About 4-5 years ago, I had a period of time in my life where I stopped exercising and ate pretty much whatever I wanted in whatever portions I could handle. I had previously trained some, but not seriously, and although I wasn’t in great shape I was still in a much better place than the general public. At some point in time, I simply stopped doing anything challenging and turned to the dark side of laziness. During these months I ballooned up to somewhere in the 210-215 range and this was while losing much of my muscle mass due to lack of use! In short, I was a slob. Right before the New Year came around, I decided that I desperately needed to make a change and within six months I had dropped 35 pounds and felt excellent about what I had accomplished. How did I lose all of this fat? Extreme diet? Not really. Insane workouts? Tough ones but nothing outlandish. I managed to get into shape without too much technical knowledge but rather (unknowingly) following some guiding principles which I will share with you now.
1. Know Why You’re Doing It
Without a destination you’re just driving. Without a plan you’re just kind of working out but not all together sure where you’d like to end up. My own personal reason was due to the disappointment that I felt each time I looked in the mirror. I was also tired of feeling unhealthy and sick on a regular basis. My life wasn’t improved by eating junk food and being lazy, it was actually much worse and depressing.
You need to ask yourself before starting your own fitness journey, “What outcome do I want?” If there is a certain aesthetic you would like to achieve, great. If you want to do it as part of a transformation of your entire life, awesome. But you need to have a goal in mind and a plan to get there. The more specific the better.
2. You Don’t Have to be Perfect, Just Consistent
Obviously, the tighter your diet it and the more demanding your workouts (to an extent) are the better physique you will accomplish. However, a lot of the major results will come to you by just being consistent. I remember during my own weight loss, that I still did eat junk food, I just cut it way back and didn’t make it a daily habit. I also went to the gym a few times per week at first but I stuck with it over a long period of time and added a heavier workload as my body began to adapt. My diet wasn’t perfect and maybe my workouts weren’t optimal either but they key was that I was consistent and I slowly melted away at the fat.
3. Don’t Drink the Calories
When I was fat, I would kill fast food. I ate burgers, Chinese food, late night Taco Bell, whatever it was I was all about that food. While eating that way did me no favors, one of the biggest culprits in gaining weight was from soft drinks. Fast food meals come with drinks, of which I usually opted for the large. One of these usually has 350-450 calories and is laden with sugar. Think about it. That is the same amount of calories you would burn jogging for 30-40 minutes! Sodas, juices, sports drinks, energy drinks….the laundry list of garbage I was drinking was only making me fatter. Luckily, I always drink water as well so giving up these other beverages wasn’t terribly difficult, but something that had a huge impact on my fat loss.
4. Having a Legit Routine Helps
When I first started getting back into the gym, I was pretty random with my workouts, and definitely didn’t have a written plan. As I worked my way back into the weight room on a consistent basis, I started to explore having a set routine and sort of developed my own based on my favorite exercises and other ones such as squats that I knew would kick my ass. Once I stuck with a routine, my gains started to explode and the muscle was piling on pretty quickly. Is your workout a solid plan or is it you going to the gym and haphazardly doing exercises for 3 sets, taking a break, talking, and then maybe doing 3 more sets? A great routine will be challenging, consistent, and adaptable to the changes in your body as you get better. If you’re looking for a great workout to help you get shredded, I recommend Visual Impact.
5. Start Slow and Build
Too often we get bursts of motivation and dive head first into workouts and diets without a plan. It goes well for a while but we haven’t addressed any of our bad habits that got us fat in the first place. A great way I found to overcome this is by slowly introducing new healthy habits and replacing the old bad habits. If you aren’t currently working out, why not start by just going to the gym two days per week, then add another, and another, etc. You could start by simply committing to eating a healthy breakfast each morning, even if initially the rest of your diet is terrible. These small changes serve as a launching pad and help to establish routine and consistency, which makes it easier to completely transform everything.
These are just some simple guidelines I found that I followed during my 35 pound weight loss. By using these techniques, the transition from being a lazy slob to being active and in good shape was fairly simple to maintain. Once you can make yourself follow these principles then it is really hard to make yourself go back to the old you because you will no longer identify with that lifestyle or way of thinking.