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How Long Before Working Out Actually Works?

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

Ok, so you adopted a workout routine and have been prioritizing your fitness for a few weeks now. You’ve been staying super consistent and sticking to your planned out diet and exercise regime… but you don’t see any results…

What now you ask yourself.

This new lifestyle is difficult, so why keep going if you aren’t receiving the benefits?

Unfortunately, this is the same rut thousands of people fall into when they decide to commit to improving their health and make the necessary changes to do so. It can be extremely frustrating to keep pushing yourself to do something that is difficult and you are not enjoying if the results are not proving to be worth it.

The real question is how long should it take to start feeling and seeing the results/benefits from working out?

There is no concrete answer to this question since everybody responds differently to exercise, and different forms of training take different amounts of time before results become apparent. But, research has been conducted across many different populations of people training with all sorts of different goals and some average 'benchmarks' have been found.

In general, most studies report that people feel more energized, limber, and have a boost in mood almost immediately. Next, they report improvements in posture and muscle tone within the first 4-6 weeks. However, most people will not start to see measurable results until 2-3 months in. It takes somewhere around 3-4 months for muscles to actually grow. Lastly, it takes anywhere from 6-9 months to see actual significant changes in body fat percentage.

I decided to talk about this topic today because I have been seeing tons of progress pictures and videos on my Instagram and Tik Tok feeds. Although this progress is insanely impressive, most of it features many months/years worth of progress, and I hope the viewers of this content understand that. Some of these posts are indicating 4 or 5 months of progress when, in reality, the average person would take closer to a year to see the same results. It may seem discouraging that it takes a considerable amount of time for results to show, but it also reassures us that if you can’t get it in a day you cannot lose it in a day either.

My goal here is to educate everyone on the realistic timeframe it takes for results to start showing whether that be strength gains, athletic performance, weight loss, cardiovascular improvement, or overall health improvement. This way you hopefully do not become discouraged if your 3 month progress doesn’t match that of the people you are seeing on social media. **Not to mention, people do tend to stretch the truth, and you cannot believe everything you see on social media. ;)

So let’s talk about how the body responds to exercise. When you first begin working out, the neuromuscular connections between the muscles and the brain immediately start improving. This makes your body better and more efficient at recruiting the muscle fibers necessary for the exercises. This will lead to increases in strength pretty quickly. For example, I had a client who just started working out 2 months ago and we were squatting 45 pounds (just the bar) for 10 reps. Now, just 8 short weeks later she is already squatting 95 pounds for 10 reps. She does not see any considerable changes in appearance just yet, but has already more than doubled her strength! The following few weeks will be when the muscles start to grow and that physical progress will become noticable.

This brings me to an important part of the process - Progress pictures. Do not be afraid to take those obnoxious selfies of yourself flexing in the bathroom mirror. You may feel preposterous, but do it anyway. You never have to show a single other soul, but I promise you are going to want those pictures to look back at in 4 weeks, 2 months, or even 1 year. I can almost guarantee that there will be a point where you start getting frustrated because you don’t feel yourself getting stronger, leaner, or better. However, if you pull those pictures up and do a side by side comparison you will most likely realize that your eyes are playing tricks on you. Watching yourself improve is similar to watching a plant grow - if you watch it every single day you will not see any difference day to day. But (as long as you keep watering it and taking care of it) when you compare that 3 month old plant to the original tiny seed, you will see obvious and impressive growth.

Keep this information in mind with your own fitness journey. If you feel that you are being consistent and going through all the right motions but not seeing results, maybe those results are right around the corner. Or, maybe, you have made more progress than you are giving yourself credit for, and should start taking progress pictures to help yourself see that. Remember that actual muscle growth and physical adaptations to exercise can take up to 3 months to see measurable differences. If you feel that you are doing everything right, staying consistent, and still are not seeing the progress you want, then please contact us and we would love to make sure the program you are following is the best option for you!

Most important of all, remember that the more consistent you are, the quicker you will see results regardless of whether your goal is strength gains, cardiovascular improvements, athletic performance, or weight loss!


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