Wanna lose weight? Running a bunch isn't going to do it, by @normie.fitness

Now obviously if you run like hell all day every day you are going to lose a bunch of weight. I'm not talking about extreme examples like this but rather about a reasonable amount of exercise that most people have the time and energy for.

Most people tend to think that when they decide to lose weight that the first thing they need to do is get some runners and hit the bricks as hard as they can and the fat will just fall off of their body. Very few of these people actually succeed.

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Now I would never pick on anyone who is overweight for trying to better themselves and lose some fat, regardless of their tactics but I also know that hurting yourself or doing something you hate is not a very reasonable step in the direction of better health. If you HATE what you are doing for fitness you are going to fail. I will admit that I would much rather sit on the sofa eating pizza and watching TV than go do really any physical exercise and I think most people are this way as well. Most normies don't exercise because they WANT to, they do so because they need to.

However, a lot of people start the process incorrectly, get frustrated, then quit and return to their old ways and in many cases they just become more depressed in the process because they feel as though there is nothing they can do.

Diet is key

At the beginning of your journey to weight loss, changes in diet are paramount. Even the best and highest paid personal trainers, if they are being honest, will tell you that all weight loss is 70% diet and 30% exercise. You can not exercise at all and lose a ton of weight if you just start eating better. For a normie like me, changing many aspects of my diet was actually pretty easy, I needed to get carbs and especially sugar out of my life. I never had much of a sweet tooth beyond my childhood, so getting the sugar our was a piece of cake (pun intended.) However, I did and do love bread and pasta, so I needed to get that out of my diet as much as possible. If you are overweight, there is a good chance that excessive carbohydrates are the reason why this is the case.

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Well how do you feel about meat? Do you like it? Obviously this wouldn't apply to vegetarians or vegans but if you are one of those people there is a good chance you aren't overweight anyway. I say this not because you are dodging carbs but because you already have what I consider to be a rather extreme level of dietary discipline already.

Well when I lost 50 lbs the beginning of my journey started with eating a lot of steak and vegetables, and eating almost no bread, pasta, or anything carb-heavy.

The added benefit of this wasn't just that it was tasty, but it also made me feel "full" for a longer period of time. I never even checked what the caloric values were, I just ate as much meat as I wanted and was careful to avoid a great many of the popular sauces because a lot of them are loaded with sugar.

Obviously this diet is very high in fat and cholesterol but we'll worry about that later. If you are older it might not be a terrible idea to look for leaner cuts of meat but if you are in your 20s to early 40's you can probably handle it. You aren't meant to be eating just meat forever after all, this is just the beginning stages.


Weights are better than cardio

I know it seems counterintuitive but a lot of this has to do with misconceptions about exercise and how it benefits your body. For one thing, when you go to the gym to lift weights, especially if you are a fatty like I was, you are going to be exercising for a much longer amount of time than if you go for a run. When I first started this journey, running for as little as 10 minutes made me feel exhausted, but I could easily spend 2 hours in the gym and feel about the same level of tired at the end of it. Whether you notice it or not, this time spent lifting weights is going to keep your heart rate up during the entire time and this is absolutely key in weight loss. You need to keep your heart rate elevated for a prolonged period of time to achieve gains.

Also, gaining muscle mass burns more calories when you are not exercising and I am not going to pretend to understand the science behind this, I just know that it is true.

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A long-term study conducted at Duke University Medical Center and East Carolina University took 3 groups of people that were separated into 3 groups of similar levels of obesity. They were given exactly the same diet and then put into teams as follows

  • one did exclusively weight training
  • one did exclusively cardio and aerobic training
  • one did a mixture of the two

The study was long and complicated and you can see the full details here if you enjoy reading scholarly papers but let me summarize what the end result was.

All groups obviously lost weight due to this being a rather extreme change to their usual lifestyle but the group that lost the most weight was the group that did only weight training.

What is more encouraging was the fact that the group that did only weight training had the smallest number of participants that dropped out of the test. That is to say, a normal person is far less likely to give up if they are doing weight training.

They don't explicitly state this in the article but from my own experience I enjoyed the weight aspect of it best because I could feel and see my muscles getting bigger. I started to have definition in my arms and shoulders that I hadn't seen in years. I had pride in what i had accomplished and this inspired me to keep going. I actually wanted to stay in the gym longer because I wanted to grow on this. I did not feel this motivation when I was running, swimming, or riding my bicycle.

Later, as I gained muscle I started to want to be in better cardiovascular health as well and obviously this is very important to longer and healthier life. However, if I had started with just running, I believe I would have given up as well.


So if you are overweight, maybe head to the gym and lift some weights using the machines that enforce proper form at first. Then, when you start to feel that tightness in your biceps (a big motivator for me) you will find that you crave getting even bigger gains.

I believe this same sensation that I felt in my own journey to normie fitness will be felt by others who want to change their lives for the better as well.

79388069<em>833011820486412</em>3720392356462067712_n.jpg I hate gym selfies and made sure no one could see me when I took this. The reason behind me doing so is that I want people to know that 6 months prior to taking this pic I was 230 lbs of beer guzzling fat-ass... If I can do it, so can you!

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@mstafford:

Great points! The longer initial sessions when working with weights, the more visually-obvious progress, and building muscle-mass which (as far as I understand) helps raise your base metabolic rate would all lead towards this being more effective for weight loss than running.


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@healthsquared:

Some great points. Do you have a link to the weights for weight loss study?