If It Fits Your Health (Do It)

Josiah Novak - Author of Diets Suck

Have you ever woken up after a day full of eating all sorts of food (some good and some junk) feeling absolutely miserable? I’m not talking about feeling guilty (even though that’s part of it). I’m talking about actually feeling physically ill. Maybe it’s stomach pains or maybe it’s a headache. Even worse maybe you feel a cold coming on or a sore throat from all the excess sodium you consumed. As soon as your eyes open, you know all that food was a bad idea.

Well, I’ve woken up like that before. And to be honest I’ve felt crappy due to my diet choices many times. It’s not a fun feeling waking up and immediately knowing the day ahead is going to be a tough one because I’m physically not up to par. It’s truly a motivation killer to realize that getting through the day’s activities is going to be an uphill battle from the start.

At times we don’t even realize that our lack of energy or enthusiasm for the day is due to our diet choices. We eat like total crap on a Sunday and wake up wondering why Monday is so daunting. It’s no wonder that getting to the gym feels like an impossible task when our bodies hurt and our energy is on zero due to all the stress we put our digestion system through.

This is such an important topic. I hope that you walk away from reading this with a better understanding of where we’ve gone wrong with nutrition as it relates to our health, fitness levels, muscle and fat loss goals, and our enjoyment of life. I’m just as guilty as the next person of making huge mistakes with my personal nutrition at times over the years. I’m writing this blog to open your eyes to how unbelievably powerful our eating habits can be.

 

If you google “The Best Diet to Lose Fat” be prepared for an overload of information. Hundreds of diets, meal plans and products will be shoved down your throat before you even start eating. You’ll be stuck in an avalanche of product pushers, strict meal plans, and the latest and greatest diet strategies. Save yourself the trouble and forego the google machine. Today’s world is truly the most confusing it’ss ever been when it comes to diet and nutrition. It’s also a battlefield between who’s right and who’s wrong when it comes to their diet “methods”. The truth is that nutrition is actually quite simple so there’s hope, but it’s going to take some work.

The common theme for most online “gurus” or “coaches” is to take on clients and start them off on a very strict meal plan. They tell them what to eat and when to eat it each day to lose fat, build a toned body, and feel great. This is all based off their “expert” analysis of the client’s needs and goals. The client comes to them with the attitude of “tell me what to eat and when because I don’t want to think about it” so it makes perfect sense that these coaches cater to the clients demands. The client jumps on the meal plan and immediately starts to see results. This may go on for a month or maybe a few months before the client realizes that it’s just not sustainable for them to eat the same foods day in and day out. They start to get irritable and they feel ashamed when they report to their coach that they’ve cheated on their diet again and again. After all, following a meal plan is what all the top fitness competitors do so it’s the best way to get in great shape…right? Wrong.

Strict meal plans that limit your food choices and force you into a set regimen each day can cause more harm than good long term. It’s been proven that meal plans can set people up for a terrible relationship with food, create a desire to binge, and severely limit the healthy aspects of a diet full of variety. Not to mention, it’s pretty hard to live an enjoyable life when you have to follow a meal plan to reach your goals. Most people who follow a strict meal plan end up reverting back to their old diet habits once they realize that their meal plan just isn’t feasible for their lifestyle.

For the longest time, if you wanted to lose weight or build muscle you would hire a coach or nutritionist and they would immediately put you on a meal plan. However, after many years of severe restriction, the fitness industry fought back.

Enter: If It Fits Your Macros.

Counting calories has been around for quite some time. Arnold Schwarzenegger was known to count calories (and he actually had a pretty well rounded diet plan). However, counting calories has recently made a huge comeback. It’s gone one step further too. We know now that it’s not just about calories. It’s about the type of calories you eat too. Having the right amount of protein, carbs and fats in your diet is crucial for overall health and wellness. We all have our unique needs when it comes to these nutrients so just counting calories won’t cut it. We need to figure out where we get our food from so tracking macros has become all the rage.

However, as we’ve seen in the past, the fitness industry can take a good idea and turn it into a very bad one very quickly. Macro counting has been dubbed IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) because the new rule of thumb (keep in mind this is in response to the strict meal plans) is that you can ANYTHING you want as long as it fits your daily numbers for protein carbs and fats.

This could literally mean eating ice cream every day along with some candy because it fits your daily numbers. Ok confession time. I’ve been known to promote this type of eating over the past couple years. Why? Well because I count macros each day and my mind was blown a few years ago when I dieted down to 5% body fat eating ice cream just about every day before bed. Was this a healthy approach? Heck no! I would wake up and hit the toilet with a very irritable bowel movement just about every day. I didn’t feel great every day because I was eating way too much junk food simply because it fit my macros. I was rebelling against the severe restrictions of meal plans (an understandable reaction) but I wasn’t paying attention to my health.

Knowing how much food we eat is very crucial to our long term success when it comes to taking care of our health and feeling/looking great! However, simply applying numbers to our day and eating whatever we can fit in is not the healthiest choice. We’ve taken a great concept (counting macros) and turned it into a cult following. It’s become all about what sort of junk food concoction we can create that fits our macro needs. Health and feeling awesome is secondary to hitting perfect numbers with as much variety as possible. We forget to take into account whether or not we are getting enough vitamins and minerals. We ignore how our bodies feel when we fit in some McDonalds simply because it fits our macros. This is a dangerous path to go down.

If you’re still reading this…it’s not too late.

You might be confused at this point and that’s normal. It’s a very confusing topic for most people! However, let me simplify it for you. I’m very fortunate that I was born with the strong desire to learn as much as possible. Plus, I’ve been super lucky to be surrounded with very smart people who have helped me craft my current approach to nutrition and now it’s my job to pass along that help to you.

I want to walk you through my approach with my clients when it comes to setting up a successful nutrition strategy. Some of you reading this will be more advanced than others, but I still think its important to cover the basics as a refresher. You’ll be pretty amazed to see that we often forget about the basics.

Let’s say I have a married couple come to me looking to lose fat. They aren’t happy with their appearance and how they can’t seem to get motivated to get in shape. They’ve been eating a ton of food and not working out for about 6 months. They’ve tried all sorts of diets but nothing seems to work. We won’t address their workout plan in this blog, but let’s jump into the diet strategy.

First things first, I want to know what they’re eating now. I would like John and Jane Doe to write down everything they eat for a few days and report those food journals to me. Now, I would also keep in mind that working with a coach can cause some food journals to look better than an average day so I would also ask them to write down exactly what they ate (if they can remember) the days leading up to working with me. This gives me an accurate idea of what their nutrition looks like now so that we can start to implement new habits.

So, the next logical step is to write a meal plan right? Wrong. Taking a client from zero to 100 in a day isn’t realistic. We need to implement good habits one at a time while building momentum to increase motivation.

One of the first habits I want people to implement is to avoid drinking their calories as much as possible. I’m referring to sodas, sugary drinks and the lovely Starbucks menu that is jam packed full of sugar and high calorie drinks. Having a diet soda here and there down the road is fine, but for now I would suggest that John and Jane stick to water, coffee sweetened with Truvia, and tea. If my clients enjoy alcohol consumption, I would recommend cutting out alcohol for the initial portion of the plan. I also want to educate them on how alcohol works. If cutting out alcohol completely isn’t an option due to work demands or upcoming events — I would outline a simple strategy to control their alcohol intake.

While we implement the liquid habits, I also want my clients to start to track what they are eating in an app or food journal. Tracking calories and macros for a period of time can truly be eye opening. Most people severely underestimate their calorie intake. It’s important to gain the knowledge and information so that we are educated on what we are putting into our bodies.

The next habit I like clients to utilize is getting 2–3 servings of green veggies and 1–2 servings of fruits per day. Obviously I want my clients to listen to their bodies and take note of how they are feeling after they eat certain foods. Most people feel a lot better after getting into the fruits and veggies habit due to increase in fiber and vitamins and minerals. Eating more of these amazing nutrients will also help curb cravings and help most people feel more satisfied. Health is our number one priority and fruits and veggies are a tremendous source of health benefits.

Now comes the only time that I utilize meal plans. I never instruct my clients to follow an exact meal plan each and every day. However, it can help to write out a “perfect” day of eating a wide of variety of healthy foods to show clients how it can be done. This usually means 3–4 meals that contain a tremendous amount of nutrients but also provide the client with meal options that could be eaten at a restaurant if needed. To make things even easier, I like to provide my clients with 3 or 4 options at each meal to ensure that they never feel tied down to a meal plan. Plus, I want my clients to continue to track what they eat so they can learn how much food they are consuming and they can plug other foods in to ensure they are getting adequate variety.

Educating ourselves on how much food we need each day can help guide our food choices. Learning to eat properly for health and wellness takes time. Plus, there may be goals or events coming up that require us to change course and implement new strategies. There may be times where our bodies just aren’t feeling right and we need to make changes to our nutrition to ensure we feel our best at all times.

This leads me to the most important point that we all need to understand. If we aren’t feeling right, something needs to change and often times it’s our eating habits. Having a meal plan or macro numbers to hit every day doesn’t take our health and how we feel into consideration. If we are feeling overly full at a certain caloric intake then we probably don’t need that many calories. If our energy is terrible on low carbs and we feel super weak, then we probably need to add some carbs into our diet. The same can be said for low-fat. If we try out a keto diet, but we just don’t feel great — then it’s not the diet for you!

I hope this blog sheds some light on nutrition. I’ve made all the mistakes so want to help you avoid them if possible! There is no one-size-fits-all method that works for everyone. If that existed then this blog wouldn’t be necessary. You have to find a strategy that you can follow every day and make small tweaks to as your goals change. Going from binging every 3 days to eating “clean” meal plan is not a tweak. That’s an eating disorder and we need to stop creating more problems for ourselves by going from one extreme to the next.

 

Let’s stop eating things if they fit your macros — instead let’s eat things if they fit your social, taste,  mental and physical health (IIFYH).

I’m always here to help — just email me josiah@thetruetransformation.com or visit www.thetruetransformation.com/start-here to get started on your own journey today!

 

How to Live Like There’s No Tomorrow

Josiah Novak - Author of Diets Suck

What does it really mean to live like there’s no tomorrow ? A few nights ago I couldn’t sleep.  The thought of dying had found its way into my bedroom and snuggled up next to me like a child who had a nightmare.  What happens if tomorrow doesn’t come?  As flicked through my Instagram feed I thought about living for today like tomorrow isn’t showing up. After fighting the inevitable trip down the rabbit hole that is the endless thought process around death and dying, I passed out and dreamt of a random trip to London where I smoked tons of weed and drank Moscow Mules.  More on that later.

Growing up in a Christian home afforded me weekly trips to Sunday school where I learned about God, heaven and the pit known as hell.  Death wasn’t a scary concept, at least not to a young 8 year old boy learning about all the dope stores about Jesus.  I’ll save my religious beliefs for another post (spoiler alert: I’m a Christian), but the mention of my upbringing is necessary due to the fact that I have always been clear on where I’m going after I pass away.

My most recent thoughts around death have been sparked, at least in my opinion, by having kids of my own.  The thought of leaving them behind is rather horrible.  And, while my beliefs are still intact, I also think it’s normal to be a bit fearful of the unknown.  Which leads me to this article.  The phrases “live like there’s no tomorrow” and “live each day like it’s your last” make sense, until you actually put some thought into it.  What does it really mean to live today like there’s no tomorrow?  Should I pack up a suitcase and jump on the nearest flight to paradise, with my wife and kids, sitting comfortably in first class?  Because that’s exactly what I’d do if I had the inside scoop on the world’s impending doom.

Unfortunately, there’s no insider trading on death (at least I haven’t found that fraternity yet).  Your time could be up tomorrow or it could be many decades from now.  Trying to predict that is pointless, but the question still remains.  What does it really mean to live life as if today is your last day on earth?  I wanted to explore this idea from a realistic perspective and piece together, at least what I would consider, to be the perfect last day on earth.

LIFE

Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit.  Taking a real, honest, and non-biased look at your life or mine requires a lot of work.  We’re not the best at being honest with our own lives and getting clear on where we currently are.  Living as if tomorrow isn’t guaranteed starts with doing things that make you happy.  I’m not talking about the stuffing-your-face-with-chocolate and eating whatever-the-hell-you-want type of happy.  True happiness isn’t gained through temporary indulgences.  I’d argue that genuine happiness comes from having a purpose for living your life.  A purpose that gets you out of bed in the morning even when you feel like hiding inside your pillowcase.

A purpose driven life is a happy life.  Everyone has the opportunity to build purpose into their day, week, month and year.  As I pondered the idea of how I’d live my last day, I quickly realized that I’d still be focused on fulfilling what I believe to be my purpose for living.  That purpose is to raise my boys, be an incredible husband and put an end to the history of less-than-stellar Dads and divorce in my family’s historical timeline.  Coupled with that my purpose is to help 1 Million men and women transform their bodies and lives.  Those areas take up 99% of my time so there’s no reason to think that a perfect “last day” wouldn’t include working on those things.

I could imagine waking up early, writing a really helpful Facebook post or blog article, sending it off to my assistant and then making my wife and kids eggs and pancakes while sipping on coffee feeling satisfied that I made a small dent in my purpose /life goals for the day.  I laugh as I write this article because I just thought “maybe I’d even partake in breakfast for once”, since I’m a 365 days a year intermittent fasting guy.  Honestly, I don’t think I would.  Intermittent fasting has been such massive life improvement that I’d imagine continuing to do it even on my last day here on this planet.  It makes me happy, so therefore it gets included.

If you feel like you don’t have a purpose, that’s ok.  I’m not here to tell you that it’s easy to find your purpose.  Many people don’t realize their purpose till later in life after they’ve been on their grind and busting their ass for a few decades or more.  To speed up the discovery of purpose, my best advice is to listen to yourself.   If you pay attention to the excitement you feel around doing certain things – I’d encourage you to follow that trail.  Give yourself the chance to discover what you’re great at.  For me it was coaching and teaching people how to become the best version of themselves through fitness.  I’ve always been curious about fitness, but it wasn’t until I pursued it and starting helping people that I realized I have a gift for leading people to their goals.  Follow your curiosity – stay woke when it comes to things that get you amped up and things that give you a sense of fulfillment.  You’ll find your purpose that way.

Get Started Today on Your Transformation

LOVE

Love is an incredible force that brings people together and creates a bond that can never be broken.  Your last day or my last day should be filled with love.  Living like today is your last day on earth should be centered around the concept of love.  I’m not just referring to the love you show your spouse and your children.  If you’re anything like me you’d take a bullet for your family.  That’s deep and powerful love.  But that’s not the only love we should live by.

Love for our neighbor and fellow human is an important piece too.   Traffic jams where people flip the bird, crowded streets full of angry people jockeying for position, and taxi cabs honking obscenities in crowded city streets is all the evidence you need to see how love can be quickly lost.  Love for my neighbor and fellow humans isn’t easy.  It’s hard enough to loving your relatives who often times know how to how to push your buttons.  Love for others on your last day should be a priority, but here’s why.

It starts by loving yourself.  The love you express for others isn’t something you can fake forever.  If you don’t first love yourself, it becomes quite challenging to love those around you.  It’s very difficult to love yourself.  Especially when you know all your faults and shortcomings.  You know each part of yourself so damn well that God forbid anyone were to know the real you – that would be a disaster right?  Well, you’re wrong.

Everyone has massive flaws.  You, me, and the rest of the human race.  Thinking “I’m not good enough” or “I hate how I am” is downright stupid.  Unless you’re hiding some evilness that I won’t even shed light on here, you’re more than likely very normal. Which leads me to the fact that you should take pride in loving yourself.  You can’t serve others from an empty cup.  And that cup is you my friend.  This love for yourself may not grow overnight.  It might need a lot of time and healing to become part of how you treat yourself.   However, as someone who’s struggled with depression in years past, I can truthfully say that being kind to yourself will create opportunities to help others.

On the last day on earth one of my greatest goals would be to show true love to those who I come into contact with and to the incredible family that I’ve been blessed with.   A smile, holding the door for someone, a hug and kind word are some simple ways to show people you care.  You never know who might need that positive energy.  The world can feel very complicated at times, but we can help simplify things by loving ourselves and loving others.

LIFT UP

One thing is for certain, if I’m living each day like it’s my last, I’m going to do things that make me happy.  Keep in mind that providing for my family and helping my clients makes gives me loads of happiness.  I also enjoy reading a well-written book (fiction and non-fiction), catching up on Chicago sports, and eating bagels before bed.  All of which can be done on the regular without them interfering with my adult’s list of things I must do.

You might be thinking, “if I only do things that make me happy I’ll just be fat, lazy, and broke”. When you ponder those adjectives – it’s quite apparent that being overweight and unsuccessful don’t match up with happiness, therefore doing things that result in those states of being aren’t truthfully adding to your happiness.  Therefore this assumption that all things that make you happy will result in a negative outcome is incorrect.  This isn’t temporary pleasure.  This is about maximizing your enjoyment and fulfillment.

It makes even more sense to do things that aren’t easy.  Lifting yourself up to a level of happiness that gives true fulfillment requires the simple things such as lifting weights to release massive endorphins, lifting someone else’s mood through a kind word or text, lifting your standards to give yourself the respect you deserve, and lifting your mood through a music playlist that gets your body moving.

This is why I train or move each day.  It elevates my mood. It clears my brain and makes room for positive energy.  It’s a natural high that makes the entire day 10x better.  Ask yourself this – what are the simple habits and routines that lift my life to new levels?   Keep those things in your life.

Going back to my “bagels before bed” happiness item.  A bagel with cream cheese before bed is delicious simply because it’s part of my daily routine and it’s built into my nutrition plan – which gives me massive results – which makes me feel confident – which, at the end of the day, contributes to my happiness.  There’s levels to this game.  Find your elevator to the happiness floor and level up.  Better yet, take the stairs.

LEVEL UP YOUR LIFE

LEGACY

If you’re living each day as if it’s your last, the question becomes – are you leaving a legacy?   For me legacy means blazing a path that I want to leave for those who would follow.  I want each day to build a blueprint for my sons on how to live life with no regrets and how to maximize their gift of being on this planet.

My question for you is this.  Are you creating a legacy that will impact the people you love in positive way?  Or are you missing the opportunity to set new standards and new levels of success?  Whether you know it or not there are people watching you and being influenced by you.

This is why I strongly believe that everything in your life starts with health and fitness.  It gives you the cheat codes to optimizing everything in your day to day life.  You get an automatic boost that most people miss out on as they live their days without a purpose with the weight of regret on their shoulders.  They feel as if something is missing and no matter how hard they try they just can’t seem to break through.  Little do they know that the secret is right in front of them.

As we wonder what it really means to live each day like it’s your last – the answer, at least to me anyway, is a simple one.  It starts with investing in yourself.  Train your body and your mind.  Love the people in your life.  Laugh.  Learn something new.  If you do that each day – I truly believe your life will be one worth living.

The 2 Biggest Mistakes Women Make in The Gym

If you’re a woman who’s new to the gym, chances are you’ve been overloaded with information and you’re not sure what is the right thing to do. In this blog we discuss the most common mistakes women make in the gym, and what to do instead.

One of the first mistakes women make is thinking they need different supplements and products than men.

Have you ever gone to a local supplement store or scrolled through instagram looking for fitness inspiration, only to see a ton of products or ads claiming they’re made just for women?  

Yeah, me too. I went to a GNC recently and saw a ‘just for women’ protein powder. It was flashy with pink lettering and a thin silhouette of a woman on the front. Curious, I looked at the back to see the nutrition labeling. It had less grams of protein per scoop than the other regular brands.

It was even in a smaller container. But it cost about the same. It made me angry because I wonder how many women fall prey to this marketing nonsense!

One of the biggest fitness mistakes women make when trying to improve their health is falling for this BS marketing. Just because it says it’s for women doesn’t mean it’s actually any different. Don’t fall prey and pay more money to get less of a product with the exact same ingredients. Look at the nutritional labeling and ingredients before purchasing. Compare products back to back. Ask questions. Know what your needs are and save yourself some money.

 

The second biggest mistake is thinking that the best way to get slim and toned is to stick to ‘women’s workouts,’ ie; 2lb pink dumbbells and tons of cardio.

For generations now women have been told they shouldn’t lift heavy like men, because they’ll get too big, or that their uterus might fall out. <– seriously that’s a real claim. Cue eye roll.

As a result, women have flocked to step-class and Jane Fonda style workouts out of fear of ‘training like a man’. I’m starting to think of the movie, The Stepford Wives now where they exercise in heels.

 

Just say no.

 

Here’s the truth. Sticking to high reps/light weights and several hours of cardio simply because you’re a woman is also a bunch of BS. The best sets/reps/weight to use is going to be specific to your current strength and your goals. Not your gender.

The training plan should reflect if your goal is fat-loss, building muscle or getting strong. If you’re trying to lose that final 10 lbs stuck around your midsection, but you’re only picking up 2 pound pink dumbbells and flailing around doing donkey kicks every day, you’re not going to get there.

Want to get slim and toned? Getting slim has more to do with nutrition, and getting toned means the same thing as building some muscle. Building some muscle is not equal to becoming the hulk’s female counterpart. Building some muscle means the same thing as being “lean and toned.” Let go of the fear to train “like a man.” You won’t blow up and your uterus won’t fall out either. Scouts honor.

 

 

Side note: The women who do get large muscles train deliberately for years and years to get that way. It doesn’t just happen by looking at a dumbbell over twenty pounds. It’s focused work that is intentional and takes discipline and dedication. To the women who do want to build more muscle and train for size, there’s nothing wrong with that either! That’s awesome and something to be respected!

 

Point being, you should train according to how you like to train, what’s going to get you to your goals and make you feel confident. That’s going to look different for everyone.

 

Which leads me to a conversation about body image. As women, we’re told our entire lives what’s attractive and how we should strive to look like society’s standard of beauty. Most women spend their entire lives in a constant state of trying to lose weight with dreams of being slim, all the while feeling insecure and never truly stepping into their strength.

We’re told we need to look a certain way if we want to attract a man; be desirable, but not slutty.

We’re told we need to be slim, but not too skinny, toned but not too muscular. We’re told we need to go to the gym to lose the baby weight, but that our bodies will never be the same after having children.

So much confusing and conflicting information… and it’s a load of crap.

 

Try your best to block out all this nonsense. Take a seat and write down your goals.

What do you want to accomplish? Why are these goals important to you?

 

Then, create a plan, or find a coach to help you reach your goals.

Once you start training for your goals, you will begin to feel more confident in your skin.

As you get stronger, you will see that strength is beautiful.

 

With all of this being said, this pendulum indeed swings the other way too when it comes to women training in the gym. Let me explain.

Many professional athletes and even doctors aren’t aware that there are some key differences in women’s fitness!

One of the biggest differences is that we do have ovaries, a uterus and can grow babies!

 

Yayyyy we’re special…. I got so excited I almost peed myself.

 

Just kidding… But now that  we’re on the topic of incontinence, did you know this is a COMMON thing that happens to women in and out of the gym? As women, our pelvic floor health is unique and absolutely crucial to our health and fitness, especially if you’ve had children.

When a baby grows inside us, our abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles stretch out. Many women sadly have to ‘accept’ what’s known as Diastasis Recti (separation of the abdominal wall) and leaking urine during pregnancy, with little to zero education and guidance from their doctors about recovery post childbirth. Most women never fully recover postpartum, either!

I kid you not, my sisters doctor delivered her baby a year ago and said verbatim,

“It [her abdominal muscles and pelvic floor] will go right back to normal after her six week recovery. It’ll heal on its own.”

Cue my angry face again.

It makes me angry that even our medical doctors aren’t educated on the detrimental and long term side effects that pregnancy and childbirth do to a woman’s body. It’s simply brushed aside like it’s nothing when evidence clearly shows it’s a big deal and something that requires recovery.

 

 

The good news is, there is help out there. Pelvic floor physical therapists are staking their claim in the industry. If you’re a woman who’s been hitting the gym and trying to get strong but can’t seem to *not* pee your pants with some exercises, I highly encourage you to search around for a pelvic floor PT specialist. If you don’t know where to start, email me and I’ll refer you to someone.

 

Incontinence is not a badge of honor (which some box-gyms may lead you to believe), it’s actually a red flag. Your body is warning that your pelvic floor has a dysfunction. Listen to your body and take care of the necessary foundations of strength and in turn you’ll lift safer and be stronger. 

 

As always, do your research, ask questions and if you’re paying more for a product because it’s marketed towards women, chances are you can buy the “mens” product and it’ll be the exact same thing.

Use that money you saved on some new workout pants. I know I will.

 

Best,

Jordan Raye

Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor & Wellness Coach

www.AlphaMaiden.com

info@alphamaiden.com

Transform Your Body in 8 Weeks! (8 Weeks of FREE Workouts)

Josiah Novak - Author of Diets Suck

For the past 18 months I’ve run numerous 8 week Body-Transformation Challenges – The TRUE8 Challenge – that have resulted in hundreds of successful permanent body transformations.  Each 8 week program is centered around teaching you the habits, routines, workouts, nutrition guidelines and tips to ensure that fitness becomes a permanent part of your every day life.

In today’s blog, for the first time ever, I’m mapping out the exact workout and cardio routines that has been utilized in our TRUE8 program to help people transform their body and keep their results.  Our TRUE8 is getting a makeover and, moving forward, will be an even better transformation program called TRUE8 BEGINNINGS.

APPLY For 1 on 1 Coaching HERE

PHASE 1: STRONG (WEEKS 1-3)

Phase 1 is all about building a strong base.  Whether you’ve been out of the game for awhile, or if you’re just starting out – it’s important to build up your baseline of strength to ensure you’re building momentum as you go into the next few phases.  Having strength helps you avoid injuries, improves energy, increases muscle functionality, and can boost your metabolism.

Each workout starts with a dynamic warm up – I’ll cover a quick exercise list here for a solid warm up.  Be sure to start each workout by warming up properly to avoid injury and ensure that your workout is effective!

WARM UP:

-Jumping Jacks 30 seconds x 3

-High Knees 30 seconds x 3

-Arm Circles 30 seconds x 3

-Walk-Outs x 10

-Seal Jacks 30 seconds x 3

-Push-ups (hands elevated if necessary) x 10

-Lunges x 10

-Air Squats x 10

-Crunches x 10

PHASE 1 – WORKOUT 1

  1. Squats (barbell, goblet or bodyweight) 4 sets of 4-6 reps – Rest 90-120 seconds between sets
  2. Reverse Lunges 3 sets of 6-8 reps each leg – rest 90 seconds between sets
  3. Push-ups 3 sets of as many reps as you can (stay 2 reps shy of failure) – rest 90 seconds between sets
  4. Chest Supported Dumbbell Rows – 3 sets of 6-8 reps – rest 90 seconds between sets
  5. Planks – 3 sets of 30-45 seconds

OFF DAY 1

On days off from the gym – you should focus on total activity.  Start by tracking your steps using a free app such as Pedometer to figure out where you stand now. Aim for 6,000-8,000 steps per day for Phase 1 on all days (especially off days).

Besides activity, focus on stretching, mobility and staying hydrated on days you aren’t working out.

PHASE 1 – WORKOUT 2

  1. Hex Bar Deadlifts – 4 sets of 4-6 reps – rest 120 seconds between sets
  2. Glute/Hip Thrusts – 3 sets 0f 6-8 reps – rest 90-120 seconds between sets
  3. Seated Rows – 3 sets of 6-8 reps – rest 90 seconds between sets
  4. Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3 sets of 6-8 reps – rest 90 seconds between sets
  5. Face Pulls – 3 sets of 8-10 reps – rest 90 seconds between sets

OFF DAY #2

Same as Off Day #1

PHASE 1 – WORKOUT 3

  1. Goblet Squat – 3 sets of 6-8 reps – rest 120 seconds between sets
  2. Bulgarian Split Squats – 3 sets of 6 reps each leg – rest 90-120 seconds between sets
  3. Incline Dumbbell Press – 3 sets of 6-8 reps – rest 90 seconds between sets
  4. Pull-Up Bar Hang – 3 sets of 30-45 seconds – rest 90 seconds in between
  5. V-Ups – 3 sets of 10-15 reps – rest 90 seconds between sets

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PHASE 2: SHAPE (WEEKS 4-6)

Phase 2 is all about building more muscle size and shape.  In this phase the reps will start to increase and rest time will decrease.  You’ll definitely sweat a bit more than phase 1 and your total work volume will begin to increase.

This phase also comes with the introduction of “Finishers”.  These are short, challenging cardio workouts to add to your calorie burning for the day.

PHASE 2 – WORKOUT 1

  1. Goblet Squats 3 sets of 10-12 – rest 60 seconds between sets
  2. (SUPERSET) Dumbbell Bench Press 3 sets of 10-12 superset with Band Pull-Aparts 3 sets of 15 – Rest 60 seconds after Superset
  3. (SUPERSET) Seated Row 3 sets of 10-12 superset with Lying Leg Curls 3 sets of 10-12 – Rest 60 seconds after superset
  4. (SUPERSET) Calf Raises 3 sets of 15 superset with Decline Bench Crunches 3 sets of 15 – Rest 45 seconds after superset

FINISHER:

As Fast as Possible Do:

10 Rounds of:

10 Squats / 10 Burpees

OFF DAY #1

In Phase 2 your target steps for each day, especially off days, goes to 10,000 steps.  The best way to do this is to schedule time to walk and to be sure to stay as active as you possibly can.

PHASE 2 – WORKOUT 2

  1. Standing Dumbbell Press 3 sets of 8-12 reps – rest 60 seconds between sets
  2. Leg Press 3 sets of 8-12 reps – rest 60 seconds between sets
  3. (SUPERSET) Lat Pulldowns 3 sets of 8-12 reps superset with Push-ups 3 sets of 12 – rest 60 seconds between supersets
  4. Bent Over Rear Delt Flys – 3 sets of 20 – rest 45 seconds between sets
  5. (SUPERSET) Barbell Bicep Curls 3 sets of 10-12 superset with Tricep Rope Pushdowns 3 sets of 10-12 – rest 45 seconds between supersets

OFF DAY #2

Same as off day #1.

PHASE 2 – WORKOUT 3

  1. Sumo Deadlifts – 3 sets of 8 – rest 60-90 seconds between sets
  2. Dumbbell Incline Press – 3 sets of 10-12 – rest 60 seconds between sets
  3. (SUPERSET) Barbell Row 3 sets of 10-12 – superset with Dumbbell Lateral Raises 3 sets of 12-15 – rest 60 seconds between sets
  4. Dumbbell Lunges- 3 sets of 12-15 – rest 60 seconds between sets
  5. Plank – 3 sets of 45 seconds – rest 45 seconds between planks

FINISHER:

Complete as many rounds as possible in 5 minutes:

2 Kettlebell Front Rack Squats – 8 reps

2 Kettlebell Swings – 8 reps

PHASE 3: SHRED (WEEKS 7-8)

Phase 3 is going to push you both physically and mentally.  The last 2 weeks of this 8 week program are all about taking your training to new levels. Your workload in this phase will increase and you’ll be pushed outside of your comfort zone.  These types of phases are meant to last long, but in short bursts they can be super effective.

In this phase you’ll be introduced to more density work through Giant sets.  This is where we group 3-5 exercises together and perform them with very minimal rest between exercises (10-20 seconds).

Buckle up – you’re almost done with the 8 week program!

PHASE 3 – WORKOUT 1

GIANT SET 1 – Rest 15 seconds between exercises- after all exercises are complete -rest 60 seconds and then repeat for 4 total rounds.

1A) Dumbbell Front Squats – 15-20 reps

1B) Push-ups (hands elevated if necessary) 15-20 reps

1C) Dumbbell Reverse Lunges 15 reps each leg

1D) Planks – 45-60 seconds

GIANT SET 2 – Same as giant set 1

2A) Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 15 reps

2B) Split Squats – 15 reps each leg

2C) Push ups (hands elevated if necessary) – 15 reps

2D) Bench Dips 15 reps

FINISHER:

Complete 100 sit ups – everytime you break you must stop and complete 10 burpees

OFF DAY #1

In Phase 3 you’ll continue to aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.  On off days try to reach for 12,000 if possible.

PHASE 3 – WORKOUT 2

GIANT SET 1: Rest 15 seconds between exercises- after all exercises are complete -rest 60 seconds and then repeat for 4 total rounds.

1A) Chest Supported Dumbbell Row 15-20 reps

1B) Dumbbell Deadlift 12-15 reps

1C) Dumbbell Curls – 15 reps

1D) 3 Point Plank – 30-45 seconds

GIANT SET : Same as Giant Set 2

2A) Seated Cable Rows 15-20 reps

2B) Rope Face Pulls 15-20 reps

2C) Rope Cable Crunches 15-20 reps

2D) Lat Pulldowns 15-20 reps

FINISHER:

Complete 21-15-9 reps of — Wall Balls & Box Jumps

PHASE 3 – WORKOUT 3

GIANT SET #1: Rest 15 seconds between exercises- after all exercises are complete -rest 60 seconds and then repeat for 4 total rounds.

1A) Lateral Lunges – Max reps each side

1B) Wall Slides – 20 reps

1C) Reverse Snow Angels – 20 reps

1D) Hollow Hold – Max Time

GIANT SET #2: Same as Giant Set 1

2A) Hand Release Push-ups 15 reps

2B) Pike Push-ups – Max Reps

2C) High Knees In Place – 30 seconds

2D) Calf Raises 20 reps

MORE TIPS…

In each phase there’s only 3 workouts, but if you have the time and recovery ability you can workout 4-5 times a week.  Simply start again at workout 1 after completing all 3 workouts.

To speed up recovery – be sure to stay active on rest days.

Drink plenty of water.

Practice perfect form.

Working out is just one piece of the puzzle.  Nutrition, mental strength, recovery, sleep and lifestyle are major pieces when it comes to transformation.  If you’re ready to get the guidance and accountability needed to make a permanent change, hit the apply button below and we will set up a consultation!

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