What do you do if you want to get in phenomenal shape within a week? Here’s my 7-point plan to get you in tip-top shape ASAP. Granted, it’s definitely easier to stay in great shape if you’ve already been exercising regularly and eating fairly well, but even at this time of year even the most committed Body Incredible seeker can slip up. When I need to shape up, tighten up and lift up (my energy!) as quick smart as possible I follow this format. And it really works. But no half-hearted attempts – it is, after all, only a week.
- No Alcohol. No exceptions.
- Start the day with a digestive kick-start. I use a high-grade magnesium supplement (I love the Isagenix IsaFlush capsules because they are such superior quality, but you can also find one at a good health food store), chased with 2 glasses of tepid water. Those who find things particularly hard to move in the morning can add some lemon to the water, and also try this yoga pose to massage and relax your colon. Start with one leg at a time, and then after doing each side (right first), pull in and hug both legs to you. Don’t forget to breathe! You should hold this for at least 10-20 seconds.
- Sounds obvious, but GET MOVING! How often do you think ‘Oh, I’d like to exercise more, but I’m just too busy’, or ‘I only have 20 minutes to spare so it’s not worth it’? Guess what? Every minute really does count. If you’re looking to shape up quick-smart then you simply must do some exercise every day for that 7 or so day period. I’d suggest alternating the tough stuff (meaning weights, running, exercise that bre aks muscle down) with some recovery. Yoga is one good example, but even a lighter walk is okay if you did a big sweat session the previous day. When I’m really keen to tighten up, I try to squeeze in 2 sweat sessions per day – even if it is only a quick circuit for 15 minutes. See Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulance Training for ideas on fast n furious workouts.
- Stop eating so darn much. Again, a bit obvious, but if you cut back on your food intake then you will tighten up. Of course, there is a bit more to it than just cutting back – I certainly don’t advocate calorie counting or skipping meals, but I do encourage you to consider the size of your meals. The protein element should equate to about a palm size (for an ‘average’ 150 pound (about 70kg) adult. That’s your palm, not your local giant’s. Fill the rest of your plate with fresh veg and salads and a couple teaspoons of good fat. Coconut oil, palm oil, organic ghee, extra virgin olive oil, avocado – these are all great options. If you’re not convinced that this will help you get in great shape, check out my article ‘Eat Fat to Lose Fat’ If you’d like more ideas on what to/not to eat during your shape-up week, my article ‘Why You Should Be Careful With Carbs’ is also really relevant.
- Get your 8 hours. One of my favorite books, ‘Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival” by TS Wiley, details in vivid detail how a lack of sleep can cause you to hold onto fat stores regardless of exercise or nutrition. This is due to the imbalance caused to your hormonal system when you don’t get enough shut-eye. Sufficient sleep will not only aid physical and psychological repair, relieve your body of nasty fat-storing stress hormones, but it will also allow you to exercise more effectively throughout the day, and feel mentally strong enough to resist temptation. You can read more about the effects of sleep/lack of sleep here.
- Watch the sneaky fat makers. You may not realize how much that skinny latte, low-fat yogurt, spoonful of sugar, etc is affecting your waistline. It’s only a week, so be strict. That means no sugar laden beverages. This includes sugar in tea/coffee, milky tea/coffee, fruit juices (even fresh), artificial sweeteners of any kind, including diet soft drink (studies have shown that these trick your hormonal system and cause a fat storing reaction). You can also cut out the low-fat products (these are generally laden with sugar, and even if they’re not, they’re still not fresh food, and say no 100% to any kind of sneaky snack. That means not even one jelly baby! It really does all add up.
- Be careful with caffeine. Personally I love my coffee, and enjoy at least one organic long macchiato each day. But too much caffeine can have a very undesirable effect – it can cause a stress hormone reaction that puts you into fat-storing mode. Limit yourself to one cup in the morning, and stay off any other kind of caffeinated stimulant.
Even if you don’t have a really really important reason to shape up fast, why not follow this advice for a week anyway and just see what you can achieve? Who knows – it may even inspire you to live every day with greater health and energy! Oh – and if you don’t have your own reason, use mine: being unhealthy sucks. And it makes you unhappy. You know it, and I know it. And guess what? Now, today, yes this very minute, really is the best time to start transforming your body.
Life is Now. Press Play.