If you’re trying to lose weight by running on a treadmill, logging hours on the elliptical machine, or climbing the stair stepper, you’re doing it wrong.
I know—harsh—but that’s the truth. More importantly, if you’re not on a low carb diet, all the exercise in the world—even the right kind of exercise—isn’t going to do a damn bit of good.
Btw, I know it’s a douchey gym picture. But if you saw how fat I was before you’d understand–I’ll post something later in the blog so you can see for yourself.
Stop Eating Carbs
Let’s start with the diet.
Here’s the basic truth: your body only burns body fat when it’s in ketosis, which happens when your body runs out of sugar or things it can turn into sugar. Why? Because your body wants to burn sugar aka glycogen, and if it can, it will. That means any carbohydrates you consume take top priority for use as an energy source.
This is the primary reason people who consume a lot of carbs have such a hard time losing weight: their body never runs out of digestible sugar for energy. And it’s kind of a double whammy, because even if they exercise a ton and use up all of that sugar, they’re going to feel intense hunger as soon as that happens and reach for a sandwich or a piece of fruit.
You can read more about the Ketogenic diet here or here, which is the ultimate low-carb diet, and in my personal opinion, the best way to lose weight. However, other options include the slow carb diet, made famous by Tim Ferriss, the Whole 30, or even stuff like the South Beach or Mediterranean diets work pretty well. The key is to reduce carbs, especially the real sugary stuff, like soda, candy, ice cream, etc.
My recommendation: start small. If you normally have 6-8 portions of carbs, reduce that by half. Two scoops of rice or mac salad–go down to one–and go ahead and double the meat as long as it isn’t doused in a sugary sauce. For some people, something as simple and easy as skipping desert except for one day a week will do it.
Stop eating carbs. Stop eating carbs. Stop eating carbs.
Stop. Eating. Carbs.
Go to Exhaustion
As for exercise, unfortunately, even exceptionally long sessions of aerobic activity don’t burn all that many calories. In fact, what’s crazy is that aerobic exercise can sometimes produce insulin resistance, which makes it harder to lose weight.
There’s me as an especially fat person. Although I feel the USA swim trunks sorta make up for being such a big boy.
This is not a complicated scientific post about why that is. It is. Just fucking trust me. So let’s more to…
What works: which is weight lifting and HIT (hi-intensity training).
The best way to burn calories and train your muscles to burn more calories all the time is to go all out to the point of exhaustion on any particular exercise. Think sprinting up stadium stairs to the point where you’re breathless. Bench pressing heavy weight until you can barely put the bar back.
That simple formula: go hard, heavy, and as fast/long as you can, is what burns fat and tells your muscles to burn more fat all of the time.
I’m not saying aerobic exercise is bad or doesn’t burn calories. It’s good and it does. But the point is that your weekly workouts should include some of what I talked about above. I’ll give you my routine–it’s stupidly easy and low maintenance:
- Monday: go for a 30 minute walk
- Tuesday: Lift weights
- 4 sets of bench, 10 reps to exhaustion, then 8, then 6, then 6.
- Same with seated row.
- Same with hack squats.
- Same with incline or overhead press
- 2 lat pull downs, 10 reps to exhaustion, 6 reps to exhaustion.
- 2 sets biceps varied (pull ups, single pully curls, dumbbell curls, or barbell curls).
- 2 sets triceps varied (two arm extension, one arm extension, single dumbbell behind the back)
- 2 sets of sit ups on a bosu ball with my arms extended out toward from the torso.
- Wednesday: hour walk.
- Thursday: nothing.
- Friday: hour walk.
- Saturday: same as Tuesday.
- Sunday: hour and a half walk.
I’m going to try to incorporate more sprints, stair climbs, and HIT training into my regimen, but I’m recovering from a knee injury and I have to be careful. Living in a fucking straight-leg brace for 4 months and seeing your quad wither to the size of wine bottle is not fun.
Anyway, that’s really it: don’t eat carbs and lift weights. If you do that, you’ll lose weight.
Want more help? Stay tuned… I’m going to talk about supplements and vitamins next.