How Long Does It Take To Get In Shape-Fat To Fit or Muscle?

When you decide to become more healthy, you want to see those results now. Not a month from now or six months, but right now. So you are asking how long does it take to get in shape? It is different for each person and depends on the current state of your fitness, fitness regime, and goals.

People have different definitions of “getting in shape.” It means getting their body from fat to fit, and for others, it means developing chiseled abs and getting stronger.

How you define fitness will shape the goals of your fitness regimen.

Whatever your definition of fitness may be, getting in shape will not happen in an instant. It will take a few weeks before you start seeing the benefits of your efforts and even longer before any physical changes.

So How Long Does It Take To Get In Shape?

If you are just starting, it will take between six to eight weeks before you start to see the benefits in your health and more than two months before any substantial physical changes.

There is no sustainable quick fix to getting in shape. You need to define your goals and design a fitness plan with your instructor that will help you shed weight at an ideal rate and build muscle.

But when you think about it, that is not really a long time. It took you longer to gain the weight and let your muscles get weak. But let’s dive into this a bit deeper to see how long it really takes and what to expect.

a fat belly How Long Does It Take To Get In Shape?

How Long Does It Take To Get In Shape From Weight Loss

I understand your eagerness to lose weight and get in shape as quickly as possible. In this tech-centric age, people are demanding instant gratification, but this is not a good idea for weight loss.

Stressing your muscles with too much exercise or weight lifting and rapid weight loss can have negative effects on your health. Exercising too hard and losing weight too fast can cause problems. Some issues your body can have are muscle injury, nutritional deficiencies, muscle loss, gallstones, and a slower metabolism rate, which will cause fat to be stored in your body and lead to problems like diabetes and heart disease.

However, you still need to plan your weight loss program. The best way to do this is to aim to lose between 1 to 2 pounds a week. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the healthy rate to lose weight is 4 to 8 pounds per month.

Your fitness instructor can help you understand your current body fat percentage, and these days it is easy to track fat loss to determine how long it will take to get in shape. Men should aim to get their body fat percentage below 10%, while women should aim for a percentage below 20%.

With such a target, you can easily calculate how long it will take you to lose weight by dividing the number of pounds you want to lose by 2. What you get will give you a rough estimate of the number of weeks it will take you to achieve your fitness goals.

overweight to thin girls

How Long Does It Take To Get In Shape From Fat To Fit

Like I said earlier, your goals heavily influence how long you take to get in shape.

If you are an overweight individual looking to shed weight and get fit, you will start seeing positive health benefits after two weeks. An improvement in your blood pressure will be evident and you will be less out of breath when you physically exert yourself

More visual changes will start to appear after two months. The best way to measure this is to check out your body-fat percentage. Since your body contains so much fat, your fat loss gains may be hidden under fat tissue. You will be making muscle gains, but the only visible change may be an increase in your upper arm size. 

Measuring your body-fat percentage gives you an accurate picture of the strides you are making and makes it easier for you to motivate yourself and keep coming back.

Funny enough, the more out of shape you are, the faster you will start to see results. This is because the more someone weighs, the more calories they burn when performing any physical activity.

Finally, if your ultimate goal is to build a lean, muscular physique, you can achieve your goal after 12months of sticking to a consistent fitness regimen.

In the beginning, how long does it take to get in shape is a much faster process when you are looking at weight loss. As you come closer to your goal, the process will slow, but do not lose your motivation. Keep on your routine, and you will see it through to the end.

How long does it take to get in shape as a runner. runner on road

How Long Does It Take To Get In Shape From Running

It’s possible that running is your primary form of exercise, and you would like to know how long it will take to get in shape if you start running.

If you aim for a 30minutes running workout 3 to 5 days a week, you will see weight loss improvements within a month. Major physical changes will start to appear after 2 months.

Running is a great way to shed weight since it is a high-impact exercise. Running gets your heart rate up easily, which leads to faster calorie burn. Running will also improve your bone density and reduce the risk of heart attacks.

Running is effective when combined with a healthy eating plan and cross-training activities like cycling, swimming, and yoga. Cross-training is important because running neglects some muscle groups, and other exercises like cycling and yoga will help you make up the deficit.

If you are a beginner, try to take at least two days of rest each week. Running is a high-impact activity, and over-exerting yourself can lead to injuries. Besides, your body needs time to rest and recover.

a guy taking a break

How Long Does It Take To Get In Shape After An Exercise Break

Everyone takes a break, including the most dedicated gym-goers. You could have taken a break because of ill health, sickness, or any circumstance beyond your control.

Whatever the case may be, things got out of hand, and your two weeks break turned into three months or more. Now, you want to recover your fitness, and you are wondering how long it will take.

I don’t think anyone can give you an exact timeframe, and the length of recovery will depend on the duration of your time off.

If your break was limited to a few weeks, then only your cardio will be affected, and you can regain your cardio conditioning easily within a few weeks.

If your break lasted longer, and you deserted your exercise routine for three months or longer, more factors will come into play.

Your recovery rate will be determined by how physically active you were during your time off and the type of exercise you were doing before your break. You would have lost most of your cardio conditioning and at least 10% of your strength. 

The body holds onto strength for much longer, but it will still take a lot of effort to get back to where you were before.

When coming back to exercise, start simple, and adopt a lighter and less intense version of your previous exercise regimen. Your body needs time to re-acclimatize itself with your workouts before taking it up a notch.

If running is your thing, try jogging at intervals and reduce your running workouts’ intensity.

go slow

Take It Slow To Get In Shape

I want to drive the point home that rapid weight loss is unhealthy and unsustainable. The body needs time to adapt to any changes in your rate of physical activity and your diet.

If you make drastic changes, your body’s adaptations will do more harm than good.

Typically, diets that promise rapid weight loss are often low on calories and other essential nutrients. If your body feels that food is in short supply, it will start to burn more protein in an effort to create spare calories. 

This leads to a reduction in the body’s metabolic rate and will require you to cut more calories from your diet to get any results. This will lead to a downward spiral in your metabolic rate that you must avoid.

To lose weight at a healthy rate, train consistently 3 to 4 times a week, and adopt a high-protein diet. Cut back on sugar and starches, and get plenty of rest.


Your fitness goal will determine how long it will take you to get into shape. Are you the chiseled abs person or the fat to fit person? Either goal will require time to develop. You may be overweight and want to also build muscle.

how long does it take to get in shape pinterest pin

Did you know that the more muscle tissue you have, the more fat you will burn? So the answer to how long does it take to get in shape is in the weight loss and the muscle building. More muscle means faster; you will lose weight and getting in shape faster.

A sustainable weight loss program is key to get in shape at a healthy pace; however, having the right motivation is the real secret to losing weight and getting in shape. A motivating workout routine of 3 days a week is ideal to reach your goal.

You can motivate yourself by keeping a weight loss journal and celebrating your successes during your weight-loss journey. Adopting an exercise routine that fits into your lifestyle will also make it easier for you to remain committed and avoid excuses.

Remember that getting in shape is an ongoing process that requires discipline, healthy eating habits, and a sustainable fitness regimen. And how long does it take to get in shape does not have a definitive answer? It will be a bit different for each person, but here we have touched on many reasons and a broad timeframe to get in shape.

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2 thoughts on “How Long Does It Take To Get In Shape-Fat To Fit or Muscle?”

  1. Good Morning Laura,

    The entire world is suffering from this coronavirus. Many people are staying more at home or even started to work from home. Let’s face it, we move less. Many women, I belong to that group and also men have put on extra weight. Less movement and some stress eating and there you are.

    I think your post comes very timely, showing how to lose weight and practice patience because too much in too short a time can be unhealthy. I have done a big house cleaning and after a couple of hours I am a bit out of breath and that shows my stomach is getting in the way with all this bending and dusting.

    The holidays are around the corner, so I think this is about the hardest time to want to lose weight. I have never been a running kind of person, but a brisk morning walk of 20 minutes is very refreshing. Enjoying the crisp morning air, birds singing, and see the sunrise.

    I realize something needs to be done, and your article is a good push in the right direction.

    Regards, Taetske

    • Hi Taetske, I, too, gained weight staying at home due to COVID. I know we all want to get rid of the extra weight, and to lose it slowly will ensure we keep it off. You know I follow the results of my DNA testing to lose the weight. I have lost 22 pounds and only have 14 pounds to go. My DNA helped me see what nutrients I need in what proportions to lose weight. It has been an incredibly eye-opening experience to know my body’s wants and needs according to my genetic makeup.
      Any type of exercise is good for us. I can offer you DNA testing to help you understand how to take off that weight in a healthy manner. If we get started now your results will be back in about 3 weeks. Right as the holiday’s end and the new year is to begin. I know you will be amazed by the results and how much they can help you lead a healthy lifestyle.


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