The Moment – a wedding special

Shaping up for marriage with Adam White’s four-step routine

Gym newbie says if he can do it, so can you

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 November, 2017, 12:50pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 November, 2017, 12:56pm

Grooms, losing weight for the big day is possible. The important thing? Keeping your new lifestyle as flourishing as your marriage.

When I got married and turned 30 in the same year, I decided that my wedding day was the ideal deadline. It was time to lose some weight. I was a gym newbie – I’d barely set foot in one – but over four intensive months I lost 15kg, going from a flubby 99kg to a slightly-less-flubby 84kg. Sound easy? It wasn’t. I may not be anywhere near a sculpted Adonis, but I do know how it’s done. If I did it, so can you.

Build those biceps

“My only advice for you is to eat well, train well and rest well,” says Tse Ka-hei, training manager and senior physical trainer at Pure Fitness. A personal trainer had me walking 15 or 20 minutes on a treadmill, six days a week – just a fast walk on an incline. As you increase the amount of motion you go through every day, you’re increasing the pace of your metabolism, and speeding up the rate your body burns calories.

Treadmills are inevitably dull, but I was also introduced to the interesting side of the equation: weightlifting. During my first workout, I could barely do a push up. The day after, I was so sore I couldn’t straighten my arms. But over time, the training became increasingly enjoyable. There’s a primal, macho simplicity to lifting something heavy and then putting it down again.

The reason to work out is simple: The bigger your muscles, the more energy they burn – even at rest. The more energy you burn, the more fat you burn. That’s assumingyou nail the other important thing: diet.

Eat better

Lifting weights is only half the battle. There’s no workaround for one unavoidable fact: if you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to change how you eat.

“If you make poor nutritional choices, no amount of effort in the gym will offset this, and your body will not change the way you want it to,” says Dani Means, EatUP manager at Ultimate Performance. Means doesn’t just run Ultimate Performance’s meal prep service: she’s also holder of the Hong Kong women’s’ records for the bench press and dead lift. “You might push yourself to the absolute limit every time you exercise, but fuelling your body with cocktails and dim sum won’t help you fit into your wedding dress or suit.”

It’s a simple equation: are the calories you are taking in less than the calories you are burning? “Eat only natural food, no processed food,” Tse suggests. “Opt for nutrient-dense but not calorie dense food. Stay away from any form

of sugar.”

Personally, I cut out most of the carbohydrates from my diet, replacing them with filling [and healthy] fibre. It’s a remarkably effective, although remarkably boring, thing to do. I also cut out beer, although I allowed myself wine: you need to have something to look forward to.

Consistency is key

It’s all too easy to hit the gym every day for a week, and then wear yourself out and give up on the idea for another six months. It doesn’t work that way. “The key to changing your body is consistency,” says Means.

Tse agrees. “I’m not going to sugar-coat it,” he says.

There is no magic pill: just be consistent. If your belly fat didn’t appear overnight, then why would you expect that getting rid of it will?”

Change your lifestyle

The biggest benefit of the process wasn’t the wedding day – wonderful though it was. The biggest boon has been that I’ve started to think differently about how I treat my body. While I’m eating carbs again (and it’s fantastic), I’m also a lot more mindful about what I’m putting into my body. Sure, I’m not putting in nearly as much treadmill time as I was – but I’m still going to the gym three days a week. My old self wouldn’t recognise me.

I can’t deny my weight has crept up since the wedding – but I’ve also changed my goals. While before I was aiming to lose weight, now I’m trying to build muscle. I’d like to be stronger and healthier – after all, now I have a wife to think about.

“Having a healthy lifestyle is pretty much like a happy marriage,” Tse says. “It doesn’t stop on the wedding day. You made a commitment, and you have to put in effort to keep it. There will always be temptation.”