Updated: Mar 30, 2020
As 2020 arrived, we revisited that familiar process of creating goals. Goals for the new decade, vision boards to aspire us to elevate our thinking to the next level, and a renewed ambition to be better than the year prior. And, as with any new year’s goals, we dreadfully and without fail added the resolution: WEIGHT LOSS. This, under the osmosis that “I’m going to lose this 20 pounds and get back into those size 4 jeans,” or, “This year, I’m getting that 6-pack”.
The majority of us have that “weight loss” goal, that is unless you are a stage competitor, bodybuilder, or elite athlete. In which case, your goal is to increase the diameter of your biceps and reduce the inches of your waistline, turning your 6-pack into an 8-pack.
Why is it that we all struggle with that same goal? Why is it that year after year, decade after decade we can’t stick with that goal of working out? Many say it’s because we haven’t clearly defined our “why”. World-renowned motivational speaker Les Brown’s “why” was his adopted mother. He was determined to financially support her for all that she did for him and his adopted siblings.
During an interview with (widely-recognized speed-reading and accelerated learning coach) Jim Kwik, his guest, Dandapani’s said his ten-month-old daughter was his passion in life. Because his interest is spending as much time as possible with his daughter, he uses discipline to structure his life and uses willpower to create that discipline.
Connecting our “whys” with a positive physical or mental perspective is also helpful. Tony Robbins says that instead of envisioning things that we need to conquer as a task or something difficult, alter your mindset. Don’t say, “I need to work out” shift your thinking to “I’m creating my hotness” or “I’m bringing my sexy back”.
These principles sound good, but as life happens and we continue to age, how do you put those principles in action? I’m learning that the older I get the more this weight loss thing IS a science, not an art. During my younger days, the art consisted of performing a few exercises to transform my body into a masterpiece (even if I didn’t eat so well). After a certain age, however, the reality is that my body is working more against me than for me, and I have to get control of it before it gets control of me.
So how can we get control of our bodies? For some quick fitness hacks, I interviewed Fran Thomas, Certified Nutrition Specialist, IFBB Professional Bodybuilder, Licensed Coach, Master Trainer and owner of Franchise Fitness. Despite all the illustrious titles, Mr. Thomas is a genuine and committed coach. He wants you to succeed and from my coaching sessions with him, I noticed that he creates well-thought-out meal plans and work out routines that will have you in shape within a reasonable time frame if you stick to the plan. Notice, I said “reasonable”.
That’s right! Don’t think that you are going to walk into his office saying you need to lose 30 pounds in two weeks. Nope! He fully assesses your goals, your current activity levels, and what you are willing to commit to before providing you with the necessary regimen. His supportive, yet no-nonsense approach distinguishes him from other trainers. He’s extremely knowledgeable about weight-lifting, healthy eating, and how the body functions. Maybe that’s why he’s been successfully training and coaching both groups and individuals throughout the last three decades.
I asked Mr. Thomas some of the most commonly asked questions. I think you’ll be able to glean a few points to support your path to wellness and nutrition for 2020 and beyond. As a reminder, consult your doctor or a professional before starting any extreme weight loss plan.
How important are calories when it comes to weight loss?
“Be in a caloric deficit. It is that simple! No matter what methods people choose to employ, you will not lose weight until your body is burning more calories than it is taking in. In working with clients I start with a simplistic approach to weight loss: tracking and holding one’s self-accountable for the primary macro-nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and fiber.”
I don’t eat that much during the day, but still am not losing weight. That “caloric deficit” concept is not true.
“Losing weight is a science, not an art. Our bodies are machines and so they know how to process food just as our brains know how to process information. Eating smaller meals often can program your body into a small furnace. It will metabolize and burn whatever is consumed all day long, instead of storing it as energy which would only later turn into fat. Think of it this way: If we keep a car running all day long, it eventually runs out of gas, burning through all of its petroleum. However, if we shut it off and on three times a day that gas is saved and stored. We do not want to “store” anything. We want to utilize the nutrients that we eat, as we eat them, eliminate those that we do not need, and then repeat it throughout the entire day.”
I’m working out but I’m gaining weight
“Don’t get frustrated, this is part of the process. Generally speaking, if you are in a caloric deficit, you should lose weight. Over time you may begin to plateau, or no longer see a significant change in weight loss. Some even begin to gain weight at this point. But that is not necessarily a bad thing because muscle is heavier than fat. If you are replacing 5 pounds of fat with 5 pounds of muscle, then your body should appear and feel different, better, and improved. The scale is not the only way to measure progress. Other factors, however, may be due to predetermined genetics or health reasons. If you continue to struggle in this space, I would strongly encourage you to consult with a certified nutritionist or health coach.”
As a female, I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to look manly
“The older we get the more our body starts to turn into fat. It is critical to lift weights because the resistance exercises will help to strengthen our heart by promoting blood flow. Proper balance and guidance will improve the chances of reaching your goals. Additionally, a well-prepared training program will help you reach the aesthetic goals that you desire to attain."
Why is meal preparation so important?
“We do not know all of the ingredients that are added to food at restaurants. Yes, it’s brown rice, but they added a stick of butter to enhance the flavor. Also, the portions will vary with each restaurant, food weighs one amount before it is prepared compared to after it is prepared. Understanding the number of ounces in a protein or carbohydrate is very important when making food selections. While going out and enjoying meals at restaurants occasionally is fine, it may result in many more calories than needed. Meal preparation is best for optimum results. One of my clients is a bit extreme, but she packs her food and eats that while her friends order from the menu. It saves her money and inches.”
I can’t afford a trainer
“We’re in a time where everyone is becoming more sedentary. Think active thoughts. Even if you’re at your child’s game, take walks during half time. During television commercials jump up, run in place, do sit-ups, pushups, and jumping jacks. The basics work and you will eventually create time to improve your fitness with more challenging exercises. Also, leverage social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook! Much is at our disposal to the point that the market is over-saturated with data that we can quickly access with the simple click of a button. We no longer have to wait for videotapes, the latest print magazines, or late-night infomercials to learn introductory concepts and strategies to work out or lose weight. Having said that, always be sure to evaluate and research the source of information.”
What tools or gadgets do you recommend?
“My Fitness Pal or some similar tracking tool is very helpful. Tools such as these include scanners to capture and generate everything about your groceries including calories and other nutritional facts.
“I don’t leave home without my headphones, music and my Selfie-Z. I like Selfie-Z because it enables hands-free music, photos, and videos. My clients use it to take before and after photos hands-free and to ensure proper work out form for competitions.
Selfie-Z Case and Band (www.selfiez.me)
“Resistance bands (such as the ones linked here) are another good addition to your work out regimen and an excellent alternative in the event you are unable to get to the gym. Resistance bands are also a good option to use while at the gym to improve strength while waiting for a machine to free up.
“A large water bottle is important because proper and consistent hydration throughout the day is a key component to wellness. Eighty ounces per day is typically recommended, but I encourage my clients to consume 100 to 120 ounces per day given increased work out activity, which results in additional fluid loss. It also helps to curb your appetite!
“Identify a support team! Find like-minded individuals with the same goals as you and make sure that they are consistently meeting and improving their own fitness and well-being.
“Purchase Tupperware (or glassware) to assist with meal preparation. Preparing meals in advance will expedite weight loss and result in an improved physique overall. It will also help you save a lot of money!
“Finally, invest in some work out clothes. You feel better when you look better, and when you look better you feel better, even if you aren’t happy with your current physique.” Popular brands like Nike and Adidas are reliable. But you can often find less expensive brands (like Fengbay or IUGA) that are just as fashionable and made with durable fabric.
If you’re in search of a solid regimen to achieve your fitness goals and a coach that’s committed to seeing you succeed, contact Mr. Thomas and Franchise Fitness at FaceBook: Fran Chot Thomas or Instagram: f_t_mas. If you don’t believe me, check out photos on his pages of him and his clients. You will be amazed and motivated to achieve your fitness goals in 2020 and beyond!
Want more tips on weight loss and nutrition? This is one of several articles. Type your comments and we’ll address in a future article.
Fran Thomas, Certified Nutrition Specialist, IFBB Professional Bodybuilder, Licensed Coach, Master Trainer, and owner of Franchise Fitness
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