Generally speaking, some kind of progress is visible one to two weeks after beginning any exercise and nutrition program. One type of exercise is pretty much as effective as another for fat loss and muscle growth. At first. As a person becomes more physically fit, choices of the type of workout we do become more important. Here is a breakdown by type of exercise, of what to expect.
When Will You See Exercise Changes?
Aerobic or Endurance Exercise
Aerobic exercise is about burning body fat and building heart and lung strength that lasts over time. Improvement can happen in as little as one to two weeks. Endurance is the main quality that increases with consistent aerobic exercise. This is not to say endurance athletes are not strong. They are, but in a different way. Aerobic exercise focuses on heart and lung strength. Usually muscles, even less-than-fit ones, outlast unfit hearts and lungs, so they are not the main reason for choosing aerobic exercises.
Movement in aerobic exercise is of low resistance and highly repetitive. Think distance running, swimming, or cycling, in which the same motions are repeated hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Over time, muscles strengthen and the body becomes leaner almost as a by-product. Extended performance time is the end and a lean, hardy, sleekly-muscled body is the means.
Anaerobic or Brute Strength Exercise
Let’s clear up the word “brute” at the very beginning. In a workout and muscle context, it means one thing: how much strength a given muscle, or muscle group, has for a specific movement at a specific moment. This is not about being civilized or having finesse, it’s about how strong we are. Physically.
Anaerobic exercise is movement of short duration and all-out effort. Sprinting, be it running, swimming, or bicycling, is an example of maximum effort. Weightlifting involves maximum effort and maximum resistance in one lift. Resistance (including weights) training involves maximum effort for a certain number of repetitions, so less than maximum resistance, of a particular movement.
In order to be able to do the job, muscles have to grow bigger. The high-intensity/short-duration nature of anaerobic exercise demands it. Depending on the quality and consistent nature of a person’s nutrition program and resistance training routine, muscles can visibly increase in size in two to four weeks.
In both types of exercise, muscle fiber improves in quality and quantity, and our bodies get better at performing whatever type of exercise we’ve been doing. In the short term – two weeks to a month, if you’re new to exercise – it doesn’t really matter. We are going to see small improvements in leanness, muscle hardness, heart and lung capacity, and general well-being. Over the long term, though, it is absolutely critical to make sure the type of exercise we’re doing over time is compatible with the goals we have set for ourselves. Evaluating our goals and exercise routines with a fitness professional is well worth the time and possible fees involved. Our exercise time is precious and we want to make sure goals, workout routines, and nutrition programs all line up.