Long Does it Take to Build Muscle
  • How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle: A Complete Guide

    11 Aug 2019

    Remember: all information, content, and material of this website is just for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or your healthcare provider/personal fitness trainer.



    Editor-in-Chief of the Approved By Coach

    The most common question fitness trainers get from their clients is, how long does it take to build muscles? Frankly, there’s no one, fit-for-all answer, since this is something that entirely depends on an individual.

    Most people believe that after some pushups here and lifting weights there, they’ll get desired results but sadly, that’s far from the truth. Building and bulking up muscles doesn’t happen overnight as it requires hard work, perseverance, and patience. Therefore, don’t get frustrated if you don’t see any result after a week of working out. Usually a beginner should expect to see significant muscle growth within the first 8 weeks. However, a lot of factors go into determining the time it takes to have expected results. Some of them are:

    • Age – as we grow older, our muscle mass decreases with men losing muscles faster than females of the same age.
    • Diet – the more protein you consume, the faster your muscles grow.
    • Rest levels – your muscles need recovery from the workout sessions, otherwise you’ll overtrain and the results will be less effective.
    • Gender – in addition to having less muscle mass, women have lower testosterone levels, so it will be harder for them to build muscle.

    Take note that a person who’s rebuilding will see faster results than one starting from scratch. This phenomenon is known as muscle memory when there is muscle gain, loss, and then gain again, growth happens more rapidly in the rebuilding case than in initial training.

    For muscle tissue to bulk up, it has first to get stronger; a question is how long it takes to see results from working out. By including strength training into a workout, it’ll be sooner than expected. Mainly, it involves using resistance bands or weights to increase muscle strength. Some methods include:

    • Resistance bands.
    • Weights.
    • Body weights like push-ups, squats, and lunges.
    • Weight machines like those found in gyms.

    But how much muscle can you gain in a week? Frankly, a week may be too soon to start gauging the progress since you’ll be busy doing strength training rather than bulking up muscles. Fitness experts suggest progressing into heavier weights only if one can complete a minimum of 12 repetitions with the same weights.

    As for how much muscle can you gain in a year, that all depends on genetics and, of course, your hard work. People with excellent genetics should expect to gain 30 lbs. But if you have poor genetics, you may only increase muscle weight by 5 – 6 pounds. Diet also plays a key role in muscle building.

    What should I expect in my first month

    First-Month Expectations

    During the 1st month of your training, you don’t have much strength because of protein synthesis. Rather, the body’s neurological system is teaching itself how and when to fire muscles and, as a result, you’ll probably feel shaky as you do the first pushups since arms are not entirely in sync. However, after some reps, your body gains rhythm making exercises smoother signifying your neurological system is at work.

    One more thing you might encounter during the first month is Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS). DOMS is pain and soreness felt the first 24 to 72 hours of training caused by micro-tears after which muscles adapt rapidly to avoid further damage and soreness. Foods rich in protein such as the best hemp protein powders will help improve the rates of growth.

    Contrary to some beliefs, it’s impossible to lose 30 lbs. in just 28 days no matter the level and intensity of sessions. Now when we want to know how long does it take to get a good shape for a beginner, it’s important to remember that with diet and consistent work a typical beginner will be gaining muscle weight of about 2 – 4 lbs. in the first month.

    What should I track to see the progress

    How Do I Track Progress?

    We recommend keeping a chart showing weekly, monthly, and yearly expectations. This way, you can compare expected and observed results. For example, a typical lifter should expect a muscle and weight gain of about 2 pounds within first month, 1.833 lbs. in second month and so on. Note down these figures on the expected results then compare them with your actual ones. A workout journal could also help keep track of your strength increase. Keep it updated after each training by writing down the exercises done, weights, and completed reps. Another great way to keep track in your progress is taking before and after pics and comparing the results.

    Can Anyone Build Muscle

    Is Muscle Building for Everyone?

    The answer is simple: Yes, it can be done by anyone. However, regarding how long it takes to build muscle, rates vary. Some are lucky enough to see significant changes after only 2 months, for others, results take time even if they follow the same routine as the former. However, this shouldn’t be a reason to give up. We believe that each training program is a personal journey; therefore, treat your body kindly and patiently, await the results. Just remember to visit your doctor if you have some concerns regarding your health, because for people with Sickle Cell Anemia, respiratory diseases, and any other condition physical activity should be limited.

    How Many Times Should I Train Weekly?

    To gain weight and muscle maximally, we advise working out at least 2-3 days a week as an idea is to cover all the muscles at least twice a week. Working out once a week is enough to make muscles bigger, but it might not be the most effective way to achieve your bodybuilding goals. Because protein synthesis is what leads to growth. After each training session synthesis picks up. The higher the accumulation of muscle fibers, the bigger your muscles become.

    Is working out 3 times a week enough

    Can I Train Only 3 Times a Week?

    You don’t necessarily have to spend the entire day in a gym. Training at least 3 times a week for like 20 – 30 minutes is enough to achieve your bodybuilding goals. Try to target all the muscle groups during this period for effective results.

    Is Daily Weight Lifting OK?

    Is it OK to lift weights every day

    Yes, you can do weight lifting every day but first, you’ll have to understand how muscles grow. After working out, our bodies repair damaged fibers by fusing them to form new protein fibers which increase in thickness, hence, muscle gain. Therefore, it’s better to leave at least one rest day for protein synthesis after breaking down muscles to facilitate growth. Another factor that could limit daily lifting is soreness. A little soreness is bearable, but if you strain your muscles beyond their capability it could lead to severe pain which is counterproductive.

    Diet and muscles

    Which Diet Is Good For Muscle Building?

    Food, especially protein, plays a crucial role in growing muscles. So, how much protein should one take? We recommend taking 0.028 ounces per 2.2 lbs. of the bodyweight per day. For example, a 200-pound female would need to take 0.16 pounds of protein each day. Focus on foods such as lambs, poultry, and fish rich in leucine, an amino acid that aids in growth. We recommend beans, soybeans, nuts, and seeds in the case of a plant-based protein diet. There’s an option of the best lactose-free protein powder for vegans, vegetarians, and lactose-intolerant people.

    To have bulkier muscles you must keep your calorie intake in check. Most people struggle to grow muscles because they’re not supplying their bodies with enough calories. Depending on the body weight, aim for at least 200 – 550 calories over the total calories you typically burn in a day. We recommend using a calorie calculator to estimate your daily intake.

    And of course we can’t stress enough the importance of hydration. Not only does it replace water lost in the form of sweat, but it is a natural energy booster, increases focus, reduces muscle cramps, and excretes toxins from the body. It’s recommended to take about 2 – 3 liters of water per day with between 16 and 32 oz. to be taken immediately you wake up.

    Importance of Rest

    Why rest is important

    Well-rested muscles equal stronger muscles. A muscle gainer should take time off to allow muscle recovery before the next training failure to which you might experience muscle injury, slowing down the progress of muscle development. Experts recommend training different muscle groups on different days. It allows muscles to recover interchangeably and prevents soreness.


    With all this in mind, you might be asking, how can I get started? ApprovedByCoach suggests you take the first by heading to your favorite local gym and consulting a personal trainer. They will help you to choose a proper form which is key to avoid injuries.

    And that’s pretty much it! Hopefully you will find this information helpful, and good luck on your fitness journey! Feel free to share with us how well it goes for you, as well as your workout regime and exercises, we would love to know!

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