I watch people work their asses off throughout the week…
They’re prepping meals, crushing workouts, even doing 2 a days.
Fist bumps for all of you, do work baby!
But then I sometimes get asked,
“If I’m working so hard, why do I still look the same?”
That’s a valid and great question.
And in this post…
I’m going to share my “7 Day Approach” to help you figure out that and maybe some other questions, hopefully provide a new perspective for you, and give you a tracking strategy that has not only been battle tested but has shown some amazing results with my own personal training clients.
Ok, here we go. (bear with me, you’ll have to use your imagination for this role playing part)
Let’s say that you’re doing pretty awesome with the whole fitness thing.
But I know that just saying your doing awesome doesn’t help us figure anything out so we’re going to give “Awesome” some specific numbers.
Let’s say your consistent workouts at the gym and you just mindfully being more active throughout your day (like taking the stairs instead of the elevator) is helping you burn on average 300 calories per day.
And for this example, we’ll say that you cleaned up your nutrition and started eating at about a 200 calorie deficit from your maintenance caloric intake.
* Maintenance Calorie Intake: the amount of food you can consume without gaining or losing weight based on your current level of activity.
So, for this example – you doing “Awesome” in a day will look something like this.
Workout: 300 calories
Food Deficit: 200 calories
When we add these two numbers together, we get your total caloric deficit for the day.
300 calories (Workout) + 200 calories (Food Deficit) = 500 Calorie Total Daily Deficit
What I most commonly see is individuals crushing it through their work week.
Monday to Friday.
And after talking with a lot of people, most of them agree and say it’s because they have a solid routine that helps them stay consistent.
They eat breakfast at the same time, pack their bag with the same essentials each day, hit the gym before or after work at the same time, eat dinner at the same time, etc.
So, if we take a look at you doing “Awesome” from Monday to Friday we see something like this.
Monday to Friday
Monday: 500 calories
Tuesday: 500 calories
Wednesday: 500 calories
Thursday: 500 calories
Friday: 500 calories
And by the end of the work week, we have…
Monday to Friday Total Caloric Deficit = 2,500 calories
With a total caloric deficit of 2,500 calories – you are in fact doing awesome!
Your definitely on your way to seeing some awesome results especially with weight loss and getting lean goals.
So, where do people go wrong?
I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now.
It’s the WEEKENDS.
Weekends are filled with lots of inconsistencies and flexions in your routine that can easily throw your consistency off.
You might go out to eat for (breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner), you might not make it to the gym on a saturday or sunday, and it’s common to see activity levels significantly decrease.
With all these changes, trying to maintain let alone be at a caloric deficit for the day can be difficult but let’s take a closer look at it to make sure we understand how much of an impact 2 days can have.
That on Saturday, you’re right on track to eat at your 200 calorie deficit from your maintenance caloric intake for the day. So, pretty much the same amount of food you have been eating Monday through Friday.
You don’t go to the gym but you will still be at a -200 calories for the day just from the amount of food you have decided to eat. (still the same amount you eat Monday through Friday)
You get invited out to go eat dinner with some friends. And they’re your extra FUN Friends!
Let’s cut a long story short and say you had a great time and ended up ordering the burger and fries that totaled to about 1,200 calories.
You go over the amount of calories that would have put you at -200 calories for the day and even go over your maintenance calories. Ok, you go over by 600 calories.
You feel slightly bad, more bloated than bad.
Let’s take a look at your week now.
Total Caloric Deficit For The Week (Monday to Friday) = – 2,500 calories
Saturday = +600 calories
After a little math, we see that you’re still at a deficit of -1900 calories for the week. Not bad.
-2,500 calories (mon to fri deficit) + 600 calories (saturday surplus) = -1,900 calories
But your friends had so much with you that they invite you to brunch the next morning and of course you say Yes! (it’s the weekend)
You get to a late brunch and you’re starving because you expected it to be a little earlier so you go at it. (it’s the weekend)
And you order…
Fried Chicken and Waffles = 1,000 calories
Bloody Mary = 500 calories
Side of Biscuits & Gravy = 400 calories.
*I’ve seen someone order this and these are actually pretty accurate numbers for calories.
To illustrate my point, let’s assume you eat your maintenance caloric intake for the day after this meal which puts you at a surplus of 1900 calories.
Now, your week kinda looks like this…
-1,900 calories (mon to sat deficit) + 1900 calories (sunday surplus) = 0 total calorie deficit
By the end of the week… You break even.
Ok, so the big takeaway here is that I see so many people work hard Monday through Friday only to lose their results on the weekend.
Why does this happen?
Often times, people track day to day and as long as they’re at a deficit they take it as a win and move on to the next day.
This can be a recipe for disaster.
“The strategy that I’ve found to work more effectively when it comes to getting lean and losing weight is to take a 7 day/1 week approach to your nutrition deficit. This not only emphasizes the theme of consistency but also reminds you that WEEKENDS COUNT.”
You have to shoot to win the week not just the days.
Also, I’ve noticed that when individuals count day to day and collect lots of wins, it’s easy to rewards yourself and dismiss 1 or 2 losses.
The reality is 1 or 2 days lost in a week can result in sabotaging an entire week’s worth of hard work.
Your Move and Takeaways:
- Plan and prepare for the weekends to ensure that you are meeting your goals.
- Don’t only track on a micro “day to day” level, take a step back and see things from a more macro “7day/1 week” level.
- Try this strategy and if it works for you great, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, no big deal, move forward and find something else that does.
- Hopefully now you can answer why even though you’re working your ass off you may not be seeing a lot of changes.
- Don’t forget that Weekends Count!
If you’re gaining weight, you can still use the 7 day approach to help you pinpoint when you’re struggling so you can make the necessary changes.
Hope this helps you find some answers!