If you want to know how long does it take to build noticeable muscles and what are the primary elements that help grow muscle faster, then you’ve landed in the right place. I’ll be straightforward in this article so you can get the relevant information.
How Did I Collect Answers?
I’ve done a few questionnaires on Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook, read Quora and analyzed the meta-analysis published on the National Institute of Health (NIH) website to know how long it takes time to see muscle growth.
How Long Does it Take to Build Noticeable Muscle?
Muscle building is a process, and it takes time to cultivate. For some people, it can take up to six months to see some noticeable changes while for some it can take more than a year, depending on several factors, particularly diet, training, recovery, progression, and genetics.
A study published by the International Journal of Exercise Science has shown that intermediate lifters (including men and women) gained approximately 2.2 pounds of lean mass after 8 weeks of resistance training.1 Thomas MH, Burns SP. Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A Comparison of High-Frequency Strength Training to Lower Frequency Strength Training. Int J Exerc Sci. 2016;9(2):159-167. Published 2016 Apr 1.
So, if you’ve been working out for a while, you can expect a 2-3 pound gain in two months. However, if you are a beginner, you can expect more muscle growth than an intermediate.
For example, I was around 120 pounds when I started lifting in early 2019, and for me, it took five to six months to achieve noticeable muscle gain. I gained only 10-12 pounds in that period, but my physique looked more muscular and toned. I also used to track whatever I ate throughout the day and maintain my nutrition accordingly.
My base was strong because I used to do running, jumping ropes, pullups, pushups, and bodyweight squat before I stepped into the gym.
But if it took six months for me to build muscles, it doesn’t mean you’ll also gain in that same duration. Muscle growth depends on various factors, and knowing them all can help you understand how long it can take for you to see muscular growth.
The Most Essential Factors for Muscle Growth
There are multiple factors that contribute to muscle growth. Below we’ll see some of the most important ones for muscular hypertrophy.
Research indicates that genetics can be a factor in muscle building. Scientific studies have discovered many genes involved in muscle growth and development.2Roth SM. Genetic aspects of skeletal muscle strength and mass with relevance to sarcopenia. Bonekey Rep. 2012 Apr 4;1:58. doi: 10.1038/bonekey.2012.58. PMID: 27127623; PMCID: PMC4816288 For example, a person who has poor testosterone hormone finds it more difficult to develop muscle mass and strength.
But it doesn’t mean you can never grow your muscles. Bodybuilding is a science, and going through the basic principles of muscle hypertrophy, you’ll likely see visible muscle changes in six months to one year.
Diet and Nutrition
Most people find it difficult to gain muscle even after a dedicated workout. Every day they give their best, but they still don’t see gains after 3 to 4 months, and the reason behind this is poor diet.
It doesn’t matter how hard or consistently you train; if you do not feed your muscles proper nutrients, your muscles won’t respond quickly or not at all.
A study suggests that increasing protein consumption contributes to greater muscle strength and mass gain when combined with resistance exercises.3 Stokes, T., Hector, A. J., Morton, R. W., McGlory, C., & Phillips, S. M. (2018). Recent Perspectives Regarding the Role of Dietary Protein for the Promotion of Muscle Hypertrophy with Resistance Exercise Training. Nutrients, 10(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10020180
Here is the nutritional recommendation for increasing muscle growth:
|Breakfast||30-40 grams||50-60 grams||15-20 grams|
|Lunch||30-40 grams||80-100 grams||15-20 grams|
|Dinner||30-40 grams||40-50 grams||10-15 grams|
|Pre-Workout||30 to 40 grams||40 to 50 grams||–|
|Post-Workout||40 to 50|
|1/g per kg of your bodyweight||–|
List of high-protein foods for muscle-building: 4High Protein Foods For Weight Gain – Thefitnessphantom.com
- Chicken Breast
- Fatty Fishes
- Soya Chunks
- Greek Yogurt
- Turkey Breast
- Protein shakes
3. Consistent Workout
When it comes to muscle growth, consistency is the key.
Some research published online on different websites shows that consistency is more important than the amount of weight you lift and variations of exercises.
So, whether it’s winter, rainy, or sunny weather don’t miss the gym if you want visible changes in your muscles.
Try to hit the gym at least four times a week.
I’ve created a well-designed and effective muscle-building workout program that you can follow to build strength, size, and endurance.
4. Progressive Overload
Gradually increasing the weight, frequency, or number of repetitions in your strength training will help you grow your muscles over time.5La Scala Teixeira, C. V., Evangelista, A. L., Pereira, D. A., Da Silva-Grigoletto, M. E., Bocalini, D. S., & Behm, D. G. (2019). Complexity: A Novel Load Progression Strategy in Strength Training. Frontiers in Physiology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.00839
By using progressive overload, you are essentially creating an adaptive response to exercise which allows for more growth in both strength and muscle mass.
5. Muscle Recovery and Sleep
Muscle recovery and sufficient sleep are also important factors in muscle growth. Many studies revealed that giving worked muscles proper rest helps your muscles grow.6Mielgo-Ayuso, J., & Fernández-Lázaro, D. (2021). Nutrition and Muscle Recovery. Nutrients, 13(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020294
During sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormone, which in turn stimulates your body to produce insulin-like growth factors—hormones essential for muscle repair. (shape.com)
It’s important to know muscle building takes time. It can take anywhere from six months to one year to build noticeable muscle.
It took six months for me to see some growth, but it doesn’t mean your body will respond in the same time frame. Muscle growth depends on multiple factors, such as macros, consistent workouts, genes, recovery, and progressive overload, and knowing them all can help you set up a diet and workout program.
I believe you must be disciplined for the first six months to grow your muscle mass faster. And if you don’t do it, it can be challenging to see the growth even after a year.
- 1Thomas MH, Burns SP. Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A Comparison of High-Frequency Strength Training to Lower Frequency Strength Training. Int J Exerc Sci. 2016;9(2):159-167. Published 2016 Apr 1.
- 2Roth SM. Genetic aspects of skeletal muscle strength and mass with relevance to sarcopenia. Bonekey Rep. 2012 Apr 4;1:58. doi: 10.1038/bonekey.2012.58. PMID: 27127623; PMCID: PMC4816288
- 3Stokes, T., Hector, A. J., Morton, R. W., McGlory, C., & Phillips, S. M. (2018). Recent Perspectives Regarding the Role of Dietary Protein for the Promotion of Muscle Hypertrophy with Resistance Exercise Training. Nutrients, 10(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10020180
- 4High Protein Foods For Weight Gain – Thefitnessphantom.com
- 5La Scala Teixeira, C. V., Evangelista, A. L., Pereira, D. A., Da Silva-Grigoletto, M. E., Bocalini, D. S., & Behm, D. G. (2019). Complexity: A Novel Load Progression Strategy in Strength Training. Frontiers in Physiology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.00839
- 6Mielgo-Ayuso, J., & Fernández-Lázaro, D. (2021). Nutrition and Muscle Recovery. Nutrients, 13(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020294