So you’ve made the decision to undergo a serious body transformation… ROCK ON! This is going to be an incredible life changing experience for you. Now before you begin sculpting your physique into a chiseled work of art, let’s make sure that all of your ducks are in a row. Here are 10 easy, yet crucial steps to ensure that you follow through to the end of your transformation and experience the best results possible….
1) Set a Goal and Create an Event
The fist step in any body transformation is to become crystal clear on what’s important to you and the outcome that you are going to achieve. For some people, setting a weight goal or body fat percentage goal is their main priority. For others, it’s a specific “Look” that inspires them to take action. For example; during my previous body transformation the goal that was important to me was carving out abs that were comparable to Brad Pitt in the movie Troy.
2) Know Your Starting Point
Before you begin your journey it’s important to know where you are starting from. You can either take your weight, body fat, and girth measurements or you can take your before photos… or a combination of photos and measurements.
3) Create Your Plan of Action
You now have your starting and end point set in place. Consider this to be your “timeline” between Point A and Point B. Now you need to create your plan of action that will lead you to your destination in the straightest line possible. Your plan should include a) scheduled workouts, b) 7 day meal plan, c) strategies to overcome potential setbacks that you may have faced in the past.
4) Nail Down Your Nutritional Needs
The simple truth about fat loss is that calories matter and you need to create a caloric deficit. This doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. Simply create a 7 day meal plan that hits your caloric needs for the day and stick to the plan. If this is your first crack at a serious body transformation, I recommend that you take a conservative approach, opting for a 15% deficit. You shouldn’t feel too restricted or deprived with this approach, increasing your chances of sticking with the program. It’s also a smart choice to bump up your calories a bit every 4-5 days. This will replenish your energy stores and give you a mental break from “dieting”.
5) Your Workout Must Match Your Goal
The biggest mistake that I see among beginners to the body transformation arena, is that their workout program does not match their goals. If your goal is to sculpt your shoulders, firm up your butt, build bigger arms, or chisel your abs, you need to follow a program that pays attention to the details, hits your muscles from a variety of angles, and incorporates a variety of rep ranges. Weight training is what’s responsible for “shaping” your body. Think of releasing the fat as “pulling the curtain back” on what your body truly looks like. How you train will determine how your body “looks” once the fat has been peeled off. This is where the time tested and proven Classic Physique training with it’s attention to proportion and symmetry, trumps mainstream fitness fads with their focus on caloric burn.
6) The Smart Way To Incorporate Cardio/HIIT
To be frank, you don’t really “need” any form of cardio or HIIT in order to transform your body. You can achieve your goal simply through proper nutrition and resistance training. The benefit of including some cardio or HIIT is that it will add to your caloric deficit at the end of the week. There are however some reasons for you to exercise caution with cardio; a) cardio/HIIT has the potential to interfere with your weight training, b) cardio/HIIT has the potential to slow down your recovery, c) cardio/HIIT can increase your appetite and easily cause you to wipe out any deficit that it may have created. I recommend that you ease into the cardio. Personally I prefer to go for a brisk walk most days. This actually helps me recover and it decreases my appetite. As you become accustomed to this, you can begin to incorporate one HIIT session and see how your body responds. I wouldn’t recommend any more than two HIIT sessions per week on a fat loss plan. Any more than that and you increase the risk of running yourself into the ground.
7) Rest and Recovery Is a MUST
Do not neglect the importance of rest and recovery. Getting adequate sleep of 7-9 hours will give your body the chance to recover and rebuild from your training sessions. It will also help improve your performance in the gym. Getting adequate sleep can reduce your stress levels, which is important for creating an optimal environment within your body for burning fat and building muscle.
8) Build Your Support System
I guarantee that you will come across many people who will try to bring you down during your body transformation. You’ll hear things like, “Why don’t you just live a little?”, “You’re too thin already.”, or “Why can’t you be normal like the rest of us?” It’s important that you have an empowering response ready for these situations and stand your ground firmly. You know the rewards for achieving your goal and you need to refuse to settle for anything less than the best from yourself. You need to face the fact that your standards are higher than the standards that most people set for themselves. This is why it’s so important to surround yourself with as many like minded and goal driven people as you can. Online support communities are great places to hang out and interact with such people. You can share your struggles, gain reassurance, and celebrate in each others victories.
If possible, I highly recommend that you hook-up with a like-minded and goal driven workout partner. Someone who is counting on you to show up at the gym for your scheduled workouts. Someone who will make sure that you are putting forth your best effort.
9) Pay Attention To Your Feedback Loop
This is where champions are made. Creating your meal plans and workout routines sets the foundation for you to take action on, but at the end of the week, if you have not made any progress there are simple changes that need to be made. At this point many people throw in the towel and figure that the plan isn’t working, but champions see that making a minor tweak to their nutrition is enough to propel them to greatness. Champions have a heightened sense of awareness. They know that their body has a way of telling them that it’s time for a refeed and they don’t feel guilty about it.
Champions also pay close attention to how their body is responding to their training and cardio. If you are having a difficult time recovering and you are beginning to feel a little worn down, it’s best advised to cut back on the cardio a bit and hold solid to your nutrition.
10) Don’t Delay
When you set a 12-16 week body transformation goal, it may look like you have plenty of time. A big mistake that rookie body transformers make is slacking off in the beginning, then trying to cram 12-16 weeks of fat loss into 4 short weeks. I encourage you to not to delay with your efforts. In many cases you are better off to go more aggressive in the beginning and plan on hitting your goal 1-2 weeks prior to your deadline just to give you a little breathing room. The key to your success will be consistent action right from the get-go.
How you approach your training and your nutrition is everything. You must adopt an UNSTOPPABLE attitude. Believe that absolutely nothing will get in the way of your success. You will experience some challenges and some setbacks, but nothing will stop you! In the gym you need to attack the weights. Dominate them. Leave everything that you’ve got on the gym floor. With your nutrition there is no putting it off to tomorrow. Every meal counts. Every meal becomes a part of every cell in your body. Although you may be faced with temptations, your UNSTOPPABLE mindset will take control allowing you to make the wise choices.