HomebodybuildingHow Long Does It Take To Build Muscle Naturally (Without Steroids)

How Long Does It Take To Build Muscle Naturally (Without Steroids)

How Long Does It Take To Build Muscle Naturally (Without Steroids)

See the full video here: How Long Does It Take To Build Muscle Naturally

Read the full transcript below:

So, in this video, we’re talking about how long does it take to put on muscle mass naturally? And I think that a lot of people, because there’s so much in the way of Hollywood actors and people on social media who put on ridiculous amounts of muscle in really small periods of time, there’s this expectation that if you start working out.


That you’re going to put muscle on really quickly and keep on putting on muscle really quickly. And it doesn’t really work that way. In fact, I think that more people would keep on training if they had a realistic expectation and understanding of just how long and incremental muscle building is, if you’re doing it naturally.

actors build muscle fast using drugs like steroids

So, in this video, we’re talking about how long does it take to put on muscle mass naturally and without steroids. Now I’m going to preface this by saying, as I mentioned earlier, that in the movies, we tend to see a lot of actors and sometimes actresses, make remarkable muscle gains in very short periods of time. You can have someone getting ready for a movie and all of a sudden they go from looking like, normal people with average body fat levels, to having deeply etched abs, bulging biceps and bulging pecs. And you might notice, if you look at a lot of the Hollywood actors that when there tends to be that kind of rapid transformation, they don’t necessarily get bigger legs.


But the bottom line is, and I’m going to be very honest with you. Most Hollywood actors getting ready for parts, where they have to make radical changes in their body use drugs. They use some form of steroids or some form of testosterone. And yes, you’ll see them on the talk shows talking about how much chicken breasts they ate and that they trained every single day. And they worked out twice a day. All sorts of nonsense, trying to justify, this remarkable, change in what they look like over a very short period of time.

Natural Bodybuilding Champion CONNOR ST Jean

And to put in perspective a top natural bodybuilder, some of the best natural bodybuilders that I’ve ever seen, I might add, to look like some of the Hollywood actors in the movies have trained anywhere from three, two, five, sometimes even for ten years to attain the look that some Hollywood actors are able to realize within a few months.


And it takes even longer to build muscle naturally and lose body fat to have that look, because if you think about what a Hollywood actor tends to do, they’re not just building muscle, they are building muscle, and becoming more defined at the same time. Now, naturally this is possible without using drugs, but it takes years and years.

it took me 15 years to build muscle naturally

As an example, I started off at 125 pounds at six feet tall when I first walked into a gym. And I would probably say that I’ve been at my biggest at a lean and cut 207 pounds. Now for me to be able to go from 125 pounds to 207 pounds it took 15 years. And we’re not talking about 15 years of “kind of training.” We’re talking about 15 years of dedicating my life to be in the best possible natural bodybuilder in every way possible.


That being said, if you look at an actor, they’re not dedicating their lives to being the best natural bodybuilder ever. And it’s a bit strange that a seemingly regular person could somehow, suddenly look better than some of the top natural bodybuilders on the planet in a very short period of time, which is why there’s we should never try to justify it. And I think that it’s important that we point it out because it creates unrealistic expectations. Very unrealistic expectations. People go to the gym, they start working out and everyone who starts working out is going to have an initial increase in muscle mass that’s going happen really fast.

muscle growth is an adaptive process

If you start working out, within the first six to 10 weeks, you’re going to have a really big change because the muscle mass increase is your body trying to do everything possible to adapt to what you’re doing. So, if you go to the gym, and are training intensely enough. And even if you’re not training intensely, and you are just starting off, your body is going to react to the fact that you’re doing something different. And then it slows down. Really slows down. And it all makes sense if you understand the mechanism behind it.

So, if you stress your muscles with a stimulus, that is one that it’s unaccustomed to, or one that creates a degree of overload, meaning that the muscles are doing more work than it normally does, there’s going to be an adaptation. And that adaptation is going to allow you to perform whatever activity you’re doing better and more efficiently. So, if you’re doing an activity that involves lifting and requires strength, your body adapts by increasing protein synthesis to increase the cross sectional area of the contractile proteins that make up your muscle.


Now, the more contractile proteins you have in your muscles, the larger the cross sectional area and the larger cross sectional area means that when the muscle contracts, the more force it can generate. That’s one way muscles get stronger and it’s called hypertrophy. Now the more contractile proteins you have, the harder it becomes to put on more contractile proteins and increase muscle size because we have a limit to how much muscle we can put on. Now, again, we talked about adaptation and in our evolutionary past we had to adapt to do certain things, but all those adaptations were survival-based. So, once your body has increased protein to adapt for the activity, it’s going to stop.

It has no reason to keep on growing, which is why most people, after at the initial growth, if they don’t change their routines, they are going to see their progress slow down and you stop if they keep on doing the same thing. If they don’t change up the weights and exercises, there won’t be much difference muscle wise because your body’s going to say,

“Well, we’ve already adapted to be able to do this particular exercise and activity. So, we’re good.”


So, as you go along, you have to keep overloading the muscles, which can happen by either increasing the weight that you’re using, which has some limitations, or which is perhaps the most efficient way to do it, which is by continually increasing the intensity and varying the exercises you’re doing. And it becomes more complicated because the more your body adapts, the more your body starts slowing down muscle growth because your body, does not want to do anything more than it has to do in order to survive. Efficiency is key. And the problem is that muscle mass is metabolically costly. As when it comes to how many calories your body needs to maintain a pound of muscle compared to other forms of tissue, it’s a lot. In fact, your body uses the most number of calories trying to maintain your muscle mass, which is why if you’re trying to lose body fat, it’s really important to build as much muscle mass as possible because the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism.

Muscle growth occurs slowly due to survival based reasons

And while that faster metabolism sounds like a really great thing for weight loss, we must remember that we come from a survival-based environment. And so if a human being was to keep on putting on more and more muscle in order to do an activity to survive, it means that human being would also have to keep on increasing their energy intake and be eating more food to sustain the increased muscle. Which is why we have something called myostatin. And myostatin is a gene that stops us from building muscle past a certain point because our body’s going to stop and say,

“Okay, we’ve built enough muscle. We don’t need to go any further because past a certain point, it’s diminishing returns.”

myostatin inhibits muscle growth past a certain point

So, you’re going to get to a point where it requires so many resources for you to survive in the natural environment where we came from, that just wouldn’t make sense survival wise. So, we’re not biologically designed to be bigger than a certain size and anyone who magically gets to that particular size in a short period of time, or who surpasses that size tends to be on steroids because there’s only so much muscle you can build naturally in a short time frame.

PROTEIN SYNTHESIS is a slow and incremental process

Most people, if they do everything right and eat perfectly. It’s going to take them about five years to start looking like they’re getting “the look.” That sounds like a really long time, but that’s how long it really takes to build muscle naturally.  Those who are genetically gifted can do it within the course of sometimes two to three years, but even the gifted among us need two to three years. And when most people talk about how long it’s going to take them to build muscle, they are really talking about building muscle and looking lean at the same time. And it’s not that easy to do because you’re going in two different directions. You’re trying to, number one, build muscle and number two, minimize your body fat to a point where you can see all those muscles clearly. And to do that requires real attention to your diet and time.


Now that being said, your body will do everything possible to resist. The closer you get to a lower body fat percentage, the more your body stops and doesn’t want to go any further. So, it’s really hard as most of us know, to lose those last couple of pounds to look really, really lean. Add onto that the fact that there is only so much muscle you can put on. And the more muscle you put on, the more you have to do, and the longer it’s going to take before you put more muscle on, because your body doesn’t want to put on too much muscle as your body is a very conservative machine. This brings into focus a natural bodybuilder’s dilemma, and also puts into perspective of why most people who need to get ready for a movie or a photo shoot tend to use steroids because it’s really, really hard and impossible in a short period of time.

The problem with protein synthesis is that there’s only so much that can happen every day. You can only increase by a microscopic amount under the best of circumstances if your diet is perfect, if your training is perfect. And then there’s a point where even if you do everything perfectly, it’s going to stop. You’re not going to put on the same amount of muscle if you’re training your entire life in your early teens and twenties, as you will continuously in your forties and fifties. And I think it’s important that instead of looking at other people and thinking about how long it can take to build muscle, it’s important to focus on your own journey. Making it a spiritual journey. Making it a drug free journey where it’s about appreciating the fact that what you’re doing to make you healthier and stronger will also make you better at doing everything that you do in life.

make your path to building muscle naturally a spiritual one

Not just the physical things like carrying the groceries, but because you go into the gym and because you’re pushing yourself further than you normally do, you’re teaching yourself how to go through difficult experiences. Which are absolutely priceless spiritual lessons. Don’t disregard their importance. Focus on them. And when you focus these things, you start enjoying them. And they become part of your life. Time flies when you’re having fun, as they say, and pretty soon you look into the mirror and you realize that that time has passed and you’re starting to look more and more like where you wanted to be. I hope this video helps you on your path and helps you also understand just how long it can take for you to build muscle naturally, but doesn’t discourage you, but instead encourages you, because the important thing is you can do is to stay the course. Excelsior!


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High Intensity Training For Natural Athletes.

For the past thirty plus years I have been training with a system I named Naturally Intense High Intensity Training.

And it helped me go from a 125lb skinny teenager into a successful natural bodybuilder training only THREE TIMES A WEEK with workouts lasting 10, 15 to 20 MINUTES at the most!

It sounds too good to be true but it's not only the cornerstone of my success but also has helped the hundreds of men and women I have trained with it as well over the past three decades.

Most of the popular high intensity training protocols out there were designed for and popularized by enhanced athletes, and they miss by a large mark some important factors that come into play for those who don't use drugs.

I hope it can help you as much as it's helped me and you can see the full video on YouTube by clicking on my bio link- or just look me up there (Kevin Richardson- Naturally Intense)

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High Intensity Training: Pull Ups & Heavy Dumbbell Rows!

Compound sets are tough!

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I Still Get Sore Even After 30+ Years of High Intensity Training!

So the answer to the question as to whether or not I still get sore from my training is:


A resounding yes!

I still get really sore, in fact as I am in pain as I write this as there isn't really a way for my body to adapt to the type of workouts that I do because with Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, every workout is different, so there's never a point where it gets easy!

Thing is, as bad as it gets, it's still something I look forward to as it hurts, but in a good way!

And if you've ever really pushed it and felt the aftermath a day or two after training, you know exactly what I mean!

So keep training hard, know I believe in you and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

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Change the Focus: Looking Good Comes From Feeling Good!

Want to know why I train as hard as I do and never miss a workout even though I haven't stepped on stage in a bodybuilding competition in 19 years?

Want to know how I stay on diet 100% without flinching?

The answer is simple.

I do what I do because it FEELS GOOD.

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Nor do I train thinking that I need to be muscular.

I eat the way I eat because I feel good when I eat that way.

I train the way I train because I feel great when I train that way.

And if I could leave you with just one gem of wisdom towards helping you realize your goals, it would be to stop focusing on the result and instead focus on enjoying the process.

As a natural athlete, realizing your potential often takes years. Not months, years.

And so you have to find a path that sets you up for the long game, and one that also makes you FEEL BETTER in the process.

Forget about the six pack, forget about losing weight, forget about building muscle, and instead focus on what you need to do in order to accomplish those goals.

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High Intensity T-Bar Rows (Home Gym Style)

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Which is why I love landmine T-Bar Rows.

Back in the day at 5th Avenue gym we would stick a barbell in a corner and do T-Bar rows with an Olympic bar and a triangle grip attachment, and I wish we had landmines back then as this set up is much easier (and you don't destroy the wall!, which we often did back at 5th)

This was my last set and I ended at 225lbs which is fairly conservative, but this exercise has a way of sneaking up on you and the weight feeling a thousand pounds heavier towards the end!!!

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Kevin's Hack To Stay Lean 365 Days A Year!

If you are a natural athlete, you need to be in this for the long haul.

Muscle growth takes time, fat loss takes time and being able to be in a place where you both lean and well muscled, takes time as well.

So you need an approach that will allow you to keep on doing what you need to do for years on end, and this is such an approach.

It's a path based approach, one where the six pack, the weight loss, the muscle increase or the increase in strength happens because you are consistently doing what needs to be done in order to get there.

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It's all about focusing on the path, not the destination or the reward and what's even better is that over time the Path itself becomes the reward.

Which over time allows you to be consistent enough to really realize your full potential.

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How I Ate To Gain 70lbs of Muscle Drug Free!

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That five to six year period was the time of my greatest gains, and in this video I go over exactly what and how I was eating at the time, and some aspects might surprise you:

1. I ate only 3 but sometimes 2 meals a day.

2. I didn't have a high protein intake (and it wasn't anywhere near the one gram per pound of bodyweight)

3. I was only in a small caloric surplus, but there were many days when I was actually below.

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And yet I still grew while training mainly 3 days a week with my short high intensity workouts.

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Kevin Richardson
Kevin Richardsonhttps://www.naturallyintense.net
Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, celebrity Personal Trainer NYC and with over 2.6 million readers of his blog, Kevin Richardson is the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, one of the top lifetime drug free bodybuilders of his time, the first International Fitness & Nutrition Consultant for UNICEF, 2020 and 8 Time Winner of the Best of Manhattan Awards for Personal Training and a world recognized authority on high intensity training. Kevin has helped thousands, from celebrities to CEO's over the past 30 years achieve their fitness goals with his 10 minute high-intensity workouts done just three times a week in conjunction with his holistic nutrition approach. You can learn more about about his diet and training services at www.naturallyintense.net

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