The Healthy Way To Get Fit and Lose Weight
Simple Diet, Hard Workouts!
The Motley Health fitness and weight loss system is based on the best performing exercises and dieting methods that we have researched and shared with you over last half a decade.
The MCD Weight Loss Plan is a unique way to lose weight. It combines the best Muscle building workouts with Cardio routines and Diet rules to help you lose weight quickly and safely and keep the weight off.
If you have any questions about the plan please ask below and we shall answer you personally.
M is For Muscle
Muscle is essential for a fit and healthy body. Few people have adequate muscle mass to perform even the most basic exercises. More muscle means you can workout harder and also, most importantly, you burn more fat because muscle increases your metabolism.
C is for Cardio
Cardio workouts are the traditional way for most people to try to lose weight, but not all cardio is equal. Some workouts will help you lose weight much quicker than others. We will teach you how to workout in the most effective way possible.
D is for Diet
Last but certainly not least is diet. By diet we mean everything that you eat and drink. No exceptions. Years of fitness and weight loss research have shown that a calorie controlled diet is the best way to lose weight. However, counting calories is so last century. Instead we teach you how to eat, and when to eat, to help you burn maximum fat and shed weight quickly.
MCD Weight Loss Plan
Putting it altogether we have the MCD Weight Loss Plan. For this system we provide you with workout plans, weekly routines, motivational tips and advice on how and when to exercise, plus advice on what you should be eating.
Here we cover a weight loss regime, which will be adequate to help most people start losing weight quickly. To make things more interesting for you we shall be adding new workouts and pointing you to specific parts of the site where you can find more detailed information on how to get fit and lose weight. This weight loss plan is not only for people looking to lose belly fat, it is for everyone that wants to lose weight and get fit.
First we will discuss the exercises that will be done as part of the MCD Weight Loss Plan. Then we shall explain the diet rules. Finally we shall put it all together in a weekly plan that you can follow and later modify to help you get started on your weight loss journey.
What Do You Need?
There is an emphasis on weight training, so you will need access to some weight training equipment. Ideally some free weights with a power cage, but resistance machines are also effective. A power rack/cage and some free weights is actually cheaper than many annual gym memberships so you should consider making an investment in a home gym. Then you have a 24 hour, 7 day a week gym that you have exclusive use of. But if you have a gym at work, or friends have weight training equipment, then make use of this too.
For the cardio workouts you can make do with just some good running shoes, or some swimwear if you choose to swim. If you have an exercise bike, rowing machine, elliptical trainer or treadmill then these will all be very useful as you will be able to guarantee that you exercise on a regular basis.
Muscle Building Workouts
There are two ways to build muscle: bodyweight exercises and weight training exercises using free weights or resistance machines. If you have done no strength training at all then you will benefit a lot from starting off with bodyweight training alone. In fact, one of the most advanced muscle building exercises are bodyweight exercises – the pull up.
The Big Bodyweight Exercises
For maximum muscle growth and fat burning you should perform these big movements as part of your strength training workouts each week:
- Squats. Perform full / deep squats. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with toes pointing slightly outwards and then squat down, keeping your head up and your back straight, until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your backside will almost be touching the floor. Perform these slowly at first as you should be warmed up well before doing these with any intensity. As part of your weight loss plan keep challenging yourself to perform more squats. Start with 50 repetitions (reps) and aim to increase this on each workout.
- Pull Ups and Chin Ups. These are the exercises where you lift your whole body weight with just your arms (using the back muscles). They are extremely hard to perform but are excellent for building real strength and burning fat. Before you start performing standard pull ups you will need to perform various modified and assisted pull ups to build your strength. Learn how to develop pull up strength with our pull up workout.
- Dips- Dips work the triceps (the largest muscle in the arm) and the back. They are extremely hard for the novice trainer and require some solid dip bars / parallel bars. Which is why you can start with modified dips:
- Modified Dips – Like modified pull ups these allow you to perform more repetitions, and therefore work your body harder, before you have gained the strength required to perform the full exercise. To perform modified dips sit on a chair (a solid chair) or on a weight training bench. Grip the edge of the seat either side of your hips, and then raise yourself off the chair (with feet still firming on the ground and legs straight) and shift your weight forwards. You then use your arms to lower yourself to the floor and lift again. This exercise works the triceps and shoulders as well as the back. It is an excellent muscle building exercise. Perform 3 or 4 sets of 10.
- Push Ups- The classic bodyweight exercise, also one of the most important. They work the arms and back, as well as shoulders. They build muscle and improve overall strength. When done correctly they strengthen the back and support the spine.
- Standard Push Ups – These are performed with your palms on the floor approximately shoulder width apart and the finger tips facing forwards. Your body should remain straight, your back should not arch. Simply lower your chest to the floor and raise again.
- Modified Push Ups – If you cannot perform 10 standard push ups, then do modified ones instead. Start in the same position as the standard push up and then place your knees on the floor. Keeping your body straight from shoulder to knee, perform push ups in the same way. You should only do these on a soft surface, such as on grass, a fitness mat or well cushioned carpet, to avoid knee injury. You can also place a towel under your knees for extra comfort. Test yourself each week – if you can perform 10 standard push ups you do not need to do the modified ones.
- Bicycles – Bicycles are almost a cross between a V sit-up and a crunch. They are thought to be the best exercise for the core and the abdominals, which is why we favor them over crunches. To perform these you have to perform 3 movements: Lie on the floor as you would to do a crunch / sit-up. While lifting one knee towards your head, stretch the other foot out straight and also twist your torso upwards with your hands behind your head (or with fingers lightly touching your temples) so that the opposite elbow comes to meet the knee. Then repeat on the opposite side. Do as many of these as you can then stop for a rest and repeat. Your legs should follow a cycling motion while your waist and upper body is twisting and lifting.
These are the main bodyweight exercises that you should be performing to build athletic muscle that will help your burn more fat and raise your metabolism.
You can either add these to your usual workout or perform them all together as a workout.
- Squats: The squats are a good way to warm up, so it comes first. Perform at least 50 to start with, even if that requires 5 sets of 10 squats.
- Pull Ups: Perform the modified pull ups first (easy modified if required), then the assisted pull ups, then the chin ups. Try to complete 20 repetitions in total, which could be 10 modified, 5 assisted pull ups then 5 assisted chin ups. You should feel exhausted after these, if you are not then your legs are working too hard.
- Dips: Perform as many as you can, then rest for a couple of minutes and repeat.
- Push Ups: Next do the push ups, keep a good form and do as many as you can, rest, repeat.
- Bicycles (for abs): Finally the bicycles to work the abdominals and core. Perform as many as you can, rest, repeat.
The Weight Training Exercises
We recommend that you perform weight training exercises with free weights whenever possible. However, if you only have access to resistance machines, use these instead. Weight training is a vital part of a fitness and weight loss program, so do not neglect it for any reason.
Both men, women and young adults (teenagers) will benefit from weight training. The advice to teenagers is to not go heavy too soon as your spine and other bones are still developing and frequent heavy lifting can cause problems, especially if correct form is not maintained at all times.
For women, please believe us when we say that you will not bulk up. The purpose of weight training is to build lean muscle tissue that will make you look curvier and healthier. Your goal should be to look more like a professional tennis player than a female bodybuilder, and these workouts will help you achieve that look.
The first of these exercises are the ones that we introduced to you in the MotleyHealth Core Four workout.
- Squats – These are performed in the same way as bodyweight squats, only instead you hold a barbell on the back of your shoulders. They work the thighs and glutes and are excellent strength and muscle builders. Many gyms have leg press machines which mimic this exercise, but we prefer the free weight version. Learn to squat properly.
- Bench Press – The classic upper body weight training exercise. Lie on a weight lifting bench, ideally inside a power rack / cage for safety. Then using a weighted barbell lift the weight from your chest upwards until your arms are straight. The movement should be steady. Palms should face away from you and your elbows will point outwards. Perform 3 sets of 8 at a weight that you are comfortable with, but which challenges you in the last 2 reps. The resistance machine equivalent is the chest press. Bench press tutorial.
- Bent Over Row - These are performed using a barbell again. During this exercise you should have your knees slightly bent and your back straight, and facing forward while bent over.You start in a position so that the barbell is at knee height, then lift the weight to your torso. Lift in smooth movements. Ensure good posture, that your back does not curve, keeping your chin up and looking forward instead of down helps. The resistance machine equivalent is the cable row. Learn to do a bent over row.
- Barbell Curl - This is the classic bicep exercise. There are many ways to curl, but the barbell curl is possibly the best for building strength and burning fat. You lift a heavier weight and do more work for each exercise, so burn more fat. If you wish to start building bigger biceps and changing their shape then you will need to “isolate” the muscle and do a variety of bicep exercises, but for weight loss and general muscle growth the barbell curl is ideal. Find out how to do a barbell curl.
- Shoulder Press - The shoulder press is often also called the military press. Sit on a solid bench, ideally with a back support, and lift a barbell from shoulder height, but in front of you (bar resting on upper chest) until it is above your head. Lower and repeat. It is important to keep your back straight and erect to avoid injury, and also avoid utilising the muscles in your upper chest. The upper chest muscles are stronger than the shoulder muscles so you will be assisting the exercise too much if you lean back even slightly. Shoulder press / military press tutorial.
- One Arm Dumbbell Rows - These are done by standing next to a bench, with one knee on a bench and the other next to it, and bent over with one hand (same side as knee) resting on the bench. The other arm holds a dumbbell. Then lift the dumbbell to your ribs and lower again slowly. Perform a set of 8 on one arm and then change to the opposite arm before repeating the sets.
- Lateral Raises - Lateral raises are another shoulder exercise. They are done with a pair of dumbbells. Hold the dumbbells in front of you at about waist height while bending very slightly forward, and keeping a straight back. Keep your elbows slightly bent, and then lift the dumbbells outwards to each side until they are shoulder height. More on how to do lateral raises.
- Tricep Extensions - Ideally these should be done with a tricep bar. Holding the tricep bar above your head with a parallel grip you simply lower the bar behind your head by bending your arms then lift up again. Learn how to perform tricep extensions.
- Deadlifts - Last but not least are the deadlifts. These are another of the big movements. They should be performed at the start of the weight training workout when you still have most energy. They strengthen the core and back. Start with a barbell on the floor, your feet slightly under the bar. Grip the bar in an overhand grip (palms facing you) and while keeping your back straight you straighten your legs and lift from your lower back, pulling the bar up to your upper thigh area, keeping your arms straight. The same exercise can be done with dumbbells as well. Look at the Deadlift lesson for more information.
Many of these exercises work the same muscles as the bodyweight exercises, so you will not be doing all the exercises on the same day. Splitting your workouts so that you only work some muscle groups on any one day is a good way to allow you to work harder, maintain energy levels and reduce risk of injury.
The number of repetitions you perform also makes a difference to how your body develops. It is recommended that as a beginner you start with higher reps using a lower weight, as this means you do more work (burn more calories) and give your muscles some time to develop before you start hitting them harder with more intensive workouts. This article explains how different rep ranges build different muscle.
Also, some of the weight training exercises will help you to develop your strength to perform the bodyweight exercises. For example the bent-over rows and dumbbell rows will help with pull ups, the curls will help with chin-ups and the tricep extensions will help with the dips. So it is important to do all the exercises in the way set out in the workout plan that follows.
We have some good weight training routines across the site already, so it may be best for you to pick one of these and work with it for a while, and adapt it to your needs. Or if one does not work try another. The weight training workouts:
- Basic Weight Training Routine – This is a very basic routine that will get you started. Aim to perform 2 sets of 8-10 reps for each exercise.
- Push & Pull Split Routine – This is a good routine to get started on, as it divides the pushing and pulling exercises into two groups. This means that you can work harder at each exercise then give more time for recovery, rather than doing a full body workout on each gym session.
- 20 Beginners Weight Training Exercises – You could work through all of these exercises. However, 20 is really too many for one session. So a better way would be to do half of the exercises for upper, lower and core on each session, and train twice a week.
- Military Strength Training Exercises – This routine is inspired by army fitness training. It is a full body routine with 22 exercises designed to build muscular endurance. It burns a lot of fat in the process.
Cardio Exercises and Workouts
Cardiovascular exercise is a vital component in building a healthy and fit body. The problem with cardio for weight loss is that as you get fitter you become more efficient at exercising, and therefore burn less energy. The key to maintaining weight loss through cardio is to always strive to increase your work effort.
Also, not all cardio is equal. Sports and exercise researchers have shown that the best way to exercise to maximize both fitness and weight loss is to perform High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This simply means that rather than plodding along at a constant pace for an hour (many people do this on treadmills, elliptical trainers and exercise bikes in gyms and homes all over the World) you need to exercise at full intensity for short bursts – you literally sprint for part of the interval. After your sprint you then exercise at your recovery pace to lower your heart rate and be ready for the next sprint. This cycle of high intensity sprinting and recovery helps burn fat and get you fitter (for fitness it helps raise VO2 Max levels, which is the capacity for your cardiovascular system to transport oxygenated blood from the heart to your working muscles).
Interval training can be applied to any exercise but you need to be in complete control. So we do not recommend that you do interval training on a treadmill, as you have to manually adjust the settings to slow down. Interval training works best with:
- Jogging / Sprinting – ideally in a park on a flat, grass surface. As it is hard to sprint flat out on pavements and roads when there are other people and traffic to contend with. Learn more about the health benefits of jogging.
- Exercise bikes – Find a Spinning class for some of the best in high intensity interval training. You can perform interval sprints on the road too, so long as you have good quality and safe routes to sprint on.
- Elliptical trainers – pre-program them to do hill workouts, using the dips to recover and the peaks to work hardest. Read our intensive cross trainer workout article.
- Rowing machines – keep a constant resistance and do sprint intervals – read our Rowing Machine Workout
- Swimming – work at your own pace, one length at maximum intensity followed by 2 or 3 recovery lengths. If you want to improve your swimming then you can perform weight training for swimming to increase your strength. This is a good way to combine cardio and strength training, as each compliments the other providing more motivation.
- Circuit training – circuit training by its nature produces an interval training workout as you often have to work harder in different exercises. To increase the intensity perform one exercise at full intensity (such as push ups) and then the next at a recovery pace, or just do a gentle jog between each station (exercise).
- Tabata Training – This is a form of high intensity interval training that improves fitness and burns fat quickly. Performing the Tabata circuit every day will help you lose weight.
- Punch bag workouts / pad work – martial arts workouts provide an excellent opportunity for interval training. Start with shadow boxing to warm up and then work hard with a heavy bag for 1 minute and then spend 2 minutes in recovery focusing on perfect technique.
- Dance Workouts – You can exercise to a DVD or just do your own dance routines to your favorite music. Great way to get fit at home.
Many activities and sports provide intensity training. Martial arts classes, dance, sports training and athletics all involve periods of maximum intensity followed by recovery. The only rule is that you should be working hard enough to work up a good sweat, and during the intense phases you should not have the breath to talk. Get out of breath, sweat and raise your heart beat and you are working hard enough.
How intense the intervals are depend on how long you are exercising for and how long each interval is. So a 20 minute exercise session with 4 intense intervals of 1 minute followed by 4 minutes recovery should see you sprinting like Usain Bolt in those 1 minute intervals. If you exercise for 30 minutes with 1 minute intensity then 2 minutes recovery, the intensity will have to be less, to allow you to recover in time for the next one.
There are no strict rules, just workout in a way that you enjoy. Mixing up the routines helps too.
Diet for Weight Loss
Your diet needs to do two main things:
- Provide you with energy to live and exercise intensively
- Provide you with nutrients to grow
Every single person that is overweight eats too much food. Some people require less food than others. Often some people will seem to get away with eating huge amounts of food and never put on any weight, but often these people are more guilty of eating irregular large meals and then almost starving themselves the rest of the time.
When people start a fitness and weight loss plan mistakes are often made. These are the most common diet mistakes:
- Rather than reducing calories, people increase calories to provide extra energy to exercise
- Massive post workout protein shakes are drunk just before the evening meal
- Exercise induced hunger leads people to grab at unhealthy snacks
- Meals are skipped to reduce calories
- Copious amounts of fruit juices, smoothies and energy drinks are consumed because they are “health foods”.
- Not drinking any water as it contains no nutrients
The biggest problem with the modern western diet is that we consume far too much sugar. This has been a well known fact for around 4 decades now, but for some reason everyone still blames fat for making people fat. Low carbohydrate diets have lost popularity in recent years, but really this is because most people misunderstand them. The final phase of the Atkins diet is not much different from diets favored today, such as the paleo/caveman diets or any other diet advice from fitness professionals. The same rules are given with a slightly different wrapping.
The MCD Weight Loss Plan only has a few diet rules:
- You must eat when you are hungry, but the meal must follow the diet rules
- Do not skip any meals, especially breakfast
- In between snacks must be sugar free and protein rich, such as cottage cheese, natural yogurt, bananas (medium GI but excellent for energy)
- The only liquids that you can drink are water and black coffee or tea
- All refined sugars, refined carbohydrates, junk food and processed food are restricted. This includes bread, cookies, ready meals, candy, soda, takeaways, pizza, white rice
- One simple rule to follow is: if you do not know what the ingredients mean, do not eat it. Food should be as close to its natural state as possible. So nuts, seeds, fruits and meat are OK. Bread, sauces and hotdogs are not.
- Focus is on low and some medium GI foods. High GI food is not allowed while on the diet plan. This eliminates many breakfast cereals (oat based cereals are low GI so allowed)
- Most vegetables are allowed, as are beans and pulses
- Dried fruits, dates and water melon are not allowed
- Every meal should contain some protein and a healthy, nutritious carbohydrate.
- Eggs are your friend at breakfast time – there is no such thing as too many eggs!
- Always eat from a smaller plate, and never fill the plate up
- Eat slowly, take your time
For any weight loss diet to work you must be consuming less energy than you need. For a diet to work you will have to reduce calories a lot. Most people really underestimate how much they are eating by a long way. And, just because you are exercising does not mean you need more food. Research has shown this to not be true. In one study subjects that only exercised and did not alter food intake failed to lose any significant weight. Likewise, people eating less and not exercising also failed to lose significant weight.
Our bodies are very good at adjusting to small changes. If you eat less, your metabolism slows down, you burn less energy. If you exercise more, you become more efficient at using your energy source, and continue to store fat. The trick is to eat less and exercise more.
Here is an example of a daily diet that will provide enough energy to work and exercise:
- Breakfast: 2 eggs on 1 wholemeal slice of toast (this will be your only bread for the day)
- Snack: a banana
- Lunch: A small green salad with tuna/chicken
- Snack: small pot of cottage cheese
- Supper: 1 banana and prunes with yogurt
There is enough energy here to allow you to not only function, but also exercise. The eggs, fish/poultry, cottage cheese and yogurt provide proteins for muscle growth. The salad, banana and prunes are healthy, fiber rich carbohydrate sources that supply you with nutrients and aid bowel movements.
It is vital to drink plenty of water throughout the day too. Many people fail to drink enough water. One simple rule is that if your urine is not clear at least once a day then you are not drinking enough fluids.
Water has many benefits over any other drink:
- It has no calories so you can drink lots without worrying about putting on weight
- It is vital to help transport nutrients around the body, essential for muscle growth
- It helps digest food so that you absorb more nutrients
- It is refreshing too!
One study showed that often people mistake mild dehydration for hunger. We are so unused to listening to our bodies that we no longer know what signals mean. Instead of pouring a glass of water to relieve thirst, people grab a sandwich or other sugar laden snack instead.
As you get much fitter and stronger you may want to add a protein shake to your daily food consumption. Not all protein shakes are equal though. Look for shakes which are whey and casein based only. Many shakes are designed to help fuel the muscles as well as rebuild, and these contain carbohydrates which provide the glycogen source for muscle function. If you already have enough carbohydrate in your diet this excess will be converted to fat. So be careful! The best time to drink a protein shake is within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. This is when the muscles are demanding nutrients to start the repair and regrowth phase.
I have seen new gym goers leave the gym with a large protein shake in their hand, following the advice of their new gym sponsored fitness instructor. If you are overweight and eating a healthy diet then you will not be needing the extra energy in those shakes when you start exercising. You simply will not be working hard enough to use that energy.
We often hear about celebrities that have protein shakes throughout the day – remember that these guys are working out much, much harder than you will be and have a team of professionals on hand all the time preparing their meals and shakes. They do not run the risk of eating more than they need.
This is all the information you really need to get you started on the MCD weight loss plan. Remember, you need to change your diet and exercise on a regular basis. Aim to do 2 cardio sessions and 2 weight training / bodyweight sessions per week – that is exercise 4 times per week. And each session should be from 30 – 60 minutes long. If cardio is done intensively with interval training then 30 minutes will be enough.
Weekly Exercise Routine
- Monday – Weight Training, with emphasis on pulling muscles including pull up training
- Tuesday – Cardio, intensive intervals on a machine (cross trainer, rower, bike, etc.)
- Wednesday – Weight Training, with emphasis on pushing muscles, including squats, bench press, etc.
- Thursday - More gentle cardio training, longer session with 2 sprint intervals near the end
- Friday - Tabata style circuit training for 15 -20 minutes. Fast and intensive
- Saturday – Full rest day
- Sunday – gentle exercise, walking in the park, cycling, jogging, swimming, family activities, etc.
This routine is simple, keeps your weekends free for family activities and ensures that you work your whole body with both resistance training and cardio training.
Any questions or suggestions please make use of the comments below. We hope that this will teach you how to really lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.
If you would like an alternative solution then we have reviewed the web’s best weight loss plans here.