It is important to remember that the goal of any weight loss diet is to shed the weight and keep it off. The primary focus of any weight loss diet must be to reduce body fat. To get results, those who follow a weight loss diet should expect to see results gradually over time. It takes time to shed fat, and there is no shortcut to fat loss.

Want to know how fast can you see results? The answer is that no one can predict how fast you’ll see results, and this depends on many factors – not just what you do, but also your genetic background. To explain this further, let’s examine a well-known genetic phenomenon, the primary gene pool.

If you need to lose weight, you’ve likely been told that it will be a tough battle, that you will have to eat less and exercise more in order to see results. This is one of the most common misconceptions about losing weight. While it is true that eating less and working out more does lead to weight loss, rest assured that it is not nearly as hard as it sounds.. Read more about should i lose weight before building muscle and let us know what you think.

Everyone wants Insta-worthy after pictures when it comes to weight reduction and muscle development… right now. Understanding what is feasible, on the other hand, may be the difference between attaining incredible achievements and giving up completely. How quickly can a customer lose weight? Is there a limit to how much muscle you can gain? And how do you determine a pace of development that your customer can accomplish and maintain? We’ve got the numbers—and your coaching strategy. 


Assume you’ve acquired two new customers.

Courtney, a 34-year-old woman, wants to shed the 30 pounds she has gained since college.

Jose, a 27-year-old man, wishes to gain 15 pounds of muscular mass.

They both claim they’re willing to go to any length to get what they want.

Given this, how long should it take each of them to accomplish their objectives?

3 months, 6 months, 3 months, 3 months, 3 months, 3 months, 3 months, 3 months 1 year C.

Answer: It is debatable.

Each alternative may be feasible, but they all have drawbacks. And unless you help Courtney and Jose completely get this—and properly calibrate their expectations—they’re going to be disappointed.

Does this ring a bell?

People are often disappointed by what they perceive to be “bad” or “mediocre” outcomes when it comes to reducing weight or building muscle.  

Not because of a lack of development, but because of the following:

  • They began with irrational expectations.
  • They weren’t able to maintain their early pace of development.
  • All of the preceding

This does not need to be the case.

Based on a mix of clinical data and our experience with over 100,000 customers, we’ll discuss what realistic rates of fat loss and muscle growth look like in this post. 1 & 2

More significantly, we’ll teach you how to choose an appropriate pace of advancement for your customer (or even yourself). For outcomes that consistently meet or exceed expectations.

However, if you want to go straight to the numbers, use the following links:

Otherwise, keep reading for the whole tale (details important).

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The outcomes were not normal… Are they, or are they not?

Let’s suppose Courtney dropped six pounds in the first four weeks of your relationship. Nonetheless, she was dissatisfied with her “lack” of development.

Her development was excellent from our perspective.

Maintaining that pace of improvement for six months would result in a 40-pound fat reduction. 

For some, this may be life-changing. For others, it might be a lot more than they’d want to lose. (It’s more than Courtney had hoped to lose.)

All too frequently, though, the customer believes they are failing. Because losing six pounds in four weeks isn’t a big deal.

This is most likely due to their expectation of very quick outcomes. Perhaps they wanted to appear 15 years younger or have the body composition of a magazine cover model by next month’s vacation.

Most individuals would easily agree that losing 15 pounds of fat or gaining 10 pounds of muscle in two weeks is a pipe dream. (The same may be said for resolving severe blood lipid problems or shaving a half-second off their 40-yard sprint speed.)

However, people still want to think that these outcomes are not just conceivable, but also probable. They’ve watched The Biggest Loser, after all.

Your job: From the start, set realistic goals. 

Recognize the real objective and what success entails.

Finding out what your customer ultimately wants to accomplish is the first step.

  • Do they wish to shed a few pounds and improve their health?
  • Do they wish to seem slim in their clothes?
  • Is it their goal to gain 15 pounds of muscle?
  • Do they want their abs to be visible? Do they want to be “shredded”?

Make sure you’re on the same page about what they’re picturing. 

You want to be completely on the same page. As a result, ask more questions and go deeper.

‣ What do people envision when they say they wish to shed 20 pounds? Many individuals underestimate the amount of fat they’ll need to shed to attain a particular body composition. They may believe they need to lose 20 pounds when, in reality, they need to lose 40.

How will they know when they come whether they want to “get healthier”? Are they envisioning improved blood work, and if so, what particular measurements do they have in mind?

Are they willing to acquire fat in addition to muscle if they want to gain muscle? Do they consider themselves to be The Rock, or simply a larger version of themselves?

Getting slimmer may help them accomplish their objective of “looking muscular” more quickly. “Losing fat is the quickest method to appear bigger,” as the adage goes.

‣ Are they ready for all that a six-pack involves if they desire one? A higher quantity of training, a more restricted diet, and a less flexible lifestyle are typically required to achieve this kind of body. Furthermore, if they’ve been overweight for a long time, it’s possible that they’ll have some loose skin.

Walking clients through their ideal situation may help them make better decisions based on their priorities.

Make sure the tradeoffs are well understood.

Simply stated, you want your customer to understand what they’re signing up for.

Put your client’s preferred result on a continuum with two (or more) alternative possibilities as an effective method to accomplish this.

Show what it will take to accomplish two simpler objectives if you want to emphasize how improbable or tough the goal will be.

“Here are the choices you’ll have to make to achieve your objective, and here’s what two alternative outcomes may require,” you might explain. Do you think such compromises are reasonable?”

On the other side, if you want to boost the client’s confidence, sandwich their goal between two simpler and tougher objectives.

“Your goal will undoubtedly be difficult to accomplish, but at least you can have dessert most days and still meet it,” you might add. What are your thoughts on that?”

Here’s an illustration of what this could look like. The diagrams that follow illustrate the compromises that are usually needed to attain three distinct body fat levels.

As you can see, the lower your body fat percentage target is, the more dedication you’ll need. (Read The Cost of Getting Lean for a more in-depth look at this subject.)

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

Download and utilize the Want-Willing-Won’t Worksheet to guarantee that you and your client both understand what they want to accomplish and what they’re willing (and not willing) to do to get there.

It’s now time to speak about timeframes. We’ll start with realistic fat loss rates and then move on to realistic muscle loss rates.

Fat loss rates that are realistic.

How quickly you can reduce body fat is determined by how consistently you can (or want to) follow the instructions.

Weekly fat reduction rates that are realistic

Progress Body Mass Percentage Men Women
Extreme 1-1.5 percent of your whole body weight ~2-3 lb 1.65-2.5% of body weight
Reasonable 0.5-1 % of total body weight ~1-2 lb 0.8-1.65 pound
Comfortable <0.5% body weight ~<1 lb ~<0.8 lb

Here’s how to put each of these categories into perspective:

Extreme: Requires a level of consistency of 90 to 100 percent.

Reasonable: 70 to 85 percent consistency is required.

Comfortable: Requires a consistency of 50 to 65 percent.

(Note: You may also establish a comfortable pace of development by being very consistent.) To achieve reasonable or extreme rates of development, your first action plan would simply need you to make fewer adjustments than would be required to achieve reasonable or extreme rates of success.)

Obviously, the more consistent you are, the quicker you will improve and reduce weight.

It’s also essential to keep in mind that fat reduction is seldom a straight line. It varies from one day to the next and week to week. The objective is to observe a decreasing trend in the long run.

Rate of fat loss

However, fat loss is frequently accelerated when:

  • You’re just getting started.
  • You still have a lot of body fat to shed.

Why? Assume you consume 3,500 calories per day and maintain your current weight. You’ve created a huge 1,500-calorie shortfall if you suddenly start consuming 2,000 calories per day. This will result in fast weight reduction.

However, when you lose body weight, the shortfall becomes smaller and smaller, decreasing fat loss. (This is due to the fact that a smaller body needs less calories.)

As this process continues, your metabolism adjusts, reducing your calorie requirements considerably more than weight reduction alone would suggest. You’ll become more effective at exercising as well, burning less calories via movement.

If that isn’t enough, you may find yourself exercising less often and intensively as a result of the decreased energy supply. (For additional information, see How Your Metabolism Changes As You Lose Weight.)

The bottom line:

The leaner you become, the slower your fat loss will be and the more plateaus you will encounter.

This is very normal. And assisting customers in comprehending this leads to more development.

Because they’ll be less inclined to give up if their fat reduction plateaus for a week or two. Instead, they’ll see suffering as a necessary part of the trip.

Encourage customers to view weight reduction as a lengthy journey. If kids know ahead of time that they’ll have to stop for food and restroom breaks, as well as traffic jams and construction diversions, they won’t be surprised when such things happen. (Due to the fact that they will.) That’s just life.)

It will not always be easy sailing. Prepare them for interruptions by teaching them to anticipate them ahead of time. This mental preparation will be beneficial in the future.

Muscle growth rates that are realistic.

Age, biological sex, genetics, and food intake consistency, as well as resistance exercise experience, intensity, frequency, style, volume, and more, all influence muscle development.

Monthly muscle growth rates that are realistic

degree of fitness Men   Women  
Beginner 1-1.5 percent of your whole body weight 1.5-2.5 pound Body weight: 0.5-0.75 percent 0.65-1 pound
Intermediate Body weight: 0.5-0.75 percent 0.75-1.25 pound 0.25-0.35% of total body weight 0.325-0.5 pound
Advanced 0.25-0.35% of total body weight 0.375-0.625 pound Body weight: 0.125-0.1875 percent 0.1625-0.25 pound

Muscle growth, like fat loss, is not always linear. After the first year of devoted training, progress seems to come in fits and spurts. 

Young men often develop 15 to 25 pounds of muscle in their first year of devoted training (beginner), followed by another 10 to 15 pounds in their second year (intermediate).

In their first year of serious training (beginning), young women may develop 8 to 12 pounds of muscle, with another 4 to 6 pounds in their second year (intermediate).

It may take years of consistent work to observe modest improvements beyond the first three or so years of devoted training (advanced).

Men have the ability to acquire 40 to 50 pounds of muscle over the course of a lifting career, while women have the potential to gain 20 to 25 pounds of muscle. (Without the use of performance-enhancing medications, and depending on height, bone structure, and heredity.)

The focus is on “young” men and women under the age of 30 for the actual rates of muscle growth indicated here. Testosterone and other sex hormones, as well as cellular turnover and general healing ability, are all greater at this age. All of these are essential for muscular development.

Due to changes in these factors, older men and women often grow less muscle and/or at a slower pace.

Is it possible to develop substantial muscular mass beyond your twenties? Yes, however this is mostly dependent on whether you still have enough space to achieve your 40 to 50 pound (men) or 20 to 25 pound (women) potential.

Determine the average rate of fat loss or muscle growth for each person.

Consider actual fat loss and muscle growth rates as the top limit of what can be accomplished in a given amount of time. Now you must modify that figure depending on the person and circumstances you are dealing with.

This is when the true skill of coaching comes into play.

The following variables may influence the pace at which your body composition changes.

Factors that make it more difficult or easy to lose weight

  What makes fat loss more difficult? What facilitates fat loss?
Age Being an adult* Being youthful is an advantage.
Sex Being a woman Being a man
Size of your body right now Being a tiny person Being a bigger person
Body composition at the moment Being a slim person Having a higher body fat percentage
The current level of activity There is little to no activity. Activity levels are high.
Type of current activity Excessive cardio without other forms of exercise Having a well-balanced workout routine
Consistency Being indecisive Being consistent (>80%)
Recovery Most nights, I get fewer than 7 hours of sleep. Most nights, I get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
Stress Excessive stress, or the impression of it, is a common ailment. Stress levels that are acceptable or the feeling of stress that is appropriate
Hormones Low leptin / leptin resistance Insulin-resistance Hormones in a normal range
Medication Contraception is a method of birth control. Antidepressants Corticosteroids Contrave Saxenda PEDs Xenical / Alli Belviq Qsymia
Condition of health Menopause Hypothyroidism Cushing’s syndrome PCOS Depression An unblemished medical report

*Fat loss may and does happen to people of all ages. It’s possible that the reasons it’s difficult for older people are more age-related (health condition, medicines, mobility) than age-dependent.

Factors that make gaining muscle more difficult or easy

  What makes muscle growth more difficult? What makes gaining muscle easier?
Age Being older (>40) Being younger (<30)
Sex Being a woman Being a man
Size of your body right now Having a petite frame and/or skeletal structure Possessing a big frame and/or bone structure
Body composition at the moment Having a higher body fat percentage Being a slim person
The current level of activity There is little to no activity. Activity levels are moderate.
Type of current activity Insufficient weight training / too much cardio Strengthening your resistance
Consistency Being indecisive Being consistent (>80%)
Recovery Most nights, I get fewer than 7 hours of sleep. Most nights, I get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
Stress Excessive stress, or the impression of it, is a common ailment. Stress levels that are acceptable or the feeling of stress that is appropriate
Hormones Cortisol levels are high. Hormones in a normal range
Medication Thyroid medications ADD/ADHD medications Acne treatment PEDs
Condition of health Gastroparesis due to IBD Depression due to hyperthyroidism An unblemished medical report

These aren’t comprehensive lists, but they do show how extra variables may influence a person’s pace of development.

You must also consider what else is going on in a person’s life.

Will your client’s development be constant, or will there be times of stagnation?

If they’re an accountant, for example, you may need to alter your expectations around tax season. The objective over the holidays may simply be to preserve existing progress, with the intention of making more progress once the holidays are gone. What about vacations or other scheduled getaways in the near future?

You won’t be able to anticipate every problem, but you can prepare for what you do know. 

Ask your client how little progress they’re willing to tolerate throughout these times and how long they anticipate these periods to continue. You’ll be able to integrate that information into the timetable if you work together.

It’s time to thoroughly examine what’s needed after you have a clear sense of where they want to go and how quickly they might get there. Is your customer “willing, ready, and able” to go the extra mile?

The Ready, Willing, and Able Worksheet may be used to test this.

Based on the action plan you develop with your customer, here is where you find out how feasible the rates of progress are.

How sure are they that they will follow through now that the next steps are in front of them? Keep in mind that consistency is the key to success. (Learn more about how to make a strategy that clients can stick to.)

It’s OK if your customer isn’t ready, willing, or able to follow through regularly. All you have to do now is change their action plan. This entails changing their expectations as well.

But there’s good news: if you use this technique, you’ll be on the same page right away.

As new information becomes available, revisit and re-calibrate your expectations.

No one can accurately anticipate a client’s improvement pace. This exercise simply allows you to determine if your customer is progressing at their desired pace or whether their results are falling short of expectations.

In general, you should wait two weeks before advising your client to change their eating habits or action plan.

It may take up to four weeks to determine whether their intake is working as they become more advanced or get closer to their ultimate objective. Allow enough time for it to settle before making any more changes.

Continue to evaluate and modify your customers’ goals and expectations as you collect data and make decisions based on it. (Click here to get a printed guide with quick access to the material below.)

Not losing weight within reasonable limits?

Reduce your client’s daily calorie consumption by approximately 250 calories by removing 25 to 50 grams of carbohydrates and/or 7 to 15 grams of fat. Alternatively, they may just cut out 1 to 2 cupped handfuls of carbohydrates and/or 1 to 2 thumbs of fats from their regular diet. (That’s 2 to 3 total carbohydrate and fat servings.)

You’re not growing muscle within reasonable limits?

By adding 25 to 50 grams of carbohydrates and/or 7 to 15 grams of fats to your client’s diet, you may increase their consumption by approximately 250 calories per day. Alternatively, just increase your daily consumption by 1 to 2 cupped handfuls of carbohydrates and/or 1 to 2 thumbs of fats. (That’s 2 to 3 total carbohydrate and fat servings.)

When it comes to reducing weight, are you losing too much lean mass?

Increase the amount of protein your client consumes on a daily basis by approximately 25 grams. Alternatively, just increase your regular protein consumption by one palm.

Adding muscle yet gaining too much fat?

Increase your client’s daily protein consumption by approximately 25 grams, while lowering their carb and/or fat intake by roughly 25 to 50 grams and 7 to 15 grams, respectively.

Alternatively, just add 1 palm of protein to your daily diet and subtract 1 to 2 cupped handfuls of carbohydrates and/or 1 to 2 thumbs of fats. (That’s 2 to 3 total carbohydrate and fat servings.)

Are you having trouble recuperating from strenuous exercises or competitions?

Follow these four steps to get started:

Step 1: Examine your daily calorie consumption in general. If you’re trying to shed weight or fat, consider boosting your energy intake by 100 to 200 calories so that you’re only eating at a small deficit.

Step 2: Calculate your daily protein consumption. Adding 25 grams of protein each day, or one palm of protein, may make a difference.

Step 3: Calculate your total daily carbohydrate consumption. You may need more than you are receiving, especially immediately after training sessions or games/competitions. A excellent place to begin: Increase your daily carb consumption by 25 to 50 grams (or 1 to 2 cupped handfuls).

Step 4: Examine your overall daily fat consumption, especially your essential fatty acid intake. If you’re experiencing a lot of inflammation, increasing your consumption of “Eat More” fat sources while reducing your intake of “Eat Less” fat sources may help. (See the article What Foods Should I Eat for a range of both sources.)

Allow the facts to lead you.

Clients may develop more quickly or slowly than you anticipated, or they may face unforeseen obstacles (such as an injury or illness).

This is perfectly OK. Predictions and expectations should be based on known facts rather than on speculation, hopes, or assumptions.

“The facts are friendly,” as the renowned psychotherapist Carl Rogers often remarked. Whatever occurs, think of this calibration as a necessary and important step toward becoming a more accurate and evidence-based coach.

This kind of outcome-based decision-making is an effective coaching technique for assisting clients in seeing how their activities lead to development and outcomes.

Keep in mind that statistics aren’t the sole method to gauge progress.

It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers: body fat percentage, inches lost, and the number on the scale. However, subjective indicators of development are just as important, such as:

  • Showing up and putting out some effort, no matter how little
  • Small acts that are somewhat better than previously
  • Feeling more at ease when it comes to eating
  • Breakfast on your busiest morning, for example, is a daily victory.
  • Having greater vigor and energy
  • Increasing your strength and/or fitness
  • Feeling more at ease in one’s own skin or sense of self
  • And more

Regardless of the statistics, make sure your customer knows how far they’ve come. Pointing up the good aspects of the client’s behavior, activities, and attitude on a regular basis provides positive feedback on which the client may build.

In this case, the Looking Back, Looking Ahead Worksheet may be very useful. It allows customers to see how far they’ve come, which may help them feel more confident and motivated. It may also assist them in anticipating and avoiding future problems.

As we like to say at :

Progress, not perfection, is the goal. 

That may be the most essential expectation you can establish, regardless of whether your customers desire to reduce weight or build muscle.


To see the information sources mentioned in this article, go here.

If you’re a coach or wish to be one…

It’s both an art and a science to guide clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a manner that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.

Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.

If you want to lose fat and gain muscle mass, you need to lose fat first, then add muscle. If you consider this common knowledge, then you probably don’t need to read this article. But there are many individuals who still consider fat loss and muscle gain as two separate processes. Therefore, this article is intended for those who have this misconception, as it will explain why gaining muscle mass is, in most cases, much more difficult than losing fat.. Read more about when to switch from fat loss to muscle gain and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to see results in fat loss?

It takes a few weeks to see the results of fat loss.

What is a realistic rate of progress for fat loss per week?

The rate of fat loss per week is largely dependent on how many calories you consume and what your current weight is. For example, if you are a 200 pound male and want to lose 10 pounds in one month, it will take you about 2,000 calories to do so.

How long do you gain muscle before losing weight?

It depends on the individual, but usually it takes at least a month for muscle to build up and start burning fat.

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