Realistic expectations about progress and your weight scale

Mike Marconi

Realistic expectations about your progress and the scale

Truly understanding that this is all a process, and one needs to embrace that process. It's not just about some weight on the scale. It's about embracing the process of becoming a healthier person...eating more healthfully...becoming more physically fit and capable...and in general just living a healthier lifestyle. In my experience, when people focus on these things, losing fat and maintaining a healthy weight tend to be a nice Bi-product.

As coaches one of our main jobs is teaching you about REALISTIC Progress. Understanding the scale. The fluctuations. And helping you stay ON as the scale makes its way down slow. So just know…Stressing over unrealistic expectations and the scale is just going to make things worse both mentally as well as physically as high stress jacks with hormones, particularly the hormone cortisol and can impede weight loss (due to water retention) or otherwise make it harder. I don't know of anyone who doesn't want to lose their excess fat yesterday, but that's just not going to happen. It's a marathon of months and for some people years...embracing that fact can be liberating and you will be much happier going through this process.

Stay positive and keep looking forward! 💪

It’s pretty obvious that Sharks is dedicated to fitness and training, specifically for physique-centered sports like BodyBuilding. When you walk into the gym, you’ll find a different vibe than you would anywhere else and you will find people training in various ways...but which way is best? Which way is most effective? That’s all dependent on your specific goals, your training experience, and you as a person.

I have been training for a while now, and my training style has varied over the past ten years. Each style had a different focus and intent. When people catch me doing snatches, box jumps, muscle ups, airbike sprints, they make the assumption that I am on a muscle-building journey just through being associated with Sharks. But actually, it’s the opposite. The work I am doing now, which is very different from the training I have done before, is performance focused and less on physique and aesthetics. To be honest, I think I’ve lost muscle over the past year but it was expected since I knew I was taking a big deviation from my norm. Art and I have had long talks about this, during our weekly nerd-out sessions about fitness. 

Let’s say you want to build muscle, which is the Sharks Specialty; then, the best “bang for your buck” is hypertrophy training. 

Hypertrophy Training Science Basics

Hypertrophy is the growth of muscle cells. Hypertrophy training refers to the act of resistance training, primarily through the use of weights, with the intent of muscle growth. The muscle grows due to an increase in the size & number of myofibrils (actin and myosin) in the muscle fiber. There are two types of muscle fibers, Type I (slow twitch)  and Type II (fast twitch). Type II muscle fibers are the ones that experience most of the growth in muscle size. Type I fibers are the muscle fibers involved mostly in endurance sports. For example, a person who runs marathons has more Type I muscle fibers, which are highly resistant to fatigue and have slow contraction times. However, if you look at a sprinter they tend to have more muscle than a marathoner. This is because they have more developed Type II muscle fibers. These muscle fibers are the ones involved mostly in strength sports. They fire more quickly, provide a lot more strength, but fatigue a lot more easily as well. 

When you do resistance training for muscle growth, your muscles are being damaged. This damage causes hormones to be released to force the body to recover properly and return to homeostasis. This ultimately results in the body to go through supercompensation, thus building itself back up to a higher ability to withstand the stress it incurred during the training session. In short: lift weights → damage muscle → body releases hormones to repair and recover → muscles grow. 

Hypertrophy Training Optimization

To optimize gainz through hypertrophy training, don’t overcomplicate it. There is no need to get fancy with movements right away, maybe later in the future as you approach your genetic potential, which takes many years. 

Training Age

A big thing to consider in your training for muscle growth is your training age. This is the amount of experience you have training. I usually break it up into three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. People have different perspectives and thoughts, but a beginner is anyone from 0-5 years of training, intermediate is 5-10 years, and advanced is 10+ years. In the table below, you’ll see the difference in training programs: 

Beginner IntermediateAdvanced
Rate of ProgressHigh (Newbie gains)Medium Low
Complexity of ProgramLowLow-MediumHigh
Coaching Coaches should focus on technique, form, and basics with beginners. Get the athlete acclimated and provide guidance to instill consistency and discipline. Coaches should focus on fixing any technique issues and imbalances, start learning how to push the athlete appropriately. Coaches should be individualizing the program very specifically; will take more attention to detail. 

You will see that it doesn’t take much for a beginner to gain muscle. Their program doesn’t need to be fancy, they just need to lift weights and focus on being safe in their routine, but essentially any program will work as long as they’re adding a new stimulus to their body. Muscle and strength gains come quickly for the beginners. Intermediates enter a more realistic realm where muscle growth doesn’t come as quick; this means they will need to start paying more attention to their training program. Advanced athletes have the slowest rate of progress because they are close to their genetic potential (shown in the graph below). After years of training, you’ll see that the graph labeled “hypertrophy” plateaus and the rate of progress is minimal. By this point, they have mastered the basics and their body has reached a point where building more muscle isn’t as easy, since the stimulus of resistance training is no longer “new”. For this reason, their training is very specific with loading, peaking, and deloading. 

Figure from Sale et. al 

Training Style

  • Focus on mind muscle connection. Form is IMPERATIVE! This is not an excuse to keep a low weight for each exercise.
  • Go heavy as needed, go low in weight as smart and know when to push and when to back off. This is where coaching is crucial, especially for beginners. 
  • Be consistent but vary exercises to prevent imbalances.
  • Don’t overcomplicate it. Focus on compound lifts and supplement with accessory work. Compound lifts tend to be heavy, accessory work is lighter weight (relatively speaking) and slower movement. 
  • Track your progress through numbers (sets, reps, weights lifted).
  • Remember, if your goal is to gain muscle, don’t start doing movements/exercises that won’t benefit muscle growth. 

To keep it simple: sleep enough, drink water, keep stress as low as possible, and eat well. We’ll dive into this in later blogs 😉

There are a ton of ways to train and exercise. Be smart in your approach and tailor your style to your goals. Sharks is ready to help in any way we can, feel free to hit any of us up with questions!


Shark Sports Fitness and Training

3540 N Oracle Rd #106, Tucson, AZ 85705
(520) 393-8200


Sunday: Closed
Mon - Fri 4:30AM – 9PM
Saturday 7AM – 7PM

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