Take a look at the physique below. You can download the image and glance at it whenever you need motivation to continue working out:
Want to know how long it takes to build muscle? The image above is a realistic reference for the mass an average-sized male attains after 4 months of working out.
Charles looks healthy, he has the muscle mass most women prefer, and he didn’t need steroids to get there. (If you’re already much bigger than this model, I’ll help you overcome plateaus to continue getting bigger.)
To repeat: Every adult male can get to the above model’s size with only a few months of working out.
(If you are elderly or suffering from certain diseases, you may be at a disadvantage. Talk to a doctor before weightlifting if you’re concerned about safety.)
If you’re instead starting from frailty, gaining muscle for 3 months gets you here:
That’s 90 days away. Because you build muscle quickly when you’re starting out.
Finally, if you’re already big, you can level up with enough hard work:
Note: Getting significantly bigger than the physique above requires years of work. It gets harder to continue growing after your first few months of bodybuilding. Your increasingly strong muscles require increasingly high stimulus. When you enter this stage, you gain muscle at a rate closer to just ~2 lbs (0.9kg) per year.
Recognize that all these guys have low body fat, which better reveals their muscle mass. (You won’t lose fat by lifting, so weight loss is a separate goal altogether.)
If your motivation for getting huge is having women find you more attractive, here’s a reality check: Most women find the physiques shown above more attractive than the huge physiques found on the covers of muscle magazines.
Studies of women’s preferences are convincing:¹² Most compare men with huge physiques to “… girls wearing too much makeup. It’s too much of a good thing.”
In other words, the majority of women prefer the right side to the left side:
(Still don’t believe it? Just poll your female friends.)
So if your goal is to simply arrive at the optimal size for being attractive to women, you can get there in a few months on a decent workout program.
But, returning to the earlier note about body fat, know that many women prefer it to be as low as possible. Like the models above.