Embarking on a fitness journey with a personal trainer is an exciting step towards a healthier, more vibrant you. Many individuals initially notice fitness improvements, such as lifting more weight or enduring longer cardio sessions. However, the timeline for visible changes in body composition can take a little longer. The speed of which these results arrive depends on a variety of factors.
In this comprehensive guide, we explore these variables and provide insights into when you can expect to both feel and witness the transformational effects of training with your personal trainer.
Understanding body composition is vital to managing expectations. To shed one pound of fat per week, you generally need to maintain a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories, either by consuming fewer calories or increasing your physical activity. However, this rate of progress can differ significantly based on your existing muscle mass and body fat percentage. Individuals with higher muscle mass find it easier to create this calorie deficit as muscles burn more calories at rest. Conversely, if you have more fat due to a sedentary lifestyle and high-calorie intake, a 500-calorie deficit may represent a smaller proportion of your total daily calorie consumption, making weight loss more challenging. Moreover, your body weight, whether from muscle or fat, impacts your basal metabolic rate, influencing the rate at which you burn calories. Heavier individuals, irrespective of muscle or fat, tend to burn calories more quickly than lighter ones.
Men, on average, shed fat much easier than women. Of course taking into consideration other factors highlighted in this article, this is how much a man or woman may expect to shed during a newly dedicated fitness regime:
Women: 1.5-2kg fat loss per month
Men: 2.5-4kg fat loss per month
Your training age, in other words, how long you've been actively exercising, also affects the speed of your progress. Novices with limited fitness experience often experience rapid improvements in both fitness levels and body composition. However, those with substantial training backgrounds may find it progressively harder to make gains. Consider a powerlifting champion who is at the top of his game. Pushing their limits to achieve further gains becomes a significant challenge compared to someone just starting out.
Age is a critical factor in your fitness journey. As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down. Starting from around age 20, it diminishes by approximately 1% per year, making weight loss and maintaining peak fitness levels more demanding. While progress might be slower, regular exercise can help offset the metabolic decline. A 2018 study demonstrated that lifelong exercisers maintained youthful levels of muscle mass, helping to keep their metabolism up.
If you have health conditions or injuries that limit your training intensity, your progress may be slower than someone without such restrictions. It's essential not to compare your pace of advancement with others. Whilst we encourage pushing yourself, its important for safety and long-lasting motivation to not exceed your limits.
Your dedication to your fitness goals is pivotal. Remember, the time you spend outside of your personal training sessions matters just as much. In a week with 168 hours, your choices beyond the gym are crucial in determining your progress. Your results are directly correlated with the time and effort you invest. Ask your PT how you can make incremental changes to your lifestyle so you can work on yourself outside of the gym walls easily and effectively.
While rapid results can be motivating, they are not always sustainable. Achieving quick progress, especially through excessive cardio or extreme calorie restriction, can lower your metabolic rate, making it challenging to maintain your achievements. Incorporating strength training alongside cardiovascular workouts can help preserve your metabolic rate while shedding calories but it’s important not to over-do it. You don’t want to exhaust yourself or cause an injury that would stop you from exercising altogether.
At Attika we create a bespoke fitness plan for you that considers all of the above factors plus your current lifestyle, preferences and ability. Our training programs are progressive, so as your fitness and training age increases, so does the intensity of your training. The level of your program should therefore be at the right pace so that it is not too fast and can potentially stop you from continuing.
Sometimes, staying at the same weight for a while could be due to increased muscle mass or water weight, which can’t be reflected on a normal scale. At Attika, we utilize the InBody measuring system, a sophisticated device that delves beyond mere weight. It assesses body fat, muscle mass, water weight, and more. This tool allows us to track your progress accurately, ensuring that you stay on course and make necessary adjustments to achieve your desired results.
Waiting to see your results can be frustrating. Just remember to trust in the process, stay committed, and acknowledge that every step forward, no matter how small, is a positive change towards a healthier and more active lifestyle. At Attika, we're dedicated to helping you achieve your fitness goals, providing guidance and support every step of the way.