Right now you are probably wondering why I am asking you for help. In truth, I don’t want to lose 20 lbs….though my jeans are a little more snug this month after my week off for vacation. Now that I am back amongst the living, I have been thinking a LOT about some of the questions that I have been asked over the last 16 years of my Strength journey. Steve Reis (my business partner at Santa Rosa Strength) and I are always trying new things, and we help others try to embrace some of the concepts that we have learned concerning change. If you are one of those who wish to lose some body fat…around 10 to 20 lbs….then we can help. We have tools and support worked into our awesome Strength program that you should be taking advantage of. If you haven’t yet…why? Ok…enough of this banter…on to the helping part.
When a person wants to lose body fat they typically think of exercise …or they think of recreational activities (disguised as exercise) as the way. This is NOT the way to lose body fat, despite all the hype in the world of media. You are not going to get leaner by doing headstand poses like that amazing yoga instructor you know. You are never going to jog your way into looking like a marathon runner either, despite what you may believe. If you want to try it I will support you, but I can show you a way that is easier…less taxing on your body…and way more effective in the long run. If you want to lose body fat, gain muscle, and stay that way…this is the type of program you need. OK…OK…just tell me already…right?
The very first thing you should do if you are going to lose body fat is begin to strength train. Use any method you like, that is safe, and use a personal trainer if you have never worked with weights before. When a person loses weight they lose BOTH body fat and muscle. You want to keep muscles on your body because they directly affect the results of your fat loss. Your metabolism is determined by your muscle activity and losing muscle means you lower your metabolism. Don’t lose muscle!
The second thing you should focus on is a high intensity cardiovascular conditioning protocol. We use a bicycle based Tabata protocol. Whatever you decide remember…it should leave you feeling spent and fairly awful after no more than 4 minutes. If it takes longer it’s ok but less effective. If it takes 20 to 40 minutes it won’t have nearly the effect on your system that you think…despite your efforts. Make it difficult!
As long as you are causing a fair amount of discomfort with your exercise we should talk about eating. This is where you are going to have the best result from your efforts. First…focus on a plant based diet of mostly vegetables and very few fruits. Saturated fat sources are great, like eggs, avocados, coconut oil, and butter, but packaged foods are out. Forget about oatmeal and all the other “healthy” cereals…breakfast is now the most important meal of the day to skip. Eat meats sparingly if you like them, but they are NOT necessary for muscle building, nor are they the most important part of a healthy diet. Lastly, look at the science of intermittent fasting to wrap your head around eating very infrequently, instead of the 5 meals a day nonsense that everyone wants to believe. And drink water…not sports drinks, or kombucha, or beer (ok maybe a little beer) but water…water…water.
Next, focus on lifestyle choices that reduce stress. Here’s where standing on your head in the morning comes in. If you can’t do that with your favorite yoga instructor, try any activity that you find enjoyable and are not going to injure yourself doing. Sitting and meditating, for example, is very unlikely to cause an injury but will have you feeling better and thinking differently in a very short time. Mindful practices are very effective and if you haven’t done one before, find an instructor and learn how. I was taught visualization techniques for skill acquisition and can attest to their efficacy. They work! Just listen to what Chuck Norris has to say…
Losing body fat does not have to be frustrating, but it IS difficult. The athletes I have worked with over the years work very hard at keeping their bodies lean. The rest of us have to work a bit harder on nutrition though, because we are not doing 4 to 6 hours of continuous activities…nor should we. We say “Change comes from change”, so if you are trying to get into a new body, you MUST change the way you eat in order to reach whatever goals you have established. If you need help call me and set up some time to work out a plan.