Beginner, Work Out More Frequently

If you’re a new gym user, increasing your exercise regularly could help improve your mobility, and movement patterns, says exercise expert Karen Matheny. Although it’s important to train at a high frequency for young people, older individuals tend to have a shorter recovery time.

Aside from eating enough food, you also need to learn how to train for muscle growth. Doing hypertrophy training can help improve your metabolism and increase your energy levels.

The right lifting strategy can be based on your personal goals and goals, as well as your level of experience. For most people, bodyweight exercises are enough to start seeing muscle growth, while more advanced individuals need a more specific training plan.

For hypertrophy training, it’s important to focus on time under tension, which means doing more reps at a heavy level. Doing cardio can help burn fat, but it can also help build muscle.

Many experts also suggest doing progressive overload, which involves repeating the same exercises multiple times each week. This method can help increase the reps and/or the amount of weight that you’re lifting for a couple of weeks.

Take Rest Days

Getting enough sleep is important for muscle growth. It’s also important to take breaks from lifting weights to allow time for rest. This concept is hard to master for most individuals. It’s natural for people to think that lifting more will improve their muscle growth.

If you are constantly lifting weights more than once a day, it’s likely that your lean tissue is being destroyed. Being sore all the time is a good indicator that you’re doing too much. Getting enough sleep is also important for muscle development. It can help prevent injury and improve your performance.

One of the most important factors that you should consider when it comes to developing muscle mass is being patient and sticking to your routine. Doing so will help you get the most out of your training.

How To Gain Muscle While Losing Fat

Your rate of weight gain, genetics, and training schedule are all important factors that can help you achieve a healthy weight gain. However, the biggest factor that can affect your success is your starting body composition.

Studies suggest that lean individuals tend to put on more muscle than fat in order to maintain a healthy weight. However, traditional muscle gain is only achieved by gaining weight. This method is slower and not as effective as building muscle mass during a bulk.

The key to successful weight loss and muscle gain is to keep a balanced diet and exercise program that includes both lean and fat tissue. Depending on the factors that affect your body composition, gaining weight can result in either fat or lean tissue.

Your body composition can also affect how fast you gain muscle. To properly gauge how much muscle you’ve gained, perform a body comp analysis after about 8 to 12 weeks. According to a study, people who start out with little or no training tend to gain more muscle efficiently than those who are highly trained. This is because the quicker they start to gain muscle, the more they can consume.

How Long Should You Bulk?

Contrary to popular belief, bulking up on a long-term diet is not recommended for most people. It can put a strain on your body and increase your fat consumption. Most people will aim to bulk up for around 8 to 12 weeks during the winter months. They may also train during a time when they don’t have enough fuel. You can certainly bulk up for longer periods of time if you want to. However, cycling through a series of bulks can help you achieve your ideal physique.

If you are worried about gaining fat, cycling through bulking and cutting phases is a great way to get the results that you desire. This method works for people with a lean starting body composition. The body composition effect works similarly to how people with a higher body fat percentage tend to lose more fat quickly and maintain their gains.

If you’re looking to lose fat, increasing the size of your muscles will help you burn more calories. This will make it easier to lose fat. It’s important to maintain or reset periods for at least four weeks to allow your body to adapt to a new normal. This will help you maintain the amount of muscle growth that you want.

The temporary metabolic adaptation that occurs after a diet is related to the rate of fat oxidation and the reduction of body fat. If you have recently had a trim, then it’s important to maintain a lower weight for a couple of weeks to allow your metabolism to recover.

Follow A Bulking And Cutting Cycle

Most people who are serious about muscle growth follow a bulking or cutting cycle. The former refers to a period of training that involves consuming more calories than you burn. The other one focuses on restricting calories to prevent muscle loss. You should include a maintenance period between your bulking and cutting to allow your body to recomposition and recover from each stage.

Type Of EatingLength Of Time
Bulking8 – 12 Weeks
Maintenance4 – 8 Weeks
Cutting6 – 12 Weeks

Getting the nutrients and calories your body needs to build muscle is as important as lifting weights. It will help create new muscle proteins from the protein found in your diet. During a bulking phase, you should aim to consume enough nutrients to build muscle while avoiding overfeeding.

During a bulking phase, small fat gains are more likely to occur than large ones. However, these gains can be prevented by consuming around 300 to 500 surplus calories. Your body has a limit that it can reach when it comes to building muscle. If you want to have defined muscles, avoid gaining too much fat.

Related: How Can I Build More Lean Muscle?

How To Optimize Muscle Growth

Getting the proper amount of protein and sleep are key to help nourish and accelerate the muscle growth that you want to see. Doing strength training is the best way to build muscle fast. However, it can take up to 12 weeks for noticeable muscle gain due to working out.

The process of building muscle begins when you challenge yourself to perform a specific activity. For most people, this can happen in six to eight weeks. Even if you’re not training hard, building muscle can take several weeks. It’s important to remember that proper nutrition and sleep are also key to muscle growth.

Aside from being committed to training, building muscle also requires following an appropriate diet and performing a variety of exercises. Doing so can help increase muscle growth and prevent injuries.

Getting the proper nutrition is also important to help build muscle. It involves consuming enough protein, fat, and calorie to meet your daily energy needs. It can take several months to build muscle mass. However, most people can achieve this through consistent training and eating right.