So, whenever someone asks me for advice in the gym, on the street or on Facebook/Twitter, it usually starts with “Dan, i’m doing this right and that right and my diet is pretty good, but i’m not seeing results… why?”
Now again, usually, these are people who are overweight and/or very overweight and given my past, my journey and who i am, i massively sympathise with each and everyone one of them.
There are however, some VERY CONSISTENT errors and 99% of the people looking for help all do them and i wanted to outline them to further help people.
Now please bear in mind, that the following advice is aimed at those who are very overweight. I’m not talking about a few KG – i’m talking to those who have a few stone or more to lose.
1 – STOP RUNNING!
I see this too often and i will actually stop people in the gym when i see this. If you are largely overweight, the last thing you want to be doing is running. Why?
When we run, we push up to 5 times our bodyweight through our joints. Ankles – Knees – Hips – Spine – Shoulders and even neck.
Lets take me for an example – at my heaviest i was 143kg – lets call it 140kg for easier math. This means when i ran my ankles and knees were subjected to over half a ton of force for each step.
I see it time and time again. People want to lose weight and start running. Now i’m not suggesting running isn’t good, but for those who are really heavy then its the worst thing to do. You will get injured, ache and this will contribute to you stopping your new journey – i assure you.
What you SHOULD be doing is LOW IMPACT cardio – Cross trainers, bikes, rowing machines etc. You will still burn a great amount of calories, still work hard but the forces on your joints are massively reduced and healthier for you.
2 – EAT MORE FATS & PROTEIN
The odds are your diet is mainly carbohydrate based and thus your body is probably lacking good healthy fats and proteins. Simply increasing these two sources or nutrition will not only make you feel so much better, but your body will become more hormonally responsive and stable. As a result, you will become fuller for longer and less likely to eat as many carbs.
I’m not suggesting carbs are a bad thing. However, typically, someone who is very overweight could do with bringing their carb quantity down a lot. I’m yet to meet and overweight person who eats little carbs and got fat from eating too much healthy fats and proteins.
3 – BE CONSISTENT
This is by far the BIGGEST problem. Overweight people find it incredibly hard to be consistent at any one thing. Why? Well its quite simple…. of course, if you’ve been there you will know this.
Emotionally and psychologically the stresses that you will go through when embarking on a new journey is immense. The moment you see the scales not move, or measurements not come down, or someone looks at your weird, or you don’t feel like you are getting fitter, or you are getting bored…. then you fall off the wagon. I know… i’ve been there and i’ve done it HUNDREDS of times.
The key however, and its the hardest key to use, is to ignore all of the above and keep doing what you are doing. Being consistent with something is the key to ANY success.
4 – IGNORE THE SCALES
One of the lovely government plagues here. All men should eat 2,500 kcals and all women should eat 2,000kcal a day right? And all men & women should be in a certain weight bracket, right? Because our BMI determines if we’re healthy or overweight… right?
NO! WRONG! I’m currently very lean and 5 weeks out from a photoshoot…. i’m 107kg and according to the BMI i’m still obese.
My scales drop VERY slowly, even though i’m dieting, yet i’ve learnt over the years to ignore these.
The body is an immensely complex machine. It does some crazy things at times and the scales simply DO NO REFLECT YOUR PROGRESS. They can help… sure. However, you will get to a point where the scales can become redundant and they will hinder your progress mentally.
As you become healthier, you will become more hydrated. Gain muscle. Bone density will increase. Store more energy in your muscles.
These are ALL elements that will make you HEAVIER! However, have no impact on fat loss. So ignore them… in fact, my biggest advice FOR EVERYONE is to throw the scales in the bin. They cause more problems than anything i know.
5 – STOP GOING OUT TO SOCIAL EVENTS THAT HAVE FOOD ON OFFER
This sounds extreme. However, its a short term pain for long term pleasure. You’re overweight. You have an emotional issue with food. We know this. When we are sad we overeat. When we are happy and comfortable, we overeat. These are the facts of being very overweight.
So for the short term, until you have become mentally stronger and will-power improves, then social events that contain food should be avoided.
6 – FIRE YOUR PERSONAL TRAINER
I see this daily as one of the two gyms i go two has TERRIBLE personal trainers and its common in 99% of commercial gyms. Too many trainers getting overweight people to do fucking stupid exercises that are dangerous and again will cause you to not only hate your sessions, but also cause injury.
I saw a personal trainer at my gym getting a very overweight male to do weight bodyweight lunges.
Now, remember what we said about running, above. Same principle applies here. With a lunge you are purposely forcing the weight through mainly 1 leg. Then add your own bodyweight to that, as well as the weight on your back from the barbell and then throw in the instability as the users core & ankles are weak and untrained and you have a lovely recipe for someone to fall over and hurt themselves. Lets not forget about the added embarrassment for the person.
Funnily enough i haven’t seen him back in the gym since. I wonder why!
Obviously, there are thousands of amazing PTs out there, so i am generalising with the above statement. But i do see it all the time – a standard commercial PT just doesn’t know how to train an overweight person, its just a very real reality and 75% of people going to commercial gyms are very overweight… you see the issues here!
7 – DON’T REWARD YOURSELF WITH FOOD
Again, a big mistake here. Too many times i hear this. Someone has a good week on their diet and then celebrates their 2-3lbs of weight loss with a curry or pizza.
Mentally, psychologically and emotionally overweight people need to work as hard on their relationship with food (see point 8 below) as much as they do with their training and diet.
Even to this day there are some foods i cant afford to eat as they bring back too many bad memories as soon as i take a bite and i cant handle the emotional response after it.
You are also not a dog. Why treat yourself with food? If you’re going to treat yourself, do it with something much better – a new top, new trainers, new makeup, new gadget, something for the house. Something for the kids. Anything but food!
8 – GO AND SPEAK TO SOMEONE
Best bit of advice i can give anyone who is overweight. Go a speak to a professional physiologist. Why?
I’m yet to meet someone who is overweight because they have always been emotionally happy throughout their whole life. Every single client i have ever worked with who started off really overweight ALWAYS had/has an underlying emotional background/history which has ultimately lead them to where they are today.
I speak from experience here… having spent a few years speaking to someone myself, it massively helps! I no longer personally need advice and guidance on this side of my life anymore, and its certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but i assure you it helps just as much as a good coach will help you with diet and exercises.
9 – STOP SEARCHING FOR THE MAGIC PILL
There isn’t one. End of!
If there was… i would have found it by now i promise.
Fat burners DO NOT WORK!
Detox pills DO NOT WORK.
Ab toners DO NOT WORK.
Juice diets DO NOT WORK.
You see the pattern here! Solid nutrition, consistency and exercise is the ONLY magic pill here.
10 – GET SOME PROPER FRIENDS
A support network is one of the biggest things a lot of overweight people lack. They all have friends, however, for your new goal and lifestyle, you need to find friends who share your own desires. Spending every day with a friend who is fit, healthy and has zero interest in listening about your fat issues is NOT going to do you any good mentally.
Now i don’t mean go and find a load of friends who are overweight. But i am suggesting that you find a good support network. Even though i HATE weight watchers and everything they stand for… one good thing they do is have a solid support network and group meetings. This is something people find really helpful and i highly recommend even arranging your own ‘get togethers’ with other like minded people…. but not in a social environment with food, remember 😉
Last but not least…
11 – HIRE A COACH!
Two things i hear ALL THE TIME!
1 – i cant afford a coach
2 – I can do it myself.
Well, bluntly speaking, you cant do it yourself. I didn’t do it myself and to this day i still don’t do it myself. I have a coach just like i coach my clients. My coach even has a coach! In fact, every athlete i know has a coach and every coach has a coach. There are very few who are in a luxury position to be the top of the coaching pile.
Also – cost. Take the time to seriously workout how much money you spend on your weekly shopping. How often a month you go to the pub. To the curry house. The the Chinese or pizza shop. Buy wine. Go to the cinema.
Now total that up and compare it to the MINIMAL monthly cost of a good coach.
I’ve had 5 clients this year go on holiday off the back of finishing a coaching period of time with me. Why? Because not only did they save enough money to pay for my services, they saved so much money that they could afford a holiday too. One of my clients, Jeremy, worked out that he saved £235 a month AFTER paying for my time. 4 months later he then proposed to his Mrs after buying the most amazing ring.
Imagine her joy… new ring and basically a new man too.
Lastly…. just remove doubt! Why guess anything? Put your trust into a professional and just follow their guidance. Find a reputable coach with a proven track record and good client testimonials. You are almost destined success then.
Hope thats been of some help to you all who are struggling and cant find their way. Following the above list will certainly help you get moving in the right step.
Know it, Feel it, Live it