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How Fast Can You Build Muscle Naturally?

author image Elisha Ryan
Elisha Ryan has been an NASM certified personal trainer since 1999 and a physical therapist since 2011. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science with a minor in journalism and a master's degree in physical therapy.
How Fast Can You Build Muscle Naturally?
A woman toning her muscles in a runner's lunge. Photo Credit: alexmillos/iStock/Getty Images

Advertisers in the health and fitness industry would like you to believe that with the right equipment, diet products or nutritional supplements you can quickly transform your physique into a lean, mean, muscular machine. But how fast and how much muscle you can build naturally depends on a plethora of variables. Your genetic predisposition, age, body type, metabolism, diet, training techniques and proportion of fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers all play a roll. However, with the right techniques, you can transform your physique to the best it can be in approximately 12 weeks.

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Genetics, Body Types and Other Factors

The average percentage of muscle that most individuals can gain is between 20 to 40 percent after several months of training. Your personal percentage is predetermined by your DNA, and will most likely fall somewhere in that range. Also, your percentage of fast and slow twitch muscle fibers and how they are distributed throughout your body make a difference. Whether you're male or female, your testosterone levels will also play a roll. Most of these things you can't control; however, you can control your workout intensity, techniques and diet.

Cover All Your Bases

Without some expensive testing, you have no way of knowing your hormone levels and muscle fiber distribution. To maximize your muscle growth potential, ExRx says variety is the key. Use variable resistance training techniques that incorporate both heavier weight and low-rep sets with lighter weight and higher-rep sets. This technique will ensure that you are targeting all your muscle fibers and will help you to build muscle at your fastest possible rate. Also, change your routine and exercises every month or two. Remember to gain muscle you must gain strength, so a gradual increase in the amount of weight you are using for both heavy and light training is necessary.

The Importance of Food

The saying " you are what you eat" is absolutely true, especially if you are trying to make gains in muscle mass. Without the proper fuel, you won't have the energy to sustain your workouts and your body will not have the nutrients it needs to build new tissue. It's tricky to walk the fine line between eating too much and not enough. Feed your body small meals every couple of hours. Incorporate lean, high-quality proteins, complex carbohydrates and fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal.

Safety and Tips

Check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for exercise. Weight training has numerous benefits, but it's important to avoid injury. Warm up for weight training with some light cardio or a couple light sets of each exercise. It's possible to be strong and stay limber as long as you stretch during and after your workouts to maintain your flexibility. Educate yourself on the proper form and techniques of weight-training exercises.

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