FIVE weeks until Carnival and people are flooding gyms, yoga studios and zumba classes – much to the dismay of regulars – to trim their bodies for the road.
Newsday spoke to three fitness experts to get advice on how to successfully lose weight. They touted nutrition and patience as being effective in achieving weight loss.
The trainers Richard Breton, Oswin "Ozzy" Birchwood and Marc Anthony agree that before pursuing a weight-loss routine people should consult a doctor and a dietitian to have a specialised nutrition programme, as well as a fitness expert to guide them with their workouts.
They offered the following advice:
Breton, manager of the La Joya Complex gym
1. You can either workout to have a Carnival body or go to Carnival fetes, so, pick one.
Is it possible to get that Carnival body by March 4? Yes, but according to Breton, it is going to take a lot of discipline and sacrifice. A person can safely lose 16-20 pounds, but will have forfeit partying.
"Carnival basis of enjoyment is alcohol. All the parties, would you be able to go to an all-inclusive and eat the food and drink alcohol? No. You cannot go where you want to go unless you give up the things you want to enjoy. If your objective is to play mas, you have to give up all the parties before," he said.
2. Be mindful of your body type and how it impacts your weight-loss goals.
There are three types of body types, or somatotypes. These are ectomorphs –people who are naturally lean; endomorphs –people who have a high level of body fat and muscle, and they have difficulty losing weight; and mesomorphs who are muscular people. The average person has a mixture of these body types. Breton encourages people learn what their body types are before they attempt a fitness programme.
"Some people put on weight faster than the other. That's your genes," he said.
3. For experienced exercisers, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
According to the American Council on Exercise a High Intensity Interval Training is, "a system of organising cardiorespiratory training which calls for repeated bouts of short duration, high-intensity exercise intervals intermingled with periods of lower intensity intervals of active recovery."
A HIIT workout workout includes running as fast as possible for 200m, jog at a slower pace for 400m, or a burpee interval workout with a circuit of pull ups, jumping jacks and burpees.
HIIT workouts are typically shorter than regular workouts and at times can be 10-15 minutes long.
"It seems to work. The intensity is high, so you don't work out as long," Breton said.
However, he cautions that HITT exercises are not for novices.
"You need to get a foundation so you know the proper technique. You must know how to squat, lunge, lift and breathe," he said.
4. Diets should be individualised
"Yo-yo diets like the South beach diet (a high-fibre, low-carbohydrate, low-fat, lean protein diet) and the keto diet (a complex diet which involves fasting from carbohydrates and eating high-fat, high-protein foods) are not individualised. You would lose the weight but it is not sustainable. You should go to a dietitian."
5. Don't abuse supplements – or don't take them at all
Often people choose to invest in weight-loss shakes or pills to slim down. Breton said don't starve the body and avoid quick-fix supplements such as pills and lean shakes.
"Stay away from high keratin and high protein supplements. Whatever you eat, you should not put additives in your food. These products were made for bodybuilders. That's for a person to reach 300 pounds in muscle. These are really supplementary to your diet when you can't get that food in but it is being abused," he said.
Oswin "Ozzy" Birchwood, D' Dial Fitness Club
6. If you are sedentary, don't expect to get fit in six weeks.
"To lose weight, it depends on different factors such as fitness level. If someone is sedentary, it would take a long time for them to get fit."
7. The more body fat a person has is the more cardiovascular exercises people would need. These include running, biking and aerobics.
8. Don't rely solely on Instagram trainers for workout instructions. You could get hurt.
"They follow these programmes by people on the internet without getting any advice from a professional and they end up doing things incorrectly or worse, hurting themselves.
9. Unless you're obese, the scales would not be the best way to judge body fat levels. It is subjective to the individual. A proper evaluation by a professional is important.
10. Give yourself time
Three months is a good time to safely start training for weight loss. It gives your body enough time to gradually change.
"Shocking your system with short-term bursts would cause you to regress to your former size," Birchwood said.
Marc Anthony owner CrossFit 12-12-12
11. Be realistic with your expectations.
Anthony said an obese woman came into CrossFit with the hopes of getting a "Beyonce body by Carnival." While he supports any person's weight-loss journey, people must be realistic about how much work it will take to lose weight and the time period they would need.
12. It's going to suck in the beginning but if you don't stick with it, you won't get any better. "People have to wrap their mind around the fact that when you start off, it won't be butterflies. Your body has to adapt to it."
13. "If anything, just run and push yourself to run as far as you can. "If you want to avoid the gym, go and run and make sure you go and run outside. It's a change in mentality. Park your car far and go and run."