Fit sprinting man

Do you have to be fit before you can lose fat?

Don’t ever think you have to be fit before you can start losing fat, says New Body Plan editorial director, Joe Warner

I wanted to tell you a story I hope will help you start looking and feeling as good as you want too.

I’ve got a mate. Well, I’ve got more than one, but today I want to talk about one specific friend. We used to play football together as kids, and in the last few years we’ve have the odd game of squash. But that’s where our shared fitness interest ended. While I’ve been a regular gym lifter over the last decade, he’s preferred the other type of bar. Indeed, the only gym machine he’s familiar with is the one at his local leisure centre that dispenses over-priced Kit-Kats.

Now, it’s not that he hates exercise, nor that he doesn’t want to lose some weight. So about three months ago I asked him if he wanted to work out with me. He laughed and made a lame joke about having invested too much time and money in his beer belly to get rid of it now. I smiled politely and left it there. Two weeks later I asked again. This time, instead of a joke, he made an excuse, saying he didn’t have time for the gym. I frowned but didn’t push it. Then, a week later, he called me. What he said shocked me.

Fit for purpose

He said: “Joe, I really want to lose some weight but I’m not fit enough to exercise. What should I do?”

Not fit enough to exercise. His words made me speechless. He’d said them so naturally that he was clearly convinced this was the reality of his situation.

“Not fit enough to exercise? But that’s like saying you’re too hungry to eat!” I countered. “The only way to get fitter is to exercise, just as the only way to stop feeling hungry is to eat!” He was having none of it. “No, it’s not like that,” he said. “I’ll be ready to start exercising once I’m a bit fitter.”

Failure feedback
Here’s the problem. So many people never lose weight, or add muscle, or get fitter, because they convince themselves they have to be leaner, stronger of fitter before they can actually start!

Their fear of being flushed and breathless, and hot and sweaty, in front of a bunch of (in their mind) super-fit strangers destroys their desire to get back into shape. So they get caught in a negative feedback loop in which the more they want to improve her health and fitness, the greater their fear of failure that prevents them from doing anything about it.

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The fear fallacy
My friend isn’t alone. I bet that 99.9% of people delay starting of their own personal journey towards a fitter, healthier and happier life because of fear or doubts. Yet the only thing you need to do is that first workout. Yes, it’ll be hard – the hardest session you’ll ever do – but once it’s done you take comfort and confidence in knowing that every subsequent workout will get easier and easier until you can’t believe why you didn’t start sooner.

Healthier and happier

I’m not in the habit of trying to pull the wool over your eyes, nor force anyone to exercise if they don’t want to. But I am 100% right about this. If you want to live a healthier and happier life all you need to do is that first workout. Then the rest will take care of itself. My mate is proof. He’s just finished an eight-week New Body Plan programme.

He looks great, has lost a lot of fat (mainly the dangerous type around his stomach) and now loves training, not only for the physical results but it’s become a form of stress relief for him. I’ve noticed a big difference in his personality too – he’s happier, more out-going, and has developed a new “can-do” attitude.

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Positive progress
If you’ve already started following a training programme you’ll be nodding your head as you read this because you’ll recognise in yourself the positive physical and mental changes I mention. That’s not to say you might not still have questions about your transformation journey – and if you do you can always email me at or on Twitter or Instagram.

If you’ve not yet started but desperately want to then I hope today’s email has helped. All you need to do is put that fear to one side, just for one workout, and see what happens. I guarantee you’re going to get a nice surprise! Again, hit me up if you have any questions – me and the team are here to give you all the tools and tips you need to look, feel and perform at your best!

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