If you’ve been reading my posts, you have a pretty good understanding of what you need to do and in order to burn fat.
With that being said, no matter how confident you are of you’re nutrition and fitness plan, you should never trust your results to blind faith. You want to keep track week to week to find any weak spots in your plan so that you can fix them before you diminish your results.
In this article I will be showing you all the factors that you need to concern yourself with to chart weight loss progress and make sure you’re goals are met as soon as possible.
I will show you the strategies I teach using 3 different tiers.
- 1st tier (most important)
- 2nd tier (not as important
- Professional tier (for the very advanced)
I will also tell you what to do if you’re not seeing the results and how to modify you’re program to get you back on track.
How to Chart your fat loss
If you’re reading this article you’re most likely on a calorie deficit trying to burn fat and create more definition, the good thing about tracking weight loss progress is that it is very easy to do.Keeping track of fat loss is actually easier than tracking muscle growth, It’s mostly done through visual tests.
I want to clarify the three tiers I’m going to use
- 1st tier – These are the basic rules, don’t try anything else until these are accomplished
- 2nd tier – Use this to get even more detailed once the 1st tier is met
- Professional tier – This is how you scrutinize every detail.
I’m going to base my scenario around you wanting to lose weight while keeping the lean muscle you already have on your body.
No matter if you’re male, female, a bodybuilder or a track star you don’t want to lose the lean muscle you already have.
If you’re exercising and eating correctly you should be losing 1 to 2 pounds a week, where this could be different is if you’re completely new to dieting and are significantly overweight.
For example, when I started to change my fitness habits I weighed 305 lbs, I used to drink soda and eat Ben and Jerry’s ice cream every night. I wish everything in life was as easy as getting fat.
I started to drink only water and eat whole foods while exercising 6 days a week, the weight fell off of at a rate of 4 to 6 lbs a week for the first couple of months.
This is due to the lack of water retention and the fact that you’re not consuming as much food anymore.
Another scenario where you may not notice a drop on the scale but you do notice a diminish in body fat, is if you’re a complete newbie to lifting and you’re experiencing a simultaneous increase in lean muscle while burning fat.
A lot of people think of a fat loss program as all cardio, while cardio plays a huge part in it. Your fitness plan should always implement strength training routines into it also.
Let’s round this up, you should expect to lose no less than 1 lb a week and never go over 3 lbs a week.
In fact the CDC states that people that lose an average of 1 to 2 pounds a week have the highest % of long term success keeping the weight off.
If you’re losing less than a pound you are not on enough of a calorie deficit and/or you’re not exercising at the correct intensity.
If you’re losing more than 3 pounds a week you’re body is starting to tap into lean muscle, Don’t allow this to happen.
Be patient and set the right expectations for yourself, you didn’t gain the weight overnight and you’re not going to lose it overnight either.
Make sure to weigh yourself once a week, always in the morning and make sure you are naked or wearing the same thing everytime. I would also write it down to have a written record.
At this point the weeks are going by and you’re consistently losing 1 to 2 lbs, now you can start to look at other factors to get a little more detailed.
1. Lean Muscle Maintenance
I spoke earlier about how you should be doing some sort of weight training along with you’re cardio workouts, you’ll notice that being in a calorie deficit will sometimes hinder you’re strength gains, this is expected.
However, if you’re strength is decreasing at to high of a percentage than you may start to lose an excessive amount of lean muscle and you are probably in to much of a calorie deficit.
Make sure to write down how much you’re lifting and how many reps you’re performing, if the numbers start to go down or you are feeling very tired while exercising, you need to modify you’re diet.
2. The Way You Look In The Mirror
This one doesn’t need much explanation but shouldn’t be overlooked, checking yourself out and noticing the fat disappearing and seeing the definition in you’re muscles that wasn’t there before can be a huge motivation booster.
Lets be honest, I’ve grown to love working out and hate missing a training day but constantly eating and finding the time to workout on a daily basis can become monotonous, so on the occasion when you see all the hard work paying off make sure not to take it for granted.
3. Before And After Pictures
This is something I truly regret not doing, due to the insecurities I had about how I looked.
Don’t make the same mistake, the best way to see subtle changes to you’re physique over a long period of time is through pictures.
Keep the conditions the same every time you take a picture.
- Take pictures once per week.
- Take them in the same room that has good lighting.
- Take them in the morning before you eat and drink.
- Keep the same distance from you and the camera every time.
- Take pictures of you in different poses so that you can get a full body overview of yourself.
Just like before and after pictures I’m going to tell you to keep the conditions the same.
- Once a week, in the morning.
- make sure you’re muscles are unflexed and before you workout.
- Measure each muscle in the exact same spot or you’re measurements will vary.
- Write it down each time.
Body parts you want to pay attention to.
What I’m about to say should be considered common sense but due to me witnessing this phenomenon I’m going to bring it up anyway.
Purchase a cloth or fabric measuring tape, the same kind used by tailors. Do not use the metal kind that a construction worker would use.
While the people around you will find it very entertaining and be forever grateful, you my unfortunate friend will just look and feel like an idiot.
Your goal is to burn fat but you’re not seeing significant results.
1. Solution – Eat fewer calories and/or add more cardio workouts to you’re fitness plan
If you don’t burn more calories than you consume on a daily basis, you will not lose any weight.
It really is as simple as that. Either slightly decrease how much you eat, increase you’re workouts (cardio or strength training both will get the job done)
When making changes do it gradually, drastic changes can hurt the way you manage you’re mood, energy levels, hunger levels and in the end you’re motivation. Be smart about it.
You have to find the right balance between the right diet and exercise plan.
2. Solution – Increase you’re intensity level during you’re workouts.
It’s time to be honest with ourselves, are you really putting in maximum effort during you’re exercises or are you half assing it.
You can’t have a lax attitude when it comes to you’re workouts.
When you perform at a high intensity you raise you’re bodies metabolism and will continue to burn calories for hours after you’re done working out.
That’s right, put the effort in and you can still be burning away those disgusting fat cells even while you’re sitting on the couch post workout.
Stop making excuses and put the work in.
3. Solution – Are You Sleeping?
Negative affects from not getting enough sleep.
- Hinders Muscle Recovery
- Hurts you’re intensity and motivation in the gym
- Increases your appetite
- Reduces fat burning hormones called Leptins
- Increases cortisol which helps store fat
- Decreases testosterone
Everyone is different and there isn’t a “one size fits all” amount of sleep I can tell you to get each night.
On average 6 to 8 hours is a good place to start but in the end you need to get enough sleep that you feel energetic and motivated to achieve you’re daily goals.
Your goal is to lose fat but you notice that you’re also losing lean muscle.
Solution – Eat more calories daily or limit you’re cardio frequency
I’m not going to be extremely detailed with this because in most cases you would just do the opposite of what we have already discussed, but I do want to reiterate what type of calorie deficit you should be implementing.
What I see a lot of times is people being impatient putting themselves on a very high calorie deficit to lose weight fast while destroying their lean muscle mass.
A healthy calorie deficit should be around 500 calories below you’re daily caloric maintenance level.
Calorie deficits can be created through you’re nutrition plan and/or you’re fitness plan, but being to extreme in either case can have major effects on you’re muscles.
You need to be healthy and make smart decisions. Besides, a toned, fit body with muscle definition is a lot more appealing than a skinny, bony look.