Even if you feel ready to begin a body transformation, you may not know where to start. This guide will help you get going and ensure that you’re set for success.
You’ve been surfing for answers for weeks but you still haven’t started a 12-week transformation. You’re excited, nervous, eager, unprepared, a little scared, and you’re looking for an extra push. Just a little more info before you commit.
Whatever brought you here, you’re in the right place.
Whether you’re sick of sinking into the couch every night or haven’t trained in a long time, this guide is for you. You might be self-conscious, worried and unsure. That’s okay! Remember, even Rocky had to start somewhere. Follow this brief transformation preparation guide and go the distance.
1 Step Up, Checkup
Begin your transformation prep by scheduling a full checkup with your doc. As much as you might dread it, knowing where you stand is going to help your efforts tremendously. A checkup may reveal some health issues that could be improved with diet and exercise, which will instantly boost your motivation and provide additional, quantifiable goals.
If you find any outstanding health issues, your doctor might also provide you with safe diet and/or training recommendations. If you can’t remember the last time you saw your doctor for a complete physical, now is definitely the time.
Most importantly, you’ll get some great health benchmarks that you can revisit after your transformation. Important markers to track include cholesterol/triglycerides, blood pressure, fasting glucose, and possibly even bone density (BMD) for older women who haven’t had a recent checkup. Return to the doc after 12 weeks to get some additional blood work and revisit your numbers. You’re looking for improvements wherever possible. Fitness is about more than looking good; it’s about feeling healthy and living well!
2 Take Out The Trash
Clear out anything in your life that might hold you back from success:
If your cupboards are loaded with cookies, cakes, crackers and other junk, clean them out. Having these items around will only tempt you to make poor food decisions. Say goodbye to Oreos and Twinkies.
Although this might seem callous, take stock of people who will make your transformation more difficult. You need to surround yourself with people who will be supportive, not people who might want you to skip gym sessions or eat foods you shouldn’t. You need Adrians, not Paulies. During the beginning stages of your transformation, you should spend more time around those who will buoy you and less time around those who might drag you down.
While you can’t always control the people around you, you can clear the negativity from your mind. Your mentality is absolutely crucial to your success, so get your head straight: Instead of focusing on what will be difficult about this transformation (fitting in gym time, planning meals, having sore muscles, not being able to socialize in the same way), focus on the positive.
Consider ways to make your transformation work in your life. If you’re concerned about getting to the gym after work, go in the morning. If you’re worried about those Thursday lunch-meetings, suggest a healthier place to eat. You need to make your health the priority in your life. Once you do, it’s amazing how many people will follow.
If you constantly berate yourself for poor food choices or the way you look, replace this negative self-talk with more positive statements. Every time a negative statement comes to mind, replace it with two positive affirmations about what you’re doing well. This could be something like, ‘I chose a healthy chicken salad at lunch today,’ or ‘I made sure to drink 10 full glasses of water today.’ There’s no need to focus solely on huge accomplishments like fat loss or muscle gain; progress is progress, which means any small victory is significant.
When you replace negative thoughts with positive, you’ll build self-confidence and perpetual motivation. The more you focus on what you’re doing wrong or what you shouldn’t do, the more power you give negative actions and fears. Focus on what you want to do and shift your entire frame of mind.
Although it takes some time and energy to clean up your life, it’s much easier to start with a newly-dusted mindset and a cupboard that’s not full of constant temptation.
3 Buy The FUNdamentals
You’ll want to stock up on both food and workout items. Having good choices in your refrigerator will make your life much easier. And having some basic workout items will make your jump into the fitness world more fun. This might sound trivial, but having clothes you like can often influence your desire to train.
This basic check list ought to get you started. (Note that food items may vary depending on the specific diet plan you follow).
- Brown rice
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole grain cereals
- Natural nut butter
- Olive oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Whey protein powder
- Canned tuna
- Canned salmon
- Low-sodium spices
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Greek yogurt
- Eggs/egg whites
- Low fat milk
- Any fresh lean meat
- Low-sodium soy sauce
Transforming with Kris Gethin? See what he eats.
- Low-sodium chicken or beef broth
- Bottled water
- Frozen chicken breasts
- Frozen lean beef
- Frozen turkey
- Frozen fish
- Frozen vegetables
- Frozen berries
All of these foods will make up your healthful eating plan and provide you with a balanced blend of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats.
You should also have everything you need for gym workouts. It’s also a good idea to pick up some minimalist home equipment for those really busy days when you might not be able to make it to the gym.
- Properly fitting running shoes
- Comfortable workout wear (bottoms/top/sports bra)
- Mp3 player
- Water bottle
- Heart rate monitor (if desired)
- Resistance band
- Dumbbells or kettlebells
4 Pre-Workout Workouts
If you haven’t exercised in a long time, some light at-home workouts will prime your body for the upcoming transformation. Performing movements at home can also help make you feel more comfortable when you stroll into the gym. Start these workouts as soon as possible and use them for 1-2 weeks as you get everything ready for your transformation.
Light cardio workouts will help improve heart health, boost your cardiovascular fitness, and increase your mobility. Select your favored method of cardio training (walking will work well for most people), and aim to do it 15 to 30 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week.
Exercises You Should Add To Your Circuit
- Decline Push-Ups
- Pull-Ups (if possible)
- Chair Dips
- Bodyweight Squats
- Walking Lunges
- Stationary Lunges
- Lying Leg Raises
- Front Crunch
- Side Crunch
- Reverse Crunch
It’s also a good idea to get started with some very basic strength training movements to help build some muscular strength before you begin training heavier at the gym.
Bodyweight exercises are excellent and will help you get used to various movement patterns and how it feels to train your muscles.
Perform a circuit of four to five different bodyweight movements, aiming for 10-15 reps per exercise. Take 30-60 seconds to rest between each circuit. Pick one exercise per body part to build a full-body workout.
Vary the exercises each session. Doing this keeps the muscles constantly stimulated and you’ll get better at a variety of movements. When you’re ready to battle heavier weights, your pre-fight interview will consist of more than just a shout out to Adrian.
5 Check Yo’self Before You…
The Italian Stallion had to work through some tough life decisions before he fought Apollo, and so should you. Even when you start going to the gym every day, what you do outside of it will significantly impact your results. If you aren’t living well, you won’t hit your goals.
Keep track of your sleep habits, alcohol consumption, and your stress and motivations levels. Each of these will play a significant role in your success.
Sleep is critical to muscular repair, maintaining a high metabolism, and making sure you feel energized to perform during each training session. If you currently aren’t getting at least 8 hours per night, start making that a top priority. You will feel the difference.
Stress causes some trouble for all of us. But for those interested in transforming, high levels of stress can really put a damper on your progress. If you have a lot of stress in your life, you might not recover well from workout sessions and you might increase the risk of over-eating. Utilize constructive stress management techniques like journaling, meditating, talking to a friend, or going out for a long drive around the city. Better yet, have a Rocky marathon. Learn what works for you and then put it to use.
No matter if you overindulge on the weekends, or just have a drink in the evening, alcohol is a toxin and will affect your ability to burn fat. Until all alcohol is removed from your system, your body can’t burn fat. Alcohol will also hinder your ability to recover from workout sessions. As much as possible, remove alcohol from the picture.
Most importantly, before you even begin your transformation, you need to be motivated. If you feel only partially committed, you’ll need to find a way to jump all the way in. Find a buddy, join a class, hire a trainer, or even just make a list of all the upcoming benefits. Reward yourself for achieving small goals. Do whatever it takes to fully commit. Make that your mantra: “Whatever it takes.”
Remember that maintaining a high level of motivation requires continuous effort – even when Rocky wasn’t sure of a win, it didn’t stop him from being the best he could be.
6 Set Goals
Set some clearly defined goals. Ideally these should include both physical changes (lose weight, gain muscle) and performance changes (bench 10 more pounds, run a mile under 10 minutes). Having both types of goals will help keep you motivated at all times, even if one goal starts to slow in progress. Health-related goals are important, as are personal, lifestyle-based goals. Want to have more energy to play with your kids? Write it down.
The more you have to work toward, the greater your chance of success.
Your gloves are on and you’re in the ring. Let the transformation begin. If you’re doing a particular transformation program, make sure you read up on the details and are familiar with exactly what you’re expected to do. “Work the body,” baby.
AUTHOR: SHANNON CLARK