This post is about achieving a total fitness transformation. This is actually what I have done in the past and what I will continue to do in the future. I am writing this post in hopes that I can clarify what steps you should take and why you should take them. Please take the time to read this entire post and put these steps in to action. I know that it is long, but it is broken down in to three components which you can read a little at a time.
Feel free to share this with your friends or anyone that you feel can benefit from it. I have bought courses in the past that do not lay out a fitness transformation plan as much as I have here. There are a bunch of incredibly knowledgeable people that read this blog and I encourage you guys and gals to add in your two cents as well. Between this post and the comments that will follow, we should be able to lay out a plan that anyone can use to finally lose fat, gain muscle, and get in the best shape of their life.
Fitness Transformation Bubble Chart
Here is a bubble chart that I created that will give you a quick visual of what is needed for a complete fitness transformation. If you have trouble seeing this or would like to save this as a bigger image, you can get this fitness transformation bubble chart by clicking the link.
Okay, let’s get started and get you on the path to your fitness transformation. As you can see on the chart above, there are three steps to achieving the body that you desire.
I will go over all three of these steps and give my take on how you should approach each of them. Of course, this is not the only way to go about a fitness transformation, but this is my way and it has worked incredibly well for me. There are many other ways to lose weight and gain muscle. I suggest that you give this an honest try, chart your results in a workout journal, and see what works and what doesn’t. Once you do this for 8-12 weeks, you can take what works and expand on it, and shit can whatever doesn’t work. I don’t think that there will be much that doesn’t work or that needs changed, but you never know how your body is going to react until you try it out.
Fitness Transformation Component 1: Diet
In order to be able to lose fat and gain muscle, there are several aspects of your diet that you need to get in order.
- You need to eat enough protein
- You need to Reduce your caloric intake
- You need to regulate your carbohydrate intake
I will discuss each of these separately and explain why they are important for your fitness transformation.
It is common knowledge that protein is important to build muscle, although there is a lot of confusion as to how much protein is really needed for muscle gains. You need to eat enough to gain muscle, but not too much or you will gain fat instead. In his book “How Much Protein”, Brad Pilon sheds some light on why eating too much protein is not advisable or even necessary to gain muscle. He recommends around 70-120 grams of protein per day. This is dramatically lower than what most people recommend, although you need to understand that the supplement industry has a vested interest in selling you their protein powders. They only make money whenever they sell their products. I think that around 1 gram per pound of body weight is sufficient to gain muscle. Don’t get too stressed over this. You should be able to get this amount from the foods that you eat and really don’t need to spend money on protein powder. This would be a great thing for you to test out for yourself after your initial 8-12 weeks. Try eating more and see what kind of results you achieve versus eating less. You should never take what someone else says as the final ruling on your diet or training. Test it out for yourself, then you will know what works, instead of guessing. Once you know your body, you can easily achieve a fitness transformation, as well as stay in shape for the long run.
In order to lose fat, you need to reduce your calories to the point that you are in a caloric deficit. You need to take in less calories than you are using on a consistent basis. If you do this properly, your body will be forced to use the stored fat as a fuel source. If you don’t do this correctly, your body may use your muscles as a fuel source, which is obviously not what you want to happen. The key to preventing this is too reduce your calorie intake properly while doing some from of resistance training. I will discuss resistance training and why it is important for your fitness transformation in more depth later in this post.
The amount of calories that you take in should be regulated mostly by the amount of carbs that you eat. You should take in roughly the same amount of protein and fat each day, and use carbohydrates to either gain or lose weight. Carbs will be discussed next, but for now just know that they are the key to your fitness transformation as far as your diet goes. In order to decrease your caloric intake, you need to find an easy way that you can easily incorporate in to your lifestyle and stick to for as long as needed. Say good bye to the fad diets and please don’t fall for the miracle fat loss pills. To prove to you that none of them work, think of it this way. If even one of them really worked as advertised, there would be no need for any new ones to be invented. If just one worked, word would spread like wild fire, and everyone and there brother would start taking it. Everyone would lose all of the fat that they wanted to and the obesity problem would be solved. Health care costs would decrease and we would all be healthier. Of course, this hasn’t happened and isn’t going to because there are no real shortcuts.
The closest thing to a shortcut that I have found is intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting has been an incredible tool for me and I really think that anyone looking to lose fat should try it. I followed the Eat-Stop-Eat method of intermittent fasting and my incredible results have already been well documented in my earlier posts. I actually rank intermittent fasting as one of the most important things that I have learned this year and possibly in the last ten years! You really should check it out so you can make your own decision about it. Click on the link to learn more about Eat-Stop-Eat.
Limiting your carb intake is one of the biggest keys to your successful fitness transformation. In fact, carb intake affects so many different aspects of your body and health that I really want you to understand this part. One of the best books that I have ever read on this subject is Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint. He does an excellent job of explaining how carbohydrates affect your insulin levels and cause your body to go into fat storage mode versus fat burning mode. If you haven’t read it yet, you really should check it out. It will definitely open your eyes to how wrong conventional wisdom is when it comes to what healthy foods are and how much we should eat. You can wipe your ass with the food pyramid that they have been shoving down our throats for the last thirty years!
So in order to lose fat, you need a caloric deficit, but the types of food that you eat are also very important. Carbohydrates control your insulin levels, which in turn control whether you will burn fat or store fat. I wrote a post a few months back that goes a little deeper in to this.
According to Mark in Primal Blueprint, your carbs should come mainly from fresh fruits and vegetables. Limit your carbs from pasta, rice, potatoes, breads, grains, and wheat. It may seem difficult because so much of what we eat is high in useless carbs from sugars and most of the foods that I just listed as ones to avoid. If you try and stay away from anything that comes in a wrapper, bag, or box and eat fresh, whole foods, you will easily lose weight and feel so much better. Mark has a great blog called Mark’s Daily Apple which you can learn a great deal from. Check it out here, http://www.marksdailyapple.com
Fitness Transformation Component 2: Training
As shown in the bubble chart, there are two main components to training.
- Resistance Training- Body weight or with weights
- Cardio- Steady state or HIIT
Most people think of doing cardio, such as starting to jog, when they think of exercising to lose weight. This is a part of the equation, but not the most important part. Resistance training is more important in my opinion when it comes to losing fat and having a complete fitness transformation. Resistance training will not only increase your lean muscle mass, which will help you to burn more fat, it will help prevent your body from using your muscle mass as a fuel source. The more muscle mass that you have, the more calories you burn, even if you are not exercising. This is obviously a good thing!
The other key point is that when you use resistance training to cause your muscles to get stronger and grow, you prevent your body from using the muscle as a fuel source. Your body can not rebuild your muscles after an intense workout by using the very same muscle as a source of fuel. If you are doing resistance training while limiting your carbohydrates and calories, your body will have no choice but to use any stored fat as a way to make up for the caloric deficit. This will cause you to gain muscle, lose fat, and look more muscular than you did before the fat loss.
Resistance training is much more enjoyable than doing cardio in my opinion. If your diet is right and your doing resistance training, thankfully you won’t have to do as much cardio. It really doesn’t matter if you belong to a gym or not. Resistance training can be done with or without weights. I have had some incredible workouts by doing only body weight exercises. I have a post that I wrote a few months ago that lists a sample body weight workout that you can try.
If you like to lift in a gym or at home and have access to weights, you can do any number of workouts to help with your fitness transformation. I have been lifting weights for over 25 years and I think that I have tried every different style or technique out there. I am usually not very impressed with the latest workouts that come out and make outlandish promises. There are a million of them on the internet! I tried a product by Rusty Moore from Fitnessblackbook.com that is one of the best programs out there. It is called Visual Impact and if you have read any of my earlier posts, you probably already know how much I love this program. Rusty has one of the brightest fitness minds out there and has really put together one hell of a product. The shrink wrap technique that he calls the bonus phase is worth more than the price of the whole program!
Note: Click on the picture above and watch video #3 (it’s a cool technique)!
There are many different types of cardio training and many different opinions on what is the best way. I am going to focus on two ways to train cardio for your fitness transformation, which can be done regardless of whether you are running or using one of the many machines available. I do most of my cardio on a treadmill or running outside, although I don’t really do much cardio training. I lost fat and have stayed lean mostly through diet and resistance training. That being said, I think that cardio does have it’s place in your fitness transformation, it just shouldn’t make up your whole training program.
Steady State Cardio and HIIT
Steady State- This is the type of cardio training that most people do and involves endlessly walking at the same pace on a treadmill of other type of machine.
HIIT- This is usually done over a period of around 15-20 minutes and involves short bursts of high intense training, such as sprinting on a treadmill, followed by active rest periods, at a much slower pace. I have found that 30 seconds at a 9 out of 10 intensity or effort level followed by 60-90 seconds at a 4 out of 10 effort level works very well for me.
Steady state is much less effective time-wise, than HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) although is good to do after doing HIIT. Steady state cardio will help to burn free fatty acids in your bloodstream, although isn’t very effective at causing your body to release them in to your bloodstream. On the other hand, HIIT is very good at causing your body to release free fatty acids in to your bloodstream. If you use HIIT to first release the FFA’s, and then do around twenty minutes or so of steady state cardio to burn these free fatty acids, you are getting the best of both.
I still want to stress that I think that your diet is much more effective at causing fat loss than cardio training. If you do some form of cardio though, I would suggest doing HIIT for around 20 minutes, followed by 20-30 minutes of steady state. If you do this, you should see much better results than doing 45 minutes to an hour of steady state. I know that not everyone will agree with me on this, but I am only telling you what has personally worked best for me. As I stated earlier, you should try this for 8 weeks or so and then switch things up and chart your results in to your workout journal. The more that you learn about how your own body reacts to different types of training the more success you will have with your fitness transformation.
Here is an older post that elaborates further on cardio training:
Fitness Transformation Component 3: Goals
With the release of the book and movie The Secret, there are usually two strong opinions about the law of attraction and positive thinking. I am a strong believer in the idea that you achieve what you focus on. I liked the movie “The Secret” but I think that most people got the wrong impression with it. After watching this movie, some believed that all you have to do is sit around thinking about what you want and it will magically fall in to your lap. This is just another example of society trying to get something for nothing, like magic diet pills, or a six minute workout, etc. Setting goals for yourself, reading them everyday, and focusing on them throughout the day will definitely help you to achieve them. It has been said that what you focus on expands. This is true and you should try it out for yourself. Whether your goal is a complete fitness transformation or something as simple as being able to do more push ups or pull ups, you need to be laser focused and write it down.
I have used goal setting and the law of attraction all of my life for personal, private, business, and fitness goals. I have had great success in all areas of my life and have had some great failures or set backs too. The main thing that you need to realize that you still have to put the work in, you still need to get up out of bed in the morning and train, eat right, etc. If you think that setting a goal is all that is needed, like any other something for nothing idea, you will be very upset at your results. Sitting around visualizing yourself being thin, while eating donuts and watching TV doesn’t work. In fact if you really think that it would, you may have bigger issues than just needing a fitness transformation! You need a reality check.
If you are willing to put the work and effort in while having a set goal to achieve, you will achieve far more than the person that has no goal and just drifts aimlessly through life. I see people like this all the time in the gym. I know that they have no set goals because, when you ask them what they are trying to achieve. . . They have no idea what they are trying to achieve. Saying that you want to lose weight and gain muscle is not really a goal. This is more of a “hope”. A goal is something that you can define in focused terms, such as, “I want to lose 10 lbs. of fat by June 13, 20xx.” Or “I would like to bench press 300 lbs. by September 20, 20xx.” Those are defined goals that you can read every day and you can break down in to bite size chunks. You can set little mini-goals that move you towards your main goal and sets the wheels in motion.
[Les Brown is one of the best speakers that I have ever listened to, as well as Brian Tracy, and Bob Proctor. Les has a great quote at the end of this short clip that is so true. " Most people do not fail because they aim too high and miss, they fail because they aim too low and hit!" Don't aim too low, give yourself credit and know that you can achieve amazing results if you only believe in yourself.]
This may sound harsh, but most people do not set goals because they are too lazy. It takes effort to sit in a room by yourself for an hour or so and think about what you really want in life. It takes effort to write down what you want and it takes effort to read your goals each day. It is much easier to not set a goal, drift aimlessly through life with no set purpose, and then when you make no progress or you realize that your life sucks, blame it on someone else. Sorry, but anyone that has read my blog in the past, knows that I tell it like I see it.
There is a reason that more than half of the population in America is overweight, with many of them considered obese. Isn’t it time that you make positive changes in your life? Get serious about this fitness transformation and don’t be afraid to put the work in. Don’t look for the easy way out, it doesn’t exist. Get to work and follow the guide lines that I have set for you. Start today with your fitness transformation and I promise you will see positive results.