Losing weight seems to be a simple enough solution to our obesity problems, yet it has also proven to be quite difficult to apply in practice. In mathematical terms, written down on paper it looks pretty easy: x fewer calories*proper nutrition + y amount of calories burned through regular exercise =weight lost. Yet somehow getting even one of those things right for an extended period of time is incredibly difficult or else everyone and their mom would be in fitness model shape.
Since you don’t see many people walking around with under 10% body fat it is safe to assume that the majority of people are somewhat lazy, under motivated, pressed for time or simply find the conventional wisdom confusing and unrewarding. Maybe it’s just too difficult to keep living like you are a part of some sort of secret government program to create a superhuman soldier. You know what I’m talking about – shopping for very specific food items, measuring them, cooking special meals, having a meal schedule, a workout schedule and fitting in your job and family/relationship can be quite stressful.
That is why people often quit, too much to think about, too much to do and too little time. Sure if you were an unstoppable workout machine and had no desires or cravings outside of exercising, working and resting you could pull it off, but this is a good way to go insane. Judging by what I have heard and read in interviews of some of the fitness trainers out there, a good 50% of them are borderline crazy and another 25% have bought some prime real estate in Cuckoo Land. It can be so consuming this search for the perfect health and a sexy body that it can consume a person’s social life, until it’s just you and three other guys in trainers eating nuts and berries and talking about pull-up repetitions and 100 meter dash times.
The lazy person’s way
Luckily there is a way to get in shape with only a few hours a week worth of gym time, an hour or two a day of some light activity and some very simple diet changes that will require you to spend less than an hour daily in the kitchen. No it’s not magic and no you won’t be losing more than a pound or two a week, but it is a scientifically sound method of gradually losing weight. And since this is a lazy person’s guide, I’m guessing you’re used to taking your sweet time to get anything done, so losing weight in the span of a year of light to moderate activity every now and again shouldn’t sound too bad. It’s better than trying to go for a 50 pound weight loss in a few months and then quitting after a couple of weeks and comfort eating out of disappointment. Here are the steps that lead to victory, slow, gradual victory.
1 Why count calories when others can do it for you?
I have two words for you here: meal replacement. I’m guessing you’ll want a little more information than that. Well meal replacement is kind of like it sounds: you replace your regular meals with meals that others have prepared for you. Now these meals are designed to keep you in a constant state of calorie deficit, so you will be eating about 500 less than you need to remain at the same weight each day. During the course of the week this adds up to about a pound, pound and a half of lost belly fat. In addition you are getting meals that have the proper nutrition your body needs, so you will be perfectly healthy albeit slightly hungry during your diet. Now the way this works is that you pay a company, Nutrisystem, a company with a successful diet and meal replacement program behind it being the most notable one, some money and you get three square meals a day, for an entire month. Each meal is in a neat little microwaveable package so you are never more than a few minutes away from a full meal.
As you can imagine, diet food is not all that sweet, salty and rich in fat, but they do a really good job of keeping it interesting and spicing it up. They have a bunch of recipes available on their websites and you can even find small desserts and snacks. A good amount of food items are cooked and then frozen right away, so once you microwave it you’ll get pretty much the equivalent of a meal that’s spent a night in the fridge and has then been reheated, which is perfectly acceptable. Remember if you could be trusted near a frying pan with a bunch carefully selected and carefully measured ingredients you wouldn’t be looking for a lazy guide to dieting on the internet.
If you can manage to look past the fact that they don’t exactly send a skilled chef to your house to shop and cook for you with the freshest local ingredients (although even if they did, it could turn out to be Gordon Ramsey, so you might be better off with microwave meals) you will be amazed how simple it is to follow your diet plan. You just pop it in the microwave, eat, then weight for your next meal and repeat as necessary. In addition you it will cost you less than a month of eating takeout food, ice cream, candy and drowning in soda.
2 Work out for maximum muscle gain
Despite what conventional wisdom will have you believe, you don’t have to do massive amounts of running and cycling to get your cardio exercise quota, and you don’t even need that much cardio any way. Losing weight is about 70% diet, and since we have that covered let’s look at some easy muscle building methods. Yes that’s right, the more muscle you have the more calories the body is going to be burning, and you don’t need light weights with a lot of repetitions to get fit. You want to make your workouts short but intense. Now I said this plan will require very little time devoted on your part, but the time you actually devote you will need to go 100% and pump that iron like a wild Neanderthal.
You will be hitting a specific large muscle group in the gym each session with about three sessions per week. The maximum muscle can be packed on the legs, back and chest so most strength and muscle mass building exercise routines center on those muscle groups. The main exercises will be:
- Deadlift variations
- Bench presses
The goal is to go for 5-10 repetitions on each exercise, so you’ll need to find a weight that suits you initially, and as soon as you can hit the upper limit (10 reps) on a specific exercise you will be adding more weight. Pull-ups and dips are bodyweight exercises so you should try to get to 15 repetitions per set before using additional weight. Adding more and more weight every week and getting in the most repetitions every set is the key to successfully building up muscle tissue. Since you will need a lot of fuel for the muscles to repair you can get away with having a little more calories, but it is best you use a protein supplement and drink it as a shake before and after the workouts, since the meal replacement will restrict calories severely. If the exercises are done in quick succession with very little rest in between not only will you spend less time at the gym, but your cardio-vascular system will be getting the workout of its life, no running require. Here is a sample workout bodybuilders use to keep the most muscle on while cutting weight.
3 Walk and stretch regularly during the day
The most important thing about burning calories through exercise is that it’s all about the total score. This means that a bunch of 5-10 minute stretching and rope jumping sessions will add up to an hour of exercise at the end of the day. So you will hardly even feel you’re doing something but your body will notice the difference. Additionally you will be moving around every hour or two so you will avoid developing back problems, joint pains and a bunch of other issues linked to sitting for extended periods of time. If you are doing your exercises in quick succession, this hour of additional activity will be more than enough for your body to burn calories.
On the days when you don’t train avoid drinking too much protein supplement and in addition to your short routines incorporate a long walk at one point during the day. If you have a dog you can take him for a nice long walk and then play with him in the yard. If you have kids get a ball and hit the back yard for half an hour. Instead of watching TV you can play some Nintendo Wii or Kinect to burn some calories while relaxing. Even reading while standing up will help, or you can play a movie on your smartphone instead of the computer and walk around the house while you watch it, it doesn’t have to be a stroll along the beach to be effective.
Ivan Dimitrijevic is a blogger who likes to lead a healthy lifestyle and take care of his body. Amongst other things he enjoys writing on health and weight loss related topics like meal delivery services in which he has personal experience, and has had many articles published in this niche. Ivan is a family man who always looks to improve his knowledge and has been known to write articles in other fields as well, some of which include online business, self-improvement and family life.