How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle?


By James

Building muscle is a long process and never really stops.  There’s no point where you actually start building muscle, and there’s also no real point where you stop building muscle.  If you maintain a good diet and exercise routine, then you can continue to gain good mass well into your 30s and 40s.

With that in mind, many people are concerned with how long it takes to start seeing muscle gains.  This will vary from person to person, depending on how fast your metabolism is and how well you can support muscle on your frame.  While you’re always building muscle, like I said, how long it takes to show will depend on several key factors.  If you have a high bodyfat content, then it’ll take longer before you start to show muscle, whereas people with low bodyfat will appear to gain muscle more quickly.  Your diet will also play a role: if you eat a lot of food, then you’ll appear to gain muscle more quickly.  Many people also don’t drink enough water when sedentary and will therefore appear to get bigger when hydrating for working out.  This doesn’t mean you’ve gained muscle, it’s just water weight.

The general rule is that it takes about 8 weeks before you start seeing real results.  Certain people can get them sooner, especially if you eat a ton of calories and work out hard.  I was actually able to see good results in as little as 4 weeks, but I was using an anabolic diet and was eating about 6,000 calories a day when I started.  Not to mention I had also worked out previously, so my muscles adapted more quickly than someone else’s would.

The 8 week thing comes into play because you can only be expected to gain between .5 and 1.5lbs of muscle each week.  Your body can’t build it much more quickly than that, and this’ll actually slow down as you get bigger.  After you’ve gained between 5 and 10 pounds, you’ll start to appear bigger.  Any less than that and it can definitely be mistaken for posture or water weight. So the answer to the question of how long it taeks to build muscle is: about 8 weeks, depending on your bodytype and genetics.  Some people will show results in 4 weeks, while others might take 12.  You usually won’t see much of a visual change until you’ve gained a solid 5-10 pounds of muscle.