Why 12 weeks of consistency in health and fitness?

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Pharmacist and personal trainer explains the secrets for why a health and fitness plan takes 12 weeks

When scrolling through social media I often seen the phrase “it takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing, 8 weeks for friends and family to notice and 12 weeks for the rest of the world”. Let’s break this down a little further and get an idea of what’s going on during each of these stages.

Why do you notice after 4 weeks?

Simply put; you notice because it’s your body. Most of the benefits during this stage are internal and emotional. You may have more energy and be in a better mood probably due to stress relief and increased serotonin levels.

I typically tell clients to avoid the scales during this time because although you are burning fat you are also building muscle.

You can put two people of the same gender, weight, and height next to each other and their body sizes can look completely different. We started talking about this here where we discussed Body Mass Index.

For most people new to fitness training, your body may be adjusting to the stability and mobility phases. Your activities of daily living such as climbing stairs at work, walking the dog, loading your kids in the car, etc become easier and less taxing. These benefits are not represented on the scale and others may not notice.

Why do friends and family notice at 8 weeks?

Entering the “SAID” state

This may be highly likely to the SAID Principle. Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. During the first 4 weeks you basically prepared your body and set the stage for an active lifestyle. Now your body has met those demands and is ready for more.

The SAID principle basically means you have to set the bar higher, although not that much, to continue to see results. As you increase the duration, intensity or even type of workout, more benefits start rolling in. These benefits may include taking longer to get out of breath, looser fitting clothes, muscle definition, noticeable weight loss, reduction in body fat percentage, increased cardio capacity and more. People are more likely to notice these benefits.

Why the rest of the world at 12 weeks?

At this point you are a rock star! You have truly incorporated activity and healthy nutrition into your lifestyle and the benefits continue. You should notice the same benefits , but most of them exponentially.

Here is where you really start to notice your metabolism speeding up. Your resting heart rate lowers allowing you to maintain higher intensities. Keeping the SAID Principle in mind, you will definitely want to talk with your personal trainer about safely increasing the duration, intensity and type of exercises done regularly to continue to see results. My favorite workouts during this stage include HIIT and other circuit trainings!

Why maintenance?  

For most people 12 weeks may not be long enough to reach their goals. However by this time noticeable benefits start adding up and that mirror starts flexing back. I suggest you keep forging ahead no matter what.

You will very well lose the flexibility, cardio endurance and muscle strength you worked so hard to obtain if you quit now.

According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 1996, a person who stops performing resistance training will lose strength at about half the rate it was gained. So, for instance, if you increased your leg strength by 50% over 10 weeks and then stopped training your legs, you would lose half of that strength in 10 weeks and all of it in 20 weeks.

I say make it a lifestyle change and don’t focus on the 12 weeks. Stay steadfast in your journey mama!

Let me know!

Have you been able to stick with a health and / or fitness journey for 12 weeks straight? It’s not easy! If you have, did you notice these changes within a similar timeframe or was your journey different? Leave me a comment and share your thoughts on this 12 week deal I keep hearing about.

Thanks for hanging out with me!


So you keep hearing to stay consistent with a health and fitness routine for 12 weeks, but why? It may seem like forever, but once you understand what's happening it really does make sense and the time flies by. Click to the article for the inside scoop on what is happening every 4 weeks for the first 3 months you start a health and fitness journey.

Why 12 weeks?You actually have progress from day one! There is actually a science behind it and I break that down for you in this article. Learn the secrets to what's going on every 4 weeks of the first 12 weeks of your new health and fitness journey. Knowing that you actually have progress from day one is a game changer.

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