GETTING IN SHAPE FOR THE SUMMER
By Bart Rosser
April is here and that means swimsuit season is just around the corner. Hot weather is approaching and we deserve it after all the rain and cold temperatures we have been experiencing. As the temperature rises, people are going to be pulling out their summer wardrobes, and showing off more skin means we need our bodies to be in shape.
If your New Year’s resolution to get into shape fell through, then why not start now? You can shape up for the summer in as little as four to eight weeks. But how much commitment, time and effort is needed to shape up? It all depends on where you are at now. Losing 50 pounds in eight weeks is unrealistic and unlikely to happen. Losing eight to ten pounds within that time frame is more practical. The key is to set realistic and achievable goals. Setting unrealistic goals often sets people up for failure. Not achieving a fitness goal can cause people to become less motivated in continuing with their workout regime, which in turn causes people to “fall off the fitness wagon”. Instead, use small incremental goals as stepping stones towards your main goal. This will increase your chances in successfully achieving that major goal. The recommended approach to losing weight in a healthy and safe manner is to shed one to two pounds per week. Experts say this approach can significantly alter your beach body.
So, where do we start? Watching your diet and working up a sweat are a step in the right direction. I recommend maintaining a food diary of everything you eat for at least three days. This enables you to pin point exactly what you eat, when you over eat, and when you do not eat enough. To help cut calories, try reducing portions by one-third and snacking on fruits and vegetables instead of higher calorie munchies. To lose one pound per week, you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories by eating less and exercising more. If you have trouble figuring this out, consult a personal trainer or nutrition expert.
For optimal weight loss, 30 to 60 minutes of cardiovascular activity four to five days a week is required. In addition, strength training is crucial in sculpting and shaping your body. Strength training for 20 to 30 minutes a day, three days per week is great for building or maintaining lean muscle mass and adding effectiveness to your endurance training. For those who are beginners, start with a less intense exercise routine, such as walking. Eventually, work your way up to more challenging activities. Remember, smaller goals or steps! For those who have been active and working out for a significant period of time without seeing any results, try kicking up your program by working at a faster pace. Try circuit training or running at a higher level on the treadmill. If you feel as though you are stuck in a rut with the same old boring routine, add something new and fun to your workout. If you have trouble with this, schedule an appointment with a personal trainer. They can set up a whole new and exciting program designed to meet your goals.
Commitment is the key. Finding time to workout is challenging, but even 20 minutes a day, three days a week makes a difference. So go ahead and treat yourself to a membership at your local gym. If you already have one, then get down there! And remember, if you are inexperienced, tired of your old routine, or are just in need of some old-fashioned discipline and motivation, a personal trainer is educated and trained to design a program according to your goals.
stay tuned for next months editorial on health and fitness