So you (or a friend) are getting married – mazel tov! You have so much to do: find a venue that’s not already booked until 2020, purge the guest list until it fits your budget and taste-test all of the catering (not so bad, that one), not to mention binge watching Don’t Tell The Bride to make yourself feel better about your life choices.
One more thing to add to your check list: slimming down. Many men want to look their best and with good reason – you will be required to look back at those wedding photos periodically and you don’t want to wince every time you do. So we spoke to three gents who began from a sitting start to find out what they did, how it went and whether the weight stayed off. (Side note: they all started at least three months before the big day. If you’re T-minus seven days and counting, sorry, there’s not much you can do. Just enjoy the big day – it’ll still be great.)
For gym-phobes, we’ve also ranked the best sports for losing weight, but we begin with some great general advice for losing weight from a personal trainer.
Five simple steps to a svelte ceremony
Chris Hall of Hall Training Systems has carved out a niche helping people get in shape for the Big Day. Here’s how he’ll get you down the aisle in style.
1. Make a Plan and Have a Goal
Not having a goal is the reason most people throw in the towel. The average man should expect to drop 1.7-2% of their bodyweight per week. Break the end goal up into achievable blocks.
2. Increase Water and Protein Intake
These are the two things I address in any diet before even looking at calories in versus calories out. People often lack sufficient fluid intake, which is important. It’s a good idea to drink water when losing weight because it can help the liver metabolise body fat more efficiently; one study by the North American Association for the Study of Obesity showed subjects who drink half a litre 30 minutes before meals had a 44% greater weight reduction over 12 weeks than those in a non-water drinking group. A higher protein intake helps with weight loss, supports and preserves lean muscle tissue, increases satiety [feeling full and fed] and aids hormone development. It’s not uncommon for the men I train to lose 3% of their body fat in three weeks by just making these two changes.
3. Reduce Carb Intake
For people looking to get lean quick, I often start them on a two- to four-week period of low carbs, around 20% of their total daily calorie intake or 50-70g per day. A lower carb intake encourages you to eat more protein, which is a bonus. Then I slowly begin to reintroduce carbs week by week to assess their bodies’ carbohydrate tolerance.
4. Reduce Calorie Consumption
As we draw closer to the big day, I begin to reduce total calorie intake by 10-15% a week. However, fat loss does begin to slow the further into a diet you go. To help drop the last remaining weight – often referred to as “stubborn body fat” – I place the client in a further 10-15% calorie reduction week by week to force the body to turn to its fat stores for energy and help kick-start the fat-loss process back up again.
5. Work Out
Circuit training with ten or more exercises, resting for ten seconds between moves, increases energy expenditure significantly. Most men tend to split up their body parts over the week – chest on a Monday, back on a Tuesday and so on. However, research by Dr Brad Schoenfeld published in the Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research, showed significant increases in muscle mass in the arms and legs when bodybuilders performed total-body training sessions, as opposed to split-body part training.