Starting Weight Training: How Long Does It Take to See Results?
But I think many gyms realize that this feeling keeps many people away from the gym and some companies like Planet Fitness are confronting the issue in a humorous way as seen in their “I pick things up and put them down” commercials.
But after working with a trainer at Fitness Together for about three or four months, I started to notice results… not the kind of results that will have me getting oiled up and posing on stage somewhere, perish the thought, but the kind of results where you feel a muscle where you previously didn’t feel one. Or a muscle that you can flex a bit where you couldn’t before.
In fact, I think that the first few months of weight training are all about developing basic muscle tone to activate your major and minor muscles so you can begin to target them with more specific exercise. My personal trainer put me through a couple of months of full body workout exercises before we ever started breaking up my workouts into upper days, lower days, and full body days and I think that was the right approach.
So for anyone just starting out or considering a weight training program, I’d encourage you to consider the following:
- Commit to at least four months of training for at least one-hour 3 days a week since I suspect it will take that long to see some real results. If you’re anything like me when I started, your skeletal muscle percentage is likely so low that you need to get to a normal level before you can really build.
- Feed yourself – don’t starve your workouts since it takes a good diet rich in protein to repair the muscles your ripping during your workouts. I like GNC’s Amplified Wheybolic Extreme protein. Protein is an important supplement to a well-balanced diet.
- Follow a plan – I love the Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises. It has great pictures and explanations of over 600 exercises and it organizes them into simple-to-follow exercises. I type the workouts into a Word document, print them, and carry the book and my worksheets at the gym to track my workouts and refer to the book to make sure I have good form. It’s also inspiring to see a guy I went to school with as the model for the Shoulders chapter. He was always a fit kid but it’s great to see the results Damon Weeks has achieved as an adult. If he can do it, so can I, though it might take me ten years to get into amazing shape like Damon. But I can live with that. I need something to work on so why not my health?
Despite what some people may think, people who carry a book at the gym and write down their workouts are cool, in my opinion, because they are the ones seeing results. By tracking your exercises, weights, and repetitions, you can keep pushing yourself and make sure you’re doing balanced workouts. And that leads to great long-term results.
The people who walk around without a plan and notes do the same workout every time I see them and the repetition isn’t necessarily bad for them but it’s not as helpful as changing things up every four weeks since your body won’t see the same benefit if you don’t change things up. The Men’s Health book is smart since it changes your program every four weeks so your body never gets bored.
In my own experience, the fun doesn’t end after the first few months. I still find myself noticing something new every four to six months. For example, my triceps are really starting to pop out a bit in the last few months. Seeing the results inspires me to keep up the work knowing that I’ll see other noticeable results in another six months or so.
Having faith that hard work and commitment will produce results in time motivates me and I hope it does for you, too. Hang in there, commit to four months, and then you’ll begin a great cycle of improvements.
Feel free to post comments and share your experience. I’d love to hear what’s working for you.