How long after starting a new exercise routine does it take to see results?

It’s difficult starting a new exercise regime. You’re using muscles you haven’t used in a while, you’re carrying more weight which makes you less agile, you’re probably exercising at times you used to use for rest and relaxation like early morning or after work. So it’s understandable to be impatient when it comes to seeing the fruits of your labour!

It’s a difficult question to answer simply, as results vary from person to person, and depend on many variables as well as the goal you are trying to achieve. But it’s safe to say you won’t see results overnight. For most people, it takes a couple of months to notice changes in their physique. As a general rule, if you’re putting your all into your workouts and eating well, on average it takes:

  • One month for you to notice your body is changing
  • Two months for your friends to notice
  • Three months for everyone else to notice.

You may have seen these guidelines before in popular motivational posters such as this one:

Exercise is a long-term commitment, a lifestyle change, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t see results early on, just keep going.

The more effort you put in, the greater the results you can achieve in a shorter period, so follow these tips to help you make the most of your workouts and get results.

Boost Cardio Equipment Workout Results

Treadmills, Cross Trainers & Exercise Bikes

Cardio workouts are a great choice if you want to lose weight, provided you use the treadmill, cross trainer and/or exercise bike in the right way.

To lose weight in a cardio workout, you need to make sure your heart rate is in the fat-burning zone for a minimum of 30 minutes. The ‘fat burning zone' refers to how fast your heart rate should be when you’re exercising, so you’ll need a treadmill, elliptical or bike that has a heart rate monitor, many of which you can find in our range, or workout wearing a heart rate monitor bracelet or watch. Some cardio machines can also calculate your target heart rate for you based on your age and weight.

First, you need to find out your maximum heart rate (which you can do using a HR calculator like this one, or use the simple calculation of 220 minus your age). Then for losing weight, your heart rate should be between 65%-70% of your maximum heart rate, or for increasing your endurance and stamina you should be pushing up to aim for 85%.

So for example, if you are aged 30, your maximum heart rate is 190 beats per minute (bpm) (220-30=190), your fat burning zone heart rate is around 124-133 bpm and your endurance building heart rate is around 162 bpm. Getting up to this zone and maintaining that heart rate for at least 30 mins will help you to reach your goal.

Most importantly, as you get fitter you will need to increase your speed and/or incline/resistance in order to reach your target heart rate zone – this is the key to moving forward to your goal. It’s tempting to stay in your comfort zone once you have built up your stamina, but you need to constantly push your limits to move forward.

Boost Weight Training/Resistance Workout Results

It’s also a good idea to include weights/resistance training in your workout. Building muscle is important as larger muscles burn more calories, improving your calorie output throughout the day, not just while working out – a key factor for weight loss.

Whether using free weights, bodyweight or home gyms, the same principles apply when boosting the effectiveness of your resistance workout, and if we could give just one tip to really maximise results it would be this: aim to fail.

That sounds crazier than it is! What we mean by that is, just like with your cardio workout, you need to always strive to push past your comfort zone. You should be repeating your reps in each set (not just the last set) until your muscles ‘fail’ and can’t possibly go another rep. When you get to that number take a short break (not a chit-chat or a long break) and start another set, repeating the movement until you can’t go any further. As your strength grows you will need to increase the weight or the number of reps to get to that point.

Diet & Lifestyle

Working out is important, but your results will be much slower to show if you don’t pair it with a calorie-controlled and healthy diet. The right diet will help you to achieve your weight loss and muscle tone goals by giving your body the fuel it needs.


No matter how many times we hear that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ it still seems that so many of us skip our morning meal in a bid to lose weight. But skipping breakfast can actually have the opposite effect on weight loss as it causes blood sugar to drop, reducing your energy and making you over-hungry by lunch.

Check out our healthy recipes for ideas.


On average water makes up around 55-60% of the human body and is essential for survival. Often when you feel hungry between meals your body is just craving hydration. By drinking plenty of water throughout the day you can boost your metabolism and curb hunger.


Sleep deprivation can cause you to gain weight. When you’re tired it’s all too easy to reach for a cup of coffee to keep us awake, comfort food to boost our energy, or skip our session in the gym. This leads to putting up unwanted pounds and the mistaken belief that our exercise plan isn't working.

Research has shown the impact sleep deprivation has on weight loss and it is having a bigger impact on your weight loss goals than you might imagine, so make sure to balance out your fitness with adequate rest and sleep each day.

Following these tips can help to significantly boost the effectiveness of your exercise plan, helping you to see the results you want sooner. But the most important thing to keep in mind is just to keep going. If you have an unhealthy meal or skip a workout, remember you don’t need to wait until tomorrow or next week to get back on track – you can start again at your next meal to be healthy or your next spare moment to work out!

Published on 22/02/2016

Last updated on 12/11/2021

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