Bikini. Body. The two words, even spoken separately, sound like punishment. While the popularity of 15-minute (heck, even 5-minute) bikini body workouts have yet to wane, there is the bikini body backlash and the funniest memes that read: “Want a bikini body? Put on a bikini on a body.”
And while I am a huge advocate for having a healthy body image, I’m also supportive of wanting to be fit and healthy. And there are times when we are working out for a goal or a deadline (wedding or vacation, anyone?) we want real, physical changes. So what does it take? How often do I need to work out to change how my body looks?
I had a post-NTC workout coffee date with Nike master trainer Eva Redpath, and asked her for a number: How many days a week do you need to work out to physically change how your body looks? She was reluctant to give me a minimum number of days. Instead, she says, it’s about a healthy lifestyle.
“Change is possible when you’re fully committed to it,” says Eva. “Make fitness fit into your lifestyle. Just live healthy. Live actively. Move more.” So I take that to mean seven days a week – not working out seven days a week but moving seven days a week. As for diet: “You will need to clean up your diet as part of your action plan to see a difference.”
Celeb trainer Harley Pasternak seems to agree. At the Toronto Fitbit Blaze launch recently, Harley, who is also an ambassador for the fitness tracker brand, says he gets his hot-bodied clients to do more out of the gym. “I used to tell my clients to do a certain amount of cardio, a certain time on the treadmill, burn a certain amount of calories, but now I get them in and out of the gym and tell them to go live an active life.”
So it’s a fine balance really. It’s about being active (with scheduled workouts or active moments, like hiking with a friend or walking to the office) and living a healthy lifestyle (being accountable for our “treats,” which Eva prefers to call it instead of “cheat meals”). While it sounds like an all-or-nothing effort, don’t over think it. And if you’re just starting out on achieving a transformation, Eva says it’s all about managing expectations in order to achieve a physical goal.
“People often know what they want to do, but it often comes down to what they are willing to do,” she later emails me. “When you set your fitness goals, it’s important to make sure they’re manageable within your everyday routine. Start small and continue to push your workouts to the next level. And don’t lose focus or become discouraged if you aren’t seeing immediate results.”