The Lazy Lifter encourages you to go hard—but not hard on yourself 2
The program encourages to approach fitness with a plan. Photograph by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

The Lazy Lifter encourages you to go hard—but not hard on yourself

Cho Lim’s fitness guide is popular for its seemingly less rigid take on working out. But in between the numerous breaks and cheat days is a core principle that works: be a man with a plan.
Arthur Peña | Aug 14 2019

I have always been the fat boy. Despite prodding from friends and even relatives to lose weight, I never budged. I just loved food, so I decided to just let it be. I am close to 6 feet tall, but my weight even once peaked at 260 lbs. And it seemed normal. Life seemed okay. Everyone became used to it. Fat, lazy Arthie was the norm.  

And then January 2018 came.  Just like most people making their new year’s resolutions, weight loss was at the top of my list, maybe for the nth straight year. I was 238 lbs. then. Fate had a way of brewing a perfect storm of circumstances to push me to finally become healthier and lose the unwanted pounds. First, I was almost denied an insurance application. All the findings were normal, but I was deemed pre-hypertensive. I had to back out of the application. Second, I was starting to play volleyball more regularly.  Two to three hours of non-stop jumping at the middle blocker position was becoming difficult for my knees. Lastly, I was about to embark in a long-distance relationship. Eating, lots of it, was our bonding activity. Being alone was opportunistic to push me to eat less.

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One evening I was scrolling through social media when I saw a friend being tagged on a fitness program. It was a fancy alliteration: Lazy Lifter. The name intrigued me, so I proceeded to search about the program. The program seemed easy to follow.  I gave myself that final chance to lose weight. The universe was telling me to finally do it. I bought the online book.


Lazy no more

Cho Lim’s Lazy Lifter Program seemed perfect for the lazy me. I have never been to a gym prior to the program so anything that requires minimal effort was ideal.

The program had a few basic principles and I paraphrase:

1) Choose an objective cut (lose weight) or bulk (gain weight).

2) Determine your caloric requirements based on your objective.

3) Do the work out in the book three to four times a week only, observing increase in repetitions or weights.

4) Rest in between work outs. (That’s why it’s called the Lazy Lifter.

5) Cardio is not required but you can do cardio if you want to hasten the weight loss process.

The Lazy Lifter encourages you to go hard—but not hard on yourself 3
The writer lost more than 70 pounds in 18 months.

For someone who has been in the corporate world for almost 12 years, a simplistic codified set of principles was easy for me to follow. As a bonus, I became part of a Facebook group where I can consult and interact with other Lazy Lifter advocates on food, proper form, or anything I needed to clarify on. I was excited.


Measurable progress

Just like any plan, I set specific time-bound goals for myself: Cut to 160 pounds so I will finally see my abs in 15 to 18 months. I started tracking my food via a mobile app. I ate anything I want but stuck to the caloric requirement, so I would lose weight. Once I plateau, I started decreasing the caloric intake. For the first six months I used a pair of dumbbells doing the exercises at home. I eventually enrolled at a nearby gym as I eventually outgrew my dumbbells. I played volleyball two to three times a week to help hasten the weight loss process though I would increase caloric intake a bit during these cardio-filled days to provide the needed energy.

The most important lesson at work which I applied my body: measure your progress. I bought a digital weighing scale, took my weight the same time every morning, and took a picture of myself in the mirror.

Just like any other business plan, it was not easy to achieve the objectives I set for myself. It consisted of big milestones like planning my meals and workouts in advance or getting up early to set aside time for workout or to daily life struggles like saying no to the second piece of doughnut because you already had one or opting for more vegetables instead of a second serving of rice to keep to the caloric limit. The most difficult part of the journey was staying focused and not listening to unsolicited comments or advice. “You are not enjoying life.” “You’re dieting too much.”  “Life is short.” But just like any other business plan, if you are confident with your strategy and you execute as planned, then any obstacle can be conquered.


Not a straight slope

And then the results just started to come in. Five months in to the program, I lost 45 pounds. Though still overweight, people started to see the change in my physique. Nine months into the program I lost 60 pounds. I needed to upgrade my 3XL shirts to Small to Medium. One year into the program, I finally hit 164 pounds, more than 70 pounds from where I started. Fast forward to August 2019, I am now between 168-170lbs. I just came from a Boracay trip two weeks ago, finally with shirtless pictures finally showing my abs. (I now have three insurance plans approved, something I could not get early last year.)

The Lazy Lifter encourages you to go hard—but not hard on yourself 4
The program is by fitness coach and author Cho Lim.

The past 18 months has not been all a straight slope of weight loss all the way. I would take diet breaks every quarter (1 week at a time) during a planned vacation. There were weeks when I gained weight despite working out and sticking to my caloric requirement. I would typically just take a few days off (increasing caloric intake) and then resume the lower caloric requirement.  There were days when I could not complete the planned number of reps.

I would just stop and plan for a comeback in my next work out. I also rewarded myself with once a week cheat meal where I would eat anything I want for Sunday dinner after playing three to four hours of volleyball. It kept me sane. It kept me happy. I was not feeling as deprived.

Today I am doing my last leg of cutting right before I go on Christmas diet break for a few weeks in December. My days are filled with planning my next meal, allocating calories for dinners with friends, a new restaurant I want to try, or a new dessert I want to munch on.  I enjoy my three to four times a week adventure at the gym, a maximum of 90 minutes per session since it is indeed a Lazy Lifter Program. I would work out even when I’m bored, not in the mood, or overeating in some meals. 

At the end of each storm is that beautiful rainbow.  For me, more than the weight loss and the abs, discovering the right balance pushed by my own internal motivation is the biggest pot of gold in this weight loss journey. The only person who was able to convince me to finally be fit was me. External motivation helps but it was only when I finally said yes that the weight loss happens. My life today is now about a happy balance—of food, work out, and rest. 

There will always be a fat Arthie inside. But I am happy I can inspire others that fat, lazy Arthie can have abs, too.