Week 4: Balancing Your Health And Fitness Goals With Your 9 To 5

I’ve heard it all before: You’re too busy to work out. You don’t have enough time in the day. Your career is too demanding to allow for gym time.

The average American office worker spends eight or more hours stuck in a seated position in a cubicle five days out of the week. And as if that lack of movement throughout the day isn’t bad enough, there are the countless snacks, birthday treats, lunchtime meetings, and happy hours to go along with it. If you’re not careful, the office life can be a seriously unhealthy one.

We weren’t designed to sit in a box all day and eat the processed foods that wink at us from lobby vending machines, but we do have the power to make our daily grind a physically and mentally healthier one. So, if work life is getting in your way as you push through this Bulk Up program with me, don’t sweat it.

Just keep these seven easy and effective tips in mind to stay on track and get fit, regardless of your 9 to 5.

Tip #1: Schedule your workouts.

Just like doctor’s appointments, work meetings, and everything else important in your life, put your workouts on the calendar. Make the commitment to yourself to put in the time necessary to see results. You wouldn’t cancel on your boss, would you?

Tip #2: Move whenever you can.

Park your car at the very edge of the office parking lot and stop taking the elevator. Any opportunity to move is worth taking! On whatever breaks you have throughout the day, get up and take a walk—even if it’s just around the office. Only sit when you have to.

Tip #3: Pack your grub.

You know the saying: ‘Fail to plan and you plan to fail.’ Planning and preparing your food for each day is vital to your overall success. Try to pack at least one or two meals for work or a busy day—just in case meetings run long, travel gets delayed, or any unexpected hurdles pop up. When you have a healthy snack on hand, you’re set for when the munchies hit you.

Related: 9 Healthy Snacks Nutritionists Always Keep On Hand

Tip #4: Team up with your co-workers.

Seek out others in your office who are interested in eating healthy and living an active life. Having a strong inner circle can make a huge difference—especially when your office isn’t the healthiest of environments. Find a buddy to walk with at lunchtime or hit the gym with if you have one near work. If there aren’t too many fitness-minded friends around you, don’t be afraid to talk about your goals, the healthy snack you just had, or the workout plan you’re on. People will notice that you’re living a healthier life and will gravitate to that.

Step #5: Drink TONS of water.

Keep a water bottle on hand at all times throughout the work day. Throw in some lemon wedges if that’ll help you drink more, and aim for 100 total ounces a day. Staying hydrated will boost your mood and energy levels, while keeping you from snacking when you’re bored. Plus, the more water you drink, the more excuses you have to get up and walk to the bathroom to go pee.

Related: 8 Ways To Drink More Water If You Hate Water

Step #6: Don’t skimp on sleep.

If you’re dealing with stress at work, getting quality sleep is even more important. Especially when you’re also going hard in the gym! Shoot for eight hours a night, and don’t settle for less than six hours—no matter how busy things get. If your body doesn’t have the opportunity to rest and recover properly, your gains will pay the price.

Step #7: Always have a goal.

Whether it’s a mental or physical goal, having something to set your sights on will really help you pull through when stress hits. If you have no goal to strive for, what will motivate you through the crummy stuff? Find specific goals that get you excited about moving toward a healthier version of yourself. Hmm, like kicking the butt of this eight-week program, perhaps…

I know these tips seem simple—and maybe a little obvious—but actually putting them into practice is hard! (I mean, come on, you’ve probably been told to get eight hours of sleep ten times—but have you made it happen?)

Start out with one or two of these tips this week and throw another tip into the mix as you get used to making these changes. Trust me: 30, 60, or 90 days from now these little challenges will be second nature—and your body will be thanking you in more ways than one.

Week 4: Smart Snacking When You’re On The Go

I get a bunch of questions, emails, and social media messages about what’s best to eat when you’re on the go. Whether you’re traveling or just in a rush, having a grab-and-go snack can make the difference between nailing your macros and derailing your healthy eating plan.

I put together this quick list to show you a few of my favorite on-the-run snacks. Just make sure they fit into your macros for the day!

1. Protein Bars

Bars are such an easy way to bump up your protein intake when you’re crazy-busy and don’t have time to grill a chicken breast. My personal favorites are Power Crunch bars (especially the salted caramel and French vanilla). They taste just like chocolate wafer candy bars, but they’re lower in carbs and pack 14 grams of protein. It’s like eating dessert! A lot of my clients dig Quest bars or One bars—so choose a bar you’ll enjoy eating. Just look for one that’s higher in protein than carbs or fats and contains as little sugar as possible.

2. Beef Jerky

To me, jerky is honestly the ultimate high-protein, low-carb, low-fat snack. For just about 100 calories, you can get more than 10 grams of protein—along with tons of flavor. Just watch out: Some brands and flavors include added sugar, so look for a jerky with little to none of it.

3. Chia Bars

You’ll hear more about my obsession with chia seeds in a few weeks. But in a nutshell: Chia seeds pack healthy fats (omega-3s), fiber, and protein, making them a filling and health-friendly snack. But since chia seeds aren’t exactly the easiest food to eat when you’re traveling, I like getting my fill from a bar, like Health Warrior’s chia bars. They’re quick, tasty, and easy to pack. (I have been known to keep a bag of chia seeds with me and mix them into water when I need a quick boost, but I understand if that’s not your style.)

4. Mixed Nuts

Nuts are not only easy to throw into a baggie to take with you on the go, but they’re also easy to find in pretty much any rest stop or gas station out there. Nuts are packed with heart-healthy fats, and just a handful is seriously satisfying. My favorites are almonds and pistachios—but there are so many types of nuts out there that your taste buds will never get bored. Since nuts are higher in calories, just make sure to keep your portions under control. (A typical serving of nuts is one ounce.)

5. Nut Butter Packets

To get your fill of healthy fats and keep your portions in check without any guesswork, single-serving nut butter packets come in clutch. I either eat it straight out of the packet, or spread it onto an apple.

Bonus: Powdered Greens

Okay, so greens powder may not truly be a snack—but I always bring a greens powder with me when I travel. Most of us don’t get enough micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) as it is—and often our nutrition is even crummier when we travel. Powdered greens are an easy way to pack some extra nutrition into your day—so I like to mix some greens into my water to give my body a boost of the vitamins and minerals it needs for optimum health.

Related: Check out a number of green superfood supplements. 

Week 5: Mental Muscle—3 Tips For Better Training

Many people think about only exercise and food when making major changes to their body and health.  But that’s not enough. Overhauling your physique and lifestyle requires a shift in your mindset—along with a ton of focus. If your mind’s not right, your body will never follow.

Yeah, you work your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves on leg day. But you’ve got to work your mental muscle every single day. To be successful in this Bulk Up program (and beyond), here are my three biggest pieces of advice for getting your head in the game:

Tip #1: Fail Fast and Fail Forward

As much as we love the idea of going hard all the time and doing everything 100 percent (this program, included), the fact is, failure happens. This challenge is a journey, and failures happen on the road to reaching any major goal or success. You’re going to blow a workout or go a little too hard on a greasy meal at some point. My advice: Fail fast and fail forward. Accept your failures and learn from them.

A bump in the road doesn’t have to derail your entire game plan. One bad meal doesn’t have to turn into an entire week of eating like garbage. One lame workout doesn’t mean the next one can’t be awesome. Remind yourself of this and you’ll develop the mental strength to forgive yourself for any failures and get right back in the game. Take the hit and keep pushing through.

Tip #2: Surround Yourself With Positive, Like-Minded People

One of my favorite quotes is by entrepreneur and speaker Jim Rohn: “We are the average of the five people we associate with the most.” I find that to be especially true when it comes to living a healthy and active lifestyle. If you’re trying to make a big change in your life and body, you’d probably rather have other motivated, fitness-focused people around you, right? Having people in your life who don’t support your goals or the fit life can drag you down, delay your progress, and just make you feel really crummy.

Having a solid support system and a sense of accountability to someone else can really give you the mental edge you need to make it through when the grind gets tough. Embrace people who encourage you to work toward your goals and who will pick you up when you fall. If your crew just isn’t doing it for you, strike up a conversation with your fellow gym regulars or take to social media. Any way you can connect with other people who share your interests will help!

Tip 3#: Keep Your Goals—And Game Plan—In Focus

If you don’t have a clear goal, how can you ever really achieve it? We all want to be healthy and fit—but the more specific the goal, the easier it is to figure out what you need to do to make it happen. You’re chugging through this program with me because you want to build a strong physique and pack on the muscle. Now, break that down into specific goals that will help you achieve your overall dream. To be able to squat twice your body weight—that’s a solid goal. To gain 10 pounds of lean mass—that’s a solid goal.

Then, you need to know how to get there. (Lucky for you, I’ve basically given you a road-map.) But in general, think about what the logistics of achieving your goal will look like. How much time would it take to pack on those ten pounds of muscle? Do you need a coach or someone to make sure you’re on track? (Again, luckily, you have me!)

A few best practices for setting your goals and mapping your journey toward them: Write down your overall and specific goals, take ‘before’ and ‘progress’ photos, write down initial measurements and track them over time, and set a date by which you want to achieve your goals. All of these practices will help you stay focused on progress and be as successful as possible.

All great successes and accomplishments were first imagined in someone’s mind before they ever came to fruition in real life. Visualize yourself reaching your goals, stay positive, and flex that mental muscle—along with all the others.

If you really need that extra push or someone to hold you accountable, please feel free to message me on Instagram (@jeremyscottfitness). I’m here to help you guys get stronger both physically and mentally.

Week 5: The ‘1,000-Rep Challenge’ Workout

This is one of my favorite workouts because it tests not only your physical strength, but your mental toughness as well. (That ‘mental muscle’ stuff we just talked about is going to come in handy here!) I like to throw this 1,000-rep workout in every few weeks or so as a challenge. And the great thing about this grueling workout is that it requires minimal equipment, so you can get after it just about anywhere—all you need is a set of dumbbells.

You can do this workout on your next metabolic conditioning day, or on a foam rolling and recovery day if you’re feeling super-amped.

Here’s the set-up: There are 10 moves total. You’ll complete 10 reps of each exercise before moving onto the next. Once you’re through all 10 moves, that’s 100 reps. You’ll repeat this pattern for 10 rounds for a total of 1,000 sweat-drenched reps. Please rest as needed! Set a timer before you start to see how long it takes you to get through the full workout.

Choose your dumbbells based on your size and ability level—remember, you’ve got to survive 1,000 reps with these! (For reference, I’m six-foot-two and 220 pounds—and an advanced trainee—and I use a set of 35-pound dumbbells. It’s a challenge!)

As always, chase quality, not just the clock. The ultimate goal here is to build muscle all around and shed some fat—not to bang out sloppy reps for the sake of finishing fast.

Ready to get after it?

The ‘1,000-Rep challenge’ Workout

Complete 10 rounds of the following 10 moves:

  • Pushups
  • DB rows
  • Squats
  • DB shoulder press
  • Burpees
  • DB double arm curls
  • Seal jacks
  • Elevated Bulgarian split squat—left side
  • Elevated Bulgarian split squat—right side
  • Box jumps

Share your time on Instagram, and tag me (@jeremyscottfitness) and #Goalgetters after you do this one! I love hearing how people do the first time around.

Related: Shop a performance supp to help you survive grueling workouts. 

Week 6: A Six-Pack Starts Beneath The Surface

To reveal the abs you’re working so hard for, you’ve got to take care of what’s going on beneath their surface—a.k.a. inside your gut. There’s a reason the gut is often called the ‘body’s second brain.’ If our gut health is off, it not only can leave us dealing with uncomfortable digestive issues, but also hinder our ability to process carbs, protein, and fats—making it harder to build muscle and get lean.

Beyond fitness, our gut is also crucial for immune function, affecting our ability to fight off stress, sickness, and disease. A strong immune system is key if you want to perform at your best and see results.

There are two main things I incorporate into my daily routine to help keep my gut in tip-top shape:

Probiotics

Here’s the super-simple lowdown: Your digestive system is chock-full of bacteria. You’re probably thinking ‘bacteria’ equals ‘bad,’ but a lot of the bacteria in your gut are actually good for you—those good guys are called ‘probiotics.’

Probiotics support healthy digestion and help your body defend itself against the harmful bacteria that gets into your system. And that’s important if you’re smacking the gym in the face every day and trying to get stronger. If your system is constantly struggling to fend off harm, that extra effort takes away from your strength and stamina in the gym, which can ultimately steal potential gains from you.

You can find probiotics in some foods—yogurt probably being the most popular. But that’s not the only food source out there. You can also find probiotics in kefir (which is like liquid yogurt), sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, and kombucha. I definitely recommend adding these probiotic foods to your nutrition plan where you can. You can add yogurt or kefir to a protein shake, snack on pickles, or pick up a bottle of kombucha at most grocery stores.

Otherwise, you can make sure you’re feeding your body lots of good bacteria by taking a quality probiotic supplement. I recommend a supplement that has a culture count of 20 billion and at least six different strands of bacteria. (These will all be listed out on the bottle.) You can find them in capsules, powders, and even liquid forms.

Prebiotics

I get a ton of questions about the difference between probiotics and prebiotics. Now that you know all about those good bacteria, I’ll give you the scoop on the equally-important prebiotics.

Basically, ‘prebiotics’ are a certain type of carb that our body doesn’t digest. These carbs then act as food for the probiotics in your gut.

Prebiotics can be found in whole grains and various other foods (think asparagus, bananas, onions, garlic, bran, beans, and apples). I suggest consuming these foods daily to ensure your gut is firing on all cylinders.

Week 6: The All-Star Food You Aren’t Eating—But Should Be

By now, I know you guys are nailing your main daily sources of protein and veggies. But there’s one food I absolutely love (and for good reason) that I’m willing to bet you’re not eating on a regular basis: chia seeds.

You’re probably wondering why you should be adding these tiny pebble-like seeds to your plate. Yeah, I get it, they seem a little weird and you probably don’t know what to do with them. But despite their appearance, chia seeds pack a powerful, nutrient-dense punch.

Seriously, their macros (and micros!) are impressive. In just one ounce of chia seeds, you get:

  • 5 grams of protein
  • 5 grams of fats (much of which is omega-3s)
  • 11 grams of carbs
  • 11 grams of fiber (major win)
  • 174 mg of calcium (that’s about 17 percent of your daily needs)
  • 35 mg of iron (that’s more than 25 percent of dudes’ daily needs)
  • 87 mg of magnesium
  • 131 mg of potassium

You’ll also get some phosphorus, zinc, and a few B vitamins, including B3 (niacin), B1 (thiamine), and some B2.

Let me continue to sell you on the awesomeness of chia seeds:

  1. Chia seeds contain antioxidants, which help your body fight off free radicals. Those are the nasty particles (from pollution, smoke, or the sun’s rays) that can contribute to aging and diseases like cancer. Pound for pound, the mighty chia seed is pretty dang dense with antioxidants.
  2. You may not think of chia seeds as a main source of protein, but with 6.5 grams in an ounce, they’re an easy way to bump up that macro—especially if you don’t do much meat. They’re about 14 percent protein by weight, which is much higher than a lot of other plant protein sources. They’re also considered a ‘complete protein,’ meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids—which is something very few plant proteins can brag about.
  3. Chia Seeds are a great way to get more omega-3s into your day. I’m sure you’ve heard boatloads about how great omega-3s are for your health, but just in case you need a refresher, omegas support brain function, gut health, immune function, and heart health.
  4. As far as I’m concerned, chia seeds are the KING of fiber. This is great for anyone trying to get ripped, since fiber helps to stabilize our blood sugar and keep us feeling full for longer. Plus, fiber helps feed our gut bacteria and promote optimal gut health. Chia seeds are about 40 percent fiber by weight—which makes them one of the best fiber sources out there.

The best part? Chia seeds are surprisingly easy to integrate into your nutrition plan. You can throw them in just about everything, from smoothies to oatmeal to cereal to yogurt to juice. You can even add them into rice or other whole grain sides. Honestly, I sometimes just wash a tablespoon down straight with water. It’s quick, tasteless, and delivers nutrients straight into your system in a pinch.

If you’re not feeling creative, just follow this chia seed recipe to put those bad boys to use:

Banana Almond Butter Chia Pudding

*makes 3-5 servings

Put bananas, almond milk, vanilla, and honey in a blender and blend until smooth. Place the chia seeds in a large bowl, pour banana mix on top, and whisk together. Cover and refrigerate for four to eight hours. The longer it sits, the thicker the pudding gets. Stir well prior to serving. Garnish with almond or coconut flakes, if desired.

Are you convinced yet? Hopefully my sales pitch was enough to get you to pick up a bag and start mixing these little guys into your daily eats. So go pick up a bag! Your body will thank you.

Week 7: Hacks For Keeping Your Nutrition On Track

No matter how disciplined we are or how well we meal prep, none of us are perfect when it comes to nutrition. You’ve been tracking your macros for almost two months now—and hopefully eating as clean as possible—but I know how exhausting the grind can sometimes be.

Here are three nutrition hacks that have helped me live a happier, healthier, and fitter life. I hope they’ll make it easier for you to stick to healthy eating and stay on the fast-track to results.

1. Never Grocery Shop While Hungry

I bet you’ve experienced this before: You walk into the grocery store with a grumbling stomach and before you know it you’re in the snack aisle. It’s a mistake we’ve all made, and it can totally derail your nutrition. When you’re hungry, you’re more likely to impulse-buy and go for sugary, salty, processed foods, than when you’re satisfied.

What to do? Plan your trip to the store so you can make sure you’re well-fed before you go. I often drink water on my way to the store so I feel full and can get down to business once I’m inside. For many of us, it’s just easier to keep those tempting foods out of our homes. Out of sight, out of mind! It’s also helpful to write out your grocery list beforehand and use that as your unbreakable guide through the supermarket.

2. Make Sure Your Diet Is Full Of Healthy Fats

There are two main types of fatty acids in our diets: omega-3s and omega-6s. Americans get too many omega-6s, which are found in vegetable and seed oils, packaged foods, and fatty meats, and not enough omega-3s, which are found in chia seeds, flax seeds, and fatty fish (or quality fish oil supplements). A few other plants, like kidney beans, spinach, broccoli, and winter squash, also provide omega-3s.

Both fats are important for our health: Omega-6s support things like our bone health, metabolism, and reproductive health, while omega-3s support our brain, eye, and heart health. But it’s all about balance, which we kind of suck at. Try to cut down on vegetable oils and packaged foods, and fill your diet with lean cuts of meat, plenty of plants and seeds, and maybe a fish oil supplement. This way you get more of the fats you need, plus the other good stuff that comes along with them in those nutritious foods.

3. Get Creative With Your Veggies

If veggies aren’t your favorite, I get it. But they’re important and you need veggies—and greens, especially—every single day. (The recommendation is five servings a day, guys!) And I promise, it’s a lot easier with a little creativity.

Try throwing a handful of kale or spinach into the blender the next time you make a protein shake. Or stir fry onions, asparagus, garlic, and broccoli to eat with your favorite protein. Pack your salad not just with spinach or kale, but with carrots, squash, and cauliflower. All of these tricks will add volume and a ton of nutrients—but not a ton of calories—to your meals. Suddenly those five servings a day doesn’t seem so impossible, right?

Ultimately, if you’re really struggling to stay on the healthy-eating bandwagon—or feel like you’re just not seeing the results you want—meet with a qualified health professional, like a dietitian, to make sure you’re fueling your body for max benefit.

Week 7: Power-Packed Protein Shakes For Fast Gains

You know by now that eating ample protein is huge for your success in building muscle and getting ripped. But let’s be real, we all get sick of slugging back the same old protein shake day after day. Just looking at that murky liquid in our shaker cup gets old.

To save your taste buds from misery and give your muscles the boost they need, here are three of my favorite post-workout shakes. They’re all filled with unique flavors and are easy to whip up:

Blue-Blackberry Superfood Protein Shake

This is one of my favorite go-to shakes when you are looking for something sweet but minimal in the sugar department. Blackberries contain vitamin C and both soluble and insoluble fiber. Chia seeds are also packed with fiber, making this shake great for your digestion and gut health.

Ingredients:

Dump all of your ingredients into the blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy!

Macros:

Calories: 333 • Fat: 9g • Carbs: 35g • Protein: 34g • Sugar: 14g

Lemon Strawberry Shake

This shake not only tastes amazing but packs a solid dose of micronutrients (like vitamin K and iron) from the kale. Kale isn’t my favorite on its own, but I promise you can’t even taste it in the shake. This one is great post-workout and for your overall health.

Ingredients:

Dump all of your ingredients into the blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy!

Macros:

Calories: 293 • Fat: 4g • Carbs: 34g • Protein: 30g • Sugar: 14g

Chocolate PB Banana Shake

This shake is one of my old favorites. If you love chocolate and peanut butter, this is going to rock your world. It tastes like dessert—but with much better macros. (You can always swap almond butter in for that PB, by the way.)

Ingredients:

Dump all of your ingredients into the blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy!

Macros:

Calories: 301 • Fat: 7g • Carbs: 35g • Protein: 28g • Sugar: 18g

Week 8: Why HIIT Is Your Fat-Loss Best Friend

If you’re anything like me, you hate wasting time. And, again, if you’re anything like me, you probably once spent hours in the gym because you thought it was the ‘right way’ to burn fat and get lean. Here’s the kicker: I’m willing to bet that all of that time, effort, and energy spent in the gym didn’t even quite bring the results you wanted. I’ve been there.

But then I learned about the science of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and the monumental benefits it can bring to any strength-training program. With HIIT you can exercise for just 10 to 20 minutes or so and see greater results than you did after all those hour-long treadmill jogs. In HIIT you alternate between short bursts of high-intensity work and short periods of rest.

HIIT is less about what you do than it is about how you do it. You can perform these intense intervals on a treadmill, track, rowing machine, or by jumping rope, doing jumping jacks, and all sorts of other exercises. No matter where you are, you can unleash the power of HIIT.

For HIIT to be effective, though, you need to take that ‘high-intensity’ part seriously. Ten minutes of sprinting your butt to the bone is a heck of a lot different than jogging with your dog for 10 minutes. If you’re rowing, row like Jaws is trying to catch you, if you’re sprinting, you’re sprinting for your life. You have to commit to working hard to see those results. Think of it this way: Train hard, look hard. As far as I’m concerned, effort and intensity trump time spent working out every time.

When you do HIIT workouts, you really challenge your body’s ability to transport oxygen and nutrients where you need them—and it has to work a lot harder to recover once the workout is over.

Because of that, HIIT can:

  • Boost your calorie-burn all day and help you shed fat
  • Improve your VO2 max, which basically measures how good your body is at transporting oxygen during exercise
  • Boost your performance and athleticism in just about any sport
  • Support cardiovascular endurance and heart health
  • Save you time in the gym so you can live your life

Do you think the most athletic pros in the NFL are jumping on the StairMaster or walking on the treadmill at 50 percent effort for 50 minutes three or four times a week to get ready for the season? No! Top level athletes perform (and look) like as insane as they do because they train that way. They sprint and grind at 100 percent.

You may not be a pro athlete, but that’s the mentality I want you to have when you train. How much HIIT you’ll do each week depends on your goals. I recommend people add between one and three HIIT sessions to their weekly workout routine, depending on their goals. Hard-gainers or anyone looking to pack on size may want to stick to one HIIT session a week, so that they keep their cardiovascular fitness up without dropping weight. But guys looking to shed fat can definitely benefit from three HIIT workouts a week.

Here’s a basic HIIT workout I share with my clients for on-the-go: Depending on your ability level and how much time you have, you’ll perform 10 to 20 rounds of 10 seconds of hard work followed by 30 seconds of rest. You can cycle through a number of bodyweight exercises from round to round, including jumping jacks, pushups, bodyweight squats, or squat jumps.

Try it out for yourself!

Related: 9 Moves To Step Up Your Pushup Game

Week 8: The ‘Mad Minute’ HIIT Workout

This workout is the perfect way to get your HIIT in, no matter where you are. It’s full-body and requires zero equipment, minimal space, and very little time.

Here’s how it works: You’ll set up a simple bodyweight circuit of three movements. Here we’re using pushups, squats, and jumping jacks. Then you’ll pick the number of reps of each move you can perform in one minute. We’re going with five pushups, 10 squats, and 15 jumping jacks.

At the top of the minute, you’ll perform all of the reps of all three moves. Then you rest until the top of the next minute, and repeat.

The ‘Mad Minute’ HIIT Workout

Beginners could start with just 10 rounds (10 minutes), while more advanced trainees may be able to rock up to 30 rounds (a half-hour). The workout sounds simple on paper, but I guarantee your heart rate will be through the roof in just a few minutes.

It’s the perfect way to torch calories when you’re stuck in a hotel room, don’t have access to a gym, or are at the beach and want to get a workout in on the sand—literally anywhere!

I Never Sweat When I Worked Out—Until I Tried Sweet Sweat

Picture this: It’s a hot, sunny summer day, and I just finished an outdoor workout on top of a three-mile run. And I’m not sweating—at all. OK—now picture this: I’m at a hot yoga class filled with people literally dripping sweat everywhere, and I’m still not really sweating.

Even though I go as hard as the next gal (or at least I think I do), I just don’t sweat that much. On a sweat scale of one to 10, I’d say I’m about a three. I’m not that happy about it, either. I’ve always thought that if you sweat a lot during a workout it means you’re really torching those calories and flushing out those toxins—and I want that sign of a workout well-done. Hey, I’m working my butt off over here!

(I have to admit, there is one positive thing about never sweating that much: I can totally skip the shower after my lunch-break workout and jet back to my desk when I’m short on time. Don’t judge—you normal sweaters have probably done it yourself!)

Given my inability to perspire, a few of my co-workers recently approached me about a doing a sweat challenge (full disclosure: I work at The Vitamin Shoppe, which sells the product). They were buzzing about this stuff called Sweet Sweat, which apparently makes you sweat like crazy when you work out, and they wanted me to be the true test of its powers. I was intrigued, so I volunteered myself as tribute.

Sweet Sweat is a system of products (including a topical gel you can apply all over, a waistband, and arm bands) designed to help boost circulation to your working muscles, turn up your body’s production of heat, and make you sweat like you’ve never sweat before. But could Sweet Sweat actually make me sweat buckets? I was skeptical.

Related: Why Do Some People Sweat More Than Others?

To make sure my experiment was scientifically sound, I needed a control to test the Sweet Sweat against. So I decided to repeat the same workout two days in a row—one day as normal and the other with the Sweet Sweat gel and waistband.

I picked a tough HIIT workout from Fitness Blender to do. Check it out:

Fat-Burning HIIT Cardio Workout

What you do: Start with Circuit 1 and perform the first move for 20 seconds (as hard as possible.) Then rest for 10 seconds. Follow that pattern for each exercise and repeat the circuit three times total. Then do the same for Circuit 2.

Circuit 1:
Skater Jump Burst
Twist Jump Drops
Jumping Lunge + 2 Lifts
Plank Jack Spider Hops
2 Hooks + 2 Upper Cuts + 2 Jumping Jacks
Squat Hold

Circuit 2:
Plank Taps + Lifts
Squat Jack + Kicks
Bicycle Crunches
3 Ducks + Side Kick
Up and Out Jacks
3 Squat Hops + Jump
Split Jumps
Squat Pulses

Related: Should You Be Doing A HIIT Workout?

Workout #1: Without Sweet Sweat

I wanted my body to have all the fluids it needed to work up as much of a sweat as possible, so I drank tons of water in the morning before my first workout—and another glassful right before. I felt pretty exhausted throughout that HIIT session. My muscles were really feeling the burn! I know I worked really hard, but if we judged my workout based on sweatiness, it looked like I didn’t do too much. Sweat level: 3.

Here I am after that first workout. Totally dry.

Workout #2: Bring On The Sweet Sweat

I made sure I drank just as much water before my Sweet Sweat workout as I’d guzzled before the workout without the stuff. (Gotta keep those results as accurate as possible!) Before I got to it, I applied the Sweet Sweat gel up and down my arms, on my calves, around my neck, and all over my stomach and lower back. (I was wearing a sleeveless, loose-fitting cotton top, sports bra, and high-waisted cropped leggings.)

My first thought was that the gel was a little greasy—but it smelled great (like fresh-outta-the-shower scent) and went on easily. It had a petroleum jelly-like consistency, and any initial glops melted into my skin. I immediately felt a warming sensation all over the parts of my body where I’d applied the gel.

I really wanted to sweat, so I also put on the waistband under my shirt, too. It fit well and was surprisingly comfortable—you couldn’t even tell I had it on!

As soon as I started the workout, I felt the sweat building up beneath the waistband. Everywhere else still felt warm, but I wasn’t quite dripping yet. (Honestly, I was a little distracted at first because I kept checking my arms for sweat.) I had some pretty noticeable sweat in my elbow creases, but that was it.

Something I really liked about wearing the product was the psychological element: I actually think I worked a bit harder knowing I had this sweat-enhancing product on my skin (win!).

When I finished the workout, I couldn’t wait to take off the waistband—I could feel the sweat building up in there. My arms and legs still weren’t too sweaty, except for in and around the creases around my joints. But beneath that waistband…Waterworks! Sweatfest! Glorious evidence of my hard work! Sweet, sweet SWEAT. Sweat level: 8.

Beads of sweat covered my stomach and lower back, and they were literally dripping onto the floor. I was feeling pretty satisfied with myself. Seeing my sweat all over the place was hugely motivating—I wanted to work out again with this stuff now!

The Final Verdict

After hearing so much hype about Sweet Sweat—and knowing a couple of people who love it—I came in with pretty high expectations. For me, it was the waistband that really made the sweat pour—but I imagine someone sweatier than myself would be waterfall-status with just the gel.

I know there are plenty of Instagrammers who consider their Sweet Sweat a vital part of their gym routine. Just search #sweetsweat and check out the sweat party for yourself.

Since my experiment was short, I can’t attest to whether it helped me sweat away any softness in my midsection, but I am definitely a fan and will continue to use it.

If you’re cool with being a bit of a shiny greaseball at the gym (hey, why not?)—and leaving major puddles behind—then you’ll probably love this product. Just make sure you’ve got a shower waiting for you afterward.

Related: Let’s get sweaty! Try Sweet Sweat for yourself.

Welcome To Your 8-Week ‘Lose Weight’ Challenge!

Hi there! My name’s Adam and I’m so grateful our paths have crossed.

Maybe you’ve seen me in a magazine or TV show or on your favorite blog. But if this is our first introduction, I’m so incredibly excited to be working with you through The Vitamin Shoppe over these next eight weeks and, hopefully, beyond.

I’m a guy from Long Island who’s turned a life-long love for fitness and food into a career that helps millions of people around the world live better lives. I’m a strength coach and nutritionist—and a pretty badass home cook.

To me, strength is more than just crushing it in the gym and nutrition is a hell of a lot more than suffering through some awful diet. To me, there’s one profound truth: True fitness creates freedom.

Freedom to live without boundaries and do whatever the hell you want with your life. Freedom from the mind games so many people endure on the road to health and happiness. Freedom to realize you’re stronger than you think and capable of more than you can imagine. Once you’ve tasted that, you’ll never go back.

I’ve helped actors and athletes get in shape and dominate on the big screen and on the field, but I’ve also helped others from all walks of life kick fitness (and life) butt through videos, books, and online platforms.

I want to help you reach results that last. No fads, no juice cleanses. Just small steps every day—without missing out on high levels of fun. To me, a healthy life is a beer with my kale salad and laughing my butt off with friends.

If that sounds like your idea of a healthy life, we should get along famously. So, let’s get after it, friend. Together, we’re gonna crush these next eight weeks and get you on the path to absolutely crushing your life!

What This Challenge Is All About

Notice I said “challenge” and not just “program.” That’s because I want you to look at these next eight weeks as a series of challenges that will unlock your best, strongest self.

Yes, you are going to lose weight on this program. Yes, you are going to gain muscle tone. But this is about far more than just weight loss. This is about radical self-empowerment. Like I said before: Fitness creates freedom.

When you’re strong, healthy and fit in your body and mind, anything you want in this life becomes easier to achieve. “I got this” is about to become your new mantra.

This eight-week fitness challenge includes an exclusive workout program and nutrition plan that’ll help you lose weight.

And I’m going to be here with you every step of the way, as will the entire community of people all across the country who are doing this program along with you. We’re a team that’s here to support and encourage each other today, tomorrow and every day throughout this challenge.

This, my friend, is just the beginning.

Accountability and community are key for success, so I encourage you to share your journey on Instagram by using #Goalgetters. Post those gym selfies and food pics, join the crew of others on the same mission, and track your progress! And don’t forget to tag me and shoot shout-outs my way! You can find me at @AdamRosante, and I’m so excited to watch you grow and push you forward.

The Workouts

Your exercise program is broken up into a series of two-week cycles. (Four total cycles in the eight weeks.) In each cycle, you’ll perform a variety of strength training and cardio workouts. This will help you avoid plateaus and prevent one of the biggest results-ruiners out there: boredom!

You can print your workouts, download them to your phone—whatever works for you.

Some of the workouts are bodyweight-only, but your strength-training sessions require gym access and equipment like dumbbells and barbells.

Budget about an hour for those strength training workouts—you’ll probably get through them in less time, but you may need a little extra rest at first.

We’re surrounded by messages like ‘get abs fast’ and ‘five minutes is all you need.’ And, yeah, when you only have five minutes, a five-minute workout is better than nothing. But here’s the thing: It’s not going to help you lose a significant amount of weight and it’s definitely not going to get you in the best shape of your life.

I guarantee, when you prioritize your fitness, it improves and enhances every other area of your life. Your health is worth it. The body and life of your dreams are worth it.

Whether you prefer morning workouts or will have an easier time getting to the gym after work. Plan around your schedule and commit!

The Nutrition

You’ll get a full seven-day meal plan, complete with recipes, to get your healthy eating started—but you’re also going to learn how to eat to fuel your body and keep the weight off for life, and that is the key.

Weight loss is driven by what you eat. Your workouts will accelerate your results and shape your body like, but without proper nutrition, you’ll be fighting a constant uphill battle.

But there’s good news: You don’t need to count calories, measure food on a scale, or log macronutrients into some app to be successful. I’ve helped millions of people get in shape without all that.

These five nutrition commandments will get you started:

1. Focus On Nutrients, Not Calories.

This is easy. Just eat real food. I define ‘real food’ and something that either came out of the ground or (sorry, vegetarian friends) had a mother. Powering your body with earth-grown nutrients and clean proteins will help you feel absolutely amazing. And—bonus—when you eat real, clean food, you can actually eat more than you might think.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, check a food’s ingredient list before putting it in your cart. More than five ingredients? Any ingredients you can’t identify? Put that package back on the shelf!

2. Scale Back On Refined Sugar And Processed Foods

For the next eight weeks, this stuff is off the menu. Refined sugar and processed foods can mess with your metabolism and erode your overall health.

It may be hard at first, especially if you’ve been eating a lot of this stuff, but I promise it gets easier. As your palate adjusts, you might start craving fruit over candy, and you won’t believe how much better you feel.

3. Drink Enough Water

Proper hydration helps you recover from your workouts, improves brain function, and helps flush toxins out of your body.

Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of fresh water, every day. Tea and coffee are fine, but don’t count toward your total daily water intake.

If you typically enjoy your tea or coffee with sugar, try swapping in stevia. (It’s actually a bit sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way.) If you hate plain water, flavor it up with sliced lemons and cucumbers or watermelon and mint.

4. Eat Four To Five Times Per Day

That means breakfast, lunch, dinner, and one or two snacks.

Not only will eating frequently help keep you feeling satiated, but it’ll also keep your metabolism firing and help you lose weight.

From intermittent fasting to grazing all day long, there are a million ways to eat. But in my experience, I’ve found that when people eat four to five times per day, they not only lose the weight, but keep it off.

5. Use Your Hands to Measure Portions.

There are a number of issues with relying solely on calorie-counting when trying to lose weight. Different people’s bodies absorb calories differently, we often don’t absorb all of the calories we consume, and how we prepare our food can change its calorie load.

I like to measure my portions with my hands, instead. Since your hand is proportionate to your body size, it’s a good indicator of the portions your body needs.

Here’s how it works:
1 serving of protein = 1 palm (meat, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, etc.)
1 serving of vegetables = 1 fist (broccoli, carrots, kale, spinach, etc.)
1 serving of carbs = 1 cupped hand (grains, starches, beans, fruits, etc.)
1 serving of fats = 1 thumb (oils, butters, nut butters, nuts, seeds)

With these portions in mind, you can then build a balanced meal. It’ll just be a little different for men and women.

Men:

  • 1 palm-sized portion of protein
  • 2 fist-sized portions of veggies
  • 2 cupped hand-sized portions of carbs
  • 2 thumb-sized portions of fats

Women:

  • 1 palm-sized portion of protein
  • 1 fist-sized portion of veggies
  • 1 cupped hand-sized portion of carbs
  • 1 thumb-sized portion of fats

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will follow this portion format. Your snacks should be made up of the same proportions, but about half the quantity of your meals.

If you’re a larger individual, aren’t feeling satisfied after your meals, or find you’re eating less frequently throughout the day, bulk up your meals a little bit. Men should add one cupped handful of carbs or one thumb of fat to a few meals, and women should add half a cupped handful of carbs or half a thumb of fat to a few meals.

If you’re a smaller individual, are feeling super full after your meals, are eating more frequently throughout the day, or just aren’t seeing the weight-loss results, shave some extra calories out of your meals. Men should remove one cupped handful of carbs or one thumb of fat to a few meals, and women should remove half a cupped handful of carbs or half a thumb of fat to a few meals.

A Note On Alcohol

I love a good adult beverage, but the simple fact of the matter is, booze can derail your results.

Alcohol is pretty much empty calories. Throw mixers in there and you’re probably consuming tons of sugar and extra calories. Plus, drinking makes you more likely to go for that plate of fries—even more nutritionally-lame calories.

Ideally, you’ll avoid booze for this entire eight-week challenge. I know, I know. But trust me, you won’t believe how you look and feel if you’re able to set the adult beverage to the side for this brief period of time.

If you can’t totally abstain for the eight weeks, I’ll make a deal with you: Completely cut the stuff out for the first two weeks. After that, you can have two to three drinks per week—but on days you drink, cut out one of your snacks and drink an extra 20 ounces of water. And please, stick to wine, beer, and straight spirits. If you need a mixer, use club soda and a twist of citrus.

Your 7-Day Meal Plan

To get your healthy eating started off strong, I’ve got a full seven-day meal plan for you to follow, complete with snacks and tons of delicious, body-fueling recipes.

(Download your 7-day Meal Plan Recipes HERE.)

 

 

Week 1: Your First Two Weeks Of Workouts

Now that you’ve got some basic info about the challenge we’ll be chugging through together—and tons of yummy and healthy recipes to reinvent your diet with—it’s time to get sweaty!

Here’s what to expect during these first two weeks: You’ll strength-train three times a week, stretch and foam roll for 10 minutes twice a week, and do a 15,000-step challenge once a week! You’ll burn a ton of calories and start to build some strong, lean muscle!

Here’s your schedule for the next two weeks of workouts:

And here are your full strength-training workouts and instructions for your stretching days and 15k step challenge days:

(Download Workout A as a PDF HERE.)

 

(Download Workout B as a PDF HERE.)

 

15k Steps Challenge Instructions:
Aim to take a minimum of 15,000 steps before bedtime today. There are a number of great wearable fitness trackers, like the TomTom Spark or Touch, and free step-counting apps, like Stepz, available. (Some smart phones even count your steps, but you’ll need to make sure you have it on you all day).You’re in for a movement-filled day!

Stretching & Foam Rolling Instructions:
Spend 10 minutes stretching out all of your major muscle groups. Hold each stretch for five deep breaths before moving onto the next. You’ll also foam roll your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, upper back, and chest. This will help you work on your mobility (an essential for thriving in life!) and get the blood flowing to your muscles to help them recover.

Week 1: All The Feels—What To Expect This First Week

Nowadays, most people would assume I was born with a kale salad in my mouth. Not so much. I remember when I first changed my eating habits, and I felt like I got hit by a freight train.

We all come from different places, but when I was little there was a LOT of sugar in my house. My grandma actually used to put sugar water in my bottle (I swear I’m not kidding). While I may have always been active, but my diet was pretty broken.

I started working out when I was 13, but didn’t begin to study nutrition until my early twenties. When I first changed my diet, I wanted to crawl back into my little bed of sugar and pull the covers up over my head because the immediate results were not what I expected.

Basically, I felt like crap.

My head hurt, I had very little energy (rare for me), and felt sort of…hungover. But as I learned more about the body and the very real effect that food has on it, I was able to understand what was happening. Put simply: My body was detoxifying itself. And yeah, it kind of sucked.

So don’t be surprised if you’re feeling more tired than usual or find yourself with a bit of a headache this week. You may even feel a bit foggy. This is all perfectly normal.

There’s a good chance you’ve really slashed you sugar intake, leaving your body without its usual fix and the rush of feel-good hormones that comes along with it. (Combine that with the fact that you’re on a new and challenging workout routine, and it’s no wonder your body is a little rocked right now.)

Plus, this is an interesting time for your liver, which is basically your body’s processing center—it breaks down nutrients and flushes toxins and waste from your body. If your diet contains a lot of sugar, processed food, and alcohol, fat can build up in your liver and keep it from working its magic. When you cut those unhealthy foods from the menu, your liver can start to flush out that fat and actually get its mojo back.

This is great news for your weight-loss goals, but may explain why you’re feeling so crummy as you transition.

Luckily, I learned that on the other side of the suck was a feeling I’d never had before. In a word, I felt…great. And you will too! I slept better and the slight mental fog that always followed me around (which I wasn’t even aware of till it went away) was gone. My mid-afternoon slump disappeared. My cravings for sugar and processed junk disappeared. I mean, I actually found myself craving kale smoothies. Crazy, I know!

And the layer of fat I couldn’t get rid of no matter how hard I worked out? That peaced out, too.

I hope (HOPE!) you don’t experience any of the unpleasant symptoms I did during the early stages of cleaning up my eating. But if you do, I want you to know that it’s completely normal.

And—it will pass.

Promise.

Be gentle and understanding with yourself during this time, knowing that on the other side of the awful is AWESOME!

Week 2: Recovery Methods That WORK

Congrats on finishing the first week of your program! Every great success story has a beginning. This, my friend, is yours.

As you jump into the second week of this program, I want you to focus on making some progress from last week. After all, the key to results in the gym is something called ‘progressive overload,’ which is basically just fancy speak that means doing a little more or a little better than you did last time.

Since you’ll be repeating last week’s workouts once more this week, I want you to see how you can put progressive overload to work. You can do that by increasing the amount of weight you use on an exercise, pushing yourself a little harder, adding an extra rep or two, or even cutting out a rep or two and really working on your form. It’s simple—and I promise it works.

Just focus on paying attention to how you feel in your workout and dial it up where you can. You’ll be stronger (and leaner!) for it.

But the harder you’re working, the more important it is to make sure you’re recovering properly! After all, we’re trying to see results here. Always remember: When you’re working out, you’re not actually building muscle, but tearing it down. That muscle building happens when you rest and recover—helping you develop a stronger, leaner body. The better and faster you recover, the greater your results will be.

To stay on the fast-track to fit city, make sure you’re keeping the following factors of recovery at the top of your to-do list:

1. Sleep

Sleep, in my opinion, is the most underrated aspect of human performance. When we sleep, our body regenerates on a cellular level—and that recovery sets us up to keep adapting and seeing results.

The simple fact is, though, that most people aren’t getting nearly enough high quality sleep. Notice I didn’t say enough hours. Yes, it’s recommended we get between seven and nine hours of shuteye a night—but the key is that those hours are high quality.

Here’s the deal. Sleep impacts the way your brain functions, how well you’re able to fend off a cold or a severe illness, whether or not you’ll have a “good” workout, and how successfully you’re able to lose weight.

When you miss out on sleep, it can actually derail your ability to regulate your appetite, causing you to feel hungrier which, naturally, leads to eating more. And those extra calories—which often end up being carbs—leads to more weight gain.

And you know those workouts that feel like battles? When you feel like you have to drag yourself through the motions and just can’t find your groove? Poor sleep, again, may be to blame. When you don’t sleep enough, your body isn’t able to properly refresh its stock of neurotransmitters (chemicals that help your brain communicate with the rest of your body). That means you’re more likely to have slower reaction time and less energy and endurance—making it really hard to have a good workout.

Sleep also plays a huge role in your mood. If you’re feeling down in the dumps or moody, it could always have to do with trouble at work or home, but it could also have a lot to do with your lack of quality sleep.

Listen, I could go on and on about what a lack of sleep does to your body and brain. The point is: You need to sleep. And that sleep needs to be of the highest quality possible.

A few things I like to do to set myself up for the best sleep possible are:

  • Turning off electronics at least an hour before bed (no phones or screens of any kind!)
  • Writing in a journal to release any thoughts swirling around in my head
  • Taking an Epsom salt bath to ease soreness and relax
  • Meditating
  • Making sure my bedroom is nice and cool

3. Hydration

Yes, good ole H20! Water helps transport nutrients and oxygen to and from your body’s cells, which is crucial for cellular growth and repair. It also helps your liver and kidneys function, which is crucial for helping to remove toxins from your body, and helps regulate your appetite.

And from a pure recovery standpoint, proper hydration ensures your lymphatic system, a vital part of your immune system, is working properly which—you guessed it—speeds up the recovery process.

Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. It’s that simple! (So if you weigh 200 pounds, that’s 100 ounces of water.) If you hate plain water, throw some fruit and herbs in there. I like watermelon and basil, lemon and mint, or cucumber and rosemary.

3. Foam Rolling and Stretching

Both of these activities are great ways to maintain your mobility and boost blood flow throughout your body.

Better blood flow means more nutrient-rich blood and oxygen get to your muscles to help them repair and build up stronger, while good mobility helps you achieve a full range of motion in your exercises. And the more you’re able to work through a full range of motion, the more tension you’re able to put on your muscles and the better results you’ll get from your workouts. Plus, improved mobility helps prevent injury.

Think about your quads, the big muscles on the front of your thighs that run from your hip to your knee: When your muscles are tight from your workouts or any other movement, they start to put tension on your joints. What starts as subtle joint pain can grow and can end in injury.

But by spending a little time foam rolling and stretching, you’ll enhance your mobility and prepare your muscles for challenging workouts! That’s why I’ve got you stretching and foam rolling twice a week during the first two weeks of your challenge. With just 10 minutes a day, you can really make a difference. (Check out your Weeks 1-2 Workout Schedule for a refresher on what you should be doing!)

Related: Get your own foam roller to prioritize recovery at home. 

4. Eating Clean

You know I’m all about eating nutrient-rich foods—and you should be too, considering they benefit the body in all sorts of ways, including providing important antioxidants and helping to ward off inflammation. A whole foods-based diet is your best way to set the stage for better recovery on a cellular level.

Nutrition is one of the most overly-complicated things on the planet, but I promise you—PROMISE YOU—that it can be simple. You don’t need a scale to weigh your food (or yourself!) or an app to calculate your macronutrients. You just need a simple strategy. And in case you need a reminder, here it is:

Focus on eating five times per day. Three meals and two snacks. (I’ve found over the years that this strategy helps people lose weight and, more importantly, keep it off).

When you’re filling your plate, keep the principles from your I shared in that first article in mind. Every meal should consist of protein and veggies—those are your two must-haves. Protein is the building block of muscle and vegetables provide you with the micronutrients your body needs to function at its best.

There will be no measuring of that food or counting calories. Just follow the eyeball portion guide in that first article and you can finally break free from the mind-trap of dieting.

The protocol you’re using throughout this eight-week program is the exact strategy I use with A-list actors, athletes, moms, and everyone in between.

Just follow these principles and listen to your body.

Week 2: The Simple Exercise That Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

I write my goals down regularly. And guess what happens? I usually achieve them. I don’t say that to impress you. I say it to impress upon you that it’s possible.

Hear me out: A study out of the Dominican University of California found that when people wrote down their goals, they were 42 percent more likely to achieve them. Forty-two percent! That’s an advantage I’ll take any day. Wouldn’t you?

Writing down your goals gives you mental clarity—and having that mental clarity will help you do what it takes to actually achieve those goals.

Not buying it? I’m here to help you follow through. Here’s exactly what you do—it’s simple!

  1. Grab a journal and a pen and find a quiet space where you can be unbothered for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Ask yourself, “What do I want out of this challenge?” I’m willing to bet your first answer will probably be something like, “I want to lose weight.” That’s why you picked this program, after all. But whatever that first gut reaction is, write it down!
  3. Then—this is the really important part—ask yourself, “Why?” Why do you want to achieve this particular goal? Write that down.
  4. Repeat this process four more times. Each time you’ll identify additional goals that are wrapped up in your overall quest. Maybe you want to feel strong, maybe you want to wake up with energy, maybe you want to be able to run a mile.
  5. Make sure you ask “why?” after penning down each of your additional goals.
  6. Review. As you read over what you’ve written, you’ll realize you’ve uncovered some of your deeper reasons for wanting to achieve these goals—and all through such a simple exercise! That right there, is your key.

Think of it this way: Sooner or later, your desire to sit on the couch and binge-watch your favorite TV show is going to override your desire for abs. It happens. But when you uncover the deeper reasons for wanting to do this challenge—like being healthier for your children—you give yourself the power to create motivation.

Listen, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to get in amazing shape. But I’ve been doing this successfully for a long time and I can promise you that, more often than not, the motivation to simply drop pounds is not enough to power you through the tough times.

So try this goal-writing exercise for yourself and see where it leads you! If you want to share your goals and realizations with fellow challengers like you, tag me (@adamrosante) and #Goalgetters on Instagram! Your voice could be just what someone else on this journey needs to hear to push on.

Week 3: Your Workouts For Weeks 3 And 4

Bring it in for a fist bump! You’ve made it through the first two weeks of this program—and that means it’s time to start a brand new set of workouts. For the next two weeks, we’ll be increasing the intensity of your training in a manageable way.

In weeks three and four, you’ll be strength training three times a week, foam rolling and stretching twice a week, and challenging yourself to walk 15,000 steps twice a week. Your workouts will be changing up a bit, but the biggest change in your new schedule is that you’ll be doing that extra 15,000-step challenge. That’ll work to increase your overall energy expenditure, helping you to burn even more calories.

So, stay focused, stay confident, and let’s crush this week, ahead!

And, of course, here are your full workouts and instructions for your stretching and 15k step challenge days:

 

(Download Workout A as a PDF HERE.)

 

 

(Download Workout B as a PDF HERE.)

 

15k Step Challenge Instructions:
Aim to take a minimum of 15,000 steps before bedtime today. There are a number of great wearable fitness trackers, like the TomTom Spark or Touch, and free step-counting apps, like Stepz, available. (Some smart phones even count your steps, but you’ll need to make sure you have it on you all day).You’re in for a movement-filled day!

Stretching & Foam Rolling:
Spend 10 minutes stretching out all of your major muscle groups. Hold each stretch for five deep breaths before moving onto the next. You’ll also foam roll your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, upper back, and chest. This will help you work on your mobility (an essential for thriving in life!) and get the blood flowing to your muscles to help them recover.

Related: Have you treated yourself to a foam roller yet?

Week 3: Keep Yourself Accountable

A-ccount-a-bil-i-ty.

These six syllables are a huge factor in your success with me these eight weeks—and in every one of life’s twists and turns to come.

Accountability really works—and it’s not rocket science. When you have other people counting on you to follow through, you’re going be more likely to do what you said you were going to do. That’s true with work, family, friends—and it’s true with this ‘Lose Weight’ program, too.

Now that you’re a few weeks into this, it’s time to check in with yourself. How are you holding yourself accountable for kicking butt and staying true to your goals?

If you’re looking to create some accountability to motivate you through this challenge, you have a few options:

Social Media

For starters, you can jump on social media. Go ahead, blow up your profile with the declaration that you’re going to complete these eight weeks and become your strongest self. Instagram is perfect for this. You can visually document and share your journey with others—and look back on it yourself when you need a reminder of how far you’ve come.

Use that #GoalGetters hashtag so other people in the same boat can find their own accountability and motivation in your story. I’m willing to bet you’ll get plenty of support and encouragement, too! And who knows? You might just inspire someone else in your network to start their own personal journey.

IRL Support

And if you want some accountability and support IRL (that’s ‘in real life,’ for all you non-millennials out there!), I highly recommend asking a friend, family member, or colleague to do this challenge with you.

You’ll have a teammate that you can call and text for support. You can even do the workouts together and cook up some delicious, healthy meals with one another.

You can also ask someone to act as your accountability partner. Just ask them to text or call you at least once a week to check in and ask how your workouts are going. I know it may sound like a bit of an odd request, but we all want to see the people we care about succeed, and I think you’ll be happy you asked.

Treat Yourself For A Job Well Done

And, of course, there are ways you can hold yourself accountable and keep yourself in the game.

One great trick is to create a series of rewards throughout this challenge. You’re basically gonna bribe yourself to stick to your plan! There’s nothing wrong with a little positive reinforcement—as long as it’s truly positive.

So grab your calendar and write down something that you’re going to gift to yourself for sticking to your clean eating and workouts at the end of each week. Follow through on your program and you get the gift. No follow through, no reward!

There are two caveats here:

  1. Don’t blow your budget for the sake of treating yo’self. It’s silly and unnecessary to spend a lot just to stick to this program. Even the smallest gift can encourage you to follow through. You don’t have to think ‘go big or go home’ here. Maybe it’s a movie date with a friend (or yourself!) or a manicure. Little things go a long way to keep us on-track.
  2. No unhealthy, off-plan treats. I don’t want you to reward yourself with something like an ice cream sundae or a bottle of wine! Ideally, your treat can even be something that furthers your healthy transformation and supports your mission, like a new workout top or a massage.

If you find you’re really careening off-track, email me. Seriously. Shoot me a line at hello@adamrosante.com. I get a TON of emails, so forgive me if I don’t get right back to you, but I read every single one and promise that I’ll respond.

Week 4: The Simplest Things Can Lead To Great Success

For the past five years, I’ve done the same ritual every single morning—and I can tell you that it’s an absolute game changer.

When I first wake up—before I even get out of bed—I think of three things that I’m grateful for. Just this morning, I thought about how grateful I am for my home and everyone whose hard work and sacrifice made it possible for me to have. I thought about the people who built it. I thought about all of the clients who put their trust and resources into me and my work, and how that enabled me to have this home.

Then, I thought about my parents and all of their guidance and support over the years—particularly my mom, who raised me by herself for the first five years of my life, working five jobs (yes, you read that right, five) to keep us afloat.

And then I thought about…you. True story. This morning, before I got out of bed, I thought about you. Your efforts and desire to change your life and health for the better (even if it’s in the pursuit of abs—no judgement!) is so incredibly inspiring. And your drive to better yourself is exactly what allows me to do what I love. So, while I have your attention here, thank you.

Some mornings I think of big things. Some morning I think of small things. What’s important is that they’re my things. Yes, some mornings it takes a little longer than others to come up with three things—life isn’t perfect and we all have bad days. But part of the beauty and power of this practice is that it forces my mind to shift into a positive state.

After I do this in the morning, I find I’m able to see opportunities throughout the day where I might have otherwise seen problems. I find the positive where I may have only found the negative. And having that outlook on the day and on life makes me incredibly happy.

So give it a try. Just give it a week and see how it changes things for you.

To make this practice stick, start out by writing down those three things you’re grateful for each morning. Keep a journal (it can be the same journal you’re writing your goals down in) and a pen by your bed. When you wake up, mark the date in your journal and write down your three things. Hey, it’s okay if on some days one of your three things is ‘coffee’—but really put your heart and mind into the ritual.

Something about the act of writing down what you’re grateful for really helps that gratitude hit home. Plus, having all of your past gratitude documented right there for you to see will be helpful on the mornings when you’re having a harder time finding thanks.

Get ready to fall asleep with a greater appreciation for everything in your life.

Before I let you go, remember to apply that principle of progressive overload to your workouts this week! Knock out an extra rep or up the weight when you can. I bet one of your future ‘gratitudes’ will be feeling strong and capable in your body!