So, who is 1/6 of the way to accomplishing their New Years Resolutions? If you wanted to lose 30 pounds this year you better be down at least 5! But I don’t want to dwell on the past if we’re not there quite yet. And I’m actually not a big fan of waiting till a certain date after a month of binging to set and start going after goals. If we’re going to have a date in our heads surrounding fitness goals let’s at least make it Memorial Day!
Yes, that’s an end date. Now we still have goals to meet, we just have a deadline instead of a starting point. If you were to start say, today, that means you have roughly 12 weeks to get yourself ready for the official start of summer (yes, the winter holidays were a LONG time ago). But don’t worry, 12 weeks is plenty of time to make progress with a smart game plan. Now I choose my words very deliberately so notice I said ‘smart’ and not ‘complicated.’ I think most people freak out when they see they only have 12 weeks until the wildest beach party weekend of the year, most likely being spent at Dewey Beach, DE (see more here, Q and A – Fat Loss). I know a dude from Baltimore who marks that weekend on his calendar the Tuesday right after Memorial Day for the next year!
So people freak out because that’s not a lot of time. (No it’s not, and you should have been preparing for it since Tuesday May 31st, 2011.) BUT all hope is not lost. Life sometimes gets in the way and some people just can’t live their lives from Memorial Day to Memorial Day; it’s not healthy. So here we are, 12 weeks out, in need of a game plan to get us beach ready and still do that whole life thing in the meantime. So here is my 12 Week Fat Loss Plan to save you the stress and get you were you need to go:
I actually borrowed the general plan from Leo Babauta’s Power of Less. Dude knows NOTHING about fitness (i.e., thinks jogging is a sweet idea), but he does know change psychology. And let’s face it we’re going to need to change SOMETHING if we expect our bodies to change in only 12 weeks. So give it a try.
For the first month all I want is for you to focus on getting to the gym 12 times. That’s it. If you try to add more steps to this process you will fail. Just focus on making 12 visits to the gym. You can have up to two different workouts, but I honestly don’t care if you do the same exercises everyday. Just pick a pushing exercise, a pulling exercise, a hinging exercise (think deadlift) a squatting exercise, a core exercise (think planks not crunches) and some sort of carrying exercise or sprinting exercise. Do a few sets of each and get better at them! We’re going to be doing it for 12 weeks so focus on being able to do more weight for the same reps or same weight for more reps. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.
So don’t go to the gym 8 times, that’s not enough to make progress. And don’t go 16 times, that’s too much to make progress. Just go 12 and focus on getting better at everything you do there.
At week 5 I want to consciously add in another habit. I want you to keep up with the 12 gym visits and add in a dietary change. Look at your diet and see where the obvious flaws are. You don’t need a nutritionist to tell you that a bowl of ice cream before bed every night is a bad idea! Just pick something you know is bad and change it! And only one thing. Then I want you to own it for 2 weeks and nothing else. No throwing in 12 nutritional changes and trying to own them all, just pick one and make it stick for 2 weeks along with those 12 visits to the gym every month.
2 weeks later go ahead and pick another change to make and own that one for two weeks. You’re going to make 4 of these nutritional changes total.
That’s it. If you can honestly trust the system and do those things and nothing else you WILL see results in 12 weeks. Here’s a quick recap:
Weeks 1-4 – 12 Gym Visits
Weeks 5-6 – 6 Gym Visits, Fix 1 glaring nutritional problem.
Weeks 7-8 – 6 Gym Visits, Fix another glaring nutritional problem along with 1st.
Weeks 9-10 – 6 Gym Visits, Fix another glaring nutritional problem along with 1st and 2nd.
Weeks 11-12 – 6 Gym Visits, Fix another glaring nutritional problem along with 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
I would be skeptical too, but just because it is simple does not mean it is easy. Better to be perfect at simple important changes rather than being a C student while ‘majoring in the minors.’
Stick to this and enjoy your Memorial Day 2012!