So it’s been about two weeks since my last weight loss / fitness plan update.
In my last update I introduced my tracking sheet and the concept of “THE GAP”.
“THE GAP” is basically the amount of FAT that I still have left to lose to hit my target weight.
When I started this journey on April 20th, my starting weight was 245.1 lbs and my target weight was 180.0 lbs, so the gap was exactly 65.1 lbs.
Here’s what that looked like in my spreadsheet:
So that was my starting point.
As of today, my tracker looks like this:
I’m still very early in my journey here so the numbers aren’t that significant yet, but do you see how this method of tracking “THE GAP” is more effective than just tracking your weight and target weight?
Meaning, as you can see, during the last 4 weeks I’ve lost 5.9 lbs of weight, but at the same time I’ve also put on 0.3 lbs of muscle, which means that the amount of actual FAT LOSS – which is what I really want – is actually 6.2 lbs, and not just 5.9 lbs.
Now I know, some of you might be thinking “Cmon Paul, 5.9lbs … 6.2lbs… big deal, pretty much the same number… you lost 6 lbs, we get it… why waste your time tracking the extra 0.3 lbs etc.”
And at this point in my journey I would agree with you… that 0.3 lbs of muscle gain isn’t a huge factor in the overall numbers here – BUT that is only because so far I’ve only done two full body strength training sessions since starting my program, and that is about to change in a big way.
I’ve been sick this last week and a half with a cold/flu, so I didn’t do my strength training session last week, and also I only have my DAY 1 personalize training program from my trainer so far.
I have two more sessions with my personal trainer Sam this coming week where he will be teaching me my Day 2 an Day 3 programs and then I plan on doing strength training three times a week, so I anticipate that my muscle gains WILL play a much bigger role in these calculations going forward.
Why is Tracking Important for Motivation?
Now you might be thinking… why even bother tracking all these things anyways?
Why not just set a target weight, and then weigh yourself once in a while and keep going until you hit your target.
Well, back in 2009 that is pretty much exactly what I tried to do.
My starting weight back then was 212.0 lbs, and I started this training program called P90X.
I worked out every day for 8 weeks straight without skipping a single workout.
No matter what, I did every workout, and I followed the P90x diet guidelines about 80%, and after 8 weeks I did my weigh in.
I thought for sure that I must have lost at least 10-20 lbs from all the blood and sweat that I put into the program…
But you know what my weight was after 8 weeks?
I hadn’t lost a single pound!
I was so discouraged, and even though there were other factors that played into the equation in my life at that time as well, one of the reasons I ended up quitting that program was because it felt so discouraging to not see ANY progress on my scale.
Now, here’s the thing…
What REALLY happened is that I was putting on muscle during that program, while at the same time simultaneously losing some fat.
And essentially any fat that I was losing was offset by any muscle gains, so the net result was a zero difference in my weight.
Now because I had no way to track my lean body mass vs fat mass back then, I don’t know if I lost 5lbs of fat and gained 5lbs of muscle, or if I lost 10lbs of fat and gained 10lbs of muscle, or what the actual numbers were.
I know for sure that I put on muscle because I was definitely WAY stronger after 8 weeks than when I started and I do know I lost fat because my waist measurements did shrink, but I don’t know how much I lost.
And the interesting thing was that even though I knew these things at a conscious level, at a more basic subconscious level I was disappointed and depressed about the fact that my body weight hadn’t moved at all!
Do you know how annoyingly depressing it is to work your ass off (literally) for 8 weeks straight, working out every day, no matter what, and following a diet and then 8 weeks later you see absolutely no change on your scale?
If I was tracking my stats much more closely like I am now, I probably would have been way more motivated to keep going.
That is why I track my stats so closely nowadays.
Even though I know that the stats I’m tracking are not 100% accurate, since the Fitbit Aria scale I’m using isn’t 100% accurate in calculating body fat vs lean body mass, it’s still better to see SOME kind of stats than nothing.
Like when I look at my numbers above and I think to myself that I’ve already lost 6.2 lbs of fat in the first 4 weeks on this plan, that gets me excited and keeps me motivated to keep going.
Now, granted that a part of that weight loss did come from the last few days of me being sick and not having much of an appetite, but still… 6.2 lbs of fat loss is 6.2 lbs of fat loss. 🙂
My next step in the program this week is getting my Day 2 and Day 3 programs from my personal trainer and then I’ll go from there.
I’m really curious to see how my body responds to the strength training program when I start doing it three times a week.