A while ago when I was starting out with my weightlifting program, I was wondering about “How long it will take me to see my weightlifting results?”
The good news I uncovered was this: you can see real results from weightlifting in just a few weeks, yes in a few weeks…The one caveat is that results depend on a few critical factors about your current level of health.
I was asking people and getting different answers, and I decided to start weightlifting training and research the question myself. What I discovered was pretty surprising, and the answer as above was much simpler than I expected. So along with my weightlifting training, I was reading everything that was related to the topic.
How soon to see results from weightlifting? It all seems to boil down to age, the body type you were born with, and your current fitness profile (less-than-good, good, very good, or excellent).
That’s it. Those three factors, according to experts, are the main things that determine how quick you’ll get results from lifting weights. If you’ve ever wondered “How long to see weightlifting results?” then you’ll get an answer just by knowing your age, body type, and current fitness level. But there’s much more to it than that.
The breakdown of the factors goes like this:
The younger you are, obviously, the faster you’ll usually see weightlifting results. College-aged people and those under 35 can build muscle the fastest. Middle-aged folks are a bit slower. After middle-age, you can still develop new muscle mass, but visible results are not so quick to arrive. In other words, the younger you are, the faster you will see muscle-building effects from lifting.
Experts say there are three types of bodies. We’re pretty much locked into this factor, so you can’t change it. You’re either an ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph. Those scary-sounding words are science lingo. Ectomorphs are “long, lean and resistant to muscle-building.” Mesomorph bodies are”athletically built, of average size, and respond well to workouts.”
Finally, endomorphs tend to be “stocky people who can gain muscle but often struggle with their weight.”
You probably know your current fitness level intuitively. Most people who have not worked out at all in the last three months have a less than good level of overall fitness. If you work out regularly and are not overweight, then you have good or very good fitness. Regular exercisers who carry few or no extra pounds are in very good or excellent shape.
There are all sorts of ways to determine your actual fitness level. The point to remember is that the less fit you are, the quicker you’ll see weightlifting results. That’s good news for people like me who have been inactive for months or years.
No matter your fitness level, it’s always smart to check with a physician before beginning a new exercise routine. Fit or not, it’s best to have a checkup or talk with your doc before lifting.
How Fast Will Results Come
Based on the three factors, people who see quick results are young, average body type, and out of shape. At best, you could see results in a few weeks. At worst, it’ll take a few months to see measurable muscle mass increases.
The first thing to do is create a workout you can stick with and isn’t too hard or easy. After I had a routine checkup with my doctor, I set out to build a routine based on my research. Here’s what I came up with.
How To Decide On Routines, Frequency and Lift Amounts
I was all set to get started. Fortunately, I had access to a bare-bones gym at my apartment complex. That meant I didn’t have to buy anything except a pair of gloves.
What I had no clue about was how often to lift and how much weight to start out with. I discovered that it’s a trial-and-error system with weight amounts. To decide how often to lift, it depends on how fast you want results.
My schedule allows me to lift four times per week. I didn’t think I could stick with that routine so chose a 3-day per week workout. Turns out that’s the most common choice for people new to weightlifting.
The good news is that there is a ton of data online about routines. Whether you want a basic beginner “101” program or an advanced one, free information is at your fingertips.
After deciding on a 3-day-per-week program, I had to choose weight amounts and exercises. Almost all the sources I looked at had five or six exercises in common. As a group, they work for all the major muscle groups and can be done with barbells, dumbbells, or on machines.
I use my apartment gym or work out at home. It helps to have a simple routine that doesn’t tie you to a gym. Lots of people can’t get to a gym, can’t afford one, or just like to exercise alone.
So, decide on your lifting frequency, where you’ll work out, and what exercises to do. For newbies like me, the following basic routine, done three times per week, is simple and adaptable:
1. Lift on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or any three non-consecutive days each week.
2. Do a few minutes of walking as a warm-up before, and cool-down after, your session.
3. Drink some water beforehand and have some available during the workout.
4. With very light weights, do some biceps curls, triceps curls, squats, shrugs, bench presses, dips, dead-lifts, and military presses. If you don’t have a bench, you can use a longish stack of books. Make sure to secure them, so they don’t slide around. For dips, you can use a chair, table or countertop.
5. After “going through the motions” with the very light weights (see number 4, above), slowly increase the amount of weight for each exercise. Note that some exercises will call for more or less weight than others. That’s because small muscles, like the triceps, don’t have as much lifting power as larger ones. The point is to make notes of how much you can lift for each exercise.
For example, to determine the exact poundage for biceps curls: do the following. Start with 5 or 10 pounds and do three sets of 12 repetitions. Wait about 60-90 seconds between sets. If you can get through all three sets without struggling, up the weight next time around. Do this until you get to a weight level that makes those last few reps a challenge.
Never lift to “failure.” That’s not the goal, and can actually be quite harmful. But set your weight limit for each exercise at the point where the final few reps are hard. Make sure they’re “hard by do-able.” Now, stay at that level for 4-6 weeks and then test yourself again. Most people discover that they can lift slightly more weight after a month or so of regular workouts.
Busting Some Weightlifting Myths
Like everything else, the weightlifting world has its share of myths and misinformation. Some have been around for hundreds of years, others just a decade or so. You’ve probably heard some or all of the following, but we want to set the record straight. So, here are the big weight training myths, followed by related facts that put that misinformation to rest:
Myth: All you’re doing is building muscle
You’re also helping your lungs, cognitive function (brain), mood, fat-burning metabolism, appearance, and posture. Studies have shown that fatigue, anxiety, and emotional lethargy can be reduced by resistance exercise. This applies no matter your age or fitness level. Exercise that stimulates muscle growth, like weightlifting, does wonders for the body.
So, no, it’s not just about muscle mass, it’s about general health too.
Myth: It’s just for guys
Don’t tell that to marketing professionals, who point out that women who lift weights are one of the fastest growing segments of the fitness market. A companion to this myth is that resistance training is only for young people. Older women and men get unique benefits like denser bone mass, better mental health, and healthier hearts.
But no, weightlifting is no longer restricted to one gender or age group. It’s one of the most popular forms of exercise for all demographics.
Myth: Calisthenics (body-weight exercises) are better than weightlifting
Not so. While body-weight resistance exercise can be excellent, you’re limited by your body’s weight. Also, some key exercises are difficult to do as calisthenics, like biceps curls. Some calisthenics, like pushups, make it hard to calibrate the amount of weight used.
If you’re a 160-pound man, three sets of 12 pushups might be too much resistance. With weights, you can start out small and gradually build up to whatever amount is right.
Myth: It’s time-consuming, and you need to join a gym
That’s actually two myths in one, but these two seem to travel together. For beginners, a 10-30 minute workout twice a week is sufficient for sensible muscle-building. You can do a 3-day per week routine in about 20 minutes per day and hit all the essential exercises. Compare that to just about any other type of workout, and weightlifting wins the “battle of the clock.”
And you need not join a gym. A basic set of dumbbells or a barbell set is an inexpensive purchase. Millions of people use their basements, garages or dens as weightlifting areas and have no problems doing so.
Pro tip: Expense-wise, it’s smart to go with a basic barbell kit because you’ll quickly outgrow your lighter dumbbells. Plus, dumbbells can get a bit pricey. Check out local online sales websites like Craigslist. Weight equipment, especially barbell sets, are a hot seller and the prices are dirt cheap.
Myth: Cardio is better
Running, walking and other popular cardio workouts are great for their purposes, but they can’t beat weightlifting for building muscle mass. As for calorie-burning, cardio is no better than resistance training in the long run.
That’s because once you add muscle mass, your metabolism ramps up. That way, you’re even burning fat while you sleep! Regular, average weightlifters can burn up to 1.5 pounds of fat per month just by sticking to their routines.
Myth: You’ll become muscle-bound or bulky
This is thought to be the oldest weightlifting myth. It’s been around for at least 100 years and just won’t seem to go away. It is completely incorrect. Only the most die-hard weight training enthusiasts can even come close to being “bulky” or over-muscled.
Unless you are a professional lifter, and eating a super-controlled diet, bulkiness is not a concern. The myth got started in the 1920s when magazines first carried photos of “muscle men.” The images were shocking to those who had never seen a sculpted professional weightlifter before. Sadly, the collective social shock of those early photos is still lingering.
Now that those myths are destroyed, it’s wise to focus on a few of the medical advantages of weightlifting. What exactly does medical science say about this activity? What does it do in addition to building muscle mass? “Myths Source”
What Are The Main Advantages of Weightlifting?
We all want “results” from weightlifting, but what are the actual medical reasons to lift? I found out the good news by researching medical websites that discussed clinical studies about weight training. Web MD is a valuable resource on this topic.
Research at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has revealed that resistance exercise like weightlifting can help regulate the body’s blood-sugar levels, help with sleep regularity, boost mental health, improve overall balance and much more.
For older people especially, weightlifting can act as a preventive measure for osteoporosis and can slow down the rate of age-related muscle loss. It also builds general body strength, makes connective tissue healthier, lessens pain associated with arthritis, and increases bone density.
Those larger, toned muscles that are the result of regular weightlifting? They are just one of the dozens of medical advantages of resistance training. Older and younger lifters enjoy many benefits, not the least of which is a faster, fat-burning metabolism. For older exercisers, a big plus is improved balance and a much-reduced risk of falling.
One thing the medical studies don’t mention is that incredible feeling you’ll get when you look in the mirror after a few weeks and see a more toned body, better muscle definition, and improved posture. In a way, lifting is all about attitude.
It takes a specific frame of mind to stick with a routine. And when the results start to appear, you’ll understand why so many people lift weights as their primary form of exercise.
Before That First Workout
Remember, talk with a doctor before beginning a workout. Then decide on how often you’ll be able to lift weights and pick out some of the basic exercises. If you do a few upper body exercises, a few lower body and squats, that’s a good starter program.
Spend time setting the lift amounts in your first couple of sessions. Always be careful with squats and don’t go below the horizontal thigh position.
Drink water. Do warmup and cool-down walking. Keep written records of your workouts and make an effort to stick with the program.
On days when you don’t feel up to the challenge, consider doing a “minimal” workout. That’s when you do each exercise but with less weight or fewer reps. It’s important to make the session a regular part of your life.
The habit of weightlifting is what will sustain you on those off days and when your motivation is low. Of course, never workout when you are actually ill. That’s a sure way to hurt yourself or get sicker.
When you see improvements, it’s time to up the reps or the weights. Avoid eating junk food and lots of processed foods. Get adequate sleep. Finally, read more about weightlifting from the resource list below. If you get to an advanced level, you might want to join a gym or hire a trainer.
Weightlifting is a fun and very rewarding activity. Not only are you making your body healthier, but you are improving your appearance as well. If you follow a sensible plan that combines weightlifting with some aerobic exercise, you’ll live long and healthy. Proper eating, smart sleep habits, and weightlifting are three of the key ingredients in looking and feeling your best.
Resources for More Information
Exercise enthusiasts can discover much more about the question, “How long to see weightlifting results” by investigating time in more resources. Learn about your body type, build the ideal workout, learn how to do different weightlifting exercises, and more. You should spend time educating yourself about the pros and cons of weightlifting training. And don’t forget to read up on the common myths and (inaccurate) urban legends about weightlifting.
If you like this post? Don’t forget to share on Pinterest!