Have you ever been discouraged about your exercise program? Maybe you've been working out 5 or 6 days a week for the past couple of months and don't notice a significant physical change. Seeing the effects of physical activity depends on a number of factors, such as age, effort level, lifestyle habits, and the state of your body & health when starting to shape up. There isn't one answer for how long it takes to see fitness results, so we're going to think about some general timelines for noticing progress!
Age plays a role in workout results due to the metabolic and hormonal changes which happen as we get older - it's important to remember that every body is different and responds to changes at a different rate and with varying outcomes. It can take longer to develop muscle tone and shed excess weight, though that doesn't mean it's time to give up working out after a few weeks! You WILL see results if you commit to a routine and get your body in the habit of physical activity.
When starting a healthy exercise routine, some people can notice benefits in their physique even before seeing numbers drop on a scale. That's because sweating and replacing the lost water with proper hydration can lead to noticeable de-bloating within a day or two. It's not actual fat lost, but de-bloating is great for giving people a boost of motivation, since statistically significant weight loss and muscle gains do take time to set in: about eight weeks. Most people should not aim to lose more than 2 pounds per week in order to maintain lean muscle, but people do vary in how fast they can safely lose weight.*
You might see an increase in muscle tone and you might see a small reduction in weight, though you can’t exercise past a bad diet. Dick Thijssen, a professor of cardiovascular physiology and exercise at Liverpool John Moores University, estimates that three to four months of exercising without altering your diet would only result in an approximately two-pound weight loss. Then there’s the issue that many people overestimate how much they exercise and underestimate how many calories they’re consuming.*
A combination of good nutrition, cardio, resistance training should produce an immediate loss of one to three pounds in the first week, but that will escalate considerably by week four.
At the four- to six-week mark, you could see anywhere from four to 18 pounds of fat loss. Resistance training and cardio combined will start to promote lean tissue building. You won’t see huge changes in your body composition (meaning you won’t be ripped at first), but you will lose fat.
By following this routine, you can expect to see an entire percentage of body fat lost per month. Significant weight loss and muscle gains will take approximately eight weeks to see, however, even though you’re not seeing muscle definition, the benefits going on in your body and mind are considerable.*
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