How Long Does It Take To Get Into Shape: Tips To Finally Hit The Finish Line
How long does it take to get into shape and how should you go about it? Although some diets and workout programs promise miraculous outcomes within as little as a month, it might take longer than this to get in shape. The fact that you desire to be in better shape should be your motivation to begin and stick to a healthy diet and overall lifestyle that includes regular exercise. By doing so, you will not only get your summer body, but will also maintain it.
The definition of ‘getting into shape’ differs from one person to another. To some, it might mean getting chiseled abs, while others will be content with simply shedding some weight. However, in most cases, it refers to being stronger with your body, adapting to the stress of physical activity and becoming more equipped to handle higher-intensity workouts.
How long does it take to get into shape? According to an interview on Healthline, expert Fauci says that beginners get into shape faster because they are starting at the lower part of the fitness ladder, therefore, require less workout to challenge their body (13). Other factors that determine how fast you get into shape include the kind of workout routine that you follow as a beginner or recovering patient from injury or illness, and how fit you are at the start of your journey.
Healthy Lifestyle To Get Into Shape
The amount of time that it takes to get into shape mainly depends on the healthy habits that you will embrace.
How long does it take to lose weight? You can shed 4 pounds a week as most fad diets advertise, but how sustainable will the weight loss be? Experts recommend losing 1-2 pounds a week while following a medically approved healthy eating plan (18). According to HuffPost Australia, good weight loss is gradual over 6 to 12 weeks, as you make small changes along the way (14). Anything less than a month is extreme.
Tip: Reassess what you eat. Follow a diet that encourages consumption of whole, unprocessed food such as lean meats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Whole foods have a hyperthermic effect. They force the body to expend a lot of energy while inactive or sedentary. Avoid processed foods because they are nutrient-poor and calorie-dense. Do not cut out carbs completely, as encouraged by most fad diets. However, restrict your refined carb intake, ensuring you take in all essential nutrients for your overall well-being. Take enough lean proteins, water, and reduce your alcohol intake.
Changing from an unhealthy eating lifestyle to a healthy one is not an overnight thing. It can take between 6-8 weeks for your taste buds to adjust.
You cannot get fit without physical activity. So, how long does it take to get fit? A research by the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research established that working out for 6 weeks is not enough to get into shape (22). Participants under study either did strength, control, or cardiovascular training for an average of 34 minutes each, three times a week over the research period.
The time it takes to get in shape depends on individual goals such as the need for endurance, strength, losing body fat, and weight loss among others (13). According to Lovetoknow, there are 5 components of physical fitness that may help you be fit (1). These are:
This relates to muscle mass, which is made up of body fat and nonfat mass. Body composition is calculated by measuring your body’s fat quantity. According to Verywellfit.com, the acceptable body composition should range between 25% to 31% for women, and 18% to 24% for men (4). People with percentages below these ranges are regarded as fit or athletic, an those with more than these ranges are obese.
Body composition contributes to your overall well being, and having a healthy body composition may help prevent the risk of getting diabetes and heart diseases. It is key to sculpting the body to make you look attractive and be confident. It is what most people refer to as getting into shape.
Some people define being fit as being flexible. Flexibility refers to how you can balance and move the joints of your body through their full range motion, without stiffness or pain (2). Being flexible helps prevent injury while exercising or doing usual tasks, alleviates joint pain, reduces muscle tension, and enables you to activate your muscles more efficiently, making you utilize less energy in lifting heavier weights, move with more power and speed, and increase your balance and agility.
An analysis of flexibility literature published in the Journal of Aging Research confirms that there is considerable increase in flexibility after 10 weeks of varying modalities workouts (8). The most effective workout to lengthen muscles was assistant stretching, although combining strength, cardio, and stretching is recommended for muscle maintenance and functional range of motion.
This focuses on how many or how long you can carry a weight (1). When you reach the limit of your muscular endurance, then you fail. For instance, if you can lift a weight for 60 seconds before collapsing on the floor, that is your failing point, and your endurance is one minute. For repetitive exercises like pushups, the muscular endurance is the number of times you can repeat these workouts before your arms can no longer hold you.
The results of a study on NCBI indicate that doing both high repetition strength work and cardio training may help to increase muscular endurance in athletes in about six weeks (23). Some exercises to test muscular endurance include pushups, planks, squats, situps, lunges, anisometric back extensions.
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Muscular strength focuses on the ability to utilize muscles to their fullest, for example the heaviest weight you can carry on a bicep curl (1). The stronger your muscles, the more they grow to create your desired definition. To get into shape with muscular strength, you need a solid resistance training routine. A study published on NCBI established that participants gained considerable muscle size and strength in two months by doing as little as 3 sets of high frequency training workouts in a week, and 9 sets a week of low frequency training (17).
This refers to your respiratory and cardiovascular systems ability to function properly while working out (1). One way to analyze your endurance is to measure and compare your heart rate when resting, during exercise, and after the session. While working out, the target heart rate should be 220 beats per minute minus your age, but this varies depending on your level of fitness as well as medical conditions that you may have, for example, low blood pressure (21). This is the ideal maximum heart rate. Your endurance is above normal if your heart rate quickly returns to normal after working out, and when the heart rate is too high, you are straining so you should slow down. If it is too low you may push yourself to exercise a little harder to lose weight (21).
According to a study published on NCBI, your endurance level increases with 2-4 weeks of beginning a constant cardio program (5). The initial soreness subsides, you will breathe more easily while resting and during exercise, and you will notice a boost in your energy. The body may adapt to almost any natural stress as long as:
- You warm up the appropriate muscles or joints before exercising.
- Apply enough stress while training.
- Give enough time for recovery between trainings.
In summary, after 4-8 weeks of eating healthy and exercising, your body fat will begin decreasing, and your strength, muscle mass, and endurance will increase followed by flexibility. Then you can pump up the intensity and as your level of fitness goes up, you will feel more energized, stronger, and confident. Gradually increase the intensity until you want to simply maintain your fitness.
Tips On Working Out To Get In Shape
- Know why you are working out, create time, and stay motivated. Make these healthy lifestyle changes a habit.
- It doesn’t get easier, but you will get stronger.
- The mental benefits of being physically active are more important than the external changes, therefore, if you do not see external changes after a few weeks, be motivated to continue by what the healthy lifestyle is doing to your mind.
- Over time, you will enjoy more health benefits by working out often. So, do not let perfect be the enemy of good.
- Working out too hard can cause injury or make you quit due to stress. On the other hand, you will not see the outcomes if you do not exercise hard enough. Find a balance.
- If you had a high intensity training, then take a break for various reasons, you can reduce fitness losses during a break by continuing to work out at a lower level (ACSM).
- Always seek professional guidance after an injury or illness.
They say that one of the greatest moments in life is to realize that a few weeks ago your body could not do what it just did. Love yourself enough to work out.
Other lifestyle changes
Other than working out and eating healthy, it is important to get enough sleep when trying to get into shape. According to expert comments on Huffpost Australia, muscles do not grow when you are working out, but when recovering, therefore, sleep is good (14). Also, meditate or have a soothing massage to reduce stress.
Benefits Of Getting Into Shape
The same way a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, each workout and healthy eating is one step in the right fitness direction. Dieting, exercising, and a healthy lifestyle may contribute to:
- Less stress and there is a positive impact on your blood sugar (19).
- Possible immediate relief from chronic pain caused by arthritis.
- Maintenance of the right weight.
- May prevent chronic illnesses.
- May make you more energetic.
What Happens When You Stop Working Out?
Do not beat yourself up when you backslide. Find a way to get back on track as soon as you can because being inactive has the following consequences:
- Muscle strength may last longer during a break. Once you build a foundation of strength, it stays with you. A research published on NCBI shows that beginners who took a 3-week break in the middle of a 15-week bench press program achieved similar results by the end of the study as those who worked out throughout (7). This is because when you undergo resistance training, you permanently alter the physiology of your muscle cells even when you stop training for some time.
- When you stop working out, your cardio endurance will be the first and fastest to drop considerably, after a few weeks of inactivity.
- After a fitness break, do not jump into your regular workout routine. Start anew based on your current health and level of fitness. Take one step at a time for your body to adjust.
- Set realistic goals. For both dieting and exercising, start slow and then gradually dial up the intensity of your workouts, make healthier food swaps and cut back your caloric intake until you get to the optimal number.
- If what you are doing to get and keep in shape is not working, switch to a different routine.
- Remember to reward yourself when you hit a milestone.
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How Long Does It Take To Get Into Shape With Cardio?
The time frame differs depending on how much effort you put in. For instance, if you prefer exercising at a lower level, your progress might take longer in comparison to a person who continuously works out at a higher intensity. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that cardiovascular fitness of participants was considerably enhanced by high-intensity physical training than the moderate-intensity physical training (6). The high intensity training also reduces the tidal-boy adiposity and visceral. According to the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines for physical activity for Americans, you should do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio (3).
How Many Days A Week Should I Workout To Lose Weight?
The type of workout routine that you follow matters. Healthline recommends working out 4-5 days a week (15). Begin by 2 days a week then progress until you can comfortably workout 5 days a week. Combine strength training, core work, cardio, and stretching.
How Long Does It Take To See Results From Working Out?
In an interview with Healthline, Nikki Glor of NikkiFitness videos New-York says that if you have not been working out for 10 years or more,you will take about 2 months of exercising for most days of the week before getting to a moderate fitness level (13). You will notice some physical changes after 6-8 weeks of regularly working out. If you are already in good shape and simply want to lift weights safely, a reasonable time to learn this will be 3 months (13). If you were not considerably overweight at the start of your getting into shape journey, and are constantly working out and on a healthy weight loss diet, you will notice a lean, muscular physique with clearly seen six pack after one year (13).
Strength training increases the metabolic rate, enabling you to lose more calories in a day and while doing cardio. Most personal trainers recommend you follow a moderate program for the first 3-6 months before shifting to a maintenance routine. This will guarantee lasting results (12).
How Long Does It Take To Get Into Shape Rock Climbing?
According to Rock Climbing Central, a beginner may take between 1 week and never (10) Factors that contribute to you becoming a good rock-climber include age, how often you train, your body type, natural talent, recovery rate, motivation, and training regime among others.
How Long Does It Take To Gain Muscle?
Some people put on muscles faster than others. Long-term improvement in muscle strength and size happens after about 8 weeks if you weight lift twice a week. For optimum results, you can do 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions for each muscle group i.e. chest, arms, back, shoulders, hips, thighs, calves, core, and hips. According to a publication on The Guardian, people begin to lose muscle mass when they are around 30 years or above (16). Therefore, as you get older, include resistance and balance training in your workout program to keep the muscle mass or minimize the loss.
How Long Does It Take To Get Into Shape Running?
Some people want to get into shape with the sole intention of being fit to easily participate in outdoor races such as triathlons, 5K or 10K running races, half marathons, or marathons. If this is the main reason why you want to be in shape, prepare 3 to 4 months before the competition. This will help you to be fit enough to run past the finish line. The minimum preparation time is 2 months of pre-race training and it involves running for miles for 3 to 6 days every week (13) A study published in NCBI established that a half-length and full-length marathon training program for 9 months may help untrained adults gain cardiovascular fitness by 24% (20).
You will feel better before you actually see a major fitness outcome. According to Healthline, if you are a beginner preparing for a 5K race, you will take less time to get into shape than a person who has been training for their first marathon or triathlon (13). How long does it take to get into shape running age 55 also depends on the training routines and healthy lifestyle that you follow.
How long does it take to get into shape and how should you go about it? The answer is that it varies based on a number of factors mentioned above. Avoid fad diets and routines that promise short-term quick fixes because getting into shape is a continuous process. If you put our tips into practice, be prepared to say hello to your dream body. Consult your dietician, general physician, and a qualified trainer before getting into any new diet or exercise routine.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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- 5 Joint Mobility Exercises to Improve Flexibility and Function (2020, healthline.com)
- Appendix 1. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2015,health.gov)
- Body Composition and Body Fat Percentage (2020, verywellfit.com)
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- Effects of periodic and continued resistance training on muscle CSA and strength in previously untrained men (2011, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Flexibility Training and Functional Ability in Older Adults: A Systematic Review (2012, hindawi.com)
- Health Benefits of Dieting and Exercising (n.d, exercise.lovetoknow.com)
- How Long Does it Take a Beginner to Get “Good” at Climbing? (n.d, rockclimbingcentral)
- How Long Does it Take to Get Fit? (2019, livestrong.com)
- How Long Does It Take to Get in Shape? (n.d, exercise.lovetoknow.com)
- How Long Does It Take to Get in Shape? (2020, healthline.com)
- How Long It Actually Takes To Get In Shape For Summer (2017,huffingtonpost.com.au)
- How Often Should You Work Out? (2020, healthline.com)
- How to stay fit forever: 25 tips to keep moving when life gets in the way (2018, theguardian.com)
- Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A Comparison of High Frequency Strength Training to Lower Frequency Strength Training (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Is It Bad to Lose Weight Too Quickly? (2017, healthline.com/)
- Make Your Workout Work for You (2020, cdc.gov)
- Nine months aerobic fitness induced changes on blood lipids and lipoproteins in untrained subjects versus controls (2006, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Target Heart Rates Chart (2015,heart.org)
- TRAINING VS. BODY IMAGE: DOES TRAINING IMPROVE SUBJECTIVE APPEARANCE RATINGS? (2004, journals.lww.com)
- Upper-Body Muscular Endurance Training Improves Performance Following 50 min of Double Poling in Well-Trained Cross-Country Skiers (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)