What I've learned from years of tracking client weight loss data
By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
A raw data survey of our clients and how diet, weight training, muscle, sleep, and consistency affects weight loss. Out of 288 clients who trained a duration of three months or longer, this is data I've collected over a four year span. If your goal is to get fit and lose weight, use this as your case study and reference point. Save yourself some time and learn what works and doesn't work for weight loss.
WHAT THE NUMBERS TELLS US
Clients who lost over 30lbs or more
83% did it on a grain free diet.
22% on a restricted carb diet.
5% on a calorie restricted diet (many of them gained it back with interest).
Sugar is the hardest thing to give up.
Clients who lost 15lbs or more in the first month had the hardest time maintaining weight loss. Rushing is the enemy of consistency; a sustained pace is the key.
Training frequency and weight loss
63% of clients who trained 3 times a week or more (a combination of personal training and on their own) lost 20lbs or more.
13% of clients who trained 2 times a week lost 20lbs or more.
1 client lost over 20lbs on once a week.
On the other side though, clients who trained too often (6 or more times) had diminished results.
Cardio vs strength
Out of clients who lost 20lbs or more
76% did mostly strength training and some cardio outside of their personal training sessions.
19% did just cardio.
5% never worked out on their own and trained 3 times a week or more with just personal training.
Clients who only did strength training with 0 cardio also showed better results than their pure cardio counterparts. Part of the answer may be, cardio makes people hungrier and people unconsciously compensate by eating more.
Muscle vs fat
In a scale of essential, athletic, lean, acceptable, unacceptable, and over fat
100% of clients with high muscle mass had lean or better body fat.
8% of clients with moderate muscle mass had lean or better body fat.
0% of clients with low muscle mass had lean or better body fat.
Men with 40% muscle mass or higher
100% of them had lean body fat or better.
Men with 30-39% muscle mass or higher
10% had lean or better body fat.
Women with 30% or higher muscle mass
100% had lean body fat or better.
Women with 29% and below
5% had lean body fat.
Contrary to popular belief, our female clients with 35% or better muscle mass also had the lowest BMI (they were our lightest clients). More muscle percentage just means less body fat.
Clients with more muscle mass also lost more weight. Muscle tissue can burn off fat, the more muscle you have, the more fat you can shed. Track muscle percentage first, weight second. It works better this way.
Sleep and weight loss
42% reported they get great sleep.
40% reported they get moderately good sleep.
18% are poor sleepers.
Sleep and stress management go hand in hand. If you can manage your sleep and stress, your body will reward you. It also helps to reset leptin and cortisol, two factors known to promote weight gain.
When people stop working out
Why people stop working out
- Long vacation
- Minor illness, injury, or accident
- Insomnia or problem sleeping
- Financial difficulties
- Some other reason
Almost 70% of people who lost their motivation, lost it after missing training for an extended period of time. People who leave on business trips, even if they're extended trips maintain their exercise habit. Since work is a part of their routine, they tend to maintain their other routines. Vacations, being sick, poor sleep, moving, is about the shutting off of routines. You are not allowed to shut off during a business trip.
It's a good reminder to exercise even when situations aren't ideal. It doesn't have to be intense, it just has to be something consistent, so when you're back from your trip or you're feeling better, you haven't lost the habit of making time for exercise. It's not about being active, it's the act of taking time out of your day -- it's about the commitment. The habit of exercise is like a muscle, you need to constantly exercise it, if you don't it'll become weak again.
Clients who lost the most amount of weight initially were also the quickest to lose motivation. There is a huge psychological aspect to weight loss and rapid weight loss couples high expectations with low resilience. Their bodies couldn't adapt quickly enough to maintain the changes they were forcing, along with not giving lifestyle changes enough time to be integrated.
If your goal is to lessen body fat and lose weight:
- Make working out consistently a habit
- Focus more on strength
- Measure your muscle mass
- Eat less grains, carbs, and sugar
- Get better sleep
- Don't rush, create a sustained pace.
- Don't force it, integrate it.
You can measure a lot of this yourself with a body composition scale.
My name is Sam Yang. I'm a martial artist, entrepreneur, fitness nerd, information geek, and productivity nut. For more useful information, join my newsletter. You can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter.