How Long Does It Take To Get in Shape?

How Long Does It Take To Get in Shape?

By avatarEllieMatama |
expert in Fitness


Oops! Getting in shape takes work!

Image credit: NeuPaddy via Pixabay

Have you been asking, “How long does it take to get in shape?”

The truth of the matter is that there is no simple answer to this question.

Getting fit depends on many factors. And understanding what these factors are will help you get a better idea of how long it will take to get fit so that you can manage your expectations.

So, what are these factors that come into play? And what questions should you ask yourself in addition to the one about how long does it take to get in shape?

1. How much Weight Do You Have To Lose?

Before you get stressed out by other people when they ask you continuously, “How long does it take to get in shape?” because they see no change in you, you need to think about the weight that you have to lose.

How much do you weigh? 

400 pounds? 

350 pounds? 

200 pounds?

The rate at which you will lose the excess weight that you have will partly be determined by how much of it you have to lose. Expect someone weighing 400 pounds to shed more weight than someone weighing say, 200 pounds, and doing similar physical activities.

This is quite a common occurrence. Heavier people tend to lose weight much faster than those who are lighter than they are, especially at the beginning of any fitness journey. This is simple biophysics in play. 

The bigger person will have a larger mass to move around, which means that it will require more energy burned to move it. That person would of course have to work harder to move that larger mass but the end result would be more weight lost for a similar activity performed when compared to a lighter person.

So, don’t keep on asking, how long does it take to get fit or in shape? Instead of getting envious about others who seem to be losing weight faster than you, concentrate on the percentage of weight lost. This will enable you to get a better picture of how much you have lost in comparison to your original weight and would thus be a much more encouraging number.

2. What Food Is Going On Into Your Mouth?

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “you are what you eat”? 

It’s unfortunately true.

If you are giving it your all when exercising, and yet you see no significant changes in your body, you have probably had that burning question, “Darn! How long does it take to get in shape?” running through your mind often. 

Guess what?

If you are the kind of person that has a tendency to celebrate your fitness achievements by rewarding yourself with food, then the answer to that burning question would be: FOREVER!

When you eat senselessly when you are hungry and sweaty, it’s quite likely that you will eat anything in sight thinking that your workout will help you out. But that is not true. So long as the calories that you consume far outpace what you burn, expect to gain more weight instead of losing it. And all your hard work of trying to get in shape will go down the drain.

Do take the time to keep a food diary if you can in order to gain an understanding of everything that goes into your mouth. Then learn about the health foods that you need to eat and start cooking or ordering them. Get healthy snacks to keep your energy up without undoing all your good work.

Remember, you are indeed, what you eat. You can still eat carefully and enjoy good food.

3. What Type of Exercise Do You Do?

If two people of the same gender, weight, and height chose to exercise, and one chooses to walk while the other choose to run for a set time of say, 10 minutes, the results in terms of calories burned would be very different.

Common sense dictates that the person who runs steadily for 10 minutes would cover a longer distance and burn more energy to cover that distance. Consequently, that person would end up losing more weight if that kind of activity was maintained for a time.

Not all exercises have been created equal. Some require more energy to accomplish within a set time than others do. And that means that certain exercises will help you lose weight that much faster.

Let’s take another example of the jump rope. The jump rope is a humble piece of exercise equipment that is usually ignored by many based on the assumption that it is a child’s play toy.

But according to the jump rope institute, jumping for 10 minutes at 120 RPMs(turns) per minute is equivalent to:

· 2 sets of tennis singles

· 30 minutes of jogging

· 18 acres of golf

· 30 minutes of handball and racquet playing

· 720 yards of swimming

Evidently, the type of exercise that you do will determine the amount of change that you see in your body within a set time. That question on how long does it take to get fit is therefore partly dependent on the strategy that you use to get in shape.

Do choose wisely.

4. How Often Do You Exercise?

“How long does it take to get in shape?”

If you were to ask me this question, I would simply turn it back to you and ask, “How often do you exercise?”

Does frequency matter?

Of course it does.

The reason some people are fit and others are not is because those that are in shape take the time to stay that way.

It’s just simple math.

Studies show that it takes burning 3,500 calories in order for you to lose 1 pound.

So, if you engage in a form of exercise that burns of say, 700 calories, then you would need to engage in this form of exercise 5 times to lose that 1 pound.

It is tempting to watch the scale arrow point to a lower figure and think that you can now relax and do little to maintain your gains. But if you do that, you will be back to where you started in no time.

The general recommendation is that you exercise 3-5 times per week. This will leave you at least two days for rest, during which time your body will get to recover. Rests tend to reduce the likelihood of injuries.

If you cannot manage to exercise 5 times a week, you should aim for at least 3 workouts in any given week.

Getting fit takes both sacrifice and consistency. And you have no choice but to exercise frequently if you want to see significant changes in the way you look and feel.

If you can find time for work, and leisure, then you can find time to exercise. You can start by carving out time at the beginning of your day. Surely, you can sacrifice at least 15 minutes at the start of the day by reducing your sleeping time. Right? A short intense workout like rope jumping would be a great option. 

You can then take breaks during your working hours to walk for 10-minute periods. By the end of the day you would have accumulated at least 30 minutes of physical activity. And if you consistently do this at least 4 times a week, that is 120 minutes of workouts right there.

Bearing in mind the above factors that each contributes to your fitness progress, perhaps it’s time to stop asking, “How long does it take to get in shape?” Now is the time for you to batten down the hatches, and find a way to stick to your fitness strategy until you achieve your goal. If you have the will to do so, then one day, your future self will thank you when you take a look at the mirror and see how in shape you have gotten. 

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