Six Weeks to Serious Success
Passing the time without results is the tough part, says Mo Hagan.
Savvy fitness buffs know that physical improvements, unlike FedEx deliveries, don’t just happen overnight.
So how long does it take to get tangible results from exercise?
Well-respected Canadian fitness expert Maureen (Mo) Hagan says for those starting a workout program or getting back into the groove after a prolonged hiatus, the “magic formula” is 30 minutes a day, six days a week for six weeks.
That lays a solid foundation and encourages further results for Week 7 and beyond.
“The body will start making changes in four to six weeks. The person starting needs to, one, create a habit, and two, they need to see something happen,” explains Hagan, an uber-fit 47-year-old resident of London, Ont., with 27 years of experience in the fitness industry and a laundry list of impressive credentials.
Hagan acknowledges that it takes 21-30 days to shape a habit, and anywhere from 30 to 90 days for concrete physiological changes.
“In fact, your blood turns over every 121 days, so you can’t really get rid of the crap in your body, get stronger and feel more energized in less than four weeks because your body’s going through change,” she explains.
But six weeks is the general rule for measurable results.
That’s why Hagan’s new book is called GoodLife Fitness: 6 Weeks to a New Body.
Six weeks was the guideline she used back when she was a personal trainer and working with a new client.
“If you do not connect with that fragile egg, we call them, that newbie, if you do not help them in that first six weeks, they typically quit,” says Hagan, an international award-winning fitness instructor and licensed physiotherapist who teaches personal trainers and fitness instructors.
“You’re tired the first week and you’re sore. By Week 2, you’re going to hate me. By Week 4, you’re going to start to look better. I’ve been there. I’ve seen it.”
It’s hard to imagine her out of shape.
Hagan is a glowingly healthy 130-135 pounds at five-foot-seven with an enviable body-fat percentage of 19.5%.
“I’m like a Size 4 or 6, but I have a lot of muscle on my body,” she says. “I’ve got the butt, the thighs, the shoulders and arms because I work out. I love having lean muscle and that’s what’s kept my metabolism very high.”
Hagan is vice-president of operations in charge of group exercise and instructor training at GoodLife Fitness Clubs – Canada’s largest fitness chain.
She helped create the largest provider of education in the Canadian fitness industry with what is known as Canadian Fitness Professionals or Can-Fit-Pro, and now serves as its director of education.
And she worked as a physiotherapist before devoting her life to fitness.
Despite having a full calendar these days, Hagan practices what she preaches.
She works out for an hour twice a week with top-notch personal trainer Mike McLeod.
“Mike’s favourite line with me is, ‘Show me the love,’ which means, ‘Mo, talk to me or work harder,’ because some days I’m kinda zoned out,” she says. “I’m a typical girl in the gym. I don’t always like to exercise and work hard and he pushes me.”
Hagan also teaches several fitness classes a week at GoodLife clubs in London, including a cardio class, strength-training class, yoga-based class with Pilates and tai chi, and an abs class.
And for 30 minutes once a week, she runs “for mental and physical fitness.”
As for nutrition, Hagan takes a common-sense approach. Rather than count calories, she simply watches portion sizes and “grazes” on five to six meals a day.
However, she admits to having a sweet tooth.
“I eat Jujubes because that’s what I love,” she says, adding wine is another favourite indulgence. “Because I enjoy my extra glass of wine at night, then I won’t snack on bad food during the day.”
Hagan’s next book hits bookstores Jan. 1. It’s specifically for women and designed around what else but a six-week program.
“Those first six weeks are crucial,” she says.
And by Week 7, that once “fragile egg” should be well on his or her way to becoming a hard-boiled hardbody.
Cary Castagna is a certified personal trainer through Can-Fit-Pro. If you have a story for Keeping Fit, e-mail Cary at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Purge your cupboards and refrigerator of unhealthy foods, and replace with healthy foods low in fat and high in nutrients.
- Cut back on processed carbs and increase lean proteins.
- Lose dangerous body fat around your stomach by doing 30 to 60 minutes of cardio three times a week and resistance training three times a week.
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