Ah, the $64,000 question.
What comes in the way of an answer is my go to answer on most things health, fitness and nutrition related…
Most people like a concrete answer, so let me give you my version of that.
When I sit down with a client who wants to lose weight, the ballpark figure I have in mind for an optimal amount of weight (specifically body fat) to lose per week is 0.75% of your bodyweight, on average.
By working in % terms it means it accounts for varying amounts depending on your bodyweight.
Let’s run through a couple of examples…
Bodyweight of 200 lbs, means 1.5 lbs target weight loss in a week.
If this was then repeated over a 12 week period, you would lose 17.3 lbs overall.
Bodyweight of 150 lbs, means just over 1.1 lbs target weight loss in a week.
If this was then repeated over a 12 week period, you would lose 13.0 lbs overall.
The more you weigh to begin with, the more you will lose.
You may have read previously that you should be losing 1-2 lbs per week.
Which as you can see from the above examples, is correct.
However, it doesn’t quite work out that way for people starting at a higher or lower bodyweight.
In this scenario if your bodyweight is in the 350 lbs, you’d be looking at over 2 lbs loss per week.
If this was then repeated over a 12 week period, you would lose 30.2 lbs overall.
Let’s not forget an important point to add here…
I said a 0.75% loss, ON AVERAGE.
It’s the on average part that should not be overlooked.
Some weeks it maybe slightly more, some slightly less, you may even schedule in planned maintenance and recovery weeks.
One of my favourite strategies involves a 4 week block for a 0.75% average loss per week that looks like this…
Week 1 – Maintain Body Weight
Use this week to integrate a new training programme, with 25% less sets than normal.
So if your full programme involves 4 sets of bench press, this week would be only be 3 sets, etc.
As time goes on, this week in every programme will be classed as a recovery or restoration week.
Week 2, 3 + 4 – 1.0% weight loss per week.
Use these weeks to carry out your programme in full.
Look to progressively overload the programme session by session, week-on-week.
You have 3 straight weeks to push hard both physically and mentally.
With it only being a relatively short period of time you can really give it your all because you know that your restoration week is coming soon.
So why 0.75%?
In my 20+ years experience, this seems to be the optimal amount in terms of both seeing short-term results and with disciplined effort, it’s manageable.
Can you lose more in a week? Yes.
Can you lose more in a week over a long period of time and do it in a way that will enable you to both live your life and maintain your results at the end? Probably not.
Don’t just take my word for it.
Take a look around and just see how many people lose weight only to put it all back on and then some, over time.
Why is this so common?
Because, how you lose weight matters.
I believe you should lose weight in a way that gives you a flexible structure and the knowledge of how to adapt that structure to maintain your results.
Look at weight watchers, slimming world, etc.
You lose weight when you are with them but put it back on when you’re not.
It’s a vicious circle…
They aren’t educating you on how you’ve actually lost the weight, you are none the wiser and ill-equipped to maintain any weight lost in the medium-to-long term.
So you put 2+2 together and think you have to stay with them.
A perpetual diet and being shamed for not losing weight in a group setting, no thanks.
It really doesn’t have to be that way.
Get yourself familiar with the amount of calories you burn, from there you can adapt your calorie intake depending what you want to do with your bodyweight.
Think long-term and arm yourself with the knowledge of how you can control how you look, feel and perform, FOREVER.
Thanks for reading, have a great day.
Do you need confidential help with your health, fitness or nutrition? I have a range of services available, with Personal Training in my Private Gym in Manchester, also at your home or workplace in the surrounding areas. For clients further afield, I provide Online Personal Training, Nutritional Consultancy & Private Fitness Holidays.