Fitness advice: There are get-fit-quick shortcuts, but be prepared for some hard work

Harry Thomas
Special School Helps Kids Combat Childhood Obesity
Source: Getty

We see “before and after” photos all over the internet and in magazines, and many of us think, “Is this even possible? Are these photoshopped? Is that even the same person?”

Some of the time-frames given are questionable, but you will be surprised what your body can do in a short space of time. At No1 Fitness we specialise in these kinds of transformations, encouraging clients to really push hard for a three month period – anything less and your body will struggle to adapt, any more and it starts to seriously impact your day-to-day life.

Over the years, I’ve met thousands of clients who have attempted transformations on their own and most have been disappointed. Before you begin, you should ask yourself what “transformation” means to you. For some it can mean being able to play with their grandkids in the park without getting worn out or injured, while for others it’s about getting the kind of pin-up body you see in magazines, or simply shifting a few pounds so you can fit into your favourite pair of jeans again.

In the grand scheme of things three months isn’t much, but committing to a strict regime is more difficult than it sounds. People have an assumption that signing up to a transformation package and training three or four times a week will get you results; this is why so many people fail.

If you want to see serious results in a short space of time, you’ll need to be training at least five times a week, so if you’re having three PT sessions, you will need to supplement this with workouts of your own.

If it’s been a while since you have trained, start with three sessions a week, and increase the frequency over a couple of weeks.

This is where many fail; most people do not work hard enough in their sessions. You need to consider both volume and rest time. Volume looks at the weight you are lifting, the number of reps and the number of sets. Volume should increase each week but don’t just keep adding more weight, especially if your goal is aesthetic and not strength: add in more reps and more sets.

Rest time is another big factor. Too many people rest for much longer than they need to, and to get results you need to push your body through the comfort zone. Be strict with this – as a general rule, rest times should be between 60-90 seconds depending on the exercise.

This plays a huge part in any transformation. At No1 Fitness we won’t say you can’t drink alcohol, or that you can only eat chicken and broccoli. However, if you have a short space of time to achieve your goals, you might need to cut back and eat more bland foods. We can show you how to account for nights out and help to adapt your eating and drinking to compensate.

This is something that many don’t change when starting a transformation. Box-sets, video games or Tinder often play a big part in people’s lives, but if you want to make a change, you might need to change some of these. This can mean cooking food when you get home from work instead of watching Love Island. Even if you’ve had a long stressful day at work, you need to force yourself to go to the gym rather than going back and playing Call of Duty.

Not everyone will want to give up the pleasures in their lives, and an intensive transformation isn’t the only way to get in shape. In most cases you’re better off altering your diet and exercise regime in the long-term, which is a more sustainable fitness solution. But if you want a cover-star body in a short space of time, you’re going to have to make sacrifices.

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