I would say over 50% of people fail before they even have started each New Year because of the very first decision they make in January. It all comes back to timescales and focus.

When thinking about your goal what timescale are you judging results on?

Most people are looking at February, March or perhaps this time next year. It is important to be aware of timescale when you embark on your new routine because you have a choice. You must decide what type of plan you follow. Should you go all out on a hard core plan? Should it be slow and steady? What areas should you address with your plan?

An important element to be aware of is that the body has a set speed at which it can lose body fat and there is literally no way around it. No supplements, no drugs, no magic diets, no special exercise routine. Heck, even when I did 0 calories (on 23000 steps/day) for 5 days I couldn’t get past this speed of fat loss. It is of no surprise, a controlled speed is an inherent protection mechanism within the body against famine and starvation.

In practical terms it means we can see from before you start how long it will take to achieve your goals. This then begs the question, can my plan be sustained for this length of time?

General speeds at which the body can change are summed up below –

A Dress Size – 4 – 8 weeks (Varies based on where you lose fat vs where clothes are tight)

One Kilogram – 1 – 2 Weeks (Genuine fat loss not water / carb store shifts).

1% Body Fat – 5 – 15 days (1 – 2 weeks may be an easier estimate for maths) 

1 Kg Muscle Gain – 2 – 4 months (Genuine Muscle gain not fat gains etc).

So that means the following examples would be realistic time expectations.

e.g, goal                                  Possible Time          Practical Expectation Time* 

– Lose 2 Dress Sizes    :         8 – 16 weeks               22 weeks (5 months)

– Lose 10 kg of fat         :        10 – 20 weeks              26 weeks (6 months)

– Lose 1 Stone (14 lbs) :         7 – 14 weeks               18 weeks (4 months)

– Lose 12 % Body Fat   :         60 – 180 days              26 Weeks (6 months)

– Gain 5 Kg Muscle       :         10 – 20 months            24 months (2 years)

*Practical Expectation Time represents a longest, rather pessimistic estimate that includes times where things go wrong and get knocked of course etc. It also factors in that results get slower the further into the process you go. The idea of this approach is to give a genuine understanding of length of process that may be involved for sensible plan creation.

How To Use This Information

The first thing to do is calculate how long it could take to achieve your goal, using the above information as a guide what time period could you expect to achieve your goal??

Then you can go back to your current planning of what to do this January and see how it fits into the bigger picture? It does not mean you actually have to change your approach to soft and gentle. More so, you simply need to know that any hardcore approach you need to back up with the next step of your plan.

This January a couple of my clients are doing dry January, another one is doing a very hardcore juice detox. We both know these approaches are short term and cannot be relied upon to take us to the end goal due to above time estimates. This does not mean we cannot use them, it just means we don’t put all our eggs in this one basket thinking that 4 weeks of good effort can bring what 4 months of results. It cannot, will not, nor has ever been able to do that.

So whatever plan you embark on, what  is the sustainability levels of it? If it is realistically less than the practical expected time what is your next move? I will delve more into this in future emails. It could just be that you take one week off the plan every two weeks, or it could be you transition into another plan of action. It could be you throw out your short term plan to develop a more sustainable approach.. We shall return to this in due course.

Photo – 2019 Started with me in the New Year Day Parade with the London School Of Samba. It was the first time we did it and was great fun. Here I am by Trafalgar Square


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