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How Long Does it Really Take to Get in Shape

Whether re-igniting a fitness practice or starting out as a rookie… the question: -”how long does it take to get in shape and see results”- has an impact on and influences our decision to start and continue on.


Because we are wonderfully complex there isn’t a one size fits all time line indicating how long it actually takes to get in shape. Getting in shape is dependent upon many variables such as your time availability within a given day and week, type of workout, personal intention,self accountability, motivation and self confidence. 


These variables when wrapped up with being consistent create a flow where magic happens. Aka – fitness gains.


A key factor is creating and owning a personal and realistic routine that honestly takes into account all of the moving parts of your life. If you only have one, two or three days a week or more -own this – because this is your truth! 


Need to know “shape time frame” basics:

A general  “in shape” guideline once you’ve claimed your exercise choice and cadence according to The American Council on Exercise ( ACE)  is within 2-4 weeks.

You can expect to see and feel some results both emotional and physical such as increased confidence, less stress and improved endurance.


From here truthfully… the timeframe for how long it will take to get in shape is dependent on the amount of time you personally have to spend coupled with the type of exercise and intensity. 


The general exercise guidelines for all adults, as recommended by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, are to get at least 150 minutes ( that’s roughly 20 minutes daily) of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise each week. (walking ,swimming, biking,tennis,fitness class etc)  Lifting weights twice weekly for upper/lower body is also recommended. Small gains will win the race!


 When getting started for the first time or re-igniting your fitness after a break ACE  recommends beginning with less time and gradually increasing this. Start with low impact cardio like walking for 10-15 minute intervals. Add additional minutes and intensity to your base when the felt intensity of the first level has decreased. When you are able to carry on a conversation for 20 minutes while exercising it is safe to say you’ve achieved your aerobic base and can now  move forward with intensity and duration! Do the same with weights. Start with less weight and less reps then add more reps and increased weight when the first level no longer feels like a workout or is too easy. 

Here are some inspirational tips to keep you on track!

  • Take small steps in stages when just getting started.  Growing a new habit takes time. Start where you are now with an appropriate exercise plan.  If you’ve been sedentary for quite some time start with walking or a low impact fitness class then add on from here once your body has adjusted.
  • Reward yourself.  Treat yourself with an affirming reward so you enjoy your journey versus resenting it.  (your reward can be anything you like from a massage, favorite show, a good book,new workout clothes,coffee with a friend.. anything)Cultivate 
  • Exercise patience.  Creating and maintaining a new habit like exercise consistency takes intentional time and with this  compassionate patience that all is coming. Be proactively patient with all that is shaping up for you.
  • Enjoy yourself.  If what you choose to do seems more like punishment or forced please find something that you like and is realistic for where you happen to be fitness wise right now.
  • Find your focus. Stay focused on your goal of getting in shape and keep your eye on the prize. We have so much information coming at us with the next best workout or health approach it can be too easy to skip out and quit. Focus on your personal “why” of wanting to get in shape!
And there you have it.  Simple, practical ways to stay on track toward your goal to get in shape.