There are about six weeks left before summer is here! For many people that’s a cause for celebration, but others may be concerned about shedding their cold weather clothing and revealing a body that’s gained a few pounds over winter. But if you act now, you can start work on attaining the body you want.
Today, I’m going to share three do’s and three don’ts to help you reach your body beautiful goals. Let’s start by setting some realistic expectations. With the summer months fast approaching, many people feel pressured to shift extra pounds quickly. Unfortunately, many people also become despondent because extra weight doesn’t magically disappear as fast as they would want. The ‘get thin quick’ frenzy is often started with great intentions, but if it isn’t accompanied by realistic goals then it doesn’t have much chance of success.
As a personal trainer this ‘get thin quick’ frenzy brings mixed emotions. Part of me is excited to help people jump on the path to a healthy, active lifestyle. The other part of me feels concern about how misunderstood nutrition and fitness are by the general population. I hate to see people begin a new routine with enthusiasm only to abandon it before they see results. So, let’s make sure everyone understands what an achievable ‘get thin quick’ plan could look like.
Everyone should feel body confident, and with six weeks until summer there is plenty of time for you to make a few lifestyle changes that will deliver visible results. Let me help you by giving you three simple do’s and don’ts to help you start achieving your summer fitness goals.
There is no better time than today to get started with a positive approach to fitness and nutrition. Of course, you need to check with your medical provider to ensure you are healthy enough to participate in increased physical activity.
Once you get the all clear, you should get started immediately, because wishing and daydreaming about having a perfect body in time for summer isn’t going to get you any closer to your goal. A simple walk or bike ride is a perfect place to start. And then make sure you’re at least a little bit active the next day and the day after that, too.
Jumping into a fitness routine that is too difficult may achieve two things: you may either quit because your body is sore from the sudden increase in activity, or you could sustain an injury that derails your carefully laid fitness plans. So, take it one day at a time and choose activities that you enjoy.
Aiming to complete at least 30 minutes of activity each day is a great starting point, and the great news is that almost every exercise can be modified to fit your current fitness level.
If you want to get thin and show off 6-pack abs by summer, then you need to already have a reasonably low body-fat percentage. Starting a consistent exercise routine will help you firm up all over and work towards a 6-pack one day, even if you don’t manage washboard abs by this June.
Setting an achievable goal will help you stick with your fitness plan, so work towards bringing your body fat down by a percentage point or two and then keep up momentum. And remember: feeling active and healthy is a far more satisfying goal than just aiming for a tummy that ripples with muscles.
Healthy weight-loss per week is about 1-2lbs, and although there are no set guidelines for body-fat loss, a 1% loss per month is considered safe according to the American Council on Exercise.
I believe that the key to success with fitness is making exercise fun and achievable. It’s also important to avoid the pitfall of doing too much too soon, so let’s look at my top three don’ts that could block your summer body success.
The promise of rapid weight loss and an incredibly toned physique will tempt many people to try an extreme diet, or go from the couch straight into a high-impact fitness routine. In my opinion, this approach is one of the main causes of the yo-yo effect in diet and exercise and often leads to weight gain rather than weight loss.
People may experience initial rapid weight-loss but because they can’t possibly sustain extreme plans for a prolonged period, many people find themselves overeating and slumping back on the couch in a short amount of time.
Weight alone is not a true indicator of a successful training program. Jumping on the scale too often may make you feel disappointed and tempted to quit. Instead of focusing on exact weight loss, consider measuring other success factors. It’s often rewarding to aim for improved heart rate at a set intensity level or increased strength—judged by lifting an increased amount of weight. Measuring body fat and body measurements such as waist, hip and arm inches may provide you with a little extra motivation that your hard work really is paying off.
If you are setting your own workouts without the help of a trainer, you should still attempt to make a fitness plan. In order for your body to change, your workout must change, too, as you adapt to your new increased activity. In simple terms: as you get fitter and your workout seems easier, you should increase your intensity or duration, as this will push your body to improve. This approach follows the simple principle of adaptation and a fitness journal will help you track your progress.
The truth is that there are no shortcuts when it comes to weight loss and an improved fitness level, because a slow and steady approach is always the most successful route to long-term results. But in just six short weeks, it is possible to see your body adapting to positive changes. And that means it’s definitely worth getting started today! Even if you don’t manage a 6- pack this summer, you might be well on your way by next summer. And by the time the holiday season rolls around, you might be shopping for that perfect party outfit in a smaller size.
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).