When Will I See Results?
This is a question I get asked a lot, especially during a consultation with a new trainee. I have to say there is no definitive answer because it really is all about the effort and commitment that the individual puts in to achieve their goal. However, there is a short answer and a common guideline which I’ve always found to ring true and this is what I say to people.
“In four weeks you should notice the difference, in eight weeks your friends should notice the difference and in twelve weeks everyone should notice the difference.”
Disclaimer - That was the short answer however, as I said, there’s a bit more to it than that so I’ll explain further.
When embarking on any kind of physical challenge (such as losing weight or getting fit) that involves changing your lifestyle / behaviour there are three critical areas that you need to address or you will not succeed. Whether you want to shed some body fat, get your blood pressure down or start training to get an Olympic gold medal in the hundred meter sprint, it doesn’t matter what the goal is the principle is still the same. Whatever you want to achieve you must master these three things; nutrition, exercise and rest.
You need to eat (or as I prefer to say ‘fuel yourself’) properly. The food you consume is vital because it gives you the energy to live your life and importantly, gives you the extra energy you need to fuel your workouts. I don’t want to get too technical, as I’m not a nutritionist, but this is done mainly through eating good quality carbohydrates. Proteins are also needed for recovery but I’ll go into that later. If you don’t fuel yourself properly you won’t have the energy to exercise, it’s as simply as that. There’s a common saying in fitness circles, “you can’t out train a bad diet.”
When you workout you are stimulating your muscles (and organs to a lesser extent) and making them work harder than they are capable. It doesn’t matter what exercise you’re doing; whether that is lifting heavy weights - resistance training, running on the treadmill - aerobic training or doing a yoga class - flexibility training. You are putting your body under stress and if you workout out on a regular basis your muscles will have to adapt to this regular stress. This physiological adaption of; muscles changing to cope with the stress is what we all refer to as “physical fitness.” Sports scientists also refer to this process as “conditioning.’ Regular exercise makes you fitter and obviously, if you don’t train your don’t get fit.
In my experience, this is the one that trips everyone up and it’s due to a lack of knowledge not spirit or drive. A great example of this is when someone who has been paying for their gym membership all year decides that from January 1st its going to be 'new year new me’ and they get on mission to hit the gym hard. They fail because they’re super motivated and hammer the training for two weeks constantly (FACT - new years resolutions usually fail by 14th January) but don’t give their body any time to recover. The body can’t cope with all the new and extra strain on it so they pull muscles through over training or get a cold / virus through suppressing their immune system. Also, in my experience, after the initial enthusiasm has faded they’re miserable, grumpy and a right pain in the a*** too. I’ve seen it a million times.
Adequate rest and recovery is so important as, believe or not, this is when you are actually getting fitter. When you’re resting is when all the physiological adaptions take place. It is also important to note that when you are working out you are slightly damaging your muscles (micro-tearing muscle fibres). When resting your body is metabolising the proteins (mostly) you’ve eaten to; A) repair the muscle fibres you’ve damaged from your workout and B), strengthen and adapt these muscle fibres so they are able to handle the increased stress from your next workout. Note, this process also puts pressure on the immune system too.
Basically, when you exercise you’re putting your body under stress so you need to rest to let it recover and recondition itself so it can handle the stress. If you don’t rest you’ll get injured or you’ll get ill.
In summary, the more accurate answer to the original question is; if you eat right, train right and rest right YOU will start to notice the results of your efforts by four weeks. You may find dresses will be looser, belt buckles go down a notch or two and / or you notice some new muscle definition. After eight weeks FREINDS / FAMILY will start to notice changes in energy levels and body shape. Then after twelve weeks EVERYONE will be asking “have you been working out?” or “what diet are you on?” on a regular basis. By this time, you’ll be looking and feeling great. The physical changes will be very obvious and dramatic.
Thanks for reading….