With January comes new year resolutions, with resolutions, comes aims, with aims come actions. One of the biggest aims each year, is that of changing our bodies. To lose some weight perhaps, may build some muscle or just eat more healthily. In essence, this is a transformation, building a body if you will. But what are the chances of making a real change? And is it really possible to transform like you see on the web?
Type of Flare: Fitness (Physical)
Owner of Flare: Based on leading fitness guru, Nick Mitchell
Key Snippet: “It all boils down to how badly you want something; do you want a defined six pack or do you want those doughnuts? It really is as simple as that.”
This week we’re talking about body transformations; the kind you see splashed all over the internet and newsstands. You know the ones, they have headlines like ‘get ripped in 8 weeks’ or ‘lean in 15’. But in reality, is this achievable? Can anyone go from current state to cover model body?
To answer this question, we need to start at the beginning. The body works on scientific principles, and harnessing those to change your physique is key. In basic terms, to lose weight, one should burn more calories than they take in. But this doesn’t mean you can eat what you want, as long as you don’t exceed your daily calorie allowance.
A quick example, if an average male needs 2,500 kcal per day, and eats it entirely of haribo; technically the body will have sufficient calories it needs to function. But if the same 2,500kcals were made up of lean proteins and mixed vegetables, the body will be far more efficient in its operations. As the old saying goes, ‘you can’t out train a bad diet’.
Nick mixes cutting edge scientific principles with old fashion hard work and discipline. As a result, he has become a leading figure in the world of training and body composition. Practicing what he preaches (Google him to see him in his 20’s!), his no-nonsense approach has helped change 1000’s of bodies and build a successful high-end global personal training business.
From research and reading, I decided to test out the transformation formula and see if it can be done. Or was it limited exclusively to those individuals with heaps of time and money?
So what do you need to do?
To change your body composition or kick-start change, it is important to understand the key training principles. It would be easy to go into great depth about a vast array of training elements but let’s stick with a high-level overview for now.
- Be consistent – change is a result of consistent effort; the body is either in a building phase (anabolic) or breaking down phase (catabolic), there is no middle ground. Remember, one bad day of food will not make you fat, but neither will one enormous day in the gym make you ripped.
- Lift weights – If your gym time is limited, lift weights. No longer restricted to monsters of men, everyone will benefit from resistance training as it has a greater impact on body composition than cardio. This can be attributed to causing the body to improve insulin sensitivity (which impacts muscle growth and fat storage) and better handle carbohydrates.
- Mix it up a bit – the body gets used to things done in repetition, and will always find the most efficient way of working. Therefore mixing up training with a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session or such like, will have a greater effect on the body than long steady state exercise.
- Mind & muscle connection – when lifting weights, if you can’t feel the muscle working, then it is probably not being stressed. A solution is to squeeze the muscle at the top and the bottom of the rep. This will maximise your results. Ultimately, building muscle is about placing maximum stress on the muscle fibres and causing them to grow (known as hypertrophy).
- Go hard – the gym is not a substitute for the pub. You don’t need to be in the gym for hours, you just need intensity. Be focused, work hard and push your body to places it wouldn’t normally go to. This will make a positive adaptation on your muscle composition.
- Eat well – this means as many natural wholesome foods as possible. Try to keep your processed food intake to a minimum, as the body will not get as much benefit from these as natural foods.
So to make real change, you need to listen to science, have an open mind and above all, dedication. Nick is well known for his non-BS approach which is a breath of fresh air. He practices what he preaches and is very well regarded amongst the fitness community. Too many times, celebrity trainers dance around difficult topics so not to offend readers.
The simple truth is that change is hard work. If you are looking for an easy life, then go and do something else. There isn’t a magic pill you can take which will replaced hard graft. Neither is there a short cut which will catapult you to body transformation superstardom.
The wonderful thing about body-building is that it shows dedication, perseverance and hard work. In this instance of body-building, I’m not talking about the guys and girls who compete on stage; they have worked long and hard to get there. Rather, people like you and I who want to lose some fat or build muscle; they are building their own body.
So can it be done?
The simple answer to this is yes.
Over the course of 10 weeks at the end of last year, I followed Nick’s training principles and made a positive change to my body. I fully appreciate that I was not in a bad place to begin with but always felt there was room for improvement.
It is not easy and you will have to make some hard decisions. My transformation was in the run up to Christmas so filled with potential disruptions. Some were easier to avoid than others, but with my eyes on the prize, I stayed strong.
The photos opposite show the progress over 10 weeks:
Many friends have asked what the secret was? Or was it difficult? The answers are there isn’t one and at times, respectively. I concentrated on my nutrition and made sure I had lean protein with every meal. Specifically, breakfast required a change and I now incorporate eggs, meats and healthy fats into my meals (even after the transformation).
Couple that with no longer than 60 mins of intense training 4 times a week. You may think you need longer, but if you are focused, work really hard and apply mental concentration, 60 mins intensive lifting is enough. You’ll get a good sweat on!
What I also learned, is that you’ll be surprised by what you can do. Can anyone make a positive body change? Absolutely. But it will be hard work.
The Knowledge Flare Comment:
So why is this important to me?
- Willingness & motivation is a must – to maintain focus on your end goal, break the large target into bite sized chunks; this could be weekly goals. But you need to remain motivated and willing to keep forging ahead. There will be weeks when you feel like progress has been made, but when you see change, it will all be worthwhile.
- Be consistent – one bad day won’t make you fat, but one huge day in the gym won’t make you ripped. Long term sustainable change is built by consistency. If you start, commit and follow it through to the end.
If you want it, you can have.
But it won’t be easy, but then again, anything worth having is hard work, otherwise everyone would have it!