Fast Track to Fat Loss Review
Back in September, 2008, I first introduced the online fitness program - Fast Track to Fat Loss - when I presented 9 members of the program competing for a trip to Mexico based on their body transformations. I also mentioned at the time that once the Fast Track to Fat Loss site opened to the public that I would test it out to present my honest opinions about it.
Well it opened and I signed up. Knowing the quality of the owner's work in the past, I have to tell that I had high hopes for the Fast Track to Fat Loss site. I've followed one of the founders, Chad Tackett, since he first started offering online fitness programs with another site called Global Health and Fitness. That site grew and helped thousands and thousands of people get in shape. The impact he has had on so many lives is both amazing and inspiring, and I hoped he could repeat it with Fast Track to Fat Loss.
He has since sold Global Fitness in order to devote himself full time to this new online fitness site, teaming up with fitness superstar Kim Lyons (you may remember her from The Biggest Loser) to bring easy to follow online meal and training programs focusing on fat loss to the internet masses.
When the site opened up to the public, I signed up and have been a member since February of 2009. Now I really didn't need to lose any weight, but decided to give it a go anyways - so that I could report back here. In 10 weeks I managed to cut my bodyfat percentage from approx 13% to 10% and increased lean mass by 12 lbs which I consider to be a success.
So What is Fast Track to Fat Loss and Is it Worth It?
In simplest terms I can think of - it is a complete online training program that focuses on fat loss, emphasizing simplicity, accountability, and uses real trainers to assist with motivation. Whether or not it's worth it is up to you - read on to find out what I think are it's good and bad points.
The Fast Track to Fat Loss Core
Refreshingly, the entire program is focused around nutrition and meal planning in conjunction with effective exercise rather than prescribing some training plan promising instant results 3 days a week. I've said it on How to Box, emphasize it on How to Box, and will say it again that nutrition accounts for 90% of your results whether it is fat loss, muscle gain, or improved sports performance. The workout is necessary, but it isn't the be all and end all.
Fast Track to Fat Loss focuses on ensuring you are eating right and goes to great lengths to ensure you understand 5 key nutrition rules. They even go so far as to provide you a free DVD highlighting these key eating rules. Then, when you become a member (either Free Silver Account or paid Gold Membership), you are given tools that help you create meals that are based on these rules.
The Fast Track to Fat Loss Interface
The site itself is quite easy to use. It has worked out a number of kinks that were initially present such as not catering to the Internet Explorer crowd and various less than desireable usability issues. However, I can honestly say that in the last month or so, it has evolved into a very efficient, easy to use, uncluttered system. Upon logging in and becoming a member you will see a screen like this:
Like Twitter or Facebook or other social media sites, you have the ability to update your status so your friends on the site can track what you're up to. They actually refer to themselves as the Facebook of Fitness.
Across the top are 5 tabs: Your Profile, Exercise, Nutrition, Motivation, and Community. What you will find under each is pretty much self explanatory, but the three most important are Your Profile, Exercise and Nutrition.
1. Your Profile - Like any fitness site, How to Box included, your profile pages are your control center. The information you put in them lets people find you, cheer you on, leave messages, contact you etc... The information is also used by the site to customize exercise programs and nutrition plans.
2. Exercise - You will go here to print off your training plan and enter your data when you're done so the site can track your progress. I'm not a huge fan of entering data - more on that below.
3. Nutrition - The meat and potatoes of the program, this section will let you combine foods to create meals that follow the 5 key rules of the Fast Track to Fat Loss program. It is very intuitive to use, although limited in its initial food offerings. However, you can add your own making it pretty much unlimited.
Fast Track to Fat Loss Trainers
Immediately upon signing up, you are assigned a real life personal trainer. These are people, such as Pam, who have completed the Fast Track to Fat Loss program and then complete a personal trainer certification. As well, you always have full access to both Chad Tackett and Kim Lyons to answer all of your questions.
I've got plenty of experience with both exercise and nutrition and tested my trainer - Brad to gauge the quality and responsiveness of his replies. As potentially hundreds of people could be assigned the same trainer, I wanted to make sure that I could actually access him if I did have questions. I'm happy to report he was both knowledgeable and available, usually within a few minutes - max a couple of hours.
Points and Rewards
Something Chad did well with his previous site was to reward people getting in shape by motivating them with free vacations in a 12 week challenge (win a trip to Loreto, Mexico). That same concept has come over to Fast Track to Fat Loss and also been compounded with addition of points for completing tasks such as workouts, meal plans, tracking progress, etc... The points received can then be used in their online store for various types of fitness related merchandise. Selection isn't all that great at the moment, but will undoubtedly increase over time. [Update 10 Aug 10 - As expected, the selection is much better]
Anyone who has tried to follow an online program understands how hard it is to stay focused. By having a trainer attached to you along with rewards for following the program - an element of accountability and motivation is built in which helps you succeed.
I shouldn't really call these things bad - but they are "disappointments" I've had with the program: [Update 10 Aug 10 - a number of these issues have been sorted out - see below]
1. Accountability - as I've stated, Fast Track to Fat Loss does a lot more in this area than other online programs, but I still believe there is room for improvement. Even on How to Box, I constantly struggle with ways to keep people who join How to Box active on their programs. It's nice to see Fast Track to Fat Loss is tackling the same issues, but I was hoping they had some magic ingredient up their sleeve that I could selfishly steal to implement here. [Update - 10 Aug 10 - Chad and Kim have really gone the extra mile since I originally wrote this - you get a trainer and they regularly organize chats and even fitness retreats...not sure what else they could do in this area.]
2. Exercise Programs - while they are geared to various levels of experience, even the most advanced programs were lacking for what I wanted to do. After consulting with my trainer, it became apparent the system is not designed to create your own programs and as such I ended up not using this feature as the most advanced programs were not challenging enough for me. Granted, for most trying to lose some weight, this is going to be more than sufficient, but I wouldn't recommend it for someone who has been involved in sports/strength training for many years. A better option, in my opinion, is to use a training plan like the one here on How to Box and then win their competition with your results. But I could be a bit biased there...
3. Data Entry - I hate data entry. I do not believe it to be beneficial for the majority of the population out there. Again, it is not a required part of the program, but the system does ask you to log your workouts and meal plans. This is so you can send them to your trainer for review and track progress over time, but I know from experience, the more "work" you make a person do to get in shape, the less likely they will stick it out.
That said, it is a nice feature for those of you who are stats hounds and need to know how many pushups you increased since the beginning of time. You can use it if you wish, but you aren't obligated by any means.
Far more effective than entering data are pictures and video - which you can do on the site as well - to track your progress.
Fast Track to Fat Loss Summary
As I said at the beginning of this I had high hopes for Fast Track to Fat Loss - and overall they surpassed my expectations. I don't agree 100% with the way they have everything setup, but for someone needing to get in shape or wanting to shed some weight, it is a very effective program and I especially like the nutrition aspect of it.
There are many more features than I've gone into here. I didn't even touch on the Motivation and Community aspects of the site which offer some great fitness tips and ways to link up and get support from others in the program. A lot of it is similar to other social networking sites out there, but definitely helps to foster a community feel that you belong to.
No one online fitness program is perfect for everyone and if you're thinking that maybe you just want to focus on fat loss and toning muscle rather than boxing, then you should give Fast Track to Fat Loss a try. I maintain my membership there simply to be a part of the community, and have seen the successes people are having. It's simple, effective, and achievable. Sign Up For a Free Silver Membership to give it a try and Get Their Free Keys to Nutrition DVD
Take care and Boxon.