It’s Time to Build Muscle
”But How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle?”
If you’ve decided it’s time to build muscle then there’s a few things to know before you get started. Whether you like it or not, building muscle takes time. On average, when following an efficient lean muscle building program, it takes 2 to 3 weeks to notice any muscle gain. However there are many factors that affect your body’s ability to build muscle and lose fat at the same time, such as body type, age, gender, diet and experience. By learning how these affect the muscle building process, you can use each to your advantage and develop a ripped body in the shortest amount of time.
The Role of Body Type in The Speed Of Muscle Development
One of the most important factors affecting the time it takes to build muscle is your body type.
There are three main body types and your predominant body type will directly affect the time it takes to build muscle. These three main body types are known as ectomorphs, endomorphs and mesomorphs.
Ectomorphs are your typical tall, thin body type. Generally, ectomorphs have very low levels of body fat and very little muscle mass. You will often hear an ectomorph claiming they can ‘eat like a horse’ yet never gain weight.
While some may envy this body type, ectomorphs find it very difficult to gain muscle – in fact, without a detailed weight training program and a high calorie, high carb, high protein diet designed for muscle growth, it can take months for ectomorphs to gain even the smallest amount of muscle mass.
Endomorphs are the opposite of ectomorphs and are your short, ‘fat’ body type.
Generally, endomorphs find it very easy to gain weight but very hard to lose it. They have high levels of body fat and moderate amounts of muscle definition.
Even though endomorphs find it much easier to build muscle than ectomorphs, to get ripped and see great results endomorphs must first focus on losing body fat. Once fat loss has been achieved, endomorphs are able to gain muscle reasonably quickly – certainly much more quickly than ectomorphs – and can see results within 6-10 weeks depending on their training program and diet.
Mesomorphs are the winners when it comes to building muscle and can typically be described as ‘stocky’ (think Vin Diesel). Mesomorphs generally have moderate body fat levels, find it relatively easy to build muscle and lose fat at the same time, and have fantastic muscle definition.
Mesomorphs respond extremely well to weight training and find it very easy to increase strength and muscle size in as little as 4-6 weeks. However mesomorphs weight and muscle mass can fluctuate rapidly if a weight training and diet program is not stuck too.
Why Does Age Slow Down How Long It Takes To Build Muscle?
Sadly, when it comes to building muscle, your age plays a very important role. Like many things in life, building muscle is much easier to do in your 20’s than it is in your 30’s or beyond. That’s not to say you can’t build muscle later in life, just that it takes more time to build muscle once you reach your 30’s.
Why does this slowdown in muscle growth happen?
This is mainly due to your metabolism slowing down once you reach your 30’s. As unfair as that sounds (especially as some 20-somethings take their bodies and muscle definition for granted), it is still possible to achieve excellent muscle building results in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. A quick glance at Hollywood and the likes of Vin Diesel, Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry show that a defined, muscular body is certainly possible regardless of your age.
How Does Your Gender Affect Your Muscle Gain?
Another sad reality you have no control over when it comes to the time it takes to build muscle is your gender. Men tend to have the advantage on this one. The hormone testosterone is one of the main ‘ingredients’ needed to build muscle and is one of the reasons women will (generally) never develop the type of muscle mass men will or build muscle as fast as men. This is great news for the boys and allows them to develop muscle in less time, but if you’re female don’t despair. While lower testosterone levels means it takes women a little longer to develop muscle, with the right weight training program and diet, anything is possible!
Change Your Diet And Reduce The Amount Of Time It Takes To Build Muscle
Your diet is the one factor regarding the time it takes to build muscle that you do have the most control over. Eating well is important no matter who you are or what your goals are. If you truly want to learn how to get ripped and build lean muscle mass, a clean, protein based diet is crucial.
Many body builders and serious athletes follow this type of muscle building diet, consisting of foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, to reduce the amount of time it takes to build muscle. Now this doesn’t mean living on lettuce and fruit..actually quite the opposite.
A clean, protein rich diet limits processed foods wherever possible with the only ‘processed’ foods being consumed usually consisting of dairy foods (milk, yoghurt, cheese), grains (rice, oats etc) and protein supplements (such as protein bars and protein powders). Also increasing the frequency of your meals can drastically reduce the time to build muscle mass.
Eating this way keeps your body in an anabolic state, allowing for the rapid uptake of amino acids by your muscle fibers for muscle growth and repair and efficient replenishing of ATP for sustained energy. Simply eating 5-6 small, high protein meals a day is one of the easiest ways stimulate an increase in muscle gain.
Does Genetics Affect Your Ability to Build Muscle?
Genetics always comes into play in some way, shape or form when trying to transform your body. And it’s no different when trying to build muscle! Just as your body type will determine how hard or easy it is for you to gain muscle, so too does genetics.
Your testosterone levels, muscle fibre type, amount of muscle mass, metabolism and your body’s ability to repair itself all impact the amount of time it takes to build muscle. Unfortunately, much of this comes down to genetics and is difficult to alter.
While this may mean that your genetic makeup might cause you to take longer to build muscle, you can counterattack some of the effects of genetics on muscle growth. For example, adequate sleep leads to an increase in testosterone while an increase in protein intake can lead to a boost in your metabolism.
While the idea of building muscle seems so simple, just go to the gym and lift weights, in reality these factors and many other can affect the amount of time it takes you to build muscle. The good news is that in spite of these factors, you can successfully build muscle quickly. Even if it takes a little longer than it would have if you were younger, with the right diet, protein supplements and training program you can build muscle just like everyone else, starting right now!
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