Today I want to chat about something I get asked about Every. Single. Day...
I’m going to be real with you on this topic, and some of the truths I’m about to spill may be hard to hear. BUT I believe that only with honesty and full disclosure, in this world of social media, body comparison and transformation pictures, can we truly understand an individual’s health and fitness journey.
Your health and fitness journey is unique
As we know, no two people are the same, hence we can’t expect to change and grow at the same rate as anyone else. There are countless variables that influence your rate of progression, and so this means that even though you may be doing EXACTLY THE SAME THINGS as the person next to you, your results and rate of change will be completely individual. For this reason, it is essential that you focus less on comparing yourself to others and more on comparing yourself to who you were yesterday!
How quickly can I expect to see results?
The simple fact is, the people that have the most to lose and the most to gain are the ones that will see change the quickest. For those that are fine-tuning their transformations, it will take a little longer to SEE change. This is why I have opted for the 8-week time frame for my challenges. For most of my challengers, they don’t start to see much visual progress until about week 6 of the challenge. Initial muscle growth can take as little as 2 weeks, but generally at around 4 weeks muscles will start to show growth. In terms of fat loss, about 0.5kg per week is an achievable and sustainable goal, under the right conditions (appropriate nutrition, training, and recovery). However these rates are generalisations, and today I want to inform you about the reasons why you may or may not follow these transformation patterns!
Your progress depends on...
- Your training history and level of physical conditioning; how fit and strong you already are as well as the training you have done in the past
- Your body composition; this includes muscle mass, fat mass, skeletal bone, organs, etc
- Your health status; whether you have been ill or injured recently, or even in the distant past
- Your mindset and outlook; whether you see the world in a glass half empty versus half full kind of way. This also relates to your self-talk - is it positive or negative?
- Gender; there are some distinct and undeniable differences between the genders that come to the forefront when comparing results
- Age; as women, we go through such drastic changes at different stages in our lives. All of this influences almost every biological process in our bodies.
- Time availability
- Training strategies
- Recovery strategies
- Support network
- How much are you able to prioritise your training, nutrition, and self-improvement.
I could continue to list even more, but in my experience, the above topics are both significantly influential, as well as often unmentioned factors in making noticeable and lasting change. All of these will influence the rate at which your body composition changes in response to the demands of your training regime, as well as the nutritional support you provide it. And so while we are all progressing at individual rates, we ALL need to remember to be patient and honest with ourselves.
Be real with yourself about how conscientious you are being with your lifestyle improvement endeavours. This doesn’t mean judging yourself harshly or patting yourself on the back when you are not putting in your best effort, this simply means trying to look at yourself and your situation objectively and compassionately!
Unlike many other online coaches, I am not just about physical transformations. My legacy is not to improve the lives of others by simply making them look better, my mission is to empower women to BE BETTER from the inside out! This is the true key to self-love and consequently to empowerment. This is not a short journey, and just like our physical transformations, we all progress at individual rates. Ultimately, I feel self-improvement is something I will be working towards my whole life, however, I try to take a step in the right direction each and every day.
How to assess your progress
Traditionally, the scales have been the go-to for measuring physical transformation. Today it is blindingly clear that weight is not a true reflection of our body shapes. Two people can weigh exactly the same on the scale, but be completely different in size and physique. This is why I advocate the use of progress pictures for all of my clients. When comparing progress pictures you can see more than just size! You will want to focus on the appearance of body fat and muscle, but progress pictures provide so much more insight into how your body is evolving.
Look closely at the following and observe the differences you see with an open mind:
- Skin - is it smoother, firmer or brighter?
- Posture - do you stand taller and with more confidence?
- Muscle definition
Progress that you can't see.
Another thing I have learned from coaching my clients is that when you improve your lifestyle, your appearance isn’t the only thing that gets better. The far-reaching benefits of regular strength training and well-balanced nutrition will impact almost every area of your life. Take the time to think about the improvements the progress pictures do not show:
- Improved and more sustained energy levels
- Strength gains
- Improved self-discipline and willpower
- Decreased cravings
- Better sleeping patterns
- Improved brain function and ability to concentrate
- Improved digestion
- Better hair, nails, and skin
- Increased positivity.
Many people like to use a journal to track these changes that cannot be seen. It can be a healing, motivational and productive practice to take the time each evening, or any 5 minutes you can spare, to jot down emotions, energy levels or changes you notice, or even just any relative notes. One handy method is to note your mood before and after you train, or keep track with the notes app on your phone.
The most overwhelming response I have had from my thousands of clients across the globe is that they don’t just look better, they FEEL better! Progress does not just come in the form of muscles and body fat percentages, progress is equally demonstrated through lifestyle, habits, and mindset and that is hard to measure.
If you're second-guessing your fitness routine and eating schedule, let me help you! Reach your goals faster with personalised workouts and meals based on what your body actually NEEDS! You can look through my different training and nutrition programs available here.