How to achieve a body transformation
If you’re ever on social media, you’ve no-doubt seen fantastic body transformations – people who have made a big change to their physique.
These are often used to show off how good a trainer or coach is and they’re also a great way to see what’s possible in a certain timeframe.
Stick with us because today we’re discussing what goes into a body transformation and how to achieve your own.
Time to plan your own transformation!
What is a Body Transformation?
So what goal do you aim at?
A full body-transformation means achieving a body you’re happier with. This usually means more muscle, less fat, and looking great.
This is what we’ll be aiming at: looking amazing naked is all about getting your bodyfat down and getting your lean muscle up.
These are 2 really simple goals, but obviously they’re not easy. This guide is going to cover the basic info and take you from total novice to well-equipped for your own body transformation. We’ll focus on the big processes!
Before You Start: Know Your Goals and Challenges
One good way to start your body transformation is get an idea of where you are now and what your big goals are.
These should be priorities rather than specific numbers. Your first step should be principles – like “I need to put fat loss first”, rather than “I want to lose X amount of pounds”.
Make sure you can track anything you want to work on: you can’t succeed unless you can measure change as it happens!
Life gets in the way, so its going to be important to set goals and use systems that can adapt with you. Having a set diet and training routine is great, but life gets in the way sometimes and you should aim to apply your routine with about 85-90% strictness.
Have a plan, but have a think about ways it might realistically go wrong and how you’ll adapt.
Step One: Prioritise Food – Eat for Your Goal
Fixing your diet is the bedrock for any effective body transformation. You can make significant change by adjusting this one factor.
There are a few keys to making a body transformation work – easy principles you can write down and practice or use to structure your eating.
1. Pick Calories to Fuel Your Goal
You need to eat for what you want. I’ve said it before, but your training and diet should match the priority you set above.
If you want to lose weight, you can take an estimate of your calorie needs and eat 80-85% of that on a daily basis. For gaining, aim at 110-115%. This will allow you to gain or lose weight at a sustainable rate.
You can gain muscle while losing fat, but this is often slower than chasing just one of these goals. If you’re a total novice and you’re looking to trim down, it’s relatively easy. However, if you’re looking to gain weight (or just lose fat), focusing on just one will be the fastest way to go.
Not only that but, when combined with resistance training, you can build significant muscle along the way.
If you are trying to lose weight and gain muscle at the same time, all the science says that you should be aiming to lose 0.7% bodyweight per week, keep protein intake high, and train effectively. It’s tough, but worth considering.
2. Up Your Quality
Dietary changes can be achieved by just focusing on the quality of foods. You don’t need to be 100% clean 100% of the time, but swapping bad foods for better foods is a big improvement.
This means when you pick any source of carbs, proteins, or fats, just go for the best kind. This means lean and complete proteins, polyunsaturated fats (like olive oil or fatty fish), and complex carbs which must include veggies.
Making this kind of change makes your overall dietary quality better and tends to build other good habits like calorie restriction and being “full” for longer.
Eating more protein is common across all high-performance diets.
If you want to make the most of your body transformation, upping your protein is going to be key.
This is because protein supports the two main goals:
- Protein is the building-block for adding muscle to your frame
- High-protein diets tend to be lower in calories, higher in satiety, and burn more fat
So look to get 1.5-2g per kg of bodyweight to support your goals.
4. Eat your damn veggies
Vegetable intake is key to keeping yourself healthy. It also keeps your metabolism, digestion, and eating habits regular.
Struggling to keep yourself full with your calories and macros? Eat more nutrient-dense veggies. Foods like lettuce, celery, and green beans take up almost no calories but can easily fill you up.
Dark greens and other high-quality veg also provide vitamins and minerals essential to effective energy metabolism and wellbeing.
Step Two: Weight train – no exceptions
Weight training is the most efficient way to build muscle and get a well-rounded physique. It’s not the only way, but it’s the best one for most people.
Weight training has some awesome benefits I’ve discussed at length before:
- It builds muscle
- It burns more fat than cardio
- It supports joint and bone health for the long-term
- It builds better posture
- It supports long-term metabolic health and mobility
You can implement all of these to support your transformation and maximise your results. With the combined effects, weight and strength training are key to a good transformation!
Remember to focus on good technique, being humble with your starting weights, and take everything at the right pace. Ego lifting only risks your health and leads to plateaus down the road.
Step Three: Fit Cardio to Your Goals
Cardio might be everyone’s go-to when trying to lose weight, but you should fit it around your goals.
If you’re trying to build muscle and power, you’ll want to lean towards high-intensity interval training – HIIT. This is also great for losing weight if you’re dealing with a restricted schedule since it might only take 10-15 minutes to get a full effective cardio workout.
Low-intensity steady state (like running, rowing, or cycling at a consistent pace for 30 minutes) is a great way to aid weight-loss and keep healthy. This focuses on visceral fat (the stuff around your organs) so it might be a great choice if you’re training for health and wellbeing.
Remember: the best cardio is the kind that fits your goals and schedules, without being dull – you don’t have to just pick one kind, either.
Step Four: Recovery Matters
Muscles grow and your body gets stronger when you rest.
Resting is the most under-used aspect of training. If you can spend 3-4 hours a week in the gym, you can spend a little extra time working on improving your recovery for bigger gains
We’ve already discussed nutrition – a key factor – but there are a few other big keys for recovery:
Recovery peaks when you’re sleeping. The brain and body both use this time to regulate and repair.
Less than 8 hours is likely to compromise your hormonal and neuromuscular health. If you’re trying to make serious change to your physique and performance, 8 hours is a minimum.
You should also focus on getting high-quality sleep: reduce screen time before bed, make sure you’re well-fed and watered, and get to sleep when tired.
Water is the first big part of hydration: keep water on-hand and avoid ever getting thirsty.
You also need to make sure you’re getting enough minerals. It’s easy to over-drink and lose key minerals, so make sure to get plenty of mineral rich foods (like wholegrains, pulses, nuts, and seeds) throughout the day.
Improving your posture, range of motion, and reducing tightness aren’t glamorous – but they’re important.
It’s very likely that a good transformation to your physique involves better posture. This is one of the key factors that develops in response to effective strength and flexibility training.
Balancing joints by loosening tight muscles and strengthening weak ones is key to keeping them health.
Step Five: Improve your Everyday
This is one of the most important things to focus on as you progress: improve your everyday practices.
Great transformations are built on the back of fantastic day-by-day approaches to the fundamentals. It’s also great to get a better understanding of the basics around training over time – to understand the how and why behind training.
Habits determine your overall results. Follow these steps and cover some of the other great training habits we’ve discussed. These aren’t as glamorous as a great workout, but they’re tools for making everything work!
Once you’re following these simple steps, all that’s left is time.
You’re going to see positive change if you implement them consistently and continue focusing on progression.
They’re not complicated lessons, but they do take time and a little effort. If you’re ready to put this effort in, a body transformation – the kind you see on Instagram – is open to you.