Lose Weight, Not Money. By Shannan Ponton.

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Lose Weight, Not Money

By Shannan Ponton

It all started with Weight Watchers, Gut Busters, and how could we forget Jenny Craig? They are programs that are designed to give direction to nations eating themselves sick, making a hell of a lot of money for the providers along the way. The programs that do deliver results, though, are often due to calorie restriction -which is merely a single pronged approach.

The consumer has never been so spoiled for choice when it comes to weight loss solutions. It seems that everyone has a new and, of course, easy way to lose weight. There is, however, no easy way! So, before you part with your hard-earned cash, STOP looking for the ‘easy’ solution! There is still no better equation for successful weight loss than calories in (what you eat and drink) versus calories out (how much you move)! To maximise your results you need a two-pronged attack: eat a calorie-controlled diet that satisfies all of your requirements for energy and good health PLUS a training program that will increase your calorie burn. Sounds simple, yeah? The list of what to choose, though, is as confusing as it is long; high-intensity, short duration; boot camp, CrossFit; Paleo, Atkins; Blood Type, Caveman. It is the choice of program that will determine whether you will, or will not, get what you pay for.

I must confess, though, I am riding the transformation wave, too. I have been running ‘Shannan’s Fast Track Challenge’ for two years now, born out of necessity more than anything else. If one more person came up to me in the street and said: ‘If I had you as my personal trainer, I would lose weight’, I would have screamed. Guess what; now you can! So cut the crap because it is time to step up and be accountable.

I have put together the best information from 20 years in the fitness industry; nutrition, training, motivation, support and accessibility, all on an easy-to-use computer platform. Now anyone, anywhere in the world, can have me as their virtual ‘trainer’. The results have been astonishing; Aussies are losing over 20% of their bodyweight in just 8 weeks. They are Biggest Loser-style numbers and I have found that 8 weeks is the perfect amount of time to create new habits and generate substantial results without losing focus. The end of long-term programs can often seem so far away and the old ‘I’ll make up for it next week’ excuse often sneaks in.

Shannan’s Fast Track Challenge gives people everything they need to get moving and start eating well; the easy side of the transformation. The hardest part, of course, is getting people to adopt the right mindset. I have heard it all before; fatigue, lack of motivation; emotional eating, fear of failure. (If someone out there has a genuine excuse they think I have never heard of, send it in. If you are right, I will do 100 burpees.) Weekly weigh-ins, lessons and online meetings keep people accountable. However, it is the support that members get when they have blown it that makes the program so successful.

We all fall at some time; it is how you pick yourself up afterwards that defines you. Surrounding yourself, even virtually, with like-minded, positive people makes it hard to quit or fall away altogether. Participants feel they belong and do not want to let me, other members or themselves down. Posting weekly weights makes weight loss real, stops people from having ‘weekend blowouts’ and holds them to their goals and promises.

The community that inevitably evolves never ceases to amaze me; the honesty and bravery with which members post is humbling. You can bet there is always someone else who is going through or who has been through a similar experience and are ready to offer advice, support or just a sympathetic ear. Training groups inevitably spring up all over the place as people who live close together meet up to train. It is, after all, always better training with a mate!

If you are stuck in a rut with your training or can’t afford a personal trainer, here is what to look for in a ‘transformation program’.




·        Technical staff available for advice.

·        Professional and personal advice available for members regarding injuries, food alternatives, exercise and to answer any questions you may have.

·        Administration staff available to help you through problems such as setting up an account.

·        Provides easy access to your personal trainer via email, Facebook or online forums.

·        Have exclusive member forums set up; this is where the transformation community offers the greatest support.

·        Online meetings to explain common problems, update training regimes and tailor workouts to suit the demands.

·        Be reasonably priced and offer loyalty discounts for returning members.


·      Daily menus should be set out clearly and concisely.

·      Should be easy to prepare and use seasonal, fresh produce that is affordable.

·      Calorie-controlled meal plans.

·      Specified portions and/or weights.

·      Certified by a qualified dietician to guarantee all daily requirements are met; micro- and macronutrients play a massive roll in weight management and overall good health.

·      Tried and tested; there is no easy way to lose weight so don’t look for one.

·      No fad diets; if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!

·      It should instill good long-term and sustainable lessons about food; lessons that should last a lifetime.

·      Encompass a wide variety of healthy food options; for example, vegetarian, Asian, seafood, lean meat and poultry.

·      It should NOT rely heavily on supplementation.

·      Comprehensive yet simple-to-use nutrition tables, recipes and advice that are all easily accessible online.


·      Provide options to train at the park, gym or at home.

·      Give time-poor options for busy people by including workouts as short as 15 minutes.

·      Use progressive overload principles. The best way to fast track your results and avoid disheartening plateaus is to set systematic increases to the intensity of your training. If there is just one program for the duration of your challenge, look elsewhere.

·      Combine cardio and resistance training. The fastest way to a get a lean, functional and athletic body is to combine compound, functional resistance training with high-intensity, short- and long-duration cardio sessions.

·        Have the exercises clearly explained and, preferably, be available to watch online demonstrations by an experienced person.

It is a buyers’ market out there so do your research, grab a mate and commit to your transformation program. Winter is all but over, so doing the hard yards now will set you apart when summer rolls in. We would love to hear about your results so let us know what works for you.

Remember: Harden Up and ‘Train, Don’t Complain!’

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