We are constantly being pitched quick weight-loss plans, products and schemes. The reality of quick weight loss is it is often followed by even quicker weight gain because quick weight-loss typically has two bad side effects, the required calorie reduction slows down your metabolism and unless your extremely overweight (a hundred or more pounds) when you lose more than two pounds per week a greater percentage of that weight over 2 pounds is muscle and reduced muscle mass further slows down your metabolism. In addition quick weight-loss often involves depriving your body of something it requires to run properly (like carbohydrates you body requires for energy) or requires you to take potentially dangerous unregulated products (like thermogenic fat burner pills). We regularly get asked about the best way to take weight off so we designed the following plan to provide a smart, safe and sane way for regular people to consistently lose weight without having to starve themselves or spend hours in the gym, basically it is a program for real people, living in the real world that gets real results.
Having lost a lot of weight on an extremely low calorie plan and then having to learn to continue to lose weight while eating nutritionally sound, as outlined in my book Diary of A Former Fatman, I designed the program below to lose weight while eating the right amount of the right things that allow your body to operate at its peak all while eating enough so you never feel like you are starving. This program isn't a diet it is a sound nutritional program combined with the right type of exercise to safely and consistently lose weight.
On this program you can expect to lose one to two pounds a week consistently along with a major increase in energy. Depending on how you have been eating and exercising it can take seven to ten days for your body to adjust to this program, so if you have been starving yourself in an attempt to lose weight don't be worried about the scale moving up in the first week your body will adjust to this program and as it begins to move to operating at its peak efficiency the pounds will start to come off. Remember the number of pounds lost will be affected by your genetics and the amount you are overweight as well. Remember this isn't a diet but a fitness plan comprising proper healthy nutrition and weight loss inducing exercise so it won't result in rapid weight-loss but rather consistent weight-loss. Once you establish this as your base plan you can always reduce calories or carbohydrates in the short term to take off some pounds quickly but remember those quickly lost pounds come back just as quickly.
When you start this program take note of your start weight and measure your arms, thigh, chest, waist (right above belly button), and abdominals (right below your belly button). Weigh yourself once a week and retake your measurements once a month to make sure you're making the right type of progress; you should see yourself getting smaller in all the right places. If you see your progress slowing or stopping review your diet to make sure you are neither eating too much or too little by journaling everything you eat and when you eat it for a week and checking your progress.
The Nutritional Plan
The nutritional plan, (I told you it wasn't a diet) here is simple, get all your nutrition from the good sources: lean proteins (fish, chicken and turkey), good carbohydrates (oats, fruit and vegetables), healthy fats (nuts) and whole grains. Eliminate all bad sugars, bad carbohydrates and overly processed foods that your body can't properly process. Eat every two to three hours and keep the portions under control (use the size of your fist as a guide for the proper portion size). As you progress on this plan you can tweak the food you eat based on your individual needs as genetics is a significant contributor to the success we have on any fitness plan.
This program is a 3-2-1 plan, comprised of three parts lean protein, two parts carbohydrates and one part healthy fats. To figure out how much of each part you need simply take your required daily caloric intake and divide by six and then apply the right multiple. So if your required caloric intake is 1,800 calories you would want 300 of those calories from fat, 600 from carbohydrates and 900 from lean protein.
To figure out how many calories you need a day take your goal weight and multiply it by ten plus the hours of exercise you do a week. The following is based on a goal weight of 200 pounds and performing three hours of exercise a week:
200 X (10 +3) = 2600 calories a day
I always like to reduce that caloric intake by about ten percent a day to allow for missed calories, improperly counted calories and general messing up we all do. If you miss a workout during the week you need to reduce the calories by around 300 for the week. The following example if based on someone with a target weight of 200 pounds who works out three times a week.
Target weight 200
Target weight x (10 + number of hours of exercise a week) = 200 X (10+3) = 2600
Calories a day 2600
Break down (6 parts)
1 Part healthy fats - 433 calories (at 9 calories per gram = 48 grams)
2 parts carbohydrates - 866 calories (at 4 calories per gram = 216 grams)
3 parts protein = 1300 calories (at 4 calories per gram = 325 grams)
An example of a day of eating on this plan would like the following:
Oatmeal with cinnamon (1/2 cup)
Carbohydrates - 27 grams
Protein - 5 grams
Fat - 3 grams
Egg whites (1/2 cup) with 1 piece low fat cheese
Calories - 120
Carbohydrates - 2 grams
Protein - 17 grams
Fat - 4.5 grams
Breakfast total - calories 270, carbohydrates 29 grams, protein 22 grams, fat 7.5 grams
Snack 1 (2 - 3 hours later)
Protein shake (will vary by selection, this is based on Optimum Nutrition Delicious Strawberry gold standard 100% whey, which is one of my favorites) 1 scoop
Calories - 110, Carbohydrates - 2 grams, Protein - 24 grams, Fat - 1 gram
Calories 116, Carbohydrates 31 grams, Protein.5 grams, Fat.5 grams
Snack total - calories 226, carbohydrates 33 grams, protein 24.5 grams, fat 1.5 grams
Total so far calories 496, carbohydrates 62 grams, protein 46.5 grams, fat 9 grams
Lunch (2-3 hours later)
Turkey wrap - 1 medium whole wheat wrap (130 calories, carbohydrates 25 grams, protein 4 grams, fat 2 grams),4 ounces turkey (120 calories, carbohydrates 0 grams, protein 26 grams, fat 2 grams), 1 piece low fat cheese (calories 60, carbohydrates 0 grams, protein 5 grams, fat 4.5 grams) total for wrap - calories 310, carbohydrates 25 grams, protein 35 grams, fat 8.5 grams
Banana calories 121, carbohydrates, 31 grams, protein 1.5 grams, fat.5 grams
Lunch total - calories 431, carbohydrates 56 grams, protein 36.5 grams, fat 9 grams
Total so far - calories 927, carbohydrates 118 grams, protein 83, fat 18 grams
Snack 2 (this should be your pre workout meal)
Almonds (2 ounces) calories 320, carbohydrates 12 grams, protein 12 grams, fat 28 grams
Banana calories 121, carbohydrates 31 grams, protein 1.5 grams, fat.5 grams
Protein shake (same as snack 1) Calories 110, Carbohydrates 2 grams, Protein 24 grams, Fat 1 gram
Snack 2 totals- calories 551, carbohydrates 45 grams, protein 37.5 grams, fat 29.5 grams
Total so far - calories 1478, carbohydrates 163, protein 120.5, fat 47.5 grams
Post workout shake
Protein shake (2 scoops) calories 220, carbohydrates 4 grams, protein 48 grams, fat 2 grams
Total so far - calories 1690, carbohydrates 167, protein 168.5 grams, fat 49.5 grams
6 ounces chicken breast (skinless) calories 284, carbohydrates 0 grams, protein 53.4 grams, fat 6.2 grams
Romaine lettuce salad with fat free Italian dressing - calories 23, carbohydrates 4.6 grams, protein.5 grams, fat o grams,
Sweet potato (1 large) calories 162, carbohydrates 37 grams, protein 3.5 grams, fat.5 grams
Dinner total - 469 grams, carbohydrates 41.6, protein 57.4, fat 6.7 grams
Total so far - calories 2159, carbohydrates 208.6, protein 225.9, fat 56.2
Snack 3 (2 hours after dinner)
Protein shake (same as snack 1) Calories 110, Carbohydrates 2 grams, Protein 24 grams, Fat 1 gram
Total so far - calories 2269, carbohydrates 210.6 grams, protein 249.5 grams, fat 57.2 grams
Right before bed
Casein shake - calories 120, carbohydrates 3 grams, protein 24 grams, fat 1 gram
Daily total - calories 2389, carbohydrates 213.6 grams, protein 273.5 grams, fat 58.2 grams
Daily goal calories 2600, carbohydrates 216 grams, protein 325 grams, fat 48 grams
Difference from goals - calories - 211, carbohydrates -2.4 grams, protein -51.5, fat +10.2 grams
Remember it can take a good seven to ten days for your body to adjust to this nutrition plan so avoid the scale because if you have been eating poorly your body will need time to get use to eating properly so the scale may move up initially. You should expect to lose between 1 -2 pounds a week on this plan as long as you keep your workouts up. If you skip a workout you will need to cut around 350 calories out of your weekly total. Once you stop seeing progress from week to week you will need to further reduce the calories, start with a 10% reduction, lowering mainly the carbohydrates and fat.
The workouts here are built around fat loss and toning up not muscle building and bulking up. The reality is the only times you can lose weight and build muscle is if you are brand new to working out, if you are a genetic freak or if you are on steroids, so your workout has to be properly planned around either reducing your body fat or increasing your muscle mass, and this one is focused on reducing your body fat. We also designed these workouts, as we do all our workouts, for regular people with real lives so the workouts shouldn't take more than 30 minutes and won't leave you unable to walk the next day. These workouts are energy booster not energy depleters so you will feel better for doing them not wiped out for days after them. The workout plan is as follows:
3 days of circuit based weight training
3 days of cardio (2 days of HIIT and 1 day of moderate paced cardio)
As you progress make the following changes:
Week 4 - add a day of HIIT and add a circuit
Week 8 -add another day of HIIT and add another circuit
Week 12 change the program for a month and then you can return to this program
1) Thrusters (hold a dumbbell in each hand at your ears with your elbow bent, bend down into a squat and thrust yourself quickly back up pressing the dumbbells over your head, return to the starting position and repeat)
2) Step up bicep curls (using a small step, 12-16 inches, step up and curl dumbbells as you bring your second foot onto the step, step back down and alternate foot your step with first)
3) Mountain climbers (from a pushup position bring your right knee to your chest then return to the pushup position and do the same with your left knee)
4) Body weight squats
5) Pushups (if you can't do a minute of regular pushups do weight assisted pushups by resting on your knees)
6) Single arm dumbbell or kettle bell swing (start with dumbbell or kettle bell at your waist, bend at knees and hips and swing the weight between your legs, keep your arm straight as you thrust your hips and swing the weight to shoulder level and return to a standing position, at the 30 second mark switch hands)
7) Bent over dumbbell row
8) Dumbbell lunge and rotation (hold a dumbbell horizontally between your arms right under your chin, step forward with your right foot and as you move into a lunge rotate your torso to the right return to a standing position and do the same with your left leg)
Aim to do a minute of each exercise one right after the other until you complete all 9 once, then rest for two minutes and repeat the circuit two more times. If you can't do a full minute rest as needed and continue until the minute is up and move on. This is a very challenging circuit workout so don't feel bad about needing to work up to a full minute of each exercise do your best and constantly challenge yourself every workout at you will be knocking out a full minute in no time.
Start doing your cardio on the days you don't do weight training so your body has as much rest time as possible. For two days do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and one day a week do moderate paced cardio. For the HIIT do a five minute warm up and then alternate between one minute of all out effort and one minute of low paced rest for ten minutes then finish with a five minute moderate paced cool down. On the moderate day do 30 - 45 minutes of moderate paced cardio (hard enough that you are breathing heavy but still able to carry on a conversation).
Remember smart weight loss is the result of proper nutrition and consistent exercise over time, this type of weight stays off and this is a plan that you can live on. Stick with it and you will feel the better than you ever have as you continue to get leaner and lighter.