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!
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!
Transitioning from a bro to an advanced lifter