How long before I can see gains?

Hello ozbargainers!

Over the past few years, I've maintained a consistent regime of gym purely for the sake of fitness - but completely disregarded diet.

This of course, resulted in a lack of change in body shape besides becoming a little bit more toned but a lack of change in body fat (currently approximately 15%).

So in light of the desperate sort of productiveness that came along with the compulsory lockdown in Sydney, I consulted a dietician and based on my weight, amount of exercise I do, and the change I wish to make, she issued for myself to ensure I consume the following each day:

188g of protein
100g of fat
338g of carbs.

To get an idea of my body size - I'm around 5'8 (177cm) and weigh 73kg.

I've also commenced with hitting each of these targets and tracking all my calories through myfitnesspal.

I've also never properly dieted and exercised before so:

I was just wondering - if I maintain a steady flow of exercise and healthy eating - how long would it really take before I start seeing any sort of change?


  • +15

    you can't outtrain a bad diet

  • Eat healthy, do cardio to lose weight.

    Eat healthy with protein, do strength exercise to build muscle.

    • +2

      do cardio

      Its rule #1

      • +10

        No need to do cardio purely to lose weight at all. Eating consistently is enough

        • +1

          Eating consistently is enough

          Rule #32, enjoy the little things…

          Zombieland reference not clear enough ;)

      • cardio is another form of burning calories, it's not a need. Plenty of fit people looking extra lean and fit without cardio.

        • but can they run 10k straight without passing out, having a side stitch, out of puff or soar legs afterwards?

          • @Zachary: Possibly not but can a runner lift as much as a bodybuilder? They're both different mindset and training.

            For the average person, up to them if they want to incorporate cardio to burn extra calories after weight session

            • @hasher22: They'd look more leaner than a bodybuilder that just look like they added little cushions to their bodies to make their muscles bulge out…

    • Thanks for this. I got my knee operated on two months ago so I'm currently limited to jump roping and cycling in terms of cardio activity. Will keep the rest in mind!

      • +4

        Swimming is good cardio.

      • Try for low impact cardio

      • +3

        You can skip (that's Australian for "jump rope" mate) but you can't walk on a treadmill?

  • +5

    4 weeks if you are strict with the dietary advice although 177cm/73kg doesn't seem to be very outside the "normal bodyweight" for a male but I guess it depends on your build.

    I'm 167cm and heavy build (1st/2nd row rugby league player) and if I get below 70kg people start asking me if I'm sick.

    • Thanks for this brad. Good to know. It's just so easy to become unmotivated after seeing little change after a couple of days. Just me being impatient.

    • I'm 167cm and heavy build (1st/2nd row rugby league player) and if I get below 70kg people start asking me if I'm sick.

      Probably because people know you have a big rig.

      70kg for 167 cm is fine. Skinny. But not sick.

  • What's your goal though? What are you looking to see change?

    • I'm looking to get a lower fat % and get some lean muscle on.

      • Assuming you're already doing a progressive overload program for muscle gain, 6-8 weeks if eating at maintenance calories. 4 weeks if eating at -10% maintenance calories but that's mentally tougher as your body will be screaming for calories. 3000 cals is very high for 73kg , so I'm assuming you're very very active. For example, physical trade 5 days a week + intense (out of breath) exercise 3x a week.

      • +3

        Since you're just looking to see a visual improvement rather than improve physical performance I'd recommend a ketogenic diet. For most people this is the fastest way to lose fat whilst preserving muscle. Try to consume as little carbohydrate as possible. Eat only meats, oils, eggs, nuts, avocado and leafy vegetables. Drink only water, black tea/coffee (no sugar) and sugar-free soft drinks. Don't consume anything else. Eat 3 to 5 meals per day depending on hunger. The meals should be based on around 200 g of meat, the other things you consume are just supplementary and for taste.

        Train with as much intensity as you can consistently.

        There's no magic to diet, it's just about modifying what you've been doing so that your body adapts towards your goals. How quickly your body changes just depends on how aggressive you are with changes and how consistent you are.

        • -4

          I'd also like to add if you want to also focus on long term health, cut down on the animal protein and eat more whole food plant based. You can get all the protein you need from plants - soy is complete; beans and whole grains is also complete together.

          Also, McDuck talks about "as little carbs as possible", I'd modify that to "as little processed carbs as possible". Whole grains are good for you by adding fibre and nutrients.

          What we agree on - cut out as much of the processed crap as possible.

        • How fast is the weight loss of a ketogenic diet vs a calorie controlled diet?

          • @star-ggg: How long is a piece of string?

            The less food energy one consumes the faster they lose weight generally. If all you care about is weight loss (which is not the case here), just consume one whole egg per day, drink as much water as you like and consume nothing else.

  • +1

    Tren and dbol

    • Turkstan

  • +2

    Measure strength/max weight. E.g. week 1 50kgx 5 bench press, next week 50kg X 6 reps or 55kg X 5.

    The gains will come with increase in strength and having numbers as weekly goals are better, I believe.

  • There is a lot of variation and extra things you need to look at.
    I'd recommend getting yourself a PT for a couple of months.

    If you are aiming for gains by way of building muscle mass, then look at the workout you are doing.
    Your food should provide you with enough of what you need throughout the day without the need for extra protein shakes etc.
    Also, generally speaking, know you need fat (good) to build muscle also.

    Technique, building up additional resistance and weight (exercise weights), and the likes will get you there.
    For losing weight, again, food, sleep and cardio.

    You should do a well-rounded session, whatever you are planning to do!
    Leg's day is just as important as chest, arms, and CV. Otherwise, you may end up looking like a lamp shade!

    • Thank you for taking the time to write this! Yeah I’ll definitely keep them in mind and incorporate them into my routine.
      Don’t worry - leg day will always be the most important day for me (twice a week) my physio pushes me in that regard there :)

  • +3

    Unlearn everything you may have learnt. Below is the Gold you will find on youtube:

    Athlean X
    Jeff Nippard
    Ryan Humiston
    Jeremy Either

    The changes in the last 2 years by incorporating what these guys share has out performed my previous 8+ years of half arsing things. I wish I had come across these guys years ago.

    • Sweet - I'll check them out now.

  • +1

    You'll only start seeing gains when you're patient with yourself. Dont stop because you dont see anything change.

  • Whatever your goal is, drop that carb count down man wtf?

  • +2

    How long before I can see gains?

    Weight? Immediately after eating.

  • +1

    How do you handle carbs?
    What are you calories/ macros atm, maintenance?

    Maintenance plus 500 cals per day is a nice progression for gains.

    Train hard and eating for calories as opposed to body composition are very different.

    I'd eat more protein and drop the fat and carbs a little.

    and again, train hard and smart. Or take some gear and it will be like magic.

    • Yeah it seems as though the general consensus is to drop that carb count a little (which is good for me because I'm finding it really hard to hit it!) and overall decrease the amount of calories consumed.

      • 500cals per day on top of Maintenace.

        The problem youll have now though is if you've been lifting weights consistently with any sort of overload for the past 6 years, the begginer growth phase is gone. So it's now hard work to get the gains.


    John Meadows beginner program, can find the PDF online but best to support his family.

  • +3

    188g of protein
    100g of fat
    338g of carbs.

    This is 3000 calories.
    Math: carbs and proteins are 4calories/gram. fats are 9.

    at 73kg you will be gaining weight with these macros. The super simple science is that you need to have lower calories than your output. Total daily energy expenditure (energy of food used in a day) with your specs (assuming you are male aged 25) with no exercise is 2000 calories. With 4-5 days proper exercise and a physically demanding job you are looking at 2600 calories TDEE. So if you are in this latter category and eating this diet you will STILL be gaining weight.

    Say your true TDEE (exercise + work lifestyle) is indeed in this latter category, you need to be eating 2000 or less calories to start losing fat. In actuality you may have over estimated your bodyfat (15% you should be able to see abs emerging slightly) and physical exertion, and your TDEE is in fact even less than thought.

    3000 is way too high and you should recalculate your TDEE

    • This was really helpful.

      So based on what you've said and a youtuber recommendation earlier (Jack Nippard), I've changed around my overall calorie intake to the following:
      2500 calories in consumption.
      227g carbs
      210g protein
      83g fat.


      • I think even with that you won't see fat loss. But reassess in the mirror at say 2 weeks. Use the scale also. You should be losing .5-1% bodyfat per week (rough est). on the higher end you'll be hungry as f*. If you aren't feeling hungry most of the time then that's a good indicator your calories are still too high.

        Factor in your "cheat meals" also. If you go nuts, you can lose your calorie deficit for like 3-4 days of the week from the surplus.

        A guess would be that you'd want to be around 2000 and training quite hard to see some fat loss. Also you don't wantto do this for months on end. 8-10 weeks and then reassess. 10 weeks committed should see you easily drop to 10% fat, provided you were actually 15 to start with. 10 should be def seeing some striations in the chest and your other best muscle areas.

        • Hey mate! Thanks for this. One week later I’ve noticed some toning and definition already in the abdominal area but you’re right I think my calorie deficit definitely needs to be higher so I’ll probably recalculate my macronutrient consumption soon.

  • +2

    A couple of things:

    Your diet/food consumption is the primary factor in whether you will gain/maintain/lose weight. Your ability to track honestly without cheating yourself with the data you're entering/food your consuming will have a direct impact on how successful you are with whatever option you choose.

    You're not going to gain mass/muscle and get lean at the same time, they require completely different nutritional needs. When gaining muscle you are ultimately going to increase your body fat during that time, these building phases should be minimum 6 months in duration.

    When you are training don't half a** your sessions, you need to get in and do the work each and every rep especially if your goal is to build muscle.

    If you've been given a set number of steps to do each day make sure you're hitting that number as they would have factored this into the nutritional numbers they have provided you. These will be monitored and adjusted, stay patient and trust the process.

    • You're not going to gain mass/muscle and get lean at the same time, they require completely different nutritional needs

      Why is that? I naively thought the energy used to train would come from fat if you also diet.

    • Thanks for this!

      Based on these comments I'm already adjusting my macronutrients.

    • Very good advice.

  • +2

    The missing piece of info here for me is age. I'm finding as I get older (heading rapidly towards late 40s), it's getting harder and harder to add any muscle - I have to work just as hard, if not harder, just to maintain my current level. Boosting the intake helped a little bit, but also gain probably 2kg fat for every kg of muscle so I can't do it for very long without having to back off and drop that extra fat, and hoping the muscle doesn't go with it.

    This was all much easier in my 20s / 30s! :( Hell, in your 20s you basically gain muscle just walking past a gym if they've got the front door open.

    • +1

      If this is a concern for you, you could look into TRT.

      But beware that, according to my reading, these age related changes generally preserve lifespan. Bodybuilding is diametrically opposed to longevity; if you churn through cells faster everything wears out sooner.

      • Bodybuilding is diametrically opposed to longevity

        Agree with growth vs repair.

        How do you strike your balance between bodybuilding and longevity?

        • Owing to my current values I'm willing to do everything but take drugs. But that may change if I become dissatisfied with physical decline as I age.

          • @Scrooge McDuck: I meant how much bodybuilding, for how long (given it's diametrically opposed to longevity)?

            • @ihbh: Full bore except for drugs until I'm not passionate about it any more i.e. for the foreseeable future.

  • OMAD for the win.

  • +1

    A few weeks to feel a change, and maybe 3months to see some really obvious physical changes if you've had a pretty constant training routine going

    Unfortunately it's not as quick and easy as we'd like, hence why there's such a big market for cosmetic procedures that people do too try and take shortcuts.

    • Very tempting indeed!

      Tbh I've got nothing better to do in lockdown besides work so it's primarily from boredom and a little bit of motivation.

  • Just stop eating for a week and your fat levels should go down to skin level and all that muscle tone you did the past few years will finally show itself!

  • I must of missed how many calories your intake is. I can only see a general macro breakdown.

    I have one of the best bodies on here, and slightly similar stats to you. Private message me for free help.

  • I saw gains 4-6 weeks after switching up my cardio based fitness program.

    Initially started with a cardio for 7 years (mainly running) focusing on endurance and speed to lose some weight and gained a leaner physique (which was what I wanted at the time) and clocking a few PBs and many mileage 10-21km's during that time and getting that 'runners high' feeling.

    Since then, developed an interest in strength training which was weights based and completely shocked the system to see some obvious gains and worked on progressive overload, form and technique over the years. After you work out a system that works, you can target certain muscle groups (glutes, shoulders etc) and increasing weight as you go. I also switched to a high protein based diet (20g+ per serve), low carb (minimal rice/noodles/pasta) with more frequent but smaller meals, supplemented by protein shakes/bars pre/post training.

    I find that a blend of HIIT (1-2 days) and weights (3-4 days) worked for me in the end to see enough gains through targeted exercises (in the legs - mainly glutes/quads). My thinking is if you want to lose weight, incorporate cardio but if you want to tone and build muscle focus on weights.

    Persistence is key. And a good diet. If you're feeling the burnt, you're on the right track.

  • What are your long term goals anyway? If you can eat that much and not gain weight, you're definitely doing something right.

    To reduce fat and weight, cutting out carbs is by far the most effective strategy, but at 73kg/177cm, it's very unlikely that you have any visible body fat. You can change your stats but in practical terms, the difference will be negligible.

    If you want to bulk up with muscle, it's going to be very difficult if you're naturally lean and thin. If you have a fast metabolism, it's going to require an unhealthy influx of food. Again, you need to consider whether it's really worth it. If you're looking to join paid competitions, then sure, but for general health/body positivity, not really. Just do what you feel comfortable with.

    For reference, I'm a way taller than you but weigh at least 8-10kgs less.

  • You should only eat healthy, do cardio to lose weight I think