Approximately five years ago I made the decision to attempt one of those 12-week body transformation programs. I lost 35 pounds in 12 weeks and got into the best shape of my life. I didn’t know it at the time, but it has changed my life forever.
Every week people ask me, “How did you do it?” In most cases what they really mean is, “What is the secret to losing weight and getting in shape?” Everybody wants to know the magical formula for losing weight and getting in shape.
Diet and exercise information is available everywhere. Late night infomercials are on television, the latest and greatest diet book is always on The New York Times bestsellers list and every gym in America has a personal trainer ready to get you in shape. If there was some sort of magical formula, it would have been found by now.
The single biggest tip I can give you is that the secret to losing weight and getting fit can be defined by one word — persistence! Remember, you didn’t gain weight overnight, and you aren’t going to lose that weight overnight. Excess weight doesn’t come off in any one workout but rather in the cumulative effort of all your workouts. Ultimately, health and wellness is not a sprint, it’s a marathon… a one hour per day, six days per week, for the rest of your life type of marathon.
Sounds a little overwhelming, perhaps impossible, right?
Well, there’s good news, and if you want another “secret” here is comes — it’s only hard for the first five weeks. That’s right, five short weeks, as in just over one month. Give yourself five weeks of honest, good, hard-working workouts. That’s 30 total workouts (six workouts per week, five weeks). You may be miserable, you may hate me and everyone else that ever encouraged you to exercise, and I can assure you that you will be very sore at times. I know all of that stuff, and I don’t care. If you make a commitment to five dedicated weeks, I will assure you the beginning of a lifetime of health and wellness.
So many times people want fitness advice then give up after two weeks because their bodies ache and they haven’t seen any significant results. I suppose it is easier to look the same and not be sore than to work out and be sore. But honestly, what changes in your body can you really expect after only two weeks?
Now I’m not suggesting that anyone can look like an Olympic swimmer in five weeks, but studies have shown that most activities take about 30 days to become habit forming. I know it sounds crazy, but once you get used to exercising, your workouts will become as regular as brushing your teeth or combing your hair. Most importantly, once you see the changes in your body take place, you will become more motivated than ever before. Additionally, you will find your favorite exercises, music and workout clothes (among other things). Each workout will become more enjoyable than the previous. The daily workout you hated five weeks ago will now become the highlight of your day.
So remember that secret magic formula… “Persistence!” Of course, if you don’t like that magic formula then do what worked for me — lift weights strenuously for 45 minutes a day six days a week, eat only lean protein and low-glycemic carbs, choke down more distilled fish oil than a seal and treat yourself to one “cheat meal” per week (I prefer vanilla ice cream).