You have just started working out (again), and you can’t help but wonder: how long until you start to see the effects on your body?
The answer isn’t simple, because a bunch of different factors have to be taken into consideration – but I do have good news for you!
The benefits of exercise, from session 1
You’re obviously not going to see a six pack spring out after your first session – but, there are two things you WILL see right away.
After your very first session, you will immediately feel more relaxed. Your body will unwind. You might even fall asleep more easily and sleep more deeply.
The effects of exercise, after 6 weeks
As your fitness progresses, you’ll see more effects: more tone and flexibility, you’ll recover your breath more quickly, and have fewer (and less intense) aches.
From a psychological perspective, you’ll find yourself in a better mood. This is thanks to endorphins: happiness/well-being hormones emitted by the body after exercise.
Physical results after 3 months of exercise
After 3 months of working out, most people see visible physical results! For the lucky ones, this will happen a few weeks earlier.
If you have been diligent, it will show on your body. Some areas of your body will be more refined, others more muscular or shapely. We can’t know in advance if we will lose fat or our “love handles“, or “saddlebags ”, or even slim our face. It’s a bit of a lottery!
Some people won’t see results until 6 months down the line. This doesn’t mean they didn’t put in the same amount of effort. Each individual experiences a journey unique to them.
Yes, six months, it seems like a long time – but, really, what is six months out of a lifetime? And, anyway, you aren’t going to stop now, are you?
How often do you need to exercise to see results?
To see results in 3 to 6 months, the recommendation is to exercise three times a week, for about an hour in total.
Remember that you can’t outrace science. It doesn’t matter how you work out; other factors will impact your journey: choice of activity, morphology, frequency, intensity, diet, etc.
There is no miracle formula, but there are a bunch of factors you can take into account.
Why can you seemingly get bigger when you work out?
It can happen!
It can be caused by 3 different situations:
- Transient hypertrophy is when muscles swell after exercising. It’s temporary and short-lived. This swelling is due to an accumulation of the blood and water necessary for muscle growth. It’s common to observe this phenomenon after a work-out session. It’ll go away within 48 hours.
- When you think exercising gives you a blank check to eat more! Yes, exercising expends energy, burning calories. So we need to make up for the energy used by eating more, right? This isn’t a problem, unless you eat too much or don’t watch what you eat. You need a healthy, balanced diet.
- When you build muscle! Physical activity increases muscle mass, which shows up on the scale. That doesn’t mean you’ve put on fat. Muscle weighs more than fat.
The best ways to track your physical evolution are to take before and after photos, to use measuring tape, or to keep jeans of different sizes for reference.