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How Long Does It Take to Get In Shape? Your Questions Answered by Expert Carmen Dura

written by: Angela Atkinson • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 6/29/2009

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to get in shape? Wonder no more. Here, personal trainer and model Carmen Dura offers her professional fitness advice in an exclusive Bright Hub interview.

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    Carmen Dura, Personal Trainer and Model

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    About the Expert

    Carmen Dura has been a certified personal trainer for fifteen years. She is the top group fitness instructor for the Alliance Fitness Corporation, having been named Instructor of the Year and Fitness Manager of the Year two years in a row.

    Carmen’s first experience with competitive fitness was in 2006. She has competed in many competitions, from Fitness Model Competitions to Figure and Bikini Competitions.

    She is also a popular model, often featured in fitness blogs and magazines. In addition, Carmen is the assistant vice president for, a Miami based community website.

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    Carmen Dura Answers Your Fitness Questions

    Bright Hub: What common obstacles do you see in obese people who try to get in shape?

    Carmen Dura: Most challenges lie from within. Lack of knowledge and lack of mobility discourage them. That is why I always suggest working with a positive, motivating and supportive personal trainer 3 –4 times per week. This gets them past the obstacles that everyone face when starting on an exercise program.

    Bright Hub: How do you advise your obese and overweight clients to help them stay on track when they’re trying to get in shape?

    Carmen Dura: First of all, don’t get discouraged if one week you don’t lose weight. This will happen, but by staying on point with their nutrition and constantly changing their routine, will keep them on track. If they have an “oops” and cheat a bit, don’t say “the heck with it” and start eating like crazy! After you have that not so good “thing” get right back on the proper nutritional track and you will be fine.

    Bright Hub: How should an obese or overweight person exercise? Are there special considerations for people in this condition?

    Carmen Dura: For the most part it is about getting them active. The excess weight takes a toll on their knees and back, so I try and use exercises that don’t put too much stress on their knees and lower back. Circuit training is my most common exercise approach I take.

    Bright Hub: How often should people weigh themselves when trying to get in shape?

    Carmen Dura: DON’T GET ON THE SCALE EVERYDAY! Once a week is plenty and the number of pounds is larger that way. If you insist on getting on the scale every day, it can get really discouraging if some days there is no change. Use your clothes (and how they fit) as a measurement to weight loss instead. The scale doesn’t always show results. Inches can be lost without dropping a lot of pounds.

    Bright Hub: Do you believe that someone can be overweight and healthy?

    Carmen Dura: No. Excess weight is from fat. This can cause heart disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. If you are overweight and exercise daily, then your diet is probably not as good as it should be! We are what we eat!

    Bright Hub: Is it true that someone who exercises often can eat whatever they want and stay in shape?

    Carmen Dura: No, diet is about 70% of successful weightloss. It is all about expending more calories then you eat. Eating clean foods (non-processed foods, fruits, vieggies, lean proteins, whole grains, etc.) allows the body to run like a well oiled machine!

    Bright Hub: So, in general, how long would you say it takes to get in shape?

    Carmen Dura: Of course it depends on the individual. Most people will see results quickly at first and then it may slow down once you are closer to your goals. Your body doesn't want to let go of the last 5 lbs or so. Some may see results by the second week. Usually it is those who put 100% into their training and nutrition. Others may take longer especially if they don't change their nutritional habits. You need to workout at least 3 times per week consistently and control your eating. Can’t do it part time!

    Bright Hub: Any final words of wisdom for people who want to get in shape?

    Carmen Dura: Seek professional advice! Most obese or overweight people take drastic measures to lose weight. This is not healthy and 9 times out of 10, they put the weight back on and more!