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You’ve probably heard that muscle growth is a slow process. It often goes like this:

“It often takes years to build noticeable amounts of muscle.”

But how true is that, and is there no hope of making significant improvements in the short term?

Let’s discuss.

Rates Of Muscle Growth Will Vary
There isn’t a clear answer for how long it would take you to build muscle because the process depends on several variables. Most notably:

  1. Your Protein Intake
    How much protein you consume will play a role in your ability to recover from training, be consistent with your workouts, and build muscle. An otherwise healthy diet would not be enough for you to build muscle if you’re not consuming enough protein. According to research, a good intake for most people is anywhere from 1.6 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight.
  1. Your Training Program
    The second major factor in one’s ability to build muscle is the training program. A good program will provide enough stimulus for growth but not too much that you struggle to recover between workouts.
  1. Your Recovery And Sleep
    The third crucial factor in the muscle-building process is recovery. You need to give your muscles enough time to recover before training them again. Failing to do that would lead to overtraining, preventing you from building muscle.
  1. Your Level of Muscular Development
    Another essential factor that determines how quickly you can build muscle is your level of muscular development. The newer you are to training, the more muscle you can build every month. This is possible because your muscles are more sensitive to the training stimulus and adaptations occur more readily.

In contrast, someone who has spent years in the gym will struggle to keep gaining muscle, and improvements will be less noticeable.

Okay, But What’s A Realistic Timeline?
According to most sources, beginners can expect to gain anywhere from 9 to 10.8 kilograms of muscle in their first year of training. If we break that up, it comes out to a gain of 0.75 to 0.9 kilos of muscle per month. Meaning, a true newbie can start noticing significant improvements in how they look within six to eight weeks of starting.

Spend half a year in the gym, and you can gain up to 5.5 kilos of muscle and a good amount of strength. Regardless of how you look at the start, that much muscle will improve how you look and function.

Sadly, rates of muscle growth take a dive after the first year of training and continue to diminish with each successive year in the gym. At some point, you will have to work twice as hard to gain no more than 0.5 to one kilogram in a year of serious and consistent training.

The good news is that most people are far from that point and still have plenty of room to grow and develop their strength. So, what does this mean for you? Don’t spend too much time obsessing over your genetic limit. Instead, focus on doing your work and being consistent. The road might seem long, but you will eventually reach a point where you look amazing, and people come up to you for advice.

March 11, 2022 — Daniel Felstein

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