Build muscles: how long it takes to see the muscles?

Build muscles: how long it takes to see the muscles?

If you want to define your body, the question inevitably arises: How much time do I have to plan for muscle building?? Smart fitness goals don’t just need a realistic and measurable target, but also a deadline. This is the only way to stay motivated. How long and often you should train and after which period of time you can measure an increase in muscle on your biceps, butt and co. can be measured, we clarify here.

The bad news first: Converting fat into muscle is a great idea, but unfortunately physiologically not possible. After all, these are two fundamentally different body processes: In the mass phase, additional energy is needed as building material, i.e. about 300 to 500 kilocalories more than you burn, and when breaking down body fat, about the same amount of energy must be saved so that the body can fall back on its fat reserves. To do this, however, you first need to know how many calories you burn every day: Activity trackers are a real help here.

In the long term, of course, it is already feasible to lose fat and build muscle. Theoretically, you can even crank up both processes within a day of each other. In the professional field, however, no one would try this, because the result is not calculable. A goal such as reducing two to five percent body fat can be achieved within a few weeks. Build two or three kilos of muscle mass too. However, achieving both with the same training and especially nutrition plan is highly unlikely and that’s why you should put one before the other. The order doesn’t matter, as long as you continue to do weight training even in a calorie deficit and eat a protein-rich diet so that the body primarily breaks down fat instead of muscle. How much protein is recommended, we explain elsewhere.

Time factor for training volume and frequency

The good news: You decide for yourself how much valuable training time you dedicate to your goal of building muscle. Some people swear by two to three longer whole-body workouts per week, while others rely on split training, which is divided into several shorter workouts for individual muscle groups. More and more athletes prefer super sets to long set breaks in order to fit even more exercises into the workout in the most time-effective way possible. In other words, instead of taking a set break after a back exercise, you can do an abdominal exercise or alternate between biceps and triceps. Super sets have the advantage that you burn even more calories and additionally push your strength endurance. However, due to the lack of recovery between two exercises, the risk of injury is higher.

So if you’re just getting into strength training or want to build strength and muscle mass as a priority, you’re better off with set rests. Later, it can also be useful to vary the weight, the number of repetitions or the exercises themselves, as well as the set breaks. So you provide new training stimuli and do not stagnate at one level. In principle: three, better still four strength trainings in the week should invest you for your goal muscle structure already, break days for the regeneration belong to the muscle structure apart from the correct nutrition however just the same to it.

And whether super sets or not: Before each workout, you should warm up loosely for ten minutes, for example on a cardio machine of your choice. Stretching after training. The strength training itself should not last longer than one hour.

Woman in front of barbell in gym

If you train more than three times a week, you can also build a split training plan. (© 2018 Getty Images/Westend61 )

Time factor until muscles are sprouting

How fast someone builds up muscle mass depends on various factors that can hardly be influenced:

  • First of all, the training experience is crucial. Beginners in the first year build up much faster and more muscle mass than someone who has been training for more than five years. At some point, the end is reached and the body has reached its individual muscle limit.
  • Conversely, someone who used to be very muscular can get back into shape twice as quickly, because the body has a kind of "muscle memory" has.
  • The genetic prerequisites such as the physique, the muscle structure as well as the distribution of the fat cells and the speed of the metabolism are decisive for muscle building. Men have a clear advantage here.
  • Equally relevant is the hormonal situation: men produce much more testosterone than women. Even birth control pills or hypothyroidism can negatively affect muscle growth. But even if you don’t have the perfect starting position, you can still achieve a lot and should make every effort – then you will also achieve success.

With a good genetic as well as hormonal starting position, a male beginner can gain up to twelve kilos of muscle mass in the first year. This corresponds to about one kilogram per month. For women, the assumption is about half that, i.e. a maximum of six kilograms of muscle mass in the first year. From the second year of training, male athletes can also only expect to gain up to six or a maximum of eight kilograms of muscle mass in twelve months, and after about five years only one or two kilograms. The prerequisite is in any case a sophisticated continuous training, which always sets new stimuli, sufficient regeneration, so that no overtraining threatens, and the right muscle food.

Whether you’re a beginner or just getting back into the swing of things – muscle training with digital support is worthwhile

Now know that beginners and returners have double reason to hit the weights, because they build muscle mass twice as fast with up to one kilogram per month. Women have it a bit harder due to their genetics and can only expect half at the most. So don’t be afraid, girls, of losing your femininity through muscle training – on the contrary, everything will become firmer, your posture better and you will be altogether more vital and healthier. After two months everyone should already be able to see the first successes. This can even be documented with a smart body analysis scale: We tested models from Garmin, Nokia and Medisana.

The white body composition monitor Medisana BS 444 Connect

With a body composition monitor like the Medisana BS 444 Connect you can measure your training successes. (© 2018 CURVED )

The promise of muscle success is of course only valid if training stimuli, nutrition, regeneration and last but not least the good will are right. For this reason the goal muscle mass to develop is also more fastidious than body fat to diminish. Here’s a simple rule: If you take in fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. With activity trackers and nutrition apps, you can work out for yourself how quickly you can do this.

Conclusion and training apps for further reading

Whatever you set out to do, be patient, keep at it and don’t get discouraged. The right apps will take your training to the next level again and again: read about the top 5 most effective strength exercises for muscle building or find the best exercises for Leg Day, your six-pack, strong arms, a strong chest or a trained back. What helps with sore muscles, we have prepared in an article as well as the best apps to create and maintain strength training plans. And with this app you can get tickets to the gym, no strings attached.

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