Everyone wants instantaneous gains.
We expect that simply by working out once in a while, everything else will fall into place.
The ‘gains fairy’ will sneak through your window at night and sprinkle her magical pixie dust that will have you looking like a bodybuilder the next morning.
The reality is, building muscle takes a long time.
Depending on your physique goal, it could take years.
But I’m here today to give you the correct information you need in order to accelerate the process, so you’re better equipped to hop on the “gain train” and get the physique you deserve.
Use the information as well as the tips and tricks below to your advantage!
Remember, knowledge is power!
How Experienced Are You?
Depending on your current strength and hypertrophy levels, you may build muscle at a faster or a slower pace.
Newbies, who have never lifted a weight in their life, have the most potential and build muscle at the fastest rate.
Ever see that skinny kid at the gym and 3 months later you see he has picked up a lot of definition?
Similar to anything else in life, the newer you are, the faster you pick up knowledge, skills, and grow.
For example, take jiu-jitsu and martial arts. The first couple classes you’re going to get your ass kicked, it’s going to hurt, and you’ll make a lot of mistakes. But that’s where you’ll learn the fastest and grow the most.
It’s also similar to our lifespans. Our bodies generally grow the fastest right when we’re born and through our adolescent years.
The same goes for bodybuilding.
Intermediate level lifters can expect an intermediate amount of growth.
You’ll have a decent amount of experience already and can still rep some quality gains. But knowing your body already has some definition, it’s going to be more difficult to add on top of your current muscle.
Experienced lifters will have the hardest time putting on more muscle growth. At their level, it takes months even years to see the slightest of changes.
But hey! All that hard work from lifting has already paid off!
Gender Affects Muscle Growth
Male or female?
Depending on your sex, you may be entitled to more muscle mass.
No question about it, men build more muscle, and at a much faster pace.
This is thanks to a hormone we all know as testosterone. Young men are filled with it.
It’s the most important hormone for building muscle, so try naturally producing it as much as possible. Get your sleep, eat superfoods, and lift heavy!
Females also produce testosterone, but not as much.
If you’re a female, you can still build muscle, just not as quickly. It’ll also be much more difficult to gain the same amount of muscle mass as men– they are more equipped to carry muscle.
You’re training regime is possibly one of the biggest factors when it comes to how fast you put on muscle.
How frequently are you training?
Spending 1-2 days in the gym per week isn’t enough!
You need to be training each body part a minimum of 2-3 times a week. That requires at least 4 training days in the gym per week.
Your training style is also an important factor.
Do you train for strength, for hypertrophy, or muscle endurance?
Training for hypertrophy is training for muscle mass. The rep range for hypertrophy is usually between 6-12 reps. If your goal is to put on muscle as fast as possible, this is the way to go.
Training for strength also increases muscle mass, but has more emphasis on power and lifting ability.
The rep range for the best strength gains is around 1-5 reps. These will be heavy!
Muscle endurance is anything above 15+ reps.
It doesn’t increase muscle mass too much but it can be a good shock to your muscles if you’ve been doing the same rep range for the past 2 months and have hit a plateau.
To build muscle at the fastest possible speed, incorporate both strength and hypertrophy workouts that focus on the 1-5 rep range and the 6-12 rep range.
If you have a poor diet, you can expect your body’s ability to build muscle to take a long damn time.
Nutrition is the key to fueling your body.
Eating the right foods are the pathway to recovery.
For your body to recover as fast as possible, you need to be focusing on consuming calories and the three key macronutrients
Proteins are known as the building blocks of your muscles.
After consuming protein, they are broken down into amino acids by the digestive enzymes in your stomach which create muscle tissue for the recovering body parts.
It’s important that you get enough protein a day so that your body can adequately recover and you get the most out of your workout.
Get a minimum of .6 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.
Next up is carbs.
Carbohydrates are known as the fuel source, which helps boost your energy.
Before hitting a workout, it’s a great idea to eat some fast digesting carbs like oatmeal or an apple.
But carbs are also necessary for growth because a lack of carbs will mean your body will start to burn muscle as a fuel source. Try to consume around 2 grams of carbs per pound of body weight per day.
Last we have fats.
Fats are necessary for your body’s overall composition and health. Let’s not get too complicated with this one.
Consume around .45 grams of fats per pound of body weight per day.
Did you know that your body grows the most when you’re at rest?
Don’t underestimate the value of a quality night’s sleep.
Deeper sleep means more growth hormone and testosterone release by your body.
This is where your muscles grow and where you acquire energy for the following day.
I suggest you get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night, and no more than 9 hours.
But sleeping is more than just jumping into bed and calling it a night.
It starts 2-3 hours before you actually fall asleep… Today more than ever, everyone is on their phone.
Our phones and electronic devices emit something known as ‘blue light.’ This blue light is harmful to our circadian rhythm, our bodies ability to tell us day vs night and when to fall asleep.
Blue light alerts our eyes and mind that it’s still daytime, and reduces our production of melatonin – the hormone that helps put us to sleep.
This also means you’ll be much more tired and stress the next day, a no-no for your gains.
If you want to gain the most muscle possible, it’s best to not look at your phone, computer, tv, or other blue light devices 2-3 hours before sleep.
If you truly need to get work done, try a set of these blue light blocking glasses from Amazon. I bought these the other day and they seem to work pretty well.
Do it and appreciate the better sleep. Both you and your muscles will thank you.
Stress is a literal muscle burner.
Learn to live and love life for every moment.
Both your body and mind will feel a weight lifted off of your chest.
Begin to see the blessings in everyday life, even for things that annoy or piss you off.
It’s your choice to accept something in a positive light or a negative.
The difference is that one will make you smile and the other will stress you out.
And stress does nothing but mess with your mind and your gains!
So choose wisely.
How much effort you put in is how much you get out.
And if you want to speed things up, you have to put more effort in. Simple as that.
This means working at it every day and making lifestyle changes.
Change your workout routines, the exercises you do, the foods you consume, the time at which you go to bed and wake up, etc.
If you make a dynamic effort to make yourself better and really attempt at acquiring the physique you desire, you’ll attain it 10 times faster than someone who just goes through the motions.
Put in the work and see the results.
One thing I wanted to bring up that I thought was very interesting is muscle memory.
Have you ever lost muscle mass or part of your physique because you were sick, injured, and couldn’t lift for a couple of months?
All those hard-earned hours in the gym, just disappear so quickly, and there’s almost nothing you can do about it.
Don’t give up champ!
Science and your body are on your side!
Did you know that once your body has gained muscle and then loses it, the ability to gain that exact muscle back is super easy and fast?
Your mind and body have muscle memory!
So don’t worry too much if you lose muscle mass due to an illness, injury, or you traveled to Thailand for 6 months and barely ate anything.
Just get back to working out and your muscle will be back in no time!
How Long Does It Really Take?
So now that we covered some of the factors that come with muscle building, how long does it really take?
Although it really depends on so much, if you truly put in the effort, eat the proper foods, and get the proper rest while still killing it the gym – you can expect to put on
- Around 15 – 24 pounds in a year if you’re a total newbie (around 2 pounds a month)
- Around 10 pounds a year as an intermediate (around 1 pound a month)
- Around 2-4 pounds a year if you’re an experienced beast! (.5 pounds a month or less)
The reality is building muscle is a slow process. That’s why you have to treat it like a lifestyle rather than a chore.
But you can do it! And it starts right now!
I believe in you! Do you?
Get out there and do the best you can and I guarantee, you can make a change.