Updated: Oct 31, 2019
I am always supportive of someone who wants to be the best they can be, or an individual who is trying to achieve a goal for an emotional reason such as how they see themselves in their friendship group, or to be able to play with their children when they get older. But are the ways and means to do this always healthy?
A common theme in the health and fitness industry is ‘Fitness Transformations’ whereby a trainer/company/socialite promises you can be in the best shape of your lives in just 6 to 12 weeks. From a purely business perspective, a lump sum of money is usually charged in return for diet plans, workout routines and other add ons such as supplements. It’s an appealing way to monetise for the individual or company and easy to market. A few before and after photos to show how “this could be you” and you’ll be interested.
Let me paint you a picture of what usually happens during these transformations. You pay the upfront fee, get sent a number of PDF’s (not specific to you) and read about how little you’ll be eating and the type of exercising you’ll follow for the next 3 months. I’d say more than 90% of the time, the food you’ve been told to eat, isn’t anything like your current diet and you’ll struggle to make the changes due to a number of reasons such as making it for your family, the time it takes to prepare and the cost of the ingredients, the extra meal in the day, the boredom of chicken and broccoli, the list goes on. This means you won’t usually stick to the diet and will feel like a failure early on. Not the best start.
Then we have the exercising part. This is usually more achievable if your coach has designed the plan specifically for you (but unfortunately a lot don’t). To make a change in the body, exercising is 20-30% of the process, with diet being the remaining 70-80%. You may feel a bit stronger, fitter and healthier if you manage to stick with the routine, but without the right diet in place, changes will be minimal.
You’re nearing the end of the transformation and you feel healthier, but you haven’t stuck to it completely as life has taken over, you were ill for 1 week and work required more of your attention. The post transformation photos look better, but aren’t exactly what you were hoping for.
What do you do? Some will give up and go back to their ‘normal’ routine and will gain the pounds again. Others might be persuaded to try again with another package. In worst case scenarios some may be persuaded to try anabolic steroids (yes, this does happen in Petersfield too). In fact, up to 1 million people in UK are taking anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs to change the way they look.
So what is the best way to ‘transform’ yourself? The short answer is lifestyle and habitual change. It doesn’t happen over 12 weeks and will certainly not force you to stop socialising, feel constantly hungry or force chicken breast into your daily diet. This approach takes longer in most cases, but the success rate is far greater. You have a better understanding of food, not just for you, but for your family too. This will help create balance and will still allow the odd treat here and there without you falling off the wagon completely. You’ll find a form of exercise you actually enjoy and look forward to, such as weights, boxing, running, dancing etc. The process is one small manageable change at a time rather turning your lifestyle upside down to fit with what the Womens/Mens Health cover model suggests you do.
I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions and perhaps helped you realise that you can make a positive change without sacrificing everything for a gruelling 12 weeks.
Feel to contact me if you want any more information on lifestyle change, or anything else in the health and fitness industry.
As always, keep sending me questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org as I’ll be happy to help.