The internet is saturated with people claiming you can build muscle fast with their special program, diet or product.
Like all things in fitness, building muscle isn’t something that depends on a special routine or diet. It depends upon your ability to fulfill the root cause of muscle growth which is then influenced by a number of factors that you either a) can’t control or b) can control if you’re disciplined enough to do it.
First let’s consider the things you can’t control.
You’re potential for muscle growth depends on the following factors:
– Build and somatotype. Simply put, the more muscle and size you naturally have to begin with the more you’ll be able to build. Just as a big balloon can grow much bigger and faster than a small balloon, the same is true for your body.
– Gender and hormonal profile which is influenced by age and genetics.
A 24 year old male with a naturally high testosterone level is going to build more than a 50 year old female.
– Training history.
You only have so much muscle building potential. Even though you’ll probably never reach your limits you’ve used up more of your potential with a longer training history than someone who is just starting out.
So if you asked me to put as much muscle on someone as quickly as possible my first choice would be a male in his early to mid 20s who’s never trained a day in his life yet already has a massive amount of muscle on his frame. That person will put on the muscle like crazy.
The opposite would be a middle to late age petite female who’s been doing strength training for the past 10 years. That individual is going to have a really hard time putting on even a few pounds of muscle.
These factors are some of the biggest influences in your muscle building potential regardless of your diet and exercise routine. The male in the first routine will still probably build more muscle than the female even if he had a diet and workout routine from a Cracker Jack box while she was trained by the best coaches in the world.
At the end of the day you can only work with the potential you’ve got.
In the next post I’ll go over some of the things you can do to improve your muscle building potential.