exercisefail

Disclaimer:  I’m not a nutrionist or certified health professional.  This is what worked for me and people asked to share it.  It may work better, worse, or entirely different for you.  On the flip side, I have been exercising/working out consistently for the past 10 years.  I also used to train for powerlifting and then bodybuilding.

Preface

As an entrepreneur, you gain weight.  It sucks.  You’re stuck behind a computer most of the day and you’re often eating more than you should.  Stress also adds to your weight.  Jason Nazar, CEO of DocStoc, talks about it here.  Growing up I was always in great shape via training hard and maintaining low body fat (usually 5% or so).  So over the past 2-3 years, while running Publictivity I gained more weight than I should have.  I wasn’t fat by any means, but I wasn’t in the shape I once was.  In early June, I decided I needed to do something about this.  The problem was weight and I need a solution- loss of that weight.  I sat down and thought about losing weight, the same way one might go about building a web app or company.  You take it piece by piece and have a solid strategy to make it happen that adds up.  Leave nothing to chance.  I started out at about 188 pounds and 33 days later I was down to 172 pounds. Update: 50 days later or so and I’m down 25 pounds to 163. Update 2: Exactly 2 months since I started.  Down exactly 30 pounds to 158. Final Update: 138 pounds by Late September. Here’s a quick overview of what I did.

Most Important Fact- There are 3,500 Calories in a pound.

Part One- Calculate Your BMR

Your BMR is your Basal Metabolic Rate (IT IS NOT BMI).  That means, it tells you how many calories you burn per day if you just sat in bed the entire day.  It varies upon age, weight, height,etc.  You can calculate it here.  For example at 5’7, 188 pounds and 23 years old, I had a BMR of 1931 calories per day.  That means my body is at a bare minimum burning 1,931 calories per day.  Let’s venture out and guess that we’re not vegetables, so we’ll use 2,000, which is probably a little bit low.  That’s our starting number 2,000 calories.  Think of it like accounting,  each calorie burned is an asset to losing weight, therefore a debit.  You start the day with an asset of 2,000.

Part Two- Integrate Exercise and Walk as Much as You Can

Exercising is important (diet is too, that’s next).  Not only does it increase calories burned a day, but it makes you feel great.  I had always worked out, so that wasn’t an issue.  Usually 4-5 days a week.  I’d run a 5k + lift weights.  That was an okay regimen.  For the diet I increased my exercising to the following plan:

  • Run a 5k every single day.  No days off at all.
  • Lift weights 4 days a week.  24 sets (each body part (6) * (4) sets ==24).  Also did abs
  • I started adding in 20 minutes on the eliptical.  This adds an extra 200 calories per day.

Also walk to as many places as humanly possible.  I would venture to say that through exercising and actively walking as much as I could, I burned at least an extra 500 calories.  So let’s add that to our BMR:

+   2,000 calories (BMR- what you would burn regardless)
+   500 calories (working out)
== 2,500 calories as an asset so far

Part Three- Dieting.  The really really hard part.

This is what takes the most discipline and science.  It eats away from your assets and even the simplest things bring unwanted calories.  That candy bar? yeah, 350 calories.  Large fries? 600 calories.  Can of soda? 170 calories.  First off, set your caloric intake to something low.  I went extremely low, and I would not recommend this to anyone who hasn’t dieted/exercised competitively before.  I set my intake to approximately 1,000 calories per day with 2 meals a day and small snacks in between.  My energy hasn’t decreased and I never feel like I’m depriving myself.  DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF. The key is being smart as hell about your calories and doing your research.  It’s a numbers game folks.  To keep track of things get a calorie tracker on your iPhone or keep a spreadsheet on your computer.  Be religious and honest with it.  Some days you will go over, but do not make it a habit.  Here are the tips and guides i’ve used for dieting:

  • Don’t be a moron with calories and waste them.  Get sugar free pudding instead of that with sugar (100 vs 60 calories). Drink diet instead of normal soda (0 vs. 170).  Get small instead of large.  Do not waste your calories.
  • Research every product you buy.  Most calories counts are online.  You can also just look in the store.  Get the item with lower calories.  PERIOD.
  • You can still eat “shit”.  1 chicken strip at KFC? 100 calories.  Wendy’s hamburger? 230 calories.  Live in miami? Go to power pizza, where a slice has 220 calories. The key is to stick to the plain offerings without a lot of toppings and get smaller portions.  Don’t get bullshit like fries or milkshakes.  One milkshake would practically be 700-900 calories.  Toppings and crazy sauces are killer.  Remember: ITS A NUMBERS GAME.
  • Find lightweight snacks to get you through the day that can be portioned out right.  Pretzel sticks? 100 calories for 48 of them.  Flavoried rice cakes? 10 have 70 calories total. thats 7 calories each. Sugar free jello? 5 calories.  Fruit cups? 70 calories
  • Caloric drinks are the biggest waste.  They’re like buying spinning rims when you’re broke.  Even gatorade is 125 calories a bottle.  Soda at 170. Vitamin water at 150,etc.  Get the lower calorie versions.  Gatorade G2, Vitamin Water 10, Coke Zero, and just plain old water.  2 sodas a day and a gatorade during a workout equals close to 400 wasted calories.  Do that over a month and we’re talking 12,000 calories aka almost 4 pounds.  It’s just a numbers game.
  • What about partying/drinking?  Good news is, you won’t have to drink as much.  Bad news is, the fun drinks are off the table.  Drink light beer.  MGD 64 is great with only 64 calories.  Wine has about 100 calories a glass.  If doing hard liquor, mix it with diet coke or something similar.  A shot of vodka is about 100 calories.  Frozen daquiris and things like that are off the table.  Sorry folks.

+   2,000 calories (BMR- what you would burn regardless)
+   500 calories (working out)
–   1,000 calories spent via eating
== a net gain of 1,500 calories that can be lost per day.

Divide 3,500 (remember that’s one pound) by 1,500 (your net gain of calories to spend on weight loss) and you get approximately 3 pounds burned per week or one pound every 2.333 days.  It will vary, but that’s a good rule of thumb to go by with my calculations.

Part Four- Supplements

Be careful here, really careful.  There’s so much shit on the market.  People often take things they don’t need.  One of my best friends is professionally educated in this field and recommended to me VPX Meltdown.  That’s the only reason I take it.  It increases metabolism, which helps my body deal with a lower caloric intake.  By taking this, my metabolism does not slow down due to a lower caloric intake.  Other than a simple weight loss supplement (you can’t get it, but even if you could Ephedra is bad news), the only other thing you should take is a multi vitamin.  If you’re older, supplements might be a bad idea for your heart.  Please be careful here folks and don’t go on a shopping spree at GNC just because you picked up a magazine with tons of ads promising the world.  It’s hard work, being smart about what you eat, and exercise that burns calories… not chemicals in a bottle.

In Closing

For the tenth time- it’s a numbers game.  The formula is simply this:

3500 / ((BMR+Calories burned due to exercise)-(Daily caloric intake) ) = Amount of days it will take to burn a pound.

I hope this helps as a simple guideline.  Find what works best for you.  Start simple and develop a plan that isn’t too drastic, otherwise you won’t stick to it.  Be realistic, and scale up.  Feel free to email me questions: j@jasonlbaptiste.com