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Fittest Loser 2019 Prep List

February 7, 2019

The next iteration of the Daily Herald’s Fittest Loser contest is around the corner. Having participated in it last year, I thought I’d pass along a list of tips for this year’s participants. Things I wished I’d known when I was starting out on the same challenge.

In no particular order:

  • The trainer you’re assigned is unimportant. They are all fantastic at Push Fitness (the gym hosting the participants and a sponsor of the contest), and your results in the contest will not be different based on which one you are paired with. This challenge is about what you do for yourself, with the support of your trainer, friends, and family.
  • Make sure you have the right clothes for working out. I can’t speak for the women who might be participating, but for the guys you’re going to want some boxer briefs and dry-fit shirts. Cotton T-shirts are not your friend when working out.
  • It’s February. What coat are you wearing when you leave the gym that you won’t mind putting on when you’re soaked with sweat?
  • At least two workouts you do each week will be on your own. If you plan to run and have a history of shin splints or discover this is a problem for you, I recommend wearing a pair of compression sleeves. Once I started wearing these my shin splints, which previously were crippling, went away.
  • If you’re given the opportunity to pick up a new pair of shoes, do so. Working out in old shoes will cause all kinds of pain for your feet, ankles, and back.
  • Sign up for a music streaming service, like Spotify, and start putting together your workout playlist. Having music to distract you from the tedium of exercise can make the difference between pushing yourself harder than you planned to, and giving up early. Paying for a service ensures you’re not constantly being interrupted by commercials. If you don’t already have wireless headphones, I recommend those as well.
  • Buy a couple of sport water bottles if you don’t already have them. Really useful to have these during the group classes and your trainer sessions.
  • You probably already assume this, but say farewell to carbs such as pasta, pizza, white rice, and potatoes. (Sweet potatoes are OK.) Same goes for sugar, and most dairy. It’s tough, I know, but you’ll be surprised how much you enjoy “eating clean.”
  • Carve out time each weekend to shop for food and prepare it for the week. This will take hours. Remember to include time for cleanup, too.
  • Make sure you have containers for bringing leftovers to work every day. Failing to do so will likely lead you to making excuses throughout the week about why it will be OK to eat out. It’s not. It isn’t the case that you can never eat out again; you’ll just want to take these three months off from having restaurant food. (With likely one exception, which I won’t spoil for you.)
  • Start drinking water. This part of the program was one of the biggest changes for me. You’ll hear that you should drink half your weight in water each day, but going beyond that will be even more beneficial. It’s more of a challenge than you think.
  • Another diet tip: Not only will you be consuming less sodium on account of fewer restaurant visits and eating less (read:none) processed food, but you also should become used to not salting your food either. It’ll cause you to retain water. Note that most pre-mixed seasoning blends include salt.
  • Buy a food scale. The portions in the guide you’ll be given are mostly measured in ounces and you will want to be accurate in your measurements.
  • Some aspects of the diet will likely surprise you, depending on the caloric limit you’re assigned. For example, a meal might call for two servings of protein. Two eggs equal one serving of protein, so you could find yourself eating four eggs for breakfast, and that’s before you include the starch and fat components. Hardly sounds like a diet, right?
  • Finally, the participants in the contest are your competitors, but they are not your enemies. They’re present for the same reason you are – to transform their lives. You’ve just been given a handful of new friends to support and cheer for you along the way. You should be as happy for them to lose weight as you are for yourself.

I’ll have more tips and reflections throughout the contest. Good luck to all contestants! I look forward to seeing you at Push Fitness.

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