If you’re looking to shape up at speed with a target date ahead, try our quick weight loss plan designed to:
- Help you lose between 0.5 and 0.75st (3-4.75kg or 7-10.5lb) in body fat
- Improve your cardiovascular fitness
- Improve all over body tone
- Help you look and feel good
- Set up a routine that you’ll want to continue with
Does this sound too good to be true? Well it isn’t and it’s genuinely achievable — the results are there for the taking providing that you are ready to go for it and make a weight loss commitment over the next eight weeks.
The plan focuses on three core areas:
- Simple healthy eating strategies
- Cardiovascular exercise that you can fit into your day
- Resistance training to tone up those problem areas
Before you begin your weight loss plan
One important point before you lace up your training shoes, if you have not exercised for any length of time, or have any medical conditions or if you are at all unsure about beginning an exercise program, consult your doctor first to get the all-clear before you start.
Planning your exercise and nutrition program
Before you rush headlong into your new exercise and nutrition program, take a little time out to plan ahead — what you want to achieve, where you will find the time, whom you will involve, who can help you, etc., so that you and those close to you have some buy-in. Set yourself a target date, with some small milestones along the way to measure your progress by. Without sufficient planning, you are likely to fall by the wayside when other demands on your time creep into view. Write down why this is important to you, what it will mean when you hit your target and what you are prepared to do to hit your goals.
At the heart of any effective health and fitness program is a sound healthy eating and hydration plan. If you don’t factor in your nutrition as part of your plan, you’re effectively going two steps forward and one step back. Follow the six nutritional tips below for simple, effective strategies to improve your diet:
Six nutrition tips
Always eat breakfast
Kick-start your body’s engine with a low fat, slow release, unrefined start to the day. Oatmeal porridge made with skimmed milk and topped with either fresh or dried fruit is ideal.
Drink plenty of water and natural fluids (juices etc). Central heating, air conditioning, nutrition choices, exercise and daily loss of fluids from the body, all contribute to dehydration. Aim for two liters (68fl oz) spread throughout the whole day and you’ll feel more energized, toxins will be flushed away and to top it all, your complexion will definitely improve.
Limit your intake of processed food
If it comes in a packet, leave it on the supermarket shelf. Aim to eat an unrefined, whole-food diet with as much fresh produce as possible. That way you’re automatically eliminating food manufacturers’ high fat and high additive products.
Take the '20 per day test’
How many different (and healthy!) foods have you eaten today? Many people struggle to get past ten; aim for 20 and make sure they’re all healthy. That way you’ll know that you’re getting a broad range of nutrients in your diet.
Limit or avoid salt
Salt and sodium — the hidden killers and are known contributors to high blood pressure. Processed foods in particular are laden with salt — some ready-made soups contain more than half the recommended adult salt intake — in just one meal! Salt is the cheapest flavor enhancer available and hence a favourite of food manufacturers. Instead, flavor your foods with herbs and spices.
Eat evenly throughout the day
Many people ‘end of day load’ their food intake by skipping breakfast, eating a minimal lunch and finally consuming a huge evening meal — often late at night. Instead, try evenly spacing your food out throughout the day — you’ll feel better, have more energy and you’ll be less tempted to eat high calorie quick energy hit snacks.
If your aim is quick weight loss for a special event such as hitting the beach, then our weight loss workout should deliver the results in quick time — provided you put the work in of course. So it’s time to burn that body fat and tone-up by working out.
Cardiovascular (CV) exercise
Increasing your levels of cardiovascular exercise is central to the quick weight loss plan — as well as bringing you a whole host of health and fitness benefits, including:
- Easier weight management — simply put, you burn calories so it is the number one strategy for losing the unwanted pounds.
- Toning-up — everyone wants toned legs and CV exercise is the fast-track route. The most effective types of CV exercise use the legs — because that is where your largest muscles are, so an additional benefit is improving leg muscle tone.
- Building a strong heart and lungs — having a strong engine is of huge importance for all round good health. In addition, you will find everyday tasks easier, able to tackle each day with increased energy and vitality.
What sort of CV exercise should I do?
Any exercise that gets your heart rate going and you get slightly out of breath is good. Walking, jogging, running, skipping, rowing, cycling, CV machines at the gym — all will train your heart and lungs and bring about all the CV benefits above. Top CV exercises are the weight-bearing activities such as walking; jogging and running because you will burn more calories for the same time spent exercising as you are supporting the whole of your body weight.
How long should I exercise for?
To fast-track your fitness; aim to build up to completing five CV sessions per week. Walking a mile burns approximately 100 calories. So if your target is to lose half a stone, at a rate of one pound per week (0.45kg), you are looking at burning off 3,600 calories each week. To achieve that burn you can use a combination of resistance training, CV exercise and diet, for example:
Walking a couple of miles to work and back, five days a week need only take 35 minutes and adds up to half of your calorie loss straight away!
Resistance training is both a calorie burner and is the best way to tone-up specific areas. The most popular areas to target for that ‘get in shape look’ are:
- Underside of upper arms
Upper stomach muscles — sit-ups and crunches.
Lower stomach muscles — V-sit leg extensions.
(sides of the abdomen)
Oblique crunches on a stability ball.
Thighs and bottom
Any aerobic activity which uses the legs such as cycling, walking, jogging, running and rowing.
Underside of upper arms
Any triceps exercise, for example: triceps dips, triceps extensions or triceps kickbacks.
Core exercises train your inner postural muscles. These muscles aren’t visible but are fundamental to holding you in and keeping you upright. Good core exercises include: the plank, sitting completely upright on a stability ball and the stability ball floor bridge.
How much resistance training should I do?
Start slowly with a single weekly session but target building up to two sessions per week. Always allow at least two days rest in between sessions in order to allow time for your body to recover, adapt and grow stronger.
How many times should I complete an exercise?
Frequently, advice is given that to tone-up muscles, lots of repetitions with light weights are necessary. This advice is suitable for basic maintenance but to reactivate dormant muscles, challenging the body with fewer repetitions using a higher weight will bring about quicker and more improved results. Therefore the optimum number of repetitions would be:
Resistance exercises (triceps, obliques and stomach) — build-up to completing three sets of 12 repetitions, with a 60 second recovery between sets.
Core exercises — build-up to holding each exercise for 60 seconds.
Conclusions about the weight loss workout
Nothing worthwhile is achieved without some sacrifice and effort is something of a cliché but one that holds true. By making an effort to getting in shape, in terms of time spent exercising and sacrificing any unsuitable foods in your diet — you can really achieve something worthwhile. Whether it is weight loss, toning up or a combination of the two, by following our program, you can achieve your goals and boost your overall health and fitness in a multitude of ways.