Whatever your goal, it’s important to have an idea of what is and what isn’t possible. Of course, within a certain scale, there can be some wildly differing results. This blog is intended to give you an idea of the upper and lower extremes of what you can expect while training.

Fat Loss

You’ve probably heard that ‘healthy weight loss is around 2lbs (1kg) a week’. Well, yes, for some people it is. It’s an average.

If you’re 10 stone overweight, I’d suggest a 2lb a week loss is actually pretty poor progress. I’d be looking for 3-4lbs a week at first; much less would suggest that the diet is still poor or the activity hasn’t increased enough. You should be looking at around 2yrs to lose ten stones healthily and sustainably. Five stones can be lost in a year, with commitment.

If you’re only a stone or two over, then it’s probably about right. It’s a manageable amount of weight to lose without going ridiculously hungry, or having to spend two hours a day training. There’s no reason to take longer than a year to lose two stones.

However, if you’re only looking to ‘drop half a stone’ then the actual rate of loss is almost irrelevant. When you start training and eating better, SO many things change in your body that your weight is almost pointless to track. You’ll probably, at least initially, be gaining muscle at the same rate you lose excess bodyfat. To the scales, you’ll weigh the same, yet your belt or dress will be getting looser. As such, there’s no real timescale – but you should be looking distinctly better within six months of starting training.

Muscle Building

This is the hard part. In comparison, losing body fat is easy. Really.

For men, gaining 10-15lbs (5-7kg) of LEAN (i.e muscle) mass in their first full year of hard, committed training and nutrition is not unusual. Not that common either, but not unusual. You can then pretty much half that for the second year, and same again for the third year. So, typically, a very slim 10 stone guy can expect to end up around 12.5/13stone in three years if he does exceptionally well. Transformations that suggest that can be achieved in a year or less are flat out deceitful and should be ignored.

Many of the guys you might have seen, aspire to, or even just think ‘yeah, they look good’ will have been training years – typically 5 or more before they get anywhere near good enough to be selling stuff. Even then, you often find many had a sporting background which further massages the truth of the “transformation”.

For women, you can half all those rates, at best. Unfortunately, women simply do not have the hormones required to build muscle at the same rate. It’s why you’ll rarely see a very muscular woman except on a bodybuilding stage – whereas it’s not uncommon to see a muscular guy in everyday life. It’s an annoying fact for many women who want to achieve a defined, athletic look, but is still a fact nonetheless.

None of this is intended to put you off. Indeed, it’s intended to make you realise that your progress is probably EXACTLY what it should be. The magazines, supplement companies and general industry is set up to make YOU buy into what you feel you SHOULD have achieved – and often using every trick and sleight of hand in the book to sell it to you.

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