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Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ask the Opera Bro: How to lose 30lbs

How to lose thirty pounds.

So, I'm usually not immensely helpful to people looking for a unique way to lose weight. Or wanting a secret. I don't think there are really any "secrets" to losing weight. The secret is that you have to burn more calories than you eat. You do this with either exercise or diet or a combination of the two. However, there are multiple ways to go about achieving this variable.

The other day I was asked somewhat passively on my Facebook "How do I lose 30lbs." 

Well, as I've mentioned before in this YouTube video, there are lots of roads to Graceland.

For this post I'm going to show you three ways to go about losing 30lbs and how two of them probably won't stick.


Method 1.) Calorie Restriction and cardio


You google "how to lose weight" and then feel embarrassed for a second. You feel like you're admitting you have a problem in AA. But, you swallow your pride and read on. You come across numerous really easy to read articles that say "eat fewer calories! Eat 500 calories less than your maintenance to lose a pound a week."



You feel empowered! You start right away...well, tomorrow. You've downloaded myfitnesspal to your phone and you start tracking your calories.

You're sticking to it! You start losing weight! You feel great and confident and then you start adding exercise. Nothing too crazy, some elliptical here and there. 

Then, your weight loss stalls. You look up on google why? They say you have a new set of maintenance calories with your new weight. So, you cut more calories, and eager to continue losing weight you add more cardio.

This cycle continues for a while. Cardio and calorie cutting, Cardio and calorie cutting. All the while, you're getting more and more tired. Calorie dense food looks so good. You just want to sit down to a meal that you don't have to plug into your phone. But, you set out to do something, and you will do it.

So, you continue this until you've reached your goal, you are happy with your weight! You could lose more, but you're happy with the way you look now, especially compared to how you used to look. Suddenly your pictures that pop up on facebook from that party you were at last week look great! You've definitely lost weight and you feel good about how you were able to stick to something.

Then, life happens.

Your weight loss goal was met. You don't have as much motivation to frequent the gym and continue restricting calories. You indulge here and there, and then a little more. And then a little more. You had a bad day at work, your friends birthday party, Christmas, insert national holiday, it just looked too good to say "no."

It doesn't happen overnight, it may not happen in a week or two, it may happen over the course of a year, but you gain back that weight and a little more.



Method 2.) The specialty diet


You want to lose weight, but you hate having to count calories or numbers. You're ready to eat healthy, eat right and lose weight. 

You google how to lose weight. At first you have to sift through the articles that tell you to cut calories. You hate them and they are stupid. 

Suddenly you come across something different. The paleo/Atkins/slow carb/low carb/no fat/keto/insert hated food group diet. 

You're reading up on it and you're seeing lots of great testimonials. Disciples of dietary doctrine. You're sold. You head to the store and drop half or all of your paycheck to fill your fridge with acceptable foods, saying goodbye to all the junk food that made you sad. Giving them the bird as you pitch them in the trash.

At first, you feel great. You know how to eat "right" you know what foods are bad and will make you fat. Fuck those foods? Am I right?

Even the fuckin carbs are confused about who is good and bad.


You're doing wonderfully...but then you realize something, you miss those foods. They are everywhere. Suddenly those off limits foods sound good. You didn't even like pasta before...but now you're having dreams about it??

But, the diet is working. You're losing weight! You're able to turn your nose up on those rolls at dinner. You've even started preaching the good word of your diet. You've changed and you're just trying to let everyone know that their food is bad for them. But, a part of you reallllly wants to eat about twelve krispy Kreme donuts on your way home.

You suffer until you reach your goal. You're down 30lbs, you feel good, you look better. You're a little more tired than usual, and you're really tired of meat and veggies, but it was worth it!!!!

So, you've achieved your initial goals and you're stuck with either continuing eating this way or cheating. You decided one day to celebrate a little and cheat. You go a little too far and you get sick. You think "This dirty food is really that bad for you! It made me so sick! Damn carbs and sugars, they must cause cancer. They are why society is so screwed up!" But, until you got sick, you did enjoy eating those bad foods. You think about how good they tasted night and day. So, you cheat just a little bit more and you don't get as sick. Then you do it again, and again, and again, and again. Then you continue to do so until you're eating "junk food" every day.

A Year later, you're heavier than you ever were. You kind of feel miserable, and you're waiting to build up the mental endurance to begin that specialty diet again. You remember how hard it was and you really don't want to have to do it again. But you know that it's the "Healthiest" way to eat, and that when you're older and a little more responsible, you'll eat better. Someday.


Method 3.) The Turtle Approach


You want to lose weight. But, you want to lead a normal life, you want results with the time and resources you have. You don't want to demonize any food group, you want to be able to enjoy a chocolate bar every now and then and you want to understand why you gained so much weight, how you can get it off your body and keep it off without having to say "No, thank you" every time you go out to eat with family or friends.

I like turtles.


You start by doing research, you go to google, you look at a few things, you look into multiple resources, some info and arguments for and against all of the diets, get frustrated and start to think nothing works. Then you type in the words "Flexible Diet." Thats when you stumble on this concept of flexibile dieting, IIFYM, and the basic science behind the importance of Proteins, carbs, and fats in your diet and how each of these macro nutrients affects your body/how you can manipulate them to create the aesthetic you've wanted for years.

But as you continue to read up on things, you understand that to obtain the physical goals you want, you need to invest more than just your time in the kitchen, you need to start working out towards those goals. You join a gym that is somewhat affordable, offers flexible hours, no contractual requirements and has people to help you with your form or when you have questions.

At first dieting is hard, because it's confusing and you don't understand it, but you stay vigilante and start to become enamored with what you can eat and still remain in your macro nutrient numbers. You're no longer eating tubs of ice cream on accident, but having two servings of ice cream and losing weight while doing so is making you giddy.

You're not as consistent as you'd like to be at first with your training, because you don't really understand why you're doing it. So you look into effective ways to do more in less time at the gym. You look into High Intensity Cardio and Strength training. It sounds hard, and you're a little intimidated at first. You didn't do anything like this in high school, and you're not looking to become an athlete, you just want to be thinner and happier with your appearance. You look into it more, and you begin to see the science and understanding behind why it helps weight loss. Now you're sold. 

At first it's hard and embarrassing. You're not sure how to do some things. It's all scary and new and sometimes it hurts. But you're learning new things every workout. Suddenly people recognize you at the gym and give you a nod of approval. You're gettin all kinds of respect.

Before you know it, you're really liking the way you look. Like...really really liking it. When you take your shirt off you're literally surprised to see your abs, to see that you have a chest. What the hell? Well, it must be working...I'll keep with it and see where it goes.

Over the course of the next few months you see progress after progress after progress. Not just in your physique, but in your lifts, in your demeanor, in your health. You're a different person. Suddenly that person being rude to you in line at walmart seems like a peon because you're able to look at them with a smile, say "I'm sorry, please, go ahead of me in line" because it would be too bad for you to have to crush them like you did that 400lb deadlift the other day.

Your food life couldn't be better. In order for you not to lose more than a pound a day you're having to eat upwards of 300 grams of carbs a day. You've found the most effective way to get this in is with ice cream and cereal mixed into a big bowl with some fat free whipped cream. Don't worry, you add your own fats with peanut butter.

The Truth...


If you haven't caught on, this is my exact history in fitness...more or less. I've lost 30lbs more than once. In fact, in three separate instances I've committed to something, lost a fair amount of weight and two of those times I rebounded into a fatter version of myself. It's only now after my third try where I invested more than just a moment to researching something that was to become so important to me that I found the lifestyle that I live today with much vigor. I tried comitting to calorie restriction and cardio and I tried to committing to a specialty diet. Both of them worked in some regard, but because I was clueless and easily swayed from the demanding lifestyle, I couldn't maintain it.

Why Didn't These Work and Why Don't They Work?


I'm convinced very few people can survive mentally with less than 2000 calories a day. 1500 if you're a woman. There are exceptions to the rule, there always are. But, that's why they are exceptions. 

Restricting calories is the nature of any weight loss game, however, most people who diet for extended periods realize that the calorically dense foods aren't worth feeling hungry all day for. So you try to eat "clean to get more satiation" but that doesn't stop the cravings. You groan every time you see a donut at 7-11. You know it never tastes as good as it looks, but fuck, you still want it. You could bring in scientific things and talk about leptin levels and the sort, but when you're over a certain body fat percentage, that really doesn't come as much into play as much as basic habit and social programming. It becomes a mental game. You're constantly restricting, and at the end of the day, you just want to feel normal and happy. Being the slightly skinnier version of yourself doesn't seem worth it after a certain point.

Weight Training is Key. 


I'm not even fussing around with this game anymore, if you're serious about losing weight and keeping it off, you need to lift weights. I don't care what your opinions are about people that lift weights or what your friends told you or what you read on google that one time, lifting weights is the success story waiting to happen. You think you're going to get big and bulky? You don't have the genes, the knowledge, or the will power to make that a reality if you don't want it bad enough. Lifting weights 3-4 times a week, increasing the weight you lift every week in combination with a high protein, moderate carb and fat diet is going to yield incredible results. You'll lose weight, you'll put on just the right amount of muscle, and you'll be eating more food than you were when you were starving yourself on that never ending treadmill. In the next couple of days I'm going to release a success story that I've been a part of (It's not me), and I hope it will show you that this isn't some kind of scam to get more people into the gym. *UPDATE: HERE IT IS*
From Left to Right: July 2013, February 2014, April 2014
The truth is this: I'm not looking to help people lose that little bit of holiday fat, I'm looking to help people reach the best shape of their lives and to stay that way year round. I want people to be able to eat what they want to eat and look damn good doing it. To do incredible things with their physiques and their training while kicking ass at their careers, their family life, and whatever other pursuits they desire. I've done the little tricks, the stupid quick fixes and the specialty things. They aren't worth it. They never were.

Take from this post what you will. You can do whatever diet and fitness program you'd like. You take your results where you can get them. If you want that cardio all day, low calorie life, Do it. If you want that crossfit, no carb eating life, have it. You can join dozens of like minded people who have the cash to live that lifestyle. Truly, I don't mind having lots of space in the weight room. It's rather enjoyable. I caught myself singing a phrase from Don Giovanni quite loudly the other day whilst putting on my weighted belt for Chin-ups, but luckily nobody was around to notice. The Opera Bro is like batman around here, can't be caught singing at the gym or everybody will want me to go to their birthday parties as a novelty act.

Whats worth it to me? Eating like a champion, lifting heavy weight, and admiring the work. But again, that's just me.

May 9th, 2014
This, brought to you by -

Post Workout Nutrition: On Point.


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