When it involves fats loss and muscle acquire, everybody desires Insta-worthy after pictures… proper now. But understanding what’s sensible might be the distinction between reaching wonderful outcomes and giving up altogether. How quick can a shopper lose fats? What’s the higher restrict of muscle acquire? And how do you determine a charge of progress that your shopper cannot solely obtain however maintain? We have the numbers—and your teaching sport plan. 


Imagine you could have two new shoppers.

Courtney—a 34-year previous feminine—desires to lose the additional 30 kilos she’s packed on since school.

Jose—a 27-year previous male—desires so as to add 15 kilos of muscle to his body.

Like many consumers, they each say they’re able to do no matter it takes.

Knowing all this, how lengthy ought to it take every to realize their targets?

A. Three months
B. 6 months
C. 1 12 months

Answer: It relies upon.

Each possibility could also be doable, however all three include tradeoffs. And except you assist Courtney and Jose absolutely perceive this—and set their expectations appropriately—they’re prone to find yourself dissatisfied.

Sound acquainted?

When it involves shedding fats or gaining muscle, persons are usually pissed off by what they assume are “poor” or “mediocre” outcomes.  

Not attributable to lack of progress, however as a result of:

  • They began with unrealistic expectations
  • They couldn’t maintain their preliminary charge of progress
  • All of the above

It doesn’t should be this manner.

In this text, we’ll share what sensible charges of each fats loss and muscle acquire seem like, based mostly on a mixture of medical proof and our work with over 100,000 shoppers.1, 2

More importantly, we’ll present you learn how to decide a charge of progress that’s proper on your shopper (and even your self). For outcomes that meet expectations—each single time.

But… if you wish to leap proper to the numbers, click on the hyperlinks under:

Otherwise, preserve studying (the small print matter) for the entire story.

Results not typical… or are they?

Let’s say Courtney misplaced six kilos of physique fats in your first 4 weeks collectively. Yet she was dissatisfied in her “lack” of progress.

From our standpoint, her progress was implausible.

Over six months, sustaining that charge of progress would result in a 40-pound fats loss. 

That might be life-changing for some. For others, it may be far more than they’d even wish to lose. (In truth, it’s greater than Courtney needed to lose.)

Yet all too usually, the shopper thinks they’re failing. Because six kilos in 4 weeks doesn’t really feel like rather a lot.

This is probably going as a result of they anticipated extraordinarily fast outcomes. Perhaps they hoped to shortly seem like they did 15 years in the past or have the physique comp of a magazine cowl mannequin… by subsequent month’s trip.

Now, most individuals would readily admit that anticipating to lose 15 kilos of fats or acquire 10 kilos of muscle in two weeks is unrealistic. (The identical goes for correcting severe blood lipid points or knocking a half-second off their 40-yard sprint time.)

But subconsciously, they nonetheless wish to consider these outcomes should not solely doable however seemingly. After all, they’ve seen The Biggest Loser.

Your job: Set achievable expectations from day one. 

Understand the true objective and what success seems like.

This begins by discovering out what your shopper finally hopes to realize.

  • Do they wish to lose a couple of kilos and get more healthy?
  • Do they wish to look slot in garments?
  • Do they wish to pack on 15 kilos of muscle?
  • Do they wish to be “shredded,” with seen abs?

Make positive you could have a shared understanding of what they’re envisioning. 

You wish to be in full settlement. So ask extra questions and dig deeper.

If they are saying they wish to lose 20 kilos, what do they image? Many folks underestimate how a lot fats they’d should lose to realize a sure physique composition. They would possibly assume they should drop 20 kilos, when in reality, it’s extra like 40.

If they wish to “get healthier,” how will they know after they arrive? Are they picturing higher blood work, and if that’s the case, what particular measures are they involved about?

If they wish to acquire muscle, are they okay gaining some fats, too? Do they see themselves as The Rock, or only a barely larger model of themselves?

If they wish to “look muscular,” getting leaner would possibly assist them obtain that objective quicker. As the saying goes, “Losing fat is the fastest way to look bigger.”

If they need a six-pack, are they ready for all that entails? Achieving one of these physique usually requires a better quantity of train, a extra restrictive weight loss plan, and a much less versatile way of life. What’s extra, in the event that they’ve been over-fat for a very long time, it may include some unfastened pores and skin.

Walking shoppers by means of their desired state of affairs may also help them higher select a path based mostly on what’s most vital to them.

Make positive the tradeoffs are crystal clear.

Simply put: You need your shopper to know what they’re moving into.

An efficient method to do that: Put your shopper’s desired consequence on a continuum subsequent to 2 (or extra) different outcomes.

If you wish to spotlight how unlikely or tough the objective will likely be, present what it’ll take to realize two simpler targets.

You may say: “Here are the tradeoffs that you’ll need to make to reach your goal, and for comparison, here’s what two other outcomes might require. Do those tradeoffs feel acceptable to you?”

On the opposite hand, if you wish to give the shopper extra confidence, you would possibly sandwich their objective between one which’s simpler and one which’s more durable.

You may say: “There’s no doubt your goal will be a challenge, but at least you can eat dessert most days and still achieve it. What do you think about that?”

Here’s an instance of how this would possibly look. The illustrations that observe present the tradeoffs usually required to realize three completely different ranges of physique fats.

As you’ll be able to see, the decrease your physique fats share objective, the better the dedication that’s required. (For a deeper dive on this matter, learn: The Cost of Getting Lean.)

Fat loss for healthy body fat levels
Fat loss for 10 percent body fat.
Fat loss for low levels of body fat.

To guarantee each you and your shopper perceive what they wish to obtain, and what they’re prepared (and never prepared) to do to realize it, obtain and use the Want-Willing-Won’t Worksheet.

Now it’s time to speak timelines. We’ll cowl sensible charges of fats loss first, adopted by sensible charges of muscle loss.

Realistic charges of fats loss.

How quick you’ll be able to lose physique fats depends upon how constantly you’ll be able to, or wish to, observe the rules you’re given.

Realistic charges of fats loss per week

Progress% Body WeightMenWomen
Extreme1-1.5% physique weight~2-Three lb~1.65-2.5 lb
ReasonableZero.5-1% physique weight~1-2 lb~Zero.Eight-1.65 lb
Comfortable~<1 lb~

Here’s learn how to quantify every of those classes:

Extreme: Requires about 90 to 100 % consistency.

Reasonable:  Requires about 70 to 85 % consistency.

Comfortable: Requires about 50 to 65 % consistency.

(Note: You may additionally create a snug charge of progress through which you’re extremely constant. Your preliminary motion plan would merely require you to make fewer adjustments than what’d be crucial to realize affordable or excessive charges of progress.)

Clearly, the extra constant you’re, the quicker your progress, and the extra fats you’ll lose.

It’s additionally vital to understand that fats loss isn’t linear. It fluctuates from day after day and week to week. The objective is to see an total development downward over time.

Rate of fat loss

But… fats loss is usually quickest when:

  • You’re first beginning out
  • You have extra physique fats to lose

Why? Suppose you usually eat Three,500 energy per day and are sustaining your physique weight. If you instantly begin consuming 2,000 energy a day, you’ve created a large deficit of 1,500 energy. That’ll result in fast weight reduction.

Once you begin to lose physique weight, nevertheless, this deficit turns into smaller and smaller, slowing fats loss. (Because a smaller physique requires fewer energy.)

As this course of continues, your metabolism adapts, decreasing your calorie wants much more than what you’d anticipate from the load loss alone. You’ll additionally turn into extra environment friendly at exercising, decreasing the variety of energy you burn by means of motion.

And if that’s not sufficient, you would possibly even train much less steadily and intensely since you now have much less power coming in. (To study extra, learn: How your metabolism adapts as you shed some pounds.)

The upshot:

The leaner you turn into, the slower your charge of fats loss, and the extra plateaus you expertise.

This is regular. And serving to shoppers perceive this results in higher progress.

That’s as a result of they’ll be much less prone to throw within the towel when fats loss stalls for per week or two. Instead, they’ll perceive it’s a traditional a part of the journey.

Encourage shoppers to consider fats loss like a protracted street journey. If they know moving into that they’ll should cease for meals and loo breaks, and that they’ll in all probability expertise some site visitors jams and building detours, they gained’t be dismayed when these issues occur. (Because they’ll. That’s life.)

It gained’t at all times be clean crusing. Coach them to anticipate disruptions forward of time. This psychological preparation will likely be precious down the street.

Realistic charges of muscle acquire.

The potential to realize muscle relies on age, organic intercourse, genetics, and consistency with meals consumption, together with resistance coaching expertise, depth, frequency, fashion, quantity, and extra.

Realistic charges of muscle acquire per 30 days

Fitness stageMenWomen
physique weight
~1.5-2.5 lbZero.5-Zero.75%
physique weight
~Zero.65-1 lb
physique weight
~Zero.75-1.25 lbZero.25-Zero.375%
physique weight
~Zero.325-Zero.5 lb
physique weight
~Zero.375-Zero.625 lbZero.125-Zero.1875%
physique weight
~Zero.1625-Zero.25 lb

Much like fats loss, muscle acquire is usually not linear. Progress appears to return in matches and spurts, particularly after the primary 12 months of devoted coaching

It’s not unusual to see younger males acquire 15 to 25 kilos of muscle of their first 12 months of devoted coaching (newbie), and one other 10 to 15 kilos of their second 12 months (intermediate).

Young ladies can see beneficial properties of Eight to 12 kilos of muscle of their first 12 months of devoted coaching (newbie), together with one other four to six kilos of their second 12 months (intermediate).

After the primary three or so years of devoted coaching (superior), it usually takes years of persistent effort to see incremental beneficial properties.

So over the course of a lifting profession, males have the potential to realize about 40 to 50 kilos of muscle, and ladies have the potential to realize about 20 to 25 kilos of muscle. (Depending on top, bone construction, and genetics—and with out the assistance of performance-enhancing medication.)

For the sensible charges of muscle acquire proven right here, the emphasis is on “young” women and men beneath the age of 30. Testosterone and different intercourse hormones are increased throughout this time of life, as is mobile turnover and total restoration capability. All are key elements for muscle development.

Older women and men normally add much less muscle and/or at a slower charge, attributable to adjustments in these variables.

Can you continue to acquire important muscle after your 20s? Yes, however for probably the most half, this depends upon whether or not or not you continue to have a good quantity of room to achieve your 40 to 50 pound (males) or 20 to 25 pound (ladies) potential.

Identify a probable charge of fats loss or muscle acquire for every particular person.

Consider the sensible charges of fats loss and muscle acquire the higher restrict of what might be achieved in a given timeframe. Now you must modify that quantity, based mostly on the particular person and situations you’re working with.

This is the place the artwork of teaching actually is available in.

The charge of physique composition adjustments might be affected by the next elements.

Factors that make fats loss more durable or simpler

What makes fats loss more durableWhat makes fats loss simpler
AgeBeing older*Being youthful
SexBeing feminineBeing male
Current physique dimensionBeing smallerBeing heavier
Current physique compositionBeing comparatively leanHaving extra physique fats
Current exercise stageLittle to no exerciseHigh ranges of exercise
Current exercise sortDoing extreme cardio with out different sorts of exerciseHaving a well-rounded train routine
ConsistencyBeing inconsistentBeing constant (>80%)
RecoverySleeping lower than 7 hours most nightsSleeping no less than 7-Eight hours most nights
StressExcessive stress or notion of extreme stressAppropriate stress ranges or notion of applicable stress
HormonesLeptin-resistance / low leptin
Hormones in wholesome ranges
MedicationBirth management
Xenical / Alli
Health standingMenopause
Cushing’s syndrome
Clean invoice of well being

*Fat loss can and does happen at any age. The causes it may be more durable for older of us could also be extra age-related (well being standing, medicines, mobility) versus age-dependent.

Factors that make muscle acquire more durable or simpler

What makes muscle acquire more durableWhat makes muscle acquire simpler
AgeBeing older (>40)Being youthful (<30)
SexBeing feminineBeing male
Current physique dimensionHaving a small body / bone constructionHaving a big body / bone construction
Current physique compositionHaving extra physique fatsBeing comparatively lean
Current exercise stageLittle to no exerciseModerate ranges of exercise
Current exercise sortInadequate resistance coaching / extreme cardioResistance coaching
ConsistencyBeing inconsistentBeing constant (>80%)
RecoverySleeping lower than 7 hours most nightsSleeping no less than 7-Eight hours most nights
StressExcessive stress or notion of extreme stressAppropriate stress ranges or notion of applicable stress
HormonesHigh cortisolHormones in wholesome ranges
MedicationThyroid medication
ADHD medication
Acne treatment
Health standingIBD
Clean invoice of well being

These are on no account exhaustive lists, however are good examples of how further elements can influence a person’s charge of progress.

You additionally must account for what else is occurring in an individual’s life.

Will your shopper enhance at a constant charge or would possibly there be intervals the place progress slows?

For instance, in the event that they’re an accountant, it’s possible you’ll want to regulate expectations throughout tax season. During the vacations, the objective would possibly simply be to take care of present progress, then purpose to make additional progress after the vacations have handed. And what about upcoming holidays or different deliberate breaks?

You can’t foresee each difficulty, however you’ll be able to plan for what you recognize. 

For these intervals, ask your shopper how little enchancment they’re prepared to just accept and the way lengthy they anticipate these intervals to final. Together, you’ll be able to incorporate that info into the timeline.

Once you could have a good suggestion of the place they wish to go and how briskly they may get there,  it’s time to completely evaluation what’s required. Is your shopper “ready, willing, and able” to do what it takes?

You can check this through the use of the Ready, Willing, and Able Worksheet.

This is the place you learn how sensible the charges of progress really are, based mostly on the motion plan you create along with your shopper.

Now that the following steps are in entrance of them, how assured are they about following by means of? Remember: The key to success is consistency. (Learn extra: How to create a plan shoppers can do constantly.)

If your shopper isn’t prepared, prepared, capable of observe by means of constantly, that’s okay. You’ll merely want to regulate their motion plan. And that additionally means adjusting their expectations.

But that’s excellent news: With this method, you’ll each be on the identical web page from the get-go.

Revisit and re-calibrate expectations as information accumulate.

No one can completely predict a shopper’s charge of progress. This train merely provides you a option to measure in case your shopper is shifting in the appropriate path at their desired charge, or if their outcomes are falling in need of expectations.

In common, it is best to monitor outcomes for 2 weeks earlier than recommending your shopper adjusts their meals consumption or motion plan.

And as they turn into extra superior, or progress nearer to their remaining objective, it might take a full 4 weeks to see if their consumption is working. Give it an applicable period of time earlier than contemplating additional changes.

As you collect information, and select subsequent actions based mostly on that information, frequently evaluation and revise your shoppers’ plans and expectations. (Click right here to obtain a printable information that allows you to reference the knowledge under at a look.)

Not shedding fats inside sensible parameters?

Decrease your shopper’s consumption by about 250 energy a day, by chopping out about 25 to 50 grams of carbs and/or 7 to 15 grams of fats. Or merely take away 1 to 2 cupped handfuls of carbs and/or 1 to 2 thumbs of fat from their every day consumption. (That’s 2 to three complete parts of carbs and fat, mixed.)

Not gaining muscle inside sensible parameters?

Increase your shopper’s consumption by about 250 energy a day, by including 25 to 50 grams of carbs and/or 7 to 15 grams of fat.  Or merely add 1 to 2 cupped handfuls of carbs and/or 1 to 2 thumbs of fat to your every day consumption. (That’s 2 to three complete parts of carbs and fat, mixed.)

Losing an excessive amount of lean mass when losing a few pounds?

Increase your shopper’s every day protein consumption by about 25 grams. Or merely add 1 additional palm of protein to your every day consumption.

Gaining an excessive amount of fats when including muscle?

Increase your shopper’s every day protein consumption by about 25 grams, and reduce their every day carb consumption by about 25 to 50 grams and/or fats consumption by about 7 to 15 grams.

Or merely add 1 additional palm of protein to your every day consumption, and take away 1 to 2 cupped handfuls of carbs and/or 1 to 2 thumbs of fat out of your every day consumption. (That’s 2 to three complete parts of carbs and fat, mixed.)

Not recovering from robust exercises or competitions?

Use these 4 steps:

Step 1. Review your total every day power consumption. If you’re chopping energy stringently to lose fats or weight, contemplate rising power consumption by 100 to 200 energy so that you just’re consuming at only a slight deficit.

Step 2. Review your complete every day protein consumption. Just including 25 extra grams or 1 extra palm of protein per day could make a distinction.

Step Three. Review your complete every day carbohydrate consumption. You may have greater than you’re getting, notably proper after coaching classes or video games/competitions. An excellent begin: Add 25 to 50 grams (or 1 to 2 cupped handfuls of carbs) to your every day consumption.

Step four. Review your complete every day fats consumption, notably your consumption of important fatty acids. If you’re noticing plenty of irritation, you would possibly profit from rising your consumption of Eat More” fats sources, and lowering your consumption of “Eat Less” fats sources. (See a wide range of each sources within the article: What Foods Should I Eat?)

Let the information information you.

Clients could progress quicker or slower than you anticipated, or they might encounter sudden challenges (similar to an harm or sickness).

This is totally okay. Base predictions and expectations on recognized information, not creativeness, hopes, or assumptions.

As the nice psychotherapist Carl Rogers as soon as stated, “The facts are friendly.” No matter what occurs, contemplate this calibration an important and precious a part of serving to you turn into a extra correct and evidence-driven coach.

This sort of outcome-based determination making is a strong teaching instrument for serving to shoppers see how their actions result in progress and outcomes.

Remember, numbers aren’t the one option to measure progress.

It might be tempting to focus solely on quantitative information: physique fats share, inches misplaced, the quantity on the dimensions. But progress is simply as a lot about subjective measures, similar to:

  • Showing up and making any effort, regardless of how small
  • Tiny actions which can be just a bit bit higher than earlier than
  • Feeling extra relaxed with meals
  • Daily wins, like having breakfast in your busiest morning
  • Having extra power and vitality
  • Getting stronger and/or fitter
  • Feeling extra assured in a single’s physique or sense of self
  • And extra

Make positive your shopper understands how far they’ve come, it doesn’t matter what the numbers present. Regularly declaring the intense spots—particularly in behaviors, actions, and mindset—provides the shopper constructive suggestions they’ll construct on.

The Looking Back, Looking Ahead Worksheet is usually tremendous useful on this regard. It’s a method for shoppers to see how far they’ve come, which may enhance their confidence and preserve them motivated. It may also assist them proactively work round potential obstacles.

As we are saying right here at Precision Nutrition:

It’s about progress, not perfection. 

And whether or not your shoppers wish to lose fats or acquire muscle, which may be an important expectation you’ll be able to set.


Click right here to view the knowledge sources referenced on this article.

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