Weight-Loss AIN’T Easy
By Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS
Weight-loss is one of the most common goals of clients and members at Fitness Quest 10.
I know, I know. You want to improve your strength. And fitness. And health. But many people are also trying to lose an extra 5-10 pounds. Or 20. Or 50. Or more.
Let me preface with this….IT AIN’T EASY.
Accomplishing weight-loss goals will take a heck of a lot of effort and discipline. With EXERCISE. And with NUTRITION.
Here is a typical conversation I have with clients who might be struggling with their weight:
Client: “Todd, I just can’t seem to lose any weight. I am working out on average 3 days per week. I’m eating good but my weight is not budging.”
Todd. “What are you doing exercise-wise?”
Client. “I’m doing classes 3 times per week and working very hard in there.”
Todd. “Good. Are you doing any additional cardio work outside of Fitness Quest 10.”
Client. “Not really. I’m busy as heck. I have a fair amount of travel and getting in 3x per week is a big deal for me. If I get in 4x per week, that’s great.
Todd. “Tell me about your diet. What are you eating? Tell me everything you do on a typical day.”
Client. “Bagel and coffee in the am. Salad for lunch. And some kind of chicken or fish for dinner.”
Todd. “Really? Is that it?”
Client. “I swear. That’s pretty typical.”
Todd. “How about water intake? Are you hydrating up?
Client. “Does wine count?” (haha)
Todd. “NO!!! Wine doesn’t count.”
Client. “I probably have 3-4 glasses of wine per week.”
Todd. “So you have the same number of glasses of wine per week as the number of workouts per week….hmmmm.”
Todd. “Last question for you…how high are your stress levels? On a 1-10 scale with 10 being the highest, how would you rate yourself?”
Client. (Laughs again) “Come on, Todd. You know it ain’t easy. I’m lucky to get here 3x per week. Stressed as hell. Between work, running the kids everywhere, getting dinner ready for everyone, and just life, it’s stressful everyday. I hover between a 6 and 8. Sometimes it can be as high as 10.”
My friend, it’s time for some straight talk about weight-loss. The late, great coach Tom Landry said, “Great coaches often tell you things you NEED to hear… not what you WANT to hear.” This pretty much sums it up.
It’s NOT EASY. I get it. It’s going to take a heck-of-a-lot of discipline and hard work to achieve the results you want. As a matter of fact, it’s probably going to take double the work you are doing now. With exercise. And ESPECIALLY NUTRITION. Bottom line: You are probably going to need to DO MORE.
Let me map out a few suggestions if you really want to amp-up your FAT-BURNING in the next month or two. Especially if you are one of the people who keep saying, “My metabolism is slowing down and I don’t know why I’m not losing any weight.” Let me offer some tips for you if you really want to tighten-up (pardon the pun).
(Note: If you’re happy with a 3x per week schedule and it’s burning off stress and you’re OK with where you are… AWESOME!) Everyone else… keep reading!
- Nutrient timing. You need to be eating every 3 hours. Period. Breakfast. Snack. Lunch. Snack. Dinner. If you want great choices, refer to my book (The IMPACT! Body Plan where I provide some great options). EAT MORE by frequency. EAT LESS by portion-size.
- Focus on doubling your protein intake. I’m going to guess that you are not getting in enough protein. I advocate 1g per pound of bodyweight. Mix a scoop of whey protein isolate (I recommend Fit365; found in the FQ10 “store”) into 8-12 ounces of water or chocolate or vanilla almond milk. It’s yummy. Do that 1-2 times per day as needed in addition to consuming great sources of lean, high quality protein (chicken, tuna, salmon, steak, Greek yogurt, etc.).
- Double your vegetable intake. Include veggies in your omelets, have dried kale or carrots as a snack, have a salad with some protein for lunch, and be sure to include green veggies with dinner. IMPERATIVE for great health!
- Have a “greens” drink in the AM. Fill a blender with spinach, romaine lettuce, celery, parsley, lemon, and coconut water. Mix this bad-boy up and down it. You talk about “SUPER-juice.” This thing will fortify you with anti-oxidants and electrify you with energy. Try it—people will wonder what the heck you are doing!
There are dozens of “great” greens drinks recipes. This is just one. Worse comes to worse, get the “Green Vibrance” drink also found in the FQ10 store and mix it with some apple juice. It actually tastes pretty good and has a similar effect. It’s fast and easy. I just recommend to go completely fresh if/when you can. Either way, you WILL feel a difference in your ENERGY levels and it is extremely healthy.
- Get rid of the white-stuff! No white bread. No sugar. No white pasta. It’s poison. It will kill you. You don’t need it. Focus on complex carbs instead. Basmati brown rice, couscous, etc.
- Ditch the alcohol. You don’t need it. Yes, a glass of wine is OK one to two nights per week. But if you are going to get serious about fat-loss, you just can’t afford the extra calories.
- Eat breakfast. Eggs and oatmeal, Greek yogurt and fruit, Ezekiel toast with almond butter, almond milk with a scoop or two of whey protein powder. No excuses on this.
- Water. One-half your bodyweight in fluid ounces of water per day. DRINK MORE WATER! It satiates your appetite, helps your joints, and allows all of your organs and systems to function optimally.
- Write down everything you eat for 5 days. Finally, one of the oldest and most successful techniques to “clean-up” your nutrition is simply to write down everything you eat and drink in a day. EVERYTHING! And then see what trends you see, where and when you might be getting the majority of your calories, how your energy is feeling at certain times of day, etc.
The 3x per week exercise program is not enough for those looking to change body composition. You need to be working out 5-6 days per week. All workouts do not have to be super-intense. But you need to progress to the 5-6x per week frequency and 30+ minute duration to catapult fat-loss and results.
Here are a few suggestions to amp up your current routine:
- “More cardio…less lardio.” Get in an extra 2-3 days a week of low intensity cardio. On days where you do no other exercise, a great cardio goal would be to burn 300 calories for the ladies and 500 calories for the guys.
- Do an extra 15 minutes of cardio on weight-training days. On days when you do a class or weight-training session at FQ10, hop on the Cybex ARC trainer, Octane trainer, Concepts2 skier or rower, or treadmill and burn an extra 150-250 calories. That might take you an extra 15-20 minutes. And it doesn’t matter if you do it before or after your session. It will skyrocket your fat-loss.
- When you are doing strength training, do “strength” training. The purpose of strength training is to overload the body with a resistance greater than what it’s accustomed to. This actually promotes the body to adapt and change to the stress placed upon it. Ultimately, it is strength training that allows for maximum lean muscle tissue growth and the re-distribution of body composition. That means inches lost, fat burned, and KABOOM! Your body is looking good.
There you have it. It’s time to get to work. Do yourself a favor. Write down on a notecard 5 specific goals you want to accomplish in the next 30 days. And then post it in your kitchen. In your cupboards. By your wine-rack. Or anywhere you typically feel yourself slipping into an old habit or where you feel your food actually “talks” to you!
Hey, losing weight ain’t easy. If it were easy, everyone would be in great shape. Congratulations if you are getting in 3x per week of exercise. It’s the bare minimum needed to survive, burn stress, stay strong, and feel better.
BUT, if/when you are ready to bump it up a notch, you now know what you need to do.
See you in the gym!