Just 6 months from their wedding, Born Fitness client Chris (aka Sparta) decided to get serious about fat loss.
There’s nothing like a deadline to get your ass going. Sparta was highly motivated, getting through workouts at the gym and diving into tracking his food (something that works well for him).
But, after initially losing weight, Sparta’s progress stalled…and plateaued. The scale did not move for almost 6 weeks.
The funny? This is not abnormal.
Most people freak out when the scale gets stuck and assume something is broken. Still, plateaus are part of the long-term sustainable weight loss process.
Sometimes the scale doesn’t move simply because your body is adjusting to the change. Your body needs time to recalibrate to your new lower weight. This is a process known as fixed point theory.
But, when the scale is stuck, it can still be frustrating. So the story of Sparta is one of patience and reward. When things don’t keep going your way, don’t give up. As you can see, Sparta reaped the rewards.
What led to Sparta’s plateau-breaking success? Patience, a great plan from Coach Natalie, and some minor adjustments led to important results.
Don’t trust activity trackers.
First, you learned not to trust activity trackers. Many people (like Sparta) use these tools to measure how much they can eat and still be in a deficit.
Activity trackers are notoriously inaccurate, so if you use them to adjust the number of calories you can eat per day, chances are you’ll overeat and gain weight.
TO study published in the Personalized Medicine Journal found that figures given for energy expenditure (calories burned) by a variety of wrist-worn devices were between 27.4% and 93% off.
In the study, the Fitbit Surge provided the most “accurate” reports on calories burned, but still overestimate how many calories you burned on an average of 27.4%. Oh! (For context, the Apple Watch was overestimated by 40%).
Here’s why this is a big problem. Fat loss happens when you eat fewer calories than you burn (no matter what diet or exercise program you follow). This is hard for many people, but it’s much harder if you’re overeating the calories you need. think you are burning out during your workouts.
Let’s say your FitBit reports that you burned ~650 calories during your workout (got after her) and decided to treat yourself to a 600-calorie meal. After all, you earned it. On the surface, this is fine.
But, based on previous research, you probably only burned about 435 calories during the workout, which means you only overate by 150 calories. And that’s using the studio’s most accurate tracker.
Plus, if you’re also tracking your macros, most calorie fat loss equations already factor your activity into their formula. They’ve accounted for your workouts (and your daily movement) so you don’t have to. So if you’re adding calories from your workout, it means you’re even more likely to overeat.
This is not to say that activity trackers are not valuable. Your workout data can serve as a baseline rather than a calorie measurement. This will give you a good idea of whether you were more or less active than yesterday (or last week).
But don’t let these facts influence the number of calories you eat too much. Keep your diet plan consistent.
Trainer Natalie asked Sparta to only use the activity tracker as a “motion metric.” By comparing how much he moved from day to day and from week to week, she was able to make sure he was staying active outside of the gym. These non-workout “exercises” are a fat loss “trick” that works wonders.
It’s time to get real (with yourself).
More importantly, Sparta made a mental change.
With the help of Coach Natalie, he stepped back and leaned in to identify what habits were keeping him stuck. He quickly realized that he wasn’t being honest with himself.
“I was making excuses about my diet. He always seemed to justify eating like a garbage barge because it was “rare” (Narrator: It wasn’t), or a “special occasion”, or…or…or. I realized that I eat when I am bored and lazy by nature, so I would always go for what is easiest.”
Together, Sparta and her fiancé worked to hold each other accountable. She also limited eating out to once a week and recreated pre-COVID routines (when she prepared meals to take to work) that worked in her new work-from-home reality.
“Honestly, it feels good to get my sensuality back. Now I have more energy, more strength and I’m a little thinner. In general, my outfit is tighter, which is also more of a confidence booster. And when I walk past a window, I now see someone who looks healthier. And my butt looks better too.”
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BJ has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Health and Performance and multiple certifications, including Precision Nutrition Level 1 and BioForce Certified Conditioning Coach. During his 14 year coaching career, he has been fortunate to train a wide range of clients. From online clients looking to get in shape to CEO Nate Checketts (Rhone) and CEO Marcelo Claure (Softbank) and professional skateboarder Sean Malto. Before beginning his coaching career, he was a research assistant in a sports science laboratory.