Individual Perspective Will Determine If You Look Like You Lift
The definition of looking fit varies individual to individual.
Each one of us has a subjective feeling towards different body shapes and builds.
For many girls, their perception of muscular development is so vastly different from guys in the bodybuilding community, that they'll perceive someone like Taylor Lautner from Twilight the same way we'd perceive a Mr Olympia champion like Phil Heath.
Everyone’s perspective is different when it comes to the ideal physique.
How Many Years It Took Me To Look Like I Lift
As an avid bodybuilding fan, my standards to look like you lift are substantially higher than the average person.
In my personal opinion, it took me about 2-3 years before I truly looked like I lift.
And by that I mean it took me 2-3 years to progress my physique to a point where people would be able to tell in a T-Shirt that I have a really solid physique, and assume that I work out often.
Within that 3 year time frame, I didn't miss more than a few training sessions, if any at all.
The main takeaway from this and piece of advice I can give you is to BE PATIENT.
Building your body is a marathon, not a sprint.
Create Long Term Goals
You shouldn't be discouraged at all after your first, second, or even third cycle of bulking and cutting phases if you are still far from your goals.
90% to 99% of gym goers fail to stay on track and be consistent for more than a few months at a time.
Most of them get the motivation to commit to a fairly strict regimen, and when they don't see immediate results, they lose motivation and give up.
This is a cyclical process that inevitably prevents the vast majority of individuals from ever making substantial amounts of progress.
They motivate themselves to get on a diet and get in the gym, stick to it for a few weeks, or maybe a few months, and then they fall off.
This happens over and over as the years progress, and the net result of it is that their physique progression becomes completely stagnant.
This lack of commitment prevents them from ever seeing any notable progress at all, and is the exact reason why 9/10 individuals who go to your local gym who you've seen there for years look exactly the same as they did years ago when you first started training there.
Still lifting the same weights, probably still not utilizing progressive overload because they're just going through the motions, probably, not training to failure, probably not eating enough macronutrients to even recover sufficiently from their training sessions to induce muscle growth, not sticking to a strict regimen for more than a few months at a time, and the list goes on.
Don’t be that guy.
The simplest hack is to be on point for years on end.
Have the discipline and patience to enjoy the process and be brutally consistent.
Once you truly start doing this, you will start noticing how quickly your results snowball, and the compounding effect being on point year round truly has on your physique progression.