How Long Does It Take to Build Muscle?
One of the first questions you’ll hear from people who are new to weightlifting is, “How long does it take to build muscle, and can it be done quickly?” Building muscle is an art, and results vary for everyone. No matter how young or old, be forewarned, muscle building can be a slow process that requires dedication, consistency, and a whole lot of effort. Plus, resistance training must be paired with proper nutrition and supplementation for optimal results.
What is Muscle and How Does it Grow?
Muscle tissue is comprised of cells that contain the proteins actin and myosin, which help produce contractions. Muscle fibers are bundled together and wrapped in protective tissue and lie in multiple layers. Muscle tissue consists of one of three types: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth.
It’s not uncommon for beginners in resistance training to experience significant gains rather quickly. If you’re new to training, you’ll probably notice a difference in how you feel within a few weeks with visible changes within the first month (with regular exercise).
You’ll notice even more changes as you continue to shed the excess body fat over time and reveal the beautiful muscle underneath.
Once you become a more seasoned lifter, however, gains will slow over time. Typically, people will stick to a workout routine for about six to eight weeks before switching things up. You may need to stick with a program for as long as 12 weeks to fully realize the program’s potential.
Why Do You Want to Build Muscle?
Why would you want to build muscle tissue? Well, it turns out that muscle has many benefits that make it advantageous, especially over body fat. Benefits include:
1. Changing the look of the body. Yes, the one true way to naturally reshape your body is to add muscle to your frame where it’s needed. Building muscle enables you to transform your physique and gain confidence. Get your sexy back with a fit, toned body!
2. Increasing your metabolism. As a metabolically active substance (it requires calories simply to exist), muscle keeps your metabolism stoked and your body burning fat even when you’re resting. The more muscle you have, the more calories you need to take in just to maintain your weight.
3. Supports your frame. In addition to your skeleton, muscle keeps your body supported.
4. Improves health markers. Indeed, you can improve your cardiovascular health, immune system, lower your blood sugar, reduce depression, and even prevent bone loss by building muscle.
Do This to Build Muscle Fast
While it may not be instant, there are some ways you can add muscle mass to your frame relatively quickly. Here are the top five:
1. Lift heavier weights. The greater the resistance, the more your body will need to adapt by adding muscle tissue. Because your body is such a well-oiled machine, it will need progressively heavier weights over time to build muscle. As you get stronger, you’ll want to ensure you continuously challenge yourself by either adding a little more weight each time, doing a few more reps, or reducing your rest intervals. This type of “progressive overload training” will help you put on the most muscle quickly.
2. Eat more protein. This is the building block of muscle mass, and it’s necessary if you want to build muscle quickly. There are several types of protein powders like whey isolate, casein, and blends. For building muscle fast, you’ll want to have a healthy portion of casein before bed. The casein digests and breaks down very slowly. That means you’re feeding your body what it needs for most of the nighttime hours with a constant and steady stream of aminos. Don’t forget to eat protein from whole foods, either. Protein-rich foods include meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and beans, seeds, nuts, and lentils.
3. Take your supplements. Supplements may help you build muscle too. First and foremost, of course (as discussed), make sure you’re getting in your protein, not only from food but also from supplemental protein powders and bars if you choose.
You can try adding some creatine to your supplement lineup. Creatine may help you get stronger and recover more quickly.
Also great for helping build muscle fast are branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs may help you work out longer with less muscle damage and may even help reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness after your workout.
Caffeine, believe it or not, may help put you into the zone you need to really push yourself and give it your all. Caffeine can help reduce fatigue and help you stay focused, which can lead to better, more productive workouts over time.
4. Recovery is important, too. Taking some downtime to heal is vital to building muscle fast, too. Make sure you take a day or two off before you work the same body part again and get plenty of sleep. Aim for eight hours, so your body has time to heal, replenish, and repair properly.
5. Consistency is crucial. It’s about habits. You need to tear the muscle down and rebuild it on a consistent basis. Follow a good muscle-building program for 6 – 12 weeks before making changes. This will allow your body to get the most out of the program before it adapts.
Remember, it takes weeks of consistent dieting and training for you to notice significant results. It takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends to notice, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to see it. Stay the course, be consistent, and have patience. It’s well worth it! Most people overestimate what they can do in one month and totally underestimate what they can do in a year or two. The faster you get started, the faster you’ll build muscle!