It’s one of those questions that’s a bit of a conundrum. A bit like how long’s a piece of string or what came first, the chicken or the egg? It’s one question that we all want the answer for though – how long does is really take to get fit?
Unfortunately there isn’t one answer and a lot of it is to do with where you start. We’ll take it from a base position though, from someone who is currently living a basically sedentary lifestyle.
If you’re currently sedentary, then you will start to see any changes in your body due to a change in your diet and exercise levels, after about two to four weeks on average.
Regular physical activity will be necessary to see these changes but in the interim you may feel your body changing, you may feel your endurance improve and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) will decrease too. You’ll begin to experience happier moods and gain confidence, pushing you on to exercise even more.
It’s this happy feeling, sometimes known as runner’s high or euphoria, which pushes you on to keep exercising and of course, in a positive cycle of change, you’ll feel more positive changes to your body and fitness.
We’ve talked about how you build an exercise habit before and this is really key to finding your fitness. Getting into a habit means exercise is no longer a chore, it’s almost a treat and your body will thank you for it.
How long does it take to get fit? Well, that's a very subjective question as it depends on what fitness means to you. Fitness might mean being able to run up and down the stairs. It might mean being able to wear a smaller size of clothes or it could mean seeing serious muscle definition.
Each of these definitions of fitness has its own path and once you’ve gained general fitness, you can head towards your individual fitness goal.
As a general guide, over a nine week period of training you will see your anerobic threshold almost double and your overall fitness level and body shape will be considerably improved. You will also start to see some good muscle definition after a couple of months' training.
It's not that long a time period to wait to see results. Challenge yourself - give yourself two months. If you don't see results after that, we'll eat our trainers.
the note about DOMS is interesting: I notice that I as do more I suffer less for it the day after. Nice to know it is a real effect!
I like the idea of 'doubled' !
fitness picks up fast, but that's very motivating to read that aerobic capacity doubles over 9 weeks.
it is indeed scary how quickly fitness drops off - but if you are used to exercising, it will recover. I will get moving, I don't want anyone choking on their trainers!!
If I have a break from the gym (over Christmas for example) I lose fitness quickly. My body gets softer and I get out of puff quickly. But it also seems to pick up again quickly in the new year. Just a couple of weeks of gym visit 2-3 times a week and my fitness feels back where it was.
I really felt and saw the difference after six weeks of doing two (high intensity) classes a week