99% of folks who reach out to me fall into one of three categories:
- Busy moms who want to lose weight, gain strength and look smokin'.
- Young teens (13-17 y.o.) who want to lose fat and build muscle.
- Folks who are obese and just wanting some encouragement and guidance to get started.
While these three categories have their obvious differences, they do have one thing in common...
All three are typically new to fitness. That is, they aren't familiar with weight loss nutrition and working out.
I couldn't be happier to serve beginners who find themselves in one of these three situations because...
I know what's its like to be young and overweight.
I know what it's like to be obese in a society that demands perfection.
I know what it's like to be a 37-year-old mom of two wanting to lose weight, gain strength, and be the "hot mom."
...okay, maybe not that last one 😉
Regardless, I know that losing weight and building muscle can be confusing, especially when there is so much conflicting advice.
And I'll go ahead and say that you've tried plenty of the diet and exercise programs that failed to produce any real result...
That "Total Body Core Burn" Workout DVD set.... didn't work
That $300 juicer collecting dust on your kitchen counter....didn't work
Oh, that one thing you saw on the Game Show Network at 2 in the morning....
...yeah, that didn't work either.
Luckily, losing weight doesn't require spending hundreds of dollars on silly programs or products. All you need is a fitness plan centered around fundamental science-based nutrition & exercise knowledge.
And guess what? I already made you one for free ;).
My free Beginner's Fitness Start-Up Plan (which is about 30 pages long) has everything you need to get started.
Think of this article as the "prequel" to the start-up plan. (but not crappy like the prequel Star Wars films...)
After you read this, you should feel better prepared to implement the advice I give in my free fitness start-up plan.
Who is this for?
I like to start out any advice-based article with defining who will actually benefit. If you've found an exercise and nutrition plan that works for you, don't worry about reading this.
I'm not going to tell you that my approach is the BEST one out there. Things like CrossFit, the Paleo diet, and going Vegan can all work for losing weight.
However, the only way any plan will work is if you follow through and stay committed.
The reason I like my method is that it's easy to implement for beginners. It also provides the education around exercise and nutrition that's needed to be successful forever!
How to Get Started
My goal with this article is to ensure you have simple and achievable goals for each week during your first few months of getting started on your journey.
The Truth is that your first couple months of exercise and dieting will likely determine how successful you are.
Put in the work and dedicate yourself for the next three months and I promise you'll find weight loss success.
Month One: Week 1-2
Your first two weeks are going to be incredibly simple. All I want you to do is track your food using a calorie counting app such as MyFitnessPal or OnTheRegimen. (both are available for iPhones and Androids)
Don't worry about changing your diet in these first 14 days, Just track all of the food you eat. Tracking will help you identify eating trends that may have been causing you to gain weight.
You might be overeating at night, snacking throughout the day or simply making unhealthy food choices too frequently leading to excessive calorie intake.
Be sure to pay attention to your macronutrient breakdown, too. Don't be surprised if you find that the majority of your calories are coming from carbs and fats, and only a small percentage from protein.
Protein isn't some magic macronutrient that makes you lose weight, but it is essential for building and retaining muscle while dieting.
Month One: Week 3
You've spent the first half of Month One tracking your food and should have a rough idea of how many calories (and macronutrients) you are eating each day.
If you have been honest with tracking, then you should be aware of some of your bad habits that have been leading you to eat excessive calories.
(remember, the only way to gain weight and excess fat is through eating in a calorie surplus)
You're probably getting antsy too, but don't jump head first into dieting and exercising just yet. Rather, start implementing healthy habits such as eating more fruits and vegetables and less high-calorie sugary foods.
If you want, you could start implementing a short 20-30 minute walk every day with a few bodyweight exercises (knee-pushups, bodyweight squats, etc.).
Don't make any changes that are unsustainable. Stick with making small changes and I promise you'll thank yourself later down the road. Sustainable weight loss is all about creating small healthy habits that last a lifetime.
Month One: Week 4
Week 4 is going to be your planning week.
Start by figuring out your calorie and macronutrient goals for losing weight (click here to use my free calorie calculator).
(those links are the products I recommend for each)
"But Carter, what about an exercise routine!?"
Don't worry; we will find a solid workout program later on. Before that, I want you to focus exclusively on your diet.
When it comes to losing weight, diet is significantly more important than exercising.
When you do begin exercising, you'll be focusing on resistance training (a.k.a. lifting weights) with the goal of building muscle and burning more fat.
Month Two: Week 1-3
For these three weeks, I want you to accurately weigh your food and track your calories & macronutrients. During this time, you will learn what foods provide what macronutrients.
You'll learn the calorie and macronutrient difference between a lean steak and a ribeye, how truly sad a serving of peanut butter is, and whether the calories in that candy bar are worth it or not.
Note: While you are weighing food, be sure to take mental snapshots of what actual portion sizes look like. tracking and weighing food won't be as necessary when you reach your goal weight.
Month 2: Week 4
Now that you have a good grasp on weight loss nutrition, it's time to find a solid workout program.
In my opinion, lifting weights is a MUST for any dieter...
The health benefits alone make lifting weights a no-brainer decision, but resistance training will also ensure you don't lose muscle mass and end up looking "skinny-fat"
If you are a beginner, you should follow the workout program in my Beginner's Fitness Start-Up Plan.
If you've been lifting (correctly) for more than a year, you may want to try a more intermediate program such as the Kinobody Greek God Program
(Full disclosure: The amazon links have an affiliate tag on them but the Kinobody link does not)
Don't worry about finding the "perfect" training program because....there is no such thing. What matters is that you find a program that you enjoy and also fits into your schedule.
Month Three and On
You've spent the last two months tracking calories, weighing food, and finding a solid strength training program...
Now, the next step is to stick to it and stay consistent
And be honest with yourself.
Are you eating in a deficit throughout the week (or just Monday-Friday)?
Are you accurate with your tracking?
Are you pushing yourself in the gym, even when you would rather be on the couch watching Stranger Things?...
(great show btw...)
If you don't dedicate yourself, don't feel bad when your results suffer.
Get At It!
If you found this article useful, please share it with someone who needs help getting started :).
Oh, and if you still need to download my Beginner's Fitness Start-Up Plan, click the button below.