“I haven’t lost weight. But, I have been working out 3 times a week.” This is something I hear often and I tell clients the same thing. “Trust the process.” And by “process,” I mean the adding lean muscle mass part. It takes time for muscle to build and people assume it’s going to be quick. If you just started exercising, then the rate of losing inches/weight is fast because you went from zero exercise to how ever many days of exercising you decided to add to your regimen. That’s quite a change, and I always, ALWAYS remind clients that the rate of weight loss/gain in muscle is not going to be like that all the time. If it were that simple, everybody would be in shape right? I’ve seen clients lose 5-10-lbs the first month and get excited (which they should) then get disappointed the following month when they don’t lose as much as the first. Expectations are high when the first month goes well and people assume the same results will occur the following month. When that expectation is not met, then people get discouraged and start to question. They may start questioning what I do with them (which I completely understand) and I have to reiterate the fact that it takes time. This is when I sit them down and have a little q&a, where I break down how their body is changing.
When people get on the scale all they see is a number. It does NOT reflect how much muscle the body is adding or how much the waist is coming down. All they see is a number and get frustrated that it isn’t down, or worse, up from last time. The unfortunate thing about body composition change is, if it isn’t drastic (meaning, apparent to the eyes) then people start wondering if they benefited at all from the hard work they put in. Unlike the scale, there’s no easily-accessible measurable number that people can see to prove that they are gaining muscle (unless you go to a science lab and submerge under water and get your composition calculated; if you have blond hair, beware because your hair will turn blue, hah). Or, there are trucks that carries a full body scanner to calculate your body fat/lean muscle mass composition. But all in all, let’s just say it’s not easy to see how much your body is adding muscle.
The thing that we can do as trainers is to execute exercises that clients were not able to do before and see if they can now. Or we do measurable exercises (deadlifts, squats, bench press, etc.) and it becomes clear whether you got stronger or not because now you have a number (weight) that is associated with the exercise and now it’s a matter of you being able to lift it or not. The truth of the matter is, people neglect this aspect and fixate only on the number on the scale. It sucks because even though the client clearly increased strength in all areas, they don’t get excited. Their obsession with the goal weight far outweighs how the body is changing, so they neglect the way their arms are toning, stomach shrinking, shoulders relaxing, and overall posture improving. We don’t care about all those right? We just care about the number that pops up on the scale. And I get it, but the thing people don’t realize or block out is the fact that if you increase your muscle mass, then the number on the scale will be up because you just added muscle. Also, the body fat decreases in the process, so technically you can be the same weight but your body may be totally different. Sometimes I feel like boy who cried wolf and people not believing what I say to them when the weight is the same but just have to reiterate the fact that since you added muscle and body fat went down, they offsetted each other. My favorite saying when explaining this to a client, “trust the process.” ………………………………………………Kei