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How Long Before You See Results With A Personal Trainer?

Breaking Down The First 12 Weeks Of Your Transformation

By: Zack Mathews


When considering the question, how long before you see results with a personal trainer, there are multiple factors that should be considered.

Every personal trainer has their own philosophy with how they like to teach body transformations.

Some trainers like to start slow and build good habits and as you continue to improve they start to ramp up the intensity.

Other trainers like to hit the ground running and make drastic changes that will get results quickly.

It’s important to have the discussion about how long before you see results with your personal trainer to come up with a plan that you are both on board with.

In this article, we’ll discuss on average what you might expect to see the first 3 months of your transformation.

  • How consistent are you willing to be?
  • Results with a personal trainer: weeks 1- 4
  • Results with a personal trainer: weeks 5 - 8
  • Results with a personal trainer: weeks 9 - 12
  • Small wins along the way

How Consistent Are You Willing To Be?

The first, and most important, factor you need to take into account is how consistent you are willing to be.

It’s very common when I have a consultation with a Virginia Beach personal training client is that they want a body that takes 100% consistency, but are only willing to put in 80% of the work.

You might want to still have a drink on the weekend, have a cupcake at your child’s birthday, or eat pizza with your family.

Guess what!?

All those things are totally fine to have in moderation, and I actually suggest you do have them.

But it’s important for you to understand that progress might be a little slower.

If you put 80% effort into a test in school and get a B-, why would you expect to get an A+?

The same rule applies here.  Don’t expect an A+ body if you put in less than 100% effort and consistency.

I am 100% ok with my personal training clients to have progress that is slightly slower and takes a little longer than what they thought it might take, but they enjoy the process.  At the end of the day, what’s the rush? 

To end this topic, take time to think about everything going on in your life with family, work, friends, events, travel, health conditions, etc. 

Gain a realistic expectation of how consistent you’ll be able to be and base your question, how long before you see results with a personal trainer, off that.

how long before you see results with a personal trainer depends on your consistency

How Long Before You See Results With A Personal Trainer: Weeks 1 - 4

The first month with a personal trainer is a fun one.

You’re building a new relationship with your coach, learning proper form and new movements in the gym, and depending on your goal, seeing changes on the scale.

If your goal is to lose weight, an average of 0.5 - 2 pounds per week is amazing progress.

Those that have a lot of weight might be closer to the 2 pounds per week but any progress is good progress in my book!

During the first month, there is a chance that you lose at a faster rate than the range stated above.

This is totally normal because you are more than likely losing extra water in your body.

Depending on your diet prior to starting with your personal trainer, you might be eating less processed foods, less fried foods, and less food with huge amounts of salt.  The end result of that is flushing out water weight.

month 1 results of working with a personal trainer weight loss average

Results With A Personal Trainer: Weeks 5 - 8

Now that you have a month under your belt, you should notice your weight loss continuing to progress, but not at the same rate as the first month.

Remember, anywhere between 0.5 - 2 pounds of weight loss a week is amazing progress.

In addition to the scale going down, your measurements should be going down as well.  It’s important to track other forms of progress besides the scale, and taking measurements is one of them.

If you want to learn more about different ways to track your progress, check out this article here.

Another form of progress that you’ll notice in month two is your strength gains! Now we’re talking!

Depending on your experience in the gym, you may spend the first month getting comfortable doing new exercises and learning how to control the weight.

Going into the second month, your numbers should be climbing week over week with most exercises that you do.

This is called the “newbie gains” and should be taken advantage of.

As you get more experienced in the gym, it’s harder and harder to increase the weight on certain exercises. If everyone could add 5 pounds to their bench press each week like you can your first couple months, we would all be benching over 1000 pounds!

A man can dream right?! Unfortunately that’s not true, so make sure you are tracking your workouts to ensure you are seeing progress in the gym.

Progress During Month 3 Of Working With A Personal Trainer

When month 3 rolls around, this is the period where I’ve noticed my clients start seeing the changes in the mirror.

They may have gotten compliments from family members or people at the office, their numbers are trending in the right direction, but now the hard work in the gym and kitchen starts showing in physical form that they notice.

Your face might look thinner, your clothes are a little baggier, and maybe you notice new muscles forming.

Those are all awesome wins and should be celebrated!

An important thing to remember is that this is all relative to your body type and what you need to do for your transformation.

Someone with a lot of weight to lose isn’t going have abs in 12 weeks, but someone that is relatively lean might.

The other end of the spectrum is true too.  Someone trying to lose 30 - 40 pounds shouldn’t expect to lose it all in 12 weeks, where as someone that needs to lose 200 pounds might lose 30 - 40 pounds in 12 weeks.

It’s all relative so don’t compare your progress to others.

Small Wins Along The Way

When answering the question, how long before you see results with a personal trainer, I know what information people are looking for.

They want to know about scale and appearance changes. 

The truth is that you can start seeing progress within days working with a personal trainer when you open your eyes to what can be considered progress.

I call these non scale victories and I have all my online clients tell me 3 of them each week.

Some non scale victories that you might experience are:
  • You brought your lunch to work instead of grabbing fast food.
  • Walking up the stairs doesn’t get you winded.
  • Heck, you took the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Your skin looks clearer and healthier.
  • You’re sleeping better.
  • Vegetables and fruits have become part of your diet.
  • Your children notice your portions are smaller.
  • Walking everyday has become something you enjoy doing.

I could go on and on.

Do you see where I’m going with that?

There are so many ways to measure progress that it’s important not to obsess about scale and appearance.

how long before you see results with a personal trainer - instant when you focus on Non scale victories

How Long Before You See Results With A Personal Trainer Summary

If this section is all you read, understand that every body is different and will see progress at different speeds.

I gave you a generalized overview of what you might expect to see the first 12 weeks of working with a personal trainer, but know that your journey might be different.

The only thing you can do is focus on how consistent you want to be and put effort into your transformation each day.

As a personal trainer, that’s all I ask of my clients.