Get stronger. Period.
Countless people step into the gym, hire a personal trainer or worse try to train themselves using one of those crappy training programs floating on the internet. All in the hopes of losing weight and getting that chiseled physique.
Here’s the truth — the ones who step into the gym with no plan of action usually quit within 4 weeks. The ones who hire a personal trainer want to learn all the “hacks” from the trainer in the first three months while losing as much weight/fat and hope they can continue the gains later on. The result? It doesn’t fucking work.
Half of the population that tries one of those bodybuilding.com programs survive and actually lose fat while gaining lean muscle. The other half either get injured or get lured into anabolic steroids because it’s working for some of the personal training clients that they see in the gym. You know the kind — ripped, 8-pack abs and trains like a beast. And they say, “I’m totally natural, bro!”
But that’s not even the saddest part, which is overweight and obese people doing jumping jacks, run on the treadmill, dehydrating and starving themselves only to lose a bunch of weight. Which, by the way, they gain right back after a weekend binge.
I’m sick of all this because logically it doesn’t make any sense for me to make an overweight person run and diet as if their lives depended on them. Someone with excess weight is better off lifting weights than doing a 30-minute run on the treadmill or worse, on the road. Whoever said cardio is good for fat loss was a liar. It’s not. A healthy, balanced lifestyle that involves a blend of strategically chosen exercises and mindful eating is good for fat loss. There’s no replacement for that.
Weight training, specifically strength training is the best tool for this very purpose. It can do wonders to people carrying excess weight. I’ll let Nick Klemston, a Starting Strength Coach, explain this:
Obese trainees have more than likely already been living a sedentary lifestyle, resulting in a low base of strength to begin with. On the positive side, beginning at such a low baseline allows for quick increases in strength from the very beginning. If they are not able to initially perform full barbell exercises, many available options will allow them to begin building the strength they need.Starting Strength
Makes sense? That’s precisely why I would prescribe the following to an overweight trainee:
- Stick with the normal diet. Just clean it up, which means no fast food, no sweets, no alcoholic beverages. You can have them not more than 2 times in a month. (I usually fire them if they break this pact more than one time. And yes, I have them track their food every fucking day!)
- Run the starting strength novice linear progression plan (or the 40-day workout, which is my favourite) and have them do just that. The basic plan is to teach them how to lift with proper form and introduce new exercises/variations at the end of 4 weeks. The program is simple but not easy.
And that’s it!
No running, no huffing and puffing (though you would end up doing that after a hard set of deadlifts or squats), no jumping jacks like an ass, and no fooling around. The above strategy is what I usually would have any one do, particularly an overweight trainee.
I’ve personally experienced radical transformation through this approach. I used to weight close to a 100 kilos before I started strength training seriously. The novice LP was my first program through which I lose close to 28 kilos though I didn’t get as stronger as I could have. Part reason was that I was following the slow-carb diet, which wasn’t needed. The program usually calls for a high calorie diet, so you basically eat by feel and not by obligation or restriction. My approach clearly messed up my strength gains but I did lose a significant amount of weight.
Some of my peers have followed my prescribed approach for some amazing gains (both strength and fat loss). And the best part is that they all got hooked to powerlifting, although the Starting Strength Novice LP is a general strength training program.
Regardless, my hope is that the personal training world would simply things for the trainees and take this logical approach to losing weight. Getting stronger has more benefits than losing weight/fat (which you eventually do, anyway) and lacking energy to actually enjoy your life.
Power to you!