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Six weeks to get in shape…Really?!

Posted Aug 24 2008 5:40pm

Photo by Saveena

(Cross-posted at BlogHer )

This is about the time when many realize that their new year's resolution to get in shape has fallen off their to-do list. It seems other "more important" tasks have taken the place of that very special "me" time they worked so hard to carve out. Why now? Because they just looked at the calendar and counted the weekends left until Memorial Day Weekend, the big beach, pool, vacation weekend. This means getting into a nice bathing suit without wearing a coverall or getting into new summer clothes that are a little smaller.

I noticed the change in gym participants when I tried to park and realized that the place was packed. Did I miss the memo? Was there a party planned? It must have been something I did! No, but seriously, I was not surprised to see the masses come together in search of their super-toned body and many hope to find it at the gym fairly quickly. It is an interesting phenomenon. For the few that stay in a fitness program year-round, I commend your efforts, keep up the good work! To the seasonal fitness athletes--Congrats, again, and welcome back!

This week personal trainers were in high demand and the #1 question was "can I see significant differences in six weeks?" Well, how significant of a change are you looking for? How hard are you willing to work? How often can you come to the gym and work hard, without the trainer?

Some things to consider :

First, of course, is exercise - This is where the real fun begins. The best way to burn fat is by doing cardiovascular exercises starting with at least 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise, three to five days a week . This time should increase as the body is trained by about 5-10 minutes each week. Aerobic exercises include: swimming, running, speed walking, treadmill, spinning, or elliptical trainer. Other fun activities are step aerobics, floor aerobics, and kick-boxing. Joining classes whether at a gym or community center is a great way to stay motivated because people get to know you and you feel accountable to someone other than yourself. Plus you make friends who are working on the same goals - getting fit for summer, maybe even for life!

Adding weight training is important if you want to see changes in your body . Muscle burns more calories than fat , therefore, the more lean muscle mass you have the more calories you burn. Your metabolism will soar to new heights and you will look smokin' hot too! Weight lifting also strengthens bones, increases muscular endurance, enhances overall body balance and helps to avoid injury. When lifting, you want to alternate your workout days, for example, if you do full body workout then do them every other day. If you decide to really concentrate on muscle groups you want to wait 24-48 hours between each muscle group (Mon/Thus upper body, Tues/Fri lower body, Abs everyday). Beginners should seek the assistance of a fitness trainer or at least an experienced friend to help out and keep you motivated. All weight training should be started after a 10 minute warm up and light stretching exercises.

Second, you don't want to forget your nutrition . I can't stress this enough. Feed your body what it needs and not what you think you want. That means eating more raw foods, more whole grain, low fat dairy, limit fats and know the drill.

Third on the list are hydration and rest. Drink water and rest your body . Most important time to drink is before during and after exercise. Always be prepared with a healthy snack for your post-workout snack because you will be hungry and likely to begin gnawing at your steering wheel. Nutritious snacks include protein bars, fruits, trail mix, fruit smoothie or protein shakes. Take some time to relax your mind and body before going to bed and go bed at a reasonable time.

A friend at the Wellness Junction wrote an article called ReMotivation: when the first time went wrong that I recommend you read. In this article you will find good tips to help you get your game back. Sometimes we use the time after the holidays, special events, or the approaching season as motivational tools. Other times the motivation just comes to us in then night or after the shower when we look in the mirror and realize we don't like what we see. Having a plan, logging our progress, seeking assistance or just the company of others with the same goal in mind are tools that can keep you motivated. Get involved in different activities and really take notice of how you feel when you do exercise on a regular basis as opposed to when you don't--you are likely to find that you like your new you enough to keep on doing it.

Seeing changes in six weeks takes great determination, hard work, and motivation. However, you can see significant improvement in energy, mental clarity, eating habits and even better sleep if you follow a good nutrition and exercise program indefinitely. You many not lose 30 lbs in six weeks but you will feel better about yourself and you will be well on your way to making a lifestyle change for life not just for the season.

Work hard, stay well!

Spin Diva

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