I've been on the same program for about 2 months now while trying to lose weight. I typically change programs every 3-6 months (Depending on the length of the program). However, I am really enjoying this program and would like to continue it while losing weight.

Is it generally advised to change programs while on weight loss or is adaptation not a concern?

This is in a general sense, I have not hit a plateau yet as far as weight loss and I typically manage to add 5lbs every 3-4 workouts on compound movements.

3 Answers 3


If it's working for you, keep with it. The reasons for switching are generally either for novelty (keeping the same diet for a prolonged amount of time can lead to more "cheat days" because you're tired of watercress sandwiches and grapefruit smoothies, and the fun of trying something new might motivate you) or to deal with accommodation (if you're doing the same exercise over and over again, not only might you get bored, but you might also start getting too efficient with the movements, burning less energy because you're learning to do the movement with less effort. If your diet and exercise is still working for you, there's no real reason to switch.

In fact, if you're incorporating strength exercises and you're not bored, I'd argue that you're at an advantage keeping up with it. Getting in better shape means lifting more weight, which means more energy burned in the same amount of time. Compare it to something like cardio or endurance calisthenics where your rate of energy burned plateaus, but you're spending more time at it. I don't know about you, but my exercise time is carved out of a busy schedule, so I would prefer to work harder for that half hour rather than add another half hour of time I need to account for.

Just as a general bit of advice, as stated by user3049698, the primary aspect of losing weight is burning more calories than you take in. Some amount of exercise is good because it boosts your metabolism a bit, but watch that you don't eat more "refueling" than you're burning.

  • How can I tell if I have had adaptation? I was curious about how that would affect my TDEE. I don't exactly "diet" per say, I just cut sodas and that's good enough (for now at least). Should I switch programs once I feel adaptation or at the very least switch up the exercises/reps/sets?
    – Yousend
    May 26, 2016 at 13:02
  • @akadian: Honestly, as long as you're "in the moment" enough to avoid making use of momentum, it's too small of a thing to worry about. By the time you get good enough at an exercise to start facing adaptation, you're usually also at the point where you're adding weight or changing up how you do it. If an exercise is starting to feel routine or effortless, switch it up a little, whether it's adding weight, slowing the motion, adding instability (not recommended for free weights), or changing technique (even a change in grip can engage different muscle combinations).
    – Sean Duggan
    May 26, 2016 at 13:08

You will only loose weight if your eating less than your daily required amount of calories. I would work out how many calories your consuming a day, apps like my fitness pal will help with this. Then every couple of weeks reduce the total daily amount by around 100-200 calories.

  • Yes, I am aware of this, but I was concerned about adaptation as I get more efficient with a movement potentially affecting my calorie count. I do consume less than I expend (Assuming I didn't lose an absurd amount of water in 2 months!)
    – Yousend
    May 26, 2016 at 12:59

Assuming your diet is on point, then yes, you should change program to avoid adapting to it.

Trying to lose weight is somewhat different to trying to get strong (though yes, you can do both at the same time to a certain degree). Whereas getting stronger is all about increasing the efficiency of the exercise, be it tweaks to your form or the ability to recruit more of your fast twitch muscle fibres through CNS adaptation, losing weight is more about inefficiency.

To quote Dan John, the more you suck, the leaner you get (damn, that looks like click-bait if ever I heard it...)

When you do an inefficient exercise, your body struggles because it doesn't know the best way to respond to the demands placed upon it, so you'll use more energy (burn more calories) because you'll be using more muscles in unfamiliar ways (think, when Lance Armstrong ran the New York City Marathon. Despite being possibly one of the fittest guys on the planet, he finished 856th).

You're training and getting stronger, which is fantastic, and is, in of itself, a form of inefficiency (adding more external load changes the demands on your body), so by increasing the weight you're lifting, you'll be getting stronger and burning more calories (muscle has a higher metabolic demand than fat).

So, should you change your program to avoid adaptation? It depends...

Since you're getting stronger and losing weight on your current program, and are enjoying it, then I'd stick with it for the time being. Enjoyment is often an overlooked factor in losing weight and getting fit; it's very hard to stick at something when you don't enjoy it, your motivation just fades out, despite best intentions.

If your weight loss starts to plateau, then you can either play around with adding finishers to the end of your workouts (kettlebell swings or jump rope intervals are great for this), or try changing up the exercises your doing to increase the inefficiency of the exercise (swap from barbells to dumbbells for instance). Changing up the exercises in this way won't have as greater impact as throwing in something you're completely unfamiliar with, but it can eke out a little more from a program you're enjoying.

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