Behaviour Change
5 mins read

How long has this been going on?

2 women in gym with the word Faster written on a wall behind them
Written by
Katy Harkness
Published on
April 28, 2023

As a personal trainer, I often get asked the question of how long it will take to reach a certain health and fitness goal.

The answer is not a simple one, as it depends on many factors such as starting fitness level, current weight, nutrition, consistency, and more.  

But ‘How long is a piece of string?’ and ‘It depends’ are not helpful responses.

Thinking about the question, ‘How long did it take to get to this point?’ or ‘How long have you been feeling like this?’ are useful things to ponder.

How long did it take you to get to this point?

Firstly, let's think about how long it took you to get where you are now. This might be a difficult reflection for some, as it could be a reminder of past unhealthy habits or a lack of consistency. However, it is important to be honest with ourselves and understand that progress takes time and effort.

If you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle and not prioritising your health, it might take longer to see progress. On the other hand, if you have been regularly exercising and eating well, you might see results more quickly.

In general, it is safe to say that a noticeable change in your fitness level or fat loss can be seen within a month of consistent effort. This could be in the form of increased energy, improved strength, or even a change in body composition. However, to see significant and sustainable changes, it could take many months to a year or more.

It had taken me over a decade, with a few short bursts of exercise and fat loss, to get to my heaviest, least fit and unhappiest in myself.  

I was being unrealistic when I thought I would do a 12 week transformation to get to my goal weight.  It took me well over 18 months to turn back those 10 years.  And I was determined, diligent and consistent.

Progress is not just physical change

It is important to remember that everyone's journey is different and that progress should be measured not just by physical changes but also by mental and emotional improvements.

For example, feeling more confident in your body,having more energy to tackle daily tasks, and enjoying the process of exercising are all indicators of progress.

These things definitely happened a bit more instantaneously for me and helped keep me consistent – I could feel the benefits in every aspect of my life.

How long have you been unhappy of uncomfortable with the status quo?

Now, let'stalk about how long you have been unhappy with your current fitness level or the status quo.This could be a helpful reflection to understand your motivation and commitment to making a change.

If you have been unhappy for a long time, it might take more time and effort to make a significant change. You have sat with these feelings of unhappiness for a while and in a way have got a bit too comfortable with them.

On the other hand, if you are just starting to feel unhappy with your current fitness level, it could be easier to make small changes and see improvements quickly.

Let's be real

On top of all this, it is important to set realistic expectations and understand that progress takes time. If you have a specific goal in mind, such as losing 20kg or running a half marathon, it is important to break down that goal into smaller,achievable steps.  By setting smaller goals, you are more likely to stay motivated and committed to making long-term changes.

In addition to setting realistic goals, it is important to prioritise consistency and make healthy habits a part of your daily routine. Being consistent with these daily habits is in large part what will make a difference to your health and fitness, now and in the future. We are all the result of our daily actions.

This could mean scheduling workouts into your calendar or meal-prepping on Sundays. By making healthy choices a part of your daily routine, you are more likely to see sustainable progress and maintain your results long-term.

So, how long it will take to reach a certain health and fitness goal is not a straightforward one. It depends on many factors and is unique to each individual.

However, by reflecting on how long it took you to get where you are now or how long you have been unhappy with your current health and fitness level, you can set realistic expectations and create a plan to achieve your goals.

Remember to prioritise consistency and make healthy habits apart of your daily routine.

Progress takes time and effort, but with dedication and commitment, and some help from me you can achieve your goals and improve your overall health and well-being.

About Katy Harkness

Katy founded PLAY Fitness & Coaching after she made changes in her life, which saw her lose over 20kg and become the fittest she has ever been.

As Katy became more interested in health and fitness, the algorithms shared more and more misinformation.

Becoming frustrated with unrealistic goals and standards being set, that are often not healthy, Katy left the advertising industry where she had a successful 20+ year career, to help create the change she wanted to see in the health and fitness industry and to support people to make the sustainable, long term changes they wanted to see in their own lives.

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