Overweight and unsure where to start? Ben Isaacs solves your problems
There are two types of overweight men: those who say they want to lose weight and those who do something about it. It’s a tough journey, but that’s what being a man is about: pushing yourself to the limit and coming out as a better person. So we’re here to meet your fears, with expert advice on how to get over them.
I can’t stay motivated
Two words: personal trainer. “Men need a trainer that will take a ‘tough love’ approach when they need it; push them to take their training to the next level, but also someone who will reward their efforts,” says Mark Talley, head of fitness at LA Fitness (lafitness.co.uk). “A trainer will keep workouts interesting so the client remains motivated to lose weight.”
I don’t want an audience
Being surrounded by guys in the gym with better physiques than you (currently) have can be demoralising. So make your home the gym. The Bing Health & Fitness app (free, bing.com) lets you log food and exercise, and has a library of workout videos to follow. Many of these require no equipment –perfect for a beginner who needs guidance and privacy to start.
Gym clothes look stupid on me
If you are worried about figure-hugging kit, Under Armour – pioneer in the world of the snuggest sportswear – has a line of loose-fit, sweat-wicking clothing for those who don’t want their belly on show. Footwear is just as important. Avoid ‘minimal’ shoes if you’re heavy, as you will need extra cushioning. “It’s important to invest in high-quality training shoes,” says Talley. “Look for trainers with flexible, cushioned soles for shock absorption.”
I don’t know what classes to take
“Spinning, known for its intensity, sees participants burn around 600 calories per 45-minute class on average,” says Talley. “Meanwhile, high-intensity interval training [HIIT] classes are considered one of the most effective for fat burning. If you prefer the treadmill or rower, push yourself to the max for 40 seconds, then ease off for 20 seconds over 4-minute blocks.”
I don’t know what to eat or drink
Don’t worry about complicated diets. “Men should follow a few simple nutritional guidelines to support steady weight loss,” says Talley. “Reduce alcohol, no junk food or fizzy drinks. Half of your plate should be vegetables, with a complete protein in every meal and complex carbohydrates [whole grains, quinoa].” You also need to be careful about what you drink in the gym. “You only need sugars, and therefore calories, in your drink if you’re exercising at high intensity for more than an hour,” says Barry Stalker (pro-trainer.co.uk). “Drinks such as Powerade Zero are calorie-free and help to replace fluid and electrolytes lost through sweat.”