30 minutes on the treadmill in the morning before work.
After work spin session.
Late night lift routine.
More spinach, more kale, more water.
Fewer carbs and sodium.
I’m sure you’ve heard it all, right? Losing weight seems to be top of mind for most people, and it probably isn’t going anywhere soon. There’s dieting, workout routines, “mindful eating” practices all targeted towards people who are incessantly trying to shed those extra pounds.
The bottom line is this: no one is going to effectively lose weight by sitting on their ass. There is no “quick fix” to weight loss that grants you the ability to continue on with unhealthy routines expecting to see a dramatic outcome simply by taking a pill. It’s just not going to happen.
You see, this article is not intended to sell you products you don’t need or suggest you use unhealthy measures to get desired end results. We don’t mess with that. Instead, these are some of the healthiest, most sustainable, and quickest ways to lose weight fast naturally.
The only catch is this: you must see them through. You must have self-control. If you really want to lose weight the fastest way possible, there really isn’t any room for error. The only way these prescription weight loss programs are effective is if they are being used TOGETHER. These steps complement each other, therefore you must be strict about carefully following each one. For some people, this is not a sustainable model. That’s fine.
But for those who dare to embark on this rapid weight loss journey, we wish you good luck, great health, and even better endurance.
Without further ado, here are the 12 quickest ways to lose weight fast.
Meal Prep Weekly
I’m talking about lunch and dinner. Every day of the week.
Boring? Maybe. Effective? Absolutely. The reason I don’t use the word “dieting” here is that to me, dieting implies a short-term temporary approach to eating habits. You shouldn’t view this practice as a diet in that sense. Meal prepping is not only common within the bodybuilding community as an effective way to plan out consumption to ensure certain caloric intake goals are met, but is also used as a highly effective weight-loss method. Setting nutrients and calories aside, the primary reason this is so effective is really quite simple: it allows very little room for human error. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, you can contact a meal prep delivery service company instead.
Think about it this way – putting the time and effort into planning out your lunch and dinner for a full week, in addition to the financial investment of buying quality foods, will help you guilt-trip yourself into everyday consumption. Set aside time every Sunday afternoon or evening to prepare a full week’s worth of lunches and dinners. I suggest setting regular reminders on your phone to make sure you get into the habit of grabbing your pre-made meals from the fridge when you’re on your way to work in the morning or grabbing an extra when you know you’ll have to stay late.
For 1 week you will need:
- 50 ounces (3.125 pounds) of organic white chicken breast
- 56 ounces (3.5 pounds) of raw organic broccoli
- 56 ounces (3.5 pounds) of sweet potato
This is how you will prepare:
- You are going to boil all of the chicken. I know, this might not be the most appealing approach to cooking chicken, but it is the healthiest. Click here for a boiled chicken recipe.
- You will also steam all the broccoli. Again, I know this is not the most exciting way to make broccoli, but it is healthier than stir-fry for sure. Click here for a great recipe.
- You will bake the sweet potatoes – this is definitely where you can have a bit of fun. In my opinion, sweet potatoes are amazing no matter the type of preparation, so they are still delicious when baked. Click here for a great recipe.
This is how you will pack:
For this step, you will probably need a food weight scale and enough meal prep containers to last you a week. You will prepare 14 containers, 2 for every day of the week. Here is what you will put in them:
- Weigh out 3.5 ounces of your boiled chicken per container (cut to resize, if necessary) – approximately 220 calories per serving
- Weigh out 4 ounces of your steamed broccoli per container – approximately 40 calories per serving
- Weigh out 4 ounces of your baked sweet potato per container – approximately 100 calories per serving
This means you will be consuming about 360 calories of nutrient and fiber-rich food for lunch and dinner. This is 720 calories between the two meals. We will get to breakfast later on.
This is what you will drink with your lunch and dinner:
- Filtered water
- Sparkling water
Follow this meal plan and you are guaranteed to see fast weight loss results. Do not give in to slipping up on meals. Do not forget your prepped meals at home. Set reminders, stay diligent, and reap the benefits. Next up – breakfast!
Consume a High-Protein Breakfast Every Morning
Again, you’ve probably heard this tip a million times. If you need a reminder, Livestrong states that these health benefits include increased satiety (keeps you full for longer), reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease, and forces you to choose healthier foods, all contributing to helping you lose weight fast. I’m going to show you how to put this tip into action, and tie it back to our meal-prepping plan with regard to actual calorie tracking. This will not be fun or easy, but you will see results.
For 1 week of breakfast you will need:
- 14 hardboiled eggs – 78 calories per egg, 156 calories for two
- 7 single-serving containers of plain Greek yogurt (.25 cups per serving if you decide to buy a bulk size) – 130 calories per .25 cup serving
- Ground flaxseed, enough for 2 generous tablespoons per morning – approximately 74 calories for 2 tablespoons
- 4 cups of organic blueberries, enough for ½ cup each morning – approximately 42 calories per ½ cup serving
You will be consuming about 400 calories for breakfast between all of the above items. You might be asking yourself – “why would I want to consume more calories for breakfast than my lunch and dinner?” According to Livestrong (and many other health/fitness publications), a big breakfast helps to curb cravings throughout the day and encourages weight loss. Go ahead and try it – you’ve got nothing to lose but pounds.
I suggest mixing the flaxseed into your daily serving of plain Greek yogurt, along with your blueberries. The blueberries will bring natural sweetness to the plain yogurt, while also offering tons of antioxidants and vitamins. The flaxseed offers a ton of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and fiber that will help with digestion and keep you feeling full.
This is what you can drink with your breakfast:
- BLACK coffee, no sugar or cream
- Sparkling water
Honestly, you will probably start enjoying this breakfast almost immediately – it’s actually pretty tasty. This daily breakfast is actually pretty easy to follow, and will leave you feeling WAY better than that sugary cereal you might be used to. Now I’ve given you a plan – it’s up to you to make it happen.
Track Your Calories
Some professionals advise that this is an outdated practice, but the bottom line is if you consume fewer calories than you burn each day, you are going to lose weight. Granted, if you want to lose weight quickly and in a healthy way, you have to be consuming the right calories to make this happen. Given that I outlined a full daily meal plan for you above, let’s recount our caloric measures below:
Breakfast – 400 calories
Lunch – 360 calories
Dinner – 360 calories
This brings you to 1,120 calories between your three meals. Remember – the meals I outlined above are high in quality protein, nutrient and vitamin-rich, high in fiber, and should keep you feeling full. However, let’s assume that you might have a snack here or there (we will get into healthy snacking habits below), we can control for approximately 200 extra calories we can dedicate to snacking. This would bring you to 1,320 calories per day, total.
Let’s do some math. Let’s go ahead and assume that you are a 30 year-old male, 5 foot 9 inches, current weight of 170lb, and you lead a sedentary lifestyle (you don’t do much physical activity). Just as a baseline, your average daily calories burned should total around 2,500.
2,500 – 1,320 = 1,180. This means your body is left in a daily caloric shortfall of 1,180 – this is no small number. Even if you aren’t physically active (which we will also cover below), you are guaranteed to lose weight if you are burning 1,180 more calories than you are consuming per day.
Cut Out All Sugar and Starch
You’ve also heard this before but you’ve probably never dared to really try it. By all sugar and starch I really mean cutting out every source you’re used to getting it from. Yes, the blueberries and sweet potatoes I outlined above contain a little bit of natural sugar, and that’s ok. Besides those, you must cut out all refined sugar from your diet.
Again, is this sustainable for most people? Probably not. But some of you who are reading this are seeking an aggressive approach to weight loss. This is one of those tactics, and trust me – it’s easier if you just go cold turkey. Limiting yourself to treats here and there leads to more. I know this to be true. According to WebMD, the initial 48 to 72 hours are the most challenging when going cold-turkey on your diet intake. After this time period, craving decrease little by little.
If you’re experiencing bad cravings during this period, try reaching for some sugar-free gum, an apple, or even try drinking some sugar-free fruit-flavored sparkling water.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Every Other Day – for “cardio”
This type of exercise has more than one name and a reputation for being particularly grueling on anyone brave enough to really do it right. However, when paired with the right strength training plan and a stellar diet, it is one of the most effective exercises to quickly lose weight. Intensity really is the name of the game – the idea is that pushing yourself to the max each set creates a level of intensity that your body never really gets used to. In between these sets, you provide enough rest to recover just enough from your set so you can push yourself to the max again.
This differs from long periods of cardio, for example, such that the energy you exert during each high-intensity set is totally not sustainable. Long periods of moderate intensity running, on the other hand, puts the body through a different type of workout that might burn lots of calories in that moment, but does not boost metabolism. HIIT workouts, on the other hand, boosts the metabolism as a result of this level of repeated intensity, which makes your body residually burn way more calories long after you are done working out.
There are tons of unique HIIT workouts out there for you to try, and cycling through different ones is actually encouraged. You don’t want your body getting used to these, so don’t get too attached to any one in particular. Google “high intensity interval training workout” and choose a few you like. Generally, running through a full routine shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes. I suggest doing these in the mornings before work, and doing your strength training/lifting (explained later on) in the evenings.
Here is one example of a workout you can try to start:
HIIT Exercise #1: Run through 5 times, no rest between workouts, 1 minute rest between sets
- 20 Burpees
- 20 Box Jumps
- 20 Push-Ups
- 20 Weighted Walking Lunges (20 pounds or heavier, count each leg as 1)
- 20 more Burpees
- 20 Push-Ups to finish
- Rest 1 minute and then repeat
A stop watch will help immensely to make sure you get exactly 1 minute of rest between your sets. This will probably feel unnatural and uncomfortable if you are new to this. Push through and try your hardest each exercise, make sure you have water on-hand to drink during your 1 minute of rest, and reward yourself with a tasty protein smoothie when you’re done. On “off” days, just do 15 minutes of light cardio or stair-master.
6-Day Isolation Muscle Split Workout for Strength
Yes, you should be strength training in addition to doing high-intensity training listed above. For those of you who think that sticking to 6 miles of moderate running a day will really help you lose weight, you’re missing out on a ton of great strength training results. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular weight lifting does more than just build muscle, but it helps to strengthen bones, manage chronic conditions like back pain, sharpen your thinking skills, and yes, it helps you lose weight.
I am going to assume that if you are still reading this, you are truly serious about losing weight. I am also going to assume that you have access to a gym. Therefore, I am going to outline a 6-day split workout routine for you. What does this mean? 5 days out of the week you are going to isolate a different muscle group at the gym. You can take the 6th day off from weight lifting, and you should probably time your HIIT routine so one of your “off” days correlates with your 6th day of rest to allow your body to recover. What happens on the 7th day? You start the routine all over again.
Aim to “max out” the last 1-2 reps during your last set for each exercise. Allow about 1 minute between sets. Lift as heavy as you can while still being able to finish a full 10 reps during your first set. Also – you should probably have someone spot you. If you don’t know how to do some of the exercises I mention below, go to Bodybuilding.com and simply type in the keywords for the movement. They have great instructional guides to help.
Here is your 6-day split:
Day 1 – Chest:
- Bench Press, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Incline Dumbbell Press, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Decline Bench Press, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- High Cable Chest Fly, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Chest Dips, 3 sets of 10 reps each
Day 2 – Back:
- Seated Cable Rows, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Seated Lat Pulldown, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Dumbbell Rows, 3 sets of 10 reps each (per arm, rest only after both arms are completed)
- Deadlifts, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Bent Over Barbell Rows, 3 sets of 10 reps each
Day 3 – Shoulders:
- Overhead Shoulder Dumbbell Press, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Overhead Arnold Press, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Machine Shoulder Press, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Front Dumbbell Raise (alternating arms), 3 sets of 10 reps each (per arm, rest only after both arms are completed)
- Upright Barbell Row, 3 sets of 10 reps each
Day 4 – Legs
- Barbell Squats, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Seated Leg Press, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Walking Dumbbell Lunges, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Calf Raises, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Seated Leg Curl, 3 sets of 10 reps each
Day 5 – Arms
- Alternating Dumbbell Curls , 3 sets of 10 reps each (per arm, rest only after both arms are completed)
- Close Grip Bench Press, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Triceps Pushdown, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Close Grip Pulldown, 3 sets of 10 reps each
- Reverse Barbell Curls, 3 sets of 10 reps each
Day 6 – Rest
- Really, just rest
Day 7 – Refer to Day 1
A Strict 8-Hour Sleep Schedule
You must prioritize getting adequate sleep every night to supply your body with enough time to rest and recover from your HIIT and strength training workouts. According to WebMD, being short on sleep has a bigger effect on your weight than you might think. For example, when your brain is overly tired, you are more likely to make impulsive food decisions and break the meal plan we talked about above. Insufficient sleeps also makes you hungrier and your hunger more insatiable. The most alarming factor inadequate sleep has on weight is that it slows down your metabolism, thus contributing to weight gain. If you are already working so hard to meal prep, workout, cut out sugar, and track your calories, you might as well arm yourself with all the tools it takes to make weight loss happen. Get enough sleep.
Track Your Dietary Fiber Intake
In the meal plans I outline above, I outline several food options that contain a decent amount of dietary fiber to ensure you are getting your recommended daily amount each day. However, if you aren’t a fan of sweet potatoes or simply don’t like flaxseed, you will want to make sure you are getting enough fiber each day from other sources. Unlike carbs, fiber isn’t digested by your body and as it passes through your digestive system, it offers many health benefits along the way.
According to WebMD, fiber is an essential ingredient in any effective weight loss plan because it helps keep you feeling full, improves digestive health, helps to solve issues like constipation, and even lowers blood pressure. Dietary fiber is naturally-occurring and plentiful in veggies like broccoli, in addition to certain grains, seeds, and other healthy foods we eat. The suggested daily adult intake of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
If you are looking for a fiber supplement to use in addition to your healthy diet, click here to check these out on Amazon.
Breakfast Drinks: Black Coffee and Sparkling Water
A full 8-ounce glass of regular filtered water should be the first thing that enters your body in the morning. After you’ve completed this step, I recommend one or two cups of black coffee with your breakfast or at work. While people do eventually become tolerant to the caffeine in coffee, it does increase your metabolic rate in the short-term, and it also helps to reduce hunger cravings after you’ve had breakfast. The reason I also recommend drinking sparkling water both in the morning and throughout the day (if you can) is because the carbonation helps to neutralize stomach acid, which also simulates a temporary feeling of being full. Using both black coffee and sparkling water to tag-team your weight loss efforts is a healthy approach, while also effective at starving off hunger pains until you reach your next meal. You can also drink sparkling drinks once in a while.
Snack Only on Raw Unsalted Almonds
Others might tell you not to limit your snacking to just almonds, but to branch out to items like edamame, hummus, guacamole, and other foods. The reason I am restricting this plan to just almonds is for simplicity’s sake – at the end of the day, it is hard to control for the sodium, sugar, and other things that might be in other snacks besides almonds. For this program to really be effective, you need to know what is entering your body at all times. It will also make it easier for you to go shopping and plan your meals!
According to Livestrong, almonds are rich in antioxidants, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and tons of minerals. Not only are they fantastic for your heart health and bone density, but they contain enough dietary fiber to make a perfect snack between meals. Consuming raw unsalted almonds keeps you feeling full until your next major meal, while also providing all of the amazing health benefits listed above.
Wake-Up and Before-Bed Push-ups Till Failure
Performing a push-up set until failure is exactly what it sounds like – going through the push-up movements with perfect form until your muscles are no longer able to do so. I recommend doing this every morning right when you wake up, and before you crawl into bed at night. The best part about incorporating this practice into your morning routine is that it will leave you feeling awake and energized, and helps to kick-start your metabolism.
According to Livestrong, blasting your muscles by pushing your body until failure will help you increase the amount you can do each set. You can also vary your hand position by placing them closer together or farther apart, which works different muscles and keeps your body guessing. Just make sure that you keep your hips, spine, and head in a straight line while tightening your abs during your push-ups, or using a mirror or a friend to correct your form (a friend might be hard to obtain first thing in the morning, so a mirror works just fine).
Follow a Plan
This is by far the most vague-sounding recommendation I will give you, but allow me to explain what I mean and why it is important. All of the steps I outlined above are no more than recommendations when you don’t have a plan set in place to tackle them. By plan I literally mean something you map out visually, either on a piece of paper or on your phone, to make your life and habits easier during this aggressive weight loss process. Remember – this plan will take focus, diligence, and more focus. You won’t be able to do it without these small tools to help you along the way, at least not at first. I suggest mapping out every day of the week down to minute details such as when to allow yourself almonds to snack on, when to eat your meals, and so on.
Here is an example of what a Monday “plan” might look like:
6:30 am – Wake up, immediately do push-ups until failure, drink 8-ounce glass of filtered water
6:45 am – Run through 30-minute HIIT workout outlined above
7:15 am – Shower, get dressed
7:45 am – Eat the high-protein breakfast we covered above, enjoy black coffee and sparkling water
8:15 am – Make sure to grab meal-prepped lunch out of fridge on the way to work and more sparkling water for the road
9:00 am – Arrive at work, refill black coffee or enjoy more sparkling water
10:30 am – Enjoy a handful of unsalted raw almonds
12:00 pm – Heat up meal-prepped lunch from work fridge and enjoy
3:30 pm – Enjoy another handful of almonds and black coffee
4:30 pm – More sparkling water to kill your hunger pangs
5:30 pm – Head directly to gym and proceed to whichever day workout you’re on (outlined above), drink lots of water
6:30 pm – Enjoy a lean protein shake with just your protein powder and water mixed together (this will hold you over until dinner)
7:30 pm – Arrive home, heat up meal-prepped dinner from fridge and enjoy
9:00 pm – Enjoy more almonds if you’d like a snack before bed
10:15 pm – Push-ups until failure before brushing teeth prior to bed
10:30 pm – Bedtime!
Make a plan like this for every day of your week, adjusting for scheduled meetings or other obligations you have to work around. Store this on your phone so looking at it is easily accessible, or even integrate it as phone notifications or calendar events. Eventually these habits will become second nature if you stick with them, but you’ll need all the help you can get in the beginning.
Also remember – Sunday evenings are for meal-prepping for the week while catching up on your preferred TV program of choice.
You can do it!