Those infomercials and diet pills may have you believing that dropping 50 pounds or more is easy to do in just a few short days. But the truth is, results vary with every individual and will greatly depend on how intensely you are exercising and dieting. Will you lose weight or change your body shape faster by sticking with a hard core diet and intense exercise plan? Yes. Will you end up maintaining those results over the long term? Probably not (ask any one who has ever been featured in a “after” photo for one of those infomercials!).
The good news is your body responds almost instantly to exercise! In general, your body is making changes as soon as you start working out, though it can take about 4 weeks of regular, consistent workouts to actually gain strength, stamina and as long as 6 weeks to start seeing the results most of us are looking for in terms of dropping sizes or shedding pounds.
One of my favorite ways to think about “seeing results” is this: when you plant seeds you can’t see what is happening under ground, often for several long weeks. Does that mean nothing is happening? Absolutely not! That little seed is changing, growing and evolving under all that dirt, you just can’t see it yet. Slowly but surely though, with diligent watering and nutrients, that little seed breaks through the surface and begins to show you all the hard work it’s been doing under ground all that time. Think of your body in the same way – there is SO much going on and changing inside that you can’t see yet.. but with consistent healthy habits like nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress relief you WILL start to see those changes on the surface eventually too. Just give yourself at least 6 weeks before you begin to see that seed of change sprout physically. And in the meantime, put away the scale for now and instead focus on all the changes you can FEEL even sooner – like increased energy, stamina, strength, even happiness. Those are priceless improvements to your health and well being – enjoy those results!
Here are my 3 top tips to help speed up your results:
#1: Stay as active as possible during the remaining 10-12 hours of your day.
Sure, the type of workout you do is important, but what’s equally as important is what you do with the rest of your day! Even the most intense, hour long workout may not be enough to help you lose weight or improve your health if you sit in front of a computer, TV or in a car for the remainder of your waking hours. Stand as often as possible, park further away from the store entrance, take a lap around your office building at lunch (or organize a lunch time walk indoors or out with co-workers – several of our community members use our walking videos at work and play them in a conference room!). Activity keeps your body burning more calories around the clock and helps keep your energy level high (which really comes in handy if you exercise after a full day at work!).
#2: Follow our recommended workout plans and programs.
We tailor our workout rotations to help you get the best results without having to suffer! By alternating high and low intensity exercise days and using a wide variety of training styles and methods, your body can stay more active, energized and it can even be easier to stick with a healthy diet since you won’t be exhausted or overtraining.
#3: Get enough sleep.
Even if you are dedicated to your workouts and healthy eating, if you aren’t getting enough sleep you could be slowing down your results. Sleep is when your body repairs muscle tissue and it can also help balance your fat burning and hunger hormones, which can be a key factor in keeping your fat burning processes in check (one University of Chicago study found that sleep deprived subjects’ insulin sensitivity dropped by 30 percent). Plus, numerous studies have shown that we’re more likely to consume more calories when sleep deprived! Bottom line: make sure you are logging in 7-10 quality hours of sleep a night if you are serious about seeing results.
Finally, the best advice I could give you when it comes to results and exercise is to focus primarily on how you FEEL. The right kind of exercise should make you instantly feel better, stronger, more energized, etc. If your workout leaves you feeling weak, drained or exhausted, it could be to intense for your current level and you may be over doing it. Look at exercise as a part of your life instead of something you have to do in order to reach your goal. If you can find a way to make fitness fun and something you actually enjoy doing, you’ll get so much more out of it and be more likely to stick with it over the long term, way after you’ve hit your goals, which can help you lead a healthier, happier and more active life today and into the future.