Effective Training

How Long Does It Take To Change Your Body?

Written By: Kripa Jalan

How Long Does It Take To Change Your Body?

If you care about how you look (as most people do,) here are three important things to remember:

  1. Your body will change and keep changing. You don’t look how you did a few years back and you won’t look how you do now, a few years down the line.
  2. Fat loss/muscle gain are outcomes. While you have no control over them, you do have a significant amount of control over the behaviors that influence these outcomes.
  3. There is no perfect person (no matter how awesome you are.) You have daily stressors, feelings, habits, maybe a job or even kids, and days where you just feel like crap. 

So, what does changing your body mean?

There are four ways you can change the way you visually look:

1. Lose weight. This is non-specific i.e. it’s a combination of muscle and fat loss. Essentially, you have a similar shape, but look a little smaller.

How does this happen? When we drastically restrict calories and/or engage in copious amounts of cardio. But the bounce-back effect, when we return to our normal ways of living, is also pronounced.

2. Lose body fat. Assuming you’ve maintained all your muscle mass in the process, you will notice more of a visible change in your physical appearance than in case #1.

How does this happen? When we eat sensibly and move with purpose. A combination of resistance work and quality food help with the retention of muscle and consequently keeps our metabolism intact.

3. Build muscle mass. Assuming you don’t gain any fat in the process, your body composition would’ve improved, and people would notice visible muscle growth.

How does this happen? This is less likely. It’s very difficult to gain pure muscle, without putting on any body fat. The one exception may be a brand-new trainee, who has never lifted weights before.

4. Lose body fat & build muscle mass. This will be the most dramatic in terms of visible change. Your weight may be the same as when you began, but you look very different.

How does this happen? Just like scenario #3, this sort of dramatic change is pretty much exclusive to the brand-new trainee. However, it may also apply to advanced athletes, who have taken some time off.

Okay, so muscle is important....

You may have noticed that muscle gain or retention is the key to making visible changes to your body and sustaining them in the long run.

Muscle mass is required to keep your metabolic furnace running hot. So, it pays well to pay attention to it.

How long does it take?

  1. Fat Loss: You may have heard that you can safely lose 2 kgs. of body fat in a month. Of course, this depends on several factors. E.g. Underlying conditions, diet history, the consistency of your efforts, and how much you have to begin with. Could you try harder and faster? Sure. But the costs will quickly add up, as we discussed above.
  2. Muscle Gain: Your ability to gain muscle is very connected to your training age. With each year you’ve been lifting weights the potential to gain muscle decreases. This effect is more pronounced in women, post the age of 30. To do this correctly, you need a balance of adequate nutrients, a sound training program, as well as quality sleep. 

How consistent do you have to be to make “good progress”?

This may come as a shock to you – but just putting in some effort – no matter how small – changes things.

How do I know this? I’ve analyzed over 2000 data points from my clients over the last 7 years.

When people do their habits and workouts even 60% of the time, they look better, sure. But they also get healthier!

No perfection is required.

You can still become, at last, the healthy, thriving, confident person you’ve wanted to be—just by putting in whatever effort you’ve got.

Whether that’s 40%, 60%, or 80%, your best really is good enough.