There are many factors involved in muscle growth, so many in fact that it makes it impossible for anyone to give you an accurate number on how long it will take you to build muscle. Everyone has unique circumstances that will determine their rate of muscle growth – age, genetics (body type), diet, meal timing, lifestyle, training routine, rest and recovery schedule, motivation and consistency.
However, I do think it’s important to know some realistic truths about the rate at which muscle growth can be achieved, and what kind of limits there are. I don’t want people getting ripped off by the dishonest claims made by certain supplement companies or muscle building programs. There are a lot of over hyped products and scams out there that will have you believe you can put on 20 pounds of muscle in a month… all you need to do is buy their product, and hey presto, you’re a muscle building god!
…If only it were true.
By understanding the truth about muscle growth rates and limits you can set yourself some realistic goals, and avoid buying into scams. This is especially true when you’re a beginner, because most beginners (myself included at one time) expect to gain a lot more muscle and a lot faster than is actually possible.
You must avoid measuring yourself against professional bodybuilders. If you want to look like Phil Heath, you’re setting yourself up for serious disappointment and may end up just quitting. You must realise that most people will never be able to create a huge muscular physique like bodybuilders at the top of their game.
For most average drug free aspiring bodybuilders, the muscular size of the pros will never be achievable.
Both Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman, two of the biggest and best bodybuilders in the world would get asked “do you workout?” BEFORE they ever started weightlifting. These guys are so genetically gifted and muscular to start with that people thought they lifted weights.
Add to these amazing genetics, large amounts of steroids, growth hormones and elite level training you will understand why there is a limit to the kind of muscle mass YOU can achieve. Sure, draw motivation from the pros, watch them train and perform, but get your feet firmly back on planet earth when it comes to setting your own personal muscle gain goals.
I’m not saying you can’t build an impressive muscular body in a reasonable time frame, you can. But only a very small minority will experience rapid muscle growth and be able to reach pro bodybuilder levels.
How Fast Can You Really Build Muscle?
Now, here’s a realistic expectation of how fast an average natural male can put on muscle. Assuming diet, training and rest are optimal and consistent, you could gain between 1 – 2 pounds of lean muscle per month.
Are you shocked… disappointed?
Sorry, but that’s the reality you’re working with here. If it were really that easy… if there was some magic supplement or program that could add muscle faster, skinny guys in the gym would be a rare sight.
This is just a rough idea, taking into account some of the essential growth factors I talk about earlier. Some people may put on a little less, and some a little more, but don’t expect huge mass gains in a few weeks. Usually beginners will gain the most muscle in their first year, then the rate of growth will be slightly less with each subsequent year.
I really don’t think 1 -2 pounds of muscle each months is actually that bad. I mean, in just 6 months you could add around 10 pounds of noticeable muscle to your frame, and get dramatically stronger.
Sounds good to me!
Set small goals for yourself, like how much you want to gain in the next 6 months or a year. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll need to work your ass off to make these kinds of gains. You’ll need a good training program, diet plan, rest and patience to see it through and hit your goals.
Most people don’t stick to things long enough or put in the hard work required for building muscle. Don’t be like everyone else, be one of the few people who actually set a goal and do whatever it takes to see it through and achieve their dream!