Fitness Friday: Understanding your timeline

Stu Forster

Time, whose tooth gnaws away everything else, is powerless against truth. --Thomas Huxley

A few days before he stepped back into the cage, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight Mark Munoz released a handful of before-and-after photos (see them here), showing him as a depressed, overweight schlub back in January, transformed into a chiseled, 185-pound mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter by the end of June.

The timeline for transformation, according to "The Filipino Wrecking Machine," was approximately five months.

I saw a handful of follow-up tweets from both fans and media alike, suggesting that we should, at the very minimum, be wondering if Munoz had a little help from supplements. And by supplements, I think we all know I mean the kind that will cause you to fail a drug test.

This mindset is what hinders a lot of folks from reaching their fitness goals.

I would be willing to bet that he lost all that weight and got in great shape naturally, just as I'd be willing to bet that anyone reading this -- no matter the size and shape -- would also be able to achieve similar results, had you been privy to the kind of resources a top UFC fighter like Munoz has.

I was able to go from 302 pounds to 215, but it took me a lonnnnng time.

That's because I, like most of you, have to hold down a job. As for Munoz? Working out and getting in shape is his job, and he works it as such. That's why he trains in a multi-million dollar facility, while I pump iron in a broken down health club behind the local IHOP.

He has a handful of trainers, a nutritionist, and even a masseuse.

I have a shower head that I bought for 15 bucks at K-Mart with three water speed settings.

But I knew all that going in. I knew that in order to reach my goal, I was going to have to be patient. It's hard to work your ass off for six months and still be so far from where you want to be, physically, and it can derail a lot of people, mentally, who may become discouraged at the stubbornness of progress.

Stay the course.

Part of what makes a successful fitness lifestyle is understanding what things you can control, as well as what things you can't. When my dad used to drive from New Jersey to Maine ever year for vacation, he would drink a gallon of coffee and strap on an adult diaper, just so he could get there in six hours flat and not have to make any stops.

Godspeed, Papa H.

I prefer to take my time, pulling over periodically to see some sights on the way up. We're both headed in the same direction, but I can't sit in the car that long, nor do I want to. Just as I can't train twice a day in the gym, three hours at a clip. Nor do I want to.

I don't think most of you do, either.

If you can only work out for three days a week, an hour a day, then do it. Your body will thank you. But understand that you may never look like a guy (or gal) on the cover of a fitness magazine. If that's your goal, then you need to adjust your workout schedule -- as well as your frequency -- to match your specific timeline.

Consider other factors, as well.

Your timeline will also be affected by your diet, as well as your equipment. If you don't do a lot of grocery shopping and eat most of your meals on the go, that's going to have an impact on your desired results. So too, will the items you choose to exercise with (dumbbells, stability ball, etc.).

Can you get in shape and live a healthy lifestyle without home cooking and exercise equipment?

Sure, but it's a bit more complicated, depending on your timeline.

1. Set your goal

2. Establish a timeline for reaching that goal

3. Implement an exercise routine

4. Determine exercise frequency

5. Adjust eating habits to fit within the confines of items 1-4

Sprint vs. marathon.

Obviously, the sooner you want to get to your goal, the stricter you will have to be with your timeline, exercise and diet. More sacrifices equal faster results, clearly, but less sacrifices may allow you to keep your sanity, which may be worth it, even if it takes a wee bit longer to get to the promised land.

Getting there is hard, but staying there is easy.

Getting to Orlando is also hard, especially if you wanted to attend the Vitality event from ViSalus, the organization's annual celebration of life, heath and prosperity featuring product users, celebrities and of course, the company founders.

Hey, you can't make it to "The Sunshine State" this year. No problem, my dear reader, as I will bring "The Sunshine State" to you. That's right, you can watch a live video stream of the Vitality event today (July 19, 2013) beginning at 5 p.m. ET by clicking here.

The Vitality celebration will also launch the company's newest product, one they promise will "revolutionize the most important meal of the day." See what else they have to offer -- for every fitness level -- by checking out their products page here.

And as an added bonus, I'm throwing in a quick timeline chart (via Greatist) to help you coughers out there.

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The clock is ticking!

Fitness Friday is sponsored by ViSalus. Opinions expressed are solely of the author. For more information on the ViSalus line of products click here.

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