Losing weight can be a bitch.
Over the last 4-5 years of my life I’ve worked with hundreds of personal training clients, the majority of whom wanted to lose weight and shred fat.
And many of them failed. In fact, most of them did.
This is super frustrating as a trainer, because I only have access to them for 1-3 hours per week. No matter what type of workout I have them do in the gym, I have no direct control of what they do or eat for the remaining 165 hours of the week.
I tried lots of different approaches. Some worked a little. Others were too much for people to handle, and they just gave up.
Below is the most effective weight loss strategy I’ve tested. It works because it’s relatively easy to commit to and actually follow through on.
Step #1: Audit Your Diet
Far too many people have an unrealistic handle on their diet. Trust me, I’ve gone through this process with all of my clients.
They tell me that they eat a ‘good’ diet at first, and then proceed to get really uncomfortable and list lots of high calorie food items that they eat regularly when I press them to go into more detail.
For this reason, the first step you should take is to get a realistic picture of what you’re eating on an average day.
Simply take a few minutes and write down everything that you ate (and drank) today, yesterday, and the day before. Don’t leave anything out. If you think that the last 3 days were unusual days then keep track for tomorrow and the next day, too.
Seriously, stop reading this article and physically jot this down on a notepad – or at least open up a word document on your computer and type it out.
Step #2: Pick 2-3 Foods to Eliminate
Okay, now that you wrote down all of the foods you usually eat, it’s time to tweak your diet.
Simply pick 2-3 high calorie foods that you eat on a daily basis and make the choice to eliminate them from or diet – or substitute them for a low-calorie alternative.
That’s all. Some common items here include:
- Coffee with cream and sugar (substitute for black coffee)
- French fries (eliminate or sub for veggies)
- Soda, orange juice, or chocolate milk (substitute for water or diet soda)
- Bagel or toast with breakfast (eliminate or sub or oatmeal)
Losing weight is going to take some sacrifice and self-discipline. Here’s where this comes into play with this strategy.
From my experience, far more people are able to successfully cut out a couple of foods from their current diet instead of adopting a whole new diet or having to go through the tedious process of tracking their calories.
By simply eliminating a couple of high calories foods, you’ll easily chop off 300-600 calories per day, and that’s usually enough to drop about 1 pound per week. No, this is not an astronomical rate of weight loss, but it’s a realistic one you’ll actually stick with. And that’s why it’s so effective.
NOTE: See my article on intermittent fasting for another simple technique to assist your weight loss.
Step #3: Train for Effective Weight Loss
The last thing that you must account for is your training. This means getting on a proper strength training routine.
Far too many men opt to do loads of cardio and forego strength training when they want to lose weight. This is completely backwards – it will only serve to keep you looking soft and weak.
You see – when you lose weight without lifting weights, you fail to give your body a reason to hold onto muscle mass. And then it shreds both fat and muscle to make up for the lack of calories in your diet. This will fuck you, and prevent you from getting any leaner and more shredded even though you’re losing weight.
Instead you must lift weights and give your body a reason to hold onto the muscle mass, and instead shred the fat as you lose weight.
Combine your new diet with a solid strength training routine (and a couple days of light cardio per week if it makes you feel better) and you’re well on your path to losing weight, burning fat, and getting shredded!
Buen trabajo!! Este artículo me cayó como anillo al dedo. Yo soy corredor y cuando hacia mis mejores tiempos tenia 140-150 libras. En los últimos años mi dieta no ha sido muy buena, pero al leer mucho, me he dado cuenta que necesitaba eliminar muchas comidas y bebidas para poder bajar de peso. Hace dos semanas decidí eliminar las coca colas lo mas posible, ya que como te dije, me bebía 4-6 vasos de 16 onzas diario, tengo meses sin engordar, pero tampoco bajo de peso, ahora mismo estoy en 195 libras, como entenderás, para correr its a pain in the ass, y no estoy ni cerca de mis mejores tiempos. Mi pasión es correr, pero también me gustaría verme fuerte y definido, ya que mis piernas están fuertes, pero los brazos están flácidos y como un viejo porque están llenos de grasa y poco musculo ( i am 27 Years old), Do you think that push ups, and pull ups can help too to define and get stronger? I ditch cokes and I am eating much healthier at night, hope that do the trick a few months down the road!
How many times per week do you go to the gym?
1. I go to the gym every other day (and do a full body workout).
2. Push ups and pull ups are great, but I recommend doing a complete routine (like the one below the article).
También si no estas bajando peso después de quitar las coca colas, te recomiendo quitar algo más que normalmente comes. Probablemente tienes que quitar más calorías para bajar mas peso.
Sería bueno que alguna vez hicieras un articulo, en el que expliques los días y las rutinas para ir al gym, y cual es la mas beneficiosa, hay mucha confusión con eso, por ejemplo, muchas personas van al gym dos veces por semana( un día trabajan piernas y otro upper body), otros van tres veces por semana, y otros 6 veces y hacen una parte del cuerpo cada día, y otros como tu, va 3-4 veces y trabajan el cuerpo entero.
Gracias por la idea! Lo considero hacer algo asi.
Im 49 years old and at least 30lbs over im and iron worker and work hard every day. I need help with this problem. Im willing to try anything.
Try the advice above!
Hi David. Good article mate and I agree. I am preparing to work as a PT too. Baby steps is the key. If you decide to immediately cut out all crap food, start going to the gym every day, quit smoking and cut down drinking, sleep 8-10 hours a day, all at the same time, you are bound to fail.
Exactly! Thanks for adding to the discussion Leon.
I love your blog and this post in particular.
My wife is a Registered Dietitian and this is similar to the advice that she gives her clients. She tells them to keep a food log so that they’re aware of what they’re eating.
She also tells them to be more present when they eat; eat slower, enjoy the food, listen to their body rather than shoving food in their mouth.
But having a food journal really helps them see where they’re mindlessly eating so they can make smarter eating decisions without feeling like they’re on a restrictive diet.
Thanks for the comment. I like what you said about being more present while eating. It’s reminds me of what I’ve heard called ‘mindful eating’ – where you do not put any more food into your mouth until you’ve completely chewed and swallowed your current bite.
Great post David, lifting weights when trying to lose weight is key. I see a lot of people (who don’t lift) lose a lot of muscle when dieting, then wonder why their BMR is so low!
Yeah, losing weight and not lifting is the skinny-fat recipe!
I am 50 lbs overweight I need help . Thank you very much.
Hey man, follow the advice in the article.
Hi there, You have done a great job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends.
I’m sure they will be benefited from this web site.
Should I schedule my training around my fasting so I’m able to eat right after training
I loved what you shared, especially what to lose weight and combine it with exercise. I’m going to combine it with what I’m doing http://bit.ly/2MsEVMB to improve my results.
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I am a competitive cyclist. Most of my races are power criteriums and TT’s. I steer clear of the longer road races as I also enjoy keeping my entre body lean and mean. Will your routine keep my upper body ripped while maintaining my aerobic threshold?
Thank you for sharing this blog post! I learned a lot while reading it.