So, you have made the decision.
Sometimes quite a scary one.
To try to lose some weight and get a fitter and healthier.
First of all, good for you, that’s awesome! Quite often it’s just getting started that’s the hardest part. If you really want to make progress though, please learn from my (and some of my clients’ mistakes).
My name is Mark Newcombe, you may already know a little about me as I am helping Steve in his free facebook group and I was recently on The Macros, Bodybuilding & Powerlifting Podcast with Steve the past week. If you aren’t part of the group or you missed the podcast, I definitely recommend you check them out, but as a way of introduction just know I am a Personal Trainer who has battled with poor health in the past.
Oh and I have lost over 50lbs of fat.
The Start of My Journey
You see, I’ve been overweight in the past……….really over weight.
Today, I’m sitting writing this article weighing 167lbs but it wasn’t so long ago I was ~250lbs.
Having always been into sports, I was pretty active growing up. Never really carried any weight, although I was never a ‘skinny’ kid either – somewhere in the middle.
This continued until I left school and got a job as an electrician. As I served my time working in a ship yard, I did start to gain weight as I was eating the same kinds of foods as the guys I was working with, e.g fast food, baked goods, sweets and crisps…….probably one too many beers at the weekend also.
I didn’t really notice my weight gain until I looked at a picture of myself on a night out in town.
I was pretty shocked at how I looked. It was then I started thinking about losing some weight. I joined a gym and set out on a mission to shed a few pounds, by this point, my weight was around 185lbs.
I followed various fad diets and crazes and although I cringe and even laugh at some of the things I was doing, I actually did ok…I lost some weight.
Just as I was getting serious about training and paying a little more attention to my diet, I started to feel weak and tired in the gym. After a while of going back and forth to a doctor, I was finally diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in August 2011.
The shock was unreal….I was only 23 and I thought I was healthy.
9 months of chemotherapy almost every other day followed, along with a 2.5 years of maintenance chemotherapy every single day. A total of almost 3 years of my life on a drug that, although cured me, wrecked my body.
It was at this stage I reached the ~250lb bodyweight mark.
I was severely over weight, unable to walk for any distance and climbing stairs was an absolute no no! I was so down in the dumps with the whole thing by the time I recovered, I knew I had to do something to make me feel like me again.
I once again, started to take consideration into my diet.
Painfully Slow Progress
I started with a walk around the house a couple of times per day. Then a 5-10 minute walk around the garden. Something I still love to do now and take it for granted, but back then it was agony and exhausting.
I soon built up the strength to walk around my street and got out as much as I could.
I was so damn determined to succeed with this fat loss and health goal that I just got my head down and got on with it – day by day – nothing was going to stop me. I turned to the only real resources I knew about for dieting tips; magazines and newspapers.
Whatever the latest fad or craze at the time, I was doing it!
I wanted the weight off as quickly as possible and I was in no mood to be patient.
That’s one of the reasons I feel like I really relate to my clients.
I’ve been there before. I know what it feels like to want the end result now but I also know how much better things got with a little bit of patience and education and it’s this empowerment I try to pass on. I can specifically remember thinking that there must be a better way to get results. Although I was seeing changes in my body, it was minimal and it was taking forever.
Mark ‘Revived Stronger’
It wasn’t until I finally made an investment, both with my time and money to understand more about nutrition and training that I really started see the progress I wanted. Before that investment, I didn’t even know what a calorie was. I just thought I had to eat as little food as possible.
Through education though, I started to learn and understand calories and macronutrients. I learned the importance of energy balance and thermodynamics along with how vital micronutriton is. With all this new knowledge and my stubbornness to not give up, I achieved what I’d set out to do, in fact more than that.
I lost all the weight I had gained during the 3.5 years of chemo and various other treatments and got so much stronger. I got my confidence back and felt great.
I also went on to retrain as a personal trainer and start my own business coaching people who were going through similar things I was in the past. Not necessarily cancer but the feeling of being lost and frustrated with fat loss. People who seem to be putting in a lot of effort and trying their best but just not seeing the results they want or deserve.
I remember when I started to become more educated and see my own change in body composition, it felt good. Actually, it felt amazing. I knew right then that I wanted to help our people experience that feeling. I wanted to help.
If You Can Only Do 5 Things to Aid Fat Loss
If you’re starting out or going through a phase with your diet where nothing much is happening and you’re becoming a little frustrated, here are some quick tips that will hopefully help you.
- Get a rough idea of your calorie requirements to maintain your current body weight. There are loads of online calorie counters that will give you an estimated TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) value. Although I must say these calculators may be way off and out by up to 500 calories per day, they may also be pretty close to what you actually need. At the very least, you know have a ball park figure that you can monitor and adjust as you go. Whatever your TDEE comes out at, try reducing that by 150-250 calories per day and stick with it for a 2-3 weeks before making any changes. You can use Steve’s calculation here.
- Weigh in every morning under the same conditions. I would suggest first thing, after you have been to the toilet and before you eat or drink anything. Take your weekly average and look to be dropping around 1.5-0.5% of your overall body weight depending on how lean you are. If you’re already pretty lean, under 15% body fat, the lower end may be best to prevent losing muscle and if you have quite a bit of body fat to lose the 1.5% or even a little higher loss per week would be ok. Other methods of tracking progress are also useful and probably even better than weight. Things like progress photos, girth measurements and the way clothes fit are all great tools for fat loss tracking. Also, don’t forget the way you feel within yourself – if you feel you’re getting leaner, you probably are!
- Keep your diet high in protein. Including a protein source at every meal will help you keep fuller for longer. Along with helping to repair and maintain muscle the thermic effect of protein is the highest of all the macros too. That means more calories being used while digesting you food = win.
- Set up a realistic exercise programme. When you’re first starting out, you don’t want to go and try to commit to working out every day. You want to make sure that you get to the end of the week having hit your planned workouts and be proud of that. If you have programmed 6 sessions and only done 3, you’re going to feel guilty about it. If you’re sure you can do 3 sessions per week, plan for 3 and hit 3! Again monitor and adjust as you go.
- The last one is a pretty important one – Set goals.
I like smart goals and use them with some of my clients.
S = specific M = measurable A = achievable R = realistic T = time bound
Honestly, write that down somewhere and keep it.
Specific – I want to lose weight isn’t specific enough. How about giving it a little more – I want to lose 20lbs. That’s pretty specific.
Measurable – So how are you going to measure your progress? I suggest the daily weigh-ins as described above.
Achievable – Don’t set yourself up for failure! Make sure whatever the goal, it’s achievable.
Realistic and time bound kind of go hand in hand – Like keeping it achievable, you want a realistic goal and realistic amount of time to get there. Losing 20lbs of fat in 2 weeks along with building significant muscle is pretty unrealistic. Losing 20lbs of fat in 20 weeks and getting yourself ready to gain muscle is much more realistic and attainable within the given time period.
If you have 5, pretty simple things in place, you will already be giving yourself a great chance of success. All you need after that is a little hard work and patience.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this. If you would like any help with getting started on your own fat loss journey just get in touch.
Do you need any help with the above? Do you have any questions you need answering? Hopefully it gave you the kick you needed to start getting results.
Join my free facebook group or add me on snapchat (revivestronger) and ask your question there, I will respond asap. Or if you’re after a fresh training programme I have a free 4 week plan using DUP that you can download for free here.
More from Mark
- Snapchat: marknewcombe
- Instagram: mark_newcombe88
One more thing…
Do you have a friend who would love the above? Share this article with them and let me know what they think.
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