As a trainer, it is common for people to ask me how quickly they will get results. People expect everything right now. Results happen when you put in the work. On top of that, everyone is different. There are reality shows where trainers help people lose excess amounts of weight in 30-60 days and you hear that many of those participants gain it all back, plus more, immediately after. Patience and consistency are key. The goal shouldn’t be to lose weight fast. The goal should be to get the body you want, and to keep it the way you want it.
Your body is a machine and acts as such. Every part of it is connected. Your body lives to prepare for the next day, which means every day matters. Your body is fascinating because it is always ready to adapt. However, adaptation takes time. When people lose weight quickly, their bodies have a hard time understanding what is happening, and therefore the lack of adaptation causes a reduction in progress.
Research shows that sedentary people who start working out are more likely to lose more weight, quickly, in the first month of exercise versus someone who has been working out more regularly. This sounds great, but it requires a lot of work. I coached someone from Chicago Online who experienced this phenomenon. She was sedentary and wanted to look good for a summer trip. Together, we created an exercise and meal plan that worked best with her lifestyle. I made sure she understood that this would require consistency and discipline, especially since I was not physically present for the workout end of things. In one month, she developed a habit of working out at least three days a week and planned her meal intake. She was allowed one cheat meal/drink per week. She lost 15 pounds in her first month and gained some good muscle. This is an example of what can happen to someone who commits themselves and utilizes their coach.
On the other hand, someone might have slower progress their first month and there are many factors as to why this is: It may be their first time at the gym, therefore their first couple of months will be focused on familiarizing themselves. It is also a time to develop a workout habit while gaining confidence at the gym.
Sometimes it may seem like you are eating well, but you’re not. Some diets can cause a lot of bloating, or may not complement your lifestyle. Your exercise regimen may need adjusting, especially by the second or third month of exercise.
Your metabolism may be slowing down due to age, metabolic imbalances or hormonal changes.
Realistically, a person can lose a minimum of 8 pounds per month with the proper caloric expenditure. One pound is equivalent to 3,500 calories. This does not mean eating less. This means ensuring that eating habits complement your physical activity in order to gain a slight deficit.
When your exercise regimen involves building muscle instead of eating less, you need to strategically eat more to fuel your muscles. One pound of muscle burns up to 50 extra calories at rest.
If you are looking to be leaner, aim for building muscle. This is where people lose patience, though. Building muscle takes more time than dropping weight. It will take a commitment of about six months, however, the results will last longer.
Whichever route you decide to take, don’t be discouraged if progress is slower than someone else’s. Take a step back to reevaluate what you have been doing, make some adjustments and keep going.
Megan Niño is a kinesiologist and personal trainer through her business Vigor Vida Fitness & Wellness. She is an energetic and positive person who prides herself on teaching others to find empowerment in their lives through fitness. She trains her clients out of Optimal Sports Club and offers in-home training in Philadelphia and on the mainline.