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How fast can you gain or lose fitness?

Many people who are thinking about exercising want to know how fast you can gain fitness.

And current exercisers often want to know how fast you can lose fitness if you stop exercising. It’s Summer here in the UK and many people are thinking about going/are already returning from their summer holidays. Not to mention, many families are finding their spare time being absorbed by bored kids, at home for the summer break! So if you are going/have been on holiday recently, or you are coming back from a brief hiatus e.g. illness, childcare, then this article may be for you!

Here are your answers…

Gaining fitness: It only takes weeks!

We have great news for you: If you haven’t been working out, you can measurably improve fitness in weeks.

If you’re currently working out, the answer will be different because progress slows over time. Think of a world-champion sprinter: It will take a lot of work to make that runner even a little faster. It will take less work for a newer runner to increase speed. It’s the same with general fitness.

For less-experienced people, it doesn’t take long to see results in the gym. How long? In general, you can expect to see measurable results in about six weeks of training if you work out properly. Many factors will affect this timeframe: the workouts you do, the frequency of training, the intensity of the workouts, your diet and sleep, your stress levels, and so on. Speak to one of your highly qualified Gas Station Coaches who can tell you exactly what to do to get optimal results.

It’s not uncommon for new clients to feel a little sore after the first few workouts but then feel noticeably better both mentally and physically. Some will tell us they have more energy and “feel stronger” after just a few weeks of training, and others will report changes in confidence and mood. We love hearing about stuff like that, but we also rely on metrics so clients have actual data that shows their progress.

For example, we use the SugarWOD app to track performance on conditioning workouts, Benchmark WOD’s (think, “Fran”, “Murph” etc.), Olympic lifts and strength progression. We also employ our quality medical-grade “InBody” scan machine to measure weight and body-fat and composition levels.

Some metrics will move faster than others. New clients often measurably improve strength in four to eight weeks, and conditioning improvements are very common, too. Significant weight and fat loss can take longer, but small changes often happen in the first two months of training.

Here’s amazing news: These swift results are common with people of any age! No matter how old you are, you can get real results in the gym in a relatively short time.

Will you experience rapid changes forever? No, the fitness improvements slow down a little as you gain experience. But that’s OK: You can make steady progress for a LONG time, and your Coach can tell you exactly what to do to keep moving forward. Think of your fitness as a low trajectory towards a distant horizon. Chasing milestones can become a lot of fun and there are a LOT of possible milestones within CrossFit. If you’re smart and patient about your training, you’ll be healthier long term!

Use it, or lose it!

Here’s the truth about training: If you don’t stay consistent, you can expect to lose your fitness gains. Now, this doesn’t happen immediately. So don’t stress if you miss a workout here or there. Even a week’s holiday won’t do too much damage.

In general, you can expect to start to slide backwards in about two to four weeks of no activity. Longer than that, say two to six months and you can expect to see significant reductions in your fitness levels.

Again these declines will be affected by many other external factors. Someone who stops training completely will see a more significant reduction in their capacity compared to someone that remains fairly active outside of the gym. In addition, research has shown that well-trained individuals can hold their fitness longer than those who give up their fitness regime after just a short time.

The bottom line: Don’t panic if you miss a few workouts. However, consistency is the name of the game! Try and stay active for life and look to improve your health and fitness both inside and outside of the gym. If in doubt…

Talk to your Coach!

If you know you are going to be taking some time off, you can always ask your Gas Station Coach for advice on maintaining your fitness outside of the gym. If you are returning from a bout of inactivity, then they will be your best point of contact for advice on loading, intensity and volume. Speak to your Coach about booking in for an “Athlete Check-In” to set your goals and get you moving in the right direction.

If you are a non-member looking to begin your fitness journey, just know it is NEVER too late and you can ALWAYS improve, no matter your age, current fitness level, health, lifestyle or personal situation. Visit our website for more information and to book in for a FREE No Sweat Intro!

Written by James Macdonald – Coach

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