Exercising is good for our physical health – strength training and cardio, for example, can help improve your metabolism – as well as our mental health. HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is effective for burning fat and is an ideal training for weight loss. And if you’re focused on swapping wins, sprints and treadmills are your best friends. But how soon after you start training will you start seeing results?

We will begin this by saying that everyone’s fitness or weight loss journey is different and everyone’s body is different. So the results of two people will be the same. That said, we talked to three experts about what to expect in terms of training results depending on your goals – because everyone’s goals are also inevitably different – and we broke it up for you right here.

How fast can you lose weight after exercise?

NASM-certified personal trainer Guychard Codio, co-founder of New York City Personal Training, told POPSUGAR that at first you can not train and eat excess calories and expect to lose weight: you have to burn more calories than you take in (learn) more about eating in a calorie deficit here). Healthy eating habits, he said, should be an integral part of your exercise routine. In terms of losing weight through exercise, he said people can start seeing results in two to three weeks. But he noted that if you want to keep the weight down, you need a routine that slides slowly and steadily instead of one where you go out.

For example, it is not a realistic goal to try to lose 20 pounds in a month, Codio said, which is what he sees some people do before weddings and some professional athletes like boxers or bodybuilders do before competitions. Here is a scenario: If you have more intense parts of your workout and diet plan where you choose to cut calories from 2,500 to 1,200 for two months but want to maintain your weight loss, gradually bring those calories back up and increase your workout routine , while doing so, he explained. Slowly and steadily the race wins. (Just look at some of our POPSUGAR weight loss success stories to get proof.)

NASM-certified personal trainer Ashley Kelly told POPSUGAR that she puts her clients through a program of at least six weeks if their goal is to lose weight through training with three weeks of introductory training to accustom them to an elevated heart rate, an easier week, and two strength training weeks with higher intensity. She usually does a body fat test before and after the program to see their progress.

Ashleigh Kast, NASM-certified trainer, gave POPSUGAR a scenario where people just focus on exercise to lose weight as opposed to exercise and change their eating habits (and by losing weight she means losing fat). “If you’re trying to lose fat by exercising, you’ll have to establish a calorie deficit by exercising alone,” she explained, but she stressed that “the amount of exercise you need to do in a week without addressing food to maintain that the calorie deficit can be very stressful. “

Eating a calorie deficit and exercising is what is recommended for weight loss because you will have to burn 500 calories a day in your workout for seven days just to lose a pound a week, which is not a realistic goal. In addition, it is not always recommended that you exercise every day. And “in some cases where calories are still very high, it’s simply not enough to create the necessary deficit,” Kast said.

All the trainers we spoke to said that in the end, they could not provide a definitive answer to weight loss results as it depends on a person’s individual goals, body type, weight, age and other factors. In general, they all agreed that for healthy weight loss, it will take at least a couple of weeks to really see results, and that an aggressive approach in a short amount of time is not something you can sustain. You can healthily lose half a pound to two pounds a week, Jim White, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios and ACSM-certified personal trainer, told POPSUGAR in an earlier interview. So after five weeks you can see a loss of up to 10 pounds.

How fast can you build muscle after training?

Kast said that when completing a bodybuilding or strength training cycle of 10 to 12 weeks with at least three lifting days a week, it is not uncommon to see a muscle increase of 5-7 pounds. Codio said it will be easier for someone who already has some muscle to add to that muscle. For this person, it usually takes about two weeks for them to see results. For someone who has not trained before, it can take up to two months – and this, he noted, also varies depending on how much muscle you are trying to gain.

Similar to what she said about seeing weight loss results for six weeks – which she designated as a general timeline for her clients – Kelly said, in her opinion, you can start seeing muscle changes in six weeks. This is a little easier to do than lose weight, as most people can just focus on heavy lifting, she explained. Eating a calorie deficit is not important; you actually need to eat enough carbohydrates and protein to help repair muscle. Kast further noted that people who weight, exercise and do not address nutrition will have a harder time achieving and maintaining results. (If you are interested in the right macros, you may need to gain muscle, see our guide on that.)

Bottom line: Building muscle helps you lose weight

The more muscle you have, the easier it is for your body to lose fat and burn calories throughout the day, Codio said. In terms of losing fat, muscle will help with that, so if your goal is to lose weight by exercising, it is part of the process to gain muscle to a certain capacity. Kelly tells her clients to focus on what their bodies look like – for example, definition in their arms and legs – and feel progress as opposed to the number on the scale. “If you try to go on the scale while developing muscle mass, you can either not see any change in weight, or you can see your pounds go up. So see how you feel in your clothes and see how you feel. you in the mirror, “she advised.

Whether your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle through exercise, Kast said it is most realistic for people to exercise three to four times a week (do not forget rest days!) With strength training and high-intensity cardio as well as an emphasis on nutrition. , especially monitoring and managing calories to find out what works for you. You also need to deal with stress and get plenty of sleep. As with making a change in any aspect of your life, Kelly remarked, “if you consistently do something and wait at least 21 to 42 days, you will see changes.” See some of our training plans below for inspiration on where to start: