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Fun and Fit: Can You Lose 10 Pounds in 4 Weeks?

It's possible. But it's better — and more likely — with increased intensity of workouts

Dear Fun and Fit: Do you know of any eating or exercise tips for me? I want to lose at least 10 pounds in four weeks. Should I work out even more than two hours a day two times a week? Lovette, California

Kymberly: Losing 10 pounds in four weeks is a big goal, but doable ... if you are willing to either work hard and change your eating habits ooorrrr ... take some drastic measures. Let’s check out those drastic measures first, since they’re easier. First, cut off as much of your hair as possible. Next, go nekkid (since most people wear clothes when assessing weight usually via a scale). Lastly, embark on some crazy diet. So that about wraps up the bad and popular advice that meets the goal. (Readers — don’t say you never thought of these approaches! We hear of them all the time!)

Alexandra: It’s reasonable, sustainable and realistic long term to lose 1.5 to 2 pounds per week if you combine intense cardio with resistance training and a nutritious diet. So it will be hard to lose 10 pounds in such a short time. I think you’ll be happier, more motivated and more successful if you focus on improving your eating and exercise. The weight will drop off more naturally that way.

Eating: Choose foods that are close to the ground. By this I don’t mean, “Oh, I dropped my bag of chips”; I mean the fewer ingredients the better. Even if you eat the same amount in weight/volume, the healthier foods will tend to have fewer calories. So, enjoy a bowl of strawberries rather than strawberry jam on toast. Move most of your food intake toward the first part of the day. And eat breakfast! (Read all about it!)

Exercise: You can do low intensity movement (below 60 percent of your maximum heart rate, which means about 3-5 on a scale of 1-10) , moderate intensity (60 percent to 80 percent of max HR; 6-8 on 10-scale), or high intensity (80 percent to 90 percent of max HR: 9 on 10 scale). Most people feel comfortable doing low and moderate intensity, yet decidedly uncomfortable at high intensity. It’s a time-saving choice if your joints and current level of physical ability allow you to try high intensity once or twice a week.

Kymberly: Lovette, we made this video just for you (and anyone else we can corral) about the difference between low-, moderate- and high-intensity cardio levels. Feel free to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Really. Now.

Alexandra: One little side note (as opposed to “snide,” which I would never use with anyone unless it’s my sister) is to differentiate between high-intensity and high impact. Many high-intensity moves are also high impact (i.e., jacks, burpees, running), but if you’re like me (one reconstructed soccer knee and two big-headed kids pushed out that tiny birth canal), you don’t like high impact. So you can always do high intensity in the pool, on the elliptical or even on the step or large stability ball!

Go forth. Move and Lose. Eat. Rinse. Repeat.

Kymberly: As for your question as to whether you need to work out more than twice a week to drop this weight in this time frame. HAYUL YES! Skip the part about two hours per session, but you need to get busy at least five days a week. Include both strength training and aerobic workouts.

Readers: Who has successfully lost and kept off 10 pounds? How? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

— Identical twins and fitness pros Kymberly Williams-Evans and Alexandra Williams have been in the fitness industry since the first aerobics studio opened on the European continent. They teach, write, edit, emcee and present their programs worldwide on land, sea and airwaves. They co-write Fun and Fit: Q and A with K and A. You can currently find them in action leading classes in Santa Barbara and Goleta. Kymberly is the former faculty minor adviser at UCSB for its fitness instruction degree offered through the Department of Exercise & Sport Studies; Alexandra serves as an instructor and master teacher for the program. Fun and Fit answers real questions from real people, so please send your comments and questions to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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