How Long Does It Take to Build Muscle?


In today’s society, instant gratification might just be our greatest weakness. We expect results immediately, we quit prematurely, and we typically tend to blame external factors for our failures.

While it can be quite a daunting task to build real musculature, especially as a complete beginner, it needs to be known the truth behind what it actually requires to build an honest physique packed with long-term, high-quality, lean muscle gains.

The truthful answer to the question: How long will it take to notice muscle gains?:

Well…It may not be the answer you were hoping for.

However, rest assured that it’s more than possible to begin noticing muscle gains in as early as 1-2 months if you stay consistent. Moreover, not much longer afterwards you may begin to really start transforming your physique!


Delayed gratification and discipline will be your key to experiencing the transformation you’ve always dreamed of. Let’s start this journey together!

Read on for more…

What Your Body-Type Says About Your Muscle Gains

The theory that the human species is predisposed to three generalized body-types dates back to the 1940’s. These body types are comprised of unique and distinct physiological characteristics that differentiate themselves from one another.

Each body-type is different not only in their stature and composition, but in their ability to develop muscle, participate and thrive in particular tasks and activities, and is even said to dictate ones personality!

The following three body-types are as follows:

  1. Endomorph
  2. Mesomorph
  3. Ectomorph

When relating body types to muscle gains, each requires a unique training and dietary approach when going through a “bulking” or “cutting” phase. In other words, it’s not a one-size-fits-all strategy.

Sure, they each have obvious physical differences, but why is it that one may gain fat more easily, while the other has no problem packing on the muscle? It’s due in large part not by their physical traits, but by their metabolic, biochemical distinctions.

Let’s learn more about these three body-types, or “soma-types” and how they affect your ability to develop and notice muscle gains.

Endomorph

Endomorphs are in many ways the opposite of an ectomorph (the skinny hard-gainer). They’re primarily heavier in stature, having a very easy time gaining weight, yet unlike the mesomorph, has a hard time losing it. This body type typically gains more fat than muscle.

With that in mind, an endomorphs approach to muscle gain has to be meticulously thought-out and religiously followed. Otherwise, the result may turn into a fat-gain rather than a muscle gain.

As mentioned above, ones ability to gain muscle or lose fat is in large part due to their metabolic differences…An endomorph usually has a degree of carb & insulin sensitivity. In short, this results in food typically being converted to fat rather than being used as energy.

To summarize, it’s quite easy for endomorphs to build muscle, however they have a hard time staying lean and avoiding becoming fat. That is why it is paramount to stay committed and stick to the plan.

Mesomorph

Mesomorphs are those naturally-gifted body types that appear muscular without any real effort. They can pack the weight and muscle on fairly quickly, however, they can also lose their gains just as fast.

It’s imperative for a mesomorph to stick to a strict diet plan and training program in order to stay lean. Otherwise, they may gain too much weight, or not gain enough. Nonetheless, mesomorphs should have no problem gaining lean muscle in a timely fashion.

Ectomorph

At it’s most basic, an ectomorph is categorized as being what they call a “hard-gainer”, meaning those with this body type have a hard time gaining weight and building muscle. This body-type is primarily those of a skinny stature.

One with an ectomorph body-type has a very fast and efficient metabolism. This is fantastic because they can eat pretty much whatever they want without noticing the consequences of weight gain. However, the curse follows years later when their metabolism slows…

That is why it is imperative to stay healthy, avoid junk food, and focus on volume in both their diet, and training regimen. It may take them a longer time to build real long-term muscle, however, they have a keen ability to stay lean without much effort. It’s a give-and-take for an ectomorph.

Important Takeaway

As you can see, it is highly dependent upon the individual whether or not they can gain lean muscle in a timely fashion. Result vary from person-to-person and it’s hard to give one universal answer to the question “how long does it take to notice muscle gain?”.

With all of that being said, it is not an excuse to limit yourself because of a genetic trait or particular predisposition. Ectomorphs are still able to transform into incredibly lean physiques; Endomorphs can also beat their predisposition and become aesthetically pleasing athletes; and Mesomorphs, as well…

It all depends on your commitment, discipline, and determination in conjunction with the quality of your strategy entering into a lean bulk or weight-loss plan. Sure, one may have to try a little harder than the other in some cases, however, it’s not an excuse for not trying.

With a proper diet in-place paired with a rigorous yet logical training program,  anyone can accomplish their dream physique.

So, what does that training plan look like? Again, it depends…However,  there are some universal truths. One universal truth is that you do not need to be spending hours upon hours in the gym exercising in order to build muscle.

Quality over quantity.

So you may ask “Well, what is the perfect duration for a workout if I’m trying to build muscle? Would 30-minutes per workout suffice?”


Let’s get into it…

30-Minutes to Muscle Mania

As a beginner, it can actually be quite easy to initially gain some strength and muscle.

By engaging in 20-30 minutes of intentional and deliberate exercise 2-4 times per week, you will begin to notice strength and muscle within a number of weeks. This is, of course, highly dependent on your consistency level and, more importantly, your diet.

With that said, you can exercise all you want, however, without a proper diet plan that involves eating high-quality foods in a caloric-surplus (300-500 kcal per day), the results will be minimal, if any.

Additionally, true long-term muscle gains are often confused by beginners with the oh-so glorious “muscle pump”. Beware!

A muscle pump is a short-term reaction to lifting weights. It occurs from an excess amount of blood being “pumped” into the working muscle, resulting in the muscle to swell up. This doesn’t mean that you’ve just gained long-term muscle, however.

In summary, aiming for three to four 30-minute workout sessions per week, and eating in a caloric surplus daily is a fantastic place to start as a beginner. Before you know it, your muscles will begin to get stronger, your body will begin to recover quicker, and you’ll be able to up the ante in terms of your effort.

pro-tip: note that it is not recommended to exercise 7 days/week. While it may seem counterproductive, rest and recovery is probably the single most important tool to utilize when it comes to building muscle, or any fitness goal for that matter.

Best Exercises for Muscle Growth

While muscle gain is due in large part by ones diet and body-type, exercise obviously plays a factor. Moreover, the types of exercises you choose to do can also play a role in the quality of muscle that you develop. Let’s get into a brief overview of what those exercises look like from Both a beginner’s stand point, an intermediates’, and an advanced:

Beginner

  1. Push Up
  2. Stiff-Legged Deadlift
  3. Jumping or Banded Pull Up
  4.  Air Squat
  5. Shoulder Press Machine
  6. Cable Row

Intermediate

  1. Dumbbell Chest Press
  2. Trap Bar Deadlift (or Dumbbell Deadlift)
  3. Regular Bodyweight Pull Up
  4. Leg Press Machine or Goblet Squat
  5. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  6. Dumbbell Row

Advanced

  1. Barbell Bench Press
  2. Barbell Deadlift
  3. Weighted Pull Up or Muscle Up
  4. Barbell Squat
  5. Barbell Shoulder Press
  6. Bent over Barbell Row

The key to any strength or hypertrophy exercise or training program is progression, otherwise known as progressive overload. It’s simply just a fancy way of stating to start light and comfortable/safe, and progressively add weight, sets, reps, and intensity week upon week.

Another key is something known as “time-under-tension”. This is another strategy of hypertrophy by which you control the weight on the eccentric and concentric phase of the movement. This keeps the tension on the muscle for a longer duration of time, allowing more blood to pump into the muscle and ultimately resulting in muscle growth over time.

As a beginner, don’t worry about all of these new words that i’ve potentially introduced. Simply begin. Focus on your form and staying safe. Once you’ve become comfortably enough, begin to challenge yourself gradually.

Before you know it, you will have accomplished your goal and will be in the process of creating a new, more difficult goal!

What foods help you bulk up

While specified strategies have been identified as the optimal way to build lean muscle, the variability of results and the way in which an individual reacts to the strategy widely depends.

As we discussed earlier in this article, results are highly dependent upon your body type, however, that doesn’t mean your body type should limit you.

Additionally, it’s usually less about the foods you choose (as long as they’re generally healthy) and more about increasing the amounts of those foods when entering into a bulking phase opposed to a cutting or maintenance phase.

Again, dependent upon your body-type you may need to be more or less careful when it comes to the amounts of food you’r consuming daily during a bulk or lean-muscle gain phase.

With that said, there are common factors that are universally followed in order to optimize the bulking phase:

  • Eat in a calorie surplus (300-500 additional calories per day)
  • Track Macro’s (macronutrients)
  • Eat caloric-dense foods
  • Up your protein intake

With these general principles in mind, let’s get into some of the best foods you can add into your bulking meal-plan to assist you in your bulk/muscle-building phase:

  • Meat & Poultry(you don’t have to be as picky about the Leanness of protein when on a bulk)
  • Grains (Whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice)
  • Nuts & Seeds (Almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, pistachios)
  • Oils (Olive, coconut, avocado, flaxseed oil)
  • Starch (Potatoes, Yams)
  • Vegetables (although these lack calories and are typically filling, you still can’t forget about your micronutrients)
  • Whey Protein Shake (opt for grass-fed where possible)

Your diet and nutrition is probably the most important part of a bulk.

While exercise is necessary as well, eating the proper foods in the proper amounts is key.

Additionally, it’s better to opt for the healthier path forward and extend your expectations for results. Opting for more calorically-dense fast foods may make your bulk easier, however, it will result in poor-quality muscle development and an increase in visceral body-fat, ESPECIALLY if you’re a an endomorph or mesomorph.

Conclusion

In summary, the first step in embarking on your muscle gain journey is to start! By reading this article, hopefully you’ve gained some valuable insight that will help you get a jumpstart on your goals.

Take it slow, eat healthy, rest & recover, and most importantly – work hard!

In no time, you’ll begin to experience noticeable strength and muscle gains. Once the transformation begins and results start to pour in, there will be no stopping you!


Get started today.

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4836564/
https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-it-take-to-build-muscle
https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5078/how-to-eat-and-train-for-an-endomorph-body-type/
https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5039/how-to-eat-and-train-for-a-mesomorph-body-type/
https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5102/how-to-eat-and-train-for-an-ectomorph-body-type/
https://blog.nasm.org/fitness/body-types-how-to-train-diet-for-your-body-type

Heath Barrow

Heath is a certified personal trainer, an ordained minister, and most importantly, a father. He loves reading and learning new things...and enjoys it when he's able to pass that along to others!  ~"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." (Proverbs 11:25, NIV)

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