Losing 30lbs in a year and sustaining it

There are multiple health benefits I have experienced in addition to losing weight. All the above applies even during this period of quarantining.

Akin Akinsipe

I am not a personal trainer by any means but I love fitness and really like sharing what I know about the topic. The opinions in this write up are my own and express my personal experience. 

I am a professional engineer but currently function as the commercial manager for one of the oil and gas companies in the city. I started going to the gym in 2003 but was quite inconsistent, going in for a month then wouldn’t for another month, etc. My goals at the gym were mostly around lifting as heavy as I could without care of proper form or function. I did get stronger as the years went by but wouldn’t say I looked or felt the way I wanted.

Towards the end of 2018, I decided I needed to make changes to my fitness and whatever I had been doing the last 15 years wasn’t working as well. The changes I made allowed me to lose 30lbs in a year. Here are some tips on what I had discovered through the year of transformation.

Akin in the Gym
  1. Establish your ‘why’. This may seem cliché but it does help ground you to your goals as you go through the transformation. There will be times where it will feel easier to revert back to old habits but a solid ‘why’ will keep you focused.  

  2. Accountability. Determine a way to ensure accountability because it is going to be hard at times and your body may not be willing. Those are times you want to have someone that you are accountable to and can show you are continually making progress to aid in keeping you on track. This was key for me. It was time to drop my ego and reach out for the support I needed which was a friend of mine who was into fitness. I paid into one of his programs and checked in with him every few days to let him know I was progressing. I continued until I had established a cadence for myself that was automatic.
     
  3. We all progress differently. Right off the bat, it is good to understand that everyone’s time to get into a rhythm and time to see change will vary. Don’t be discouraged if it is not happening at the pace you envisioned, the key is to keep pushing and remain sustained by your ‘why’ while checking in with your accountability partner. 

  4. Establish bite-size and tangible goals. Walking into a gym for the first time and wanting to lose 80lbs can be daunting and discouraging. Better to set a 10lbs initial goal, then progress from there once achieved. 20lbs off next maybe?

  5. Consistency, consistency, consistency! Choose a time that works for you to work out consistently. Start with choosing a time you can consistently go to the gym. I made the shift from the evening to the morning in January 2019. I recommend the morning as that is time you can mostly control. After work availability can vary with work commitments, fatigue, or social commitments. I thought it would be an impossible thing for me to get up at 5 am to get a workout in before going to work but now I enjoy it. This enabled me to be consistent all of 2019! Choose a time that works for you. 

  6. Exercise the right way. I came to the realization that I had been working out the wrong way for many years. In the gym, my suggestion is to focus on high-intensity interval types of exercises for quicker results. Exercises like a full-body circuit, incorporating supersets & drop sets, ensuring rest times between exercises are timed, and tracking your progress. For me, the most important addition to my routine was treadmill interval sprints. I found the impact of a 15 min high-intensity interval treadmill sprint to be more effective than 60 mins running steadily on the treadmill. Ultimately, find a routine you enjoy, can be consistent with, measure progress, and allows you to achieve your fitness goals.

  7. The right gear. In addition to having the proper form when performing an exercise, it is important to have the right type of outfit and shoes to maximize your workout and reduce the chance of injuries.

  8. Food Choices. This was the last phase on my transformation journey but certainly the most important. Eating the right way does not mean just salads and water but it does mean discipline in the types and quantity of foods you take. I found portioning out high carb items like rice and bread to still be able to enjoy them but in smaller quantities was essential. Avoiding artificial sugars all together is key. Reward yourself periodically with something you enjoy. Lastly, gradually reduce food servings but increase the frequency of meals. This was helpful for me in building lean muscle.

The gym is a place that makes me happy. Being there, with my music, no social status, just the equipment and my dedicated time there brings me tranquility. Going at the same time also meant I saw the same people which created another type of family for me. I started 2019 with a 15lbs drop goal and wanted to be better toned. Once achieved then kept going and ended the year 30lbs less. My new passion for working out and eating the right way (mostly) have allowed me to sustain the new weight. There are multiple health benefits I have experienced in addition to losing weight. All the above applies even during this period of quarantining.

Happy to discuss some thoughts and provide more information on any of the items I discussed. I will be happy to be your accountability partner. If there is an interest, I can post a daily/weekly workout challenge to do at your own pace and keep you motivated through this!

Akin Akinsipe