Doctor James on Health and Wellness

Common sense answers to your most burning health questions

Lose Weight the Easy Way

Posted by doctorjames on March 7, 2008

If your reading this article obviously you are interested in weight loss and think how the heck could this be…crushing weight loss without dieting…sounds too good to be true, but folks I am going to introduce you to a program that is going to blow dieting out of this world.

Lets make this short and sweet. This program is based on the simple training methods used by sprinters versus endurance runners. I understand, most of you have friends who are training for the big marathon. They are in great shape and maybe even lose a few pounds. Here in lies the problem…Can you prepare for a marathon every year for the rest of your life…I didn’t think so! On top of this, most novice runners prepare for one marathon, do it, and then never run more than 3 miles again anyway. Do you get it? For most people it is a goal accomplished. Most of them won’t ever run again until they train for their next big race. This is not ok if you are looking for true health.

Have you ever stopped to look at what a sprinter looks like vs. a marathon runner. Your typical sprinter is built like an NFL running back. A marathon runner is skinny, lanky, and lacks the big thick muscles.

As you may already know, the muscles in our bodies are key to weight loss because they use so much energy. For every pound of muscle we gain, our metabolism increases resulting in more calories burned!

You see, to have crushing weight loss and amazing muscle gains, one does not need to diet, count calories, eat low fat, watch the carbs, etc…but, you have to work out three times per week for 20 minutes! A total of 60 minutes per every 6 days! Do you think you could do this. Let me explain further how this works.

My office is built on lifestyle change. We do not accept a patient if they are not ready for change and do not commit to a program at 100%. Granted, these lifestyle changes usually take an average about one year because we work with the patient over the year to develop new habits and leave the old ones behind. We find most of our patients really start kicking in new habits about five months into their program…and that is OK.

You see, we don’t want deal with the person that views weight loss and health as a monthly fad. We want to design and implement a program that a person can follow for the rest of their life…yes, you heard me…for the rest of their life! You can still do this program when you are eighty because it is based on your individuality by developing an intensity score. On a scale of one to ten, the exercise should always be in the range of somewhere between 8 to 10. Ten meaning all out…something you can only keep up for about 4-5 seconds. Nine, would be more like 10 seconds, and 8 more like 20-30 seconds.

Here is the program in a nutshell. It is simple, like a said before, and only requires three days a week of working out and only 60 minutes per week. You alternate every other day between weights and cardio. This program is not designed to make you into a body builder, but is designed to keep your health and increase your health. On lifting days, you choose whatever muscles you want to work out for 20 minutes. IT DOESN’T MATTER which muscles you work out, what matters is how intensely you work out! You could do arms one day and legs the other, but in all honesty it does not matter one bit…like I said before, we want to keep this simple. On cardio days, you are either on a bike, tread mill, elliptical, stair climber, rower, etc. for 20 minutes.

On lifting days, your goal is to lift a certain number of pounds and increase it throughout the plan until you plateau. How many pounds you lift is based on how many pounds you actually moved over time. So, if you did 10 sets of 10 reps in 20 minutes with 10 pounds, your total weight lifted in a 20 minute time period would be 1000 pounds! That is what you would record as your “record” for the day. How did I get this number? I simply took 10 pounds times 10 reps which equals 100. Then, since you did 10 sets…10 different times…I multiplied 100 times 10 to get 1000 pounds.

The reason pounds lifted over time is so important is because this is intensity! The more intense your workout is, the more weight you will push during it. The more sets you can get in, the more pounds you lift. This program is strictly designed to do as much work as possible in a 20 minute period of time. You should be leaving it all out on the floor and you should want to be done at 20 minutes! Do you get it? You need to work out hard enough that you don’t want to workout one minute passed 20…this is where true health, weight loss, and muscle gain happens. If you feel you can work out for another 20 minutes than your intensity needs to go up. Over time, what you are looking for is an increase in pounds lifted per workout. The more weight you move, the more fit you are! It really is that simple. So, you need to record the sets you do, or plan your workout before hand to reach a certain number of pounds lifted. If you plan before hand, make sure you over sell it. By over selling it, I mean put in a few extra sets that you know you may not get to because over time you will get to them.

The cardio portion is just as simple…more work over time without worrying about calories being burnt…I will get to that in a moment, but first let me explain your cardio workout. Whatever machine you choose is fine, so switch it up every once in a while so that your workout does not become stagnant. You need to fool your body and shock it every once in a while…so switch it up…the body loves when you shock it with something new…in fact, it craves it! The 20 minute work out is simple. You go hard and then rest, go hard and then rest. You want to focus on short bursts of activity followed by a period of rest. Your heart loves this and so do your muscles. In the beginning, you may do something like 4 minutes of higher paced running, biking, stair climbing etc. The important part of this is that you are doing something followed by rest. Knowing you are going to rest for three minutes to catch your breath makes your four minutes of activity more intense. You can’t keep a 20 minute constant run to intense because your body can’t keep up with demand. So, you go 4 minutes as hard as you can and you recover for three or four minutes…then you go hard again for 4 minutes and you recover again…all the way to 20 minutes! SIMPLE!!! Don’t over analyze this…it works!

Over time, just like pounds lifted, you want to decrease the time of your intensity and rest. We want this to become a sprint workout. Trust me, the day you can do an all out sprint for 10 seconds with a 30 second recovery and go again repeatedly for 20 minutes…you will look like an NFL running back….this is similar to doing about a 60 to 90 yard dash every 30 seconds for 20 minutes in a row…YEAH…not very easy!!! Do you get my drift…intensity will always blow away endurance type of cardio. So, mix it up and try to to short bursts of intensity followed by periods of rest. Your heart loves it!

I know what you are saying now because I am already one step ahead of you. But how at my age of ____ can I do that intense of activity…answer…you can’t by looking at it that way, but your 10 is different than my 10. You may huff and puff going up a flight of stairs and that is ok…if you are 90 years old…that would be a workout for a 90 year old…and guess what, they would be pretty healthy by doing that for 20 minutes straight. You have to ease into this and find what works for you…but, again, you have to leave it out there. When 20 minutes passes, you should not be able to go any longer than 20 minutes…if you can, you are not working hard enough…trust me, I could make you work so hard you couldn’t get passed 10 minutes!

Why does this work? How can you produce outstanding results without dieting. The answer is simple. YOUR WEIGHT LOSS DOES NOT OCCUR IN THE GYM OR DURING YOUR WORKOUT!!!! Read this statement again…in fact…read it three times, repeat it out loud three times, and then write it down on paper three times…then you will own this statement. You will begin to laugh at all of your buddies spending hours per day in the gym, while you blow them away with your results you get in 20 minutes…3 days per week!

Weight loss occurs outside of the gym because of what is called EPOC. EPOC stands for excess post oxygen consumption. To keep things simple, it basically means your metabolism stays elevated and burns more calories over time for the next 24-48 hours. Here is the kicker and the thing you need to understand. The individual who spends an hour running on the treadmill at a jogging pace will only burn calories on the treadmill…so, maybe he or she burns 1000 calories…GREAT!!! But, here is where they lose every time…jogging does not increase EPOC a great deal. EPOC is increased by high intensity workouts…I repeat, EPOC is increased by high intensity workouts! You have to own this. This program is designed around this exact principle. You see, when you are done working out is when your calories are being burnt…in fact, you will increase your burning of calories for the next 24-48 hours. Don’t you think that is better than burning them for the measly hour spent on a treadmill running? You will blow your buddy away. Sure, he burns a lot more than you at the gym, but he doesn’t understand you don’t need to burn a lot of calories because your burning of calories occurs outside the gym due to EPOC…isn’t that great.

Here is the kicker though. You have to feed your muscles. This program has nothing to do with dieting. Now, you can’t eat big macs and fries every day and have great health. What I am saying is that you have to make sure and add fuel to the fire every two to two and a half hours. Think of your metabolism as a bon-fire. If you don’t constantly give it more wood to burn, it just turns into a bunch of hot red coals and eventually goes out. You have to keep adding fuel to the fire so it can keep burning hotter and hotter. If you suppress the fire by not adding “fuel” to it, you are killing your weight loss potential. You have stopped it for that day. You have to understand that it is crucial that you eat every two hours or so. No, not candy neither…I am talking about eating something with high quality macronutrients that are balanced…something that has a decent amount of protein, carbs, and fat…don’t forget the fat…you need it!

When you begin to understand this plan, which usually takes our patients about 3 months…give or take…you begin to see that you are no longer dieting. YOU ARE FEEDING YOUR MUSCLES INSTEAD! What an interesting concept! You don’t feel deprived because you are not on a diet! Not to deflate your balloon, but alcohol will supress your fire very quickly, so just be warned on the nights you want to indulge…you have put out the fire…don’t worry about it because you will be working out either the next day or the day after that again! You see, don’t get caught up in the details. You can’t be perfect! In fact, you never will be so stop trying to live up to a false sense of self! Instead, strive for excellence! Excellence means you give your best and know that you have given it. As soon as you strive for excellence in life, trust me, your stress goes way down. Never, ever, try for perfection after reading this…write it down and speak it aloud…I WILL STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE FROM THIS DAY FORWARD!!! Type A people, you need to own this. This will save your life and I truly mean that! I will explain that in another blog at a later time.

This really is a simple program to follow and one that you could adapt for life. Anybody can use this program to their advantage because we all have different intensity levels. A 20 year olds picture of intensity is going to be different than a 60 year olds…and guess what??? That is OK because they are both getting the same workout for their heart. The 60 year olds heart and lungs will work just as hard as the 20 year olds heart and lungs if they are both doing a “9” on an intensity scale. Do you get it…a “9” is a “9” is a “9.” What maybe a 8 for you, may be a 10 for me. We all have different fitness levels. The key is to find out what your different levels are and keep improving on them.

This is absolutely the best possible program for a time crunched world and a overweight world. It is simple and to the point and produces dramatic results. But, here is what I want the take home message to be. This program is designed to be used for LIFE!!! This program is not a fad to be used or “tried” for the next 3 weeks, two months, six months etc. It is for life! You have to get it through your head that you have to workout at minimum 3 days per week for the rest of your life. As soon as you own that, which usually takes between three and six months in our clinic, you are well on your way to achieving the health and weight loss you have always dreamed about.

You really can’t get bored with this program because it is all up to you. I recommend that you plan your workouts and your food for superior results, but do what is comfortable for you. I am a huge believer in the fact that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail! Definitely if you have a busy job or home life, you have to schedule your workouts…no ifs ands or buts…your spouse should see on the schedule a half hour blocked off three times per week for your HEALTH!!! They should understand this completely. But, if you don’t plan it that way, you will have problems. So put it down on the calender every week when your workout time is, and don’t stand around the gym and talk for an hour after your workout. Your family needs you at home. A half hour is a half hour. Get the workout done and leave the gym. Trust me, your spouse will love you for it. Not to mention the fact that when you do get in better shape your bedroom life will get better…enough said!

You now have no excuses. Get to work and after 3 months email me at I would love to hear your story of how you are doing and how freeing it is to own this plan and only have workout three times per week. It is about working out smarter to produce the desired result…not longer…who really does have 2 hours everyday to spend in the gym…I know I don’t…GOOD LUCK…and GO GET ‘EM!!!

Your health and wellness advocate,

Dr. James R. Haakenson

P.S. Always take January off without exception…this is not optional. You need time for renewal…and your body needs a rest. Plus, you don’t want to go to a full gym and weight in line with all the new fad dieters that won’t make it till February!


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