By Mark Desgroseilliers
Transformation is defined as, “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance”.
This word has become one of the most popular words in the health and fitness industry over the past few years, even garnering its own day of the week and hashtag, as in #transformationtuesday.
But what is involved in transforming oneself?
“Transformation” is often used to refer to the process by which an individual loses a lot of body fat and develops a “fitter” body. This is the type of transformation we will be looking at in this post, since it is the most common request my clients ask me about.
The other type of transformation sees an individual going from a lean body type and “bulking” or adding muscle mass to attain their ideal physique. Essentially, there are common themes between both types.
Transforming oneself is a process. It is a long game – there is not short game here when you want to get long lasting results. Yes, there are many small “wins” along the way, but consistency, time and effort are key!
I speak from experience. Before we look at the main components of transformation, let’s look at my story:
I have always had a battle with my body from a young age. I was diagnosed with petit mal epilepsy as a child and, at the time, doctors were recommending I stay away from most, if not all, athletic activities. What is a kid to do? Video games and a sedentary lifestyle became the norm to me.
By the time I hit 14 years old, I grew out of the epilepsy, but that wasn’t all that grew. I was your typical chubby teenager. I battled with a desire to be fit and look like the celebrities I grew up idolizing…. I wanted to look like Marky Mark. Fad diets and an eating disorder at the age of 18 was my reality. Like so many people, I yo-yo’d and saw my weight fluctuate.
My adult years were no different, and having disposable income, saw me joining various gyms and never getting results. I didn’t realize that deep down, this wasn’t just an issue being unhappy with my body. It was deeper than that, something I wouldn’t realize was an issue until later on.
Mark pictured here have lost 25 lbs at the start of his transformation journey.
Fast forward to March 2016 and the dissolution of a 15-year long relationship. My ex broke up with me because we had grown apart. Despite loving me, she felt we had grown to just be best friends. She wasn’t wrong ultimately.
In January of that year, I had started going to a new gym near my office. At 265 pounds (my heaviest), I wasn’t feeling intimidated going there. It was a great atmosphere, the trainers on the floor were friendly, and offered advice without being judgmental or pushy. I got a trainer and started towards the process of getting healthier.
In March, the breakup happened and it saw me moving in with my family to figure things out. At the same time, I started examining myself as a person and finally was able to admit who I truly was… I was a gay man. There are a lot of reasons why I lived denying my true self, but long story short – I was miserable, and my internal struggle was part of my block. Only once I was able to accept and love myself for who I was, was I able to start my own transformation.
That brings me to what I consider the most important part of embarking on a transformation…. The “WHY”.
Why do you want to change your appearance?
Is there a big event coming?
Are you just looking for change?
Whatever your “why”, make sure you are doing this for the right reasons and motivation. Do it because YOU want it! Don’t do this because you think someone else would rather you be different. We are all unicorns – magical and special in our own right!
Now that we’ve gotten the “why” out of the way, let’s look at the two main components of transformation – the physical and the mental.
The physical is probably a bit more obvious… eat and train, right? Yes and no is my answer.
“No” in that it’s not that basic.
“Yes” in that with the right training protocol and proper eating plan (ie. you are not on a fad diet or starving yourself) and TIME & CONSISTENCY, you will see results. Remember earlier I mentioned this is a long game? It is going to take patience and perseverance!
That is where the mental component comes into play. Change is not easy. There are studies that show it takes humans on average 4 weeks to change a behaviour. You will have days that are horrible and you want to throw in the towel. Don’t! These days will pass.
Realistically, we all have life happening around us while we are going through this process. A bad day at work, or kids stressing you out at home, are not reasons to give up. You are stronger than that! You are resilient and these feelings will pass.
Fall off the bike? Get back up and get on that bike! Speed bumps on the road are to be expected, and you will come out better in the end because of them.
Let’s go back to March 2016 and the breakup. I was finally able to clearly see who I was and who I am meant to be. That realization was LIFE CHANGING.
I got a personal trainer and worked with her, following everything she told me to do. I saw results, but wanted more. She and I parted ways when she was relieved of her duties at the gym. Since I was signed into a contract for personal training, I was assigned a new trainer. I was hesitant – trainer A knew me. She understood my body I thought. I was wrong to be hesitant. Trainer B took me to a whole new level and challenged me. Because of him, I decided to compete in my first body building competition – thus a new “why”.
I went from 265 pounds in January 2016 to 168 pounds in October 2019 when I stepped on that stage in a skimpy pair of shorts for the entire auditorium to see. The process drove me to change paths and close my cake decorating side hustle to focus on certifying in the fitness world.
My weight has gone back to a place where I am happy and comfortable, and I continue to transform on a regular basis – the human body is a wonderful thing, and it is exciting to see how I can push myself.
I really hope this post has helped you get a better understanding of what it takes to undergo a transformation. To do so in a safe, healthy way will take time and effort, but if you have the right motivations it is worth the sacrifices in the end.
Arm yourself with knowledge and a great support system. Reach out to people who understand the process, that are experienced and knowledgeable. At LivBtr Wellness Solutions, there are people able to help you reach your goals. To help you, support you, and make sure you can hold yourself accountable.
Ultimately you are the driving force to transformation!
Mark holds a BA in psychology and is a certified Sports Nutrition advisor, as well as a NASM certified personal trainer. He’s also a DripFit Ambassador and advocated for LivBTR Wellness Solutions.