Friday, August 21, 2009

Key Factors to Weight Loss

Weight Loss is real simple. Actually it is ridiculously simple. It is not EASY, but it is simple. Even though I was already is good shape and killing most people in the gym, I decided to lose weight. I started at 26% BF (152.5lb LBM/206lb TBW) in December to 13% (157.5lb/181.5lb) in August. That is a gain of 5lb of muscle and 30.5lb of fat. In 9 months. The both numbers are gradual, but they are steady and after a short period of time, the results are dramatic.

Here are the keys to maintained fat loss:


The following two facts are amazing to me:
* How many people say they don't have time to work out.
* The number of people who have gym memberships who don't use them.

I will address the time issue first. The first key for busy people to make time to work out is to SCHEDULE IT. The act of putting it into your schedule converts the workout from an activity that gets done "when you have time" (which you already have said you don't have much of) to something you have deemed important enough to set aside time in your day to get done. Here is how important I think workouts are --> you should treat them as important to your health as any doctor's appointment. It is this simple everyone: IF YOU HAVEN'T PUT YOUR WORKOUTS INTO YOUR SCHEDULE, IT IS NOT IMPORTANT TO YOU.

If you use your gym membership, it is the best investment of your money. Let us say, conservatively, that your gym membership is $60. If you use it 3x/week, that comes down to about $5 per use. That is cheaper than a movie. That is just taking into account the value of finding something to do. If you don't go to the gym at all, you might as well flush it down the toilet. The other important thing to realize is that most gym membership are committed to up front. Months down the line, that money is a "sunk cost". At that point the decision to use the gym membership comes down to "would I rather go to the gym and improve my health" or "would I rather be comfortable sitting on the couch." Keep in mind that I am using the "gym" in a figurative sense. Going to the gym could mean going outside and swinging some kettlebells that you bought or using your Bowflex. Either way the investment and decision to use is the same.

People ask me all the time, what is the best gym in the area. I always say "the one that you can get to on a regular basis." In Tampa, the average person lives 3 miles from their gym. The most important part of workout routine is showing up. An average routine done four times a week is better than a "perfect" one (if such an animal exist) done once every two weeks. SHOW UP.

Last but certainly not least. Something is better than nothing. Even if you can't slog yourself to the gym for workout. A 15-25 minute quick workout will exercise the CV and spike the metabolism. If you need ideas for 1/2 hour workouts with whatever equipment you have - email me at


There is a lot of talk about Atkins, South Beach, Low Glycemic, Organic, blah blah blah. I have kept my nutrition plan really simple, and give my clients a very basic plan. The basis of this is to eat for what you want to do.

a) Eat whole grain and other lower glycemic index carbs to fuel your workouts. Eaten them at any other time you are fueling your fat GAIN.

b) Eat fruits and other higher glycemic index carbs at only two times:
* Right after you wake up
* Right after you work out (when I do eat a candy bar, it is at this time and only once a week)
==> This is to restore your glycogen levels.

c) Have vegetables and protein at every meal. The protein protects you muscle from being catabolised to maintain nitrogen balance in the blood and the vegetables provide you with the mineral and trace nutrients. One of the biggest reasons for people going off diets is that they are missing something essential. You can't just scale down the amount of found in a crappy diet and be able to lose weight, you have to ensure that you are getting what you need. I juiced vegetables and took a multivitamin to ensure my body was getting what it needed in the minimum amount of calories.

That's it. This may not work if you have a clinical eating concern or if you are a body builder preparing for a show, but this will work for most people. You are eating for what you are going to do or for what you need to provide your body. No counting calories, no logging. Also, you can eat a fricken' carb and not walk around like a zombie. Cycle, don't just avoid, your carbs.

Just three simple rules. If you can't handle that, then you get what you deserve.

3) While I don't like cardio, dieting in a marathon and not a sprint. Don't try to find the perfect workout regimen or perfect diet. Try to follow a pretty good diet for a long time.

4) You need to lift at least moderately heavy to maintain muscle mass and function. If you are getting weaker and losing weight, at least for most people, you are probably losing muscle. If you are gaining strength but losing muscle, for most people that is OK to because the muscle you had was just bulk. I have lost 11 lbs in just two months and I am still setting PRs (mostly in new exercises) and maintaining my abilities in others. I am lifting heavy (single and triples) and explosively (kettlebell quick lifts) and hardly any steady state cardio. So I am doing a lot of work and managing the carbs.

5) You need to plan you eating to account for social situations. This is very important. We don't live in vacuum. Most of the people around us could give two shi'ite about weight loss goals. Every meal counts - no mulligans when it comes to dieting. Your body doesn't know if you are at a business function or social function. Here are some strategies to keep from binging during these periods:
* Water - many people mistake thirst for hunger. Start with 12 to 16 oz before the event.
* Try to keep your hands full. If you can't grab something, you can't eat it.
* Start with veggies.
* Enlist a friend to keep you from eating
* I encourage two cheat meals a week. They keep your body from shutting your metabolism down. Try to line them up with your social events.

6) You have to feel PERSONALLY ACCOUNTABLE FOR BOTH YOUR SUCCESS AND FAILURE. This is what trips most people up. The body is the ultimately meritocracy - you get exactly what you and ONLY YOU put into it. No one else can do your exercise and no one else puts food in your mouth. While this is a burden, it is also liberating to know that you have complete control. In the words of the RKC, IT IS YOUR FAULT.

7) You need to be improving and increase your bodies capabilities. If not, your body any weight loss you have is going to be temporary. If you are losing weight, but you are weaker and more tired, you are going to gain it back. If you are losing weight, but you are mentally fried, you are going to gain it back. You body eventually will not let you keep going. If you are losing weight, but you look worse, then what the heck are you doing.

If you are feeling any of the above - you are probably on some time of death plan of fitness and you need to replan or recounsel to get onto something more substantial. Getting skinnier without getting healthier will ultimately be a waste of time. Weight loss should be a means, not an end.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Nice post, Faizal. There's a lot to be said about those ppl who say they have no time to workout. It is an excuse. PERIOD. Though I have no kids, and I realize that changes things a lot, for 3 years I worked a 14-hour shift in a full-time job, and I NEVER let it be the reason I missed a workout. I got up early, and I did what needed to be done.