Want to Lose Weight? A Personal Trainer on How to See Results

Summer’s warm weather signals one thing to many of us: bathing suit season. Whether you’ve been working hard since January to reach your weight-loss goals and have hit a plateau or you’ve recently carved out some time in your busy schedule to get to the gym a few days a week and are anxious to see results, we get it, weight loss can be a daunting and difficult process.

That’s why 24Life asked personal trainer Michael Rihaly, who has worked at 24 Hour Fitness for 18 years and has trained more than 31,000 sessions, to answer some burning questions on how to lose body fat, when to expect results and how to break through a weight-loss plateau.

“I want to lose body fat. Where should I start?”

Michael Rihaly: Very few people will buy a brand-new expensive car and service it themselves. They bring it to trained, certified technicians. The human body is much more complex than a new car, and yet many try to “service themselves.” Use an expert! This is what our education and experience has trained us to do. My counsel to prospective clients is to interview trainers and find who you feel will be a good fit, and then GO FOR IT!

“How long until I start seeing results?”

MR: Many factors enter into this equation. I had a client who did not “see” any results until she dropped 40 pounds.

Obviously, this is highly individualistic; I’ve experienced rapid results with those who are adherent. Bottom line on this one: Stick to the plan. You will get results.

“Should I weigh myself frequently?”

MR: I prefer clients to weigh regularly when training with me. I explain to them that they will experience fluid fluctuations and that body-fat loss is not a straight line but weighing helps me ask the right questions and manage their progress. Those that get totally derailed by weighing frequently, however, should not. If clients prefer, I will weigh and measure them without disclosing the results to them. After a while, they usually want to know if and how much progress they have made. We celebrate any movement toward being healthier with any positive changes.

“I feel better and fit better in my clothes, but the number on the scale hasn’t changed!”

MR: Great! From time to time, we get the best of both worlds—fat loss AND muscle gain! That’s what is happening when the scale is the same but the clothes are fitting different. Fat is voluminous. Muscle is dense. Our bodies change shape for the good.

“I work out regularly, but my weight has plateaued. Why and how can I break through this plateau?”

MR: This is common, as many things a person will do on their own to lose weight will only go so far. Much like climbing Mount Everest, what it takes to climb the first half is much different from what it takes to climb the second half. Climbing the second half requires much more expertise and focus. My counsel is to use an expert. This is what we do. As a trainer, I do a full evaluation, then set out in steps a doable plan that will break through their plateau. One size does not fit all or I would write a book, and I think we have enough of those.

Michael Rihaly has been a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness for 18 years. He has earned his personal training certifications through NASM and NCSF. Additionally, he is a certified nutritionist and corrective exercise specialist. Rihaly has trained more than 31,000 personal training sessions in his time with 24 Hour Fitness, and he works at the Reno Active club in Nevada.

Photo credit: Martine Jacobsen, Unsplash; Courtesy of Michael Rihaly