It’s the holy grail of getting fit, isn’t it: A diet and exercise regime where you can eat more, exercise less and still lose weight.
Who doesn’t want that? A programme that allows you to stuff your face and sit around all day without ever having to go to the gym? Where do I sign up I hear you cry?!
Er – as you’ve probably guessed there’s a little bit more to it than that, but I can promise you that if you think the only way to get fit and lose weight is to go to the gym for two hours a day and eat nothing but celery sticks and apples then I do have an alternative for you.
It is possible to eat a ton of food, exercise less than two hours in the gym every day and still see results. This is what I’ve been doing for the last five or six weeks, and I wanted to share with you exactly how this strange process works (it’s quite simple really).
Basically, eat more doesn’t mean eat everything, and exercise less doesn’t mean don’t move at all. I do seem to have found a method where A (food intake) + B (exercise performed) = C (weight loss and fitness increased), but it’s all about having the right formula A plus the right formula B, in order to achieve result C.
Although I’m still in the early stages, the new (to me) diet and fitness programme I’m undertaking does promise those three things – here’s what it is and how it works (I’m concentrating on the exercise part this week as I’ve mostly covered the food aspect in this post):
The 90 Day SSS Plan
As some of you may have read in my last couple of health and fitness posts, I bought myself a personalised 90 Day SSS (Shift, Shape and Sustain) Plan from the Body Coach (a.k.a. social media star Joe Wicks). I started it just over a month ago or so, and the idea is that you eat the right foods at the right times, combined with effective exercise that’s short but intense in order to burn fat fast.
In a nutshell it’s “not a short term, low calorie diet, [it’s] a lifestyle change that will educate you on how to exercise smarter and fuel your body to burn fat and build the body you’ve always wanted”.
I talked in this post about how the meals in this programme were delicious and incredibly filling. Depending on what your diet’s like to start with, it may come as a bit of a shock to be eating a mahoosive breakfast followed by a mid-morning snack, then another huge meal at lunch and so on. I talked about the food and the meals in that post in more detail* so I won’t cover it again, but if you like eating, this is for you… You’ll never be “on a diet” that makes you hungry ever again.
*I’ve only completed cycle one so far and the meals programme changes in cycle two. In cycle one all your meals are “reduced carbohydrate meals” except for the meal you have after exercising. Then you have a “carbohydrate refuel meal” – these include more rice, sweet potatoes, oats, etc.
Obviously if you’re already not exercising very much this doesn’t mean that you exercise even less than that. It means that you don’t have to exercise for 1-2 hours a day to get results – it’s a lot less than that on the 90 Day SSS Plan.
This was the part that really shocked me when I read what was required – as someone who exercises “sporadically regularly” (I’m sure you get what I mean) and is used to a long run or an hour’s intense cardio, I was shocked to find out that only 18-20 minutes of (albeit super intense) cardio was all that was required, 4-5 times a week.
So that also means rest days, yay!
Before when I was struggling to get the weight off, I was doing 40-60 minutes exercise a day, 6 times a week and had NO results.
On the 90 Day SSS Plan I switched to just 20 minutes, 5 times a week. How can this yield results?
The premise is this: 18-20 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) will burn fat, and burn it fast. And the thing is, it’s really easy to fit in time-wise… It’s just incredibly tough for those 20 minutes.
It usually takes me that long to get a sweat going when I go for a long run or do a DVD workout, but I am sweating after just 5 minutes of HIIT, so something is obviously happening.
This is how it’s structured:
– You do 30 seconds of high intensity, flat-out-pushing-as-hard-as-you-can cardio (rowing machine, burpees, mountain climbers, etc.)
– Rest for 45 seconds
– Repeat 12-15 times
And that’s basically it; it couldn’t be any more simple.
The fact that it’s so short means that even if you’re tired, or you’re short of time, or you’ve got some other lame excuse up your sleeve it’s still totally doable, and none of those excuses really cut it. Therefore it’s easier to maintain on a regular basis.
(Do note the 18-20 minutes doesn’t include a warm up or cool down, and disclaimer: I’m not a qualified dietician or personal trainer so make sure you seek professional advice before embarking on any type of diet or exercise.)
…And lose weight
So as weird as it is, it seems to work. It’s all about getting that magic formula right: The right foods at the right time and the right exercise in the right amounts at the right time. I’ve not weighed myself again since my first weigh-in when I was pleased with the results, so I’ll report back at the end of cycle two so you know how I’ve got on.
Basically eating all this food makes me one very happy lady. And I do love my exercise, don’t get me wrong, but there are some days that you just don’t feel like working out for an hour so knowing the HIIT is less than half an hour in total once you’ve changed, warmed up, exercised and cooled down is quite an incentive.
Cycle two – what to expect
In cycle two you up the exercise with resistance (weight) training and eating more carbs. I’ll include more details when I’ve been doing that part for a little while to let you know how I’m finding it.
The only thing that’s somewhat disappointed me about the 90 Day SSS Plan is that there is a distinct lack of (online) support from the programme – I thought I’d be getting an email or two a week with tips, words of encouragement, etc. But apart from the welcome email and another saying cycle two was coming I’ve had nothing, which has been really disappointing. It’ll be something I give them feedback on – and maybe quite soon, rather than at the end of the programme…!
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON EATING MORE AND EXERCISING THIS WAY IN ORDER TO LOSE WEIGHT? HAVE YOU EVER TRIED IT BEFORE? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!