How to get back in shape

by Hara Hagikalfa on July 23, 2012 · 0 comments

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With keeping fit and in shape is as simple as, if you don’t use it you lose it. This rule applies even if you have been an Olympic athlete at some point in your life. However, life happens for the most of us, be it a busy job, family, illness money issues etc, it’s easy to get out of the routine and into the flab.

If you have left it for too long it can seem as if you don’t know where to start. This article provides some practical advice and tips on how you can get back in shape.

If you don’t use it you lose it

Apart from losing what you don’t use, you may also discover that the older you get the harder to keep your shape in shape. When you were a teenager it may have been almost effortless to lose some pounds or a couple of visits to the gym to tone those muscles. A baby later or a few years later and it gets harder and harder.

How fast someone gets out of shape or goes back into it, depends on individual characteristics, the diet and exercise they may follow, genetics, their lifestyle, stress, environment and so on. In general, your body starts to adapt to exercise and diet after only one session.

Exercise: For example your nervous and cardiovascular systems will make changes in response to an exercise bout. For more visible fitness gains it is considered that it takes approximately 4 weeks.

Unfortunately, the losing part comes a lot easier that the gaining part. Whereas you need to spend 4 weeks exercising to see some considerable results, it takes about 2 weeks to start losing them. Well small loses will happen after about 72 hrs of no exercise but they will not be as visible unless you are an athlete and monitor your performance to the last second.

Diet: Your body will start adapting to lack of food or decreased calories after about 8 – 12 hrs since your last meal. Whether you want to just reduce your calories or switch to a different diet regime (i.e. to a healthier diet, or to a high protein diet etc) your body will first try to reserve what its fuel. So what you tend to lose is water, glycogen mainly, so full adaptations and measurably significant amount of fat loss comes after about 2 weeks. That is more or less the time in which your body will have fully adapted to changes.

Where to start?

Define your goals

How do you define ‘getting back in shape’? A few pounds, just toning up, losing a few stones or a whole radical body change? To put it simply what do you want to achieve and what will make you happy and in shape. My get in shape may be totally different from my neighbours’ so make sure that before you decide how to do it that you know what is that you want to get. In order to set a program or make a plan you need to know what you want. 

Be realistic

Ok so you know what you want now is how you will get it. Be realistic in what goals you set. Losing 100 lbs is feasible but doing it in a month? Not really. Wanting a Baywatch babe bikini body is feasible but tomorrow? Unless you do have magic powers I am not sure this is realistic. Look at your lifestyle first and what is it that you can do. People tend to say I will go on a strict weight loss diet and do 1 hr in the gym every day. I know I said that well everyday almost. However, if the gym is not your thing or your lifestyle is too busy then you are setting yourself to fail.

Have a plan

Ok so you know what you want. Work out how you will get it. If you want to tone up then you are likely to be looking at different exercise regimes or becoming more active. If you need to lose considerable amount of weight then you are looking for a weight loss diet combined with some exercise and so on. Do you need to find a gym, or cycle to work or search for a good healthy diet; just make your plan the way it suits you. But to have a plan you are more likely to succeed in achieving your goals with having a plan than not having one.

A plan is not a setting stone. You will find that on the way you may adjust it and or review it or even change it completely. Life happens every day and your circumstances may change or you may simple find that your plan is not working for you.

Set a date

You are set with your goals and your plan. Then set a date. Do remember to stick to that date though as tomorrow never comes…. Setting a date will make it official and you are likely to start on that date. If you keep saying I will in the week or when I get this or after I get settled etc is too general and you are unlikely to ever start or commit to it.

Make that call, or sign up for that membership, clean the cupboards from junk food r get that book, whatever it is that you will need to do but do it today. When your set date comes to start your regime, be ready.

Motivate yourself

It is easier said than done. If you haven’t got the motivation to achieve your goals you will not go very far. Start from your goals; how important are they to you and what does it mean to get there. Write a list of the reasons why you want to get in shape, looks, health, and an outfit well anything that rocks your boat. Look at the list every time you are in doubt.

Put up a picture of yourself when you used to be in shape or a picture of someone’s body you want. Keep it realistic though. There are a number of motivational prompts and ideas to use which suit you. 

Get support

Family, friends, colleagues, groups, personal trainer, buddy, support can come from anywhere. Studies show that people who have support are more likely to lose weight and keep the weight off than those without support.

However, do be careful, especially in the internet. If you are part of a forum take care when releasing personal information or if you are arranging to meet people you don’t know. Always go with reputable groups or ones which have been recommended by someone you know. In general be aware and keep yourself safe.

Make it a routine

Long term lifestyle changes are better than short term short lived interventions. If you do get all toned up and then stop exercising obviously you will get out of shape again in time. However, if you make exercising part of your lifestyle routine then you will stay fit and toned.

Also you are more likely to stick to a diet and exercise regime which is part of your everyday life than regimes which are only meant for small periods of time. You could use some diet plans to kick start your weight loss or as a point of reference but do try to make those lifestyle changes as you go along.

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Hara Hagikalfa
About the author

Hara is a certified personal trainer and Pilates instructor. She is currently in the process of becoming a certified Physiotherapist. You can connect with her on Facebook and Google+

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