HOW TO PLAN OUT A TRANSFORMATION
You’re probably thinking to yourselves, “ Isn’t it a bit late to put out an article on goals for the year, two weeks into January?” It’s an antiquated thought that all resolutions need to take place on Jan 1st - every day can be day 1 of your transformation process. The obstacle the majority of people face is setting long-term goals without breaking them down into more manageable time frames. Long-term goals can actually have a negative effect on your motivation. If you’ve never been serious about training before, the thought of a year-long transformation process would kill most people’s motivation before they even start. You need to break your progress down into 3-4 week blocks; that way you’re focusing all your efforts, a month at a time, on your specific goals.
Look out for setting goals that are too vague, such as “get fit” or “get toned”. Is your goal to change the way you look? Improve your posture? Drop that body fat so your abs become visible? Add more lean muscle and size to your frame or to drop your body fat mass? I know a lot of people that are “fit” but don’t necessarily look “fit. This is because they spend too much time training in ways that aren’t always guaranteed to change their physical appearance, such as high-intensity training, bodyweight training and spending the majority of the time on cardio equipment. You need to have a specific goal and then apply the most appropriate type of training to it. Changing one’s appearance will always require lifting weights; there is no way around it. If you went to the gym and just focused on watching the number on the scale drop, you run the risk of ending up with a super slim frame and zero muscle mass (picture a wet noodle for reference). For all those ladies that set the goal of “toning up”, what you really mean is you want everything to feel firm to the touch, not soft and flabby. To increase your lean muscle mass you have to use resistance training to attack the muscle fibers deep within. Just doing plyometrics, banded side lunges and ankle weight exercises won’t cut it. These exercises will burn when you are doing them but won’t have any real long-lasting effects.
Example goal: Weight loss (more suitable goal would be weight loss and lean muscle mass gain) I would focus all my efforts on using a 3-4x a week weight-based training program for the first 4 weeks. A program such as GBC, German Body Composition, that hits legs and the upper body in each session would be ideal. You want to make sure you kill two birds with one stone: drop that excess body fat while adding lean muscle mass at the same time. Slow the reps down and take your time. If you’ve been training for a while now and haven’t seen any real change, it may be time to re-evaluate your technique or your diet.
Another usually overlooked aspect of a transformation is everything that happens outside of the gym. Are you getting your daily steps in (a good place to start would be aiming for 8-10,000 steps per day, which can be tracked either by your phone or a Fitbit type product), are you tracking your calories and macros? All the training in the world won’t save you from a shit diet. Familiarize yourself with the MyFitnessPal app that will help you identify exactly how many calories are in all the foods you eat and use a basic online TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) calculator to estimate how many calories you need to be consuming each day to either gain or lose weight. Leaning out or dropping weight will require you to be in a calorie deficit. Adding size or muscle will require you to be in a calorie surplus.
Once you have all the key fundamentals in place: training plan, tracking your daily steps and following a nutrition plan, results will come faster and this, in turn, will help keep you motivated to stick to the long term plan of your transformation.