How Long Does It Take To Build Muscle?

Progression by The Lost Gentleman

Road To Progression…

Many beginners enter the gym eager to gain muscle, believing in just months that they will become huge and have the muscle they have always desired. Within a few intense, unprepared weeks, they walk away defeated, disheartened by not seeing the changes they had first thought were possible.
Every beginner needs to be realistic; there is a lot of time and effort that will have to go in to attain the results you want. But most important is that you must not give up when you feel low when failing to get where you want to be in that short period of time. Staying motivated is key, as this will be a journey of learning and development that will take time.

We are going to look at some of the factors that affect progression in the gym and reaching your goals. And how long it really takes to put on serious muscle mass.

First off it can take some serious time to build muscle, you’re looking at months to years on packing on serious mass, especially if you want to look somewhat like a bodybuilder. Anyone saying it can be done it just a few months will be lying, or had some help from the steroid department, which if so just brings on a lot more problems down the road.

Goal Setting

Before entering the gym you must set realistic goals. Long-term goals need to be visualized. How you ultimately want to become, look like, and feel. You medium goals will be your monthly goals you will set, these will be set once you understand your body and how it responds to training. Medium goals may look like: gaining 1kg muscle in 2 months, benching and extra 10kg within 2month. They should be realistic and adapted once you understand all elements of training, diet, and your body responsiveness.
Short-term goals will aid the medium goals. Short-term goals should never be definitive, but more relaxed as you want to be flexible in your training methods to prevent your body and muscles from becoming tolerant with your workouts.
Short-term goals could look like: adding an extra 5kg to the bench in a session, adding extra 5 reps to a set, or doing 2 extra sets for a particular routine.

Level Which The Body Is Conditioned 

For any beginner, the initial 3 months will often see the fastest rate of muscle growth, and then it will taper off – this initial period will induce the most shock for your muscles.
So the next factor is ‘what level of conditioning your body is at’. Well-conditioned bodies will take longer to notice massive changes in short periods of time, as they have been predisposed to some sort of muscle hypertrophy and conditioning, despite the quality of training. However having some experience will allow for smoother transitions in training and reduce chances of injury, due to better muscle coordination.

Knowledge & Experience 

The next factor building on the last is ‘your knowledge and experience level’. How well do you understand proper muscle hypertrophy techniques, effective routines, and a solid understanding of form and mind-muscle connectivity?
The more knowledge you have acquired the better quality of training will incur. You can optimize your training to prevent your body from becoming complacent with your muscle stimulation routines. This also means you can set optimal training regimes and set the optimal number of training days per week that is tailored to your body requirements.

Body Type

The next major factor is ‘your body type’. Whether you are an ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph, it is key to understanding your body type so you can effectively train for it and acquire the results you want. Your body type will affect the rate of muscle gain, muscle definition, and fat loss. So read up on body types to better understand this!


The next major factor is ‘diet’. Is your diet sufficient in calories? Are you getting the right sort of nutrients? Are you taking in the right amount of protein for you body mass?
You will need to really take time over building a diet plan and understanding your caloric and nutritional needs. Supplements many also need to be included, especially if progression is stalling.

The Importance of Rest

One factor many take for granted is ‘rest’. Without sufficient rest and sleep, the muscle tissue will not repair itself fully. This means that you are not be maximizing the potential for your muscle to grow, and secondly, without sufficient rest, you could be putting extra stress on your muscles before it has the ability to fully repair, which could lead to injury.


So How Long Does It Take To Build Muscle?

To put on serious muscle, to a bodybuilder standard, Arnold Schwarzenegger says it can take up to 4 years of muscle mass building to lay a foundation for muscle refinement. However, this is to a high level with strict regimes. Depending on your body type and goals you should be looking at 6 months to see results that will keep your motivation their long term. This will set a foundation for knowledge and overall development, however, you should be focused on a time consisting a few years.

You should “place” time behind you. The only real way to get the results you have always wanted and to see the progression long-term is your mentality. Can you find something inside you that will keep you motivated long-term? It is imperative to stay motivated, as consistency is key. Consistency in training, diet, and mentality will get you the results you are ultimately looking to achieve.