This Is What Progress Really Looks Like

Anyone who has done what we do for any length of time knows that progress — whether strength gains, weight loss, muscle gain — does not progress in a straight line. Progress is typically all over the place and trends and patterns are important to pay attention to.

When it comes to body fat/weight loss, this is especially true. Sometimes new clients will think that they should be losing weight every day and when there's an odd fluctuation, they get discouraged saying something like, "but I'm doing everything perfectly this week and I gained weight today." It doesn't work like that. 

There will always be fluctuations when monitoring scale weight. There is a direct relationship between training legs and gaining weight, slightly, the following day for the large majority of people. However, I am quite the opposite in that I typically can count on losing weight and being lighter on the scale  the day after a leg day. Again, everyone is different.

Soreness impacts scale weight. Soreness is inflammation and the more inflammation, the more water is being retained in that sore muscles. Leg muscles are large and this can throw scale weight off a bit.

Increasing sodium can throw off your scale weight, as well. Again, this can make you hold more water. However, this typically will dissipate after a day or so, if sodium intake returns to normal.

Skiploads, cheat meals, refeeds, etc., will all throw scale weight off due, again, to water weight primarily from storing more glycogen in the muscles. Of course, there is also subq water retention to factor in, as well.

Not taking in enough water/fluids will usually make your weight drop the following day, giving a false read on the scale. 

Notice a pattern here? Everything is related to water. This is because body fat gain and body fat loss is not measurable on a daily basis. So, if you have gained weight all of a sudden on a particular day, you can almost BET that it is a fluctuation having something to do with water, provided that your diet is 100% on track.

The diagram pictured, shows my progress over roughly the last 5 weeks.  The low points are a measure of my weight prior to a high-carb day (not a Skipload Day) and the peaks are a measure of my weight the day after a high-carb day.  The pattern should be obvious.

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If I were not using high-carb days, the progress likely would have been less impressive because the high-carb days feed the metabolism as if "throwing gas on a fire" to keep my metabolism running hot. Without them, there would be more of a "linear" progression but it would a much slower progression and there would be many days in a row where the weight may actually remain stable and not move, at all.

These peaks and valleys are a necessity to keeping the metabolism off balance and the progress consistent and optimal.  I think we can all agree that going from 236 to 222 in about 5 weeks is pretty solid progress considering other factors like:

I am not at all hungry. In fact, I have not been hungry once.

My strength is improving so there is a bit of a recomp going on at the same time (adding muscle while losing body fat).

My training sessions, pumps, energy and total focus has not been negatively affected, at all. 

3 high-carb days in 5 weeks and only one diet change (subtle) in that time frame. At the same time, my calories are higher at this weight than EVER in my 35 years of training and in this condition.

I am going to Skipload this weekend for the first time in 7 weeks. The reason I am doing this is because after moving the high-carb days closer together (from about 13 days to 6 days), I am finally starting to flatten out quite a bit to the point where the last few workouts prior to a high-carb day are starting to suffer. Plus, the high-carb days alone are not enough to fill me out enough as I get more depleted. Still, I am not hungry, though, and that is important to note. Plus, there has been ZERO cardio during the last 7 weeks.

I am interested to see if the progress improves with the addition of the Skiploads or if it simply remains the same.

I am unsure how I am going to handle both the high-carb days and the Skiploads now that I have started Skiploading as of this coming weekend. My best guess is that I will still use a high-carb day every 6 days but Skipload every 13-14 days but that is just a guess at this point. I will, of course, adjust the plan based on how I am responding and I will post what I am doing here in my coach logs.

The plan is just simply to get as lean as possible. Last time I leaned out in late 2018 I was just looking to get to 220-ish and be fairly lean to go into a growth phase. This time, I am going to get as lean as I can possibly get so 220 is kind of just my starting point. I don't know if this means I will end up at 200 or 210 or 205 or what. I just don't know. I am going for a look, not a number. However, using the scale is still a hugely important tool in gauging progress as long as it is used with other variables like the visual, workout quality, strength, etc.

I will keep everyone posted but will likely not detail my progress like this weekly. I will instead do it every month or so.

 

 

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