Someone asked me how long it took me to see results when I started working out.
When you're into fitness, and specifically coaching, you get that a lot. "Well if I work for a month, how much weight do you think I can lose?" "I just want to put on 10 pounds of straight muscle, man, so how long will that take?" I always tell everyone that it's relative — relative to your goals, your effort, and your consistency.
I always tell them three months. Three months can be daunting to a lot of people, but photogenically speaking, three months is the most realistic timeframe for serious physical change that is healthy. Yes, three months is a long time in terms of short-term goals. Nobody wants to wait a whole 12 weeks to see anything change, but let's break those 12 weeks down.
It's argued that it takes roughly 66 days to form a habit that becomes automatic. For this argument, we will say that is 60 days, or two months. Two months of training your body to adapt to the soreness. Two months to get used to removing all of the junk you used to put into your body. Two months to mentally build up the grit to move the iron, to hit that trail, and to prep those meals.
The first month you will be inconsistent. You'll get into the gym two or three times a week, and likely make excuses for the days you miss. Of course, this is a mere generalization. There are people who are extremely dedicated and go in with a full head of steam and start seeing results a few weeks in. But for most of us, we have no idea what we are doing and there is an adaption stage that we go through. The second month you really get into your groove and things start becoming more habitual.
Then comes the real progress. The first month where you are actually used to all of the change you've put your body through. At the end of that month, you should be able to look in the mirror and not only look like a different person from months before, but truly believe that the person you are looking at is a true reflection of your identity.
Three months. 90 days.
These numbers can be daunting to the average person, and of course, when you want to wake up the next day and see changes, this is understandable. However, a great body isn't created overnight. These people who you see with ripped muscles, toned stomachs, and sleek figures are a testament to years of dedication and slow progress. That's the thing about a great body compared to most nice things in life — you can't fake it.
So how are you supposed to grind through the first two months of training? Those two months where you may or may not see any drastic changes in your figure? You have to set smaller, achievable goals to make it to your long-term goal. The mistake many people make jumping into a workout routine is the failure to set small goals. They just go into their routine trying to find the shortcut to success, but the road to fitness success is teeming with obstacles.
Setting various types of goals is the number one tool in your arsenal to overcoming obstacles on your journey. Goals you notice with your size (up or down), with your strength and endurance, and non-scale goals are all great benchmarks with your short-term goals. Being able to take pride in your weekly or biweekly progress is a guaranteed way to keep you motivated.
Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is the body that you want to see yourself have.