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.
Transitioning from a bro to an advanced lifter