How Long Does It Really Take to Change Your Body?
How long does it take to see results from exercise? Can you get in shape in a month? How long to get fit? - Probably, these are the most frequently asked questions, I’ve heard from the gym newcomers during my 8-year career as a fitness trainer.
So, What do I Say?
Unfortunately or luckily, it depends! It depends on lots of factors - from genetics to age, from motivation to a health condition, and even from financial well-being to your lifestyle. Everyone’s different and has a unique background, so there can’t be a one-size-fits-all answer to how long does it take to see results from exercise when you start working out.
Someone picks up weights for several years but only makes the arms stronger, without putting on any muscle mass, while another can get 20 pounds bigger in a year due to their genetics. And there are many life examples like this in a gym.
Well, let’s find out what are the main pitfalls, preventing us from desirable fast results, what can you do to maximize your performance, and if you can you get in shape in a month without damaging the health.
How Long Does It Take to See Changes in Your Body?
For those, who are looking for a magic fat loss and muscle build pill, congrats - it exists! TIME & CONSISTENCY are the magic formula that WORKS FOR EVERYONE.
Changing your body doesn’t happen overnight - it’s a complex process, which is happening gradually on multiple levels in our body:
- After a Workout: Some changes start to occur at a physiological and hormonal level.Gabrielle Maston, dietitian and exercise physiologist says: “After a few days of healthy eating, people feel better, coupled with the body tiredness from working out that promotes good sleep”.
- In 2-4 weeks – FEEL the difference: Energy boosts, strength begins to increase, excess water in the body reduces, overall health state and body functioning improve.
- In 4-6 weeks – NOTICE the difference: Some of the clothes start fitting a bit baggy, and you can notice the difference in the mirror or in your progress pictures. The body composition is transforming, it becomes smaller and tighter, and of course, the body measurements are dropping a couple of centimeters.
- In 6-8 weeks – SEE the difference: Yes, it’s about 2 months, not a week or two (like most ads promise). If you’re not planning to sacrifice your health for the sake of body image, about 6-8 weeks is the time that takes to see REAL changes.
What Does My Progress Depend On?
1. Anthropometry (Body Type)
Bearing the principles of anthropometry in mind, it’s easy to define your body type: ectomorph (skinny), mesomorph (athletic physique), endomorph (solid and soft body). You can also complete the online test to find out if you’re one of these types or a mixed type.
Workout goals vary for each body type:
- Ectomorph - grow and gain muscle weight; relief is not a problem for ectomorphs, as the fat percentage in the body is very low and there is no need to burn calories, just add some “meat”.
- Endomorph – shred body fat, “dry” muscles, and work on the body relief.
- Mesomorph – work on relief and mass gain are proportional.If you build your workout, basing on your body type, the process of body transformation will definitely speed up.
Also, keep in mind the fact the younger body is the easier and faster your results are.The human body is adjustable to different experiments and transformations up to the age of 27, as at this period the hormonal balance is very dynamic - all metabolic processes, including fat burn, are rather fast, and the level of growth hormones and testosterone is high.
After 27 y.o., these figures tend to decline.
Motivation is an important component, which affects significantly your performance. It’s not a problem to stay motivated for 2-3 months, but when the progress starts slowing down, and the training becomes routine, many people give up.
Make sure you keep your motivation fire burning all the time not to stop halfway across your success.
4. Skills & Knowledge
If you come to the gym with no clue what you’re going to do, you’ll waste lots of your time instead of investing it into your body.
Do you know the answers for: “What to do? When to do? How to do?” Not yet? - Surf the net, read fitness books or articles, watch YouTube videos, analyze different training programs, ask for a trainer’s help.
Also, it the speed of your body transformation depends on how skillful in sports you are.
“If you have been out of shape, or not working out for 10 years - or forever - it will generally take about two months of working out most days of the week to get to a moderate level” - Nikki Glor, creator of NikkiFitness videos.
A significant body transformation is a complex process, which is not limited by workout only. Nutrition is about 70% of your success, believe it or not. No matter, if you’re putting on or losing weight, the healthy diet is the key to achieving your goal.
Focus on Paleo-type foods and enough protein (chicken, fish, protein shake), eat more fat on non-training days (nuts, avocado, almond butter), on workout days try to eat more carbs (fruit, rice).
6. The Price
How much are you ready to pay to see faster results from exercise?
Today, there is an incredible amount of different studios, gyms, classes. You can have a personal fitness instructor, train with ultra-modern equipment, and drink fat-burning cocktails in a fitness bar. Arithmetic is easy: the more you pay - the faster you transform.
Little Tips to Accelerate the Results
Imagine You’ve Already Succeeded
The power of our mind is underestimated. However, numerous researches show that it’s really huge.
When you only start your way to the body of your dream, imagine that you’ve already achieved what you want. Plunge into this atmosphere. Close your eyes and imagine your strong relief body, imagine the turning heads and dozens of compliments you receive. Visualize, build a brain – muscles connection, and work out with full awareness of where you’re striving.
Make a Plan
Just like planning helps organize your day and make it more productive, it helps to build a fit body in the shortest time possible. Plan every single training, right up to the number of sets and reps. Make it as detailed as possible - set small goals, and tick every achievement. Tracking previously performed tasks in your plan will stimulate you to do more and more.
Make your plan convenient for you: write it down into a notebook, draw a wall chart, or make a weekly table plan.
You’re Like a Seed
Compare yourself with a seed: when you plant it (start working out), you can’t expect it to grow right at the moment. At first, you can’t even see what’s going on under the soil, but it doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. If you keep watering and properly nourishing your seed, without seeing it growing and changing, one day it will pop up and amaze everyone around.
Your goal must be S.M.A.R.T.:
S - Specific (Do you want to lose weight? Get stronger? Have a relief body? Gain muscle mass?)
M - Measurable (How many centimeters? Pounds? Minutes?)
A - Achievable (Move from one small achievable goal to another)
R - Result-oriented (Rather than the process)
T - Time-limited (How long are you going to work on one small goal from your plan?)
Always aim higher. If you want your body to change, remember to constantly increase the number of sets and reps, the difficulty, and the weight.
If you’re oriented on a relatively fast and significant result, avoid gentle exercise - make it maximally challenging and tough to force your bodywork.
Have a Rest
No matter how hard you’re training, you won’t notice a significant breakthrough unless you make time for recovery. At least one full rest day per week and replacing workload on different muscle groups at least every two days are the key to fit and balanced body.
If you want to see results from exercise as quickly as possible, consider different factors that affect the performance greatly, follow little tips mentioned above, and never give up if you feel like just treading the water. Keep calm, if you’re working out, some amazing transformations are already happening inside - all you need is to give them some time to show off.
Pay attention to planning your progress, know your goal, go for it, and realize what stage you currently are. Move gradually from stage to stage, from achievement to achievement, enjoy the process, and you won’t even notice how fast your body is changing.
I really hope that after reading this article you’ll never ever ask anything like “Can I get in shape in a month?”. Just do it and the success will be forthcoming!