HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT 29 FITNESS TRAINERS SHARE THEIR TIPS
Written by Tyler Sellers How to lose weight is a question that everyone asks at some point in life. Most people know some basic tips about how to eat healthily, but that isn’t enough to lose weight. There are many unhealthy foods in disguise which are promoted as being healthy but in fact, have a lot of calories and very few nutrients. In addition to eating healthier, and less, exercising is vital for a healthy weight loss. Starving yourself or following crazy diets can cause serious medical issues that is why it’s best to combine nutrition with sport. Even if you don’t have time or can’t afford to go to the gym there are many exercises that you can do at home. To help you lose that extra weight in an efficient way, we reached out to 29 fitness trainers and asked them: What Is Your Best Training/Diet Tip for Losing Weight? Keep reading to see what the experts had to say. Mark Moon Fitness Absolute consistency. It doesn’t matter how hard you train, how much weight you lose, or how fast you lose it if it creates an unhealthy relationship with exercise and food. If you can’t maintain your training schedule or your diet, then you will never have sustainable results. The biggest problem I see is people wanting the quickest results with high-intensity workouts or extreme diets, but they don’t work in the long run because they are unsustainable. Setting aside 30 minutes a day for exercise 4 days a week is better than two 60 minute workouts because it creates a routine and lays down the foundations for daily habits with consistency. The same goes for diet; reducing your calorie consumption but still including some of the foods you love and a treat here and there will lay down the foundations for a healthy relationship with your food. This also makes it easier to adjust where you need to without feeling like you are restricting yourself too much. Tammy Foxx – Bridal Fitness Coach From my 10+ years of experience as a personal trainer, I have seen that those who are conscious of what they eat lose weight and those who aren’t conscious of what they eat do not lose weight. It’s easy to think we are doing better than we actually are and those extra calories here and there add up. That’s why it’s important to track your food. Some use an app or keep a food journal. Others plan their food out for the week. Peter Drucker puts it best, “What gets measured, gets managed.” Keeping track of our food helps us stay motivated. We can see our good habits forming and be proud or see our shortcomings and step it up. Either way, it results in weight loss. Jeff Parke – Top Fitness Mag Intermittent Fasting. This is when you cycle between fasting periods and eating periods. It’s currently one of the world’s most popular (and most used) health trends right now and can be quite effective. Some recent studies have even shown that intermittent fasting can positively impact your mental health and your brainpower. This eating pattern doesn’t specify what to eat, but when to eat, and should cause weight loss in a healthy way. Some people have negative connotations of fasting, but it doesn’t mean you simply starve yourself. The 16/8 Method is the most popular method of intermittent fasting. It involves skipping breakfast and limiting your eating time to just 8 hours. For example, from 11 am to 7 pm and then you fast for 16 hours. Adam Kemp Fitness My number one tip for weight loss is to try intermittent fasting (also known as time-restricted feeding). I have been doing intermittent fasting for nearly 10 years and I think it is the simplest way to lose weight. I use the 16:8 split (16 hours fasted, 8 hours of eating). I think this is the best way to lose weight because it helps people get their daily calories under control quickly, and it also provides a variety of other positive health benefits as well. For example, as stated by a study in the Journal of Translational Medicine, “Our results suggest that an intermittent fasting program in which all calories are consumed in an 8-h window each day, in conjunction with resistance training, could improve some health-related biomarkers, decrease fat mass, and maintain muscle mass in resistance-trained males.” Personally, I don’t use intermittent fasting specifically for “weight loss,” but I use it because it helps me maintain a low body fat while also building or maintaining muscle mass. When you do Intermittent Fasting, the amount of time you are “allowed” to eat is drastically reduced. By cutting down the number of hours when eating is an available option, it is much easier to control your overall calorie intake. For me, the easiest way to do intermittent fasting is from 7 p.m. until 11 a.m. each day. I generally eat a very large meal around 12-1 p.m., and have another eating time around 6 p.m. By sticking to these time-restrictions for when it is okay to eat, it actually becomes difficult to eat too many calories, and losing weight becomes a simpler process. Because, regardless of anything else, the basis of weight loss is consuming fewer calories than you burn per day. There are additional researched benefits of intermittent fasting or time-restricted feeding, such as improvements in your digestive system and cognitive function as well. Jamie Hickey – Truism Fitness The biggest tip I can give to people is to practice meal prepping. When you’re busy navigating through your daily life, the thought of cooking all of your own meals at home can be enough to make you cheat on your diet. Not to mention warding off temptations at restaurants, and since time is the number one make or break factor when it comes to deciding on a meal it isn’t a surprise that people who meal prep succeed in their goals more often than those who don’t. Meal prepping simply is the act of planning, preparing, and packaging your meals and snacks in advance, typically for the upcoming week, with the intention of clean eating and portion control. There is no right or wrong way to meal prep. The ultimate end goal is for you to save time in the kitchen and to have access to healthy meals during the week. Some people like to meal prep breakfast, lunch, and dinner while other people prep only 1 or 2 meals. There is no surprise that people that plan out their meals and prep them for the week are 37% more likely to hit their goals than people that don’t. Nicole Glor – NikkiFitness My biggest weight loss too as a fitness video creator, class instructor, and trainer is to multitask your workouts. Why sit still and do biceps curls when you can add a squat and calf raise? Why do a crunch when you can do a crunch with a chest fly and inner thigh resistance move? These cut workout time in half and more than double your calorie burn while turning cardio moves into toning moves and toning moves into cardio! Carol Michaels Fitness It is necessary to add strength training to your exercise routine because we lose muscle mass as we age. This can start in our 30’s and the rate of change accelerates each decade. The muscle-to-fat ratio change is called sarcopenia. Strength training improves the muscle-to-fat ratio. We need to gain muscle mass because muscles are metabolically active. This means that they burn calories at rest and during exercise. Having more muscle will increase metabolism. The good news is that it can reverse this muscle loss at any age. So strength training is a great way to help get to or keep your weight at a healthy level. Kelly Bryant Wellness Losing weight isn’t going to make you happy, you have to start from learning how to be happy despite how much you weigh. Weight loss can be a “cherry on top” as a result of showing up for yourself and practicing self-care through exercise. I would recommend a mindset shift where instead of needing to weigh a number or look a certain way, you shift to a neutral state about the way you look at yourself. For example, if your immediate thought is “my thighs look ugly”, don’t lie to yourself and say “my thighs are beautiful” because you as a human being are too smart for that. Instead, focus on neutral statements that ARE true like, “I have thighs” or “my thighs are moving me up the stairs”. Slowly but surely, especially if we are training your body, we can start telling ourselves things we actually believe. “My thighs just ran a mile” or “my thighs got stronger today”. My immediate tip would be to change your mindset away from what everyone else is doing and stop comparing yourself to other people. Everyone is on their own journey and if you practice self-care intentionally, by taking care of your body and your mind, then improvement will be a natural “cherry on top” when it comes to weight loss and dieting. Greg Brookes – Kettlebells Workouts In light of these uncertain times, many people have found it difficult to work out and stick to a diet that doesn’t involve “quarantine snacking.” While there are numerous fitness routines that work perfectly at home, some may not have the equipment that is needed. But, if you’ve decided to give working out at home a try, the fantastic news is that bodyweight exercises don’t require a fitness facility, actual weights or other equipment. As the name implies, the weight of your own body is used to help tone, stretch, and keep your body in shape, as you benefit from the physical motion that you need to stay healthy. All you need is a little gravity, your own body, and a few great exercises. You can start off with this one: Bodyweight Yoga Squat. This will engage your buttocks, quads, hamstrings, and core as well as improving your overall flexibility. Squat down as deep as possible with your arms straight overhead, next touch your toes and straighten your legs as much as possible, then return back to the bottom squat position, raise your hands back overhead and stand up. Melissa Morris – Exercise Diet is a more important factor over-exercise when it comes to weight loss. An effective weight loss plan should incorporate both for the best results. Diet relies on decisions you make all day long whereas exercise is usually only 60 minutes of the day for most people. Exercise is helpful in burning calories, but it’s easy to eat those calories back if your diet is out of whack. The best tip that I have for weight loss is to leave some food on your plate at every meal, which is a hack for decreasing your portion sizes. Smaller portions equal fewer calories, which results in weight loss. For example, let’s say you leave 15% of the food on your plate for every meal you eat over the course of a day and you need 2,000 calories a day. That should amount to about 500 calories a day from the reduction in your portion sizes. Do that for seven days and it equals 3,500 calories. There are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, so there’s your one pound of weight loss for the week. That example does oversimplify weight loss and it’s not always that easy, but it’s just one example of how cutting back on portion sizes can make a big difference. There are other reasons that prohibit losing weight, but cutting back on portion sizes is a good start. Ted Kallmyer – Healthy Eater The best thing a person can do to lose weight is first to understand how much energy their particular body requires daily including exercise. They can then use this information and establish a safe calorie deficit that will allow the body to tap into its fat reserves for additional energy it requires. This is called calculating your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) It’s a more fine-tuned process than simply guessing or eliminating entire food groups in order to maintain a calorie deficit which often by guessing can be too severe and thus hard on one’s metabolism in the long run. Meghan Kennihan – Train With Meghan My best tip for losing weight is to MOVE. You need to get movement throughout the day, not just the 20-60 minutes you dedicate to an exercise routine. Movement affects everything, from circulation to digestion to metabolism to your immunity. Sitting on the other hand is linked with many diseases and conditions, including obesity, hypertension, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and depression. Here are some ideas on how to get movement throughout your day. Use a standing desk, set an alarm on your computer or phone to remind you to get up every 1-2 hours and do some stretches, take walking meetings or walk at lunch, park in the farthest parking spot from the store or restaurant, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do bodyweight exercises 3x throughout the day for 5 minutes like air squats, pushups, lunges, dips, planks. Karen Shopoff Rooff – Well Balanced Women My top training tip for losing weight is to decrease the amount of time you’re exercising and increase the intensity. There is a two-pronged approach at work here, yet the net result is less time spent working out. While you may feel like an hour of steady-state rhythm on the elliptical is ideal, working harder for a shorter amount of time–even 20 minutes– is going to give your body a greater cardiovascular challenge and greater calorie burn. With higher intensity comes a faster metabolism, one of the keys to weight loss. Furthermore, swapping out 20 minutes of moderate cardio activity for 10 minutes of focused weight work will also help build lean muscle, which is another metabolic advantage. These two swaps can save you 30 minutes per workout, yet you’ll have the adaptations to burn more calories and lose weight (all while getting stronger, too!). Hannah Daugherty – Fitter Living If your goal is to get in shape and lose weight, ensure that you have plenty of variety within your workout routine. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of doing the same movements and exercises everyday at the gym or at home, but the body can reach a plateau this way, so varying your workouts is key. This can be anything from different strength training moves to changing up the intensity level of your cardiovascular workouts, to even adding in a day of yoga or mobility work to your rotation. Likewise, don’t shy away from lifting weights…although the mindset might be that weight training will make you bulky, the opposite is true. Not only will resistance training help to tone and strengthen your muscles, but it will also help to build your muscles – and this in turn correlates to boosting your metabolism and burning more calories throughout the day. Aim for at least 2-3 days of weight training, and remember that this doesn’t necessarily have to be working with dumbbells…. utilizing your own body weight can help to strengthen your muscles and get more calories burning – even when you’re not in the gym! Luke Jones – Hero Movement Losing weight is a complex issue, but can often be made easier when we ensure we tick off a few basic principles. When combined together, you’re 90% there. 1. Movement. Ideally, this means some form of physical activity 5 days a week, a combination of strength, endurance, and mobility focussed training. Another key habit is to minimize sitting and to break up periods of inactivity throughout the day with mini-movement breaks. 2. Nutrition. As a general rule of thumb, aim to base your diet around 80-90% whole, unprocessed foods. It’s also important to listen to hunger signals and to maintain adequate protein intake – 1.2 to 1.5g of protein per kg of body weight is typically recommended for active individuals. 3. Recovery. This is perhaps the most neglected factor when it comes to healthy weight loss. Sleeping 8-9 hours a night and actively managing stress levels through a breathwork or meditation practice can make a significant difference to your overall wellbeing and body composition. You could then start to play around with other factors such as nutrient timing, intermittent fasting, and certain supplements, but these would only really be useful if you have the above three pillars in place. Ellen Barrett In a nutshell, news today has become junk food for your spirit. It’s the spiritual equivalent to McDonald’s and Dorito’s. It is a depressant. Don’t you feel gross after “eating” it? When I see friends complaining about gaining the “quarantine 15” I am certain the cause of that weight gain goes much deeper than too much eating and not enough moving. Spiritual junk food was a precursor. So for anyone out there struggling with the “quarantine 15,” here’s my advice: walk away from the news. Do not let its low vibration into your environment. You’ll see, after a day or so without that onslaught of negativity, you’ll be inspired to move more, eat better, live with a pep in your step, and be more optimistic overall about your body, your life, and the future of humanity.mattDiggity Joe Bach – Bach The best form of exercise that you can do for losing weight is strength training. Strength training allows you to get stronger, lose weight, and burn fat. Focusing on compound movements such as the squat, deadlift, bent over rows or chest press/push-ups will allow you to work the most muscle and rev your metabolism up all day long. Whereas with cardio-based exercises you’re burning calories while you exercise, but not really after. You should also count your calories with a tracking app such as My Fitness Pal If you want to lose weight. Losing weight is just math. You need to burn more calories than you consume. Many people do not realize how many calories they are consuming all day long. Tracking illuminates this and allows you to switch to less calorie-dense foods. You should never be drinking calories if you want to lose weight! Di Hickman My best tip for losing weight is to not get caught up in fads (exercise/diet) but choose something you can sustain long term! When you think about people you know that have lost weight how many have had it come back? Because they tried a fad that wasn’t a long term lifestyle change. Decide at the beginning, do you want a short term or long term result? Short term = quick weight loss that isn’t sustainable. Long term = slower results, harder work, but sustainable over time. In short it’s not about changing your weight, but about changing your lifestyle. Esther Avant A lot of people overcomplicate the weight loss process and/or feel like it has to be miserable in order to be effective. In reality, you can really pare it down to a few things: 1) Creating a caloric deficit through a combination of movement and foods you enjoy 2) Eating sufficient protein to maintain muscle mass while losing fat 3) Strength training consistently 4) Taking the same approach to losing the weight that you will use to maintain it. Ryan and Alex Most unhealthy foods don’t contain fiber. What’s more, 97% of US adults are fiber deficient. A 2018 study concluded that adult dieters who consumed 30 grams of fiber per day lost 5 pounds without making other lifestyle changes. Fiber is important for weight loss because you can eat fewer calories without feeling hungry. This fiber target ensures that you are eating healthier foods. It’s also great for digestion. A recent study published in the journal, The Obesity Society, concluded that adult dieters who lost 30 pounds and maintained or continued to lose weight tracked 12,000 steps per day. Overweight adults tracked only 6,500 steps. A 12,000 step walk is about 6 miles. While we still encourage you to exercise, if you hit your 12,000 step target you are on track to lose weight. Tommy Vekhayn My best training tip to lose weight is unconventional- but to actually eat foods that you like. At the end of the day, to lose weight, you just need to eat under a certain amount of calories. There is no need to make yourself miserable by forcing yourself to only eat lentils and stems of broccoli. Feel free to have that crispy chicken sandwich from your local fast-food restaurant. Ultimately, many of these sandwiches are pretty low calories. That sandwich will only set you back around 600 calories, which for most people losing weight is less than 1/4th of your daily calories. If you make losing weight not fun by eating nothing but vegetables and water all day- you won’t stick with it. If you have fun with losing weight, you’ll stick with it and reach your goals faster. Remember, just make smart choices and eat less overall, and you’ll see the fat shred off. Tom Adam – Canberra Martial Arts & Fitness When people come to our club and talk about wanting to lose weight, for many of them I ask the question “Do you really want to lose weight – or do you want to tone up?” It’s an important distinction. For many, losing weight is their go-to position – when for many, the actual weight number isn’t the problem – it’s how they see themselves. So the right question is, do you want to shed fat and tone up? A high level of body fat, regardless of your weight, is terrible for your health – leading to all sorts of diseases, blood pressure, and more. Shedding that extra body fat is great for your health, regardless of the numbers on the scale. You start to feel better about your body image, you reduce the strain on your back, hips, and legs – and you increase physical strength as you feel better about increased physical activity. Not to mention the boost to your metabolism. So forget about the numbers, focus on replacing body fat with lean muscle mass, and here are 6 tips to help you on your journey. – Lift Heavy: Fewer reps, with more weight but don’t overdo it – Cut Your Rest Periods Shorter – Try Circuit Training – Explore Supersets (two exercises back to back with no rest) – Stick with Compound exercises- stuff that uses more than one muscle group at a time – bonus #6 – get your nutrition sorted, just start small with say a cut of 50 calories per meal – it will add up. Enjoy your training, the first 4 weeks will be the hardest – once you’re through that you’ll be on your way. Stick with it, you’ll see the results and rewards. Amanda Webster Health One of the first tips I almost always offer my clients is to drink two glasses of water in the thirty minutes before each meal. This promotes satiation and staves off the signs of dehydration that can present as hunger which discourages overeating or eating quickly. It also boosts metabolism by up to 30% which burns more calories. In fact, a study was conducted that showed that individuals who were aiming to shed pounds lost 44% more weight when drinking water before meals. Amy Roskelley – Health Beet In order to lose weight effectively, it’s critical to develop a program that is simple and enjoyable enough to become a lifestyle. The flexible way that has worked for me to lose the final 20 lbs and for many of my clients is simply by eating three balanced meals per day, and eliminating snacking. This method works because you can follow any diet program that you enjoy such as vegan, low carb, keto, etc. The critical key is that by avoiding snacks, you will see results! Studies show that people who eat more frequently are more likely to over-consume on calories for the day. Grazing on food all day leads to mindless eating that never satisfies your hunger. With three distinct meals, you can sit at a table, with a plate and be mindful of the food you are eating. This is highly satiating and allows you to be full until your next meal. Pam Sherman – The Perfect Balance My best tip for losing weight is to log your food! Most people are unaware of how much they eat on a daily basis. Logging every single bite, lick and sip really is an eye-opening experience. Losing weight is all about the food and not about the exercise, that is why it’s so important to really find out what daily food consumption looks like. I encourage my clients to add veggies into every meal and snack. Veggies are low calorie and high in fiber and take a while to eat! The same goes for an apple! If you’re hungry between meals, have an apple. The fiber will keep you full until the next meal. Dropping calories too fast will lead to binging every single time. I advise clients to log for a week to see how many calories(on average) they are eating each day. Take the average, then drop it by just 100 calories for the next week. If the scale moves, keep it there. If it doesn’t drop it by 50 more. That along with making sure to get enough protein daily. I work mostly with women. We are expert carb eaters but usually fall short on protein. Our muscles need it daily! As well as it really helps to keep you full! Looking at a perfectly balanced meal, there would be a protein(meat, fish, legumes, tofu, protein shake), carbs(loads of veggies), and a healthy fat(avocado/nuts). This is the combination that will keep you full for a long time. Shelli Johnson My philosophy, from having lived it, is that weight loss is not about food. It’s about changing your mindset and what you think about food. Simply eat only when you’re physiologically hungry then stop when you’re comfortably full. Eat whatever your body is calling for and get healthy/unhealthy food out of your vocabulary. If you’re eating when you’re not hungry, question why it is you’re turning to food. So do this: 1. Question why you want to eat before you start eating anything (are you hungry or is there some other reason you want to eat) 2. Decide what the actual problem is if you’re not hungry (trying to avoid something, comfort/numb yourself, boredom, etc). 3. Take action to solve the actual problem. At my heaviest, I weighed 304 pounds. Now I weigh 130 pounds. I lost the weight naturally (no surgery, pills, disordered eating, or anything along those lines) and have kept the weight off for 8 years and counting. Nikki Walter The biggest hurdle is mental warfare of believing you can and you are in control of your health. Doing too many things at once can be overwhelming. For the average person, diet and exercise seem impossible when doing it simultaneously. In fact, most of my clients dread it. To help clients be successful- I introduce them to my 30-days 20-minute commitment and 2/2 cut rule. Commit yourself to 20 minutes of ANYTHING walking, jogging, body circuit daily – for 30 days. No matter how tired or how busy you are commit to yourself 20 minutes per day, find a way to make it happen! It doesn’t count to count steps during work or the day- the goal is to commit to yourself doing something ELSE for yourself because you’re health and goal is possible! Ex: Walk, Walking Intervals, Weights, Dancing, Swimming, bike ride. 2/2 is cutting up to 2 things out of your diet that are not healthy and adding 2 staples to their weekly grocery list. The cuts have to be cut out completely for 30 days and the 2 new staples I work with them to use as snacks or recipes etc. Examples of cuts – Usually we start with Soda, alcohol, candy, anything the client feels they can realistically do. I work with them on substitutes for the sweet tooth or salty cravings. After 30 days we evaluate and discuss if it’s possible to keep it out or if we look at different cuts so assure the client isn’t feeling disappointed in themselves if they still want a certain food. With education and trust, we work together to slowly build a lifestyle into life with the mindset of the habits becoming just like all other daily habits. Hope Zvara It’s all about adding in simple, natural movements within the day. Other people are telling you to hit the gym every day, go for a run, do this workout. I’m telling you to move more during the day, and those movements all add up. Our body is designed for movement. We are not a lion doing a whole lot of nothing during the day to then run 50 mph at a moment’s notice. Yet that is how we view fitness. Instead, why not dance in the elevator, do pushups in the copy room, run in place in your chair, stretch in the driver’s seat, walk laps around your office or hit the sidewalk and get outside. All this adds up. Doing so also bridges the gap between no movement all day and a hard workout, which will decrease the likelihood of injury and increase your energy, flexibility, and happiness. Now, you are breathing more and taking in more oxygen. Plus, that gym workout becomes a bonus rather than the main focus. By moving more during the day, I have found I also build more momentum to hit the gym, go for a walk or run or get to that yoga class. Aleisha Fetters Enjoy more real-life treats! Do more things for pure, unadulterated fun and enjoyment! Engage in hobbies, talk to friends, take a bath, and carve out some “me time” to do whatever it is that makes you feel refreshed, happy, recharged, and like real, true “you.” It might sound silly at first, but it’s so often that the deep-down reason people are in a caloric surplus (gaining weight) is because the only real joy they have each day is food. When food is the only thing you have to look forward to each day, of course, food is going to consume your thoughts, and of course, you will eat more calories than your body needs to optimally thrive! Your mind and body literally crave joy! But we can get so focused on general adulting that we forget to have fun. It’s amazing how, by simply prioritizing engaging in more joyful activities and experiences (aka “real-life treats”), people automatically think less about edible treats, experience fewer cravings, and reduce overeating. As a happy side effect, their emotional regulation skills as well as mental and emotional health increase, allowing them to make other positive, sustainable steps in both their nutrition and movement. Real-life treats move us to a mental state in which healthy behavioral changes are more possible than ever before. Final Words Thank you so much to all the experts that contributed to this expert roundup! I hope the tips shared in this post will help you get in the shape that you want.