• Joshua Li

SIX Keys to a Successful Body Transformation


From the many transformations we see as trainers, a few stand out and become the outliers. The outliers that will make your head turn and make the before/after photos seem unrecognizable. The process of having a truly successful body transformation is no secret, but there are common patterns. This article explores the idea “What do people who make successful physical transformations all have in common?”

1. They become frustrated

The best transformations come from a point of frustration. There is no strong desire to change if the person is coming from a place of complacent. False positive affirmations will lead nowhere. The person needs to feel dissatisfied and decide change is needed. When one can manifest that frustrations into actions, they will feel like they’ve got nothing to lose, so they push themselves to extremes and keep coming back for more. This applies to training, diet and lifestyle. “Significant change comes with getting a little selfish,” says John Berardi, Ph.D. “That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, although some of your friends and family may think so.”

Even if it feels weird to set aside time for yourself and your own self-improvement, it’s the only way to pull it off, Beradi adds. “You have to get a little selfish and take some of your time back.” That allows you to avoid distraction while focusing so intensely on a single goal.

Another trait found amongst success stories is a sense of superiority. You don’t have to hold weak willed people around you in contempt, but it helps to remind yourself that you’re stronger and more determined than others. Just be sure not this feeling affect your attitude towards others.

2. They surround themselves with like-minded people

For a dramatic transformation, a dramatic change in lifestyle is required. This process becomes much easier if you have others going through the same grind. Not only will it keep you on track, it will help knowing you’re not in it alone. Conversely, If you surround yourself with people who choose to have unhealthy habits, it is likely that you will pick up some of their traits.

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” says Charles Poliquin. In order for you to become a success, you may need to sacrifice and cut the bad fruit off the tree.

3. They set specific goals, with a deadline to reach them

The goal in place needs to be specific, attainable and must have a deadline. Open-ended goals, like New Year’s resolutions, usually don’t last a week. Why? Because there’s no end date. Having set date will hold you accountable and have something to look for.

‘Getting leaner’ isn’t a goal. A good goal has a quantifiable objective, a time frame, and a reason. For example a good goal will like this: “starting on January 15, I want to drop down to 5 percent body fat to peak for bodybuilding competition on may 21.”

The key takeaway is: You can’t finish a race if you don’t know where the finish line is. Set a specific goal with a specific date, and give yourself specific methods for reaching that goal.

4. They keep logs

The successful transformers track and measure everything that matters. Start by measuring how much you eat, and when you eat it. A nutritional journal might seem simple and boring, but it’s one of the most powerful dieting aids you can have. It forces you to be precise, makes you accountable, and helps you make adjustments.

“No sane person wants to count calories, and you don’t have to forever. Just keep a food log for one week. Buy a nutritional almanac and write down the protein, fat, and carb content of the food you eat. What you’ll learn in that week will provide a lifetime of knowledge, because you’ll learn which foods to eat or avoid in any phase of body transformation. That’s invaluable.”

5. Choose a plan and stick to it

Too frequently, we see people committed to change but not a plan. This is called “programming ADD” where one is constantly adopting a new program and diet, then jump ship as soon as something new comes along. And something new always comes along.

It is likely the new program isn’t better but different. Those who excel are those who adopt a plan of action and repeat it until their goal is reached. Any program takes time to work. If a person understands that in the beginning, and has complete trust, that person will see results much sooner than those who question everything and experiment too often.

However, if you see your numbers plateauing in terms of body composition or strength, a new stimulus could help. Change the rep range or include more auxiliary lifts that would enhance your compound lifts. Like with most things in nature, the body will adapt to the stimulus applied. Regressing or progressing your exercises could be the smarter choice.

6. Train hard

You can diet well and you can educate yourself but nothing will replace hard work. Not saying the first two things are not important, but there are no shortcuts and the grind can be grueling. The best way to grow is through struggle and failure.

All transformers went through the extremes to achieve their goals. However, the outliers are the ones who actually started finding joy in the process. They look forward to training and it satisfies them knowing they put in work. And this is something that goes beyond short term transformations, it will most likely carry with them with the rest of their life.

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