Can I get fit in a month?

Next month we will be having a big moving day, and I suspect it will be exhausting. Especially since I have the strength and stamina of a piece of wet cardboard. If I started doing something now, maybe lifting some weights (I have some in the garage) and doing some cardio, for the next 4-5 weeks, would it make any difference, or is that not enough time?

Might make a small difference, even if only psychological. Great idea in any case to get a bit of fitness so why not?
Good bet would be to get someone to show you how to do a deadlift properly - fundamental lift that works a lot of muscles and is made to measure for moving day! Good technique essential, though, or you can hurt your back.

Did you get unfit in a month?

Of course there are only averages and a bazillion variables, but …

Assuming earnest but not heroic effort (i.e., 3 to 4 times a week, cardio in the recommended range and an hour or so of weights), what is the typical amount of time to get in shape? When you see someone new at the gym (and assuming they stay with it), it is … a year? A few months? Six?

I also assume there’s a difference between getting into shape mechanically (you can keep the heartrate up in the proper zone without feeling like you’re dying) and volumetric shape (extra flubber). Is there a sizable lag between the two? Or from an exercise perspective, are the two closely related?

You can certainly make a difference. The Couch-to-5k program is only 9 weeks, and it can take someone from nothing to running 5k regularly. I’ve been following it just a few weeks and already stairs are easier and I have more energy.

You should be able to tell a small difference in 5 weeks, sure. You’d definitely be less sore after moving if you worked those muscles for previous five weeks. And it’s a good thing to do anyway, right?

As for how long to get “in shape” I think that depends on what you mean by “in shape”, and where you’re starting from.

I know one time I had this short-term job in a warehouse, loading trucks and what have you. I was a no-exercise kind of guy and so not in shape at all. After the first day I was totally shattered, but within only two weeks I was flinging boxes about all day long, no problem. So yes, with regular exercise I think it is possible to get fit enough within five weeks.

Day 1 Basic training: unable to run a quarter mile, severe coughing and wheezing for hours after trying
Day 50 Basic training: -25 pounds, running 2 miles in 14 minutes, fully recovered and ready for more in less than 5 minutes.

Considering Basic is really just a lot of sitting in on classes, maybe 60 minutes of pushups/situps/running, good diet (no sugar or tobacco) and about 2 hours of walking per day (and a bit of brainstress) I’d say if you’re under 30 years old you could see admirable results with earnest and non-heroic effort within a month.

I think the way to look at it is that there is no"fit", only “fitter”. So anything you do in preparation will make it easier on you come moving day. And conversely, it’s a given that if you don’t do anything, you will be beat and sore (which you probably will be anyway, it’s just a matter of how long you can go and get done). So knowing this chore is looming, you really don’t have anything to lose by trying to get in better shape.

Given the timeframe, I would focus on:

  • stamina. Lots of walking. Jogging if you can. Maybe a stair-stepper if you can go to a gym.
  • leg strength. Squats (without weight is fine, with weight is better, but don’t over do it).
  • core strength. Crunches, sit ups, toe-touches. Again go easy. You don’t want to over do it.

I would try to do some walking/jogging every day. Maybe walk for an hour. Or jog for 15 minutes and then walk for 1/2 hour.
Then alternate days on the strengthening stuff: legs one day, core the next.

As opposed to being able to lift and move all that much, I’d be doing this preparation primarily to reduce the risk of injuring yourself. It’s when people go from doing nothing to then lifting heavy, they throw something out.

Yeah. As even sven mentioned, the Couch to 5K program only takes 9 weeks. I started the program as a complete couch potato, unable to walk up a flight of stairs without becoming seriously winded. By the time I was halfway through the program, I felt significantly more fit, could jog up stairs without being seriously out of breath, and so forth. So I think you can definitely see decent results in just 4 weeks. I’d start ASAP, though.

Can’t really add to the excellent advice so far.

**Ximenean’s **experience bears remembering, you will be as SORE AS HELL the first few workouts, just work through it, it will get better.

First - I echo the others who say it can only help. And I think you would be surprised at how much improvement you can see in just one month.

However - a note of caution as well. Be careful that you do your exercises properly - because hurting yourself in a rush to get in shape could set you backwards, rather then helping. For example - situps, done properly - would be a great way to strengthen your core. However, situps done improperly can cause back problems, sciatica and pulled muscles - none of which will help you on moving day.

All in all - go for it. Just be careful.

I don’t think they are overly related. There are a lots of obese unfit people, but there are also skinny unfit people and obese fit people. Think about a lineman in the NFL - they look a bit chubby, but they are highly fit.

Body shape is more a matter of diet/calories expended, whereas fitness is about muscle tone and conditioning. There is some correlation, of course, but not a lot.