Pure Determination: Paul's Secret To Burning Off 65 Pounds in 98 Days!
Paul Brown burned off 65 pounds in only 98 days during the Burn the Fat challenge. That is a "Burn the Fat World Record!"
Although these results are obviously not typical (and large weekly weight losses are more likely when you start heavier), these results are so "off-the-charts amazing" that we had to get more details about how he did it.
In this interview Paul reveals his motivation, nutrition and training strategy as well as his advice for future Burn the Fat challenge contestants...
Mindset and Motivation
I was absolutely determined that I was going to do this and that nothing was going to stop me. I made sure I joined the gym that had 24 hour access. This was essential for me being able to get to the gym at any time, and it removed any excuses I might have made about my schedule.
The first few weeks were particularly challenging for several reasons: right off the bat I had confusion about doing body fat measurements and I was really fighting against my old habits. We also had parties galore at work, and believe it or not, there were even "disco parties" at my gym!
But I refused to let any of these things stop me or push me off track because I knew that my old habits were doing me no good. I learned how to order out in restaurants and what to carefully pick and choose at a barbecue. After the disco, I would go back down to the gym and not leave until 1:30 am if I had to.
The second day of the challenge, my key to the gym would not work during my lunch break, so I went to another gym where I still had a membership. So in summary, you could say my main mindset was determination and my main motivation was - due to past failures - to never ever let this happen again.
Well, what a change this was! I can't even begin to think about all the junk I used to eat. It would be easiest to say that almost every day I ate fast food either for breakfast, lunch or dinner, in some form or another.
In the past, I had tried all the weight loss food programs like Jenny Craig, Lite n' Easy and others. These aren't bad, I suppose. The problem is, I realized they don't teach you anything about nutrition or lifestyle, not to mention, they cost too much. That's the thing I find the best about Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (BFFM) - the program teaches you how to calculate how many calories you need, how many calories are in various foods, which types of foods are best for you and then how much of each food you should eat.
I stuck with mostly foods from the A+ and A group with a little bit of B foods on reefed days. I was not 100%, but I would say I was 95% compliant to my nutrition after the first 3-4 weeks, when I had gotten into the groove. I found the foods I liked and used the new Burn the Fat Inner Circle meal planner software to make up the food portion sizes, meals and daily meal plans for the calories I needed.
The main thing I did during the challenge that really helped was to cook any food that needing cooking in advance and put it in the freezer. Then I adjusted my calories by alternating food portions of any other foods that didn't need cooking. I ate foods like lettuce/salad, oatmeal, canned salmon, egg and other BFFM foods and adjusted the serving sizes to suit the calories I required.
I learned to do this within the first 3 weeks. The first week I was "all guns blazing" and I cooked every night. Then the second week I got lazy and couldn't be bothered with cooking each night, but I immediately saw my results fall away - I only lost 0.6 kg that week - which for a smaller guy or a girl is progress, but for a person my size, I was not happy with that.
A WELL-STOCKED Freezer!
As soon as I realized I was starting to slip back into my old habits, I looked back at those first couple of weeks, realized what I had done wrong and quickly corrected myself. That's when I came up with my other plan, which was to cook in large batches in advance.
At first I cooked for an entire week in advance. Then, believe it or not, by the end of the challenge I had cooked for 4 weeks in advance! My freezer was stocked, as you can imagine! This also saved me from having to do a lot of cleaning up (and I admit, from nibbling on leftovers after cooking nights). This also freed up my time to concentrate on my training. The food was done.
It might sound funny, but the training was the easiest part for me. Determination meant I was not going to give in during any training session. I made it a personal goal that in each session, I was going to either run farther, run faster, lift heavier or do more reps.
Just before the challenge, I bought a polar heart rate monitor watch, and I used this to make sure I trained at a high enough heart rate zone. My cardio was running, bike and elliptical machine.
I had been doing the couch to 5k program on my iphone since November 2011. At the start of the challenge, I was struggling on week 3, which was 2 rounds of: run 3min, walk 2 min, run 90 sec, walk 2min.
For the first few weeks, I stayed at this level, but increased the speed gradually each week before going onto the next level. At that next stage, I increased the time, but when I increased time, I dropped back the speed, and this is how I progressed through each stage.
As each week went by, I not only found my running time increasing, but my speed was also increasing by progressing this way. Eventually I settled on a speed 9.5 to 10km/h and concentrated on increasing time. By the end of the challenge, I was able to run for 30 min each time and on one occasion, I ran for 45 min straight. The longest length in km was 11.45 km, but this was split up into 7 x 10min runs with 1 min walk between each run. I did this 3 to 4 times a week.
I used the bike sessions as an extra leg workout. I would start out riding on level 5 and go up a level after each minute. This meant that by the time I got to the maximum level of 25 I had been already ridding for 20 min, but at this point I would ride 1 km at the maximum level and see how fast I could do it. I did this twice a week.
On the elliptical, I would go to the gym almost every lunch break, except for the rest day, and I would do 30 minutes at a steady rate.
I also threw in a bit of Tabata and the end of some workouts just to push through some plateaus.
For my weight training, I made it a mission to be sure that I increased my weights or reps in each session. I realized that you do have some bad days where you just can't lift as much, but I managed to increase my weights or maintain at almost every session.
I did a 5 day weight training program, but I concentrated on compound exercises - especially on the deadlift - with fewer of the isolation exercises. I did 4 sets of 5 reps on the major compound exercises then 3 sets of 12 reps on same exercise before going onto 3 sets of 10 for 1 isolated exercise and finished off with one set of 40 reps for another isolated exercise.
My weekly split routine was:
1. Chest and Triceps
2. Back and Traps
3. Quads and Calves
4. Rest Day (from weights)
5. Shoulders and Biceps
6. Dead lift and Hamstrings
7. Rest Day
Final thoughts on transformation and advice to future challenge contestants
I have to admit that as my last day approached, I was too busy training to even have started writing my essay, and with the last day upon me and still having no essay, I even contemplated not submitting one (so not being "officially entered").
This was mostly because I had not thought about the essay very much during the 14 weeks except a few little ideas. So I was sitting there after work on the deadline day and just wrote quickly for 10 minutes all the things that popped into my head right then, along with the few things I had thought about during the challenge. I submitted my entry on the "completed challenges" thread and only then started reading everyone else's and said to myself, "oh bugger, they all gave a lot of detail."
So in a way I almost feel like I "cheated" by slapping mine together in the last 10 minutes, compared to everyone else's that looked like they put in so much thought and time in explaining how they trained and what foods they ate and so on, and I did none of that. I just wrote what I felt and what came into my head.
In the end it all worked out. I guess just writing how you really feel is what's important for the essay. I'm also glad that I now had the chance to give more detail about my training and food and how I did it here in this interview.
For some people it's not the essay they're worried about - some people would like to enter a transformation challenge but don't want to post pictures. I can relate to that. I discovered the inner circle web site a couple days before the Holiday challenge last year but felt too ashamed to post my photo that first time. But what I failed to do was to go back and look at past challenges to see how everyone else started out.
This year, I took the time to look around at last year's photos of where people started and I noticed Tom Laverick's photo and he is what gave me the inspiration to do it this time around (thanks Tom!) I still have to admit, I was hesitating again because I was not comfortable taking my photo and in fact, I waited until pretty late in registration week to jump in. I even went to the gym and lost about 4 kg in the week leading up to my start date just so I did not look as bad. (When I look back, I don't think that made any difference, because I was still big). It was literally the night before on the last day of registration that I decided I had to do it.
The amazing thing is, once I got started, I was really confident that I would be able to do it because I was so determined. Really, the main challenge was working out my meal plan strategy - which, within a few weeks I had figured out for myself.
My advice to anyone thinking about a challenge but not sure about essays or photos or being able to finish? If I can post my pictures and an essay, then anyone can. Give it a go, because what do you have to lose except excess fat and weight, and keep trying even if you are not getting the results you want at first.
It doesn't matter how fast or slow you get results as long as you keep improving. I know I got some pretty fast weight loss, but the main thing is not how much I lost or how fast I lost it, but that I FINALLY did something! My goal now is to keep improving myself from now on - not just during challenges, but in everyday life.
I honestly didn't feel I was going to place this high up in the challenge. It wasn't until afterwards when I finished the 14 weeks and sat down to really look at my before and after photos that I thought, "Wow Paul, you have done OK here." Of course, I noticed the change, but I don't think it actually sank in until after it was over and until after I started getting comments on my thread from other people.
So thank you - everyone at the Inner Circle, and Tom, thank you very much for creating this web site and ebook. You have changed many lives, and for myself it is greatly appreciated.
- Paul Brown ("brownbears" on the inner circle forums)
To discuss this article in the Inner Circle forums CLICK HERE
TO visit Paul's Challenge journal, CLICK HERE (members only)
YOU Could Be The Next Success Story!
The Burn the Fat Challenge is a twice-a-year event sponsored by Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (BFFM) and hosted at the Burn the Fat Inner Circle.
The 'original' 49-day challenge runs across the holidays and starts Every November before Thanksgiving and finishes in January as we bring in the new year.
The summer challenge is known as the "BIG BURN" because it starts in May and runs across the entire summer - 98 days of "burning!"
There's nothing like a BIG GOAL and a CHALLENGE for ramping up your motivation (the chance to win a trip to a tropical island to show off your new body doesn't hurt either).... and when it's done inside a community like our Inner Circle, the support skyrockets your chances of success compared to trying to go at it alone.
Join us for the next challenge and join us in the Inner Circle to stay motivated and connected to positive people all year round. Your membership at the Inner Circle gets you free enrollment in all our challenge events and remember, it's never too early or too late to get started.
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