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No, the marketing campaigns are not true. Yes, there’s a possibility that individuals might be exaggerating. Whether you consider it to be unfortunate or not, there is no quick way to fitness. Period.
Someone you know at the gym may put on muscles faster than you, but he or she must have been working out for quite some time now. A study on men with sedentary lifestyles confirmed that 6 weeks of training sessions (with varying intensities of exercise) didn’t manifest much appearance-based difference according to panelists. The participants didn’t feel any apparent difference either. So you can be sure that it will take you longer than you thought to achieve that dream-like body.
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The Importance of Your Goals
You are unlikely to be able to do 20 laps in a 45 minutes swimming session within a month, which took a professional longer than that. Similarly, it might take you months to get a 6-pack. Not to discourage you but it’s the truth and that’s what will drive you to your goals.
“How long will it take for me to get in shape?”
The answer to that begins with what you consider to be your goal or “in shape”. It’s different for everyone. Whether you want to lose weight, get stronger, improve time, reduce body fat, etc. will determine the time it will take. Every goal has different paths – different programs.
However, you will feel much better about yourself much sooner. The benefits of exercise can be felt within the first 2 weeks, provided you are regular. You won’t start looking like Ranveer Singh but might start climbing the stairs without losing your breath. You won’t feel sleepy at work either.
What Experts Say
Experts emphasize on the mental benefits of exercise as compared to the visible changes in our body. Staying motivated and feeling confident is more important for you to keep working toward your goals. Working out regularly for around 2 months will take you to moderate levels of fitness if you haven’t been working out for years in the first place.
If the physical change is a motivation for you, give yourself at least 6-8 weeks. In 3-4 months you even start bragging about your transformation. But it’s better to be humble about it. It will take about the same time to feel an increase in your strength levels.
For example, it might take you around 3 months to learn how to lift weights even if you’re into cardio. The ripped body is another case altogether; it will take around an entire year if you're a regular and maintain a diet program.
What affects Fitness?
Your level of fitness, when you start, is a pivotal factor in the timelines and the results. Moreover, the workout routine you choose will ultimately define your progress. For example, you are likely to gain more flexibility with Pilates and Yoga classes as compared to CrossFit and HIIT sessions.
Your progress will be slower if you’re a beginner or coming out of an injury. A 90-minute workout session is going to be different for you as compared to someone who has been reaping the benefits of exercise for a while. For example, if you start brisk walking due to an injury, it will be slower for you than someone who goes for circuit training sessions. However, you can still progress faster because your body requires less effort and exercise to challenge yourself when you’re just beginning. You will witness significant improvements in your levels of strength every week if you follow your routine diligently.
The Level of Fitness
While it may sound vague, how much effort you put makes a big difference. When you start at a 9 on a 1-10 exertion scale, the results will be better than when you come down to a 6, as you get comfortable with the routine.
According to a study, overweight and obese women divided in 3 groups got different results. They worked out and half, full, and half more than full levels of energy expenditure. The women who exercised at 150% experienced the best improvement as opposed to those who worked out at 50% capacity.
To get faster results, you need to crank up the intensity but be vary of working out too hard too soon. It can lead to injuries and you might have to quit. On the other hand, not working hard enough won’t help you achieve any results. It is better to work hard (and not too hard) to motivate yourself.
What To Do on Break
You can minimize losing all your hard work when you’re on a break; continue to exercise in some way. A single moderate-hard intensity workout session every week can help you maintain your current level of fitness. You will still have to watch what you eat to get the benefits of exercising once a week.
If you cannot take out time to workout, just squeeze in physical activity any way you can – take public transport to work and take the stairs instead of the elevator. On the other hand, you might have to modify your workout regime in case of an injury. If your shoulder is injured, you can still perform lower body exercises to maintain your fitness levels. Simultaneously, you must be regular with your physiotherapy sessions and the physician’s appointments for proper healing.
Moreover, don’t stress the uninjured side until the other side recovers; this will only increase the chances of injury on the other side. Weeks of inactivity warrant you to start fresh i.e. your current level of fitness. This will obviously ask for patience on your end. Take one step at a time to allow your body to adapt to the fitness routine and you will, slowly but surely, reach your fitness goals.