Written by James Cooper
Last Updated

It’s the ultimate question for anyone who is looking to get in shape fast but unfortunately there is no hard and fast answer. It really depends on how out of shape you are in the first place and how much time you have to dedicate to your chosen program.   

But the good news is, if you are just trying to get into better shape for the summer, perhaps by losing some extra pounds gained over the winter months, it doesn’t have to take a dramatic diet or fitness program to see results quickly.

If you give yourself between six to 12 weeks you will be able to get yourself into significantly better shape than when you started, obviously depending on your fitness level and shape at the starting 

By changing bad habits and introducing good ones, gradually over the weeks, you will feel it’s more manageable which will help you to stick with the new program psychologically and make you less likely to quit. 

The least amount of time you need to get into shape for the summer is a month, as any less than that would be too extreme and not sustainable in any kind of long term way.

Getting in shape

Changing your eating habits

The first thing you need to do to get in shape quickly is to examine your eating habits and nutritional intake and make changes there. If you are eating badly then no amount of exercise will help in the long term. 

A diet should contain a lot of fresh food like vegetables, fruit, nuts and health meats and fish. It’s unlikely you will sustain anything which forces you to cut out complete food groups, like carbs, long term, and so just aim for less processed food. 

Cutting out snacks, sugary food, and fast food will have a big difference on your body even without upping your exercise. Just be aware that bad habits have taken a long time to develop and won’t be broke overnight. It can take around six weeks for a new good habit to form. 

You also need to make sure you are eating enough protein such as eggs and cheeses, while reducing your alcohol intake and keeping your body well hydrated with lots of water. Cut out fizzy and sugary drinks. 

Eating habit

Changing your fitness habits

Getting more active will help you to get into better shape and burn off those extra pounds for you. Even just going for a brisk walk every day, or riding your exercise bike for half an hour every night, will improve your shape quite quickly. 

One of the things to focus on is strength training as this will get your body back into better shape quicker than just doing pure cardio. A combination of the two types of exercise is the best thing to aim for. 

Fitness habit

Change your sleeping habits

Good sleeping habits are really important for maintaining a healthy body but might not be the most obvious change people think of when trying to get into shape quickly. Your muscles are growing and strengthening in your sleep, as your body recovers from a workout so it’s important to rest. 

With our over reliance on phones and technology, using screens is second nature but using them too close to our bed time can really impact badly on our sleep. It’s important to cut down on screen time and increase quality sleep time.

Keeping changes realistic and sustainable

While everyone would like to suddenly get in great shape within a few days and many unrealistic diet and exercise plans promise the world in that way, it’s important to remain realistic and make sure your regime is sustainable. 

Trying to lose weight too fast, or exercise too much, too quickly, is very bad for your body and could actually cause damage, not to mention make you feel rubbish and like a failure, which you most certainly aren’t. 

realistic changes


Getting in shape doesn’t have to take a long time, it’s a case of making gradual and sustainable changes to three key areas of your life over a period of weeks to months and you will soon see a marked improvement. 

Assessing and changing the way you eat the types of food you are going for, while cutting out sugary and processed foods is the only way to make the program effective as this will give you the energy needed to exercise. 

Adding in regular exercise routines which combine cardio with strength training will help your body get fitter, improve your stamina and help to reduce weight and improve your shape at the same time. 

Finally, less screen time and more quality sleep time will really work to relax your mind and body and make you feel better as well as supporting your body to recover from the new exercise routines. 

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