Gain Muscle, Not Fat

Proven Methods To Get A Body like A Fitness Model

How Long Does It Take To Build Muscle

Often, I get asked the question: How long does it take to build muscle? And my replay is usually, “well that depends”.  Building muscle is dependent on many variables like body type, if you are looking for muscle mass with density or a big puffy body, etc.  So, lets talk about how to gain muscle, what is required to do it, and how long it takes.

how long does it take to build muscle

This skinny guy before to big muscle mass after image is using fitness industry tricks like lighting, background, age, moisture, etc. Dont be fooled.

Have you ever seen those before photos of really skinny guys and then the after picture after they gain muscle mass?  They are usually pretty young right?  Well this is usually a trick of the fitness industry.  You see, when you are going through juvenile growth, you naturally pack on lean muscle mass pretty quickly.  In fact the biggest gain of muscle in your life is usually between 18 and 22 years old.

As you get older, muscle weight gain slows down.  So lets say you are in the 25-45 year old range for the sake of this conversation.  And let’s limit the dialogue to natural muscle growth, because hormone enhancement adds totally different factors to the issue.

This is a great video on the anatomy of a muscle:

After juvenile growth, muscles have established a set amount of cells.  Muscle cells don’t split, unlike fat cells.  So if you only have 10,000 muscle cells to work with, in order to gain muscle size you must make the cells bigger.  Making bigger muscle cells actually can happen quite rapidly if you are just new to working out so you are likely to see a big improvement over a short amount of time (another before and after fitness industry trick).  But, after you have spent some time muscle building, your gains will slow down considerably.

Are you starting to see why “How long does it take to build muscle” has so many partial answers?

By devoting time and effort every week to no nonsense muscle building, you will speed up the rate at which you gain muscle.  Obviously, you can’t just sit on the couch and get good results!  But you also don’t have to live in the gym.  And actually long periods in the gym can actually work against you and your goals.

The key is in building muscle mass properly, because if done correctly you will gain muscle faster.  But if you want a rule of thumb, if you are new to weight training then you could put on 10 or even 20 pounds of muscle in the first couple of years but after that time you are probably looking at just a small few pounds a year. There are just too many answers to “How long does it take to build muscle?” to really touch on them all here.