Where To Start? The first thing to do is ask yourself why you gained all the excess weight? Most of the time, it’s one or more of these issues:
- Your hormones are out of balance (low testosterone, high estrogen)
- Poor diet
- Lack of physical exercise
Step One – Visit Your Doctor
Your first step in becoming the new you will be to pay a visit to your doctor to ensure your healthy enough to perform physical activity. The next step is to have your doctor take a blood test to determine if your testosterone levels are low, along with testing your estrogen levels (estradiol). Make sure you ask your doctor to test for both “Total Testosterone” and “Free Testosterone”. Some of the more common symptoms of low testosterone include weight gain, low energy, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, depression and trouble sleeping. It’s probably a good idea to do a little research on hormone balancing prior to scheduling your appointment.
Step Two – Diet
This step is extremely important and you need to take a close look at your diet. Most people get scared when they hear the word “diet”. This will be a nutritional lifestyle change and not a “diet”, so don’t be worried. Make sure to stay away from all those fad starvation diets of 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day since they don’t work and cause many issues (loss of muscle, rebound weight gain, etc). If you can’t sustain your diet over the long-term, the weight you lost will come right back on. The two primary drivers of weight gain are sugars and carbs. If you have a sweet tooth, you will need to give these goodies up until you get your weight under control. You can eat things with natural sugars which is easier for your body to process, such as fresh fruit. There are also some healthy sugar-free products on the market that you can try. I eat this delicious ice cream called “Arctic Zero” that is very low in calories (150 calories per pint) and very low in sugar. There are also quite a few tasty sport drinks that are delicious and have very little sugar added. You also want to focus on cutting down your overall starchy carbohydrate intake and limit foods like pasta and baked goods.
Instead of pasta, have some brown rice or quinoa. Feel free to eat lots of green vegetables, as well as salads. From a meat perspective, focus on eating chicken, turkey and fish. Shoot for 6-8 ounces per meal of lean protein. You can also choose to have steak (red meat) a few times per week (6-8 ounces). Personally, I don’t get too worried about counting calories. A clean diet doesn’t necessarily mean eating less and it’s more about eating foods that are good for your body. A calorie is not a calorie! Is 100 calories of chocolate cake the same as 100 calories of chicken breast? No way! The key is to recognize the difference between good versus bad calories.
The bottom line is that if you are currently overweight then you need to eliminate sugar and cut back on your carbs, period! When you eliminate sugar and cut back on the carbs, your body will get its extra fuel through utilizing your stored body fat which allows you to lose all that unwanted adipose tissue that’s on your physique. It’s also important to cut down on your overall serving sizes and avoid gorging yourself at every meal. I’d suggest you limit your serving size of meat to 6-8 ounces per meal. If you enjoy sandwiches, try eating your meat with some brown rice and green vegetables. I usually prepare a large dinner so I can have extra food left over for lunch or dinner the next day. For breakfast, I have oatmeal, fruit and a protein shake. I also recommend not eating past 6:00PM so you can allow your body to burn off those calories before you go to bed. Lastly, keep a daily food journal and write down everything you eat. You can download ShapeFit’s Free Food Journal to help you keep track of your diet. If you document what you eat, you’ll be cognizant of what you’re putting into your mouth every day and end up eating much cleaner. If you drink alcohol then you really need to eliminate it since alcohol contains dead calories and slows down your metabolism!
You can help speed up your metabolism by exercising and eating right. As you lose weight (pound for pound), your metabolism will speed up. In addition, if you gain 10 pounds of lean muscle mass, your metabolism will speed up even more causing you to burn extra calories all day long! That’s how I’m able to eat almost 4,000 calories per day because my lean muscle tissue helps to burn it all off. Any new muscle you gain by working out becomes your best friend in burning off those extra calories. Remember the golden rule when it comes to weight loss and that is in order to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you take in.
Step 3 – Workout
The last step is working out. Workouts should consist of weights, cardio and core exercises. If you’re a beginner or are overweight, I’d strongly suggest getting a personal trainer to put together an effective workout plan to help you achieve your specific fitness goals. There is a lot more to working out than getting on a treadmill or lifting weights and using machines. I’d estimate that 80-90% of the people working out in the gym do not warm-up properly which increases the risk of injury. Most people are overtraining, using improper techniques when lifting weights or they are moving at such a slow pace to really give them any benefit for developing lean muscle mas or burning adequate calories. I see people who have been going to the gym for years and still don’t make any progress. Trust me, hiring a certified personal trainer is a key area to invest your money when it comes to improving your physique. By hiring a trainer, you’ll greatly increase your learning curve and eliminate many frustrations while increasing the likelihood of reaching your fitness goals.
When you sit down with your trainer, let them know what your fitness goals are and tell them that you’d like your workout aligned to achieve those goals. Ask your trainer if they can review your diet, just in case your missing something. Lastly, stay away from personal trainers that are not in great shape themselves. If they are going to “talk the talk” then they definitely need to “walk the walk”!
Common Flaws I See in The Gym:
- Not having a fitness plan.
- Not being consistent with workouts. If you are overweight, I recommend training 4-5 times a week.
- Bad form while lifting weights which limits results and increases the risk of injury.
- Working the same body parts repeatedly. If you overtrain your muscles, they get smaller, not larger.
- Not warming up properly. 15 minutes of cardio coupled with some light stretching fires up your metabolism as well as reducing the risk to injury. For middle-aged people, warming up gets your joints ready to workout. This is a good thing for anyone with arthritis.
- Not doing cardio during the workout. Most of my weight loss clients will do between 25-30 minutes of cardio when they go to the gym. I’d recommend 15 minutes of elliptical or bike prior to working out and 10 minutes after. If you have don’t any physical limitations, you are better off with the elliptical trainer machine because you burn more calories and it also works your core muscles.
- Not performing core exercises. The core is the center of your body and supports your back and central nervous system which allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. Having a strong core goes a long way in preventing injuries with your back and issues with pinched nerves.
- Not training at an effective pace. If you look around the gym, you should notice that the people who move at a brisk pace usually look much better than all the slow movers.
Recommended Supplements You Might Want To Purchase:
- Protein Powder – You need protein to build muscle so look for a high quality whey protein supplement.
- Pre-Workout Supplement – Provides an energy boost to power you through your workouts.
- Vitamin B 12, and B complex – Provides energy and allows you to think more clearly, helps convert your food to fuel, reduces stress and helps prevent heart disease.
Time To Get Fit and Healthy So You Can Lose Those Unwanted Pounds!
Okay, no more guesswork! You have everything you need to lose those ugly excess pounds and build attractive lean muscle. You’ll look and feel better, have more energy and live longer. Follow the 3 steps outlined above and I’m sure you will be amazed with the results! Now that you have the basic information to stay fit and lose those unwanted pounds, the only thing holding you back is just getting started. Most of my clients lose between 20-30 pounds during a 90-day fitness plan. Once you get those kind of results, you’ll never look back!