It is very common for our personal training clients to begin exercising with the expectation that they will see significant physical changes within only a few weeks of training. This is not only common for our clients initially, but also for anyone who is embarking upon a journey to reshape their body.
So if you've just begun exercising, it is very important to understand how long it takes until you see results from exercise. For, if you begin an exercise programme with unrealistic expectations, this can be extremely discouraging a few weeks down the track when you do not notice the physical results that you expected.
How Long Does It Take To See Results From Exercise?
It really depends upon a number of factors, including:
- Your goals
- Your body/genetics
- Your approach to nutrition
- Your approach to exercise
- Your health
- Your general lifestyle
Everyone will have differing attributes to each of the categories above - all of which will affect the time in which you see physical changes. Let's consider each briefly:
Your goals and how they affect how long it takes to see results from exercise
If you wish to lose weight only, then you will most likely see relatively quick results as compared to someone who is seeking to build muscle. The reason is simple - for most of us, it is much easier to lose fat than it is to build muscle, given that you follow an effective approach to achieving this goal.
You may wish to read up on my previous blog post which discusses muscle gain, fat loss, and the relative rates at which you can accomplish each goal
Your body/genetics and how they affect how long it takes to see results from exercise
Some people have the ability to lose fat at an amazing rate, without being able to build muscle efficiently. These people typically have the phenotype of an "ectomorph". Others can build muscle relatively quickly without the ability to lose fat weight quickly. These people typically have the phenotype of an "endomorph". Meanwhile, there are people who can lose fat and build muscle very efficiently, typically having a "mesomorph" phenotype.
Often no one is one or the other. This is a "scale" of classifications of body types and you will often lie somewhere in between each of these extremes.
Your approach to nutrition and how it affects how long it takes to see results from exercise
Some people prefer a full-on approach to nutrition, in order to provide the body with optimal nutrients for optimal results. Others prefer a balance between their lifestyle and their physique goals. If you are chasing after some body reshaping goals, the rate at which you can expect to see results really depends upon how disciplined you are with your nutrition.
Remember though - fast results aren't always the best results. If you are better off in the long-term following a more relaxed approach to nutrition (as are most people), do not try and go gung-ho on a "diet". You will be setting yourself up for disaster as soon as you fall off the wagon.
Your approach to exercise and how it affects how long it takes to see results from exercise
Similarly to nutrition, your dedication to your exercise programme will profoundly impact the rate at which you see physical changes. Are you the type of person who can train in the gym six times a week and enjoy it? If so, you have the ability to see some relatively quick results compared to if you can only train 2-3 times per week.
As with nutrition, you do need to establish a healthy balance with your exercise programme and your lifestyle. If you cannot sustain a high volume of workout sessions, don't even try to. The key is in sustainability for long-term results.
Your health and how it affects how long it takes to see results from exercise
Your health can play a major role in the rate at which it takes to physically realise the hard work you have invested in achieving your goals. This is a very broad topic and can range from your physical capacity to exercise intensely, right through to testosterone levels and even medical disorders that can prevent fat loss. This is highly individualistic and obviously being in optimal health is the most effective way to accomplish any goal.
This does raise a very important point. Because your health is critical in accomplishing all health and fitness goals, this means that you need to respect your body. Consequently, you should ALWAYS follow a healthy approach to exercise and nutrition (which means no fad dieting or outlandish detox diets). This also means that when you exercise, you should do so in a safe manner as to avoid the risk of injury.
Your general lifestyle it affects how long it takes to see results from exercise
Again, a very broad topic. How well you sleep, how much you stress, how active you are in your daily activities, how often you socialise etc all have a profound impact on the rate at which you can expect to see results, no matter what your goal.
A blanket statement for how long it takes to see results from exercise...
Having got to this point, you will understand that everyone is different and there is no finite period of time that it will take for all people to see results. Assuming that you are in good health and have a reasonable approach to nutrition and exercise, you can generally begin to see considerably physical changes within 6-8 weeks. It may be longer or it may be shorter based on what has been proposed above.
If you have been exercising for a prolonged period of time and have not seen any physical results, then something does need to be changed. Einstein once said "If you change nothing, nothing will change" - oh how true that is. So if this is the case, I would strongly suggest considering the assistance of a fitness professional. We of course do offer the leading Australian online personal training service which you may wish to consider.