How to Loose 10, 25, and 50 lbs.

by Bill Sonnemaker, MS, PES, CES, CSCS
2007 IDEA International Personal Trainer of the Year
2007 NASM Pursuit of Excellence Award Winner
IDEA Master Trainer, NASM, NSCA, ACE, ACSM

Speak with a *personal trainer. Working with a personal trainer will help you design a safe, efficient, and progressive exercise program.  Additionally, he or she will help you in determining SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, and Time-anchored). One reason personal training is so effective is because it provides a built-in structure of accountability, support, encouragement, knowledge, and education so that you can eventually take the reins. In addition, working with a professional ensures you are making the best use of your time.

*When looking for a personal trainer make sure he or she meets the following criteria:

  • Maintains certification by one or more of the following accredited and medically recognized organizations: NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association), ACE (American Council on Exercise).
  • Possesses current professional liability insurance and CPR certification.
  • Has experience and success working with individuals who have goals and circumstances similar to your own. Ask for a list of client references.

*Prior to beginning an exercise or nutrition program you should be cleared by your physician.

2 Ways to Create the Desired Weight-Loss


1) Decrease caloric intake, i.e. create a caloric deficit (assuming you are consuming more calories than your body needs). However, decreasing calories drastically (below your Basal Metabolic Rate, BMR) will cause your body to activate its defense mechanism against dieting and starvation.  Sensing starvation from decreased caloric intake, the body slows down its metabolism and hoards fat for survival; it then learns to function on fewer calories. Realizing you are not getting enough calories, your body begins to look for an alternative source of fuel for energy, burning muscle for fuel, which in turn lowers your metabolic rate. Prevent this from happening by consuming enough calories, calories equal to your basal metabolic rate.

2) Increase physical activity, i.e. burn calories. Your goal is to burn ~500 calories per day by increasing your physical activity.


Things to know:


1 pound of fat = 3,500 calories

When exercising if something hurts, stop doing it!

A weight loss of 1-2 lbs per week is generally considered safe and healthy.

To determine your specific values for BMR and other equations discussed below, use the appropriate calculator found here.


What motivates you?


Recognize and focus on your intrinsic motivators—they will help you remain accountable and on track even when it is most challenging.  Include a support system to help you stay accountable to your goals; include your personal trainer, family and friends, physician, and nutritionist in what you are doing.

The scale is not always the best indicator of progress. You can also monitor your progress using before and after pictures, body composition (skin-fold measurements), circumference measurements, and observing your clothing becoming roomier.

Nutrition Advice


Eat the right amount of calories; use the Caloric Requirement Calculator to calculate the number of calories you need. Once you have determined the amount of calories you need, multiply the amount by the following ratios: Carbs 40-70%, Protein 15-30%, Fat 10-30%. Then divide by 4 for carbohydrates and protein and 9 for fat to determine the number of grams of each you need to eat.

Keep an exercise and nutrition journal every day. Keeping a journal religiously should be like balancing your checkbook.  Keep tally of all calories you consume and what calories you expend so that you stay on track, not in debt or excess but in control. It will help you manage your eating behaviors by giving you a visual tool, rather than keeping estimated calculations in your head.

Eat 5-9 servings of fresh fruits and green vegetables per day. When fresh is unavailable use frozen. There is some magic in this guideline; you will be challenged to meet this lofty quota, requiring that you eat fruit and vegetables instead of processed snacks, and inadvertently meeting most of your daily requirements of vitamins and nutrients in the process.

Eat 3 balanced meals with 2-3 snacks in between your meals. A balanced meal consists of carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber.

Eat 20-40 grams of fiber per day to aid digestion and cleansing, increase fullness, and promote heart-health.

Limit and remove empty calories such as sodas, sweet tea, desserts, creamers, etc. One 12 oz. can of Coke contains 150 calories.  Over the course of one month you would consume 4,650 empty calories.  If you were to stop drinking sodas you would reduce your caloric intake and could lose 1.33 pounds of fat per month.  The yearly outcome of 1 can of soda per day is nearly 16 pounds of fat added to your body.

Eat breakfast every day—eating a hearty and healthy breakfast provides sustained energy and the satiation you will need to get through the day. Breakfast should include simple and complex carbohydrates, protein, unsaturated fat and fiber.  An example of an ideal breakfast is oatmeal with fresh or frozen fruit on top, 3-5 cooked egg whites, and a small handful of nuts or seeds.

Consume your last meal or snack 2-3 hours before bed.

Refer to the food guide pyramid for guidelines for a balanced diet, food choices, and servings.  If nutritional planning is just too complicated, this tried-and-true strategy makes it simple.

Choose low glycemic carbohydrates such as oatmeal, brown rice, and sweet potato versus grits, white rice and white potatoes to reduce insulin surges.

Cut out all candy, soda, chips, and all processed snacks. When you have a craving for one of these, remind yourself that nothing tastes as good as looking great feels.  Keeping your junk food habits will prevent you from achieving your goals.

Eat organic whenever possible; fresh organic produce contains on average 50% more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other micro-nutrients than intensively farmed produce.

Drink a minimum of 96 ounces of water per day. Drinking enough water helps your metabolism run efficiently and keeps all cellular processes occurring optimally.

Recommendations for Physical Activity

Flexibility (15-30 minutes daily)

Resistance (30-60 minutes, 2-4 times per week)

Cardio (30-60 minutes daily, at 60-85% of predicted max heart rate (220-age))

In addition to focusing on weight-loss goals, you should also focus on changes in body composition, behavioral goals, and feeling better through proper nutrition and regular exercise.


Case Study


The following model can be applied to both males and females. To find your specific values, use the designated calculators found here.


Determining caloric needs using the Caloric Requirement Calculator: A sedentary 5’10” 40 year old 225 lb male has a daily caloric requirement of 2,833 calories. This value consists of his BMR requirement of 2,092 calories plus 741 extra calories needed based on his level of activity (very light-17 hours, sleep-7 hours).

Determining BMI (Body Mass Index) using the BMI Calculator:  He has a BMI of 32.4 (grade 1 obesity). Also using this calculator, to reach a BMI of 25 he would need to weigh 176 lbs.

His goal is to lose 50 lbs of body fat (175,000 calories). We have broken his goal into 3 stages; 10, 25, and 50 lbs. In order for him to reach the first stage he will need to create a 35,000 calorie deficit. Stage 2 requires an additional 52,500 calories and Stage 3 requires an additional 87,500 calories. He will accomplish his goal by decreasing the amount of calories he takes in and increasing his level of physical activity.

Using the Calories Expended Calculator: a 225 lb. man would expend the following amount of calories as a result of the below exercise program. Note that with each successive table the values were recalculated to take into account the previous weight loss.


10 Pound Weight-Loss (4.76 Weeks)


Cardio=45 min. walking at 4.0 mph on M, W, F and 60 min. on T, Th, and 30min. on Su

Resistance=60min. normal intensity on M, W, F


225-216 lbs. Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Weekly Total
Cardio 350 466 350 466 350 466 232 2680
Resistance 394 n/a 394 n/a 394 n/a n/a 1182
Caloric Reduction 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 3500
Total 1244 966 1244 966 1244 966 732 7362

Total caloric loss per week 7,362.  This equates to 2.1 lbs of fat per week.  Time to reach goal 4.76 weeks

25 Pound Weight-Loss (11.56 Weeks)

Cardio=45 min. walking at 4.5 mph on M, W, F and 60 min. on T, Th, and 30min. on Su

Resistance=60min. normal intensity on M, W, F

215-201 lbs. Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Weekly Total
Cardio 403 538 403 538 403 538 268 3091
Resistance 376 n/a 376 n/a 376 n/a n/a 1128
Caloric Reduction 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 3500
Total 1279 1038 1279 1038 1279 1038 768 7719

Total caloric loss per week 7,719.  This equates to 2.205 lbs of fat per week.  Time to reach goal 6.80 weeks

50 Pound Weight-Loss (24.45 Weeks)

Cardio=45 min. jogging at 5.0 mph on M, W, F and 60 min. on T, Th, and 30min. on Su

Resistance=60min. high intensity on M, W, F

200-176 lbs. Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Weekly Total
Cardio 453 604 453 604 453 604 302 3473
Resistance 520 n/a 520 n/a 520 n/a n/a 1560
Caloric Reduction 250 250 250 250 250 250 250 1750
Total 1223 854 1223 854 1223 854 552 6783

Total caloric loss per week 6,783.  This equates to 1.938 lbs of fat per week.  Time to reach goal 12.89 weeks

Note: On Resistance training days the cardio portion consists of a 15 min. warm-up at the beginning and 30 min. at the end. In addition, as the individual loses weight, calorie loss will decrease very slightly (approximately 1-3 calories per pound of weight loss). Also, on resistance training days the individual will perform 10-15 minutes of stretching; on cardio days he will perform 15-30 minutes.

Using the chart below enter your values and start on the path to Success!

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Weekly Total
Caloric Reduction


9 calories/gram 4 calories/gram 4 calories/gram
10-30 % of

daily caloric intake

50-70 % of

daily caloric intake

15-30 % of

Daily caloric intake

Olive oil, canola oil, almond oil, walnut oil, hazelnut oil, nuts, and seeds

Minimal saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol

Fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

7-9 servings of fresh fruit and green vegetables per day

Lean meats, poultry, fish, egg-whites, skim milk, nuts, and soy







Getting Started

If you are looking for a qualified personal trainer in the Metro-Atlanta area, Catalyst Fitness is the premier choice. Catalyst Fitness is Atlanta’s  only fully accredited and medically recognized personal training facility, providing unprecedented results through a unique scientific approach to fitness. Catalyst Fitness maintains a state-of-the-art facility and the most highly trained, experienced, and respected team of fitness professionals in the industry.  For more information about fitness training programs visit their website at, call (770)499-9143, or stop by the facility on Jiles Road in Kennesaw.