For my last week on Utopia Food & Fitness‘ plan, I have decided to spare you the day-to-day details of resisting temptation, eating prepared foods, and working out 20 minutes twice a week. Instead, I want to celebrate. I AM DONE! And man, did that feel good.
I had my final results and measurements on Friday, and I achieved my goals and a little more. Truth be told, I never focused on numbers relating to weight/measurements/body fat until I started the program. I just knew my clothes didn’t fit, and I didn’t feel great about my habits. But a program has to have its benchmarks and measuring tools, so I obliged. I will (shyly) share my results with you.
Weight Loss: 10.4 lbs. (Seven of those pounds being fat.)
Inches lost: 11.75 inches
Body fat loss: 12.6 percent
The plan worked. I fit in my clothes. I feel great. I have energy. I am confident. It was not easy, but it wasn’t super hard, either. The workouts were doable, and I never missed one (I actually looked forward to them), but it was hard to say “no” to the nights out, the happy hours, the cake at the birthday party, and the wine at book club. It took quite a bit of self-control. (OK, like every second of the day.) But now that the six weeks is over, I am so glad I did it!
So, you’re probably wondering, “Where do you go now? How will you sustain this?” And “Yeah, right. You’re gonna gain it all back.” I would be lying if I said I didn’t tell myself those things, too. So I went to Kirk Wilder, president and founder of Utopia, and asked him a few tough questions about the program and how to sustain the work. Here is a condensed version of our conversation:
One of the selling points for the program (for me) was I only had to work out two times a week for 20 minutes. But how does this little amount of time promise big results?
We are an absolute stickler for adhering to the latest, repeatable, scientific research–especially when we try it and it works.
We prescribed circuit training three times per week for years as that was the latest research. Starting in the early 1990s, Wayne Westcott, one of the premier strength-training researchers, started publishing landmark research showing that strength training for the average reconditioned adult twice per week versus three times per week produced identical results in lean muscle gain over an initial 10-week time frame.
Next, Westcott performed the same 10-week research protocol on highly conditioned athletes and senior adults (both who take longer to recover) and found that training twice per week actually produced greater results as the participants could not fully recover from three times per week and ultimately not developing to their full potential. Therefore, if training twice per week can create equal or greater results than three times per week, stick with twice per week.
Calories vs. Exercise: What’s the ratio to success?
Some people will say, “It’s 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise.” We say, “No, it’s 100 percent diet and 100 percent exercise (specifically strength training to stimulate the muscle). It has to be in accurate balance. If you diet without the strength training, up to 70 percent of your weight loss will not be fat, but muscle, dehydration, organ and bone tissue, etc. If you strength train without diet, you’ll get stronger but also bulk up (the muscle just pushes the fat out farther).
I’ve done all this hard work. Now what? How do I maintain?
You can easily maintain your success and even get additional results if needed and desired. Here’s why:
1. You have now restored your metabolism, so now you burn more calories each day at rest. And, best of all, it’s at rest that we burn the highest percent of fat and the most fat calories.
2. When you strength train you further elevate your metabolism for an additional 76 hours.
3. When you went through the six-week program you learned new body signals. From now on you will know when to eat.
4. You have also gotten your cravings under control. Refined food (especially fast food) is highly addictive. Refined carbs are like throwing kindling onto a dying fire. You get a sudden blaze but then it quickly dies off and you need another application of kindling. Whereas, complex, whole foods are slow burn like good logs on the fire.
5. Never again will you need to count calories; your body will naturally signal you. Go back to eating out and celebrating with food, but you will quickly notice that when you overdo it, you feel much worse, and it’s just not worth it.
6. Now that you have these new or restored youthful, powerful muscles and less dead weight to lug around you just can’t help but become more active. A good body well spent is amazing and delightful.
Final thoughts: It works. You have to be motivated and dedicated to complete the entire six weeks. I was mentally ready for it, and I think that helped. If you’re just sort of ready, I think it would be hard to say “no” to the temptations of queso and wine. And Tiff’s Treats. I will continue to work out with the program, and I’ll check in with you in a few months to let you know if I’ve maintained the results.
After all, isn’t that the true test?
Ryan Conner is associate editor of D Weddings and D Home.