Here at Definitive Physique the most frequently asked questions usually stem from topics related to our personal training transformation projects. The majority of questions normally include the words. How long and what did it entail? Like anything worth having in life it took a combination of hard work, discipline and attention to detail. Unfortunately these three components are often forgotten early on in the information gathering process and the new subject of importance becomes the magical supplementation protocol or scientifically researched (not proven…I might add) training program. Now, I’m not here to bash supplement manufacturers or hate on any of my peers in the industry…, as both sup’s and training programs are important elements to your transformation project. However people need to place things in order of importance and accept responsibility where it is due, as achieving the perfect physique will not come from a bottle of pills or the latest exercise in your news stand health/ fitness magazine.
Making the decision
First and foremost one needs to make the conscience decision to get in shape. The mental disciplined required of a personal training transformation project far outweighs the physical and should not be taken lightly. I tell all my clients the same thing…the truth! This means yes its going to be hard, and no it wont come easy. Understanding that the process will be difficult is an important step to deciding weather you have what it takes to achieve the goal. In my opinion everyone has the ability, however certain factors in life will make the process harder and more challenging. Realising the factors involved and how these will impact your daily life is an integral part in the planning process of your transformation.
Time available will relate both to your daily/weekly regime and your overall target body composition. Having a goal of reaching say 10% body fat at an average Joe starting point of 22-25% might well be achievable in a 12week time line. However cut this in half to say 6 weeks and even the most genetically gifted individual will not achieve such results in such time…despite what any of these self professed gurus might tell you. A very general way of looking at things can be the % a week benchmark or the standard 1kg/2.2lbs of fat loss. Either way you will need to work backwards from your desired weight or body fat% in relation to your current body composition. Setting realistic time lines will help to keep progress constant and minimise the possibility of failure.
Plan of Action
A solid plan of action will take all factors into account and ensure every base is covered. The three primary factors of any personal training transformation are diet, training and rest. They must all be structured accordingly and follow a system of progression/regression throughout the desired time line. Specifics of each of the three factors can and should be customised to the individual. The approach used is not as important as the continual adjustment made throughout the time period. Calorie intake must regress throughout the time line to ensure continued fat loss, yet regression must not be too great as metabolic down grade is very real consequence. Training frequency, volume and density must also change to ensure sustained fat loss and muscle growth. However rest must also be coordinated to safeguard against overtraining and the loss of lean muscle mass and not fat.
Things to consider
You will note that not much focus has been made on that of supplementation. This is primarily to do with my personal opinion on the subject but also because of their order of importance. The three most influential factors are diet, training and rest, but supplementation can and will play a role and should be utilised efficiently. A standard approach to protein supplementation will be required as will the inclusion of certain essential vitamins and minerals in particular when following certain low carb approaches. In addition to this the application of certain pre workout sup’s can do wonders whilst feeling the affects of a restricted calorie diet. Getting that all important stimulation prior to twice a day cardio sessions or a particularly hard leg workout can be influential in getting the exercise stimulus you need. The very nature of dieting is counterproductive to energy levels and as a result over time training will become harder and harder. Another supplement high on my list of shall we say essentials is a fibre and or green sup, again even more important when following a lower carb approach. Constipation can be a very real and uncomfortable situation faced by certain people following restrictive diets.
At the end of the day the single most important thing to know, is that you need to believe in yourself and approach process with conviction. A half-hearted approach will lead to a half way result. Make the steps towards changing your lifestyle; formulate a solid plan set out over a realistic time line and initiate the process with confidence. I have witnessed both amazing transformations and unfortunately amazing failures too. Which reminds me of the saying, “Winners never quit and quitters never win” I wish you well in your transformations and hope to see you out there on the gym floor!
This article was written by Mike Porter, Director, Definitive Physique