Three Pillars of Physical Transformation: Mind-Set, Nutrition, and Physical Fitness

Optimizing Risk, Reward, and Success:

1. Proactively decide to become resilient, committed, and dedicated to long-term growth and change. This point is positioned above all others and the founding principle for positively changing one’s current mental outlook, physique, and lifestyle.

2. Formulate and structure an overall nutritional and exercise program devised to achieve mental as well as physical change and success. This point is crucial for achievement and success in the early stages as proper macronutrient formulation and exercise selection can determine the level of program sustainability, commitment, and success.

3. Comprehend, recognize, and understand that physical change generally occurs over a designated duration of time, approximately 12 weeks to mentally and physically transform the mind-set and physique for leaner individuals or athletes and no less than six months to one year to achieve moderate transformation success for non-athletes or those individuals much higher on the BMI Index.

4. Poor excuses, flimsy justifications, and irresponsible decision-making accounting for short-term or long-term failure must be effectively addresses and eliminated. Reminder: Taking responsibility for one’s actions and being self-reliant is crucial to winning the war on fat and disease.  Every person faces day-to-day emotional, physical, social, and issues, concerns, and challenges that can derail the most effective transformation program, but at the end of each day, the only person relegated to success or failure is the individual reflected back in the mirror.  Begin to recondition yourself by halting the tendency to seek out and adopt victim labels while wallowing in perceived victimhood.  Now, write a little mantra that you can repeat to yourself every day.  For example:

The Mantra: “The condition I am in now is completely my fault.  I caused this.  I chose to slack off.  I              chose to eat crappy foods.  I am the only one to blame and I am the only one who can fix this.”

5. There is a wealth of educational and motivational information, nutritional calculators, and free literature and video feeds present on industry websites to assist in your transformation journey. I suggest you review the website, which I designed to inform and educate over 40 males in their understanding and pursuit to overcome mental and physical health and wellness challenges linked to the midlife transition.

Nutritional Facts, Reason, and Truth:

1. Generally speaking, physical change occurs when the body is in a caloric deficit, meaning you burn more calories than you consume. So, one who wishes to transform one’s physique must adhere to specific nutritional fundamentals associated with caloric management.  These nutritional fundamentals include: caloric type and kind, time of day meals are consumed, food intolerance and preferences, level of daily physical activity, and established disease patterns.  For example, a female non-athlete that is currently 5’6” and 150 lbs., exercises moderately on a daily basis; eats a low calorie, nutrient dense diet; and exhibits no known food intolerance or disease patterns must consume approximately 1,900 calories to maintain his/her weight.  Thus, in order to actively promote positive physical change or fat loss, the strategy is to lower the person’s daily caloric intake 300-500 calories until the desired weight is achieved.  Note: There is a calculation that renders accuracy possible.

International Sports Sciences Association's Methodology for Determining Daily Caloric Intake:

Step 1:

  • For Men: 1 x body weight (kg) x 24 = _ For Women: .9 x body weight (kg) x 24 = to convert pounds to kg,    divide weight in pounds by 2.2

Step 2:

In this step you must multiply the  result from step 1, by the "multiplier" in the right column that                        corresponds to the percent body fat range of your client. This step takes into account that pound for                  pound, leaner people generally have a higher BMR.

  • Men 10 to 14% / Women 14 to 18% = 1.0
  • Men 14 to 20% / Women 18 to 28% = .95
  • Men 20 to 28% / Women 28 to 38% = .90
  • Men over 28% / Women over 38% = .85

Step 3:

Now that you know the BMR, the final  step in determining daily caloric expenditure is to factor in your                daily activity. Obviously, activity means  you are going to burn more calories than the BMR. Find where              you fall in the activity categories below  and multiply your daily BMR (or your hourly BMR if you want                    to calculate hourly caloric expenditure)  by the number on the left of your range to find your daily                        caloric expenditure.

Average Daily Activity Levels

The Average Couch Potato range:

1.30 (130%) = Very Light: Sitting, studying, talking, little walking or other  activities throughout the day                1.55 (155%) = Light: Typing, teaching, lab/shop  work, some walking throughout the day

The Average Fitness Buff Range:

1.55 (155%) = Light: Typing, teaching, lab/shop work, some walking throughout the day 1.65 (165%) =                Moderate: Walking, jogging, gardening type job with activities such as cycling, tennis, dancing, skiing                  or  weight training 1-2 hours per day

The Average Athlete or Hard Daily Training Range:

1.80 (180%) = Heavy: Heavy manual labor such as digging, tree felling, climbing, with activities such as              football, soccer or body building 2-4 hours per day 2.00 (200%) = Very Heavy: A combination of                              moderate and heavy activity 8 or more hours per day, plus 2-4 hours of intense training per day

Now calculate!

2. Second, one must come to a conclusive decision as to how to go about the variations in macronutrient management, protein (build/repair muscle tissue), carbohydrates (fuel for physical activity), and fat (hormone and cellular health), which can be overwhelming and frustrating when change does not occur. For example, eating complex carbohydrates, not processed carbohydrates or simple sugars, early in the day before noon as opposed to later in the day can greatly influence body fat accumulation and storage and lead to advanced fat loss.

Calories per gram of the three major nutrients:

  •  Protein = 4 calories per gram
  •  Carbohydrates = 4 calories per gram
  •  Fat = 9 calories per gram

3. Go organic and eat whole food. Eliminate all highly processed foods (junk food and fast food); refined foods (white rice, white floor, white pasta, white bread, etc.); unnatural sweeteners, such as high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and sucralose; chemical additives, such as monosodium glutamate; and reduce daily alcohol consumption (1-2 serv. per week is acceptable at one designated meal).  All the above mentioned foods and ingredients greatly alter and affect the way in which your body effectively and efficiently digests food stuffs, processes nutrients, and stores fat.

4. Eat frequently and productively, say five to six small meals per day, in order to stimulate one’s metabolism, which ultimately fuels the fire that consistently burns adipose tissue throughout the day and night. For instance, consume moderate amounts (3-4 ounces) of protein, small quantities of complex carbohydrates (e.g., sweet potato, brown rice, and whole grain bread), large portions of fibrous carbohydrates (colorful vegetables), and moderate amounts of healthy fats (e.g., raw nuts, olive oil, avocados, and other omega rich fatty acids) in each of the first three meals.  After you surpass noontime, eliminate complex carbohydrates and consume mostly lean protein and healthy fat (lean beef or bison, chicken, turkey, or wild salmon) with a small garden salad garnished with an avocado drizzled with macadamia nut or extra virgin olive oil.

Physical Activity, Fitness, and Opportunity:

Physical activity is considered the most flexible of all three major areas of discussion because any form of exercise, regardless of type or nature, can be interchanged and coupled to effectively create positive physical change. For example, whether one engages in strength training, yoga, Pilates, walking, jogging, or swimming, the results at the beginning stages will be significant.  Physical activity, such as weight training should encompass a moderate circuit two to three times per week that continues uninterrupted for approximately 30-45 minutes.  All cardiovascular activity, such as walking or jogging, should be completed at a baseline pulse rate of 120-140 bpm and include time duration of 30-45 minutes four to five times per week to start.

1. If one does strength train seriously, it is foremost important to seek out an experienced and credible strength and conditioning coach to help athletes and non-athletes alike learn proper technique, body mechanics, programming, and nutrition, thus minimizing recuperation time, assisting with injury prevention, and maximizing the rate of success. Injury will render you inactive and lead to stagnation and setbacks, which is unproductive and often very discouraging.

2. Provide oneself with short-term and long-term activity and strength based goals to help nurture and support enthusiasm, motivation, and drive. For example, short term goals (week-to-week) that measure strength gains; body fat percentage; weight loss; and a scaled level of improved life outlook, healthiness, and overall well-being.

3. One must enjoy and develop a committed sense of obligation while remaining dedicated to their stated goals in order to achieve maximum physique transformation, mobility and flexibility improvement, social and emotional revitalization, and positive health benefits. For example, train with friends, join an athletic team or organization, challenge oneself daily to push beyond the previous day’s challenge, and, above all else, remain committed in the daily act associated with physical fitness and conditioning, which, I will admit for many, can be a daunting and overwhelming challenge without the proper guidance and support network.

Final Thoughts

Remember, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps, dig in, and create change.  There will be missteps, mistakes, and long periods of stagnation along the way, and there will also be heartless life lessons rooted in courage, toughness, and personal accountability. The opportunity for change is right in front of you.  All you have to do is decide on plan of action and start grinding away. Remember, the journey is going to be hard, and it is going to take a lot of hard work, but the payoff feels awesome and is personally rewarding. Take it or leave it!

Stay Strong,

Brett Place

References for this article include: