Just as fighters must meet weight requirements to be in their official weight class, others struggling with weight gain may have their own fighting weight in mind – the place where they feel most comfortable, most confident and ready for anything and everything. But how to get there? Just getting started can be a challenge. “There is always a reason people have to restart. Find what it is that slowed or stopped you and eliminate it,” said James Free Jr., certified fitness nutrition coach and franchisee of Max Muscle Cool Springs.

Nutrition Is Key
“Since there are 24 hours in a day and honestly you can only work out 1 to 2 hours of that, what you eat is by far the most important,” said Free. And he’s right. So how do you jump-start the nutrition side of your fight to be the you that you want to be?

“A good intestinal cleanse such as Cleanse & Lean will help clean out your intestinal tract, improve digestion and utilization of nutrients, and will help get rid of bloating,” said Scott Herkes, Max Muscle owner and certified nutrition coach.

Another step would be to “clean out your pantry and refrigerator by either throwing away or donating all of the simple-carbohydrate type foods,” advised David Ross Mulligan, a Max Muscle Franchisee in Northern California. After you’ve purged your home of all waist-expanding items, restock strategically.

This does not mean you should restrict a specific macronutrient, such as complex carbs/fats/proteins. “Long-term weight loss is a balancing act between moderate calorie restriction and eating proper macronutrient combinations to support everything our bodies need,” said Herkes.

If the lurking temptation to slash all fats and carbs while consuming only protein weasels its way into your consciousness, remember, even though the pounds will come off, according to Free, you will also cause metabolic damage, which in turn leads to a rebounding effect that could be tough to overcome. In other words, it’s super easy to pack back on all you’ve lost and then some. In addition, “low fat diets can impact our ability to produce hormones, which are important for many metabolic functions,” warned Herkes.

So what should you be eating? All the experts interviewed agree: lean protein, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, fruit and lots of water. Don’t eat huge quantities either. Get in your balanced nutrition with small, protein-based meals every 3 to 4 hours. Also, “supplementing with a multivitamin, L-Carnitine, CLA, glutamine and EFAs is a must,” said Mulligan. It seems simple, and it is, but breaking the addiction to processed foods and simple sugars takes true dedication.

“Dieting isn’t about starvation; it is about a clean and healthy lifestyle,” said Free. “I recommend a cheat meal [notice he didn’t say cheat day] for my clients and that works in two ways. One, it gives them something to truly look forward to and appreciate, and two, I believe it stokes the fires because your body wants to get rid of it. This causes a thermogenic fat burning effect.”

Blasting Past Plateaus
There comes a time in almost all weight-loss journeys when the scale stops moving and with that, discouragement can quickly follow. But in reality, all a plateau means is that it’s time to change up your routine, and there are several ways to do that. David suggested introducing a stronger thermogenic, trying intermittent fasting or cycling carbs. Even something as simple as changing the time of day you exercise can help.

Herkes had some great advice: “A long-term caloric reduction can put our bodies into ‘starvation mode.’ As odd as it may sound, taking a day off and eating things you have been restricting, such as pizza, can help break the plateau. We regularly see people who have reduced their calories so low, they are stuck and can’t lose more weight until they start eating more.”

Switching up your complex-carb/fat/protein ratio can make a difference, too. “Studies from 2005 showed obese women who are more insulin resistant (not diabetic) do better on a 40/40/20 macronutrient ratio than people who are more insulin sensitive who should try a 60/20/20 combination,” Herkes explained.

All our bodies are different, so what works for some people may not work for you. Just move through the suggestions until you begin seeing results again. And, as Free reminded, trust the plan. Just because the scale didn’t move this week, doesn’t mean it won’t next week. Plus, “with water weight fluctuating 2 to 5 pounds in a day, the scale is sometimes an inaccurate enemy,” said Mulligan.

Staying Motivated
Going the distance starts at the beginning. Many people give up because they aren’t seeing results as fast as they would like, and that’s often due to a lack of education. A Max Muscle certified fitness nutrition coach can correct this and help you set goals. According to Herkes, you should begin with a six-month realistic plan. “Unrealistic goals only undermine progress and demotivate you,” he said.

Keep in mind, you won’t lose at the same pace you did at the beginning of your program. Lots of people drop 8 to 10 1377376457-girlfighter (1)pounds the first week, but then slow to a steadier 2 pounds of fat a week, which equates to a negative 60 pounds in six months or more than 100 pounds in a year. “When you look at how long most overweight people have lived that way, it’s a mere fraction of the time they have lived as an overweight or obese person,” said Mulligan.

Speaking like a true motivating coach, Free said, “The weight didn’t come on overnight and it won’t come off overnight. You can choose to push through the difficult times on a nutrition plan. The power is in your hands. Most people don’t believe they are strong enough and give in to the addiction of food. It is not a disease. It is a choice. I believe people have the power within themselves to get out of the situations they put themselves in. All they need is someone to believe in them until they believe in themselves.” MS&F

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