Transformation Techniques II - Mental Strength

The mental transformation.

We received some fantastic feedback following Jason's Gymchat (#207), cheers. Much appreciated.

Jason's kindly agreed to contribute a series of articles looking at this fascinating area in even more detail. The second of these is below.



Last week I introduced the the idea of the body transformation and what it meant.

If you recall, 3 elements were presented...

Today we're going to review the third element of a successful transformation.

We're starting at the bottom because this is the most important, and the most difficult aspect of the transformation.

We're going to talk about...

The change in character. The mental transformation.

Before you run off thinking I'm a crazed hippie, hold on. Give me a minute to explain why this is so important. A necessity.

I'll start by asking you a couple of questions...

If so, you're not alone. Especially when it comes to weight loss. It's been reported that as many as 98% of fat loss diets fail. That doesn't mean people don't lose weight. They do. The problem is, it comes back.

It may not come back right away. For some it's a slow process taking up to five years to return. But it does come back. Often with a little extra.

You may have even battled with this problem yourself.

In future columns we'll dig into exactly what it takes to burn fat and build muscle to transform your body. You'll see that the concepts aren't difficult.

I do my best to keep it simple. I don't believe in hype and like to stick to the basics.

This may leave you wondering why something so easy, causes so much confusion for so many people.

Some of it is misinformation. With so many hokey pills and products on the market and popular myths, it's difficult to separate fact from fiction. Something we'll talk about next week.

Very few people have medical conditions that make it extremely difficult for their body to change.

I stress few. I was even hesitant to mention this because so few people really do have this problem. You're not one of them.

Difficulty In Change

The real difficulty in changing is psychological.

There are mental barriers that prevent dramatic lasting change to occur. All too often we are our own worst enemies.

That's why there needs to be a mental change. Staying the same will mean repeating the same mistakes and falling back into old habits.

It doesn't take a drastic shift. Some shifts in thinking are subtle and simple.

Like thinking of yourself as being on a diet.

What comes to mind when you hear the word diet?

I'm willing to bet that if you took the time to list them, many would be negative.

Not the best mindset when looking to change. Instead think in more positive terms. Think about all the foods you love that will help your body change.

This small mental shift to thinking of food as nourishment for your body will help put you on the right track.

The real shift in thinking comes when you get into setting goals.


Setting goals puts the wheels in motion and provides you with a plan.

This one simple task will help with both the physical and psychological transformation. It's the single most important step in a successful body transformation.

I'm not going to cover it in a lot of detail. I'll give you the basics so you can get started. Thousands of books have been written on the subject and can cover the topic more thoroughly than a brief article can. Psycho Cybernetics may be the best book on the topic. Well worth your time to pick up and read through.

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To learn how to put it to work, swing by the Guides area.

Goal Setting

Napoleon Hill said,

"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

He's right. It all starts with a dream. This lays the foundation for your long term goal. Your ultimate goal. Your dream physique.

Let your mind wander and have fun with it.

Think about what you want. Who you want to like like. Be a vivid as you can.

Clip pictures of outfits you want to wear, people with physiques you want.

Be sure to include numbers. A date when the goal is reached. Body measurements. What do you want your waist size to be? Your weight? Your arms?

The more clear and detailed the better.

Write it all down.

This is your ultimate goal.

Short Term

To attack all this full on is a little daunting, so smaller assistance goals have to be made.

These goals can be daily, weekly, monthly - or any interval that works best. They're flexible and change with time.

This will be your road map.

Plan out assistance goals that help you reach your dream goal. Like getting to the gym. Making better food choices. Picking up a workout program.

Add to that some numbers that you'd like to hit at specific intervals along the way.

Putting it all together.

Now that you have all this information, the question becomes what to do with it.

Everything is going to be recorded by hand. Written out old school. A 3x5 index card works great.

At the top of the card goes the big goal. Write it as though it has been accomplished.

As of the July 1st I feel great having lost 67 pounds and fitting into a size 6 dress.


On July 1st after 6 months of hard work, I feel like a new man having put on 21 pounds of muscle, losing 43 pounds of fat and fitting into 32" jeans.

Below that are the short term assistance goals. The daily success habits.

Again they are written in the same language.

"I feel strong, sexy, and full of energy at 130lbs by counting my days' macronutrients, lifting 3 days a week and doing cardio 2 days."
"I feel so good hitting the gym and benching 250lbs."

Carry this around with you. Tape it to the fridge. Tape it to your dashboard. Read it out loud when you wake up, and again before you go to bed.

Review it frequently throughout the day. Live it. Dream it.

This is the new you. This is your mental transformation that will lead you into your physical transformation.

Dream big and live your dreams.

Next week : we'll cover some of the common myths surrounding transformations. Common ideas presented as fact, that cast a long dark shadow over your big dreams.

Previously in this series :

Transformation Techniques : Definitions

And for an even closer look at any of the topics discussed, swing by the guides area. Some great reading in there.

Jason Paris

Jason Paris, CSCS is an Atlanta-based strength and conditioning coach and runs Fitness Doctrine, a site dedicated to helping you making your own physical & mental transformation.

Jason can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

And of course in Gymchats 207 & 236. Fantastic.

Like this? Check out :

Transformation Techniques - Definitions.

A transformation will mean different things to different people. Some will want to lose the love handles, belly, or man boobs. Others will want a bigger chest, bigger arms, or get toned legs and butt. We'll cover all that.

Video for Gymchat 241 - Advanced Fat Loss : Losing the Last 10lb (Vic Magary).

Fat loss. We outlined the basic idea in a recent Gymchat ( #231 ); what happens when progress slows down a little or stops altogether? How do you lose the last few pounds?

Want to Guest Host the Gymchats?.

We love hearing how everyone trains.

Gymchat 247 - The Power of Visualization (Jen Mulhall).

There's a PR up for grabs. Just before you begin the lift, what do you say to yourself? What are you thinking about?

Of course, if you enjoyed these, I'd highly recommend grabbing the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Delivered weekly, and absolutely free.

(there's also a Daily Update, if you're looking for an even larger dose of training-related goodness.)

NB : If you'd like to write a guest post for Straight to the Bar, or if you'd like to join the team of Moderators here (I love hearing about everyone's training approaches) - get in touch. And if you've got a fitness competition or seminar coming up, add it to the calendar.

Look forward to hearing from you.

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