How Long Does It Take To Get In Shape?

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Sean Wilson

Sean Wilson

Patience is key during the long process of getting in shape. But how long does it take? And what factors affect your rate of progress?

We live in a world where quick results are king. Many people love the idea of receiving fast returns on their investment due to a lack of patience and being so used to having things delivered at a quick pace.

However, getting in shape is an achievement that does not happen overnight. It requires patience, dedication and consistency over a long period of time. It sounds manageable on the surface, but many people fall off track due to not playing the long game and being taken off track by external distractions.

But how long does it really take to get in shape? And what are the key factors that determine the speed of your progress?

The Goal

The first factor that will determine your rate of progress is the goal itself. Are you looking to build a certain amount of muscle, drop by a certain number off the scales or lose a lot of body fat? The reason why this is important is the weight loss and fat loss are goals in which you should be able to see clearer signs of progress a lot more quickly. This is through consistent tracking of scale weight and photos, as well as how you feel.

Muscle building takes more time to notice progress and requires a lot more patience.  Every goal requires consistency but adding muscle to your frame revolves around resistance training 3-5 times per week and eating in a calorie surplus (consuming more calories than you are burning) every day for a long period of time. Similarly to the other goals, you need to be tracking your weight and visual progress, but this goal requires more time to achieve.

Starting Point

The next factor that determines your rate of progress is where you are starting from. When it comes to fat loss, if you are starting out with lots of body fat, the distance from destination is going to be a lot longer than someone who starts with less body fat. This is similar with weight loss but also depends on how much weight you are trying to lose. If you are going from a good starting point, you will be a lot closer to your goal than if you start further back.


When it comes to speed of progression, having the right guidance and coaching will be imperative to you reaching your goal as quickly as possible. It’s one thing to put in the hard work consistently, but if you are not on the right plan with the right support to guide you along the process, your hard yards could yield very little reward. Having this will not only help know if you are on the right path to your goal, but it will also keep you going during those weeks when motivation is low. Sometimes this is necessary to keep the momentum going.

Adherence and Consistency

Once you know that you are on the right plan, it is then up to you to put in the consistent work over a long period of time. Getting in shape does not need to be complicated, but many people fail because they simply can’t do what is required week in, week out to achieve their goals. The longer it takes you to adhere to the plan and the more mishaps you have, the longer it will be until you reach your target.


Are you in an environment that is conducive to your goals? It is an important question to ask. Many people fail because they give into outside temptations, often caused by friends, family or even boredom. Regular social events with people that are either not aware or not supportive of your goals will increase the chances of you falling off track. This does not mean that you have to give up being sociable, but make sure your environment does not push you off track towards your goals.

Key Adjustments

During your journey, your initial plan will not stay the same. You may go weeks, even months with a simple training and nutrition plan that will deliver initial success but the further along you go, the more importance is placed on minor adjustments that will accelerate your progress. For example, as your strength and stability increase, you will be in a good place to move from machine exercises to more freeweight, compound movements. This will help you improve in so many areas and get you even closer to your goal(s).


So, the reality is that getting in shape takes time, but there are several factors that will determine the speed of your success. These include the initial goal, starting point, guidance, adherence and consistency, environment, and key adjustments. If you manage to master these areas, your progress will be much faster than many of those who do not.

Photo Credit: Envato Elements

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