How to get fit fast

We would all like to be a little fit, but by the time we factor in work and domestic responsibilities it’s hard to find the time to actually follow through with that most famous of New Year’s resolutions.

But there are some simple things you can do to work on your fitness without an exercise routine eating up too much of your time.

Don’t stop eating!

This tip might sound counter-intuitive, but under-eating when you’re trying to lose weight is counterintuitive. If you don’t keep up a minimum of 1800 calories a day for men, or 1200 for women, your metabolism will start to slow down, which in turn makes it more difficult to lose weight.

In fact, if you are going to exercise, you should only cut your current calorie intake by 250 calories or so. In other words, trim the excess out of the diet, but don’t cut your diet routine too much.

Limit processed foods

While you’re not going to be cutting the calories too much, removing processed foods from your diet is essential. Potato chips, soft drinks and bacon are all delicious, but they can cause weight gain beyond their actual calorie counts. There are other foods that we often assume are healthy, but are also processed; white bread and pasta, for example, is certainly not “junk” food, but is highly processed nonetheless.

Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health found potato chips, sugar-sweetened drinks, processed and unprocessed red meat were linked to weight gain of about a pound or more every four years.

Make use of HIIT training

Regardless of how you prefer to exercise – be it walking or running, swimming, or a session in the gym – one option to lose weight quickly is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

What is HIIT? In layman’s terms, it’s an exercise routine where you’ll do a short period of very high impact exercise – e.g., sprinting as fast as you possibly can – then take a brief rest, and then do it again. This flow of exercise has been proven to actually improve the impact that the exercise has on the body, helping to burn the calories more quickly.

Make use of the lunch break

Many people don’t take their full lunch breaks; instead they eat quickly then get back into the grind. But taking a proper break in the middle of the day, having something quick to eat, and then doing a short routine at a gym will not only help you on your fitness path, but will give your brain a much-needed break, mid-day.

Look for opportunities to walk

Say you have a 15 minute bus ride from work to home (or from work to a train station to get back home). By the time you line up in rush hour and squeeze on to the third or fourth bus to show up, you could have walked to work instead. That 45 minute walk or so at the start and the end of your day would do instant wonders for improving your fitness and health.

Find ways to exercise while you’re doing other things

If you’re in the mood to watch TV, why not do so while sitting on an exercise bike and peddling? People who are busy with work and family commitments do have limited time, but also need their relaxing ‘down time’. Watching a movie on TV is an excellent way to gain the mental break from the routine, but it could also be seen as a real opportunity to also burn off some weight.

Adopt a sport as a hobby

If you can find time to go to a local tennis or bowling competition each week, then do so. On top of everything else, this is a good way to enjoy your improving fitness, and track your progress (you’ll get better results in the social competitions the fitter you are).

And if you’re not a ‘sports person’, there are plenty of other exercise-based hobbies and activities that you’d probably never even think of as high-intensity exercise. For example, a ballroom dancing class will burn about the same amount of calories as a half hour jog.

Find ways to enjoy exercise!

Generally the greatest deterrent that gets people off their exercise routines is a lack of motivation due to the fact that they’re not enjoying their exercise. It’s critical that you find a routine that will be fun, regardless of whether that’s sticking the headphones on and going for a run with your favourite music, participating in a sport, or going bushwalking. If it’s something you enjoy doing, you’ll do it as often as you can, and that’s when you’ll see the quickest weight loss of all.