How long does it take to build muscle? This is a question that every person trying to gain muscle wants to know. Unfortunately the answer is a big, “that depends”. You see, building muscle and the speed at which it is accomplished is dependent on several issues such as body type, the level of muscle mass density, your age, and experience, etc.
First, lets talk about what is required to build muscle.
I am sure you have seen the before and after images of the skinny guys that turn into big hulks after some gain in muscle mass. This is often a fitness industry trick of the trade. The tend to use young men about 20 years old because when you are this age, you are completing juvenile growth. At this time the body naturally packs on lean muscle mass really fast.
Muscle weight gain slows down as you age, so I am going to assume we are talking about the 25-45 year old range and limit the information to natural muscle growth. This is because steroid hormones add very different variables to building muscle.
Muscles have a set number of cells after juvenile growth stops.
Unfortunately, unlike many types of cells, muscle cells just don’t divide, That means you only have so many muscle cells to work with to build muscle size. Therefore to get bigger muscles, the cells must grow larger. This can happen very fast if you are beginning to really workout for the first time, which means you are probably going to have more improvement faster than if you have already spent years muscle building.
Do you see why it depends is the only answer to “how long does it take to build muscle”?
You can obviously speed up the rate of gain muscle if you spend a lot of time and effort building muscle on a consistent basis, But never fear, you are not required to get sleeping quarters at the local gym. If you are building muscle mass properly, without over training, then you will gain muscle fast.
As a rule of thumb, beginners in weight training can develop 10 to 20 pounds of muscle in the first few years. But if you have been doing this for a long time then you probably are going to see only a couple pounds over the course of a year.