Your Recipe for Getting in Shape

Your Recipe for Getting in Shape

Whether you are extremely sedentary or extremely active, there are always ways to improve your level of fitness. How long it will take to get in shape depends on the healthy habits you are willing to adopt.

When your current regimen becomes too easy, you will need to bump up the intensity to the next level. This is an ongoing process, and as your fitness level increases, you will feel stronger, more energized, and more confident in yourself. If you wish to continue seeing improvements in fitness, keep increasing the effort until you get to the point that you are ready to maintain them.

  • Work out three to five times a week for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Adopt a healthy diet.
  • Reduce stress through meditation, massage, and other stress management techniques.


Flexibility is the ability to move your body’s joints throughout a full range of motion. It is the most common element that is left out of a fitness program. Yet, it is key to maintaining balance. Lack of flexibility is a big reason why many people get injured while working out and while performing normal tasks.

Increasing your flexibility will not only help you avoid injury, reduce muscle tension, and alleviate joint pain. It will also give you the ability to fire your muscles more efficiently so that you use less energy to lift heavier weights, move with more power and speed, and increase your balance and agility.

Cardiorespiratory Endurance

Cardiorespiratory endurance is the capacity to have your cardiovascular and respiratory systems function well during exercise. If you can carry on a conversation without getting winded during moderate activity, your endurance is pretty good. Another way to test your endurance is to measure and compare your heart rate at rest, during your workout, and following the activity.

The general rule of thumb for target heart rate during exercise is 220 beats per minute minus your age. For example, if you are 50, then your target heart rate is 220-50, which is 170 beats per minute. However, this will vary based on your fitness level and any medical conditions that may affect it, such as asthma or low blood pressure. If your heart rate quickly returns to normal following exercise, your endurance is above average.

Specialists confirm that you will see increases in your endurance level within two to four weeks of starting a consistent cardio program. This is about how long it takes for the initial soreness to subside, for you to notice an increase in energy, and for you to breathe more easily during workouts and at rest. If you have an event in mind, such as a 5k or a 10k run, start training at least 60 days in advance so you can work your way up in miles.

Muscular Endurance

The hallmark of muscular endurance is repetition. While muscular strength asks the question “how much,” endurance asks the questions “how many” or “how long?” “Failure” is the term used to describe the moment you reach the limit of your muscular endurance. For example, if you can hold a plank for 60 seconds before you collapse to the floor, you’ve reached failure, and your abdominal endurance is 60 seconds. For an exercise like pushups, count the number of repetitions you complete before your arms give out. These are loosely referred to as “fitness tests.”

According to specialists, a combination of high repetition strength work and cardio training helped to increase muscular endurance in athletes in under six weeks. If you’re interested in this method of getting in shape, you can test your muscular endurance using planks, pushups, squats, lunges, situps, and isometric back extensions. Add one exercise from each major muscle group to every workout to see improvement.

Muscular Strength

This part of fitness is the ability to use your muscles to their fullest extent. Think of the heaviest weight you can lift on a bicep curl or the max number of pounds you can hold while attempting just one squat. That’s your muscular strength.

If your principal goal is weight loss or body fat loss, you might be tempted to underplay the role of muscular strength in the process of getting in shape. Don’t make this mistake. The stronger your muscles become, the more they’ll grow, forming the definition you seek. In the long run, your physical strength will make all of your workouts easier.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported significant results in under four weeks for participants who followed a high protein diet combined with an intense exercise regimen. For lasting results, most personal trainers recommend sticking to a moderate program for at least three to six months before shifting to a maintenance program.