How I lost 50 Pounds of Fat and Got Fit for Duty

01-08-2016 Edit: If you are interested in Lean & Fierce: Tactical Fitness for Sheepdogs, this article was the inspiration for the book. This article details a lot of the themes that are featured throughout the book.


 

When I graduated from the Police Academy in December of 2006, I was in the best shape of my life. I was around 220 lbs, strong, well conditioned, and the picture of health. Fast forward five years to December of 2011, and my health wasn’t looking so good. I was working rotating 12 hour shifts, had managed to gain weight, and was close to 250 lbs. I used the combination of poor eating habits and an abnormal sleep schedule as excuses to skip workouts and my health had paid the price. I let the problems compound themselves into a viscous cycle. I ate crappy, so I didn’t workout.  Since I didn’t workout, I would continue to eat crappy.

One morning I took a good look at myself in the mirror and I was embarrassed at how far I had let myself get out of shape. I decided that something had to change. I started eating a typical low fat diet with 6 small meals a day and training like a bodybuilder. That’s what I learned to do growing up and had success with in my youth. I lost 10 lbs quickly but then stalled. I became dejected and thought “I’m in my 30s now and my testosterone is probably lower. Maybe this is as good as it gets?” But I can be stubborn, and I refused to give up that easily. I decided that I needed to find a better diet and training plan. I did a lot of research on fitness and nutrition and was able to put together a plan that allowed me to achieve my fitness goals.

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By following the plan outlined in this post, I saw the following results in just the first 5 months:

  • Squat increased from 95 lbs to 295 lbs
  • Deadlift increased from 225 lbs to 385 lbs
  • Bench Press increased from 205 lbs to 275 lbs
  • Overhead Press increased from 95 lbs to 135 lbs
  • Pull-Ups increased from 3 to 10
  • Waistline (measured around widest portion of the gut at the belly button) dropped from 47 Inches to 37.5 Inches
  • Weight dropped from 247 lbs to 210 lbs.
  • Body Fat Percentage decreased from 28% to 18%
  • Received excellent blood work results at my yearly physical

Since then I have continued following the plan outlined below, and my strength and conditioning levels have continued to increase as my body fat has continued to decrease. I am currently 195 lbs with a 34 inch waistline. Below are the steps that I implemented to succeed, and I believe officers of any fitness level can achieve success by following them. If you are out of shape, this plan will help you get back in shape. If you are already fit, this program will give you more energy through a healthier diet and help you get stronger and more mobile.

When adopting this plan give yourself time to adapt to changes before adding more. If you are out of shape I suggest the following protocol: Spend the first 30 days just focusing on your nutrition. Cut out junk and get used to eating a whole food diet. If you eat a lot of junk food or fast food this change alone can lead to dropping 10 to 15 lbs in the first month. Once you adjust to a whole food diet you will be better fueled and ready to tackle the workouts. Nutrition is the first step in this plan for a reason:  Nutrition is responsible for 80% of your results. The saying “you are what you eat” couldn’t be more true. If you eat junk it does not matter how hard you work out, you will not get results.

Warning: This post is lengthy. I tried to be as concise as possible but I wanted to include everything in one place so out of shape officers looking to take immediate action could develop a fitness and nutrition “game plan”. I recommend bookmarking this post and coming back if you don’t have the time to digest it all in one sitting.

Nutrition Plan

  • Remove the Junk: Your first task is to cut out all the junk from your diet. Soda (yes, even “diet” soda), fast food, energy drinks, candy, chips, bar food,cereal, cookies, crackers, microwavable meals, protein or meal replacement bars, sports drinks (gatorade has the same sugar content as soda); these all need to go. Don’t just stop eating them, remove them from your house. Clean out the fridge, pantry, and cupboards. If you need caffeine, replace the sodas and energy drinks with black coffee or black (unsweetened) ice tea. If you must consume an energy drink on duty to make it through the shift, use the super low calorie 5-hour energy type shots. Likewise, ditch unhealthy cooking oils. Canola oil and vegetable oil are the two main culprits. Everything mentioned in his paragraph is highly processed, created by man, loaded with chemicals, and not “real food”. The goal moving forward is to build a diet based on eating real food.

 

  • Stop using Tobacco: If you use tobacco this is the perfect time to consider stopping. Police officers are more likely to use tobacco than the average citizen. Quitting tobacco is possibly the single best health choice you can make. The idea of quitting can be scary. Trust me, I know. I was addicted to dip for 10 years and I had multiple failed attempts at stopping. I won’t push anyone to quit, it has to be a choice you make for yourself. However, quitting can be easy with the right mindset. The two items below are what I used to quit successfully after multiple failed attempts with nicotine replacement products. The below items have “smoking” in the title, but they apply to all nicotine addictions including dip/chew/snuff.

 

  • Limit Alcohol to Once a Week:  I’d recommend cutting alcohol all together for at least 30 days if possible. If your goal is fat loss, alcohol slows that down big time. Likewise alcohol consumption slows strength gains and muscle growth. If giving up alcohol isn’t an option, limit your alcohol to once a week. But no more beer. Beer is full of empty calories and carbs and has to go. I know, it sucks. I am a fan of craft beers and LOVE a bitter double IPA. But it’s called a “Beer Belly” for a reason, so ditch the beer. Red Wines or liquor are better drinking options. If you drink liquor avoid any sugary drink mixes. Try a NorCal Margarita for a refreshing take on tequila. Bourbon, neat or on the rocks, is always a winner too. If you don’t know wines, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are the three most popular reds, and I’m a big fan of Malbec. Regardless of what you drink, make sure to drink in moderation. Heavy drinking has a negative impact on your training and results, and can lead to late night food binges on junk. Also training hungover is no fun!

 

  • Start a Whole Foods Diet:  If you take nothing else from this post, please consider switching to a diet based off of whole foods. The Standard American Diet is full of highly processed junk and one of the main reasons almost 70% of Americans are overweight or obese. If you switch to one of the whole food diets below and never workout, you will still see dramatic improvements in your health. A whole foods based diet will improve your energy levels, sleep quality and body composition ( it promotes building muscle and burning fat). Follow one of the programs below 100% for 30 days minimum. This will give you time to see how your body adapts to the diet. After the initial 30 days your goal will be to try to follow a whole foods diet 100% of the time, but to accept the fact that life gets in the way and you’ll probably end up more in the 80-90% range. I don’t expect anyone to give up pizza and beer for life. Switching to a whole foods diet will also remove a lot of inflammatory foods and chemicals. You may end up finding  some unintended health benefits. I used to get horrible heartburn. I blamed it on eating lots of spicy foods. I took a pepcid AC every single day like clock work for years. After switching to the Paleo diet for a week, my heartburn disappeared and I haven’t taken an antacid in over two years. And I still eat lots of spicy dishes. Some options for whole food diets are:

 

 

  • The diets above are all very similar. They focus on removing processed foods and grains from the diet and eating real foods. My journey started with this beginner’s guide to the paleo diet.  The Primal Blueprint was the first book I read, and it made immediate sense and struck a cord with me. I purchased The Paleo Solution immediately after, and these two books have built the foundation of the nutrition plan that I follow. It’s over two years later and I still eat this way 90% of the time. It really is a “lifestyle” and not a diet. Eating with a focus on whole foods lead to me having more energy, sleeping better, and better results from my workouts. Not to mention the fact that I just felt like a million bucks all the time. I’m not asking you to sign up for life, just give it a try for 30 days. After 30 days take a personal inventory and see how you look, feel, and perform. I guarantee you’ll be glad you gave it a try.

 

  • Follow your new whole foods diet 100% for 30 days. If fat loss is your goal, switching to a whole foods diet should lead to at least a 10 lb loss in the first month as your body adjusts to the diet. Don’t worry about calories for the time being, just focus on adapting to this new way of eating. Don’t worry about meal times or frequency either. Get to know your body and hunger. If you are hungry, eat a meal. If you feel the urge to “snack” ask yourself are you really hungry or just snacking out of habit? Don’t compulsively eat but don’t let yourself go hungry either. If you need free recipes  The Foodee Project will leave you drooling.

 

  • Stock up on Whole Foods:  Your diet should be based mainly off green leafy veggies, meats, and healthy fats. Grass fed beef, wild caught fish, chicken, eggs, pork, uncured nitrate-free bacon, spinach, broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and peppers are good staples. If you don’t have access to grass fed beef conventional beef works but avoid the fat, look for lean cuts of meat. Stock up on healthy fats as well, like coconut oil, olive oil, and grass fed butter (kerrygold is a national brand). Fruits and nuts can both be eaten sparingly too. Keep fruit to 1 or 2 servings a day and stick to berries (blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, blackberry) for the most nutrient dense fruits. Nuts and fruits can be dangerous because they are tasty and either very calorie dense (nuts) or contain a lot of sugar (fruits), so it is easy to overeat them and revert to mindless snacking. Treat them like a condiment or topping for a salad.

 

  • Get to know your Macros: Macro-nutrients are Fat, Protein and Carbohydrates. Your diet will be made up of some kind of ratio of the three. Sign up for a nutrition tracking site like My Fitness Pal or Fitday and start logging all the food you eat. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do this forever. Just log everything for a week or two so you get to know what meals end up giving you what ratios. Those sites will also help you learn what macro levels you should be targeting based on your goals.

 

  • Tracking Macros and Logging food can be intimidating at first. Here’s an alternative option: If this is all too confusing, you can keep it simple by eating 6 to 8 oz of lean protein with every meal, as many leafy dark greens (spinach, kale, broccoli etc) as you want, and use a healthy fat (grass fed butter, olive oil, coconut oil) to cook or serve on top of your veggies. Paleo/Primal are not necessarily low-carb diets. Use sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and fruit to meet the carb requirements your activity level demands. If you are involved in physically demanding activities like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Crossfit, or marathon training, eat sweet potatoes and fruit to your hearts content! If your main goal is fat loss consider keeping your total carbs below 100 grams per day. If you feel like you have more than 20 lbs of fat to lose, I’d suggest keeping your daily carb intake even  lower. I have found that I get the best fat loss results when I am around 75 grams of carbs per day.

 

Fitness Plan

  • Start a Strength Training Program: You probably lift weights, most cops do. How much strength have you gained in the last year? How would you even measure this? When starting a fitness plan that is applicable to law enforcement work, the initial focus of the plan should be on getting stronger. In order to get stronger you can’t just go and do the same old workout every week. I’ve found the best way to get stronger is to follow a dedicated strength training program. A quality strength training program will focus on compound barbell lifts (squats, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, and either power cleans or pendlay rows). The two most popular beginner programs are:

 

    • Starting Strength is a “3 x 5” program that focuses on doing three sets of 5 reps of the big compound strength lifts: Squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press and power cleans.The program consists of two workouts, workout A and workout B. You will workout 3 times a week, and alternate workout A and B every time you workout. The program requires you to squat 3 times a week. It is extremely effective for beginners and you gain strength with each workout. The book linked above is extremely detailed and I highly recommend it. If you don’t want to buy the book, a pretty detailed review of all the points in the book can be found in this thread. If you are unfamiliar with these lifts, I highly recommend Mark Rippetoe’s accompanying  Starting Strength DVD. The entire DVD is Rip coaching the lifts and the people he coaches are men and women of all age ranges proving anyone can do this. Rip is a great coach and the DVD is full of great cues to think of while performing the lifts.
    • Strong Lifts is the other option. It is very similar to Starting Strength. It follows a 3 workouts per week pattern with a rotating A/B workout schedule and has you squatting 3 times a week as well. The main differences are that Strong Lifts is a “5 x 5” program, meaning you will be doing 5 sets of 5 reps and it substitutes the Pendlay row for the power clean. The e-book for this workout is free. If you sign up for Medhi’s newsletter he will email you his ebook and links to instructional videos of the lifts. Strong Lifts now has a free smartphone app available that allows you to track your training and view video demonstrations of the lifts. It’s out on both iPhone and Android; Get the StrongLifts App Here
    • High Bar vs Low Bar Squat: Which is right for you? If you search for squat info on the internet it won’t take you long to find this question. High Bar and Low Bar squats are two variations of the same exercise, and their respective fans treat them like coke vs pepsi or playstation vs xbox. Both of the coaches mentioned above (Rippetoe and Medhi) are huge proponents of the low bar squat, and this is the technique most power lifters use. However, if you talk to anyone involved in Olympic Weightlifting they will tout the benefits of the High Bar squat. The truth is, both versions have their positives and negatives. As long as you are squatting deep it doesn’t matter which squat variation you use. The “right” squat for you is the one that feels right and you are comfortable doing. I’ve used both versions in my training. I can use heavier weight with low bar squats, but I feel more comfortable doing high bar squats. If you want to delve into the high bar vs low bar debate, there is an excellent unbiased write up on 70sBig. If you want more info on squats for beginners, there is a fantastic in depth Squatting 101 article on NerdFitness. The best thing you can do is try both and see which works better for you.

 

    • Intermediate Programs: Whichever of the beginner programs you choose, you should be able to continue seeing strength gains from that program for at least 3 to 6 months, and maybe upwards of a year depending on your strength levels at the beginning. If you are familiar with lifting but haven’t followed a program before, consider yourself a beginner and enjoy the easy strength gains from the two programs above. There’s no reason to rush ahead into the intermediate programs. Strength acquisition takes time and dedication. Be patient, you’ll get to the intermediate programs soon enough. Once the beginner programs stall repeatedly, here are my two favorite intermediate programs.

 

    • Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 is a popular, fun, and effective intermediate program. Here is an article on the program by the author. The program is popular because it gets results, challenges lifters to set new Personal Records (PRs), and is highly flexible. I feel that its flexibility makes it one of the best long term programs for Police Officers. The program is ideally completed with 4 workouts per week, but in a busy week it can be modified and done in just 2 gym sessions. Another nice feature is that every 4th week a “Deload” week is built into the program. This allows officers to have a built in active rest period that will keep you fresh and prevent injuries and over-training. Finally, if you geek out over statistics and tracking there are lots of spreadsheets available for automated tracking. This one is my favorite.

 

    • Dan John’s Easy Strength is another very effective intermediate program. The program is detailed in this article. However, I highly recommend buying the book. Dan John co-authors the book with Pavel Tsatsouline and the entire book is basically a conversation between the two legendary strength coaches. If you have any interest in strength training or programming, do yourself a favor and get this book. It is like getting a PHD in strength education. The Easy Strength program focuses on doing what is important every day, without over-exerting yourself. It pairs nicely with Wendler’s 5/3/1, and I believe officers can effectively strength train their entire career just cycling between these two programs every 8 to 12 weeks.

 

  • Start doing Mobility Work: Flexibility is static stretching. Mobility is being able to move our bodies through space effectively in all three dimensions. If that sounds too complicated you can think of mobility like stretching for your joints. We wear duty belts and sit in cruisers all day and our hips and hamstrings are pretty much shot because of it. Low back pain is a notorious problem for police officers. Many times this pain is not because of a weak back, but is caused by the lower back being over worked from having to “pick up slack” for weak hips or hamstrings that are weak or shortened due to constant sitting. All of the above strength training programs will have you squatting multiple times a week, which is great. In order to get proper squat depth, we need to do a little mobility work on our hips and hamstrings. Taking mobility work seriously will help you recover quicker, get stronger faster, and perform better on the job.

 

    • Start watching Kelly Starrett on Youtube who has put out a video on mobilizing the body pretty much every day for 3 plus years. The video above is the very first and your initial test. See if you can do it. Search through his youtube channel or on his website MobilityWod and you can search for videos by joint, limb or muscle group to find the help you may need when you are feeling stiff, tight, or sore. If you only watch one video from MWod, make it this one. Your hips will thank you! At the end of the video Starrett shows how to perform the stretch on your couch in front of your TV. Do this after workouts or on your recovery (non-lifting) days. It will drastically improve your hip mobility and counter a lot of the damage we do to our hips by sitting in a cruiser all shift.

 

    • Start Foam Rolling  Myofascial Release is a fancy term for deep tissue massage. It will help with your recovery from workouts and improve your general mobility. The best part is you can do it yourself while watching T.V. Pick up a Foam Roller and roll out your hamstrings, glutes and quads on the ground while watching T.V. Likewise, pick up a Lacrosse Ball and use this to home in on tight spots. A lacrosse ball can be used in any hard chair as well, to work your glutes and hamstrings, so I keep one with me at work. If you have to go back to the station to type something out, make use of the time sitting in a hard chair and get some mobility work in while you finish your report.

 

    • Use Movement to Reset Your Body: This is the basic idea behind Original StrengthThe authors argue that our bodies are made to move but as we get older and spend more time sitting we lose the ability to move naturally, and that through a few quick resets preformed daily we can regain our natural movement and prevent injuries. I am a huge fan of the original strength ideas, and use Tim Anderson’s Warm-Up as my daily reset before I lift. Doing a simple reset like changing how you breathe can help your metabolism become more efficient.

 

  • Cardio There are two types of cardio we will be talking about: Low Intensity Steady State Cardio (running, walking, the eliptical, riding a bike etc) and High Intensity Interval Training (sprinting).

 

    • Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) Cardio Low Intensity Steady State Cardio works the Oxidative pathway and allows the body to preform at sub-maximal levels for a long duration. This is the endurance training cardio we are all familiar with from the academy. Long runs, bike rides, the elliptical or stairmaster machines, are all examples. Contrary to popular belief, L.I.S.S. is not done for fat loss. L.I.S.S. is performed to improve cardiovascular health by working out your heart and lungs. I recommend starting with 10 minute sessions twice a week and slowly working up to three 20 minute sessions a week. If you are doing one of the strength programs above, L.I.S.S. cardio is best done on lifting days after your workout, or on the first day of your two day off period. You do not want to go running on a recovery day, since your legs need that time to rest and recover from your workout. The key with L.I.S.S. is finding a type of cardio you enjoy doing.  Dreading your cardio session only makes it harder to do. I hate long slow running.  If I get on the treadmill, I always give up early out of boredom. On the other hand, I love jumping rope and the rowing machine. Experiment with all the different cardio types and find the L.I.S.S. you enjoy doing.
      • Or Just Walk A Lot: If you absolutely hate long slow cardio, just start walking more. Walking as much as you can has almost all the same cardio benefits as other forms of L.I.S.S. Find excuses to get out of the cruiser and walk around at work, take your dog for longer walks at home, or go for a hike with your spouse or children. If you don’t do L.I.S.S. cardio workouts, I recommend buying a cheap pedometer and striving to hit a minimum of 10,000 steps a day. Just be careful if you are going to go this route. It’s easy to say “I walk a lot, so I don’t need cardio.” If you are going to use walking in place of L.I.S.S., make sure you schedule 30 to 60 minutes of walking every single day and stick to the schedule.

 

    • High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) This is basically a fancy name for sprinting. You want to jack your heart rate up a lot higher than you would in a regular slow run, then rest and repeat. H.I.I.T. is great for increasing fat burning and it translates to on the job actions well, as we often go from sitting in the cruiser to running at full speed. I have found the easiest way to incorporate sprint work is to find a grass field (easier on the knees than pavement) and mark off 100 yards. Sprint 100 yards as fast as you can. Run like your life is on the line. Then rest 15 seconds and repeat. Start with 6 to 8 100-yard sprints and add 1 additional sprint every week. Sprint workouts are NOT for beginners. This type of training should not be incorporated until you have been eating healthy and following a strength program for at least 60 days. Once you start doing H.I.I.T., it will take the place of a L.I.S.S. workout. So, if you are lifting on Mon/Wed/Fri you would do L.I.S.S. on Mon and Wed after lifting, and H.I.I.T. on Fri after lifting. Make no mistake, sprinting is HARD. Only do sprint workouts once a week after lifting and on the same day as your last lifting session of the week. You need the two days off after your sprint workout to recover. Never do a sprint workout the day before lifting or your squats will suffer. A more challenging version of sprint work is hill sprints. Same as outlined above, just do them on a hill. Hill sprints have the added bonus of being easier on the knees. If you do hill sprints, sprint up the hill and walk down the hill to prevent injury. Do NOT run down the hill.  If you live in a snowy climate, googling to find your local sledding hills are a great way to find good sprinting hills.

 

    • Metabolic Conditioning: Sprint workouts are just the tip of the iceberg. Metabolic Conditioning (or MetCon) is a specialized form of conditioning that works the phosphogen and glycolitic energy pathways. These pathways allow the muscles to use short bursts of intense energy for strong powerful movements. This type of conditioning has been made famous by crossfit, p-90x, and insanity workouts. There are numerous ways you can incorporate a MetCon workout into your training. I’m a fan of Kettlebell Complexes and Barbell Complexes. Prowler Sled Workouts are also brutally effective. Brutality aside, pushing the prowler is my favorite MetCon, but as a former offensive lineman, I may be a bit biased. If you’re handy, here’s how to build a prowler. Due to the taxing of multiple energy systems and muscle groups, I always feel like I just got out of a (losing) fight when I finish a complex or prowler push. However, complexes and the prowler require that you be familiar with some complicated movements and/or have the right equipment. For less technically demanding MetCons, try mixing burpees, pull ups, sprints, and push-ups. MetCons are very effective at burning fat and developing conditioning. However they become problematic and lead to burnout when people over use them. For the average officer, one or two MetCons a week is more than enough. Make no mistake MetCons are advanced stuff. If you are out of shape, don’t jump into this part of the training from the start. Slow and steady wins the race. I recommend three to four months of eating healthy, strength training, mobility work, LISS/walking, and at least a month of sprint workouts, before starting with MetCons.

 

  • Core Work: Some strength coaches argue that if you are squatting and deadlifting heavy weights you don’t need to do additional core work. This may be true for the average person but we are not the average person. Police Officers have to wear duty belts and vests on a daily basis. On top of that we never know when someone might punch us in the midsection. Our core muscles need to be strong to support the duty belt, protect our lower backs, and be ready to absorb a blow. The beginner strength programs above run off of a Workout A/B schedule, and so will our core work.  Do the A or B core workout that corresponds with the A or B strength workout on lifting days after you lift. It should be noted this is NOT a 6-pack Ab program. These exercises are designed for performance on the job, not aesthetics. You will see some secondary aesthetic benefits from following this program. However, if 6-pack Abs are your goal you should focus on dialing in your nutrition. Contrary to what many fitness gurus would have you believe, visible abs appear by dropping your body fat percentage to 10% or below. Visible abs are mostly made in the kitchen, not the gym. Start the workouts below with just 1 set of each exercise. Every four weeks add an extra set until you reach 3 sets of each exercise.
    • Core Workout A:
      • Up  to 3 Sets of Cross Fit Sit Ups. I prefer the crossfit version, because it neutralizes your hip flexors and makes you really focus on using your abs. You will need to use a towel or an ABMAT to do the crossfit version. Or, you can substitute with crunches on the decline sit-up bench most gyms have.
      • Up to 3 Sets of The Dead Bug
      • Up to 3 Sets of Hanging Knee Raises
    • Core Workout B:

The above core workouts are meant as a beginner workout. More advanced ab workouts would include the ab wheel, RKC planks, and hanging leg raises (toes to bar).

Tips for Success

  • Learn to cook meals in advance. You have to prepare to eat healthy. Subscribe to this site with your email and I will send you the “On Duty Meal Plan” for cruiser friendly paleo meals, as well as a guide for how to eat healthy at restaurants for times when you can’t prepare in advance.

 

  • Build your fitness foundation one step at a time. If you are out of shape or recovering from an injury and are just getting back into fitness, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Focus on adding one new element of the plan at a time. If you start eating a whole food diet, lifting heavy and sprinting all in the same week, you will overexert yourself. Furthermore, you will be more likely to give up the first time you have a slip up with a bad meal or missed workout. Make eating healthy a habit and a way of life. Then make lifting heavy weights a habit. Then add in sprints. Then start with MetCons. Crawl before you walk.

 

  • Don’t neglect mobility work. It can be done on off days and will make your adjustment to heavy lifting easier. More importantly, it will help you move better on the job and prevent injuries.

 

  • Form is all that matters with lifts. Don’t worry about how much (or how little) weight you have on the bar in the gym. If you learn proper form with light weights and focus on keeping that proper form at all times, the weight on the bar will go up. Don’t compare the weight you are lifting to anyone else.Police officers are competitive by nature, but this isn’t a contest. Focus on perfecting your form and strength gains will follow.

 

  • Be Patient. If you are out of shape, you didn’t get that way overnight and you won’t get fit over night either. Keep taking it one day at a time and you will see results.

 

  • Keep Checking Premeditated Fitness for more info. I designed this article to be a “take action now” guide. The main point of this article is to describe what actions to take and how to do so. I will be posting about all of these individual topics in detail as the site moves forward to answer all of the “why” questions.

 

If you’d like a more detailed plan than this article offers, Lean & Fierce: Tactical Fitness for Sheepdogs is the step by step guide that I used to lose 50 pounds of fat and get stronger than ever. You can read a free sample chapter of the book here.

LEAN&FIERCE

4 Responses to How I lost 50 Pounds of Fat and Got Fit for Duty

  1. The Stronglifts 5 X 5 program also has a great smartphone app that is free. With it, you can track and record your workouts. It automatically adjusts your weight for the next workout, i.e. if you squatted 105 pounds this workout, it tells you to squat 110 lbs the next workout. This free app also has videos of all the exercises incorporated into it.

    • Great point Marty,thank you for the reminder! The app wasn’t out when I wrote the article. It is a fantastic app – especially for being free. I updated the article with a link to it.

  2. I don’t see a number of reps for the sets of core work. Are the sets to burnout, or is there a suggested rep range to shoot for?

    • Hi Josh. No the sets are not to burnout. I’m not a big advocate of training to failure. Training to failure in anything is a good way to get your body used to failing. It works well for bodybuilding, but not a successful tactic for strength training.

      As far as the sets and reps go, I’d start with just focusing on planks until you can regularly hit 3 sets of planks for at least 90 seconds each.

      Once you can do that, I’d look into starting more advance abdominal exercises which I discuss here: http://www.premeditatedfitness.com/core-strength-and-stability-for-law-enforcement/

      3 x 5 Sets of the Hanging Leg Raise progression and Ab Wheel, 3 x 10 sets of the Paloff Press, and 1 x 25 seconds of the Hardstyle Plank are a good goal to shoot for.

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MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, dietitian, or personal trainer. Consult your doctor before starting any fitness or nutrition plan.