How long should my workouts be to gain muscle

How long should my workouts be to gain muscle?

Bulk Supplements Direct

By bulksupplementsdirect

There is no ‘one perfect’ answer to “how long my workouts should be to gain muscle”. But good for you, you’re reading this because you have an interest in building muscle and looking good, and right here is your first steps to achieving your goals.


A general timeframe for your workouts for increased muscle mass would be 30 to 40 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week, of progressive weight training. A progressive weight training routine means “to gradually increase your weight, frequency, or number of repetitions in your strength training routine”  


Another important point to note is each rep in every set must be done conscientiously and with postural control to ensure that the correct muscles are stimulated. When starting out, since only you are in that body and knows for sure its capabilities, start with lighter weights and perhaps 8 (just a suggestion) reps so that your sets can be strong. A little feel-good hint; look at the muscle you are working out and watch every day as the scaffolds turn into the fully grown, sexy shape you’re aiming for!


Please note that there are many factors when it comes to considering how long your workouts should be. Let’s take a look at some, shall we?

How long should my workouts be to gain muscle


One example is genetics, which is very often overlooked (you might never look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Martina Navratilova if you come from a family of beanpoles {ectomorphs} or cuddly teddy bear types {endomorphs}). Understand your body type and work on a weight training plan that compliments your body type for a minimum of 12 weeks before expecting to see results.

What about Sex?

Well, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. While most of us are aware that testosterone plays an important role in muscle gain for men, few are aware that oestrogen plays a very important role in muscle gain for women. Interestingly enough, muscle mass will develop the same in both sexes if they stuck to the same program with the same amount of repetitions at the same consistency.


The visibility of muscle in women, however, is much slower. That is because women have around 12% body fat whereas men, as a general rule, have 3%. This means that women will have to be more persistent and more self-disciplined in order to achieve their desired outcomes. Along with the fact that society doesn’t generally view ‘ripped’ women with quite as much admiration as they do men, maybe it won’t be so hard for women to achieve their desired outcomes.

Types of Exercises

“Full-body workouts may accelerate your results” touts Dayne Stephen on workoutmeals.com.au. Here he points out that you can combine training different muscle groups together on all gym (or home) training days. In his example, he alludes to doing 5 x bench presses, 5 x incline dumbbell presses and 5 x cable flies on three separate days i.e. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as opposed to having exclusive ‘chest day on Monday.


This makes perfect sense when you realise that our muscles need 48 hours to repair themselves, and consistent training on that muscle group will indeed accelerate your results. It is, of course, also important that you understand which exercises target which muscles to get maximum gains in your specified timeframe.

Diet / Nutrition

I assume if you’re reading this blog, then you’re fully aware that cheeseburgers with fries and pizza on alternate nights are not the ideal diet for training for muscle gain! Your body needs more protein during this time, both pre-and post-workout. Essentially what happens during a workout aimed at muscle gain is that you tear, sometimes shred, your muscles and protein is essential for repairing these tears and helping the muscle grow quicker.


Ideal foods include eggs, chicken breasts, lean beef, salmon, tuna and Greek yoghurt. That leaves us with the when? A good guideline is 2 to 3 hours before and not more than 2 hours after completion. Your muscles are in need of reparation after your workout, so to optimally aid the ‘repair and grow’ process, eat soon after. Just to re-confirm my first statement, junk food is a complete NO-NO. You will be defeating all the hard work you put in the workout by spiking your caloric intake with junk food.

To Supplement or Not To Supplement, That is the Question?

Whey protein supplements are a good bet for a post-workout protein aid. It’s quick, can be drunk on the run and easily prepared. They are NOT to take the place of a healthy diet! They are supplemental…which means additional help for the muscle ‘repair and grow’ process. There is a wide range on the market, so do your homework and find the best one for you.

Beginner or Intermediate?

I think it’s safe to assume that we can reasonably omit the experienced, avid trainer from this section, don’t you? Here’s the lovely fact about being a beginner…they see results much quicker than at any other level!


From a species that thrives on immediate gratification, that is brilliant news to help keep the momentum going. Remember, the trick is to start at a pace that does not discourage the next workout. So you will start at lower reps and weights, but this will not affect how long your workouts to gain muscle should be.


And for the intermediates, just don’t lose hope when the perceived results are not as immediate. Continue to make the progression by increasing your weight, frequency or number of repetitions, depending on how much you want to bulk up, and in what areas…lads, always keep Johnny Bravo in mind!


To sum up, your workout should feel like you’ve worked out, should be focused and deliberate, and with a precise goal in mind. You should have a program that you stick to and healthy eating habits that become part of your lifestyle. You should be committed to the end result.


That way, 30 to 40 minutes go by in a blink of an eye, but the elation and muscle mass will continue to grow.


It is purported by experts that it takes 21 days to build a habit (always seems quicker with a bad habit!). Realistically, give yourself the space of 3 months of consistently working on your progressive 30 to 40-minute workout plan. That should do the trick.


Who of us these days can honestly say that we cannot find the time in our day to reap all these benefits? Especially during these times of Covid and enforced social distancing, who does not want to be the best version of yourself and deviate from the depressing scenario that is today? I bet all of us can find those 30 to 40 minutes in our day…

FAQs : How long should my workouts be to gain muscle

What ailments could prevent me from following this strategy?

  • According to the Mayo Clinic staff, chronic illnesses such as ‘heart disease, diabetes, asthma and joint or back pain’ would need your doctor’s approval before starting this kind of exercise regime.


  • If you have a fever, this means that your immune system is under attack and exercise will exacerbate your condition. Also, you are more prone to dehydration when you have a fever, so give your body a rest and return to exercising when it has cleared.


  • If you have a cold, flu or lower respiratory chest infection, the above symptoms of fever will probably apply, plus you’ll be in a really bad mood. Wait for it to clear before going out and giving everyone the virus or annoying everyone by walking around like a “bad-mood-bear”.


  • You have persistent pain after the last workout. Go see a doctor immediately.


What age would I have to be to start building muscle?

Research indicates that children as young as 12 can begin, and that’s the only limit there. Two years ago, Steve Harvey had 72-year-old buff bodybuilder Josefina on his show, and she only started at 59!

Should I lose weight first?

No, workouts to gain muscle also burn fat, so start with common sense and caution. Obviously, it would depend on how overweight you are before it is considered safe, but a rule of thumb here is if you’re just carrying around excess weight that doesn’t hinder your health or movement, you’re good to go.

If I am on a Keto diet, can I still build muscle?

There is ongoing research regarding this and in fact, some that posit that the ketogenic diet is favourable for muscle gain. Be sensible and get to know and love your body. It is, after all, the reason you’re reading this…how to gain muscle and be bootylicious

Will my muscle turn to fat when I stop working out?

Myth, myth, myth!! MUSCLE cells (mostly protein, amino acids and water) and FAT cells (adipose) are completely different in structure so one will never become the other. Here Piedmont.org explains what we see…’When you aren’t working out regularly, your body composition starts to change. With a lack of physical activity, muscle cells will shrink. With less calorie burn, fat cells will start to expand, making the body look softer.’ That’s not to say that it doesn’t look like our muscles turn to fat…

How long should my workouts be to gain muscle

Ultimate 6-Week Muscle Building eBook!

69 Pages of everything you need to know to pack on muscle in a 6 week training and nutrition plan. Free and available for a limited time! Download Now!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Don't Miss Out!

Subscribe to our private newsletter to receive the latest news, views and offers!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more information.