One of the most common fitness-related searches on Google is how long does it take to get in shape? But the information generated by this query is far from straight-forward and not always accurate. In fact, one of the biggest reasons why fitness fails people is misinformation. Punch the how long does it take to get in shape into your search engine and your head will explode, especially when you see fitness programs claiming insanely fast results.
If you’ve been caught in the whirl-wind of fitness fads long enough, you know that fast either doesn’t last or is just plain ineffective.
We get the appeal, though. We live in a world where instant-gratification is boss, so when you’re promised the improbable (killer shreds) super fast, and the program doesn’t deliver, it’s pretty easy to call it quits on the whole thing.
That’s where we come in, to answer your question honestly and give you realistic intel on how long it takes to get into shape.
It’s time to debunk some fitness myths and figure out how long it takes to see results.
But first, if you want to get into shape, you have to be able to identify your why.
As in: why are you getting into shape? Are you looking to drop weight, tone, or bulk up; or are you just starting out for general health and wellness purposes? Or is your why a combination of all these goals? Regardless, where you are going will depend on why you are starting.
- Starting to Get Healthy: If you’re just starting out after a long hiatus, you should start to notice some minor changes to your fitness level within two weeks. Going upstairs won’t leave you as winded, you’ll have more stamina for everyday activities like housework—that sort of thing.
- Weight Loss: To sustainably shed pounds, the experts agree 1-2 pounds a week is your target, So, at 2lbs a week that’s about 8lbs in a month, meaning to reach 20lbs of fat loss, it’ll take you between 2-3 months. And remember, getting active isn’t just about dropping pounds, it’s about progressively engaging your body for a healthier body and mind.
- Get Sculpted: If you’re all about taking your fitness to the next level for sculpted muscles and you commit to a balance of weight training, cardio, and clean eating (abs are made in the kitchen, if you’ll recall) then you’ll likely start to see definition in 1-2 months. However, results depend greatly on the frequency and type of exercise you’re practicing. If you’re doing yoga sporadically don’t expect to see muscle definition, but if you’re grinding out a HIIT workout multiple times a week, you will.
- Bulking Up: If more muscle mass is what you’re after then you’ll have full-body results after about of year of consistent hard work. Hard work includes weights, cardio, clean eating, and putting in 100% effort, but it’s doable (just look at our trainers)!
The Factors Affecting Your Fitness Progress
Here are the factors that may jeopardize or accelerate your fit gains.
- Pre-existing Fitness Level: It’s a no-brainer: you can’t expect someone who hasn’t worked out since high school gym class and someone who’s taking their fitness level up a notch to achieve similar results in the same timeframe. If you’ve got any exercise experience and are in reasonable shape, you’ll see results quicker than someone who has never worked out before.
- Exercise Type: You won't get the same results from 60 minutes of walking as you would from 30 minutes of HIIT. Anything that gets your heart rate up and also challenges your muscles will give you faster results.
- Intensity Level: If identical twins decided to get into shape, there would be a huge difference in their fitness results if one twin puts in 100% effort while the other puts in 50%. You want to get your heart pumping and put in a higher level of exertion for better results. Never tried HIIT or in need of something more challenging, join BodyRock+ and get access to 1000’s of videos!
- Diet: You can’t lose weight or sculpt your body without a balanced diet. You don’t have to be perfect but strive to do better by limiting the big no-no’s: fried, fatty, or processed foods. Need help in the kitchen? Grab one of our best-selling nutrition guides and meal plans, on sale now. We have guides for low-carb diets, intermittent fasting, vegans, and more. Whatever your goals and whatever your lifestyle, our guides, and plans provide realistic advice to help you get healthy and stay healthy for the long-term. Check ‘em out.
- Not Enough Quality Sleep: Think getting up on a Monday’s tough? That’s how your body feels when you don’t give it it’s seven hours of sleep a night to repair your muscles after you battered them with a HIIT workout. Remember sleep is critical to your overall health and if you’re not seeing the results you want for your workout, and your nailing your diet, you may want to look to your sleep schedule.
- Rest Days: You’re not a machine. Your body needs breaks from exercise so pencil in some days to just hang out so your body can repair and relax. Read more on the importance of rest days here.
Life happens, and if for whatever reason you fall out of your normal exercise routine, the first thing you’ll see change is your cardio—cue shortness of breath climbing stairs again—after 1-2 weeks. Muscle strength is the next to decline, at a slower pace of noticeable loss around six weeks. However, the good news is once you start strength training again, your body remembers where you left-off, so like riding a bike it takes no time to get back to business as usual.
How Long Does it Take to Get in Shape?
True, getting into shape isn’t an overnight thing. It takes a lot of effort and patience on your part but it’s what your body and mind need for more robust health. If you want to live a healthy, happier life then set your fitness goals now, and get started; it’s never too late.
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