So you want to start working out and building some muscle? That’s great.  However, I have some news for you.

Building muscle is a slow, slow process. It is a marathon.  If you are not willing to work consistently for muscle growth, you will not see improvements.

However, if you are committed, I must confess that there is no greater feeling than people commenting on your progress, hitting new PR’s, and looking at yourself in the mirror and being more than happy with your body.

The time it takes to build muscle depends on a lot of factors.  How tall are you?  The shorter you are, the easier it will be for you to build muscle.  That is why a lot of muscular guys are in the 5’6” to 5’9” range, as they have shorter arms allowing them to lift heavier, as their short arms lessen the distance they have to pull or push the weight.

What are your genetics like? If your dad was an Olympic power lifter and your mom was a bodybuilder, you are going to have better genetics for putting on muscle than someone whose parents work in an office.  However, if you don’t have great genetics, don’t let that discourage you.  Hard work beets good genetics any day of the week.

How much are you eating?  If you want to gain muscle, especially as a skinny guy like I was, you are going to have to eat a lot.  I am talking well over 3000 calories a day.  Putting on mass is a simple formula.  If you consume more calories than you use, you gain weight.  If you consume fewer calories than you use, you lose weight.  If consume the same amount of calories as you use, you maintain your weight.  In order to build muscle, you need to maintain a constant caloric surplus, filling up your calories with the necessary carbs, proteins, and fats.

Supplementation can also play a factor in gaining muscle.  Obviously, you want to stick with scientifically supported, safe supplements that do not have any dangerous side effects.  Something as simple as a multivitamin or omega 3’s can help you in building muscle.

Depending on these factors, you can expect to gain 1-2lbs of muscle a month if you are beginning, possibly more.  Once you have been lifting weights and made noticeable gains for a year, your progress will slow down.

Once you get into the habit of working out and maintaining a caloric surplus, you are on the path to gaining muscle.  But remember: it takes time.