Learning how to walk and talk takes a lot of time. Yet, we all made it. The same is with any other activity – sports, financial wealth, a healthy lifestyle, or else. But progress doesn’t come overnight, we spend a lot of time in trial and error. Probably one of the hardest and longest journeys nowadays is the one of losing weight. Eventually, if we are determined enough, we succeed. That’s how I started my journey of fitness and health 3 years ago.
In 2017 I started with lots of cardio but I wasn’t losing weight
Back then a colleague of mine was licensed Tabata trainer and I decided that now is the time. Tabata is a construct of high-intensity movements, performed in short intervals of time. 20 seconds of movement, 10 seconds rest, repeat. 8 consecutive movement+rest intervals equal to 1 Tabata round. A regular workout consists of a total of 4-8 rounds. Yes, you’ll probably want to die after the 2nd round, but you have to keep up. This type of workout provides you with a good weight loss opportunity. But it can’t be your swiss army knife type of solution.
I did Tabata for about 6-8 months and progressed very well. Lots of burpees, jumping jacks and others helped my overall fitness and endurance level to skyrocket. But I wasn’t losing weight and I wasn’t looking any better in the mirror. By that time my weight was 86kg (187cm height) and it didn’t feel good. I was feeling heavy in my skin. In April 2018 I asked my personal trainer to build a meal and training plan for me. My primary goals were to gain strength, athletic look, and to lower my body fat to 10%.
The meal plan sounded simple and yet I knew it wouldn’t be that simple to follow it.
The first thing I had to do was a month of “cleansing”. That meant a month without rice, potatoes, bread, soda, alcohol, and any other packed product of modern society. It sounds harsh, but in reality, it isn’t. I could still eat meat, salads, fresh fruits, milk, eggs, fish and etc. What was the idea behind those limitations? To limit my sugar intake. All of these foods contain an enormous amount of added sugar.
The 1st week was hard – my sugar cravings were killing me. After that initial torture, I even stopped noticing the chocolate bars at the cafeteria. During this first month, I finally started losing weight – I lost about 3kg of weight. I was still doing Tabata 2-3 times a week, but I also started weightlifting with my personal trainer 1-2 times a week. It felt amazing to see real progress! After that 1st month, I was allowed to take 1 cheat day per week.
On my very first cheat day, I had pizza, beer, carrot cake and I was feeling like I’m going to die.
I tried the same one more time and decided not to do it ever again, but instead try an alternative. That alternative was cheat meals – 2-3 times a week, 1 cheat meal per day. That worked very well for me. After that 1st month, I was also allowed to eat potatoes and rice, so I added them to my menu. I gained a bit more strength and felt really good because now I had a variety of food and training. Losing weight felt good!
For the first 5 months after I started this meal and training plan, I had lost a total of 9 kg of weight!
That’s right: from 86 to 77kg! To be honest, the last 2kg was thanks to the 4-day stomach flu but I didn’t gain them back afterwards. At this point, I was wearing pants 2 sizes smaller than 5 months ago. I was feeling great. My overall fitness and health were never better. According to my Fitbit, my Resting Heart Rate (RHR) dropped from 80 beats per minute to 67. Now we’re talkin’.
During these 5 months, my biggest struggles were finding the best possible breakfast and snacks. I had to eat 4-5 times per day and to continue doing so as “clean” as possible. This involved boiled eggs, salads, nuts, oats, avocados, a variety of meat, and fish. I learned that if I want to retain these results, I had to keep doing all of this. Fitness and health as a journey don’t have an end date. If you want to keep your body in good shape, you have to continue working out and eating well. If I was going to neglect my meal plan, I knew that would lead to losing more weight. This isn’t in line with my plan.
In December 2018 I decided to measure my body fat % – it was 13.5%. If you want to measure yours, here is a video showing how. For me, this 13.5 % of body fat meant that I am on the right track. It is a huge achievement! The visual difference between that moment and March the same year was mindblowing. Rookie mistake was that I didn’t measure my % of body fat initially. The road to 10% of body fat is bumpy and hard, but I have the motivation and I know I will achieve it. I was feeling like I am on the right track and decided to continue with the same meal and training plan until progress fades.