There is no perfect formula for body transformation. Something everyone needs to understand is that YOU are unique. Your genetic makeup and body type is specific to you and you only.
There are multiple factors that will play a role in how your body changes when you exercise. This includes the type of training you do, your diet, lifestyle, and your genetic makeup. We want to give you some insight on what to expect during your process and also let you know that it is okay if your transformation is at a different pace than someone else's. This is your journey, not theirs.
The different types of training you do will change the outcome. If you are doing heavy olympic lifts and are following a tier program (which includes specific reps, sets, and tempos), you will gain muscle. So expect that heavy weight lifting will result in muscle growth. If you are incorporating a nutrient rich and healthy diet along with cardio, you will also shed fat. If those three aren’t in combination, expect to see muscle and weight gain only.
There is no doubt that cardio is beneficial and good for the body, but it's important that your cardio routine varies. Pros about cardio is that you will notice your sleep and brain function improve and your risk of heart disease will decrease. These are all good for the inside of the body. As for the outside, if you choose to do cardio only, you should expect muscle loss due to a caloric deficit (especially if you are running miles and miles), overtraining as far as mental and physical exhaustion, and fat retention.
Your body starts to adapt to your workout routine if you don’t switch up your exercise routine. You will need to keep amping up your workouts to see any improvement. You will also eventually see a decrease in your metabolic rate, which can cause your body to store fat instead of burning it. So the main thing here is that if you lose muscle mass, do cardio. Just make sure you are switching it up with volume and intensity. Intensity levels make a big difference, which is why we like HIIT!
High-intensity interval training. Why do we love it so much? It’s the perfect combination of strength and cardio that constantly varies. Individuals that have training consisting of HIIT workouts will see a gain in strength; there will be slight muscle gain paired with fat loss. This type of training is ideal for those who want to lean out and shred fat. There will be no plateaus because these workouts are constantly changing. Weighted and body weight exercises are incorporated and you get everything you need in one workout.
Now that we have talked about the different kinds of training and what you should expect to see as far as results, let's talk about why you specifically might not see those changes happen. Why isn’t it working for you? This is where outside factors come into play and where your unique formula might take some time to figure out.
Once again, you must be patient with yourself. You genetically might have a fast metabolism or it might be slow. This also changes as you get older—for women and for men! Your body type is not the same as someone else. You can have a short or a long torso, short or long legs, wide or narrow hips, broad or narrow shoulders. The combinations are endless. What’s most important is that you don’t compare yourself to others because they are not you! They never will be. Therefore, your changes will be based on you and your body only.
The physical state your body is in when you first start working out will also have an affect on the changes you see. For instance, you could be malnourished, but you like how small you look. You start working out, your appetite increases and all of sudden you've gained this weight that you don’t want. This right here means you have deprived your body from what it needs to be the healthiest version of itself. You are not supposed to be in that state of health. As your body gets stronger it will naturally put on muscle, but it also has been in survival mode for so long that it’s going to hang on to that fat in fear that it will be in that unhealthy state again.
With that being said, sometimes you gain weight before you shed the fat. This is where patience is important. Give it some time. Stay consistent and also focus on healthy eating habits. Allow your body to feel safe to let go. Usually there is a point where you are gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time. But like we said, this varies for everyone.
One thing to keep in mind is that muscle weighs more than fat. We don’t like BMIs. The BMI especially is an incredibly inaccurate body measurement calculation. Shoot! We don’t even like the scale. The number on the scale does not matter. Your weight may not change at all, it might even increase! That doesn’t matter! What matters is how you look and how you feel! What are some other things you should expect as your body transforms?
Something that is important for women is that birth control does have an effect on weight gain and weight loss. If you are doing everything right and still aren't seeing changes, this may be the problem! Oftentimes, birth control causes women’s bodies to hold on to water and fat. Once they switch their birth control or get off of it, they shed the extra weight.
Lastly, always remember that slow and steady wins the race. You want a lifestyle that is sustainable. A healthy rate to lose weight is 1-2 lbs. a week. This can vary based on what you're doing. For those who are only adding exercise into your routine, this is a healthy expectation.
Your results can be fast tracked in a healthy way if you combine a healthy diet to your exercise. All in all, you need to have an end goal in mind. Understand what types of training can help you achieve that goal, understand that your time frame is different than somebody else’s, and be sure to have a variety in your workout routine. Be patient and embrace your body!