Are you looking to bulk up and get stronger?
There are plenty of reasons for wanting to be more health-conscious these days. Going to the gym to burn fat and build muscle has its aesthetic advantages but healthy ones too. Core strength, for example, is useful in daily life and protects you from hernias or back injuries.
The problem is that working out takes a while to show visible results. How long does it take to build muscle anyway? It can be frustrating to feel like you aren’t making progress, especially if you’ve been doing everything right.
Don’t feel discouraged yet! Read on for the ultimate guide to how long it takes to build muscle.
Understanding Muscle Growth
First things first, we need to understand how muscle growth works. The biological process will give a better idea of what exactly you are trying to achieve. When you exercise, you don’t pop muscles out of anywhere.
There’s something called skeletal muscle. These are one of the most adaptable types of tissue you have. These are the ones attached to your bones and surrounding your joints.
Skeletal muscles help with movement. These are the ones you think of when it comes to weightlifting, strength, and athleticism. The other two types of muscles are smooth and cardiac muscles.
Smooth muscles affect many of your internal systems, like digestion and how arteries pump blood. Cardiac muscles are specific to the heart. Along with skeletal, all three muscle types need to be healthy for you to be healthy.
Issues with your cardiac muscles, for example, will hinder your exercise progress. For the purposes of this guide, skeletal muscles are the ones that can grow, shrink and get easily injured if not cared for.
Skeletal muscle is grown from working out. Your biceps, as well as your chest, back, core, glutes, and shoulder muscles, are all examples. The way they grow is through trauma.
When you exercise or do strength training, you are actually injuring your muscles. This isn’t a bad thing, as it’s necessary for how skeletal muscles grow. You can think of it as making tiny tears in the muscle fibres of your target areas.
These small tears caused by exercise get repaired by satellite cells. They activate after a good workout and get to work repairing those muscle fibres. Microtears also enable these fibres to reconnect stronger than before.
The more you exercise, the more times this process occurs. You achieve muscle growth by injuring and repairing your muscles to be even stronger. This is what people mean by that old cliche, no pain, no gain.
A Note about Atrophy, Injuries, and Hormones
There are several things that can hurt or help the speed by which this muscle growth occurs. Serious injuries can put you out of action, meaning you can’t exercise. If your muscles shrink, that’s known as muscular atrophy.
This can set your progress back, but usually isn’t a worry for most people. Severe atrophy typically only affects people who undergo extensive periods of inactivity. Think about becoming hospitalized or unable to move for several months.
Skipping leg day at the gym won’t be enough to trigger muscular-skeletal atrophy. That said, it will increase the chances of you plateauing. It will also make muscle growth take far longer in those areas.
Your body’s natural hormones can improve the response times of satellite cells. Growth hormones, for example, often get released while exercising. A healthy diet, proper rest days, and good hormonal balance can speed up recovery and repair times.
The faster your muscles repair, the sooner you can get back to it. This is how the actual process of how to get stronger works.
Your Routines, Consistency, and Commitment Matter
So how long does it take to build muscle? That’s a subjective question that will depend on each person and what they do. There’s a consensus among sports scientists and doctors that argues 1-3 months.
There are some caveats to this range, however.
The first is that three months is when you see noticeable muscle growth with the naked eye. At one month, you’d need an ultrasound to spot the difference in growth. That said, this range assumes a significant level of consistency.
We’re talking about hitting the gym 2 to 3 times a week, every week, and establishing a routine. Something like three sets of 8 – 12 repetitions per exercise, which prioritizes correct form while still pushing yourself. You also have to eat well and take care of yourself properly.
You have to commit to a workout schedule every week without taking days off if you want to see optimal progress. This is one of the most important muscle-building tips.
Not Everyone Is the Same
It’s also important to note that despite the 1-3 months, experts agree that not everyone is the same. Some people are born more lean or skinny – these people will have a harder time making rapid progress. Other people are larger, which is great for initial progress.
That said, the latter’s progress will eventually slow down. Those looking for how to get rid of fat often turn to strength training rather than only cardio. Strength training is one of the fastest ways to grow muscle, as long as you take care of yourself and guard against injury.
You can also check out some of the best fat burners if you need a little extra help. That said, exercise and supplements shouldn’t be a replacement for taking care of yourself. Proper nutrition, sleep, and rest days are key to sustained progress.
How Long Does It Take to Build Muscle?
There’s no easy answer to the question: how long does it take to build muscle? Some argue 1 – 3 months with proper consistency and dedication. Others argue that it depends on body type, commitment, and personal life.
One thing is for certain – you have to put in the work if you want to see continuous progress. Have a weekly routine, stick to it, and take proper care of yourself to maximize gains. For more advice like this, don’t hesitate to explore some of our other articles.