If you've read some of our featured transformations, you know that no two journeys look the same. The time it takes, the foods you eat, the workouts you do—there are a billion ways to achieve the results you want to see in the mirror. Still, they don't say "start with the basics" for nothing.
Optimum Nutrition-sponsored athletes Lony Pizarro, Whitney Wiser, and Tobias Young have all gone through transformations and have made it their business to help others make transformations, too.
Here are their practical tips for breaking out of your physical and mental comfort zones—for a killer transformation.
Lony Pizarro, Fitness Model, WBFF and NGA Pro Bodybuilder
Tip 1: Know Exactly What Your Goal Is
If you don't have a set goal, you'll be wasting your time. You also have to be very specific with your goal. The more specific you are, the better chance you have of accomplishing your ideal body. Ask yourself, "Why do I want to achieve this body?" If your answers aren't strong enough, you'll never succeed, and even if you do, the result won't be as rewarding. Make sure they are truly what you want and worth every effort.
Tip 2: Be Willing to Do Whatever It Takes
If you're not, you may as well stop right now because as soon as things get hard, you'll quit and make up excuses. Life will throw you many curveballs during this journey, and you have to be willing to work around them or utilize them in your favor. I remember eating 10 meals a day when I was trying to get big and doing intense cardio sessions when cutting. Now, I am not recommending that you do this since your goals may vary from mine, but I do believe that you must have this mindset if you want to succeed.
Tip 3: Invest in Your Transformation
Transforming your body can be a very long and hard road or a short and hard road because the human body is complex and every detail matters. The knowledge and guidance of an experienced, credible coach can help you avoid years of trial and error. If nutrition is hard for you, meal-prep companies can make both your transformation and your life 1,000 times easier. No more spending eight hours on Sunday meal prepping for the week or time and energy going to the store. Real food is key is transforming your body; however, I'm a huge believer in science-backed supplements, as well. I take and recommend Optimum Nutrition Pro Pre, ON Pro BCAA, ON Pro Complex Protein, and also take glutamine, creatine, and HMB, all from Optimum Nutrition.
Whitney Wiser, IFBB Pro Olympia Competitor
Tip 1: Do Not Expect Perfection from Yourself
Sometimes we get so fixated on the plan that we let one mistake or imperfect day discourage us and we throw in the towel completely. For example, continuing to eat excessively after one small mishap on your diet is like getting one flat tire and then slashing the other three just because one is already messed up. Neither makes sense. Changes happen over a period of time of making good decisions consistently—not being perfect.
Tip 2: Have Realistic Expectations
Having unrealistic expectations will cause you to get very discouraged, very quickly, when you don't meet them. The best way to reach your big goals is to set a series of small, attainable goals along the way. It will keep you encouraged and motivated by focusing on what you have accomplished instead of what you haven't accomplished yet.
Tip 3: Believe in Yourself
The dominating factor in people who achieve success is that they believe they can do it. If you talk to yourself in a negative way—"I'm never going to lose weight," "I hate how I look," "I can't do anything right"—how can you expect yourself to get better? If you wouldn't say it to someone else, don't say it to yourself. Instead, say something positive, like, "I may not be where I want to be yet, but I will get there, no matter how long it takes."
Tobias Young, Online Coach
Tip 1: Fitness Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Once you get to a certain level of fitness, you want to maintain that, so learn the healthy habits that will create a true lifestyle change and not just a quick 20-pound weight drop. Too many times I have seen people go on crazy fad diets that promise extreme weight loss in a short amount of time. First off, they are usually very restrictive, so when the person goes back to their normal eating patterns, they gain all of the weight back—sometimes even more. Extreme diets can burn off muscle and damage the metabolism, causing the weight rebound that leads to frustration and a search for another quick fix, so the vicious cycle continues.
Tip 2: When It Comes to Nutrition, Start with the Fundamentals
- Try to eat lean protein with each meal. Food is number one, but supplement with a protein shake if you need it.
- Eat the majority of your carbs pre- and post-workout if you are trying to lean out.
- Avoid eating too many simple carbs throughout the day and try to get complex carbs as your primary source. Post-workout can be an exception.
- Add veggies to your meals as a filler for more nutrients and fiber.
- Aim to get half your body weight in ounces of water per day (185 pounds = 92.5 ounces). Even slight dehydration can hinder performance.
- Don't eliminate all of your dietary fats. Good fats, primarily the unsaturated kind, have a big role in everything from nutrient uptake, metabolism, and energy to healthy-looking hair, skin, and nails.
Tip 3: Stuck? Ask for Help
There are tons of excellent articles and videos on Bodybuilding.com to help you. Or you can hire a fitness coach or personal trainer. The bottom line is there are resources out there to help you succeed, so take advantage of them and invest in your transformation.