How long should a program take to see results?
People are always looking for immediate answers and simple solutions to their fitness related goals.
They want to lose X amount of pounds or deadlift 500 yesterday.
Now obviously after one session in the gym miracles do not happen, but still the questions come.
When will I see results?
This is definitely a question that needs careful answering but progress should be seen within 1-2 weeks.
Yes, I said it. In 1-2 weeks you should see progress. Your end goal will take longer.
Exercise works. There is enough research, success stories, and public proof that it does. If you do not think exercise is effective, then you are in trouble.
If your strategy does not yield almost instant results, then you have the wrong strategy.
After 1 week, small progress should be evident.
This can be 1 pound lost, benching 5 more pounds, or waking up with more energy.
In an extremely short amount of time, all little accomplishments are steps in the right direction. How else do you know if your strategy is correct?
If the goal is to get stronger and you have not lifted anything heavier than the week before, the strategy needs tweaking.
Evaluating the strategy
There is no one optimal way to train for everyone. Individuals must find what works best for them. This needs some trial, error, and evaluation.
Are you all in for the process?
Making time to train is essential. Find out what time works for you and do not let anything get in the way.
If you are on a 3 day program, then you must show up 3 days per week.
Are you putting the effort in?
Using challenging weights and making sure there is a degree of difficulty will ensure progress. I can walk around a commercial gym and wonder if some people have been using the same dumbbells since before I was born.
Push yourself and if the weights ever felt easy, you need to add more next time.
Do you have a support staff?
This can be family, friends, or fellow gym goers. Someone needs to be there to congratulate you.
It can be frustrating to bust your ass for no one to notice. I know that the change is about you but it always helps for someone to keep you going.
Going the extra mile
I always make suggestions for things to do at home. I know most of the time that they do not get done but those that do see progress.
Working on flexibility, core stability, and good posture can all be done at home. These are things that you can learn once and run with them.
Another good example here is grabbing your diet by the horns.
Good nutrition should be a step in the process and not the extra mile, but it is something that trainers, coaches, etc. cannot physically control.
Are you eating to enhance your progress and not working against it?
If the goal is fat loss and no progress is coming, 98% it is attributed to diet. I cannot make you eat well; you need to put in the work to do so.
Go above and beyond to make sure the process is working.
I noticed something funny here with this little list. Exercise is not on here.
Exercise is not usually the culprit but here is when it can be:
1. You do not miss training days
2. Your diet has already given you results
3. Your strength has increased to a point and not so much lately
4. You have been doing the same thing for a really long time
If this describes you, then your program needs an overhaul.
Try changing the exercises, sets, reps, intensity, or even the mode. The mode can be changed with equipment and variations. Pushups instead of benching, dumbbell press instead of barbell, actually training your legs once in a while, the list goes on and on.
The gym should not be the whipping child that it appears to be. Be sure to follow the strategy, evaluate your strategy, and make changes as needed.
Months can go by without any progress. It does not have to be like that. If the progress is not coming, look for the little victories. 5 pounds here, less caffeine there, or the desire to eat more vegetables are all results of the program.
The goal will not be accomplished in a week but following the program should yield something or else it needs to be changed.