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15 Often Overlooked Factors For Success With A Body Transformation

Quite frequently when I meet someone new or run into a friend I haven’t seen in a while, I’ll often get asked for tips on the best way to change your shape. I’m happy to oblige them as it really doesn’t bother me to talk “shop” outside of work. In fact, it’s the opposite as these subjects are my passion, not just my work.

The thing is I’ve noticed over the years is that most of the questions are centered around specific nutrition or exercise strategies. You know things like…what’s the best diet, workout routine, or exercises to do? In other words, they just want to know exactly what to do.

While some individuals can certainly benefit from recommendations on how to perhaps switch up their routines to best fit with their individual needs and goals, these are individuals who typically already have an established habit with exercise.

For someone who’s currently not exercising regularly or following a healthy diet, there’s not much need to major in the minors per say when it comes to the specifics. Perform some form of cardiovascular or resistance based exercise for 30 minutes, 5 x a week, and eat natural foods may sound overly simplistic. But this is exactly the recipe for anyone just starting out on a quest to transform their physique.

More after the jump…

Get moving and clean up your diet. This will certainly get the ball rolling and provide you with the necessary momentum to progress to the next level. My point is I believe many individuals often suffer “paralysis from analysis” and stay stuck in old habits, when they could just be doing something.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly a lot I can share on tips and strategies regarding the specifics, but at the core there’s always work to be done on the mental/behavioral side first and foremost. You are who you are because of your thoughts, actions, and self-image of who you see yourself being.

Address this side of the equation first and things will fall into place much easier. Sure there’s always going to be commitment and hard work required to change your shape, but until you change behaviors you’re not likely to stick with any routine for very long.

This is the cold hard reality that’s often overlooked. You’ve got to be willing to change how you think, how you act, and how you view yourself for the body to adjust itself accordingly. Going on a diet and dragging yourself to the gym for a few weeks won’t cut it.

The repeated “start and stop” pattern with diet and exercise is a reflection of your thoughts and behaviors, not necessarily a lack of will-power, discipline, information, etc.

I’ve put some thought into this and came up with a list of the top 15 things you can do to see a body transformation.

Not one of them has anything to do with a specific way to eat or exercise. Sure, I’m always willing to help you with that side of the equation as well, but if you’re a coaching client of mine I’d be advising you to start here first.

Ok, in no particular order here we go.

1. Put your goals down in writing

Yeah you’ve heard this one before, but are you doing it? Be specific with your desired outcome. Don’t just write down that you want to lose weight, write down some tangible goals.

Perhaps you want to get down to 18% body fat, get back into a size 4, or whatever. Be realistic with yourself and set achievable goals as mile-markers. For example, let’s say you’re currently at 35% body fat and want to get to 18%.

You’d write down your main goal of 18% body fat, along with a 60 day goal of getting under 30%. Once you get under 30% you set another short-term goal and continue the process until you’re at your goal of 18%. Don’t neglect the importance of successfully reaching mile-markers along the way.

2. Practice visualization

Paint a clear picture of how you want to look and what you want your life to be like and put it down in writing.  Read this twice a day and then close your eyes and visualize it for a few minutes, like a day-dream. Your imagination is a very powerful thing. This practice literally programs your subconscious mind to “make it so.”  Again, you may heard this tip before, but are you doing it?

3. Determine your REAL motivating factors

Ok, so you want to get down to a size 4. That’s great but why is this important to you? The clearer you are with the emotional reasons “why,” the better off you’ll be. We do those things in which we’re diligent about or place great importance on. If getting down to a size 4 is an after-thought and not a burning obsession, you’ll probably find it difficult to reach. The exact opposite is also true.

4. Put your goals where you’ll frequently see them

Don’t bury your written goals in a desk drawer somewhere, but rather put them where you can see them. Take your pick…a bathroom mirror, on the fridge, in your car, on the wall in your office. If you’re worried about what others seeing your goals, you may be more concerned about with what others think then what you really want for yourself. Assess that one yourself.

5. Make some of your goals public

You don’t have to do this with all your goals or the very specifics, but it’s a great strategy to utilize none-the-less. There’s power in declaring to others that you’re going to do something. Tell your family members, a few close friends, post it on Facebook, or whatever.

Just don’t keep everything a secret. By simply declaring to others that you’re going to start working out at least 3 times a week for the next month will make you much more likely to stick with your exercise than if you didn’t make it known to others. Why? Because we naturally want to follow through on what we say we’re going to do. We don’t want others to think of us as not being able to hack it, etc.

6. Identify your vulnerabilities and triggers

When and where are you likely to bump up against things which have the potential to throw you off track? These may be people, places, things, or situations. Identify those things which have the ability to sabotage and deal with them accordingly. Yes, you’re going to have to make some tough choices, just do it.

7. Keep a food journal

I’ve written at length about this and will just say now that this practice continues to be perhaps one of the most effective things you can do with changing your shape. You should be keeping a food journal for a minimum of the first 30 days. There’s more to this than meets the eye. Ideally use some form of app or on-line software to log your nutrition. This way you and your coach if you have one can see the caloric and macronutrient totals.

8. Schedule time for exercise as an appointment

I view my daily workout during the week just like I would any other business meeting or appointment. The time is sacred to me and should be to you as well. For every 30 minutes you spend exercising you’ll gain 2-3 times that in additional productivity. Think about that if one of your frequent excuses is “I just don’t have the time to exercise.”

Don’t make exercise something you fit into your schedule if you have the time, make it a priority and schedule it. Mark off that block of time on your calendar and stick to it.

9. Determine what’s not acceptable any more

What’s going on in your life that you no longer want to accept? You’ve got to decide what you’re willing to live with and what you’re not. Don’t succumb to excuses or what others tell you is “normal.”

Make a list of what will no longer be something associated to you. No energy, low self-esteem, lack of sex drive, embarrassment with revealing your body in a swimsuit, etc. Say enough is enough and resolve to make whatever your list consists of as being a thing of the past and not your future.

10. Plan times for grocery store shopping

If you don’t have healthy food in the house, chances are poor that you’ll be having supportive nutrition meals during the week. It’s 8 o’clock and you just got home from work and you’re exhausted. We both know what’s going to happen next. Don’t put yourself in this position. Preparation is everything, and this doesn’t even begin to happen unless you’ve got the healthy food to start with. Set times during the week for when you’ll be going to the store (yes like you would anything else on your calendar).

11. Prepare your meals and snacks in advance

This is a difference maker if there ever was one. If I could point to just one thing that everyone who’s successful with a body transformation does, it’s this. What gets planned gets done, what doesn’t is left to chance. I don’t need to lecture much on this as you know in your heart it’s the truth. If you’re not preparing meals and snacks in advance, identify the real reasons why you’re not.

I’ve seldom heard a valid excuse for why this can’t be done. More often than not it’s simply about not being important enough. When you want that size 4 or whatever bad enough, you’ll find the time, you’ll find a way.

12. Eliminate the junk, clean the cupboards

You’ve got to take a stand here folks. If something is in your fridge or the cupboards that you know could spell trouble by sabotaging your goals, you’ve got to get it out. If it’s there you’ll eventually succumb to those little voices in your head.

Don’t use the excuse…it’s for the kids, my spouse, a guest who drops by, or whatever. The kids and your spouse will likely be healthier in the process, and you shouldn’t feel like you’re not being neighborly if you don’t have candy or Cokes for a visitor.

Instead think about what these foods or drinks are robbing from you, as that’s exactly what’s happening. When you change your perspective on this, new habits are more easily created.

13. Get support…build a support team around you

It’s hard taking the walk all by yourself. Look to others for help in providing you with the encouragement, support, and accountability you need to create new habits, and more importantly stick with them. You can do this with family members, close friends, co-workers, a personal trainer, etc. Bottom line is you need to be accountable to someone other than yourself.

14. Fill your mind with the right stuff

Determine what goes in and apply the filters accordingly. What can you do better without? Maybe it’s the nightly news, gossip, negativity from any source. Be careful and selective with what and who is in your universe.

What are you reading, watching on TV, who are you hanging with? These are all very important factors in the big picture. Replace anything negative with positive stories of success, enlightenment, scripture, affirmation, things that build up and encourage growth.

15. Put up pictures

Of who and what’s important and place them where you’ll see them regularly. On your computer screensaver, on the wall at your office, on the fridge at home, etc. Use these images as reminders of what’s truly important in your life or the cheeseburgers and donuts will win out every time.

I hope that you found at least a few of these tips to be helpful. Experience has shown me that these seemingly small things swing big doors on the way towards successful body composition changes. Don’t overlook them. The best workouts in the world won’t make up for a lack of preparation with your meals, etc.

Lean, toned, and in shape people think a certain way, act a certain way, and place an importance on their lifestyle habits and routines. If you’re frustrated with not being able to change your shape, think long and hard about some of the things I just shared with you.

And of course if I can be of assistance in any way as a coach please don’t hesitate to let me know. Believe in yourself and your ability to make a change.

Shane Doll is a certified personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Fitness Training Studios. If you’re looking for a personal trainer in Charleston, you can receive a no-obligations personal training trial and consultation without risking a dime. Over 1000 Charleston area residents have transformed their bodies following our unique burst training workouts and simplified nutrition programs. Experience the Shaping Concepts difference today.

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