How Long Does It Take To Get In Great Shape?

As a trainer, one of the first questions I’m asked is “how long will it take me to get in shape?”  Unfortunately, my answer can only come in the form of 3 “magic” questions: What’s your definition of ‘in shape’

How long did it take you to fall “out of shape”?

How bad do you want it?

The first question reveals a person’s goals, the second is more of a statement than a question that’s designed to help them adjust their expectations, and third tells me if their question is merely lip-service.

What’s your definition?

How you define ‘in shape’ matters greatly.  Some folks define it by how far they can run, some define it by how strong they are, or how much mass they gain/fat they lose.

From the beginning, Da Fitness Guy’s “brand” of training focuses on creating athletic, strong, graceful, performance-based physiques that are ready to take hits and dish them out if necessary.  Thus, I put a strong emphasis on tracking the progress towards my clients goals.

Get on the scale.  Are you ‘in shape’?  There’s really no way of knowing unless you’re actively monitoring your progress.  The scale is a very small small part of tracking one’s progress.

How long will it take?

From an aesthetic standpoint, are you satisfied with how you look in the mirror?  How long it will take depends on your current bodyfat level vs. lean body mass ratio.  That said, if a client takes their training seriously, they will begin to see subtle changes in their physique around the 3 to 4 week point.  By the 10-12 week point, however, their body composition will be significantly different from when they started.

Do yourself a favor and turn off “TMZ”

The unholy trinity of the food, fitness, and medical industries have confused and muddled the minds of the public with conflicting (mis)information.  Actors, bodybuilders, and models use a multitude of drugs, steroids, diuretics, and hormones in order to attain their attention grabbing physiques.  Since they follow the philosophy of “better bodies through harmful chemistry”, if you listen to them, you’re going to drive yourself nuts.  Depending on your natural somatotype (endomorph, mesomorph, ectomorph), you will have unique goals and requirements, and you cannot judge yourself by the artificial standards of magazines, models or media.

How bad do you want it?

Of course, a good start doesn’t necessarily mean a good finish.  You always need to keep  your goals in mind, even when the going gets tough and you want to quit.  Stay accountable to yourself and to others.  That’s where having a trainer, training partner or support group is super important.  Also, using social networks like Facebook and Twitter to post your results and stay motivated is another good idea.  You only need motivation for the first 3 weeks (it takes 21 days to build or break any habit), after which you’ve established a habit.

Always beware inertia!

It bears repeating..

At the risk of repetition, when you think to yourself, “I wonder how long it would take me to get back in shape”?  Ask yourself these 3 “magic” questions:

What’s your definition of ‘in shape’

How long did it take you to fall “out of shape”?

How bad do you want it?