The ONLY 10 Things That Matter for Weight Loss

10 simple weight loss methods that actually work — plus, what it means to be a Jump Rope Dude.

What’s up, JRD Nation?! This article is one of the most important for me, and it will be for you, too, if you’re wondering how to lose weight quickly and safely without all the BS and fluff you read from fitness “experts” online. I’m saying this because there is a lot of confusing, contradictory junk about health and fitness out there, and I’m going to clear some things up!

This article details what I call the ultimate jump rope dude lifestyle, in other words, how I stay fit, lean, and in top athletic shape year round and what I coach others in the community to do to lose weight and live their best lives.

What’s a ‘Jump Rope Dude’?

This is an important place to start because the 10 weight loss methods described in this article are ridiculously simple, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy!

First, you need to commit to the lifestyle, it’s not a fad or a goal. It’s a way of living that produces the body and health you desire. You have to be dedicated to the workouts even when you don’t feel like it and eat healthy when you’d rather swing by In-N-Out on the way home. Being a jump rope dude means that you stay consistent and dedicated to your goals, even when no one is cheering you on. It’s about making a promise to yourself to live your best life, and following through.

I’ve structured this into 3 main categories: move, eat, and live. 

Let’s get into it!

exercise for weight loss

Part 1: Move

The most important thing is to MOVE YOUR BODY!!

Pick a form of exercise and stick to it. You don’t have to jump rope (it’s my obvious choice), but anything you’ll do consistently will work.

If you’re overweight and haven’t been moving at a high intensity for a long time, start slow. I recommend walking as much as you can in the beginning. The goal is to ramp up your metabolic rate. Vigorous, intense exercise not only burns more calories during the workout but it revs up your metabolism, causing you to burn more calories at rest.

For me, I like to do a super INTENSE 30 jump rope workout at least 5 days a week, plus bodyweight exercises (push ups, pull ups, lunges, etc.) at least 3 days out of the week, and I throw in lots of surfing, skating, walking, and being a high-energy goofball. 

The ideal movement regime:

1. Workout 5 – 6x per Week

I recommend 30 mins HIIT jump rope workout 5—6 times per week. If you can’t do a full 30-minutes of skipping rope yet, no sweat, just do what you can. Start with 5—10 minute workouts added to another exercise you enjoy, like swimming, biking, or walking, until you build your stamina.

Why it matters: If you want to lose weight, you need to stay in a calorie deficit most of the time. This is how lean people, like bodybuilders and fitness influencers, stay super cut year round. They’ve trained their bodies to incinerate a ton of calories even on slower days, because most of the time, they place a high demand on their bodies to perform. 

2. Strength Training 2 – 3x per Week

To lose more fat, focus on increasing your muscle mass by strength training 2—3 times per week. You can go to the gym, use dumbbells/kettlebells at home, or head to a park with a pull up bar and do the thing!  

Calisthenics are a type of exercise that utilizes your own body weight to build strength and are my preferred form of training because I can do it anywhere, any time. They’re also perfect for beginners and people with limited time or space. I usually do around 100 push ups 3—4x per week, 50 pull ups 2x per week, plus squats, planks, and lunges in different variations. 

Why it matters: Strength training builds muscle, increases your metabolism, and burns a lot more calories at rest. Skipping rope alone won’t build a ton of muscle. Increased muscle mass not only looks good on your physique, but it helps you burn a lot more calories, too. Burning more calories means faster weight loss. 

This is where people get confused, because on one hand, cardio (and in particular jumping rope at a high intensity) is the best thing for fat loss. However, you need to incorporate strength training as well to get well-rounded training results.

3. Steady State Cardio 2 – 3x per Week

It’s essential to have an active lifestyle that you enjoy enough to stick it long term. When you engage in exercise for a hobby, sport, or fun, you’re getting so many additional benefits. These are called steady-state cardio activities when you’re working at a moderate pace, and your heart rate stays at an even, slightly elevated pace. 

Try to engage in at least 2—3 of these activities every week for a healthy balance, like biking, hiking, surfing, skating, yoga, or just playing with your kids. If you can’t think of a hobby or sport for you — just take the stairs instead of the elevator or park farther away when you buy groceries.

Why it matters: Aside from the added calorie burn from all these activities helping with your weight loss goals, they can help aid in faster muscle recovery and builds your endurance and stamina.

Need Help with Workouts?

Need help getting started with jump rope fitness? Our 7-Day Beginner Jump Rope Challenge is the perfect place to start! This is your introductory guide to jumping rope, giving you easy, follow-along beginner workouts free for 7 days that also instructs you on proper jump rope form, technique, and injury prevention. 

how to eat for weight loss

Part 2: Eat

I say this ALL the time — abs are made in the kitchen. You can’t out-train a bad diet, and if you want to lose weight, get lean, and see your muscles bulging through, you’ve got to eat to train. 

Here’s how I do it.

4. No Restrictive Diets

Nutrition is the #1 place people get hung up on their weight loss goals. It’s hard to eat to train and remain in a calorie deficit if you don’t strategically plan your meals. Overly restrictive diets sort of set you up to fail. It’s human nature to rebel against anything that’s too controlling, especially if what you’re restricting was once a source of comfort and stimulation. Be kind to yourself; it’s not easy to reprogram your mind and how you think about food. 

A restrictive diet that makes you feel miserable, irritable, and depleted. You don’t have to eat this way, and it’s not sustainable. You can eat to lose weight and stay within a calorie deficit without a restrictive diet. Eat a whole-food-based diet consisting of things like nuts, fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and meats. When it comes to processed foods and sweets, they’re fine, but only in small amounts.

Why it matters: You can’t lose fat or fuel your gains if you don’t eat properly. Our bodies need carbs, fat, and protein to perform at optimal levels. All macrobiotics are nutritionally important, which is why I don’t recommend restrictive diets that eliminate certain foods. 

Are there exceptions to this rule? Of course! Many people, either for medical, personal, or ethical reasons, might limit their consumption of certain foods like gluten, meat, dairy, carbs, etc. I’m not saying everyone has to eat the way I eat. My advice is to take a common sense approach to your food — consider your workouts and what will best fuel your body.

JRD Fitness Calculator

Try our Free Fitness Calculator

Need help understanding your macronutrient needs? Check out our free Fitness Calculator! It tells you exactly how much protein, fat, and carbs you need each day to hit your fitness goals.

5. Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has worked amazingly well for me and others. This type of fasting consists of eating within an 8-hour window and fasting for the remainder of the day. Although it isn’t for everybody, it greatly helps with calorie control, allowing you to stay within a calorie range without feeling deprived. 

This system works for me because I don’t like to overly restrict my diet — I like to EAT. By keeping my eating within a certain time frame, I can control my calories and still have a big, satisfying dinner without going over my calorie budget for the day. 

My typical day consists of a couple cups of black coffee, some amimos, and lots of water— that’s it until around 2 p.m. I find that I have plenty of energy during my morning work, surfing, and workout when I start my day this way. When I feel hungry from all that activity, I eat.

Why it matters: The only way to lose weight is to stay in a calorie deficit most of the time. If you eat from the time you wake up until before bed, it’s going to be hard to do that. 

6. Track Your Calories (Until You Don’t Need To)

This is a must for beginners who don’t have a good understanding of their nutrition needs yet. You should know the caloric and macronutrient breakdown of the foods you eat the most to understand what they do to your body. 

The fasting schedule I described above came after many years of learning how my body responds to food. I cook and eat the same dozen or so meals regularly because I know that the calorie and macronutrient content is where I want it to be to meet my nutritional needs and keep me moving towards my goals. The only way to learn this information for yourself is to track your food for a while. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and why you are, or are not, hitting your weight loss goals.

Why it matters: Once you see how the food you eat most often affects you, you’ll develop a sense of judgment for making better food choices and controlling your portion size. 

7. Cook Your Meals 

Another unpopular truth is it’s hard to lose weight if you NEVER cook. Learn to cook, dude.

Truthfully, I get sick of hearing people say, “I don’t cook,” as if that’s an excuse to never take control of your nutrition or your life. You can learn how to cook, and even if you don’t enjoy it, you can pull together at least 5—6 healthy, whole food-based meals to get you to the lean, fit physique you desire. Refusing to cook for yourself is only going to hold you back.

Why it matters: Cooking your own meals greatly speeds up the weight loss process and makes controlling your calorie consumption, portions, and nutrients wayyyy easier.  

Need help with nutrition?

Our Nutrition System can help!

Packed with quick, delicious easy meal recipes plus all the information you need to understand how to eat to fuel your workouts and lose weight. Personalized to your specific body type and fitness goals, there’s no guessing, planning, or stressing over what to eat.

Part 3: Live

Why do you want to lose weight and live in a lean, fit body? Because you want to look great, feel awesome, and live your best life!

Right?! Otherwise, why would you be reading this? 

Therefore, you’ve got to think long-term and incorporate lifestyle habits that support your goals

8. Sleep 7 – 8 Hours per Night

Sleep is essential for performance and recovery. And it doesn’t matter how busy you are, how many hours you work in a day, or how many kids you have — these are all reasons your body needs more sleep than ever.

Most people need at least 7—8 hours of sleep each night. There is no replacement for rest.

Why it matters: Sleep enhances your ability to perform better athletically, recover, prevent injury, and boosts your immune system and metabolism. All the body’s primary functions rely on you getting plenty of zzzz’s!

9. Drink 90 – 120 oz of Water Daily 

Research shows that almost half of us consume far under the recommended amount of water. If you’re exercising intensely and not drinking enough water, your muscles can cramp up, feel sore longer, you’ll feel more hungry, and you’ll struggle to have stamina in your workouts and throughout your day. 

You need to drink at least 3 liters, about 90—120 oz of water daily. I like to consider this a minimum requirement because it can vary depending on the individual’s needs and where they live. 

I keep it simple, I know that if I fill up my fav stainless steel bottle 3 times and finish it, I’ve had a good hydration day!

Why it matters: Rehydrating after a workout helps your body pump vital oxygen and nutrients to the body. Water allows your body to absorb the nutrients it needs for recovery.  In fact, dehydration decreases your blood volume meaning that your heart has to work much harder to pump blood to the parts of the body that need it the most.

10. Alcohol in Moderation

While many people don’t like to hear it, alcohol consumption stops the weight loss process and inhibits your fitness growth in so many ways.

Here’s how it works. To get stronger, you have to damage or tear your muscle fibers. These tiny tears get repaired by your body and grow into larger, more powerful muscles. When you drink alcohol, your body stops producing the testosterone and other hormones needed to fuel these gains. Instead, it produces excess cortisol — the stress hormone that makes you feel like sh*t.

Your body will always burn off alcohol first because it sees it as a poison and a threat. When you drink alcoholic drinks and eat together, your body prioritizes metabolizing the alcohol and makes it likely that the food you eat will get stored as excess fat. 

Why it matters: Alcohol consumption makes you dehydrated, increases your cortisol levels, and stops the fat-loss process. Alcohol also inhibits your body’s ability to gain and maintain muscle mass. If your goal is to lose fat and get lean, alcohol is your worst enemy. Not only does this throw off your sleep, hydration, and hormone levels, but it can sabotage a lot of the good stuff you did during the week. 

Want more about the science behind alcohol and fitness? I talk about it in my 30-days without alcohol experiment video.

And that’s it! I want to reiterate that you don’t have to be perfect; none of us are. It’s important to approach the actions on this list as what you do most of the time. If you eat healthy and hit your exercise goals most of the time, you’ll see results. 

What Really Matters For Weight Loss

man holds up his arm to show a tattoo that reads: #DOTHETHING

It would be pretty crazy for me to say everyone has to do the things I do because I don’t know everything, and neither do any of the fitness gurus or experts you see online. My point here is NOT to tell people they must live a certain way to be a ‘jump rope dude’ or an athlete. We’re all different, and people might have great weight loss results finding their own unique ways of living, eating, or moving. 

These things are how I stay lean and in top athletic shape all year. These are the things I coach others to do, and I have seen thousands in our community get in the best shape of their lives because of it.

I would love to know your thoughts! Do you agree or disagree? Would you add or remove anything from this list? Until next time, crush your workouts and…

Do. The. Thing! 
Jump Rope Dudes

jump rope and do the thing

Extra Resources for Beginners

It can be confusing when you’re not sure how to get started jumping rope or how to eat for weight loss. Here are a few links to help you out: 

The JRD Blog guides you through all things jump rope fitness, with a Beginners section detailing everything from how to measure your jump rope to the best beginner workouts and how to avoid shin splints

YouTube Beginner Playlist has easy follow-along videos to demonstrate proper form and walk you through how to build your fitness endurance and stamina. 

The JRD App is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to help you on your weight loss fitness journey!

Our app includes hundreds of ad-free workouts you can filter by goal and preference, and save for later in your calendar. No more confusion over what workouts to do or how to train. Simply pick a program based on your fitness goals and press play — I’ll take you through the rest. 

We’re home to the world’s largest jump rope fitness community and these rockstars make it fun and easy to stay accountable and motivated to do the thing!!

In addition, the JRD app includes our complete nutrition system and personalized coaching… by me!

The best part is you can try the entire jump rope dude experience risk-free with our 14-day free trial — that’s two weeks to do the thing! — you can cancel anytime if it doesn’t ignite a fire within you to be the best version of yourself.

Watch Dan discuss the ONLY 10 things that matter for weight loss on YouTube here: