How Much Weight Can You Lose in a Month With Effective Fitness


Losing weight can be a daunting task. Before starting your fitness journey, it’s important to understand how much muscle you can lose in a week to set realistic fitness goals. Many factors determine how much weight you can lose in a month. However, the outcome ultimately depends on one thing – you.

The following guidelines will explain the various factors that affect how much weight you can lose in a month and create realistic expectations of what to expect while working out. We will also provide a quick guide to support weight loss as well as weight maintenance.

Two Types of Weight Loss

During weight loss, you can experience two types of weight loss. One is the weight of water. The other is fat loss. Unless your goal is to lose weight temporarily for competitions such as wrestling, you will most likely want to focus on losing fat as it will provide long-term results.

water weight loss

On any given day, your weight can fluctuate by as much as 5 to 6 pounds on average. Amounts vary based on your food and drink consumption for the day. Other factors include drug use, sodium and carbohydrate intake, exercise, menstrual cycle, and illness. These factors are temporary and should not be a measure of the quality of weight loss.

fat loss

Fat loss is the process of permanently burning a certain percentage of body fat. This is primarily based on a consistent healthy caloric deficit diet and exercise regime.

How to Measure Weight Loss

To fully measure the difference between water weight loss and fat loss, you need to weigh consistently at the same time each day. The best time to weigh yourself is in the morning after emptying your bladder. This eliminates excess water or stool weight from being considered when measuring body weight.

Keep in mind that relying on body weight alone to determine fat loss has many disadvantages. In some cases, you may gain muscle mass while losing total fat. This usually happens during the novice gain phase of your fitness journey.

A novice gain is a common gym term for beginners who build a lot of muscle in a short amount of time. Often, this tends to happen to people with little to no experience in sports; especially weightlifting. In the novice stage, a person is more likely to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. Depending on the individual, this phase may last as short as 2 months or as long as a year.

Tip: Calculate Total Daily Energy Expenditure

Here are two effective ways to measure fat loss at home:

tape measure

A measuring tape is one of the easiest ways to track fat loss and total body composition. Since we lose fat in different areas and sequences based on current body composition and genetics, using a tape measure will give you an idea of ​​how much fat you’ve lost in certain areas.

To track body fat with a tape measure, start by wearing tight clothing (or no clothing). Be sure to wear the same clothes each time you measure for the best accuracy. Below is a simple guide to measuring major body parts.

  • Bust/Chest:  Measure around the bust at the line, but don’t pull the tape too tight.
  • Forearm: Measure over the largest part of the arm below the elbow.
  • Thighs: Measure over the largest part of each thigh.
  • Biceps /Triceps: Measure the largest part of each arm above the elbow.
  • Waist: Measure a half inch above the navel or at the smallest point of your waist.

Caliper/skinfold measurement

One of my favorite simple body fat measurement techniques is skinfold measurement. Skinfold measurements are performed using calipers, which measure the fat directly beneath the skin by pinching the targeted area. The following sites are typical locations for testing by skinfold measurement:

  • Abdomen:  next to the navel
  • Thoracic: the middle of the chest, just in front of the armpits
  • Quadriceps: Upper middle thigh
  • Suprahip: directly above the crest of the hip bone
  • Triceps: Back of upper arm

Factors Affecting Your Ability to Lose Weight

Since everyone is unique, many factors can affect your ability to lose weight. The five main factors that affect weight capacity are age , genetics, training experience, exercise routine, and diet.


As mentioned in How Much Muscle Can You Gain in a Week, the younger you are, the easier it is to build muscle mass. The same goes for weight loss. This is due to the decrease in testosterone as we age. As we age, we need to carry more body fat than we did in our twenties.

This doesn’t mean we need to be 30% body fat, but having 70% body fat at age 10 isn’t optimal for the health of most older adults.


As painful as it is to admit, some people are better than others. Hormone levels, bone structure, and muscle length all play a vital role in your ability to gain muscle. Some people win the genetic lottery and build muscle by simply being there. Others have to work harder to get half the results.

Whether you’re a genetic winner or the latter, weight loss is still possible, it just requires more or less effort than others.

exercise program

A good exercise routine can make a big difference in your weight loss results. If you put in half the effort in the gym, you’ll probably get half the results. Many times, you will get less than expected. If you give 100% effort and are consistent, you will likely meet or exceed your expectations.

go on a diet

Similar to your exercise routine, a good diet can make all the difference in your weight loss efforts. A balanced diet rich in protein, green vegetables, and nutrients can outweigh even the worst genetics. A poor diet full of simple sugars and fats can decimate even the most genetically gifted.

While all of these factors play a role in how quickly and how much muscle you can gain in a week, the old adage still holds true—hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t. A genetically gifted individual with a poor diet and a non-existent exercise routine may still struggle to gain muscle more than an older genetically disadvantaged individual who works hard every day to maintain a proper exercise routine and a balanced diet.

realistic expectations

Now that you know the factors that affect your ability to lose weight, it’s important to create and understand realistic expectations of how much weight you can lose in a week. The average person can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds of muscle per week.

This equates to 4 to 8 pounds per month. This number will vary based on the factors above, including whether you are also a beginner. Keeping these numbers in mind is critical to maintaining health and realistic fitness goals throughout your workout.

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