Losing weight can be a daunting task. Before starting your fitness journey it is important to understand how much muscle you can lose in a week to create realistic fitness goals. Many factors determine how much weight you can lose in a month. However, the results ultimately depend on one thing – you.
The following guide will explain various factors that impact how much weight you can lose in a month, as well as create realistic expectations on what to expect during your fitness journey. We’ll also provide a quick guide to support losing weight as well as keeping that weight off.
Two Types of Weight Loss
There are two types of weight loss you can experience during your weight loss journey. One being water weight. The other is fat weight loss. Unless your goal is to lose temporary weight for a competition such as wrestling, you would most likely want to focus on fat weight loss since the fat loss will provide longer-term results.
Water Weight loss
On any given day, your weight can fluctuate up to 5 to 6 pounds on average. The amount varies based on your food and drinks consumption for the day. Other factors include medication usage, sodium and carb intake, exercise, menstrual cycle, and illness. These factors are all temporary and should not be a gauge for quality weight loss.
Fat Weight Loss
Fat weight loss is the process of permanently burning a percentage of total body fat. This is primarily based on a consistent healthy caloric deficit diet and exercise regime.
How to Measure Weight Loss
To adequately measure the difference between water weight loss and fat loss you would want to weigh yourself consistently at the same time every day. The best time to weigh yourself is in the morning after you empty your bladder. This eliminates excess water or stool weight being taken into account when measuring body weight.
Keep in mind that there are many drawbacks to solely relying on body weight to determine fat loss. In some cases, you may gain muscle weight while losing total fat. This often occurs during the Newbie Gains phase of your fitness journey.
Newbie Gains is a common gym term for beginners who build a significant amount of muscle in a short period. Usually, this tends to occur to people who have little to no experience with exercise; particularly weight lifting. During the Newbie Phase, an individual is more likely to be able to lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously. Depending on the individual, this phase could last as short as 2 months or as long as a year.
The following are the two effective ways to measure fat loss at home:
Measuring tape is one of the easiest ways to keep track of your fat loss as well as total body composition. Since we lose fat in different areas and order depending on current body composition and genetics, using a measuring tape can give you an idea of how much fat you lost in certain areas.
To track body fat using a measuring tape, Start by wearing tight-fitting clothing (or no clothing). Be sure to wear the same clothing each time you measure the best accuracy. Here are simple guidelines for measuring major body parts.
- Bust/Chest: Measure around the chest right at the nipple line, but don’t pull the tape too tight.
- Forearm: Measure around the largest part of the arm below the elbow.
- Thighs: Measure around the biggest part of each thigh.
- Bicep/Triceps: Measure around the largest part of each arm above the elbow.
- Waist: Measure a half-inch above your belly button or at the smallest part of your waist.
Alternatively you can also use the following calculators:
One of my favorite simple body fat measurement techniques is skinfold measurements. Skinfold measurements are taken using calipers that measure the fat directly underneath the skin by pinching the targeted area. The following sites are the typical locations tested via skinfold measurements:
- Abdomen: Next to the belly button
- Pectoral: The mid-chest, just forward of the armpit
- Quadriceps: Middle of the upper thigh
- Suprailiac: Just above the iliac crest of the hip bone
- Triceps: The back of the upper arm
Alternatively you can also use the following calculators:
- Body Fat Skinfold Calculator
- 3 Skinfold Body Fat Calculator
- 4 Skinfold Body Fat Calculator
- 7 Skinfold Body Fat Calculator
- Body Fat YMCA Calculator
Factors that will impact your ability to lose weight
Since everybody is unique, many factors will impact your ability to lose weight. The five primary factors that impact your ability to weigh are age, genetics, training experience, workout routine, and diet.
As stated in “How Much Muscle Can You Gain in a Week”, the younger you are the easier it is to build muscle mass. This is also true for losing weight. This is due to the decrease in testosterone as we age. As we age we need to carry more body fat than we would in our roaring twenties.
This does not mean we need to be 30% body fat, but having 10% body fat at 70 years old is not the best for most elders’ health.
As much as it hurts to admit, some people have it better than others. Hormone levels, bone structure, muscle lengths all play a vital role in your ability to gain muscle. Some hit the genetic lottery and build muscle by simply existing. Others have to work twice as hard to obtain half the results.
Whether you’re the genetic winner or the latter, losing weight is still possible, it’ll just require more or less effort than others.
A good workout routine can make all the difference in your weight loss results. If you give half your effort in the gym, you’ll likely get half the results. Many times, you’ll get less than desired. If you Give 100% effort and remain consistent you’ll likely meet or exceed your expectations.
Similar to your workout routine, a good diet can make all the difference in your weight loss results. A balanced diet, rich in protein, greens, and nutrients can outperform even the worst genetics. A poor diet full of simple sugars and grease can diminish even the most genetically gifted person.
While all of these factors play a significant role in how quickly and how much muscle you can gain in a week, the old saying remains true – Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. A genetically gifted individual with a poor diet and nonexistent workout routine can still struggle to gain muscle over an older genetically disadvantaged individual who works hard every day to maintain a proper workout routine and balanced diet.
Now that you know the factors that impact your ability to lose weight, it’s important to create and understand realistic expectations of how much weight you can lose in a week. The average individual can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds of muscle a week.
That’s equivalent to 4 to 8 pounds a month. This number would vary based on the factors described above, including whether you are a beginner as well. Keeping these numbers in mind will be vital to maintaining healthy and realistic fitness goals throughout your fitness journey.
Quick Guide to Weight Loss
1. Consume Less Calories Than Consumed.
Losing body fat requires you to be in a caloric deficit. To figure how many calories are needed to Lose weight, decrease between 250-500 kcals per day of either the Mifflin-St Jeor, Cunningham, or the Harris-Benedict equation times activity factor.
Related: Weight Loss Calculator
2. Exercise at least 3x/week for 1.5 Hour
Eating is only one part of the equation. While you can lose body fat through diet alone, you can speed up the process through adequate exercise.
This requires a mixture of weight lifting and cardio. A good routine would be lifting 3 times a week, high reps for 1 hour, and 30 minutes of cardio. You can also perform cardio on non-lifting days as well.
3. Make Sure to Get Adequate Rest
Lack of adequate sleep places unnecessary stress on the body, not allowing the muscles to recover from lifting and daily activities. According to experts, seven to eight hours and thirty minutes of quality sleep are recommended daily.
Experiment with the number of hours needed to feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Try starting with eight hours (no more than eight) of sleep and slowly decrease hours by thirty minutes.
The urge to lose weight as quickly as possible is very prevalent. However, in reality, losing adequate weight, especially fat, is a slow process that requires commitment and patience. While factors such as age, training experience, and genetics all play a role in the amount of body fat you can lose in a week, a proper workout and diet regime will ultimately be the deciding factor on how much body fat you truly lose.