How Fast Can You Gain or Lose Fitness?

Many people who are thinking about exercising want to know how fast you can gain fitness.

And current exercises often want to know how fast you lose fitness if you stop training.
Here are your answers!

Gaining Fitness: It Only Takes Weeks

We have good news for you: if you haven’t been working out, you can measurably improve fitness in weeks.

If you’re currently working out, the answer will be different because progress slows over time. Think of a world-champion sprinter — it will take a lot to make that runner even a little faster. It will take less work for a newer runner to increase speed. It’s the same with general fitness.

For less-experienced people, it doesn’t take long to see results in the gym. How long?

In general, you can expect to see measurable results in about six weeks of training if you work out properly. Many factors will affect this timeframe: the workouts you do, the frequency of your training, the intensity of your workouts, your nutrition, your sleep, your stress levels, and so on. A qualified coach can tell you exactly what to do to get optimal results.

It’s not uncommon for new clients to feel a little sore after the first few workouts but then feel noticeably better, both mentally and physically. Some will tell us they have more energy and “feel stronger” after just a few weeks of training. Others will report changes in confidence and mood.

We love hearing about stuff like that, but we also rely on metrics so clients have actual data that shows their progress.

For example: we can track performance on conditioning workouts, strength progressions, body weight, and body fat to name a few metrics. Some will move faster than others. New clients often measurably improve strength and conditioning in four to eight weeks. Significant weight and fat loss can take longer but small changes often happen in the first two months of training.

Here is amazing news!
These swift results are common with people of any age! No matter how old you are, you can get real results in the gym in a relatively short amount of time!

Will you experience rapid changes forever? No! Your fitness improvements slow down a little as you gain experience but that’s ok! You can make steady progress for decades and a coach can tell you exactly what to do to keep moving forward. Chasing milestones becomes a lot more fun.

The best part? You’ll be healthier long term!

If you want even more specific info on training adaptations, check out THIS ARTICLE for a list of training-related changes to the muscles and the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Fitness: No Work, No Reward

Here’s the truth about fitness: use it or lose it.

If you stop training, you can expect to slide backward. This doesn’t happen instantly, so don’t stress if you miss a workout or two. And a holiday once in a while won’t derail you completely.

In general, you can expect to start moving backward in about two to four weeks without activity. Actual skeletal muscle atrophy can happen in as little as 72 hours but not noticeably until the two to four week timeframe. If you’re inactive for longer periods, such as two to six months, your fitness levels will be significantly reduced.

Again, these declines will be influenced by several factors. For example, someone who stops training and moving completely will experience a swifter decline than someone who stays relatively active outside the gym. And someone who quits training altogether will move backward while a person who just reduces training.

In addition, some research has found that well-trained people hold their fitness longer than those who don’t train for very long before dropping the healthy habit. You can read more about that HERE.

The bottom line: you shouldn’t feel panicked if you miss a workout or two. But if you want to preserve your fitness level, it would be a mistake to pass on training and activity for two to four weeks. The best plan of all: stay active for life and constantly work to improve your health and fitness in the gym.

Talk To A Coach!

Many factors determine how quickly you gain or lose fitness but we’ve given you some general timelines.

If you’d like to learn more about how fast you can move toward your specific fitness goals, we can help! We’ll find out what you want to accomplish, put together a clear path and lay out some milestones for you. Book a free consult with us HERE!

Schedule your free intro

Talk with a coach about your goals, make a plan to achieve them.

Fill out the form below to get started

Take the first step towards getting the results that you want

By providing your phone number, you agree to receive text messages from Iron Hero CrossFit