Exposed: How Long Does it Take to Get Results from Working Out?

Dear Davey,

How long should it take to see results from working out? I’m relatively new to the exercise game. I’ve been doing resistance training and cardio for about 4 weeks. Thanks for any advice you have.

Impatient in Iowa

Thanks for such a great question!

First, Mr. Iowa, we have to define results. Your “results” are likely different from the next person, and obviously it is all dependent on your fitness goals. Some people exercise for weight loss while others are looking for (if you can believe it) weight gain. Some want bigger muscles and others want improved energy or endurance.

Second, we have to determine the best way to measure those results. Here are just a handful of ideas:

  • How your clothes fit
  • Tape measure
  • Body fat percent
  • Cholesterol
  • Improved level of activity (don’t get winded as easily, can lift more weight around the house, etc.)
  • Scale
  • Sleep (if you’re sleeping through the night)

Obviously, there are a number of methods to measure your results and these methods will be dependent on your goals. If your goals are building muscle mass and increasing strength, for example, then I’d recommend a tape measure as your method (this is much better than weighing yourself). On a biweekly basis, you can measure the width of the muscles that you are trying to build and track the results.

Third, consider diet. Does your diet support the results you are looking to achieve? If you are looking to build muscle, are you taking in the right amount of protein? If you are looking to drop a few pounds, does your diet support a calorie deficit? A lot of people have great fitness goals that they are working towards in the gym – but then they ignore those goals when it comes to food. It’s like trying to swim upstream. On the flip side, if your diet supports the change that you are looking to produce, your results will be expedited.

Fourth, we need to factor in the amount of time and energy you’re spending exercising. Obviously, someone who is working out intensely 5 days a week is going to see results faster than someone that is spending 20 minutes a week working out. Not surprisingly, there is a positive correlation between effort and results. If you are working out less frequently – this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – then just know that your time line will be extended.

Having said all of that, most beginners will start to see results in one way, shape, or form after the first 6 to 8 weeks of exercise. Of course, different muscles build at different rates – and so larger arms will be noticeable before, say, more developed abdominal muscles (abs build very slowly). Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day. And your results won’t happen overnight. Moreover, many of the changes are so slow, they’re hard to track with the naked eye. Be sure to measure with something a little more objective than your bathroom mirror.

Keeping all of this in mind, it’s important to recognize that exercise isn’t about setting a goal, measuring against it, achieving it and stopping. It’s about making exercise a regular, sustainable and integral part of your life.

If you’re looking to get started (or change things up), my Total Body Assault program is a great way to start. For a limited time, use promo code “results” to save 25%.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 100 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. I really like this article, especially the last paragraph. I’ve been exercising for the past 2 years, and while I’ve lost weight (which is my goal) I keep wanting something I don’t have yet.

    Somewhere in the back of my head, this statement tries to surface: “It’s about making exercise a regular, sustainable and integral part of your life.” It’s really nice to see it out on your site, as it makes me realize that this is the goal I should want (on top of the other goals). Thank you for sharing and posting!

    • Glad it resonates with you! :-)

    • I’m 13, and I’ve been working out for two or three years now (regretably, as i wish it had been longer), and there are massive results now, especially since I started. It is literally addictive. Luckily, It is a very healthy habit to have. I reccomend a high protein diet and grab a friend or 2 so you can compare goals and encourage eachother.

      • you’re pretty dumb, working out at that age stunts growth and can crush your spinal plates.

      • Noah Suleskey says:

        If your 13 you shouldn’t have started working out at 10 or 11 unless you were using light weight because if you weren’t you probably already stunted your growth.also, a high protein diet for a kid is very bad because it puts much pressure on your kidneys to digest which cause kidney stones and more trips to the doctor. Just eat healthy and be patient!!!

  2. Stay with it at least 12 weeks.

  3. Great post as always Davey.

    When I first starting exercising, I think I focused too much on the goals and results side of things and as a result, stopped enjoying the actual exercise.

    I reworked my mindset to start focusing more on the enjoyment side of things and before I knew it, I saw the results that I wanted.

  4. Fritz Miniutti says:

    Davey you inspire me in every way

  5. Fritz Miniutti says:

    Help me lose weight davey i need your help!!

  6. I’m only looking for a 10-15 pound weight loss but I have been going at it for about 3 weeks now. I weighed myself day 1 and do not plan to weigh myself again until day 30. I find that weigh myself to frequently in the beginning gets me discourage if I don’t see results or weight gain and I stop all together. Hopefully if should only take me about 2 months to reach my goal and then I look forward to continuing to tone up and maintain my weight. Thanks for the article. 6-8 weeks sounds very realistic.

  7. that post is amazing, ive been training for just over 2 years now and have went from a curvy size 14 to a curvy 10 and i adore my new figure i couldnt be happier, but i still splurge and enjoy my treats ive just made fitness a good part of my routine! and iv maintained this weight for over a year now! i started to see results within about 2-3 months, not drastic but i noticed my clothes getting looser. that to me was one of the main signs! good luck everyone! stay motivated :)

  8. Ive been working out for about 4 months. I do this 20 min workout that focuses on the arms. It only uses dumbbells. I have slowely increased the weight and i have been seeing decent results but im not sure if just working out with dumbbells will be enough for me to reallly gain muscle mass. Keep in mind the workout has many diffrent exercises that are around 1 min.

  9. What is all this talk about 6-8 weeks. I’ve been going to the gym 4-5 times a week for roughly an hour each time.

    I’m not losing a lot of wait (namely because I refuse to give up all my junk food) But I do have a majorly increased energy level. I do 30 minutes of cardio and focus the rest on weight lifting. Needless to say I already notice my muscles getting bigger and much more firm after just 2 weeks.

    All you have to do is put the work in. Start with plenty of cardio so you have the energy to push through your work outs.

  10. I’ve been working out for 2 months, I see some good things happening but at 46 how much more change is realistic?
    I am not overweight, but I am untoned and to be honest have never been especially toned. I just want to be sure I start setting up now for the future because 1kg a year gain means at 65 I will be … well… you get the picture and I am not going there.

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  12. Well in my opinion. if you want to see GOOD results you have to be able to push yourself until you are so fatigued that you cant do another rep. I’ve been going hard at it for about a month and a half and im beginning to see results. I play baseball for my high school and have been trying to research as much as i possibly can on weight lifting, and i also have a friend who is a personal trainer and i get tons of tips from him. If you need any advice send me an email!

    • Hello Michael I’m Victor and want to start working out to build muscle tone mainly arms,chest and buttocks any tips would be great.
      An interested reader!!!!

  13. I bought an exercise bike because I’ve gained so much weight I felt too self conscious to go to a gym, be in a change room etc. I do an hr of cardio 6 times a week for the past month. I have restless legs syndrome so it really helps me sleep. But I took measurements, photos, and my start weight. I gained 5 lbs in the past month now 190, started at 185 and have lost a half an inch all over at the two week mark. So I noticed results fast. And probably because I’ve got a higher starting weight. I’m feeling better about myself, I’ve gained back some of the control I felt I had lost in my life. But the best suggestion I could say is take photos!! You’d be surprised to see what had actually changed! And also don’t go crazy with food, eat if your hungry! Your body needs energy while your working out, and fuel it with the right stuff, you wouldn’t put cheap fuel and oil in ur bently so don’t do it to your body that has to last you 80 years!!

  14. Hi davey i been working out at the gym for three weeks now. I have lost 5bls already i am 5’10 and i am 155.bls. i want to be 145bls and i want my body to be ton. But i am having a hard time with the fat on my lower back. And i really would like to know what i can do to help me with my lower back. To lose the weight there and ton it up if you could tell me how that would be great. Thanks

  15. Oats for breakfast, fruit for snacks like banana orange, apple. 20 min treadmill speed 10 give u 280 burn calories 3.80km. bike 15 min and then jogging 15 min. Then do sum weight what ever u wanna tone up on ur body. 5 reps but every 5 reps rest for 20 to 30 sec. 3 times be just ok on any weight lifting on individual exercise. Oh yeah b4 u exercise have sum protein bar or banana so u can get maximum out o your body. and it then evening time just have a Chinese soup the one that u just pour boiled water let it rest for 5 min and eat it. They have a lot of flavor in ASDA or TESCO or any other shops. their are about 35p each. But only contain 50 calories. Which make fill ur stomach. If u do that u will lose 3kg a month. I did i weight 104 kg when i joint a gym now 100.5 and keep comming down till am 90kg. If u need sum here my email. al21@hotmail.co.uk

  16. Hi I have been going to the gym for over a year now and have lost a total of 30lbs, The first year of working out, It was only 4x a week and eating whatever and whenever I wanted, so I didn’t seem to firm up too well. But this year starting in january I changed my whole diet to High Protein and Fiber, Lots of lean meats & veggies, and protein shakes! And also working out 7x a week, If Im sore from weight lifting one day the next day I do 2 hours of cardio. And I Can See and Feel Muscles, I feel great, I can run faster, And can’t wait to get in a bikini for summer! Good luck to you All!

  17. No Alex I am not a dude I am a lady. And thanks I want to be skinny. And thank you John for pointing that out. But I do not mind being called bro. And thank you David that helps.

  18. I’m about 5ft9 I weigh about 140 have a overactive metabolism I want to gain weight and muscle my goal is to weigh 160 what can I do to get there fast without losing weight

  19. I only started a week ago so I got a long way to go.

  20. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about measure.
    Regards

  21. Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely useful info specifically the ultimate section :) I deal with such information a lot.
    I was looking for this certain info for a long time.
    Thanks and best of luck.

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