Everyone wants a body transformation. And there is no shortage of options out there for enrolling in one, but what’s the secret to a successful one?
You’ve probably seen it a thousand times before on TV. A heavily overweight person making the transformation of their life in 12 weeks.
They lose lots of weight, exercise daily and overhaul their entire diet. It works. Amazingly well, in fact…Maybe too well?
What happens next…?
The cameras leave and the person is left to their own devices. Unfortunately, the changes they made were not suited to their lifestyle. It was too extreme, too much too soon and they were unable to maintain it by themselves.
And that’s the problem with a lot of transformations. They’re all or nothing. You go hard, overhaul everything and then return to your normal life after.
The truth is, they get results temporarily but do not last long because the person goes back to doing what they always did.
So, what’s the answer?
Little and often.
It’s not glamorous and definitely isn’t sexy sounding. It’s reasonable, and the good news is, it works long term.
Little and often means working with what you currently do and improving it one habit at a time. It feels much easier and there isn’t a big overhaul of your diet or exercise regime.
Here’s the thing. If you make small changes consistently, after 12 weeks you can look back and see that you’ve actually come a long way.
And the biggest benefit of all is that you will be losing weight, getting fitter and stronger with changes that can last a lifetime.
They’re the benefits, so how do you do it?
There are 3 steps to this process:
- Track what you currently do
- Choose to make 1 small change
- Repeat steps 1 and 2
The reason to fully understand and track what you currently do first is because everyone’s lifestyle is different.
For example, it might be the case that you drink 4 pints of alcohol 4 nights of the week. If that’s the case, changing from white rice to brown rice is not going to make any difference.
We need to find what changes will yield the biggest results from the least amount of effort.
Top Tip: Download My Fitness Pal now and start tracking your food and drink daily. You can easily see where to improve from there.
Action 1: Pick one thing to change from your diet each week, using the results from 7 days of tracking in My Fitness Pal.
That’s food, what about exercise?
Again, this will depend on where you are starting from. If you do very little consistent exercise, the first step is to get consistent.
A recommended way to really boost your daily activity, especially if you are sitting in an office all day, is to increase your step count.
It sounds basic, but it works. Aim to hit at least 10,000 steps a day. You can easily fit in a 30 min walk every lunch break.
After that, if you’re tight on time, see how you can make your commute to work more active.
This is one of the best hacks to staying in shape. You probably work 5 days a week so if you cycle, walk or run to work you are guaranteed to exercise 5 days a week.
The UK government recommends 30 mins of activity 5 days a week for a reason!
What about gym and exercise sessions?
Once you have a good baseline to work from, using the daily step count and/or active commute above, which is more resilient to work deadlines and lunchtime meetings, you can start to add in more activity.
Start by deciding on what you are most likely to stick to. If you hate the gym, try finding a social run club or team event to take part in.
They key to this is knowing yourself. Understanding what you like, dislike and are most likely to stick to long term while enjoying it.
The all or nothing fatal fallacy
Quite often you hear people say that they’re not going to start training until the can commit to X number of sessions per week. They think that there is no point in training just a little bit and that they need to go all in or nothing at all.
That belief set is NOT helpful to your health. The truth is that every extra little bit of exercise you do will be of benefit.
Little and often, as the name of the post suggests, is what gets results.
There will probably never be a time in your adult life where you can dedicate 3 months to an exercise and eating regime without interruption. You just have too many other things getting in the way.
Work, family, social events. Life!
So the first thing to strip away in any weight loss or body transformation journey is the all-or-nothing mindset.
It’s not helpful and will not get you results. Instead, try to reframe it and say to yourself “Even if I do just 15 mins of exercise it’s better than none.”
Mindset training is becoming a really big thing in the fitness industry, and it’s easy to see why. If you can find a way to motivate yourself, the results will come more easily.
Look to make small, positive and incremental changes to your exercise habits.
Habits are the key to your success
If you focused 100% on building better, more helpful habits you will see big results. A habit of going to the gym. A habit of eating smaller portions. A habit of drinking only vodka, soda, lime instead of beer.
It’s your habits, the things that you do often, which produce the results you see in front of you right now.
Build better habits and you will be a big way to a body transformation. Habits don’t have to be big changes, either. They can be small at first. Then they snowball into bigger results.
Top Tip: List down what healthy habits you currently have, both eating and exercise wise.
DIY body transformations
If all of this seems a little daunting and you are not sure where to start, don’t worry. This is a common feeling.
You can start by using the points above and just adding in 1 little change per week. But even then sometimes we all need a little push in the right direction and someone to hold us accountable for our actions.
Online personal training is a great, budget friendly option for starting out.
You have several options available to you. You could find a PT in your local gym if you go to one. Alternatively, find an independent PT in your area who specialises in body transformations.
For those in London, Minimal FiT comes highly recommended for those wanting a 1-to-1 service. Just check out the reviews on Google.
You can see my transformation success stories of people I have helped from all over the world. With online training, geography is no barrier.
The key to making lasting change is to make small, incremental changes to your lifestyle over weeks and months.
If you think they only way is the “all or nothing” approach, you are likely to only find yourself back at the beginning of the journey when life gets in the way, and it will.
Don’t beat yourself up if you make a few mistakes along the way. It happens. 1 day off isn’t going to undo 2 weeks of hard work.
Similarly, if you haven’t done anything for 2 weeks even 1 workout will help to get you back on track, no matter how short it is.
Do what you can, when you can. Little and often gets results.