Body transformations aren't easy to achieve. It doesn't matter if your goal is to lose fat, gain muscle, or maybe even both; a lot of hard work is needed to get to your goals. The most important thing is that you've decided to better yourself on this journey.
Whether you have already started your transformation or are looking for tips proactively, we are sure the following tips can be of great help. These tips will allow you to optimize the entire process and hopefully make it a bit easier.
1. Ease Into It
Probably the most important tip when starting out. Most of us want to go all out at the start of the transformation, frequently burning out way too fast. Your transformation is a marathon, not a 60-meter sprint.
The key to success is to ease into your newly found routine.
Going from being a physically inactive person to going to the gym 7 days a week isn't reasonable, and it certainly isn't maintainable right out of the gate. Diet can be a huge issue too. People go from eating junk all the time to eating cleaner than bodybuilders and then fail miserably.
Take baby steps at first - go to the gym 3 times a week, start with a small caloric deficit. Then, as time goes on, you can up the workouts and maybe increase the deficit.
Your goal is to stay on this path of your transformation consistently. Burning out is the last thing you want to do.
2. Respect Your Recovery
Expanding on the first tip, it's important to treat recovery as a vital part of your body transformation. When you're just starting out, you won't have the same tolerance for physical activity as a regular gym-goer. Another major thing to remember is the fact that your body adapts during periods of rest.
You won't build muscle unless you get quality sleep. You most certainly won't lose body fat if you sleep poorly and get your hormones out of whack.
3. Progressively Overload
One of the fundamental principles of training is called progressive overload. It basically says that, in order to improve, you need to increase the intensity of your exercise gradually. You can do it by increasing the weight you're using, the number of sets or reps you perform, and the number of total exercises you do.
Notice a pattern here? You need to step up things gradually, not start from a tall starting place and then crumble down.
4. Set Achievable Goals and Then Break Them Down into Smaller Goals
Let's be real, you will not lose 200 pounds in a month. Neither will you gain 45 pounds of lean muscle in 3 months. Being realistic with your goal-setting could be the difference between failure and success.
After setting realistic goals, it's time to break them down into smaller goals. For example, planning to lose 80 pounds in a year is great, but that year is a long time from now, and sometimes it might seem too far away. By making sure we chunk the big goals down into bite-sized goals, we can track our progress and make sure we are on the right track.
Plus, seeing yourself achieving goals on a monthly basis can be a huge motivation boost!
5. Plan for Cheat Days
Even the hardcore bodybuilders have cheat days, so can you. These "planned hedonic goal deviations" help us stay true to our goals when we are actually following a diet.
A study from RC does Vale and associates showed that people who enjoyed a cheat day once a week had increased motivation and self-control when it came to dieting.
Both groups in the study, the one with the cheat day and the one without a cheat day, achieved almost identical weight loss.
Dieting can be challenging, and cheat days can help you make it more enjoyable.
6. Take Progress Pics
Taking progress pics is a must. You don't have to share them with anyone. Just stash them somewhere so you can look back to see how much you achieved.
I couldn't even count the number of times my clients told me they regret not taking a few progress pictures, especially the ones when you're starting out.
7. Get a Coach
If there's something that will help you achieve your goals, that's a personal trainer. Not only will your accountability go up since you're spending money on his services, but a quality trainer will do everything in his power to help you achieve your goals.
From structuring workout programs to putting together a nutrition plan, a quality coach will be your second biggest advantage on your path to success.
The first is your discipline.