Many people who are thinking about exercising (training for a race or athletic event, maybe) want to know how fast you can gain fitness. And current exercisers often want to know how fast you lose fitness if you stop training. We have the answers for you!
Gaining Fitness: It Only Takes Weeks
If you’re new to fitness, we have great news for you: you can measurably improve fitness in a matter of weeks. If you’re currently working out, know that progress slows over time as you gain fitness. Think of a world-champion sprinter: It will take a lot of work to make that runner even a little faster. It will take less work for a newer runner to increase speed. It’s the same with general fitness.
For less-experienced people, it doesn’t take long to see results in the gym. You can expect to see measurable results in about six weeks of training if you work out properly. Many factors will affect this timeframe: the workouts you do, the frequency of training, the intensity of the workouts, your diet and sleep, your stress levels, and so on. A qualified coach can tell you exactly what to do to get optimal results, and make sure you’re maintaining proper form.
It’s not uncommon for new clients to feel a little sore after the first few workouts but then feel noticeably better both mentally and physically. Some will tell us they have more energy and “feel stronger” after just a few weeks of training, and others will report changes in confidence and mood. We love hearing these reports! We also like to check the metrics to measure progress. You might do a certain workout twice, once at the beginning of your fitness journey, and again about 6 weeks later, and you can expect to see improvements in speed and strength in that workout. Weight or body fat levels may also change, but this takes a bit longer (so don’t get discouraged!)
Here’s amazing news: These swift results are common with people of any age! No matter how old you are, you can get real results in the gym in a relatively short time.
Will you experience rapid changes forever? No, the fitness improvements slow down a little as you gain experience. But that’s OK: You can make steady progress for decades, and a coach can tell you exactly what to do to keep moving forward. Chasing milestones becomes a lot of fun. The best part? You’ll be healthier long term!
No Work, No Reward
Here’s the truth about fitness: Use it or lose it. If you stop training, you can expect to slide backward. This doesn’t happen instantly, so don’t stress if you miss a workout or two. And a holiday once in a while won’t derail you completely. But if you’re missing two weeks or a month, your fitness levels will decrease. And if you’re inactive for a matter of months, you’ll have to think carefully about starting slowly and working back up to your previous level of fitness.
Again, these declines will be influenced by several factors. For example, someone who stops training and moving completely will experience a faster decline than someone who stays relatively active outside the gym. And someone who quits training altogether will move backward, while a person who just reduces training might be able to maintain their current level of fitness. In addition, some research has found that well-trained people hold their fitness longer than those who don’t train for very long before dropping the healthy habit. In other words, it’s worth it to start or keep exercising even if you know you may have to take a break at some point in the future. You’ll reap more benefits even during your time off!
The bottom line: You shouldn’t feel panicked if you miss a few workouts. But if you want to preserve your fitness level, it would be a mistake to pass on training and activity for two to four weeks. The best plan of all: find a sustainable way to get moving most days out of the week that works for you. You are much more likely to keep it up if you enjoy it!
The Takeaway: Talk to a Coach!If you have a specific fitness goal you want to achieve, we can help! We’ll find out what you want to accomplish, put together a clear plan and lay out some milestones for you. Book a free consultation with us here!