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Why Maintaining Weight IS HARDER Than Losing Weight
BO3 a First Health Concept That's Proven to Work

By Tom Jordan, MS, RD

I've Lost Weight Before Only to Regain It Later On
Yep, you're not alone here. Turns out it may be easier to lose weight than to maintain it once lost. Let's face it most diets can work, although many dieters fail to follow them.

And those who are successful fail to have an effective post-weight-loss plan in place. Turns out "Quick-Fix Diets" are even less likely to deliver long-term results, according to the British National Health Service. 

Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance Require Different Strategies
Most people who are successful at losing weight think that doing the same exercise routine and eating the same number of calories will result in weight maintenance. There are a couple of fallacies associated with this thought process:

First once you lose weight you are sporting a leaner and fitter body that is more efficient. This means you have to work harder to get the same calorie burning effect.

As an example a 400 pound man working out vigorously for an hour may burn 1200-1400 calories. The same man after becoming fit and trimming down to 180 pounds may burn 500-700 calories doing the same workout! After you’ve lost weight you are no longer burning the same number of calories in your typical day.

Behavioral skills are the key to long-term weight loss and maintenance, according to Melanie Greenberg, PhD. In her article "To Lose Weight, Change How You Relate to Food" published in Psychology Today, Feb 2011. She lists a variety of factors that can contribute to a successful weight loss campaign.

It's not unusual for mental complacency to set in after the initial weight loss push. Once we reach our goal we tend to relax. First just a little, then a lot. Unless we adopt a lifetime commitment of improving our daily nutrition and find a way to ramp up our exercise routines we tend to slip or worse yet revert to old habits.

Lastly aging has a serious effect on weight maintenance. After age thirty there starts a fairly rapid annual decline in our hormones, metabolism and muscle tone. Unless we take action to advance to the next level health and fitness-wise weight maintenance becomes an almost impossible goal.

We don't teach people to diet. The word diet implies something you follow "temporarily" to lose weight and then revert back to "normal" eating. Participants in our Largest Loser programs are much more than dieters they become amateur nutritionists and fledgling athletes.

We’ve been running our Largest Loser Fitness Challenge since 2009. Our average program participant loses 11% of their total body weight while gaining musical mass and tone in just 12 weeks. 

Our Largest Loser Fitness Challenge is designed to cut wasteful calories and get participants moving. It's a double edge sword. My job is to teach participants to choose nutrient rich foods that are capable of satisfying their hunger without breaking the caloric bank. Our second objective is to rev up their metabolism through vigorous exercise. 

Unfortunately, we have seen participants who go “all-in” for 12 weeks and lose weight… but then make 1 of the 2 common mistakes.  Either they attempt to keep pushing themselves at an extremely high level and they become physically exhausted or they think they can maintain an ultra-high intensity long term and become mentally burnt-out only to relapse to their old ways. 

Working out at full capacity year round is not only difficult, it’s harmful
Many people do two Largest Loser Challenges in a row (6 months of very intense exercise) but we cringe when they suggest doing three in a row. Only a very few have done this successfully. Once the desired weight goal is reached we have to slow people down a bit. Both your body and your mind need a rest. I said a rest not a shut down.

What We’ve Learned As Health Coaches

At this point you should enter the Burn Calories to Maintain Weight Mode and there are two vital steps in the maintenance process: moderate exercise for 9 months followed by 3 months of high intensity exercise. This is the same principle that thousands of athletes have applied to their training regimen.

Our job was to create a place that goes "all-in" to support the moderate exercise portion of weight maintenance coupled with a circle of like-minded people that make exercise fun. This we found is a huge component to staying with it for the long run. Our Saturday morning Center Point program is an inexpensive weekly group program where people get together to workout in a socially supportive environment. Then comes the second and vital step to maintaining weight - BO3. 

The Key Ingredient to Weight Maintenance - Vigorous Periodic Exercise 
Not pushing to next level of fitness will doom your weight maintenance plan. We recommend periodically "Breaking Out" of moderate levels of continual exercise. Your body adapts to being physically fit. Getting Fit burns calories . . .  Being Fit does not. The solution to weight maintenance is instead to periodically challenge ourselves to improve our overall fitness levels. Periodized training has been around for a while and is now incorporated into all successful athletic trainer’s long-term training routines. 

Our BO3 concept means “Breaking Out” to high intensity,very structured exercise routines for 3 months once annually. This breakout must be personalized to your individual fitness needs and goals. The sole purpose is to challenge your body to reach the next level of fitness without throwing it into a state of total exhaustion.

Controlled durations of high intensity routines are crucial. But the emphasis must be placed on controlled durations. Even elite athletes know it’s impossible and unhealthy to keep training at absolute maximal effort on an ongoing basis.

In our system periodized training is not just for the elite athlete we have applied its use to the serious health and fitness seeker as well. In the off season, athletes work on fundamentals and conditioning as well as developing a solid base of strength, balance, and stability so that they can hit the competitive season with everything they have. 

Those that have followed this principle have experienced very impressive results and have bucked the trend way too common to the classic dieter’s cycle of rapid weight loss followed by rapid weight regain.


Age 51 Age 54 Age 56 Age 57
December  2007 October 2010 January 2012 September 2013
230 LBS 196 LBS 165 LBS 152 LBS
Unknown Body Fat 43% Body Fat 37% Body Fat 26.2%

“BO3 means spending the good portion of the year working on fundamentals, and once per year BREAKING OUT for 8-12 weeks to take your health and fitness to the next level”

Maybe this is improving stress management, improving sleep habits, developing better meal timing…. Core strength…. Training to run a 5k…. upper body strength…. Scapular stability or knee stability….. (the list goes on).  Then, once per year, BREAK OUT for a period of 8-12 weeks. 

Age doesn’t have to be a critical factor. The choice is yours. You can either decline or improve with age. The principles applied in BO3 can actually reverse the physical effects of aging. This BREAKOUT period is a time that can help you maintain the gains you initially made and if you approach it “All Out” can catapult your fitness gains, tighten down your nutrition and take your fitness and health to the next level.  


Age 61 Age 62 Age 64 Age 65 Age 67
May 2009 October 2010 December 2012 December 2013 January 2015
201 LBS 177 LBS 172 LBS 172 LBS 171 LBS
Body Fat 28.1% Body Fat 20.9% Body Fat 17.1% Body Fat 16.2% Body Fat 16.1%
20 Push Ups 30 Push Ups 56 Push Ups 55 Push Ups 65 Push Ups

Weight Loss BO3 Programs:

  • More of ME – 12 week weight loss exercise with behavioral modification sessions
  • Less of ME – 12 week weight loss focused nutrition and exercise program

Shaping and Toning BO3 Programs:

  • Hard Bodies – 8 week boot camp (men only)
  • Jill’s Get Jacked – 8 week boot camp (women only)
  • Aqua Fit - 8 week low impact water-based high resistance boot camp

BO3 DOES NOT MEAN that you work hard for 3 months, then hibernate on the couch for 9 months… only to show up next January out of shape and having to start over.  It also does not mean that you go all out for 12 weeks and then try to keep going at this intensity.  Both of these are perfect recipes for relapse, injury, and/or burnout.  We recommend B03 for an 8, 10, or 12 week program at least once per year, but we have seen some participants do multiple programs in the same year—just not for the entire year, or multiple all out programs back to back.