By Jordan Rudolph  

When most people start their fat loss journey, they have an idea of how their journey is going to go. This usually includes a lot of walking/running/cardio, a change in eating habits with a drastic cut in calories, an earlier bedtime, and maybe some strength training. 

That idea in practice usually looks something like this:


I’ve worked with hundreds of clients in the Coulee Region over the last six years, most with the common goal of weight loss (fat loss). Most also had this exact approach in mind when we had our first talk. After congratulating them on starting the journey to a better life, it was time to educate. 

The tricky part of this journey is the actual process of losing fat. Most individuals typically feel like cardio (aerobic) exercise is the No. 1 means of fat loss, so they start walking … A LOT, which usually leads to jogging/running. Walking and running are inexpensive and can be done just about anywhere, but unfortunately, this type of exercise doesn’t have a big effect on fat loss past the first few weeks. This also goes for the cardio equipment you’ll find in most gyms.

I could go into the science of “why,” but for the sake of this article you’re going to have to take my word for it. Here’s what the process of fat loss actually looks like (I am using this idea from fellow personal trainer and author Sohee Lee and her hierarchy of fat loss):

Notice the changes to the pyramid. Nutrition is the base because it is the most important part of your fat loss efforts. It also has the biggest impact. We must find an appropriate caloric deficit and include foods with color and foods that once had a face (think “green face” as Jon Goodman would say). 

Next, we need to incorporate an individualized strength training routine to help build lean muscle and boost your metabolism. I say individualized because you should have someone do a movement screen with you to make sure you won’t get hurt doing any extra physical activity. For more on strength training and fat loss, check out the July/August issue of L.I.N.K.

After that, we can consider your sleep cycle and rest/recovery procedures. Our main goal here is to get you to recover from your workouts/daily lives as soon as possible so we can reduce stress and create more happy hormones in your body. Stress is the worst enemy of fat loss. Too much stress means minimal fat loss.

Finally, we look at cardio/aerobic exercise. We only add what is needed to supplement the other three areas. This is typically a lot less than people think.

Our job as “personal trainers” becomes more than just counting reps, sets, and helping you around a gym. We become health and fitness coaches who understand how to help people achieve their goals, and the pyramid is how we do it. There’s no magic pill or powder for this to work, just real science sprinkled with accountability and support!

For more information, contact Unity Fitness at