TRANSFORMATION PREP: THE BASICS

TC 6.0 is finally underway and now, EVERYONE wants to get fit. Someone wants a flat stomach while someone else wants to have a body like a Greek God.

The focus is in place, gym memberships have been taken and everyone is eager to see themselves changing in the mirror with every passing week. All that is fine but do you know what it takes to get fit? Before embarking on your transformation journey, it is important to first understand the basics. You must be able to answer the question: “How am I going to achieve this?”

Though this transformation is physical, it will dictate many things that will decide your future health. Every action you take in these 12 weeks is going to have a long-term impact not only on your weight and health but also on your mental state and the way you view/think about fitness.So, take a long deep breath before starting and then read this article paragraph by paragraph and understand it well. Consider this article to be your mini-Bible for ‘Transformation Prep’.

Chapter One: GOALS

Let me orient you towards your secondary goal first. I said ‘secondary’ because you already know your primary goal: it is whatever you already have in your mind, the reason why you’ve participated in TC 6.0. Your primary goal is a tangible goal, something similar to what I’ve mentioned earlier (losing 10 kgs of fat, getting six packs etc.)

Now you have to set your secondary/ancillary goal – ‘How to get the best possible results without compromising your present and future health (physical, mental, social)?’

Why is this important? Though the statement itself is self-explanatory, let me ask you few questions first which will automatically make you more ‘aware’ of the answer:

  1. Do you want to go back from ‘Greek God’ to ‘Potato-shaped Mortal’?

  2. Do you wish to forever keep dreaming of Gulab Jamuns, even after your transformation, thus resulting in endless bingeing?

Trust me – these things happen! Who says this? – my own experience as a former fat guy, who is now a Consultant and Teacher and who has seen people struggle with their health issues. But most importantly, SCIENCE says it.

There is a tremendous amount of data available on how people get trapped in a vicious circle of endless dieting and bingeing – a truly ghastly thing! Believe me, you really don’t want to be there!

Chapter 2: STRATEGY

If you want a new body FOR LIFE, if you want to get the best output for your efforts, then you need to consider the following important factors:

  1. Healthy Balance of Expectations and Effort

  2. Scientific Approach

  3. Quantified Nutrition

  4. Physical Activity

  5. Environment

  6. Psychology

1. Healthy Balance of Expectations and Efforts

Your expectations and efforts should complement each other. If they’re at odds with each other, then the results will also be less than optimal.

Imagine a person who is working out for half an hour per day and has eliminated sugar from his diet. If he thinks he’s going to reduce 15% fat in 3 months, he is dead wrong!

While I have used an extreme example to make my point, it is very common to see such expectation-efforts mismatches when people are trying to transform their bodies. When a person sets out with fat loss as their goal, far too many times, it simply involves these two things: eat very less and work out like a mad person.While such a person may manage to lose 5 kgs in 3 months (if they don’t burnout in the process), it is foolish for them to expect to lose 15 kgs in 12 weeks simply because they are working with a mentor. The body has its limitations and having a trainer/mentor to push you isn’t going to make a drastic difference in the way it responds to diet and workout. To harbour such notions is illogical. So, set a reasonable goal and follow the same.

One more important thing: pushing yourself very hard is not necessarily going to give you results. At times, during short-term transformations, the goal to achieve health is kept aside and some people start abusing their body in every possible way. I do agree that a certain level of effort is necessary in order to make the Top 50 and you should definitely push yourself. However, keep this analogy in mind: a car that has been sitting in a garage doing nothing will rust while a car which has been continuously running but has never been serviced will eventually breakdown. But a car which is being used daily, is not being driven rashly and which gets serviced at regular intervals will almost never breakdown!

Most people who want to see drastic changes in their bodies in just 12 weeks are like the first two cars – couch potatoes who suddenly get up one day and expect to become Greek Gods overnight or long-term dieters who don’t know when to take a break. But only someone who has been working out and eating right for a long time knows that the journey isn’t so simple. It requires Patience, Consistency and Smart Work over a sustained period of time. Be realistic about your goals. Set the right expectations and make the right efforts – you won’t be disappointed then!

2. Scientific Approach

  1. Quantified Nutrition:

Even though most of our regular readers are already familiar with this term, I will still explain it in brief.

Calculation of caloric intake and measuring its response on your weight/fat levels are very important tools in nutrition planning. If the total amount of energy expended is greater than the total amount of energy consumed (the more commonly used term is “Calories”), then the person is bound to lose tissue. If the reverse happens, then the result will be tissue gain.

In a nutshell:

Calories Out > Calories In = Fat Loss

Calories In > Calories Out = Fat Gain

And yes, a very important factor: we Indians tend to eat very less protein on a daily basis as compared to any other macronutrient. So, make sure you are eating adequate protein. For a healthy person, approx. 1 to 2 g/kg of bodyweight (based on goals) is recommended.

Along with protein, one must also ensure proper hydration, adequate fibre intake, and optimal carbohydrate & fat intake, as all these things are necessary for getting the desired results. If it is difficult to manage your daily micronutrient (vitamins & minerals) quota, a multivitamin/mineral supplement is not a bad idea.

  1. Physical Activity:

Activity helps you burn calories. Based on what activity you choose, it will also have other benefits.

Resistance Training (training against resistance provided by certain weight) helps develop Strength and Hypertrophy (i.e. gain in muscle size – a surefire way to join Zeus and Apollo on Mount Olympus, one might say!) and Cardiovascular Activities help build cardiovascular endurance (stamina, as we call it).

No matter which physical activity you choose, make sure it is safe for you. E.g. a 120 kg obese person running fast on a concrete road is risking injury because the combination of his weight and the hard surface will create an impact which, in turn, could radiate its effects to his ankle and knee joints.

If your goal is aesthetics, then resistance training is naturally the better choice. If you are already doing some other activity which you find comfortable and enjoyable, by all means, continue with it. You do not need to completely stop it, just manage and accommodate it in your new schedule.

Here also, you need to set the right expectations and make the required efforts.If your goal is to achieve a Hollywood Superhero physique and you think you’re going to start work out 5 hours per day for 12 weeks and then maintain this new physique by working out for 45 minutes per day in future – not going to happen. Both the goal and the efforts needed are totally out of alignment. So, plan smartly or be prepared to fail!

3. Environment

We are all living in an environment that is Obesogenic – an environment that is likely to cause obesity.

We are constantly surrounded by fast food joints, foodie friends, and Mummies and Dadis who think we are getting thinner with each day passing. This basically makes us more prone to gain fat.

How does one face this? Here are some solutions:

  1. Try to involve more people with you: Convince your friends, relatives, colleagues and peers to join TC 6.0 with you. If they join you, they can’t beat you!

  2. Have a meeting with your family/friends and make them understand your goal:If you do this, they’ll get on board and will actually start helping you. Make them feel as if their contribution and support are invaluable to you. This way, they’ll feel as if they’re also part of your transformation and they’ll get satisfaction and credit too. This way, the people who are most likely to taunt you or force-feed you, will end up helping you.

  3. If these strategies don’t work: Stay away from these Naysayers! Make new friends.

4. Psychology:

The war is first won in the battlefield of the Mind. The Transformation Challenge will also need to be first fought in the mind – and YOU are your worst enemy!

If you are expecting to get motivation from someone or something else, then you are setting yourself up for failure before you’ve even started.

To be internally motivated, you need to understand the necessity of fitness and health. The more you learn about it, the more aware you become of what works and what doesn’t. Awareness alone is enough. Then there is no limit to what you can achieve.

So guys, this was my two paisa worth on what it takes to transform yourself. Do your best! Understand that transformation itself is a never ending journey. Health is not what reflects on the scale, in the mirrors or in reports because it is not stagnant. After you’ve reached your destination, there’s always a new journey and a new challenge that lies ahead, a new mountain which must be climbed and conquered.

All The Best! And as we say – #KarneSeHoga!

AUTHOR CREDITS: Dr. Akshay Alawani