Strength comes before muscle

It could take two months before you start seeing gains in the latter.

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Athletes might need to be more patient than they realize when it comes to building muscle. “Sticking with a training program when you aren't seeing results right away affords your body the time needed to make noticeable changes,” says Matt Berenc, CSCS, director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute.

A spike in strength could take as little as three weeks with the speed and endurance benefits happening shortly thereafter, but it could take up to two months before you notice an uptick in lean muscle, says Berenc. In up to six months, the skeletal system will become denser. “Our bones adapt to training just like our muscles; they get stronger so they can withstand impact or the strain of performance.”

Adhere to a training plan for at least six to eight weeks, recommends Berenc, and look for new ways to add stresses. This might be more weight, increasing the reps, or progressing a movement pattern. You can also optimize the process with a focus on good nutrition and by prioritizing recovery. “The body repairs itself at an accelerated rate when we sleep, especially during non-REM deep sleep.”