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How Do I Lose Weight for Free Fast?

“How do I lose weight?” is one of the most common questions I get.

Here’s the short answer:

The only real way to lose weight is with good old fashioned hard work, and making a healthy lifestyle change is the only way to lose the weight and keep it off.

If you want to make a change and are serious about committing to working hard, then I have good news for you: you will lose weight by following the plan below.

Let’s set some expectations from the start though. You’re not going to lose 10 pounds a week. You probably won’t even lose 10 pounds a month, unless you are already obese. Shows like The Biggest Loser lead people to believe that losing large amounts of weight in a short period of time is realistic. But you should understand these folks are exercising for literally 8 or more hours per day and are on extreme calorie-restricted diets.

This plan requires a commitment of around 30 minutes most days of the week. If you follow it, expect weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. This is a realistic and healthy weight loss goal for most people.

Let’s start with a few basic points that are important for you to understand.

Weight Loss 101

Weight loss, in its simplest form, is the result of burning more calories than you take in. Forget about carbs, fat, and protein for a second. If you burn more calories than you eat over a sustained period of time you will lose weight, period.

Of course, the two key components to help you lose weight are diet and exercise.

First, let’s talk diet.

When most people hear the word, they think of Atkins, Weight Watchers, etc. While these may all be okay programs for losing weight initially, where they fail for most people is in keeping the weight off. These “diets” are not sustainable because they’re temporary solutions to an issue that needs to be addressed in the long-term.

So for the record, when I say “diet,” I mean these are the foods you will be eating permanently. As of right now you will be changing your dietary habits and adopting a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t, then you’ll likely join the vast majority of dieters who end up gaining back all or more of the weight they lose on these fad diets. This may sound harsh but it’s science … here’s the research to support this claim if you’re interested in further reading.[1]

How to lose weight: what to eat

Let’s look at the diet part in more detail.

Here are the basics of healthy eating for weight loss:How do I lose weight: what to eat

  • Focus on whole foods … mainly vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, lean meats and dairy, and healthy oils.
  • Avoid highly processed foods, trans fat, saturated fat, refined grains, added sugar, and foods high in sodium.
  • Get rid of almost all of the liquid calories like soda, juices, and alcohol and try and drink a gallon of water a day.

Now, when it comes to calories, most women should eat between 1,600 and 2,000 calories per day and men between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day when trying to lose weight. Here’s a good calorie calculator to use to find your exact daily calorie number.

Generally speaking, in terms of importance, what you eat is more important than how much you exercise. That’s not to say that exercise isn’t important, but consider this:

Go to any restaurant and you can easily eat over 1,000 calories in a single sitting. At some restaurants you can eat an entire day’s worth of calories in a single meal! Eating all of these calories can happen in a matter of minutes. But guess how long it would take you to burn off 2,000 calories with strenuous exercise? Around 4 hours for the average person!

Food is your fuel and putting the right fuel in your body is the first step toward losing weight fast. I do, however, encourage people to have one “cheat day” each week where you indulge. The key is to indulge in moderation. Control your portions and be smart about it! This means 1-2 slices of pizza, half a cup of ice cream, etc. The next step, of course, is to make sure you’re burning your “fuel” in the most efficient manner possible.

How to lose weight: exercising for fat loss

how to lose weight with exerciseTo lose weight fast, you’ll be doing a combination of two of the most effective types of exercise methods, circuit weight training and interval training.

1. Circuit weight training involves doing several strength training exercises in succession, with no rest in between. Don’t discount this type of training method because you think you might get too muscular. Strength training exercises are both safe and effective for women and men of all ages, including those who are not in perfect health.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strength training “can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate, which is enormously helpful for weight loss and long-term weight control.”[2]

And, the plan outlined below allows you to do all of these exercises with no weights, just your body weight. This also means you can do all these exercises for free. If you have light weights, feel free to use them though.

2. Interval training is alternating bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity. An example of this would be sprinting on a treadmill for 30 seconds followed by walking for 30 seconds—this would be one interval.

In head-to-head comparisons, research shows that shorter burst, high-intensity interval training is superior to long periods of aerobic exercise for fat loss.[3] And, a 2008 study published in the Journal of Physiology found that study participants that spent just 1.5 hours in the gym each week doing interval training workouts experienced similar results to those who did 4.5-5 hours of steady state cardiovascular exercise (i.e., running on a treadmill).[4] You’re going to see what one of these interval training workouts looks like below.

It’s important to note that interval training isn’t appropriate for everyone. If you have a chronic health condition or haven’t been exercising regularly, consult your doctor before trying any type of interval training or weight training regimen, especially if you have heart problems.

So without further ado, here is what your weekly workout schedule will look like. You’ll be doing two weight training circuit workouts and two cardio interval workouts for a total of four workouts each week. On your rest days you can choose to go for a light walk, stretch, do yoga, or rest. Obviously, staying active on your rest days will result in additional calories burned and will help alleviate some muscle soreness. Regardless of how you use your rest days, don’t overdo it and make sure you stretch for at least 20 minutes on each of these days.

The Weight Training Circuit and Interval workouts are described below. Clicks on the links to see a video demonstration of each Weight Training Circuit exercise. For each Weight Training Circuit day, start with Circuit #1 from the list below, then do #2 the next workout, then 3, then 4, then repeat.

DAY ACTIVITY TOTAL TIME (est.)
Monday Weight Training Circuit 30-40 minutes
Tuesday Rest/Walk/Stretch 20 minutes
Wednesday Cardio Interval 30 minutes
Thursday Rest/Walk/Stretch 20 minutes
Friday Weight Training Circuit 30-40 minutes
Saturday Rest/Walk/Stretch 20 minutes
Sunday Cardio Interval 30 minutes

Weight Training Circuits

Weight Training Circuit 1:
Perform the following exercises one after the other, with no rest in between:
1. Squat: 30 seconds
2. T-Stabilization Pushup: 10 repetitions/side (do these on your knees if you need to)
3. Burpee: 15 repetitions
4. Lunge: 10 repetitions per leg
5. Plank: 20-30 seconds
6. Squat Jump: 30 seconds
Once you have completed the circuit, rest for 2 minutes and repeat entire Circuit 2-3 more times.

Weight Training Circuit 2:
Perform the following exercises one after the other, with no rest in between:
1. Twisting Lunges: 30 seconds
2. Push-up: 15 repetitions
3. Mountain Climbers: 60 seconds
Rest for 30 seconds
4. Ballet Squats: 30 seconds
5. Bench Dips: 15 repetitions
6. Box Step-ups: 60 seconds
7. Bridge: 30 seconds
Once you have completed the circuit, rest for 2 minutes and repeat entire Circuit 2-3 more times.

Weight Training Circuit 3:
Perform the following exercises one after the other, with no rest in between:
1. Prisoner Squat: 30 seconds
2. Bird Dog: 12 repetitions each leg
3. Bicycle Kicks: 30 seconds
Rest for 30 seconds
4. Plank: 30 seconds
5. Lateral Raise: 15 repetitions (no weights)
6. Lateral Jumps: 15 repetitions
7. Towel Row: 12 repetitions
Once you have completed the circuit, rest for 2 minutes and repeat entire Circuit 2-3 more times.

Weight Training Circuit 4:
Perform the following exercises one after the other, with no rest in between:
1. Ballet Squats: 30 seconds
2. Push-up 15 repetitions
3. Single Leg Kickbacks: 12-15 repetitions per leg
4. Side Plank: 20 seconds/side
Rest for 30 seconds
5. Walking Lunge (no weight): 10 strides per leg
6. Burpee: 15 repetitions
7. Jumping Jack: 30 seconds
Once you have completed the circuit, rest for 2 minutes and repeat entire Circuit 2-3 more times.

Cardio Intervals

Cardio intervals are another effective way to lose weight fast. You don’t need an expensive machine either–there are plenty of cardio exercises you can do for free. For the twice-weekly cardio interval sessions, you can either run outside or on a treadmill; ride a bicycle, exercise bike, or elliptical; or pick from one of the free exercises below for each workout.

• Burpee (see above link for description)
• Jumping Jack
• Lateral Jump (see above link for description)
• Squat Jump (see above link for description)

Warm-up: 5 minutes at a 2/10 intensity level

Interval: 30 seconds at a 9/10 intensity level

Recovery: 60 seconds at a 3/10 intensity level

Repeat Interval/Recover periods 10 times/each

Cool-down: 5 minutes at a 2/10 intensity level

So that, my friends, is how you lose weight fast for free (aside from the groceries you need to buy). Please give me a shout and let me know if this plan helps you … I love hearing your success stories.

Want More Tips on Getting Tight and Toned?

This article is #8 in my free 12-part tutorial called “Exercise 101: How to Get In Shape“.

Next up is article #9, where you’ll learn about the best foam roller exercises.

Or you can go back to article #7 and read about some of my favorite home gym exercises.

 


[1] University of California – Los Angeles (2007, April 5). Dieting Does Not Work, Researchers Report. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 5, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/04/070404162428.htm

[2] http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/growingstronger/why/index.html

[3] http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/acsm-in-the-news/2011/08/01/for-all-day-metabolism-boost-try-interval-training

[4] Gibala MJ et al.  Similar metabolic adaptations during exercise after low volume sprint interval and traditional endurance training in humans. J Physiol. 2008 Jan 1;586(1):151-60.