I was 14. World of Warcraft was my only (if I could go back and slap teenage me, I would…) passion in life. I stood a solid 5’7″…and 210 pounds. I was scared to weigh myself. With an enormous amount of dedication and hard work…over the course of about 8 months I dropped myself down to a ridiculously skinny 135 pounds (gross), until I finally went to college and began bulking up. Nowadays, I sit at a lean 170 pounds and couldn’t be happier.
People ask me all the time how I did it, and it’s really not a magic formula. Burn more calories than you eat. Yet, I realize, it’s not that easy, ESPECIALLY if you go the typical route of weight-loss exercise programs, which is CARDIO CARDIO CARDIO MOARRRR CARDIO.
That’s the problem. Think about it like this: if you eat an Oreo or Starbucks, that’s 300 calories (okay probably not that much, but bear with me). 300 calories is probably 45 minutes of running depending on your weight/intensity/intervals/incline/decline/etc. Everyone burns a base amount of calories/hour, regardless of what they’re doing, whether it be sitting on the couch or running on a treadmill. Let’s say that “base” is 150 calories an hour, which is probably generous. So, let’s say some chunky lady is running on those silly ellipticals for an hour and burns a whopping 300 calories (that’s what a 4.5 mph pace does). If you subtract your base 150 from 300…that means you spent an hour to burn 150 calories. That’s half an Oreo you burned off in that hour. It is WORTHLESS to do this unless you are truly keeping your caloric intake low. People literally fight an uphill battle against their weight while they walk up stairmasters for hours a week, and then wonder why they’re not losing weight.
The secret: muscle! Muscle burns more calories = you stay leaner. Yes, muscle weighs more, but forget the utterly worthless BMI statistic and who cares. I’ve been lifting for years now and I’ve never had a problem with weight loss since I started weight programs. It’s a far more productive weigh to lose some weight and KEEP it off (that’s what most of America fails at…anyone can diet hardcore and lose some weight but it’s keeping it off that is hard), than spending countless hours staring at a gym wall as you lift your leg to climb yet another stair.