The age-old question for any gym starter; just how long is it going to take to build muscle?
Hopefully, this article answers all your questions and gives you the ammunition you need to make some serious gains!
Firstly, in order to answer your question, we have some questions of our own:
#1 – How much muscle are you wanting to build?
Muscle growth is a slow process and can, even with best intentions, feel like an eternity before you start to see results.
Shredding, cutting and leaning out can be a relatively swift process, depending on your commitment levels.
There’s a common misconception by many that you’ll be able to pack on the size just as easy and just as fast. It’s not true! On average, you could probably gain between 0.1kg – 0.3kg per week – that is if you’re pushing yourself.
If you’re expecting to stack up to an extra 3 or 4 stone of solid muscle, don’t expect to do it in the week!
#2 – How often can you make the gym?
If it’s not all that often, you’ll be in for a treat – you really need between 3 and 5 sessions a week, any more than that will start to become counterproductive.
Additionally, your aim is to gain weight (i.e. build muscle), hitting an extra couple of cardio sessions a week, even if it is to help regulate body fat, won’t help you pack on the pounds!
That’s a question only you can answer – how important is regulating body fat for you?
#3 – What’s your diet like?
If you’ve ever read any of my other articles, you’ll be sick of me asking about your diet! It is really important that your diet is on point.
Fundamentally, eat more than you burn off and you’ll gain weight. Dr. Melina Jampolis, a diet and fitness expert, recommends taking in 250 to 500 calories more than you burn daily, depending on how easily you gain fat. Your muscles use this fuel to grow.
(Please) don’t use this as an excuse to cram your face full of pizza in an attempt to gain weight fast. You still need naturally processed and healthy food, just more food in than you’re burning off.
If you’re serious and struggling, treat yourself to a Fitbit to help you track your calories.
Get enough rest
That’s right, muscle isn’t built in the gym, neither is it built in the kitchen – it’s built from your rest and recovery rate and time. Just like we mention in question 2, you only need to hit the gym between 3 and 5 times a week. You do, however, need to hammer the gym and push your body to its limits every time you work out.
The love-hate relationship with carbs is real! But you’re bulking, so forget that for a minute – you’ll need a large amount of both protein and carbohydrates to allow you to build muscle and have enough energy to bulk. Eat a load of calories and experiment with your own body by slowly increasing the carb to fat and protein ratio. Unlike getting lean, you’ll need to reduce your fat intake if you’re upping your carbs!
This matters! All the energy you’re consuming is enough to send somebody into a craze and end up morbidly obese.
That said, you’re training like crazy, or should be. Use the opportunity to build strength.
What you should be doing is setting a personal best on most exercises you’re performing – whilst keeping tip-top form.
You should also aim to hit your One-Rep Max on a regular basis (which is roughly 20% more than what you lift for 10-reps!)
You need protein and you need carbs! Creatine wouldn’t go amiss, neither would BCAA’s.
It’s all encompassing, it’s not just about your diet, or your training or even your rest and recovery time. You need to do everything consistently, accurately and giving it your all with each and every moment.