How Long Does It Take to Get Out of Shape?

Table of Contents

Discover how long it takes to get out of shape and find out just how easy it is for your fitness goals and hard-earned muscle gains to disappear. 

In order to understand how to get out of shape, you first need to know how to get in shape. We all know the benefits of getting in shape—it makes you feel great, improves your confidence and health, and will also help you look great.

Losing weight and getting in shape are all about making small, consistent lifestyle changes. After all, a tiny change each day can add up to significant progress over time. But how long does it take to get out of shape? 

If you thought that being out of shape only involved a little extra flab on your hips, think again. When you’re not at your best, you don’t radiate good health, and some of your most essential relationships suffer. How Long Does It Take to Get Out of Shape? 

Well, it takes just as long to get in shape. It is a gradual process of eating healthier, moving more, and changing the way we see fitness

There’s a lot of talk about losing weight and eating healthy, but most people don’t understand that these things take dedication and that there’s never a quick fix. That’s where we come in. Our goal is to motivate you to live healthier, and we’ll tell you just how long it takes to get out of shape. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn effective strategies to “regain fitness” after a period of inactivity
  • Discover actionable tips to “get back in shape” and improve overall health
  • Explore the importance of “exercise consistency” for long-term fitness success
  • Understand the role of “healthy nutrition” in achieving and maintaining fitness goals
  • Gain insights into the psychological aspects of “restarting fitness” and staying motivated

How long does it take to get out of shape if you exercise regularly

Running or exercising regularly

It’s easy for us to become overwhelmed when life gets in the way and our exercise regime is thrown out of balance. But that doesn’t mean you should panic if you find yourself out of shape or taking a break from your regular workouts. With some tips, strategies, and an understanding of how long it takes to get back into good condition again, we can help get your body back on track quickly.

Nobody said recovery had to take an eternity! How often and for how long someone worked out before will greatly impact how long it will take to get back into shape. However, research states that those who have taken 3 weeks away from exercising may need 4-6 weeks before they can jump right back into their routine without any issues with pain or fatigue affecting them afterward.

It is also important to note that new exercises must always begin at lower intensity levels than previously used since strength won’t automatically come flooding back after an extended period away from training. Instead, gradual increases should be made over time until optimal performance and comfortability are regained as overall fitness gains increase based on individual goals set during each session performed throughout the recovery process.

Getting in shape is more about mindset than time. The truth is, if you want to get in shape, chances are you’ll need to spend some time on it. It’s important to remember that the best way to get better is through rest. Besides, the best way to take a break is to do something that makes you happy.

How Long Does It Take for Strength Loss to Occur?

The rate of loss depends on the intensity, frequency, and duration of the workout

Studies have shown that your strength decreases after six to eight weeks of starting a new exercise program. How fast you lose weight depends on how hard, how often, and how long you work out. When you’re sick, your body is overstressed. You’ll feel better in a few weeks if you take care of your body by getting enough sleep, eating properly, and exercising regularly. 

The truth is that there isn’t one set time frame, as everyone responds differently depending on various factors such as age, genetics, diet, exercise history, etc. However, studies have shown that older individuals tend to experience more rapid muscle loss than their younger counterparts, who may be able to retain some portions of their muscularity within just 3–4 weeks without any training stimulus present.

Furthermore, if the intensity or frequency of training sessions are reduced, this can cause further losses in overall strength in around 8–10 weeks, even if nutrition remains consistent. “Softer” workouts cannot fully replace weightlifting-related stimuli needed for development and maintenance.

In conclusion, while everyone’s situation will differ greatly, all people should remember that regular activity work needs to be done to defend against quick declines in performance capacity—which appear increasingly evident over longer periods away from traditional forms of resistance-based workouts—regardless of whether they are just starting out or already established fitness enthusiasts.

How Long Does It Take for Cardio Loss to Occur?

Cardio conditioning is more important than strength for longevity

If you’ve recently decided to change your lifestyle and focus more on fitness, you may ask yourself, “How long does it take to lose cardio fitness level?” By understanding the timeline for losing physical conditioning, you can better plan how often you need to exercise and set realistic goals for yourself. Read on as we discuss this topic further!

If we don’t keep working out at regular intervals, we quickly lose muscle strength and endurance when we do sports or activities that require a lot of cardiovascular work. In general, scientists have found that getting the best results can take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks. This means that after 12 weeks without proper training, our performance starts to go back to how it was before we started working out. Again, the amount of time required varies depending on the intensity of your previous workout routine, with more difficult exercises requiring longer periods (up to 15-20 weeks) to significantly increase a person’s stamina.

The good news is that when participating in regular aerobic activities such as running or cycling, especially HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), one can maintain their aerobic capacity even after continuously cutting out partaking said super intensive routines throughout the year round. This means sticking with moderate forms (light jogging twice per week, spin classes, etc.) will prevent drastic losses from occurring.

How to make the most of your fitness break?

From keeping a consistent schedule and setting realistic goals to discovering helpful tips and tricks, it’s all here. So get ready and start pushing yourself towards achieving better results faster than ever before!

Do Light Cardio

Light cardio is essential to any exercise program if you’re looking to get back in shape or want to stay that way. Whether you go for a brisk jog, hop on the treadmill, cycle through your neighborhood streets, or hit up your local yoga studio for some low-intensity classes, blood pumping can do wonders for our body and mind. Regular cardiovascular activities have benefits for your body, like giving you more energy and making you feel better. They also have long-term health benefits, like keeping your weight steady over time and lowering your overall risk factors for heart disease.

Light cardio may be easier than more intense exercises like High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), but don’t let that perception stop you from reaping its rewards! Low-intensity workouts still offer plenty of beneficial effects, ranging from burning calories quicker than moderate sessions to keep your muscles engaged without causing fatigue too quickly.

Setting realistic goals that fit into your lifestyle rather than pushing yourself past what feels comfortable is essential for holding yourself accountable. We recommend starting with shorter distances first to keep it manageable until working up to longer routes over time if desired. By incorporating light cardio into weekly routines combined with healthy diet habits, you will not only enhance physical endurance but also drastically improve mental clarity. This kind of exercise releases endorphins, which alleviate stress levels, thus improving cognitive function

Allow your body to recover

You need to make sure you have a plan going into your fitness break

It can be intimidating if you’re looking to get back in shape. It might seem like a huge challenge, and a lot of hard work is required to reach the goal. But don’t feel overwhelmed! Giving your body time to heal is important if you want to get back in shape without hurting yourself.

When getting back into shape after being out of shape, it’s important to remember that breaks between workouts are important because they give our muscles the time they need to heal, repair, and grow. This will not only make you feel better after exercise, but it will also help you avoid overtraining syndrome, which can make your whole body tired and sore if you work out too often without giving it enough time to recover.

If you haven’t been active for a while and want to start exercising, start slowly by doing low-intensity activities like walking, yoga, or swimming. Don’t jump right into more intense exercises. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of each workout session until desired goals are met while ensuring that adequate muscle recovery processes occur before resuming activity at higher intensities later on. 

Keep your muscles toned

It's best to keep your muscles toned by exercising a minimum of three times per week

Muscle fibers are the building blocks that help bring about muscle growth. There are different kinds of muscle fibers in your body, and they do not all work the same way. Some of them are aerobic, while others are anaerobic. Without getting too technical, let’s look at how long each kind of fiber takes to get out of shape. The aerobic fiber gets out of shape in less than two weeks if you don’t exercise it. It will take about four weeks of proper use and exercise to eliminate the anaerobic fiber. It’s best to keep your muscles toned by exercising thrice weekly. This will help you fight off abdominal atrophy and keep your stomach in shape even after you lose your abdominal momentum.

From proper dieting habits and exercise routines, we have the knowledge and tools to get you on track toward a healthier lifestyle. With our help, you’ll be able to keep your body in shape while still living a fun life that gives you exciting new things to do every day. Join us as we look at different ways to put together effective diets that give you the most benefits with the least amount of work.

Do Resistance Training

Resistance training is one of the most effective ways to boost muscle growth and muscle strength and lose weight

Resistance training has a number of benefits that can help you reach your fitness goals. It builds muscle strength, increases mobility, and helps burn calories. By incorporating weight-bearing exercises such as squats and bench press into your routine, you will not only improve your physical health but also increase your mental focus and discipline.

What makes resistance training so appealing is its convenience: you can do it virtually anywhere with minimal equipment required, from dumbbells in home gyms to even using your bodyweight at the gym or outdoors. With progressive overload methods like supersets or drop sets included in most routines for maximum efficiency, these workouts tend to be more time-effective for burning fat faster than traditional cardio sessions while still challenging our bodies fully on an individual level—resulting in lasting gains!

We all need motivation sometimes when starting something new; that’s why having some guidance from qualified trainers here on Gear Up To Fit could hold us accountable throughout every workout session towards achieving our personal best performance through proper form and technique while building muscular strength safely over time—rreaping more results with less risk of injury along the way! 

Do Strength Training

Strength training is an essential part of any fitness program, as it helps improve balance, flexibility, and overall power while reducing the risk of potential injuries. Plus, when done correctly with appropriate guidance from a professional trainer or coach, it can be incredibly fun too!

From using weights in a gym to doing resistance exercises at home, there are numerous ways to get started on your journey with strength training. So why not set yourself up for success by learning the proper form and techniques—plus how much weight will best suit you? Working out on machines at the gym may work fine, but hiring a personal trainer could be the way forward for you if you want more personalized guidance.

Strength training provides physical benefits and mental health advantages, such as improved concentration levels and boosting confidence further down the line– especially if you meet your goals soon enough! Hence, if strength building is something that interests you, take control of your situation now by exploring different equipment and gyms around town before making any decisions about where to practice it, or better yet, find a mentor along this journey who will keep motivating you. The same goes with exercises one can perform at home.

Eat Right

Eating foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals will help your body produce the right kind of collagen for your skin.

As part of any successful health and fitness program, eating the right foods is essential to ensuring that you are getting all the vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal nutrition. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats can help you reach your goals faster while providing long-term benefits.

Many people struggle with making good food choices on their own but don’t worry – there are some great resources available to help! A qualified nutritionist or dietitian can guide on what foods should be included as part of an effective eating plan. Additionally, there is plenty of information online regarding nutritionally complete meal plans, along with delicious recipes anyone would love to try out at home.

It doesn’t have to be all about deprivation either – if done properly, clean eating involves having fun experimenting in the kitchen with new ingredients and flavors from various cultures around the world. With a little bit of creativity (and maybe cutting down just slightly on some unhealthy indulgences), it’s possible to enjoy meals that satisfy both mind and body without sacrificing flavor. 

Everything you do to take care of your body builds up to the way your skin looks. So be sure to get enough sleep, which helps your skin repair itself. Also, drink plenty of water so you’re well-hydrated, which will help keep wrinkles away.

Follow a healthy diet

For healthy skin, you need the right kind of diet plus exercise. Diet has got more to do with your skin than you know.

Pursuing a wholesome diet is typically one of the things that people attempt to achieve. Unfortunately, these attempts are typically short-term. Whether it’s because of a lack of enthusiasm or tight schedules, your nutritious eating habits are frequently overlooked after a few weeks. This can be an issue since if you wish to experience the advantages of healthy eating and living, you need to stay devoted to it as much as possible and make consuming healthy a lifestyle transformation.

It may not seem necessary to make a habit of eating healthily, but if you are indulging in unhealthy foods, it can cause weight gain and other well-being problems. If you’re not doing any physical activity, your mind will try to convince you to consume fast food which it desires. Having a balanced diet is crucial for keeping the extra pounds away. To ensure this, remember to include plenty of protein, healthy fats, and low-GI carbohydrates.

Factors Contributing to Getting Out of Shape

Several factors can contribute to getting out of shape, including:

  • Reduced physical activity, leading to muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness loss.
  • Poor diet, resulting in weight gain and other health issues.
  • Lack of sleep, making it difficult to lose weight and maintain muscle mass.
  • Stress, leading to unhealthy eating habits and reduced physical activity.

Consequences of Getting Out of Shape

Getting out of shape can have negative consequences, such as:

  • Increased risk of weight gain and obesity.
  • Higher risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Decreased energy levels and mood.
  • Increased risk of injuries.

Tips for Avoiding Getting Out of Shape

To avoid getting out of shape, consider the following tips:

  • Engage in regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Consume a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while limiting processed foods and sugary drinks.
  • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Manage stress through exercise, yoga, or meditation.

Tips for Getting Back into Shape

If you’ve gotten out of shape, here are some steps to get back on track:

  • Start with light exercise and gradually increase duration and intensity.
  • Find an enjoyable and challenging activity.
  • Set realistic goals and celebrate progress.
  • Build a support system with friends or family.

Specific Tips for Different Aspects:


  • Start with light cardio like walking or biking before progressing to more intense exercises.
  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days.


  • Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while limiting processed foods and sugary drinks.


  • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and create a relaxing bedtime routine.

Stress Management:

  • Find healthy ways to manage stress such as exercise, yoga, or meditation.

Getting back into shape takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. By following these tips, you can improve your health and fitness while boosting your overall well-being.

Latest Science-Based Data

The table provides key insights from recent research on physical fitness, activity guidelines, health benefits, and a study on heart shape.

Physical FitnessTakes less time to become unfit than to get in shapeCNN HealthMay 31, 2021
Physical Activity GuidelinesOnly 46.9% of US adults meet aerobic physical activity guidelinesCDCNovember 6, 2023
Health BenefitsEngaging in activities that tax the musculoskeletal system is importantNCBISeptember 19, 2023
Physical Activity BenefitsIncreasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by 10 minutes a day can prevent 110,000 deaths per year in US adults ages 40 and olderCDCOctober 30, 2023
Heart Shape StudySphericity of the heart occurs more commonly in healthy hearts and can act as a genetic indicator of cardiac problemsStanford MedicineMarch 29, 2023


Looking after your body need not be a chore. With consistency, discipline, and low-maintenance workouts, you can be sure that your muscles and fitness gains won’t ‘swim away’. Just remember that it may take longer to get out of shape than to stay in shape: no matter what personal limits, boundaries, and goals you have set for yourself, commit yourself to enjoying the journey. After all, life is too short to be spent worrying about slipping off track!


How quickly do you lose muscle when out of shape?

Muscle loss can start within a week of inactivity, but noticeable changes may take 2-3 weeks.

How long does it take to lose fitness?

Loss of cardiovascular fitness can occur in as little as 2 weeks of inactivity.

Can you regain lost muscle and fitness?

Yes, with proper training and nutrition, lost muscle and fitness can be regained over time.

How does inactivity affect the body?

Inactivity can lead to decreased muscle mass, reduced cardiovascular health, and increased risk of chronic diseases.

What are the effects of a sedentary lifestyle?

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain, weakened muscles, and increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.


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