Whether it’s for your sister’s wedding or a high school reunion, sometimes you just need to shed some pounds even if it has been years since you last worked out. A crash diet may help you lose some weight, but this is really not the healthiest way to do it. After all, you want to look slimmer and fit. Even if you can afford the most expensive regimen or healthiest meals, weight reduction cannot be achieved overnight.
This was exactly the situation I found myself in, but I was determined to do it properly as I did not want to risk my health. Moreover, I wanted it to be the start of a slimmer me. Therefore, I tried to do my research on getting fit in 10 days slowly but surely.
Because I was so out of shape in the beginning, I wanted to ease into exercising. Here are the steps I took:
Improve Cardiovascular Fitness
If you, like me, find climbing up stairs too much, then the first thing is to improve stamina. Improving cardiovascular fitness is to aim for a stronger respiratory system and a healthier heart. It takes much more than 10 days to really increase aerobic capacity, around 8 to 12 weeks of working out at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes. But to begin, you can start with 15 minutes of moderately intensive activity every other day for 10 days. Before you end the 10 days, increase the duration by not more than 10 to 20%, because you might get injured. If you are determined to continue later on, aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio per week.
10 days are definitely not enough to build muscle, look bigger and feel stronger. You need a few weeks to see these results but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start. You can at least see your muscles start to tone and you prepare yourself to continue beyond the 10 days.
For the first week, you can start with weight training using machines. Try to work on all major muscle groups using multi-joint or compound exercises like squats, chest presses, lunges, shoulder raises, bicep curls, tricep extensions, rows, and crunches. One set of 8 to 12 repetitions is enough in the beginning.
However, do not overdo it. Doing it every day will lead to injury because you are not giving your body enough time to rest and recover. This kind of training breaks down your muscle fibers and if they do not have time to repair, they do not get stronger. Three times a week at most, on non-consecutive days, are best.
After the 10 days, you can move on to free weights and go for heavier ones. With the advice of a trainer, you can do more sets and increase the weight slowly.
Improve Fitness Levels
If you are used to exercising already, then you can also add some interval training during these 10 days. This means, alternating short intervals of high-intensity workout with lower intensity ones. For example, you can do 30 seconds of sprints then 30 seconds of walking. For the first 10 days, though, do not force yourself because you might end up hurting yourself.
Improve Your Diet
Eating better is an important part of becoming fit within 10 days. By making some food swaps, you can start feeling better and even losing some pounds along the way. This is also important to sustain your training and improve fitness levels. First of all, take out processed foods from your diet. This means, no white bread, chips, soda, candy, and cereal bars. During your meals, avoid pasta, white rice and fatty cuts of meat.
Instead, opt for fibrous vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. You can also indulge in fruits, and take low-fat dairy and unsaturated fats in moderation. A sample plan is eggs with vegetables sautéed in olive oil for breakfast. Then for lunch, you can opt for a green salad with pumpkin seeds and chickpeas. Opt for an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, instead of those bottled ones that have more calories. For dinner, you can eat salmon with steamed broccoli along with brown rice. Do not forget to hydrate by drinking a lot of water and herbal tea and when you want to snack, opt for nuts, fruit, and low-fat yogurt. This diet will give you all you need for your workout and will not make you feel heavy.
By following these steps, you can see some improvements after 10 days, feeling lighter and stronger. But why stop there? Health is wealth, and you can make the decision to making these changes more permanent and turn your life around.