Alright, so I was thinking about, how long does it take to build muscle?
I’ve been asked this question a lot. We talked to a couple of clients and they’ve been talking about: I’m not losing as much weight, maybe it’s muscle weight that I’ve been building up.
Which it could be, but I wanted to break down specifically how long it actually takes realistically to actually build muscle over time.
So a couple things, fat loss is super simple. If we look at fat loss: 3,500 calories equals one pound. So I’ll give you an example. If you’re tailoring TDE, your total daily energy expenditure is 2000 calories per day. Meaning your body burns 2000 calories per day. And if you eat 1500 calories per day it gives you a 500 calorie deficit. Over one week, you should have a negative 3,500 calorie deficit, which would equal one pound loss per week.
There’s other variables obviously involved in that, but fat loss is pretty simple in that situation. This is where most of the majority of our clients are at. 80% of you guys are at, we just want to make sure we create a bigger deficit. One way we can create a deficit is eating less and working out more. And that way we increase the amount of energy and decrease the amount of expenditure.
Also making sure our macros are right. You guys have probably seen our nutritional priorities pyramid. Those are some concepts to understand fat loss, but fat loss is pretty simple.
Now muscle gain is not as simple of an equation for example if you added 3,500 calories per week, you wouldn’t gain one pound of muscle.
Some of it’s going to be fat and some of it’s going to be muscle because anytime you’re at a surplus, your body’s only going to utilize so much muscle. And a lot of it has to do with what’s called protein turnover.
It’s basically your body’s ability to replace what muscles you have on your body with new muscles. And for most people that actually takes seven to 10 days. Some other proteins in your body like ligaments, could even take up to 10 months to replace.
That’s why when you have to rehabilitate an injury, it takes a while for those ligaments or cartilage to regrow. And that’s why rehab is such a long process because those proteins take a longer time to resynthesize. But on average, men will gain about a quarter pound to half a pound of muscle per week. Though, there’s a lot of variables in that. The average woman will gain 0.2 to a quarter pound of muscle per week.
So in a month, the max amount of muscle men could possibly gain is probably about two pounds of muscle.
For women, the max amount of muscle you would maybe gain is about one pound. And this is if certain things are there. Number one, if there’s sufficient protein in your diet, which I’ve talked about before, if you have progressive overload exercises, and if you’re getting enough recovery.
So all these things make muscle gain a little bit more complex. There’s a lot more variables involved when it comes to muscle gaining versus fat loss.
The sufficient protein for most people I prescribe is that 25 to 40% of your calories should be coming from protein. That should give us enough protein in our diet in order to help us build and maintain. Make sure that we have enough protein floating around in our blood so that our body can use it to rebuild the muscle.
Now, there also has to be a balance of complete proteins. Proteins are made up of something called amino acids. There are essential and non-essential amino acids essential. Meaning that you have to get them from foods and non essentials. Our bodies can’t make them. So we want to make sure that we have a proper balance of amino acids in order to support our body’s muscle building potential.
Let’s go into progressive overload. This is for exercises typically.
If you’re in our group classes, we take care of this by making sure we differ in very different things. We tell you to increase the reps until a certain amount of time. And then we increase the rep, the weight, increase the sets, or you can change the tempo as well.
And these are all different ways to increase volume. Volume and progressively increased volume over time. And that’s how you keep your body building more muscle. Because if you keep doing the same thing every single day, your body actually develops mechanical efficiencies. So your body actually gets way more efficient at doing that movement.
Think about walking for example, we’re pretty conditioned to walk.The more we walk, the better we get at it because our body’s natural instinct is to adapt to that movement of walking. Same thing with some of the exercises we do. If we do the same exercises over and over and over again, not adjusting the volume, our body’s going to get used to it. It’s not going to need to want to build more muscle. So we’re going to want to progressively overload over time.
The last variable to look at when it comes to building muscle is sleep. The name of the game once you’ve gotten to recovery is sleep. It’s a huge part of maintaining your fitness and your health. You want to work hard, but you want to rest even harder, in order for your body to recover.
So you can bounce back and feel good the next day. Making sure that you get six to eight hours of sleep per day really helps. That wraps it up for today on how to build muscle, hopefully that gives you some insight on what it actually takes to build muscle and the things that you actually have to do.
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