For my regular PT clients who are working on losing body-fat and toning up, I take measurements every six weeks. We do girth measurements of upper arm, chest, waist, hips, thighs and calves, as well as measuring weight and body-fat percentage. There are also less tangible “measurements,” based on clients’ self-assessment of things like energy levels, body image, health, strength and fitness.
Although when most people present themselves to me they tell me they want to lose weight, what they really mean is that they want to be slimmer and firmer. This means we need to increase lean muscle while reducing body-fat. We’ve all heard about how muscle weighs more than fat, which is why it’s necessary to measure more than just body-weight to accurately reflect the progress of a fat-loss regime.
So what can you expect after your first six weeks?
If you’ve been diligent with strength-training, cardio and nutrition, within the first six weeks you can expect to be seeing some changes. You will feel stronger, healthier, fitter, more confident and more energetic. Your clothes will have started to fit differently. People may have started to comment on some changes in your physique. You will have built some lean muscle mass and core strength, and see an improvement in posture and feel generally firmer. You should also have lost some body fat and start to see changes in body-shape.
When it comes to the actual figures, don’t be discouraged! Your change in weight may be deceptively small, because while you have lost body-fat, you have also grown muscle mass. However, you will see a reduction in your body-fat percentage and some changes in girth measurements.
Some people may be disappointed, if they have had expectations of drastic changes in the first six weeks. Remember though that it is in the first six weeks that we lay foundations for future progress. We build cardio-vascular fitness so that you are able to sustain intense cardio for long enough to achieve fat loss. We build core strength, increase co-ordination and increase muscle mass to support progressions in your strength training. With the right mindset, we establish healthy eating habits and a new exercise routine – something which will serve you in maintaining good health for the rest of your life.
So celebrate your progress, both tangible and intangible. You’ve done well to put in six weeks of intense training and are on your way to making even more progress over the next six weeks! Congratulations!