So you want to transform your physique? or you may already be in the process. But what does it really take to transform your physique? I’ve not only done it, and continue to, but have got clients results.There are many variables involved in transforming your physique. I have put together this list to give you an idea of what it takes! I will be going into more detail of each of these variables over the coming months.
First things first it takes consistency. Sticking to all of the variables consistently is key. Sure there are times where we all have a break, or “fall off the wagon” but to achieve your body composition goals it will take relentless consistency. Consistency across all the variables is the most important factor, as without consistency nothing else matters!
Staying motivated and making sure you show up, without motivation you are likely to “half-ass” it or not show up at all. Motivation is a complex topic and is another article all by itself. The important thing to remember though is to do whatever it takes to get yourself motivated and stay motivated. This may look different from person to person. This may be certain music, focusing on the way it makes you feel, keeping your goals in mind, setting of short-term achievable goals as well as the big picture goals, relaxing when needed to recharge and making sure you SHOW UP every damn session.
The smartest, high effort training in the world doesn’t matter unless your nutrition is on point. I’m not going to give you the whole “eat clean” bullshit as I don’t believe in restrictive diets. But in short, your nutrition should be focused on the most important things. Hitting your, specific calorie requirements according to your goal, Carbohydrate, fat, and protein requirements, 100% of your RDA of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and optimal hydration. There are far more nutrition rabbit holes such as nutrient timing, food selection, optimizing digestion and so on. But for most people, the big focus should be on the above.
You need a feedback loop and this is why we track progress. This is how we see if something is working, and how you can test your individual responses to your nutrition and training, to make sure you are on track to achieving your goals. If something isn’t working or needs adjusting we can then make adjustments, otherwise you could be going in the wrong direction and not know. You should as a bare minimum be tracking; weight, some form of body fat tracking, photos, and your lifts/training. As well as some form of tracking or managing your nutrition, whether this comes from weighing and tracking, portion sizes, habit-based, meal plans or other approaches.
Exercise selection and execution
This is the next important one. If you want to make changes to your body, the exercises you select need to be specific to you and the areas you are targeting, as well as take into account any injuries or muscular imbalances and weaknesses, the exercises you use should be exercises that work well for you. Secondly, is exercise execution. The exercises you do should be performed using excellent execution not simply moving weight from A to B but effectively targeting the target muscle.
This section will be addressed further, in a new article. But the bottom line is, pick exercises that target the area and work for you! and perform them with excellent execution!
This is another very important variable. The bottom line is that you can’t do the same forever, you must do more over time to elicit a response. If you always did the same reps, for the same number of sets, with the same weight, with the same tempo and rest times, you would not give the body reason to adapt. There are many ways of applying progressive overload, but the bottom line is you must apply it. Great exercise selection, with perfect execution and progressive overload, will cause an adaptation! (providing the other variables are in check) The most simple is the reps and weight model. Aiming to beat the exercise on reps or weight often.
This is doing enough total workload to elicit a response to the muscle, the volume is highly individual. But a good starting point according to the current data is 10+ sets per body part per week, you can then adjust from there. Put simply there is an amount of workload that would be too little to elicit a response. There is also an amount that would be too much and offer no additional benefit, or cause a negative effect due to max recoverable volume.
A decent program!
Sure most programs will elicit a response to a degree. But you should have a well thought out smart program from a good coach to optimize your results!
Sleep and recovery
When training we are breaking down muscle, not building it. It is with nutrition and rest that we recover and grow. You should be getting enough recovery between sessions, and a good amount of solid sleep somewhere between 7-10 hours. When thinking of sleep, do not just think of the time spent in bed. Think of how well you are sleeping, are you feeling rested, are you getting REM sleep and are you sleeping with minimal disturbance?
Drive and determination
Linked closely to motivation, being determined and driven to reach your goals is important. Whatever it takes to keep you driven and get you in the zone do it.
These are the main variables that you need to be thinking about when looking to transform your physique. There are hundreds of optimizing variables from optimizing frequency to advanced nutrient timing strategies and so on. But these are some of the basics that are vital to succeed in your transformation and reach your goals. Tick the boxes every damn day and you will be on your way to physique success!
PLANNING YOUR FOOD SHOP:
Your food shop will largely depend on your calorie, macro needs, nutrient needs, budget and food preferences. But here is a general guideline taking all things into account how to plan your food shop!
Your breakfast should be built around your preferences and your goals.
Pick a carbohydrate source: There are many options some of these are; Wholemeal bread, Oatmeal, muesli, wholegrain cereal, wheat biscuits etc (the amounts will vary depending on if you are looking to lose fat- calorie deficit, or gain weight-calorie surplus)
Add a protein source: Some of these are: Eggs, whey protein, bacon, sausages, turkey bacon, milk etc
Optional: Nutrients can come from other meals and snacks or some can be added here, think berries on top of oatmeal, an apple, banana, or any fruit of your choice, or a greens nutrient dense shake.
Optional morning supplements: Supplementation is highly individual. However some basic morning supplementation can certainly help here, the basics are a good multivitamin and omega 3 fish oil capsules.
My go-to breakfast is normally: Oatmeal with whey protein, lots of water, multi and fish oils and a greens shake.
Main meal planning:
This will depend on budgets, calorie/macronutrient requirements, personal preference and of course where you will be eating these meals, does it need to be quick and easy, can you cook? can you reheat? does it need to be cold? what are your energy needs at these times?
Pick a carbohydrate source: Again many options here some of these to pick from are: White and sweet potatoes,wraps, Bread, grains such as rice or quinoa, different types of pasta etc. (plan according to what you think you would have for example you may pick spaghetti pasta if you are thinking of making a spag bol)
Pick a protein source: Many options here choose from: various meats (thinking about if you are on lower calories or higher will help you pick the leaner or fattier cuts), deli meat, mince, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, various cuts for example steak or mince according to your personal preference and meals you think you may make these into, eggs etc. (buying meats in bulk and freezing will help save costs)
Choose your condiments herbs and spices etc:
Again these condiments will depend on your previous options to an extent, your calorie needs and nutrient needs.( a diet low in vegetables you may make up or buy vegetable type sauces) check the salt and sugar content of these, some is ok as long as you are not exceeding overall recommended daily intakes too much.
You can also use world food themes to help you pick these, think Mexican, Chinese, Indian, American, English, Spanish etc
Pick seasonings: Salt, pepper, fajita seasoning etc the list goes on. Again just make sure they are not silly high in salt etc.
The sauces and herbs and spices will make your chosen meats and carbs into meals that are less boring and bland. Be aware of your calorie requirements and pick accordingly, for example, if I am on low calories I may opt for a tomato and garlic sauce, If my calories are high I may opt for a cheese type sauce.
Add your nutrient sources:
These should be as varied as possible think different colours. This should come from various vegetables, leafy greens, broccoli, spinach, peppers, courgette, mushrooms… and so on. These will accompany your main meals. I save fruits for snacks and calorie fillers.
Choose your calorie fillers/snacks and treats
With the bulk of your diet sorted, with varied and good food we will now look to fill the diet out. This varies massively depending if you are losing fat, gaining muscle, getting enough nutrients from the rest of the diet, etc.
A good diet should be around 20% “good wholesome foods” and 20% of what you fancy within your goals. Obviously, if you are on 1500 calories that 20% is going to be much less than if you are on 4000 calories.
However, you should never exclude food groups and should always allow yourself some of what you fancy within your macros and calorie allowances.
Some calorie fillers are: Greek yoghurt, dessert snacks, peanut/nut butter (to add to things), rice pudding, chocolate, jelly, protein snacks, fruits, small amounts of fruit juices, choc drops to add to oats etc, protein snacks(if needed), nuts, carb snacks. However, I could go on all day with calorie fillers here. There are thousands, the main thing to remember is to pick 10-20% of your overall diet to be foods that you fancy with your allowances in mind.
There is no such thing as good and bad foods, (only a good or bad diet) only foods that are higher and lower in calories and foods that are higher or lower in nutrients. Its the overall diet that counts. A doughnut or some ice cream isn’t bad if it’s in proportion with the rest of the diet and you are getting plenty of nutrients and fibre etc and hitting your INDIVIDUAL calorie and macronutrient requirements. For example, a diet with all low nutrient high calorie, low protein foods, “junk foods” would not allow you to hit your macros or micronutrient needs. A diet with 80% nutrient dense, balanced macronutrients and 20% of what you fancy, that allows you to SUSTAINABLY hit your calories and macros will serve you much better. Its all about proportion which varies depending on your nutritional needs.
Supplements are highly individual as mentioned. However, unless you have been prescribed any supplements or have additional supplement needs then just stick to the basics. Whey protein is useful and is cheap especially if bought in bulk, omega 3 fish oils and a good multivitamin. Don’t over complicate here your diet should give you most of what you need. If for example, you are vegetarian and therefore are not getting much vitamin B12 found in meats then you may need to supplement, however, seek advice before doing so, as its very person dependent.
I hope this helps you to plan your food shop, please like and share this article and if you have any questions or would like to be coached then enquire within.
The majority of people dive out of bed in a mad rush to get to their place of work, without a second thought. However taking just 30 minutes to supercharge your day will literally change your life. Get your mind and body right in the morning and your day will be much better, I promise. Give this routine a solid 30 days and reap the rewards. Starting your day in this way can help combat stress, improve mood, reduce depression, increase productivity and improve your health.
Without further ado, let’s get stuck in on what to do! (Scroll to the bottom if you just want the routine without the ins and outs)
Dont go on your phone upon waking:
This is a habit that I have been guilty of myself, going straight onto social media, checking emails and wasting time that could be used more productively it also makes us feel groggy and makes getting up even harder. Wake up and get straight up without overthinking it. Head straight to the shower.
Wait.. what? A cold shower may be the last thing that you want after getting out of a warm bed. But harden up.. the benefits outweigh the negatives.
A cold shower has many benefits here are just some of them:
- Increases alertness: The shock as the cold water runs down our body makes us breathe deeper this helps keep us warm and increases our oxygen uptake, our heart rate increases, creating a rush of blood throughout our entire body, giving us a natural rush of energy to start the day.
- Refines hair and skin: Cold showers are the fountain of youth, hot water has the tendency to dry out our skin, opening pores. Cold water helps tighten your cuticles and pores, cold water can help to seal the pores in the skin, preventing dirt getting in.
- Improves circulation and immunity: Coldwater improves circulation by encouraging blood to surround our organs. It may also lower blood pressure, clear blocked arteries and improve our immune system.
- Speeds up recovery: We have all seen athletes taking ice baths to help recovery, whilst we may not be up to diving into an ice bath a cold shower can still help us to aid muscle soreness and speed up recovery.
- Jumping into the shower without letting it heat up, or going into the ocean without slowly acclimating to it, can help promote hardening, increasing tolerance to stress, and even disease. A 1994 study found a drastic decrease in uric acid levels during and following exposure to a cold stimulus. There was also an increase in glutathione, an antioxidant that keeps all other antioxidants performing at their optimal levels. The participants, who were 10 healthy people who swam regularly in ice-cold water during the winter, adapted to repeated oxidative stress. (medical daily 2017)
- Relieves depression: cold showers have been shown to help relieve depression this is because of the cold receptors in the skin, which send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from the peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which produces an antidepressive effect and improves mood.
Hydrate: When we sleep we don’t take in any water, making us often dehydrate overnight, drink a nice big glass of water as soon as you get downstairs, this will help ensure you start your day hydrated, the benefits of being hydrated are second to none. Short answer.. just hydrate!
Yoga has many benefits, it helps to regulate your breathing, be present, loosen tight muscles improving flexibility and reducing tension, yoga gives the benefits of exercise and helps you remain in a state of calm and chilled whatever your day throws at you. It also improves mental clarity, gets the blood flowing, and decreases the feelings of stress and anxiety. Sure there are many more benefits that I have not mentioned. Making yoga a part of your morning routine serves many benefits, and is great “me time”
How to: Find and experiment with yoga videos on youtube.. there are tons. This only has to be a 5 or 10-minute beginner video each morning. Your body and mind will thank you.
Having a nutritious breakfast will provide you with energy and vital nutrients to start the day, a well-balanced breakfast is king here, some carbs such as oatmeal, some protein such as eggs or a protein shake and some fruit will serve you well.
A quick meditate:
Meditation reduces stress, controls anxiety, promotes emotional health, enhances self-awareness, lengthens attention span, may reduce age-related memory loss, helps you to accept and love yourself, may help fight addictions, improves sleep, helps control pain, may help reduce blood pressure and improves focus and productivity. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of meditation!
How to: Spend 3-10 minutes meditating, the headspace app is great for this! there are other methods such as youtube videos and learning unguided or following guided meditations. Even just 3 mins, if that’s all you can spare, will help massively.
Gratitude: Tell yourself 3 things every day that you are thankful for to help shift the mind into a thankful, positive state.
To summarize here is the physique.iq morning routine:
- Don’t check your phone upon waking
- Cold shower
- Downstairs, hydrate
- Quick morning yoga session 5-10 mins
- Nutritious breakfast
- Morning meditation.
Getting up 30 mins earlier for some me time, will literally change your life and improve each and every day of your existence. Go to bed earlier if you need to but make this a priority. Feel good, look good, protect and improve your health and improve focus and productivity!
1. Exercise execution
Immaculate form and exercise execution are key. This is the first step to ensuring that your arms are getting the correct stimulus on the muscle that you are trying to grow. You need a strong mind-muscle connection and to execute the exercises with tension and excellent form. The way you do an exercise makes a big difference so before going further with the below tips make sure your execution is as good as it can be for the exercises you are doing.
2. Exercise selection
The exercises you use need to be in the right ratio. There is no point doing tons of isolation work, if your overall program lacks big compound lifts, things like heavy bench presses, weighted pull ups etc. Likewise, your arm sessions should focus on the big arm specific lifts, these are things like heavy dips, close grip bench presses, overhead extensions for triceps. Things like heavy barbell curls, seated dumbell curls, hammer curls for biceps. This will contribute to a large percentage of your overall arm development. You can then finish up with “icing on the cake” type exercises. Things like pushdowns, rope extensions, tricep kickbacks etc for triceps. Things like concentration curls, preacher curls, double cable bicep curls etc for biceps. The exercises should also be selected according to which exercises work for you, you can execute well and progress well on. If an exercise stalls more than 3 times,(on a bulk) and you’re not due a deload look to change it.
3. Training frequency
Your arms need the right amount of frequency, there is no point anilating your arms once per week in the hope to grow them. Sure this may work for enhanced advanced pro bodybuilders but it is not optimal for the natural lifter!
Your arms need to be stimulated, with direct work at least twice per week. The goal should be to stimulate them, get out recover as soon as possible so that you can hit them again for a second time that week. Why leave it a whole week to train them again if they are recovered after 3-4 days. Break your arm sessions up into two sessions. The type of split to maximize the benefits of optimal frequency are things like a full body split (for new and slightly intermediate lifters), Upper/lower split (for intermediate to advanced lifters) or a push/pull/legs set up for an advanced lifter.
4. Focus on the science, what makes muscle grow?
Mechanical tension is the biggest driver of muscle hypertrophy, followed by metabolic fatigue.
In short focus most of your efforts on the mechanical tension aspect, most of your arms work should be in the 6-12 rep range. Then focus on the metabolic fatigue part, this is the insane burning that you get from metabolite accumulation in the muscle, as well as cell swelling from the pump. To achieve this focus on some higher rep sets, 12-20+ rep range, adding in some intensity techniques such as rest pause sets, drop sets etc for example.
5. Caloric surplus
To grow new tissue, you need a caloric surplus. You need to be taking in more calories than you burn in order to grow. Whilst full nutritional instructions would be out of the scope of this article. The important things to remember are to consume adequate protein (0.8-1g per lb of lean bodyweight) and to remain in a caloric surplus. Weigh yourself, same time, first thing in the morning each week, if you have not gained weight bump up your calories 5-10%, rinse and repeat!
6. Progressive overload and measurable progress tracking
Your arms will not grow if you constantly place the same workload on them that is, the same weight, the same reps, the same rest time, the same number of sets. In fact, any muscle will not (except in new trainees) You need to apply progressive overload over time to cause an adaptation. This should still come from the muscle adapting and not from a slip in form, it should be the muscles adapting not you changing the exercise to lift more. A simple way to apply progressive overload is to logbook your lifts, and progress on them as often as possible. For example, lets take a bicep curl with a prescribed rep range of 6-10 reps, you come in and you manage to get 8 reps with 30kg. Next session you would look to beat it you may get 9, the next 10, then the following session you are at the top of the rep range so its time to increase the weight, you would increase to 32.5kg and repeat the process.
Measure: Measure your arm progress and track this, are they growing? if so good, if not why not? are you in a surplus? if not get in one, test again. If they are not growing despite being in a surplus and your execution is good then it’s likely a volume issue.
Volume (weightsXrepsXsets=volume) is very person dependent. However by tracking and measuring you can adjust volume, if they are not growing, you have to ask is the stimulus too much or not enough? Try adding more sets or exercises and test again, if that doesn’t work try taking them away? ask yourself what happens if I increase volume? (varified by your measurements) what happens if i decrease volume?(vefified by measurements)
Thanks for reading, I hope that you have learnt something and that this helps you in your quest to building your ultimate physique. Please share this article and reach out with any questions.
Train with a purpose:
I see far too many people training with a sub-par intensity, to really make a change to your physique and build a dense, strong, aesthetic physique, you need to train with purpose.
So what exactly is training with purpose?
I will start by explaining what training without purpose is. Training without purpose is using exercises that don’t work for you or the areas of your physique that need the most improvement, for example always training flat bench when your weak point is your upper chest. Training without purpose is using rubbish intensity and going through the motions, you see whilst volume is very person dependent many people do a ton of volume, often more than is needed but their per set intensity is quite frankly rubbish. Sure you may build some muscle this way, as the volume is the primary driver for hypertrophy, however, I can bet that the quality of the physique will look very different. Many people are short-changing themselves on each and every set, by going nowhere near failure, and making the workout a walk in the park. Many also don’t apply basic progressive overload and lift the same weights session after session after session.
So how do you train with purpose?
So given that we have now defined what training without purpose is, it is quite simple to establish how to train with purpose. So here is how you train with purpose. I am going to keep this short and sweet so that it is easy to take action and train with purpose!
- Make each set count- Don’t be the guy that stops 10 reps short of failure because it starts to hurt a little bit, that’s where it’s starting to work! Instead get close to failure!
- Make each rep count- Focus on the target muscle, lift intensely with good form.
- Use appropriate weight, form should be number one, but don’t use silly light weights that are far too light for you, use appropriate weight with good form
- Exercise selection- Law of specificity. Use appropriate exercises, that work for you and the area you are trying to improve
- Apply Progressive overload- Don’t be the person that lifts the same weights for the same reps, year after year. See my articles on why you should use a logbook, the simple answer is logbook your lifts and try and beat them as often as possible! (logbooks are available in the store)
- Mindset- Everything comes from the mind, go into your session with the mindset that you are here to be better than yesterday, and remind yourself why you are in the gym in the first place, to make changes. Use whatever tools help you, some are visualization, meditation, music, and even pre-workout. Whatever it takes to get your mind right.
- If you are doing too much volume, but cant generate intensity because of it, scale the volume back and make each rep, set and session count and intense. The best physique’s in history were built with intensity and purpose.
There we have it, Simple steps to make sure you train with purpose. A short read with actionable steps. Now go and train with purpose!