The Fat Loss Fairy
by Bill Boylan, Master Trainer, NSCA CPT
I thoroughly enjoy my job as a trainer. I don’t have all the answers when it comes to health and nutrition, but I do have a solid, real world knowledge base that allows me to offer help to those who need it. I love talking about health and wellness with my clients, other trainers, and people I meet on a daily basis.
One conversation I often find myself engaged in with people really frustrates me though, and the script always goes something like this:
Person: ”So I’ve been eating pretty good, except for the weekends (at which point they chuckle) and working out for the most part... unless something comes up! But I can’t seem to lose any fat or make any progress, why can’t I meet my goal?”
Me: “Well what does your diet, training, and recovery program look like now?”
Person: ”I don’t know, I don’t have a consistent program. I work reeeeeaally hard though! Plus I want to lose fat more than anything! But I’m just so frustrated! Oh and how can I lose it all in 4 weeks for my vacation?”
Me: “Maybe the fat loss fairy will pay you a visit and make all your dreams come true.”
As you probably guessed I don’t actually say this to people. It’s not because I’m trying to be nice, it’s because the fat loss fairy doesn’t care about you, and my mom taught me not to lie. Don’t feel bad, she doesn’t care about me, or anyone else for that matter, either. She’s on a permanent vacation in the land of far far away with the Muscle Mass Monster, The Leprechaun of Leanness, and The Six Pack Sprite. It’s OK though, once you lose the mindset of sitting around “hoping” “wishing” and “praying” to lose fat and start actually focusing on your goal the results will be much better. Really wanting something to happen is not enough. You’ve got to put in the work. And fat loss, like all other fitness pursuits, is hard work. All those years that you didn’t really care what you ate or how much working out you did, well that is what you need to undo with consistent action now.
So what would my actual answer to this question be? It certainly depends on the individual, but here are five can’t miss action steps that everyone can employ.
1. Get rid of all the junk food from your house. Fact: If it is within your vicinity you will eat it eventually.
2. Aim for 5 hours of exercise per week. To see the most dramatic results you must increase your activity level. This is about 43 minutes per day, and can even be split up if necessary. Do it, and don’t complain! We’re lucky to live somewhere where our lives are so convenient that we have to make time to physically move our bodies.
3. Go to bed. Sleep helps you recover from workouts, but it is also prime time for all of your muscle building and fat loss hormones to be produced. Docs say 7-9 hours is best, but just focus on getting more.
4. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil and write down exactly what your goal is. How are you going to achieve it if you don’t know what it is? That’s like driving somewhere without directions, or having a map without a destination circled. In real life you may reach your destination, but in all likelihood someone’s gonna end up stopping in a strange gas station to ask. Meanwhile your better half is sitting in the car ticked off that you didn’t know where you were going in the first place. I’m married, trust me, you don’t want to be that person.
5. Turn off the TV. I know, I know, so and so is being voted off the island. This week you’ll find out who McSteamy or McDreamy or Mickey Mouse will get into a relationship with. It’s the season premiere! It’s the season finale! Trust me, grab a hold of your TV cord, take a deep breath, and remove the plug from the power source. That wasn’t so hard was it? Besides, now you have plenty of time to take care of tips 1-4.
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