I blame movie montages for this! The 3 min series of clips showing the character do a bicep curl or one pull up whilst sweaty with some mood lifting music and hey presto they're ready to take on the bad guy. Although we know this is meant to represent a lot of graft and time we are still left a little misinformed.
Media and marketing makes it seem like we can do a handful of workouts or sniff some magic poo juice and *shazaam* we are fit, healthy, attractive go-getter specimens of society! Yeah-nah mate. Doesn't work like that. Thus we need to manage our expectations of fitness. This stuff takes time, when I say time, for most people their long terms goals will actually take years not weeks. It's an ongoing thing.
How long does it take to get fit? Well that depends on what you class as fit or if being fittER is enough to class yourself as fit. Olympians spend generations to get into the peak physical fitness. To get fitter than you currently are, at least from our clients, takes about 3 weeks to start to feel a difference. As in, getting off the sofa is easier, going up the stairs no longer becomes a breath taking endeavour. In around 6 weeks you'll begin to see a difference. Clothing with begin to change fit, maybe not to the point of needing new rags but at least enough to start thinking about it.
With weight loss being the most sort after change for most people we'll talk about how long that should take. Now there are faster ways to lose weight but if it's unsustainable weight loss and you put the weight back on a little while later did it really work?
For our clients we work on a rate of 0.5 kg/week (1 lb). That's 6 weeks to lose 3 kgs which usually equates to 2 - 3" reduction in waist size which for some would be a jean or dress size down....in 6 weeks. Let that sink in, 12 weeks, 3 months, a quarter of a year to go down 2 dress sizes, if everything is on track with no speed bumps. Hopefully you're not put off by these figures and instead enlightened.
Why do we work that slowly though? Weight loss is about lifestyle changes, practising good habits that will stay with you. Losing at a rate of 0.5 kg/week usually entails a mild calorie deficit and a mild increase in activity. Small changes, little by little, makes it more likely you'll learn and adapt to a new habit. If you try to change your world overnight it's not going to stick, there's too much to concentrate on, too many cogs are turning simultaneously.
We also have to factor in your hormones and emotions. Doing too much too fast will make you feel tired, grumpy, hungry and annoyed. On the one hand because you're not getting the nutrients you need and on the other your hormones won't have the ingredients they need to function correctly. As your bodies instructions are hormones, if your hormones aren't working correctly (such as they ones that cause you to use up fat as fuel source) do you expect to keep up a higher rate of weight loss?
In theory it's not so much that the rate of loss is low that makes slower weight loss more effective, it's that you have more time to adapt to the new changes and feel more awake, happier and alive whilst doing so.
If you feel you need a bit more support whilst making things stick or a little assistance to help you reign in your thoughts of not changing fast enough, check out out Personal Training here.
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