How Long to Start Seeing Results from Working Out?

Starting a new workout routine can become exhausting when you haven’t seen any results. Sometimes you feel like you are working as hard as you can. You’ve made changes to your diet and you’re going to the gym every day, but you’re still not seeing any real changes. 

​How Long to See Results from Working Out?

One of the first questions for people who start working out is how long it will be until they start to see results. This is a natural first thought, and there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, seeing results is a wonderful way to gain the confidence and positive reinforcement to make exercising a habit

The fact is, seeing results takes time and everyone’s body is different. 

​Factors that Influence Your Results

​One big factor is what type of workouts you are doing to meet those goals. For example, endurance training will yield different results than strength training.

Another big part of when you’ll start to see results is what supplements you’re taking, and what you’re eating. People who are committed to a healthy and sustainable diet will see more steady results than people who haven’t made a dietary change at all.

There is also the matter of what type of results you are looking for. Are your goals weight loss, muscle toning, or endurance related? All these factors can play into how long to see results from working out once you have started a new exercise routine. 

While it may take some time to see the fruits of your effort, it is important to remember not to get discouraged and give up. You definitely won’t see any results if you stop working out.

Person using an ab roller

​What You Should Focus On in Your Workouts

​There are several areas you should focus on in your workout if you want to start seeing results.

For starters, you need to tone your muscles. Don’t start out by focusing on bulking up. Even though that can be tempting, toning your muscle comes before you can start adding mass. 

You might want to also lose weight through working out. Weight loss can come quickly if you are focusing on the correct exercises. The key is in maintaining your exercise patterns so you keep the weight off.

Last, you might be looking to add endurance. Perhaps you want to start playing organized sports again, or are training for an upcoming race. No matter what the case, building endurance can be difficult to see the results, because they don’t often show up in how your body looks.

Lets walk through each of the focuses and outline the steps to start seeing results for each.

Muscle Toning

Muscle toning occurs when you start to gain muscle mass. This process is not the same for everybody as things like your natural frame, your normal fat levels, and your genetics all play a role how you gain muscle. However, weight lifting and resistance training are two of the best ways to start seeing more toned muscles.

Making your workouts more intense is a good way to help speed up the process. Making your workouts longer is not. If you try to work out for hours on end, you will eventually reach a point where your workout is no longer effective. You will just be putting undue stress on your body.

You will also need to allow days for your muscles to recover. It may seem like pushing as hard as you can every day is the best way to up your muscles mass. In reality, you’re more likely to injure yourself if you work out this way. A healthy mix of short, but intense, gym sessions will be the most effective method for muscle toning.

When you’re first starting a new work-out program aiming for 3-4 gym days a week is a good place to start. As you become more advanced, you may need to increase that number to 5-6 to keep the muscles sufficiently stimulated.

If you are new to training, or have taken a long break, you can expect to see results in about a month. Those who are new to working out are likely to see more immediate and dramatic workouts than those who are more accustomed to intense training routines. A beginner can see as much as 2 ½ pounds of muscle gain per month.

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Weight Loss

If you’ve started a new exercise program with the intention of losing weight you might start to notice the results before the people around you do. Your clothes might be a little looser or you might find it a little easier to walk up a few flights of stairs. It is possible to see evidence of these small victories as quickly as 2 weeks after starting a new workout plan. But it will take a little longer for the people around you to start to see it.

A big factor in how soon you will see results is your starting size. If you are bigger to start, you will see more extreme effects at the beginning of your workout routine. If you are smaller and have less weight to lose, it will take more time for it to come off. However, you know the process of losing weight will be much slower if you don’t make a commitment to both exercise and eating well. But, your diet might not be the only thing slowing down your progress.

When working out for weight loss, most people go straight to the treadmill. Cardio is absolutely important to help you keep your heart healthy. But, if you are doing too much cardio you can actually be hindering yourself in meeting your weight loss goals. Excessive cardio can actually cause your body to shrink your lean muscle and store fat. You’re more likely to lose weight if you focus on building lean muscles.

Having more muscle mass helps your body burn fat more quickly and keep burning fat throughout the day. So, you should still do cardio work. Don’t make that your only form of exercise. You will see the effects more if you combine cardio and strength training.

There is no set amount of time it takes people to lose weight, but a good rule of thumb is that healthy weight loss should happen at a weight of 1-2lbs per week. This means if you want to lose 10lbs you can expect it to take 5-10 weeks.

Woman sitting down on the floor while trying to lift a dumbbell

Endurance Training

If you’re training for long distances, such as a race, you will likely be doing lots of cardio to get yourself ready. While you probably want to be in tip top shape as soon as possible, you can’t force the progress. However, when you will see the results all depends on how solid your base is. If you’re already able to run for 3 or more miles you should aim for increasing at a rate of about one mile a week.

There are specific training programs for every type of race and competition that you can follow to be successful in your endurance training. However, as with every other type of training you need to include a balance of your training type.

Focusing exclusively on cardio won’t put you ahead of the competition. For example, when it comes to running, you need to improve the strength in your legs and core to help boost your stamina.

Combining cardio with fast paced, high intensity strength training will get you the results you are looking for the fastest.


Everybody is different and there is no hard and fast rule about when you will see the results of your new workout routine. Seeing results is a matter of putting in the hard work and not giving up when it doesn’t happen right away. The time it will take depends not only on your specific body, but also the types of exercise you are doing and what else you are doing to take care of yourself.

The important thing to remember is to be patient with yourself. It is not easy to anticipate how long to see results from working out, but the end result will be worth it.

Robert Lemus has been a natural competitor for 6 years, starting in Men’s Physique, then Bodybuilding, and then into Classic Physique. He is the Orange County Bodybuilding champion in 2016 for the Musclemania Organization. In 2018, he received his Pro Card with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in Classic Physique.