20lbs in 30 Days: What Worked for ME.

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Over the last six years of being dedicated to working out and maintaining consistent gym attendance, I’ve had a lot of people ask me “what do you do”, “how’d you do it”, and (without knowing) “what works for YOU?”

I say what works for ME because you can ask 20 people about working out and/or a healthy lifestyle and you can get 20 responses with completely different answers. Rightfully so, what works for someone else might not work for you. In addition to that, I am by no means a fitness professional. What I do might not be the absolute best way to do it or politically correct way – it’s what work’s for me.

Recently, I decided to slim down from (a healthy) 220 lbs. to 200 lbs., just for the sake of feeling better and being more energized — I also love to constantly push myself to break new boundaries. Living a busy lifestyle that I do, and not being fitness professional, I believe I’m in a place to say that if I can do it, so can you.

I’m going to recap the lifestyle changes I made below and if you want to give them a chance, I urge you to do so and see if they work for you. It’s important that you note that I say lifestyle changes. While some measures were more extreme than others for the sake of slimming down, living a healthier life is what leads to a long-term more dominating you, NOT extreme measures that you’re going to give up after 3-4 weeks.

The Gym

Monday – Friday I’m at the gym by 5:45 am. I start with 45 minutes of cardio and proceed to 40 minutes of weights and 10 minutes of abs. That’s 90+ minutes in the gym before 7:30 am – a pretty good and positive way to start the day (an accomplishment most won’t make ALL day).

Currently, I’m doing one muscle a group a day, once a week. Doing about 200 reps of medium weight is what I prefer. I was doing Chest & Back, Shoulders, Bi’s & Tri’s, and Legs all twice a week, but wanted to change it up a bit to shock the body.

I personally don’t eat before I work out because I want to do cardio on an empty stomach. Ideally, you should do cardio in the morning on an empty stomach but eat a fueling breakfast before you do weights and tear your muscles up.

Don’t be a fruit-cup and try to live a healthier you without the gym. You can definitely do it, and by no means do you have to work out to live a healthy life, but if not going to the gym is out of laziness, you might want to reconsider. The gym will truly multiply your results if you’re doing great outside the gym. Not only does the discipline required to constantly make it to the gym contribute to a better you, but it’s been proven that exercise has a long-term effect on your happiness (a blog coming soon I’m sure).

Going to the gym in the morning also boosts your metabolism and allows your body to operate at a higher metabolic rate throughout the day, which results in your body being burning more calories and fat.

Eating, not dieting.

Dieting doesn’t work. If you want to be healthier, you have to change the way you eat.

On a typical day, my eating habits look like the following, which includes the zero supplements I take  — I’m not a fan of supplements but at the same time I’m not going to discourage you from using them, I just don’t like them:

Pre-Gym: Cup of coffee
Post-Gym: Peanut butter, banana protein shake and apple or pear.

Mid-morning snack: Rice cake and peanut butter or a 22 days nutrition bar.

Lunch: Albacore tuna and uncle bens brown rice (the brand not my family) or maybe a Greek turkey burger or 2 with no buns and some broccoli.

Mid-Afternoon snack: Same as morning snack, rice cake with peanut butter or a 22 days nutrition bar. If I do a quick afternoon run, I’ll substitute this for a Sport Cookie.

Dinner: The most common thing I’ll eat for dinner are salmon kabobs. Salmon kabobs have salmon, peppers, and onions on them. I’ll have two of those with some veggies and after this I’m done for the day.

Drinks: Throughout the day I only drink coffee, water and diet green tea.

A few notes regarding the above:

Carbs are important and used by your body for energy so you definitely should not cut then out. They should however start high in the morning and decrease throughout the day. Goes hand in hand with what experts have said for years — breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day and is the most important.

Eating nothing after (a 5:30pm) dinner is what I’ve learned (from Greg Plitt and Joe Donnelly) has a huge positive effect on my body. Not eating four hours before bed allows my body to burn off what carbs I have in me and allows my body to burn fat through the night instead of carbs. If you want increased weight loss, throw in 45 minutes of cardio right before bed to really burn off the carbs in you for max fat burning through the night.

– I don’t eat sweets or drink alcohol but if you do, those are two things you might want to cut out of your life (in moderation) for a healthier you. One of my favorite things in the world to eat is a great Molton Cake. If I want one, I have one, but for the most part I don’t eat sweets and I don’t drink alcohol at all.

My stricter eating regimen generally happens Monday – Friday. Given that my goal is maintaining the healthy body and status I’ve achieved, and I’m not trying to lose any weight, on the weekends, I’ll eat what I want. Pizzas, bread and butter, crab cakes, etc. On the weekends, I’ll cut back the restrictions and feed the fat me. Come Monday morning though, it’s back to a strict regimen. This also doesn’t mean that I’m “off my lifestyle” on the weekends, but on the weekends if I want to break away and eat something I’m craving, that’s when I’ll do it.

I eat dinner at 530pm because I go to bed around 9:30. As I said it’s been pretty clutch for me not eating 4 hours before bed, and given that I want to sleep from 9;30/10pm to 5am each night, I’ve set 5:30 to be dinner time, especially Monday-Friday, but I also try not to eat 4 hours before bed on the weekends too.

It’s what works… for me.

It’s important that I remind you again, the above is just what works for me. I am not a fitness professional. I am merely a business owner/operator with a very busy lifestyle and the above health and wellness regimen is the lifestyle that works for me. The above regimen has allowed me to drop 20 pounds in 30 days and slim down to a very healthy 200 lbs, standing at 6 feet tall. I have never felt better and according to others, I have never looked better.

I’ve taken bits and pieces of knowledge from different people that have come into my life that are highly knowledgeable on the topic. Different pieces of advice from different professionals have led me to mold together a healthy lifestyle that works for me. Fitness professionals such as Danny Padilla, Joe Donnelly, Greg Plitt, and Rick Benedetto have all contributed and I am very thankful for their contributions that they’ve made. They are absolutely fantastic at what they do and have had a lifetime of success in the fitness world.

Many will urge you to take supplements or take into play different practices, and that’s fine! Above all else, you have to make sure that your (new) healthy lifestyle is accommodating to you and your body and that you and your body are benefiting from the changes you’re making. I am not by any means trying to sell you on the above “workout plan” or “lifestyle”, but due to the number of times I’ve been asked what works for me, I thought  would share!

– JB