The concept of doing the “Least Amount of Specific Work” is one of the best fitness tips that I can offer, as it will save you time and effort on your way to getting in better shape and leading a healthy lifestyle. More often than not, a new client who is anxious to get into shape wants to do everything at once; a restrictive diet, crazy exercise schedule, supplement regimen.  This is when I invoke what I call the principle of doing the “Least Amount of Specific Work. (LASW).” Simply put, LASW means that if you make drastic changes to every aspect of your life, you’ll never know what is responsible for your improvements. 

Rather than workout 6 days a week, a newbie should work out twice a week and see what kind of results they get.  If a two-day per week exercise program results in weight loss stick with it until a plateau is reached and then adjust accordingly. With diet, rather than cut 1000 calories right off the bat, cut out 250-500 calories and see what happens after a week or so.  There’s nothing to be gained by hacking and slashing so many calories abruptly and without giving the body a chance to adjust to this decreased amount.  By being patient with your diet you give yourself a much better chance of sticking to this new, healthier program. 

If you lose 15 pounds in 2 weeks by following a too-restrictive program, only to gain it all back because the program is too hard to follow, what good is it? If a person goes from doing nothing to following a 6-day exercise program and calorie-restrictive diet there’s no way to know what’s making the difference and at what point the body responds to change.  Going back to the exercise example, if walking 20-minutes a day, 2-days per week results in weight loss stick with it until the results level off.  Add 5 or 10 minutes to each walk or add a third day at 20 minutes and see how the body responds. Also, how can you make an adjustment to an over-the-top program that incorporates all that exercise and severe caloric restrictions?  You can’t exercise more than 7 days a week, and cutting calories isn’t an option either.  People who follow this type of program are the people who doom themselves to failure.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and you didn’t get out of shape overnight, either.   Just as it took time to fall into disrepair, it takes time to get into shape and starting slowly and responsibly is the best way to fix yourself.  The LASW way is more an overall approach than it is a fitness tip, but nevertheless will help you just as much as any training program or any other kind of advice that I could give you. Don’t fall prey to the quick fix proponents out there who are trying to sell you something.  Ignore the nonsense that you’ve seen on shows like The Biggest Loser.  There’s no money to be made and no sizzle in pushing the “slow and steady wins the race” philosophy. I realize that the prevailing wisdom is that everyone needs to do 30-minutes of exercise per day, and even if I agreed with this – which I don’t – I would still say that you need to build up to this goal. 

No matter how easy it is to go for a 30-minute walk every day, it still takes time for people to be able to mentally and physically accept this routine. Start slowly, and do the least amount of specific work, and add time when necessary or as a personal choice.  Even though you may feel like doing more, pull your own reigns so that you’re always looking forward to doing more, and don’t feel like you have to do more.  This is an important distinction. In my business, I will never allow a new client to start a 3-day per week program, preferring to start with as little as 30-minutes, twice per week.  This way as a person progresses I add time and/or days.  I may have cost myself some short-term money, but I know for a fact that clients have stayed in the fold precisely because of this philosophy, and I have made money in the long run while doing what’s best for my clients, and making the happy to boot. So start slowly and pay attention to your body, as it will tell you quite clearly what it needs.  This is the best way to ensure that you will stick to your program in the long term.


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