It’s the middle of the winter, it’s cold outside, and nothing sounds better than kicking your feet up and eating something greasy. You keep saying to yourself "I’m going to have a great body this summer," as you dig deeper into the couch. Here’s a tip...summer bodies are builtin the winter! You need to get moving. Peel yourself off the couch and start some healthy habits. The steps listed below will help you you moving in the right direction!
Step 1- Start Recording
Record everything. I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to keep food logs of your daily intakes. The most important step in losing weight is monitoring what you eat. There are a lot of phone apps available (MyFitnessPal, Calorific, Lose It!, FatSecret, MyPlate, the list goes on), and each one provides plenty of options to fit your recording preference. If you skip out on logging your diet, you are sabotaging your weight loss journey.
Step 2- Meal Preparation
The meal preparation is more important than the workout. If you don’t head into the week with a plan for your meals you are setting yourself up for failure. After understanding your daily caloric limits, build a meal plan. Start simple (think lean meat with veggies) and build from there as you become more comfortable with meal prep. If you have a crazy weekend and don't have time to get to the store, then your "workout" on Monday will include a trip to the grocery store followed by meal preparation. On the bright side, you won’t have to deal with the Monday gym crowd!
Step 3- Protein, Protein, Protein
There’s a trend in our diets as Americans...insufficient protein. Majority of the food logs I look over show this trend. Protein not only plays an important role in muscle recovery but it helps you feel more full after you eat. You should aim for 30-35% of your daily calories coming from sources of protein (fish, beef, chicken, beans, eggs). Pair your protein with carbohydrates and fat to prevent your blood sugar from skyrocketing... is the ultimate path to a junk food binge.
Step 4- Don't Over-think It
Now that your diet is in tune with your goals, the workout is just the icing on the cake. Keep your workout plan simple and progressive. The fact that you’re in “fat loss mode” doesn't mean skipping the large compound movements (such as dead lifts and squats); these are the movements you SHOULD be doing! They have the most direct effect on your body muscularly, neurologically, and metabolically. Limit the number of days in the gym in the beginning (around 3-4) and progress by steadily increasing your reps, then gradually lowering your calories, and finally by adding additional days of workouts.
Example 4 week program:
Total Body emphasis:
A1) Dead lift (barbell or trap bar)- 3x6
A2) Push-ups (make them challenging, whatever level you are at) 3x10
B1-B3 - 10 min- As many rounds as you can get in (With CONTROL and good form!)
B1) Dumbbell Squat to Press - 10
B2) Kettle bell Swing - 10
B3) DB Bent Over Row - 10
Finish with Another 10 minutes of one the following:
Stair mill ("FatBurner" setting)
Treadmill Sprints (30 sec on, 40 sec off)
Bike sprints (30 sec on, 40 sec off)
Rower- (250 meters on/ 90 sec off)
Upper Body Emphasis
A1)Barbell or DB Squat to Press 3x10 (60sec break between sets)
B1) Chin Ups (or supinated grip pulldowns) 3x fatigue (leave 1-2 in the tank)
B2) DB Alternating Shoulder Press 3x8/side
C1) DB Incline Bench Press 6 reps
C2) DB Single Arm Row 6/side
Repeat back and forth for 5 minutes. Add 5-10lbs and repeat for the same time. Shoot to beat your total sets the second set with the heavier weight!
D1) Hanging Leg Raise 10 reps
D2) Garhammer Raise 15 reps (straight leg reverse crunch w/ hip extension)
D3) Reverse crunch 20 reps
Lower Body Emphasis
A1) Back Squat 3x20
B1) DB Stepback Lunge 8/leg
B2) Feet elevated Glute Bridge 20 reps
C1) BW Squat Jumps 10 reps
C2) 2 min Stairmill (highest Speed you can handle with an upright torso)
C3) Kbell Swing 20 reps
How to put it all together:
Day 1- Total Body Emphasis
Day 2- Bike Intervals
Day 3- Upper Body Emphasis
Day 4- Off or light activity
Day 5- Lower Body Emphasis
Day 6- Varied intensity cardio 30-40 min
Day 7- Off
Step 5- Push yourself!!
It’s not easy to create change. Remember, you are changing your body, and it’s not going to be easy. It’s important to understand that you will be a little hungry. Stay motivated. Whether you’re losing weight for a trip, a photo shoot, or your health, keep the end goal in mind. No excuses! Skipping out on a few outings with friends or a drink at the bar will be difficult, but it’s all worth the result in the end. Its SUPPOSED TO BE TOUGH, or everyone would be doing it. As I tell my clients, "How bad do you want it?"