There are several factors that influence how long it takes to see results, including:
* The type of exercise program you're doing
* How often you work out each week
* Your nutrition
* Your sleep habits
* recovery time
* Your genetics
Personal trainer, Chris Leach, says that "if you want to 'get in shape,' you first need to define what that actually means to you."
Here are some examples of popular fitness programs and some of their benefits:
* High-intensity interval training (HIIT): aids in weight loss and muscle gain, decreases blood pressure, and improves oxygen and blood flow.
* Weight lifting: builds muscle, improves metabolism, decreases risk for heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer, and improves bone health.
* Running: boosts cardiovascular health, improves mental health, and burns calories.
* Yoga: increases flexibility and strength, helps manage stress, and burns calories.
"The phrase 'weight quickly lost is usually quickly regained' holds a lot of truth," Leach adds Leach. This is because rapid weight loss is caused by undereating, overtraining, or both.
Usually, this type of workout and nutrition schedule is rigid and unsustainable. "You'll see rapid results right off the bat but after a few weeks or months, you'll almost always become rundown, tired, and ravenously hungry," says Leach. "That will likely result in stopping your program and losing the results, as well."
The best way to avoid this pitfall is to do a workout program you can commit to long-term.
Put plainly, the time, effort, and consistency you devote to your workout goals determine how fast you achieve them.
"If you do five workouts a week, spend a couple of hours prepping meals, and get eight to nine hours of sleep every night, you'll see results much faster than if you only work out sparingly and don't have as much time to sleep, recover, or work on your nutrition," says Leach.
"A good starting point for most people is to aim for three to five hours of workouts per week to see results within roughly two to three months," says Leach.
The type of workouts you do — be it a strength or cardio routine — dictates how long it takes to see results as well as the type of results you'll see.
* Cardio: running, swimming, cycling, walking, and dancing which can improve heart health and burn calories
* Strength training: circuit training, powerlifting, bodyweight training, and CrossFit which can help build muscle and boost metabolism
Cardio results typically appear quicker than results from strength training because it's often easier for people to lose weight than gain muscle.
"The typical human body can only synthesize around 1-2 pounds of muscle per month at most, but it's physiologically possible to burn a lot more fat during the same amount of time," Leach says. "Fat burn could be around 1-2 pounds per week, or even more."
However, it takes longer to lose the benefits of strength training compared to cardio workouts.
Muscle loss typically takes about 2-3 weeks if you're not using them at all, whereas you can gain 1-2 pounds of weight a week if you start eating more calories than you burn.