What’s The best Way to Get in Shape Quick?

by on August 20, 2010

In todays world of instant gratification and low attention spans, people want to get in shape quick, once they decide on fitness as a goal. Nobody wants to wait for anything and if it takes too long for results, they will forget why they even started to exercise in the first place! There are many ways to get in shape and the definition of “in shape” is really a matter of opinion. Depending on how much weight you need to lose or muscle you need to build, you may or may not be able to do it quickly.

In most cases, especially for people that are overweight, losing fat is more important than anything in order to look more in shape. If you lose fat without gaining muscle, you will still usually look more muscular. By the same token if you gain some muscle, but it is covered over with fat, you won’t neccessarily look any better.
I have seen some really bulky guys, like the average powerlifter physique, that were extremely muscular but just looked fat. Once they dieted down and lost the fat, they looked incredible, and way more muscular than before. They were like uncut diamonds that just needed polished. This goes the same for women. A little bit of fat loss can make some women look incredibly different and sexier than ever.

iStock 000011252815XSmall Whats The best Way to Get in Shape Quick?[Here's a perfect example of a guy that doesn't really have a lot of muscle, but looks really muscular because of how lean he is. If he added ten pounds of fat, he would just look like the neighbor kid down the street!]

(On a side note, don’t buy in to the Hollywood perception that we have to be ultra lean and muscular in order to look good. In reality, the average person is not going to achieve the level of fitness that some of the superstars of the silver screen do. That’s why they’re in the movies.  Just compete against yourself and chart your progress from where you were to where you are at now. If you try and use an athlete or movie star as your gauge as to whether you are in shape or good looking enough, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Besides, so many models and movie stars may look great on screen for a specific movie, but don’t look this good year around.)

So, in order to get in shape quick, you should focus on fat loss. Losing fat is best achieved by your diet and from doing resistance training. Doing resistance training will help you to build some muscle also, which is an added bonus. Once you start to lose some fat, you will immediately feel better and look better. This will help give you the drive and motivation to continue and make even better progress in the future.

To lose fat, you need to take in less calories than you are using on a consistent basis. There are a number of ways to do this, including:

1) Restrictive diets (which I don’t recommend and you won’t stick to long term)
2) Excessive exercise to burn calories (again not recommended by me)
3) Magic pills or supplements (waste of money and don’t work as advertised)
4) Cutting you carbs and limiting empty calories in your diet ( Good Idea, do this one!)
5) Intermittent fasting (ding, ding, ding, show him what he’s won Johnny . . . A new body! But wait, that’s not all, he also gets to end to his dieting frustrations for life!)  icon smile Whats The best Way to Get in Shape Quick?

I know I’m kind of a weirdo, my wife tells me that all the time! Ok, back to business. Of course fasting isn’t the only way, it’s just the easiest, and you are more likely to stick to it long term.

Once you get your diet and calories on track, you need to focus on some form of resistance training to increase your lean muscle mass. This will cause you to burn more calories as well as burn calories long after your workout is over. If you add in some cardio as well, your body will turn in to a fat burning machine!

Here are a few older posts that I wrote a while back that go over my thoughts on resistance training and cardio:

Is cardio training a waste of time?
Cardio or resistance training for weight loss?
There is no one size fits all cardio routine.

If your calories are low enough to cause a calorie deficit and you are doing resistance training as well as the right kind of cardio, you will be doing the best that you can to get in shape quick. You will soon start to see progress and you won’t have to waste your money on useless magic pills that don’t work. Good luck, I’m rooting for you!

newsignature Whats The best Way to Get in Shape Quick?

16 comments on “What’s The best Way to Get in Shape Quick?

  1. Raymond-ZenMyFitness on said:

    All good points.
    I’m still looking for the magic pill that will keep me fit and in shape haven’t found one but I am going to try a new body program called “7 minute muscle”.
    Hopefully that fits my instant gratification and short attention span.

    But if it all does’t work I think your best point is Intermittent fasting I know that will work for anyone!
    Raymond-ZenMyFitness´s last [type] ..Fascia Stretching Routines- An Incredibly Effective Muscle Growth Tip

  2. Alykhan - Fitness Breakout on said:


    I agree that it’s best to focus on fat loss rather than muscle gain for a visually appealing physique. When I was at 16% body fat, I looked about average. Not too fat, but not lean. At 12% body fat, I had lost some of the “puffier” features around my face and throughout my body, but I still wasn’t super defined. Now, at <7% body fat, I look way more toned and sharp with visible definition. The thing is, at each stage I had approximately the same amount of muscle. I simply maintained the muscle I had while concentrating on dropping fat. If I had I tried to gain 10 pounds of muscle instead, I'd most likely just look overweight.

    Alykhan – Fitness Breakout´s last [type] ..The Modified Crazy 8- An Intense 15 Minute Workout

  3. Raymond,
    Let me know how the 7 minute muscle works out. I agree that intermittent fasting will work for anyone. It is like a loyal dog. It will always be there for you and always work!

    Yeah, it is amazing how your body fat really makes all of the difference in your look. If you look at most of the before and after pictures on these weight loss sites, they look more muscular even though they gained little muscle.

  4. Dave - Not Your Average Fitness Tips on said:

    Good advice all around. I think the part in the middle about competing against yourself is not stated often enough. Lofty goals are great but if they’re not achievable, then results can just be discouraging. Plus, people don’t realize how much they may have to sacrifice to achieve really elite goals. However, you can get great results with quick workouts and non-restrictive diets as long as you’re consistent…no lifestyle sacrifices either!

  5. Dave,
    Yeah, as much as I love the movies and celebrities in general, you can’t try and compete with them. You need to just compete with yourself and chart your progress from where you were at, not what the latest star looks like. The shame of it all is that, steroid and growth hormone use is not limited to sports only. There are more than their share of musicians and movie stars that use these dangerous drugs also. You can’t compete with that, unless of course you want to be a steroid head also!

    I had a bodybuilder that was very close to going pro and competing in the IFBB tell me that he actually admired the drug free bodybuilders. He said that if he had to lift for a whole year just to gain a few pounds of muscle that he would just quit. He said that it wouldn’t be worth all of the effort for such little results. I admired him for his honesty, but nothing else. As long as we are trying to beat our personal best, what more can you ask for?

  6. Kelly,

    Great advice. I agree that losing fat is more gratifying on a consistant basis than trying to add a couple of pounds of muscle. The muscle will come over time. I see these guys in our gym lifting heavy weight in hopes of losing weight and building massive muscle. They look the same as when they started because they are not burning more calories than they take in and are probably wondering why. I used to be like that but after seeing the results you obtained and reading the posts here on your blog my workouts and calorie intake have changed dramatically. At 37 I am now seeing results faster than when I started lifting 8yrs ago and without lifestyle changes.


  7. Tim,
    You are a perfect example of the powerlifter type that will make a dramatic difference with your physique by losing some weight. You already have the muscle and strength. If you lose some fat, you will look significantly bigger and more muscular. Let me know if you need any help!

  8. Jackson on said:

    I like all your points in this article, I also agree with you on fasting, it is great for your body, if done in the proper way.

  9. Clint - Crude Fitness on said:

    The fast I did this week was my easiest one yet, and i even trained on that day for an added thermogenic effect.
    It would seem keeping it up shouldn’t be a problem. ESE FTW :)

  10. Jackson,
    If done right fasting gets rid of the need to watch what you eat to lose weight. You will never have to worry about the newest fad diet or magic pill that doesn’t work.

    No keeping it up won’t be a problem at all for you. You are doing great! The next thing that you will come up against is you will have to cut down on your fasts so you don’t lose too much weight!

  11. Darrin on said:

    I’ve found that getting rid of the “empty” calories and doing IF works absolute wonders. No need to count calories if what you are eating is nutritious and fills you up without overdoing it, also skipping meals is WAY easier than cutting myself off before I’ve had my fill. (When I do something in life, I do it all the way, eating included!)
    Darrin´s last [type] ..Recipes for Grilling Chicken- I’m On a Roll Here!

  12. Great post man. This is the best physique in my opinion – ripped at the beach and just normal/fit/athletic looking in clothes. I first decided that this was the look I am after when I watched a real cool sci-fi miniseries a few years ago.

    It was based on one of my fave books – dune. In the miniseries the main actor was really lean and muuscular but looked just normal in clothes.
    Yavor´s last [type] ..The Sequential Muscle-up- A Missing Link in Your Muscle-up Training

  13. Darrin,
    I actually starting reading primal blueprint and Mark’s Daily Apple after reading one of your posts. In his stuff he talks about if you eat right, you don’t have to worry about counting calories or how much you eat. Combine this with fasting and it’s really pretty easy to stay lean.

    I agree, the only problem though since I lost weight and got really lean, so many people think I look too skinny. If they see me without a shirt on, they think I look way more muscular, but with clothes on they say I look like I lost too much weight. It’s a catch 22, I guess. I don’t care so much what people think, because I know that I am healthier and actually look a lot bigger than before. It is kind of frustrating though when someone that never trained a day in their life and needs to lose weight tells me that I’m too skinny. I think that they think it’s a compliment, but it’s no different than going up to someone and saying, “Wow, you’re really fat!” ;-)

  14. Zumba Class in Bradford on said:

    Another great way to get in shape quickly is to go to Zumba classes. The research shows that you can burn as many as 1,000 calories per 1 hour class but yet you still feel great at the end of it!
    Zumba Class in Bradford´s last [type] ..Zumba Diet

  15. Kelly- I know what you mean about people commenting about you looking skinny… I guess it can’t be helped…
    Yavor´s last [type] ..The Sequential Muscle-up- A Missing Link in Your Muscle-up Training

  16. Srdjan P - Bloom to Fit on said:

    Best way to get in shape quick? Circuit training.

    I can get some great results from putting together a solid circuit of exercises and putting in the work.
    Srdjan P – Bloom to Fit´s last [type] ..Benefits of Skipping Rope

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