Losing 10 Pounds and Eating Dairy Queen!
If you want to lose weight fast, you have two options: you can do it the smart way, or you can try the not-so-smart way. Going smart with things means that you lose body fat, maybe build a little bit of muscle, and exceed your previous abilities to perform as a lean, mean, human-performance machine.
The not-so-smart way means that you follow an insane diet plan, resist all the foods you love, and pretty much sleep on the treadmill (since you’re on it so much). Sounds like a real hoot, doesn’t it? For some reason, people always go for this option rather than the former – maybe it’s the notion that in order for weight loss to be effective it has to be extreme.
So let me explain to you how I went about losing 10 pounds with our first scenario. There are quite a few routines here about how other clients have dropped 10 pounds, but this was a special experiment that I ran on my own before using it with clients.
What makes this so special? Well for one, I consumed a rather large amount of food. By large, I mean anywhere from 2,790 to 3,120 calories per day. In the strength and conditioning world, we don’t consider this a huge amount of food – we’re used to seeing well-fueled athletes devour calories like they’re nothing. But in the land of extreme dieting, this is a lot of food. Secondly, I spent my Saturdays as a “cheat day.” And by cheat, I literally mean all bets were off – pizza, Dairy Queen, and Cheesecake Factory all managed to find their way onto my fork. Keep in mind that during this process I also celebrated Memorial Day, a wedding anniversary, and my wife’s birthday.
Lastly, as a disclaimer, this workout routine won’t get you shredded. You’re not going to see veins in your abs eating cheesecake (it would be nice though, wouldn’t it). This concept only works for those looking to drop 10-15 pounds to lean out while training at a high level. It does take hard work and it has to be the focus of your training. So if you have a competition coming up, save this for later. And if you’re only willing to workout 2-3 days a week, this routine won’t work for you either.
Strength Training– My goal was to enhance strength while losing 10 pounds. This is very doable since I wasn’t going to be doing any extreme, low-calorie dieting. However, everything was done as a circuit. If I lifted heavy (at one point I wave loaded with a 4/3/2 wave), then I did the accessory stuff by circuit training in the functional hypertrophy zone (6-8 reps). This means that tricep kickbacks and lateral raises were out, while push presses and front squats were in. I needed compound movements to stimulate my metabolism and cause a large demand for calories. I did this 4 days a week as an upper/lower body split.
Conditioning- The non-lifting days were spent doing conditioning. Long distance running doesn’t work, plus it’s boring, so I stuck with long duration sprints. One day I would do 400 meter runs, while the other day was spent with 200 meter work. Slowly build up the amount of intervals you do and then start chipping away at the rest. So this coupled with the strength training equals 6 days a week. You get one day off. It’s extreme in that sense, but so is the recovery approach.
Mobility – Six days a training is rough. So at night while I watched a bit of TV, I spent 15-20 minutes a day working on mobility. I wanted to keep adding weight to the bar along with sprinting more, but I also needed to recover. If you’re not willing to work on your mobility you won’t last long on this program. Manage your priorities, not your time.
Nutrition – The strength training days required the higher amount of calories (3,120). On the conditioning days and my one day off, I took in fewer calories (2,790). Carbohydrates were centered around my workouts – so I consumed carbs in my post-workout shake along with my next meal. No carbs for the rest of the day. Of course protein stayed the same each day and I simply ate fewer carbs and fat on the lower intake days. As with other things with this routine, a requirement is that you need to consume a workout drink of whey protein, maltodextrin, and BCAA’s while you lift. Don’t skip out on this.
Progress – Progress was slow at first, with only a half pound dropping off the first two weeks. Then weight started to drop off at a pound a week from there on out. My plan was to reduce calories by 5% when I hit a plateau but that never happened. Honestly, I probably would have needed to if I wanted to lose beyond 12 pounds, but I was happy after losing the ten. I managed to add 30 pounds to my deadlift and 20 to my squat after losing some strength following a traditional bodybuilding routine in the spring. Vertical jump stayed the same, but that’s expected since I wasn’t on a power program.
Was this program easy? Not necessarily. It simply comes down to priorities – I just had to save my cheats for one day a week and get to bed on time to get plenty of sleep. Looking back, I really didn’t miss out on anything except maybe seeing a movie. It wasn’t easy, but getting stronger and leaner? I call that fun!