Strength training builds muscle mass
How fast can you build muscle?
How fast can you build muscle?
How much muscle building can you expect when you train on a good muscle building training plan?
Probably every fitness coach hears these questions on a regular basis.
The internet is full of training programs that "guarantee" 5 kilos of muscle gain in just 4 weeks (e.g. this one).
How realistic is such an assumption?
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I have seen athletes achieve completely different results with identical training programs and (almost) identical nutrition plans.
What influences how fast you can build muscle?
There are five main factors that affect how quickly you build muscle.
1. Age of training
Your training age is the period in which you are already doing strength training.
Beginners build muscles much faster than advanced users who have been training for years. Professionals need the most patience.
2. Hormonal profile
The amount of testosterone and other muscle building hormones in your body can fluctuate.
Among other things, two factors influence how high your level of muscle-building hormones is:
- Do you do strength exercises that release a lot of testosterone? For example, if you neglect leg strength training, you shouldn't be surprised if there is less free testosterone in the blood and muscle building stagnates.
- Does your body produce more or less testosterone “naturally” ...?
... which brings us to the third point.
"Men build muscle two to three times easier than women," a friend and sports scientist once told me when we were discussing the subject.
The fact is, each of us has to play the genetic cards that were dealt to us at birth.
In science, one likes to use the Gaussian bell curve for the statistical assessment of larger quantities. 68% of all people fall into the area of the bell curve, which is referred to as the “genetic average”.
Below I'll tell you how much muscle building you can expect per month if you have “average genes”.
If you are one of those people who tend to have “bad genes” for building muscle - this is really not an argument to throw in the towel. But on the contrary.
4. Muscle memory
Let's say you weigh 90 kg and decide to train for a marathon for the next few months. It could well be that you lose 10 kg of muscle mass during this time.
How long do you need to build up the 10 kg of muscle afterwards?
The good news: Not very long. If you eat right, you can do it in maybe 1-2 months. This is because your body has mechanisms with which it can quickly restore an earlier muscular state of equilibrium (homeostasis). This ability is often referred to as "muscle memory".
5. Legal and illegal supplements
Of course, steroids and other potentially harmful performance enhancing substances can help you build muscle much faster.
But I think you are intelligent enough to do without such illegal means.
There are also some safe food supplements that can have a positive effect on muscle building, e.g. creatine.
How fast can you build muscle?
I would like to introduce you to two models that you can use to estimate how quickly you are gaining muscle and what you can expect from a decent muscle building program.
1st model: muscle building pace according to McDonald's
Lyle McDonald is a fitness coach and writer who also coaches bodybuilders in their diet. The following equation comes from him, which gives you an idea of how many muscles you can build up per month. The table shows the values for men, women can expect about half.
The estimated kilogram of muscle mass that a man can expect each month in the first year of training corresponds to about 250 grams of muscle mass per week. That doesn't seem like much at first, but it adds up to more than 10 kilos in the first year.
In the following years of training, under optimal conditions, you can assume that your progress will be halved each time.
Each of the above five factors can have a positive or negative impact on the pace. The prerequisite for these values is a decent training plan and the appropriate muscle building diet.
While the values given in the table apply to men, Lyle assumes about half for women - i.e. 5-6 kilos in the first year.
2nd model: Muscle building speed according to Aragon
Alan Aragon is a fitness coach, nutritionist and lecturer at the American National Academy of Sports Medicine. It indicates the monthly muscle growth that is realistically possible without prohibited substances as a percentage of the current body weight.
Here, too, women can set about half the values.
According to this, a 60 kg beginner can build up to 900 grams of muscle per month (approx. 7-11 kilos per year). Here, too, of course, provided that he follows an excellent training plan and that he stays tuned to his diet.
If he weighs 70 kg after one year, as an “advanced” athlete he can expect another 350-700 grams of muscle gain per month (approx. 4-8 kg in the 2nd year).
The longer he trains, the slower the muscle build-up takes place. Really massive natural bodybuilders have therefore usually been training for at least 5-10 years.
How reputable are muscle building programs that “guarantee” 5 kg per month?
Under optimal conditions, beginners can expect around 1 kg of muscle growth per month - beginners around half.
Exercise programs that each I consider dubious to “guarantee” customers a plus of 5 kg of “lean muscle mass” per month.
People who gain 5 kilograms of “mass” per month through such a program, most likely gain at least 3-4 kilograms of fat - or they belong to the absolute exceptional personalities with an excellent genetic predisposition.
It can be different when it comes to thereconstruction of muscle mass that you have already owned.
In this case, 5 kilos a month can be quite realistic.
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If massive muscle is your goal, you can achieve a lot in several years with targeted, continuous training and intelligent nutrition.
The small weekly advances can add up impressively over a number of years.
What also becomes clear: Muscle building is not for the impatient - real perseverance qualities are required here. The longer you train, the more patience you can bring with you if you want to make further progress.
You should keep in mind that you will reach the above muscle building pace if you are for optimal boundary conditions (Training, nutrition, regeneration).
In my experience, continuous muscle building can be a lot more challenging than reducing your body fat percentage.
With the appropriate commitment, visible fat loss is more of a matter of Months. Body fat reduction requires some lifestyle and diet adjustments.
Muscle building, on the other hand, is a matter of Years. Continuous training is just as important as the right diet. Overall, this requires more patience and commitment.
If you stick to it for many, many years and train with commitment, you can get close to your genetic limit. In this article you will find out where this natural muscle building limit lies with you.
Question: What experiences have you had in building muscle? What are your goals? How quickly could or do you want to build muscle? Write a comment.
Category: Fitness with M.A.R.K., Muscle BuildingTags: Hormones, Muscle Building Training, Muscle Memory, Muscle Growth, Bad Genes, Testosterone
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