When Is The Best Time To Start A Weight Loss Program

When is the best time to start a weight loss program

When Is The Best Time To Start A Weight Loss Program

Do a search on when is the best time to start a weight loss or exercise program and you will be bombarded by a cacophony of conjecture, contradictions and in some cases, just plain silliness, (there is actually, a Farmers’ Almanac recommendation for the best day to start a weight loss diet.) Some “experts” say that you should start on a weekend, others insist on Mondays in order to start the week right. Some place the beginning of the year as the perfect kickoff point for starting a weight loss program, while others swear that any New Year related fitness resolution is destined to fail. In fact the only common thread with these recommendations is that they are inconsistent, which is not surprising as simplifying the complexities required to successfully start and follow up with a program that involves changing so many fundamental aspects of your life is difficult to say the least. That said, it was one of the elements that intrigued me as well when I first started personal training twenty-five years ago, and in an attempt to find an answer, I recorded as much detail as I could regarding my clients’ weight loss. A practice I kept up religiously for over 15 years, and one that was crucial to my understanding the seemingly innumerable variables involved in weight loss and the development of best practices for my clients. My rather fastidious note taking also created a set of data on weight loss patterns from a diverse group of men and women of varying ages and fitness levels. Information that does shed some light on when the most successful individuals started their weight loss programs, right down to the day and approximate time of year. In this article, we will take a look at my observations over the years and see if they can help you choose when is best to start, (or restart) your weight loss endeavors. Thanks as always for taking the time to read my work and do be sure to share it with anyone who you think might find it to be of interest.


When Is The Best Time To Start A Weight Loss Program: Group Analysis

When is the best time to start weight loss program- weighing

The average client in the group of 200 men and women lost 18lbs.

To avoid the statistical error of small numbers, it is important to sample a group large and diverse enough if there is any hope of the findings being applicable to the general population. The data I have is for just about 200 individuals of varying ages, fitness levels and genders split at 67% female and 33% male who worked with me at some point in time during the period of 1993 to 2008, doing high intensity 10 minute workouts in conjunction with a personalized dietary guide designed to help them lose weight. Doing high intensity 10 minute workouts six days a week as I did back then, I worked with far more than 200 clients, but for the sake of uniformity, I took pains to omit anyone who had medical issues, as it would have affected their ability to train at full intensity. I also took out anyone who reported taking medications that were known to elicit weight gain. For accuracy sake, I also omitted clients who worked in revolving shifts, as it was notoriously difficult for them to lose weight even when while adhering to their dietary recommendations. (See my article on Food Timing & Weight Loss)


As far as weight loss was concerned, the average client lost an average of just a little over 18lbs (8.2kg to be precise) over the course of their time with me, which ranged from anywhere from 3 months, (my minimum contract time), to seven years. A small group of 8.5% lost an exceptional amount of weight, ranging from 100lbs to 50lbs, another small number, (7.5%), lost 30-50lbs, while the majority (70.5%) lost between 10 and 20 lbs. Now while it might seem reasonable to look at the group that lost an exceptional amount of weight as a guide as to the habits of those most successful with regards to weight loss, all of the clients who lost over 30lbs were significantly overweight, whereas some of the clients who only lost between 10 and 15lbs made extraordinary changes in their physical appearance since they did not have that much excess weight to lose in the first place. And it would be a mistake to say that they were any less successful than a client who lost 30-100lbs. However, with the exception of one competitive natural bodybuilder working with me and following an extraordinarily strict diet at 100% adherence who lost 51lbs in three months for a contest, everyone else at in the 30lb-100lb weight loss group took well over 6 months to as long as two years to do. Which in itself is quite an achievement to strictly follow such a clean diet for such a long time and so it is worth looking into the common characteristics of this group that interestingly stand out from others who lost less weight overall.


In Our Group Friday in Summer Was The Best Time Of Year To Start A Weight Loss Program

before and after weight loss- when best to start

In the group, those who started their weight loss program on a Friday or mid week tended to be more likely to have lost over 30lbs compared to those starting on a Monday

The most intriguing find was that clients who started on Fridays were more likely to have lost 30lbs or more when compared to those who started on any other day. Given the fact that most of the clients started on a Monday this is a rather interesting observation with those starting up on Thursdays and Wednesdays respectively being more likely as well to fall into the larger weight loss groups. What does this tell us? Well, all interpretations are speculative at best, but it does suggest that those who started their weight loss program at the end of the week, or mid-week, times are possibly the least convenient and the least likely time for most to start a program, might mean that they were more motivated than those who started on a Monday or on a weekend. As far as the time of year is concerned, most of the clients who started between May and September were more likely to fall into the higher weight loss groups, while most of those losing 10-20lbs started in January and February. Which is also when I picked up most of my new clients.


Fitness Series when is the best time for weight loss

While it might sound like the best time to start a weight loss program is a Friday in summer, the truth is that anytime is a good time to start!

While it might be tempting to infer that the best time to start your weight loss program would be on a Friday during summer, but nothing could be further from the truth. Firstly, everyone working with me had their diet tailored to help them lose weight and also had me on hand at all times to keep them on the straight and narrow in terms of adherence, and make sure as well that they showed up regularly at the gym. Simply having someone to hold you accountable significantly increases your success probability and so it would be erroneous to apply their results to a general population. Secondly, the men and women I worked with were all motivated to the point where they financially invested in a personal trainer and nutrition coach to help them achieve their goals. Most people don’t simply decide to lose weight and take action and we know from behavioral models that there are four stages that most will go through before modifying their behavior, precontemplation, contemplation, preparation and action and the time each person stays in the different stage is highly variable. In the stage of precontemplation, there is an awareness of a need to lose weight there are no plans to take action in the foreseeable future. Then there is the stage of contemplation, where there is an intent to change but the individual is still not ready for immediate action, after this there is the stage of preparation, where different ways of losing weight are explored and there is a sense that action will be taken within a fixed period of time. Finally, there is the action stage where the weight loss program is started. There is not always a forward movement from one stage to the other, as many go back and forth between preparation and action, contemplation and precontemplation. It is also important to note that at any given point in time, only a minority of the population (usually less than 20%) is prepared to take action to immediately make a change in their lives and the patterns of my clients apply only to those at this point.

Girl Using A Tape Measure Checking Her Weight loss

What these numbers prove is that with the right guidance and motivation ordinary people can lose weight- but only if they take the first step to start!

Finally, the exception can prove the rule wrong. I later had a client who lost well over 100lbs and almost never missed a session and he started on the first Monday of January. Several other individuals in the aforementioned group started training on a Monday at the beginning or end of the year and still lost over 30lbs, so nothing is set in stone. The only real fact that we can walk away with is that the best time to start your weight loss program is whenever you decide to start and that it can be done. Not by a fitness model, bodybuilder or social media stars but by very much average men and women, many of whom never set foot in a gym beforehand. Weight loss is possible and attainable but it also is a very personal decision that requires a commitment of 110%, which is all that matters. It doesn’t matter whether you started a weight loss program before or not as your success isn’t dictated by anything else besides how consistent you will be on your diet and exercise program in addition to how many times you are able to not give into the urge to give up when you do fall off the wagon. It’s all up to you and if you are in a place where you are thinking about starting or restarting a weight loss program, right now is just as good a time as ever!


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Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to network TV, Kevin Richardson is the international fitness consultant for UNICEF, natural bodybuilding champion, creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training and one of the most sought after personal trainers in New York City. Learn more about his award winning personal training services here!



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