To get the most out of your fitness goals, you need to track your weight loss progress to know if you need to tweak your fitness or nutrition plan.
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 of your weight loss progress 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 when it comes to your weight loss progress and how to make sure your goals are met as soon as possible.
How can I Check My Weight Loss Progress
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.
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 straightforward 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.
1st Tier Weight Loss Tracker
1. Fat Losses
If you’re exercising and eating correctly, you should be losing 1 to 2 pounds a week; this could be different 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 drank soda and ate Ben and Jerry’s ice cream every night. I wish everything in life were 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 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 notice a diminishment in body fat if you’re a complete newbie to lifting. You’re experiencing a simultaneous increase in lean muscle while burning fat.
Many 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, and 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 not exercising at the correct intensity.
If you’re losing more than 3 pounds a week, your 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 every time. I would also write it down to have a written record.
2nd Tier Fat Burning Tracker
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 weight training and cardio workouts; you’ll notice that being in a calorie deficit will sometimes hinder your strength gains; this is expected.
However, if your strength is decreasing at too high of a percentage, you may start to lose an excessive amount of lean muscle, and you are probably in too 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 feel exhausted while exercising, you need to modify your 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 your muscles that weren’t there before can be a huge motivation booster.
Let’s be honest, and I’ve grown to love working out and hate missing a training day but constantly eating and finding the time to work out daily 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 your 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 every time 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.
1. Body Measurements
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 your workout.
- Measure each muscle in the 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 I’m going to bring it up due to my witnessing this phenomenon.
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 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 your 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 your mood, energy levels, hunger levels, and in the end, you’re motivated. Be smart about it.
You have to find the right balance between the right diet and exercise plan.
2. Solution, Increase Your Intensity Levels During Your Workouts
It’s time to be honest with ourselves. Are you really putting in the maximum effort while you’re exercising, 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 your body’s metabolism and continue to burn calories for hours after you’re done working out.
That’s right, but 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 Enough
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 your 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 do the opposite of what we have already discussed. Still, I do want to reiterate what type of calorie deficit you should be implementing.
I see many times that people are 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 too extreme in either case can have major effects on your 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.
How long Does It Take To Start Losing Weight
The first day that you’re on a calorie deficit you will technically start to lose weight.
You won’t notice it in the mirror or even the scale, but the process starts immediately.
After your first full week of dieting and exercising you will see a difference on the scale.
Depending on how strict your being on your diet and the amount of intensity you workout with you can expect to see anywhere from 1 to 2 pounds of body fat come off per week.
How Does Fat Leave Your Body
When you put yourself on a calorie deficit your body starts to use your excess fat as fuel and will metabolize the fat on your body in order to turn it into energy.
Studies have shown that 84% of it leaves in the form of carbon dioxide and the rest is excreted as water.
Where Will You Lose Weight From First
Weight loss actually starts as an internal process as you will lose the fat around your organs first then you will lose the fat on the outside of your body.
You will lose it evenly so if you’re trying totarget stomach fat there is no way to do this.
You gain and lose weight equally throughout the body.
You don’t want to waste a lot of time working out and only realize that you’re not reaching your goals and don’t know why.
If you track your progress, it can be a great motivator and a great source of information to let you know when you have to make changes and what to change.