Losing weight requires effort, diligence, and persistence. Often people expect to see results but they’re not following the right steps. My career as a fitness professional is greatly rewarding when I see clients busting through plateaus, hearing how energetic and alive they feel while losing the weight they don’t need.

Follow these 5 tips closely and you too will be on the road to losing weight.

Image from Torontocaribbean.com

Tip #1: Set a Short-term Realistic Goal

Talk to any Olympic athlete or CEO of a Fortune 500 company about how they got to where they are, they will use the word “goal” a number of times in their explanation. My point is goal setting is used by people who want to keep their eye on their objective.

Here is one of my favorite quotes:

Image as seen on leangreenbean.com

In order to set a goal, you must first know where you are starting.

  • Measure your weight
  • Measure your body fat
  • Girth measurements

Here is a template you can use:

Table 1: Weight & Body Fat Percentage

Initial (date) 6 weeks 12 weeks
_________lbs. / ________ % _________lbs. / ________ % _________lbs. / ________ %

I remind people not to be overly fixated on the number on the scale. The truth of the matter is that we are quantitative animals—most of us want to see a number to validate the results. For this reason it is necessary to take baseline girth measurements. Sometimes you will lose inches but because the scale doesn’t differentiate between fat mass and muscle mass, the number on the scale may not change. Here is a template you can use for measurements:

Table 1: Girth Measurements

Body Part Initial (Date) 6 weeks 12 weeks
Waist (belly)
Thigh (middle)
Calf (middle)
Bicep (unflexed)

Now that you know where you are starting, you can set a short-term goal, for example:

  • Shed 5lbs in a month (or roughly a lb a week)
  • Lose 2 inches around the belly
  • Get down by 1-2% body fat

You can keep track of it easily.

The beauty in writing down and setting a short-term goal is it helps to keep you on track. Now, if you notice after six weeks into your action plan, you have not made the slightest bit of progress toward your goal, you can revisit the steps you’ve taken, perhaps seek out professional advice.

Note: Keep in mind it has only been 6 weeks so be realistic when it comes to seeing results

The danger behind not taking baseline measurements and not setting a goal is you don’t know when you’ve achieved even a little success and you don’t know when you haven’t achieved any success. The most disheartening thing for myself and other trainers is to see people give up after a half attempt and then get down on themselves. Take the steps necessary to set you up for success!

Tip #2: Create an Exercise Action Plan to Achieve your Goal:

Think of the exercise action plan as your training schedule. We all have busy lives whether you’re a parent, student, young professional, entrepreneur, and in many cases you are more than one. These are tasks you have committed your time and effort to and because of that, you won’t flake. It is necessary to start adopting the same commitment to your health. Time is of the essence and managing it efficiently is the best way to achieve a personal goal that’s just for you.

I myself always look at my schedule for the week and slot in the times I am going to workout. I advise my clients to do the same. Spend some time on the weekend and look at your week ahead, what events or commitments do you have? From there you can plan your workouts and stay diligent. Things will come up BUT it is up to you to decide if it is worth completely missing your workout for. Really the goal is to keep your exercise sessions close to the top of the priority list.

Tip 3: Stay Accountable

Making yourself accountable is one of the best steps you can take to ensure you stay on track. In my professional career I have noticed, the higher the stakes and consequences, the more consistent people will remain. For example, I see my clients on a weekly basis with only occasional cancels or reschedules due to work or illness. They tell me from time to time, had they not had a session they would have skipped the gym today. At the end of the session I ask them how they feel, and 10/10 times the response is something along the lines of “Great!” or “Awesome, thanks for kicking my butt!” or “Wow, I really needed that, thanks.”

Aside from a Personal Trainer, other ways to keep yourself accountable are

  • Telling your “fit friend” (everyone has one) about your goal and working out with him/her regularly.
  • Joining a group exercise environment. The more camaraderie you build with the group, the more accountable you will feel to continue showing up.
  • Using a wearable fitness tracker (see my blog post here on a comparison between 2 fitness trackers
  • Downloading a fitness App on your smartphone. (See this blog post for a list of Apps that will sync with Fitbit).

Tip #4: Go to War with “Your” Bulge!

As we know, the battle of the bulge is indeed … a battle, so train like you are going to war with “your” bulge!

There are important points I want you to apply to your workouts so I will list them in point form:

  • Warm-up: Doing a good warm up increases your core temperature which means increase potential for fat burning AND decrease risk of injuries
  • Maximize full-body movements. Simply put: the more body parts moving at one time, the better! For example: Clean and press, squat and throw, side squats over a bench, burpees, and mountain climbers. In all these exercises your entire body is moving up and down, side-to-side! Check out the videos at the bottom of this article!

Image from dietsinreview.com

  • Maintain a higher heart rate. A higher heart rate means more caloric expenditure. If you have medical concerns or are new to exercising, be cautious you aren’t overworking yourself. Using a heart rate monitor to ensure you are training at the appropriate intensity
  • Circuit Train: Circuit training using various types of fitness equipment is the best workout protocol to lose weight. It involves 3 or more exercises consecutively one after the other with a minimal rest period.
  • What about Cardio? Having 1 or 2 cardio workouts is great IF you are pushing yourself to work really hard. If you have no medical concerns gradually increase your intensity so you work up a good sweat without distractions.

Tip #5: Eat enough

Yes though it is an article on workout tips, this tip is just an essential because now more than even I have been coming across people who are on a weight loss journey who aren’t eating enough! Going long bouts without eating is definitely not the way to go about losing weight. People that don’t eat for 4+ hours have slower basal metabolic rate (rate at which your body burns calories) and these people also don’t burn as many calories during exercise!

See article for Advice on Healthy Snacking 

Image from pumpsandiron.com

If you have a tendency to go hours without eating, start by writing down an eating plan. When doing so, here is what you should take into consideration:

Check out my short blog for my favorite protein smoothie recipe and read on Why Take Protein Powder

The premise behind this article is to achieve weight loss and keep it off long-term. Hence, not eating breakfast, and eating a late lunch, stunts your metabolism and your thermogenesis. Alternatively, eating a breakfast high in processed carbohydrates (bagel, toast, muffin) is equally as devastating to your weight loss goals.

Side Note: If you are going to get on to a specific “intermittent fasting” type of program, ensure you have done all the research required to achieve success while on this program. Also if you have been advised by a professional to start nutrition program acknowledge that it is only for a short period of time and not long-term.

Clean and press

squat and throw

side squats over a bench


mountain climbers

Asma Kassam
Asma is a Registered Kinesiologist and Personal Trainer at AK Fitness Inc. She teaches bootcamps, personal training and active rehabilitation. She trains at a studio in Burnaby—Capitol Hill Athletics—as well as a studio in Downtown Vancouver. She is also passionate about nutrition as is a Certified Sports Nutrition Advisor. Visit my webpage at akfitness.ca