Body Transformation Programs Are a Sham

Jake Nalepa

Dublin, Ireland

Strength and Conditioning, Massage Therapy


So, you’re looking to transform your physique. You’ve been Googling personal trainers in your local area as well as body transformation photos and success stories. Your motivation is high, you had your last big feed on a Sunday night so you’re ready to rock as of Monday. Life is peachy despite sacrificing your social life, favorite food and treats, and being constantly hungry—unless your transformation is to bulk up. Bulking up is even better! You get to eat loads, but wait, no pizza? Pounds of rice and vegetables? Unholy amounts of fish? Heaven on earth. Sign me up!


Jokes, as well as an idealistically exaggerated image of transformations aside, I admire people looking to make a change. The only problem with transformations is that the change oftentimes isn’t lasting and comes at a huge cost. Let’s look into the top four reasons why transformations are a sham.



Drastic Lifestyle Change

Transformations are built around a huge change (drop) in your energy consumed (you eat a lot less) and energy expended (you train a lot more). Under the right circumstances, it is the winning formula, but transformation programs are geared toward fast results and there is no tangible long-term planning.


Sure, you lose plenty of weight, especially in the first four weeks (this is roughly how long it takes for your body to adapt to the new routine), so you assume the transformation was a success.


Body Transformation Programs Are a Sham


The problem begins when you’re out of that routine, you’re probably exhausted, and all you can think of is your big meal, plenty of booze, or whatever else to reward yourself with. Your body is probably shattered from numerous high-intensity workouts that don’t feature any recovery protocols.


Several weeks post-transformation you’re back to where you started. You blame yourself because it worked—but no, it didn’t. What it did do was set you up for a vicious cycle of relying on drastic, short-term change in lieu of long-term results.



The More Is Better Mentality

Most transformations come with a juicy reward for the biggest loser. This is great because it creates a competitive environment and it’s something to look forward to. This way you keep eating less and training more.


Your body gets under more and more stress. Is it enjoyable? It has to be! It is as long as those numbers keep falling off the scale. But did you know the majority of that weight in the first few days is water? And after that, you lose fat but also muscle? You need to be aware that weight loss doesn’t equal fat loss. You must remember that slow and steady wins the race.



There Is No Sustainable Plan

I live my life in fitness/nutrition and physical therapy. I do it 24/7 and I couldn’t sustain rice, broccoli, and chicken every day. Honestly, I’d end up hating what I do and I’d probably fall apart sooner rather than later.How do I know this? Because I’ve tried it. Getting tonsillitis five times in six months sucks. Being grumpy and lacking energy sucks.



If you want to transform your body, do it by transforming your lifestyle in a sustainable way. You don’t need to exercise seven days per week, nor do you need to give up food that you like. There is a way to make it work on your terms.


If you’re doing a transformation, hoping it’ll carry past 6/8/12 weeks, I have bad news for you—it most likely won’t. Many people report the same thing. It doesn’t look cool on the transformation leaflets though, so you wouldn’t hear about it. It’s 2018 and everything has to be falsely positive, eh?!


An Unhealthy Relationship with Food

I don’t know about you but if somebody tried to take my pizza away there would be blood and tears. And those tears wouldn’t be mine. If you enjoy pasta and if you enjoy bread, that perfectly fine. The problem isn’t with any particular food. Instead, it’s the overall balance and kcal consumption that needs to be kept in mind.


Moderation is the name of the game here. A successful nutritional plan needs to be built around what you’re already doing. A complete overhaul is doomed to fail. Thinking of food as healthy or clean doesn’t work. What happens when you slipped up and had a pastry? You failed.


Well, in that case you might as well have three double cheeseburgers with ice cream and chocolate. Aim to gain control of your portions; eat protein with every meal, eat mostly vegetables, and have a little fruit with every meal. This is how you will watch your body change.


Keep In Mind What's Next

Well done, if you completed a transformation with success you can now fully enjoy your holiday or that wedding you’ve been prepping for. But what’s going to happen next? You’re back to your regular life.


You stop tracking your food intake over time. You get to taste your favorite foods and booze again. Those pounds are coming back. You begin to blame yourself and the lack of self-control. Let me stop you right there because I know where this is heading, and that's straight into another transformation. I mean it worked the first time, right?


We crave quick results and quick fixes. It sells and it sells very well, in fact. But does it equip you with skills you can apply for the rest of your life? I doubt it. When making a change, think long-term and think what’s best for you in the months to come.


Sure, it may take a little longer to lose 5/10/15 pounds, but trust me, once you do they will stay off. Not only that but your health markers will go up. Most importantly you are going to enjoy the process. Sustainability is a must in any transformation.

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