Kitchen roll shot from above

The kitchen roll analogy proves that fitness progress takes time and patience

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It can take time and patience to improve your fitness. The kitchen roll analogy proves it’s worth it. 

Waiting for fitness changes is a real test of patience. You have to turn up again and again, do the same things over and over, and sometimes it can feel as though nothing is progressing. It’s no surprise that so many people want to give up soon after starting when they don’t get the results they want immediately.

The irony is that the only way to get the progression you want from your training is to stick with it. And that’s perfectly demonstrated by the kitchen roll analogy. What does paper have to do with exercise, you ask? Well, in an Instagram reel, strength coach and fitness influencer Sohee Lee uses the rolls to prove the power of persistence. She holds two rolls next to each other, showing that they are exactly the same. 

She takes a few sheets off one of the rolls and holds them back together. Unsurprisingly, they still look the same. But then she continues to rip off sheet by sheet. Eventually, when she held them back together, the two rolls were completely different sizes.

“Are you frustrated because progress is slow?” Lee asks at the start of the video, holding up one of the rolls. “This is you on day one. A full roll.”

As she tears off a few sheets, she writes: “Each sheet represents a day of putting in the work. A few days later, it doesn’t look any different, right?” and holds it next to the second, full roll for comparison. 

“But keep going. And going. And eventually with persistence and consistency, you’ll be here,” she notes, now holding two very different sized rolls next to each other.

Importantly, this isn’t a note on changing the way you look (although yes, physique changes do take time), but more about the importance of persistence for any change you want to make. “This metaphor can apply to learning a new skill, working towards that degree, trying to achieve a performance goal, building muscle or gaining strength and more,” Lee notes in the caption. 

“Just because you don’t notice the progress from one day to the next doesn’t mean it’s not happening.”

While the fitness industry is so quick to offer up solutions for slow or stalling progress, from eating differently to training harder, this is a great reminder to trust in the simplest tool of all: time. Trust the process, keep up the hard work, and you’ll eventually get the results that you want – even if it feels like it’s taking longer than you think. One day you’ll catch yourself lifting a weight or running a time and notice that you ended up exactly where you wanted to be. 

Images: Pexels

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).