The one thing you can't give up on if you want to lose weight

Over the past 15 years, I have had about 15,000 client hours of training sessions.  I have discovered what works and what doesn’t work.  The number of people that have lost weight, gotten stronger, and made a significant change in lifestyle is amazing. There is a pattern that has come up over and over again in all of these case studies that I have seen.  This pattern is the difference between long term success and failure when it comes to weight loss.  Every person who has been able to lose weight and keep it off has one common underlying theme.  The theme that all success rests on is the most critical and the most challenging part of health.  Before I tell you about it, though, I have to tell you everything that lies on top of the base that builds weight loss.

  1. Life - We train for whatever it is that gives us the most physiological benefit.  Meaning, most of us find what is the most effective way to put the work in and then we stick with it.  You know where I stand on this.  It should have variance and be high in intensity.

  2. Movement - You should have a movement practice that has a deep focus on moving well. This is body-weight movement, not under any load.  Move well while doing an air squat, push up, pull up, and lunge.  Once you can do this, and do it really well…..then you can incorporate what is next on my list.

  3. Strength - Squat under load, press heavy loads overhead, pick heavy things up off the floor, throw and swing things.  These movements should look functional and they should be loaded heavy as long as you maintain proper movement.

  4. Conditioning - This is what everyone loves!  Well, at least this is what everyone thinks makes the big change.  I lost 10lbs because I started doing this really hard workout!  5 rounds of 20 kettlebell swings, 10 burpees, and a 400 meter row….all for time.  Or whatever it was….it really doesn’t matter as much as the real reason you lost that 10lbs or the real reason you are going to lose that 10lbs.  Wait for it…..I’m not ready to share it yet.  Of course, when we are starting from a state where we are deconditioned or out of shape, all we have to do is start to move and we will lose weight.  As we become more conditioned, we see that we have to do much more than just move.  Afterall, when you visit me in the gym, you are only spending 1 hour out of 24 hours moving.  That’s not nearly enough to make significant change. I don’t care how fit you get or how strong you become, the change you are looking for is only partially in the actual work you do.  Now, if you don’t follow steps 1-4 above, then the magic of step 5, which is the base that all the other steps are built upon, is also not as potent.

  5. Nutrition - I hate to be the guy who brings you the bad news, but it’s absolutely true, and I’ve seen it over and over again with my own 2 eyes. I have seen the most fit people work hard for years to increase their speed on the treadmill and swing a heavier kettlebell, and beat the old time they posted on a workout.  Unless that same person has dug deep into nutrition, then the weight simply will not come off.  What is it that works when it comes to nutrition?  Well, the older we get and the closer we get to being more and more fit…..the more specificity we need with our nutrition.  My best tips are as follows and I will tell you that you can’t cheat and you can’t go halfway on it.  If you want to lose weight and you are already fit and you are looking for that last 2-10lbs, you will have to dig your heals in and suck it up and be strict with your nutrition, or be satisfied with where you are now.  I can’t make that decision for you, all I can say is that I believe it's worth it to give it a try and see what living under a strict nutrition plan is like. When you see the results, and you will, then you can decide what works best for you.  If you never try 100%, then you will never know.

 My best tips that seem to work for the most number of people:

  • 75 grams of carbohydrates a day or less

  • No added sugar- that’s zero sugar or any kind of sweetener!

  • No alcohol. Seriously, none!  Try it.  Read my blog “how alcohol makes you fat

  • No grains at all.  This goes with the first point. Grains are carbohydrates and they are partly responsible for what is keeping you from losing weight.

 As you can see, there isn’t much to my 4 tips, but the key is being able to follow them long enough to see results.  This is how you make change.  

Remember that all the things I listed above the nutrition were things that you can come into the gym and we can help you with during your 1 hour. The other 23 hours are up to you. This is what you need to change to see weight loss happen.