Next Level Training: The Chubby Chronicles

So you’re a guy that really wants to lose a little weight? You can’t be the only person, because obesity in the United States is affecting more than 34 million people. You have tried diets and they don’t work, you have tried workout routines, but the weight comes off too slow. What can you do?  Well, the first thing you […]

So you’re a guy that really wants to lose a little weight? You can’t be the only person, because obesity in the United States is affecting more than 34 million people. You have tried diets and they don’t work, you have tried workout routines, but the weight comes off too slow. What can you do?  Well, the first thing you must do is change your diet. Not “go on a diet,” but change your current diet.


“I really need to lose weight” diet NO’s


Pork – Pigs put on flesh at several times the rate that other human-consumed animals do. The body of the pig forces any toxins the pig consumes into the flesh, and stores and locks them there. When you eat the meat of a pig, you take in all the toxins that are stored in the fat. These toxins in turned are stored in your fat and become more difficult to get off.


Soda (diet included) –  Soda is, quite literally, liquid candy – full of artificial flavors and colors, sugars, and the fizzy magic of carbonation that is fun and refreshing to drink, but terrible for weight loss. A study conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 2005 even suggested a link between diet soda and weight gain. But how?  


The theory is that because diet sodas are so sweet, they trigger a response in the brain to crave calories and sugar. When the sodas fail to deliver those expected items, an individual inadvertently eats more food than they would normally in order to alleviate that craving.


Fried anything (chicken, fish, etc.) – As soon as you expose good fats like olive oil and canola oil to high heats, they become trans-fats (the worst kinds of fats you can eat) and they raise LDL (the bad cholesterol that damages your heart) levels in your body.


Sweets – These foods are referred to as “trigger foods.”  For example, you may find that the consumption of a donut always leads to overeating.  In other words, you can’t seem to stop at one or two and end up eating the whole dozen!  If you are overweight, you are most likely sensitive to the consumption of simple sugars and will find that by eating sweets, you actually end up craving more sweets.


Alcohol –  There are seven calories per gram of alcohol, and when trying to lose weight you don’t want to have to burn that much off in the gym. A single glass of white wine or an ounce and half of hard liquor provides about 90 calories; a regular beer gives you 150 (a light beer provides about 110). You can almost double the calories in hard liquor if you add a mixer such as fruit juice or tonic water.  Also, alcohol will actually stimulate your appetite, loosen your inhibitions and undermine your willpower, causing you to eat more than you planned.




Track what you eat for a week using a food diary to see how much you really eat, when you eat, and what types of foods you eat.  Do you eat something fried every day, do you eat really late at night (i.e. 10pm) do you eat whenever everyone else is eating?  These are questions that you can’t answer without really taking an inventory of your caloric intake, and this can only be done by writing down exactly what you eat, when you eat it and how much you eat.  


After you have tracked your food intake for a week, the first step in losing weight is to get rid of the high-calorie, low-nutrition snacks like chips and candy.  Here is a list of replacement snacks for you:

·  Half an apple with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter

·  An orange and a few dry-roasted nuts

·  10 cashew nuts

·  10 almonds

·  Half a small avocado

The next step is to have a plan when you are going out to eat.  I have found that most people I train who have a difficult time losing weight usually consume calories from restaurants rather than home. Here are some tips for you when you go out to eat:


–Ask for nutrition information (for example, calories, saturated fat, and sodium) before you order when eating out.


–Choose foods that are steamed, broiled, baked, roasted, poached, or stir-fried, but not deep-fat fried.


–Share food, such as a main dish or dessert, with your buddy.


–Take part of the food home with you and refrigerate immediately. (You may want to ask for a take-home container when the meal arrives) Spoon half the meal into it, so you’re more likely to eat only what’s left on your plate.


–Request your meal to be served without gravy, sauces, butter or margarine.


–Ask for salad dressing on the side, and use only small amounts of full-fat dressings.


Another thing that is slowing down your weight loss is the consumption of on-the-go calories, this mean that your eating on the run and don’t have time to cook. You are not paying attention to what you are eating because you are just so busy. Make a rule for yourself if you are serious about losing weight: “I will only eat at a kitchen table!” Not standing up, not in a car (while driving or riding) and not while on the phone.


Chubby Mistake 1: “But I always have cravings!”  Most of your cravings for bad food are emotional, get the source of why you want to order a pizza at midnight, or eat half a cake, stop telling your self that you really love food and that is the reason. Cope with cravings by taking just a few bites. Then ask yourself whether it is worth it to continue or if you’ve satisfied your desire. 


Chubby Mistake 2“If I stop eating I will starve myself, I don’t want to die to lose weight!” Many people think they have to starve themselves to lose weight, but this couldn’t be further away from the truth. Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps consumes around 7,000 calories a day, the reason that he maintains that slim, ripped physique is because he works hard in the gym. So, do you have to work out to lose weight?  


Cardio is a key component in a weight loss program. Do cardio before breakfast. When you do cardio on an empty stomach, your body is more apt to burn fat as its primary source of energy since glycogen stores are depleted from eight hours of fasting the night before. This might mean waking up 30 minutes earlier than normal, but the fat-burning benefits are worth it.  Make sure you get your cardio five to six days a week.  Below is a list of how many *calories you can burn with different cardio activities:


Basketball Game        350

Boxing heavy bag       279

Paintball                    363

Jogging                      454


*Calories burned are calculated for a 200 pound individual doing the activity for 30 minutes


Resistance training is a must for any real weight loss program because it creates lean muscle mass. This lean muscle mass increases the resting metabolic rate, that is, the weight trained body burns more calories when at rest than the untrained body. Add to this gains in muscle and strength, improvement in physical appearance, and increase in self-esteem generally experienced by those who weight train, you can see that this form of exercise can be great to increase your chances of losing weight.


Chubby Mistake 3: “I lift weights all the time and I don’t see how it could help with weight loss, in fact I have been gaining weight.”  Well you are lifting to heavy and to slow. The best method for weight training weight loss is explosive lifting. I was reading on this study that showed that even when the amount of weight lifted was identical, the faster an individual lifted created more fat burned. 


This type of weight lifting will increase the benefits of the exercise for weight loss. That same study also found that explosive contractions were more effective in increasing energy expenditure when using moderate weight loads instead of heavy loads.


Chubby Mistake 4“I have been drinking weight loss shakes and they haven’t been helping me with weight loss.”  Muscles are 75% water and 25% protein, most of the shakes you are drinking are high in protein, to really loose weight you have to drink more water. 


Clinical researchers have estimated that over the course of a year, a person who increases his water consumption by 1.5 liters a day would burn an extra 17,400 calories, for a weight loss of approximately five pounds. They note that up to 40% of the increase in calorie burning is caused by the body’s attempt to heat the ingested water. The findings are reported in the December issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.


Bonus: 10 Weight Loss Tips


The desire to lose weight must come from you! If you really don’t care about making changes in your lifestyle or are doing this to please someone else, you’re likely to fail.

Don’t blame yourself if you aren’t perfect. If you fail once at your attempt to curtail your overeating, it doesn’t mean you are a failure at weight control.   Jump right back on track the next day.

Avoid surroundings where you know you’re tempted to make poor food choices. Everyone has a time when we’re most likely to overeat, whether it’s the morning coffee break or after work with friends.

Surround yourself with people who support your efforts. Even our good friends can knowingly or unknowingly sabotage weight loss attempts.  Don’t let your chubby friend derail you.

Decide on some non-food rewards for yourself when you reach interim goals. For examples, at the end of the first week of healthy eating or after the first five pounds lost buy yourself a new CD or book.

Stock your pantry and refrigerator with healthy foods. Get rid of the high-calorie, low-nutrition snacks like chips and candy.  If you don’t buy it, you won’t eat!

Set small goals and focus on these rather than the “big picture.” Decide where you want to be in a week, in a month, rather than focusing on the total amount of weight you’d like to lose.

Journal your food intake every day along with your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and your analysis of your progress. Chicago Fit 4 Life has made a food diary available – print four and use for a month.

Get a workout partner. Find someone who is more motivated than you to workout and eat healthy, and they can keep you on track.

Learn to cook differently. Subscribe to a healthy cooking magazine. Food that you make yourself tends to healthier than what restaurants cook for you. 

To see what your ideal weight should be according to your height visit


Siddiqu Muhammad is an ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified personal trainer and a NFPT (National Federation of Personal Trainer) certified personal trainer and a Division 1 Athletic Strength and Conditioning coach.  To view more of Chicago Fit 4 Life’s training philosophy visit