“The Pain of change is never as difficult as the pain of not changing.”–Some very smart author who’s name I can’t remember or find on google, probably because I messed up their quote. However, I think I caught the essence of what they were trying to say;)
Forward: This got a little long on me, but if you have any intentions to lose weight in your life this will be the most important newsletter you will ever read. I have been meaning to address many of the issues within this newsletter for some time I just new it would get long. It took me so long to get to this article so please excuse its repetitive nature and that I beat a few points to death. But, if you really get the take home message I feel it will change your life. At least I hope. This is not a naive lecture to ‘lazy’ people. This is from working for over 30,000 hrs in the field as a trainer and seeing massive success and failure. Below summarizes the 2 situations and what will lead to success and what will lead to failure and exactly why we do what we do at The Lab. But, this might be the most important newsletter I have ever written.
“How long will this take?” A question I am asked nearly everyday.
To lose 10, 25, 50, 100lbs or more…
First off, everyone is different, but NOT as much as you might think. What I am referring is to MENTAL differences. With diet and exercise, you get OUT what you put IN. Are you a cause or effect in your exercise program? Are you waiting for it to work magic for you, or you going to make the magic work. You must take action and not hold back. You have to get over the fact that it is not easy and give it all you can. It is not impossible or even close to as hard as people like to make it out to be. It is simply a mater on focus and consistency. I don’t want to beat this concept to death but, the MOST important factor to your success is not what magical formula you use, it is MOTIVATION. Motivation leads to your consistent daily efforts…You know what they say, exercise helps those who help themselves (not to get religious or anything…but, its something like that;)
“The most important part of your program. Your mind. I got a psychology degree FIRST before all else considered. Until I got my head straight I was worthless”-Me
Every time, EVERYTIME, EVERYTIME, someone fails on an exercise program it comes down to:
a) Not enough work put in (time in the gym, or lack of consistency)
b) Dietary compliance.
It is a continuum of not enough work, or enough work to accomplish the particular goal in mind. That’s it. There is the magic. Are you getting the results you want? Then it is either
a) Work harder within the time that you are in the gym (an exercise is not an exercise is not an exercise).
b) Spend more time at the intensity you are currently performing. We advocate that everyone exercises DAILY. Sure, take off Sunday, but that is your day that you can use as a make up day if life gets in the way. Daily physical activity is absolutely critical to health and happiness. But, that isn’t even what we are talking about here.
Likewise, vary your routine in on order to build lean muscle mass, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, and to prevent boredom and burnout from daily exercise, etc. Because ultimately the best exercise is the one that you will do! However, focusing on only one area will leave you stale, unhappy, and unsuccessful (your weakness will be very apparent). The right balance will have a synergistic effect for your progress and happiness.
Next concept, and arguably the most important. TIME and INTENSITY. Most of the people I talk to are very unrealistic about the goals they have in mind, how long it will take, and how hard they will have to work. The “vibrateacizer’ (the ‘shake weight’ you see on TV, please oh please tell me you did not buy this!), wii fit (it does have it’s place, but not in radical body toning and transformation), and merely walking will not do it.
Will these gimmicks and fads make you healthier, of course. Practically anything above sedentary activity will make you healthier. Your body needs to move and be active everyday. Will they give you the dramatic and lasting lifestyle changes that most people are looking for, maybe 1 in 100 times. However, I like consistency and I REALLY don’t like wasting time. So I stick to what works, the fastest, the most efficiently, a crossed most ages, gender, abilities, and give the most R.O.P. (return on pain). So, if you would like to be in the 99 out of a 100 probability group please read on.
Lets start with the first group of people. You all know them or might even be one of them. “But I walk all the time.” That’s great, parking your car far away, taking the stairs, etc. These things are all fine. However, these are merely lifestyle factors. And, if this is actually exercise for you, then I am sorry to tell you this newsletter is directly intended for you. Remember, my goal is to help. Sometimes, someone has to be the bearer of bad news. I have pissed more than one person off in my career in effort to help them. I can live with that if my message gets through to some and helps them change their lives, and it has. This IS an emotional process. You need to get fired up, you need that life or death realization to drive you into daily intense effort to make a drastic change. So much so that if you give me the shake weight and a motivated person I could find a way for that person to use it to success. Anything can work. In fact, the mind is the most important thing.
Ok, back to pissing you off. Is a person your friend if they lie to you? Or tell you merely what you wan to hear? Pat you on the back and tell everything is going to be alright. Its not, when we fail to change our ways we ultimately lead to our demise. The world isn’t changing around us, we must change for it, right? If each person changes THEN the world can change (sorry, getting to preachy-I will bring this back to exercise). Same thing goes with exercise. This is about acceptance. Acceptance of the inevitable that there is no easy way out. Stop blaming your age, time your workout plan, your spouse, your children, and your terrible genetics, etc. Please stop, look in the mirror and realize that the only thing holding you back is you. Don’t be scared, it is ok, you just have to take the first step. Change is always hard, the pain of change is not nearly as bad as the pain of NOT changing (Not sure where I read that one, but I can’t take credit).
I genuinely would like to help you. Plus, I have worked with countless people and have had major success and major failures. And what I am telling you is the secret to NOT failing. Motivation + consistent effort + work, then, rinse, wash, and repeat.
Keep reading, I will be getting of the pedestal in a second and getting back to the science of this.
Remember, these lifestyle factors (parking far away, walking, and generally being an active person) is merely a by product of being fit, not the other way around. If you were fit these would be mindless activities. Sure, we all must start somewhere, but you will need to progress from this point. If walking is your current mode of exercise, then what is next? What is your plan? Eventually, you might end up as silly as me and take the elevator because your legs are so damn tired from the crazy workout you had (this is extreme, and VERY unnecessary…just illustrating a point). Hell, Voy Andrews (2009 Lab Rat of the year) drives to the gym and he lives less than 1 block away, yet he has lost 100 lbs and counting!!!
Now for the magic.
SO, here are some very real numbers that I base nearly ALL of my weight loss programs upon. And it works 100% of the time for ALL people WHEN they are COMPLIANT. If you would like to SOLVE your weight loss problems once and for all, stop investing and wasting your time on gimmicks, pills, and fads. Here is the REAL truth first hand.
If you choose to walk 30 minutes a day, at 3mph, 3 days per week it will take you 16 years to lose 100lbs. A far cry from the biggest losers 20lbs per week right? Now that I mentioned biggest loser, realize:
a) They workout up to 6 hrs per day
b) Have no job at the time
c) Are competing for 250k
c) Use very unhealthy and extreme measures to achieve these results with water and diet manipulation and extreme doses and modes of exercise.
d) Have crazy trainers that push them to the point of falling of the treadmill. If those trainers worked for me I would have fired them on the spot. Any ass can make someone work hard but a tailored successful, reasonable, and multifaceted plan takes skill and professionalism. What I am talking about is REAL world people and REAL results. My clients have jobs, lives, families, etc. And our doing it for REAL reasons not fame and fortune (but hats off to them for showing what is possible and perhaps motivating the masses!).
Back to the point.
Walking at 3mph, 3 days per week, at 30 minutes= 100lbs in 16 years. That is based on burning 100 calories per mile. At this speed in 30 minutes you will walk 1.5 miles.
|Modality||Walk at 3mph (1.5 miles)|
|% Efficiency||50% (compared to running 6 mph)|
|Total calories for week||450|
|Time to lose 10 lbs (if calorie intake unchanged)||77.7 weeks or 19.4 months|
|Time to lose 50lbs||388.8 weeks or 97.2 months|
|Time to lose 100lbs||777.7 weeks or 194.44 months…about 16 years|
Let’s say we double the dose to 30 minutes 6 days per week or 3 days at 60 minutes. That would be a whopping 100lbs in 8 years. Still, a very disappointing rate of progress. That would be nearly 4 weeks to lose 1lb. And exercising 3 hours per week!
If this is the extent of your exercise program. Please reconsider. At least she is using spotters.
Lets multiply this again, 60 minutes at 6 days per week of walking at 3mph. Alright 100 lbs in 4 years. Not bad. I would consider this a reasonable low impact approach to weight loss. However, most would still not be happy with this rate of progress and probably give up from slow weight loss and boredom! Can you imagine walking for 6 hours per week? There are much more productive ways of doing things that will ALSO build strength, flexibility, posture, functionality, etc. But, if you remember the continuum I spoke of before (either not enough time, or not enough intensity). We solved 1 problem already by merely increasing the TIME of exercise spent. What you see outlined is a successful way to lose 100lbs. BUT, you are now exercising 6 hours per week. Do you do this now?
|Modality||Walk at 3mph (1.5 miles)|
|% Efficency||50% (compared to running 6 mph)|
|Total calories for week||1800|
|Time to lose 10 lbs (if calorie intake unchanged)||19.4 weeks or 4.86 months|
|Time to lose 50lbs||97.2 weeks or 24.3 months|
|Time to lose 100lbs||194.4 weeks or 48.6 months…or 4.05 years)|
More problems with this approach is that walking will really not transfer to much quality of life unless you aspire nothing more than going to the zoo and playing bingo for fun activities. So, be my guest! When we train athletes we train them for the specific demands and needs of their sport. The other day my trainer Shaun stated, “you are an ATHLETE in the game of LIFE.” So, if you life is merely, a walk in the park, fine. If you like most people your body will be required to do just a bit more.
Most folks would not be very satisfied with this rate of success nor the total body changes received in this program. Enter, a concept that I must painfully communicate to clients when they start. They all think I am loaded with B.S. until they stick through the program and realize it first hand (or talk to other successful clients). So, once time has been addressed, the MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR is: EFFICENCY OF EXERCISE. THIS will answer the question of, “How long will it take?”
How much work can you do in a given amount of time? How many calories can you burn in a given amount of time. Are you mindlessly going at such a low impact that it would take you 2-4 hours of walking per day to achieve the rate of results you would like (if you are active you are walking at least this much per day anyway….so, are you know achieving the results you like because you are, ‘active.” Or are you simply maintaining or gaining weight? You are what you are now because of what you have been doing, is it working?)?
Now, what If I told you that you could burn as many calories running at 6mph in 60 minutes as you could in walking for 2 hours? THIS is what I mean by efficiency of exercise. If I give you 1 minute to exercise, how can you fill that minute to yield the highest results…..MOVE LIKE HELL! But, safety first;)
Wouldn’t you rather spend less time in the gym for twice the results? Read all the way through to see how you can even increase this rate by 2 fold and lose 100 lbs in under a years time!!! If you only have 10 lbs to lose, this is even MORE important for you, because baby, you are NOT going to be walking those last 10lbs off, your body will be holding on to those pounds tightly (So maybe run like this run on sentence? Sprint? Hmmmm…).
For simplicity sake, we will call efficiency of exercise the point that it takes to burn relatively 500 calories per workout (running is NOT the gold standard but helps drive this point home). I know that it is VERY possible to get someone to burn 500 calories within 1 hour. I do it everyday for over 10 hours per day and have done this for over 10 years. SO, if you ran for an hour at 6mph it would be conservative 500 calories. That would be 6 ten minute miles. Not at all impossible. Think of it this way, Lance Armstrong is probably the most efficient cyclist on earth, and can burn more calories per unit of time on his bike than nearly any human being. This is EXERCISE EFFICENCY. Give him a barbell and he might be above the population average but nowhere near even elite status in this category (think of Olympic weightlifters, the most efficient people on earth at lifting weight in relation to body weight, NOT Lance’s category). Think of this same concept in terms of weight training. How much quality work can you get done to burn calories and elevate you’re resting metabolic rate for not only the time spent in the gym but the following 24 hours! And that is were the math gets fun. Now you see where this is going. We would hope to marriage the 2 relationships of the aerobic and weight training worlds for max results…but, ohhhh there is more!
Ok, lets assume you have progressed a bit and evolve to running (see our new running based bootcamp!). We will say you run at 6mph. That would be 300 calories in 30 minutes or 600 calories in 1hr if you kept this pace. That is a great chunk of calories within that amount of time.
To lose 100lbs:
3 days per week at 6mph at 30 minutes= 97.2 months or 8 years.
3 days per week at 6mph at 60 minutes= 48.6 months or 4 years.
6 days per week at 6mph at 30 minutes= 48.6 months or 4 years.
And ultimately building to an acceptable level and rate of weight loss:
6 days per week at 6mph at 60 minutes=
|Calories per day||600|
|Total calories for week||3600|
|Time to lose 10 lbs (if calorie intake unchanged)||9.7 weeks or 2.4 months|
|Time to lose 50lbs||48.6 weeks or 12.15 months|
|Time to lose 100lbs||97.2 weeks or 24.3 months…or 2.02 years)|
Awesome, now we are getting somewhere. But, IF you simply choose to only run for exercise and you don’t :
a) Get extremely bored
b) Don’t get overuse injuries
c) Can actually build up to running 6 miles per day 6 days per week (that’s a ton of miles).
Likewise, if you do have 100lbs to lose I am willing to bet this would be a very difficult feat. And starting here INSANE (although, not impossible). So think how there would be a delay in this time frame. That 2 year period STARTS when you get to this running benchmark.
Further downfalls of a running/cardio only program:
a) Running will only “strengthen” the trained range of motion. Look at the stride you use. That’s it. You are limited to that. Range of motion, flexibility, posture, improvements will be nill if any. In fact you might even make some things worse. Remember running is in a confined range of motion and will lead to no increase in flexibility, and ‘strength,’ other than for the very specific need of running, limited to that range. The point is that all ranges must be utilized, use it or loose it. Hence our JTLC warm up and mobility routine that we start every workout with (JTLC: Joint, Tendon, Ligament, and Central Nervous System Warm up and Mobility Routine). I consider this as the MOST important factor in your health. It keeps you moving and mobile across all joints of the body. Even bodyweight movement against gravity can be thought of as resistance. I have even had someone lose over 30lbs in one month just by using the JTLC routine (He was over 400lbs and all this was all this gentleman could do at that point and much of it was even sitting down). We went through the routine 3 times per workout and that was it). The point was that he needed to be able to move across multiple planes and ranges of motion if we were going to do anything functional other than walk. This was our doorway. The cardio/running system is a very imbalanced approach and will almost always lead to inevitable problems.
b) Core strength. If you like most chronic runners, you will have rounded shoulders and a sway back. Fine draw your abs in all day as your run for 6 miles. Then bend over and try to pick up a 5 lb weight off the ground as your spine flexes forward, your shoulders and chest cave in, your knees bow in, and you lean into your toes…and wonder why you have knee, back, and shoulder pain…
c) Strength and muscle tone: Every joint in your body needs to not only be moved to maintain and improve mobility, but resistance training should be accompanied to build strength in that range of motion for optimal balance, posture, injury prevention, muscle tone, and increases in resting metabolic rate. The number 1 hidden secret of weight loss is GAINING muscle. Yes, I said it, GAINING muscle. Sounds backwards huh? You will NOT become Arnold (that took genetics, 20 plus years of training, hours and hours of HEAVY lifting, and STEROID abuse!). If it was that easy I wouldn’t be writing you this letter. And while I am here. Ladies, why weights? Consider the fact that your testosterone is 10-20 times lower than males. Steroids are basically testosterone. If a male would have to use synthetic testosterone to achieve a gain like a genetically gifted Arnold had (whom also used steroids), you have nothing to ever worry about. If you do, call me and we will make you a world champion and it will be worth it.
ALSO, consider that if I gave you the same workout as the strongest guy I knew YOU would gain less muscle mass than the male would, why? Testosterone. Your muscle physiology is EXACTLY the same and only different in its access to testosterone. In fact you could lift harder, heavier, and longer than him and still not ever be as big or muscle bound as him…and guess what, he is probably not ‘muscle bound’ to begin with. It is VERY hard to gain that much muscle and very EASY to lose it. Because his must be maintained once it is there. It is energy costly to hold onto that muscle and if your body doesn’t need it to constantly train with ‘heavy’ loads of weigh than it will get rid of it for efficiency and survival purposes. Look at any professional level bodybuilder who formerly abused steroids and watch them shrink too 2/3 to ½ the size nearly over night when they come off of them. Its hormones honey (not being sexist, it jus trolled off my tongue). Finally, this gives you every reason to lift even HARDER and HEAVIER than a male would to achieve gains in muscle…
“Ue it or lose it.” Not steroids, exercise!
Every 1lb you gain of muscle mass will burn 50 calories per day just by existing. This is why you hear about the elevations in resting metabolic rate. Gain 5 lbs of muscle and you are burning 250 extra calories per day. That is like walking 2.5 miles (nearly an hour as above) just by sitting there! So, add in calories burned from your workout AND your elevated metabolic rate…that’s a compound effect! Gain 10lbs and burn an extra 500 calories…WOW! That would be a 1lb of FAT lost in 7 days by GAINING 10lbs of MUSCLE. Hold that for 10 weeks, you have lost 10lbs of fat, and gained 10 lbs of muscle and a net composition change of 20lbs! That will lead to an amazing change in your appearance (no, 10lbs of muscle will not make you muscle bound, not even close, especially when you consider how detrained and LACKING of muscle most Americans have…this may get you closer to par level of muscle…Gain 25lbs of muscle, ok, you might notice that…but, guess what, its very EASY to lose, but takes daily work to gain and maintain! If you don’t like it, pull back, that easy. I don’t think I have EVER atucally ran into this problem with anyone. While some may think they are getting muscle bound they are simply experiencing the short term change of a muscle pump from the workout, which goes away, and truthfully have not yet given the routine enough time to build the muscle that will turn into a fat burning furnace.).
The beauty of strength training is variety and the ability to burn calories over 24 hrs per day and NOT just from the duration of the workout (as in running or low intensity exercises). When you combine the 2 forms together you get a substantial compound effect in results, you will keep motivation, variety, and improve your health and fitness in so many ways. And most importantly, SPEED RESULTS.
Now, lets look at an OPTIMAL situation. How can we cut that down even faster. If you remember a past newsletter I presented a study demonstrating how 80 minutes of high intensity interval training (sprint intervals) burned an equal amount of calories to 800 minutes of low intensity steady state cardio. So, if we add the resistance training, high intensity interval training, low intensity cardio (running, etc), core training, flexibility, and mobility work, we can speed results drastically and do allot more for the body. But, one thing is missing….DIET!
Not starvation or chronic restriction but setting up an optimal sustainable plan that will complement the daily exercise routine, increase metabolism, and never leave you feeling hungry, or deprived. We can increase metabolism with small frequent meals AND decrease calories by a mere 500 per day if necessary (but add strategies to make you feel full all day). Then add this to the above exercise plan and get you too such a schedule:
6 days per week at 6mph at 60 minutes AND a solid diet plan=
|% Efficency||100% (compared to running 6 mph)|
|Total calories for week||7100|
|Time to lose 10 lbs (if calorie intake unchanged)||4.85 weeks or 1.2 months|
|Time to lose 50lbs||24.3 weeks or 6.075 months|
|Time to lose 100lbs||48.6 weeks or 12.15 months…or 1.01 years)|
You see, this is possible with daily consistent commitment inside of 1 year. ALSO, do NOT forget about the efficiency of exercise phenomenon. You will have to build up to this level that can take anywhere from 30-90 days with PROPER guidance and progression. However, doing the same thing day in and out will NOT get you there.
AND THE FINAL KICKER:
If you remember my 2 examples from before the 2 people lost this 100 lbs with a 3 month intro period with no weight loss, and lost 100lbs by month 10. That is 7 months. ALMOST HALF THE AMOUNT OF TIME TAKEN IN THE ABOVE MODEL. And actually LESS than half if you factor in the exercise efficiency development period at the beginning of those models.. This model is solid and very scientifically sound. However, how on earth are we nearly cutting this time in HALF!? By building the metabolism and resting metabolic rate, with weight training, high intensity interval training (and other intense exercises). And finally with the use of dietary practices. However, our nutrition strategies are nowhere as severe as adding all this exercise to your lifestyle. It is simply incredible when you add the mall together. Remember, this is real people with real lives. Not some unrealistic reality show. Its’ possible when you put the appropriate time and effort into it. As long as you keep talking yourself out of it or accepting less, falling for gimmicks, or thinking it should happen faster, you will be disappointed over and over.
If you follow such a plan it isn’t based on 3 days, 4 days, or even 5 days. 6 days. Consistently. EVERY WEEK. The ONLY exceptions are getting sick or family emergencies. If something else gets in your way you must find a way to deal with it and not continue to let it derail your plan. You can see time management and scheduling is VITAL, not merely an after thought. You don’t forget to eat do you? You need it to eat to survive. Think of exercise as medicine you absolutely can NOT live without.
Progressive exercise for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. You see it doesn’t stop there. Once you have reached your goal the job is not done. Problem number 2, keeping it off. As long as you do not quit the plan, you will keep the weight off. So, commit, get over the hump, and commit for life. This is a lifestyle change. I have clients in their 70s out performing 30 year olds and doing things they never thought possible. Everyone starts somewhere, and you just have to be honest with yourself, set your schedule, and take action. And don’t wait, there is never going to be a perfect time, it will always be a challenge. I am sorry that I am not here to give you a hug, I am here to give you the slap in the face that you might need. My clients probably hate my guts when we are in the gym. But as long as they are successful, I am cool with that. They all thank me later. It sure beats bariatric surgery.
Now you know what it takes to be successful. Now, here is the REAL barrier that 90% of people never make it past. That is the lag time it takes to become EFFICEINT AT EXERCISE That means you have put in consistent work each day progressively building your work capacity, pain tolerance, and pefromance within a given period of time (ex. 60 minutes) in order to reach that 500 calorie per workout minimum (or simply to get the weight loss snowball rolling).
-The New Year’s Resolutioners: start with a huge, perhaps unrealistic goal, and drop out when progress is slow.
-The ” I have tried everything people and nothing worked for me.” They simply are waitin for the program to work magic and never give it enough time to work for them. And perhaps fall into the gimmick pitfall or a one modality only program (just weights, just spinning, just running, etc).
-The, ” I am old and it is harder for me people.” It was NEVER easy. Voy would probably punch you in the face if you told him that losing 100lbs was easy. Besides, he’s 50. Muscle cell physiology is ALWAYS the same. It always can improve and adapt.
-The, “My metabolism, thyroid, etc is slow and it’s harder for me to lose weight.” Are either eating too little, or not exercising enough, or intensely enough. But, it will still come down to the same thing= more time and more intensity.
We could go on and on here. But, finding this set point is the hardest thing, and it IS inevitable and necessary to be successful. The failure for ALL of them was not giving it enough time, intensity, for long enough. They either cut corners, missed sessions, talked themselves into an easy day, or never progressed their workouts.
How long does it take to become efficient at exercise? That is all based on the person. How dedicated, committed, and motivated you are. If you miss and skip days, LONGER, if you don’t give it your all everyday, LONGER, if you have a poor attitude, LONGER, if you sabotage your diet by starving or even binging, LONGER. Many variables are involved with how long efficiency of exercise takes, but it is POSSIBLE for everyone. On the longer end 90 days or more. I have seen people there on day 1.
Rememebr the 2 people that I mentioned above that have lost 100 lbs, both at the age of 50, took 90 days to become efficient, did NOT lose a single pound in the first 90 days, and STILL lost 100lbs in under 1 years time. In fact closer to 10 months with a 3 month lag time. But, once the snowball was formed they seemed to never stop melting.
Starvation? No. Gimmicks? No. Consistent, progressive, daily effort. If they traveled they found away to keep their workload up, if they were tired, they came in and I made sure they did an adequate amount of work, was it easy, NO, was it fun, yes and no, was it rewarding….it was life CHANGING. AND, it was a year of life, that BEGAN at the age of 50. Could you imagine what that would be like to completely change your life like this at the age of 50? Imagine that. Interesting. Both people were NOT former exercisers or athletes and they started at ground zero.
Hopefully, you now have a realistic idea of what such results and lifestyle change truly take. Can it happen with less, sure. What are the chances? Very low. Aim high and miss high. You will be much happier if you are successful and have to dial your training down than not putting in enough and never reaching success.
Walla, there you have it. 100lbs in under 1 years time. With improvements in ALL factors of health. And MOSTLY psychological!!! I may have helped people work this amazing program with outstanding results, but this program didn’t merely work itself. It came down to the individuals PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND DESIRE TO SUCCEED. I didn’t do it for them. THEY stepped up to the challenge and did the work. I made them accountable.
Review of what will effect “How long it will take?”:
-6 days of exercise for at least 60 minutes (you don’t have to start here)
-Consistency and progression
-Strength training AND aerobic work
Yes, that was long, but perhaps the most important consideration in this whole process. Thanks for reading!