I’m not big on conspiracy theories, but when those Girl Scout cookies start showing up exactly one month before spring break, it makes one wonder. Who plans these things?
If you’re eyeing your bathing suit with a nervous glance, put away the Thin Mints and start moving. A couple of weeks isn’t a lot of time, but according to Eric Smoot and Silviu Gansca, co-owners of Redefined Fitness in Wilmette, it’s enough time to jump start your fitness routine and improve your conditioning.
“Everyone wants instant results,” Gansca says. “So I tell clients they’ve got to focus on three things: cardio, diet and weight training. Those are what change your body.”
If you have a month to get ready, here’s their advice:
A lot depends on where you’re starting. If you don’t work out at all, Smoot recommends beginning by walking at a fast rate or trying a walk/jog.
“Since our time frame is a month, I would try to get a client moving at least three or four times a week,” Smoot says. “It may be just 20 minutes at a time, but that’s a start.”
If you already work out, the trainers recommend mixing up your cardio to keep your body guessing and progressing—stairs one day, run one day, rowing machine the next. Aim for 20-40 minutes, at least four days a week.
Diet: Both trainers advocate healthy, long-term solutions:
- Diets don’t work, so any changes you make need to be sustainable.
- Eat food that is fresh and looks like a rainbow. And by that, they don’t mean the rainbow on the box of cookies; they mean eat veggies, fruits and whole grains. Foods that naturally are red, orange, green and yellow.
- Eat things that fly or swim. Protein should mainly come from fish, chicken and turkey.
- Gansca adds, “Eating is a discipline and a habit. You should make changes slowly so you can stick with them.”
“Muscle burns fat 24 hours a day,” Smoot says. “If you want to increase your metabolism, improve your bone density and look fit, not just thin, then you need to add weights to your routine.”
If you’ve never used weights, a trainer can safely get you started. At Redefined, while I was talking to Smoot and Gansca, a trainer had a group of three women use weights and elastic bands to work arms, core, legs and back. All the essentials before bathing suit season.
You’ve got a month. It’s going to take work. Sadly there’s no magic formula or cookie diet. But if you start now and keep at it, you will see changes. And better still, you may be motivated to keep exercising and eating a healthy diet-because after spring break, summer is just around the corner.