How long does it take to get fit? Weeks, months, even years? It depends on where you start from and how you define being fit: as muscular, slim or both.
The Road To Being Fit
One day you decided it’s time to change and do something about your body. If you’re skinny, you want to gain weight, preferably in the form of muscle. If you’re overweight, your goal is to lose some pounds, but some muscle along the way would be nice, too.
These two definitions of “getting fit” are very different:
You can find the Tokyo study about vigorous exercise leading to noticeable differences in muscle mass after three months right behind this link.
Fit In X Weeks Programs?
You no doubt at some point saw advertisements for workout programs that promise you “30 lbs of muscle in six weeks”, “build a six-pack in a month” or “get toned by summer” or some other nonsense.
It’s nonsense because of the reasons we talked about above: a 300 lbs guy who started losing weight and working out in March won’t look like Michelangelo’s David by June. Losing a lot of weight in short time isn’t healthy and it’s impossible to build enormous amounts of muscle in the first weeks of training.
In 2004, scientists from the University of Wisconsin put together a six-week workout program very similar to those offered by Body For Life (“12 weeks to mental and physical strength”) and Beachbody (“pack on up to 20 pounds of muscle in 90 days”). Not a single subject developed washboard abs. The difference in their physical appearance and attractivity judged by others was just about zero (PDF).
Of course, it’s up to you to believe that all that muscle materializes out of thin air in the latter six weeks of those programs. They do make a difference in your appearance at some point, but for many people it will take much, much longer than they promise.
Picture courtesy of “dave” / morgueFile.