transformation contestWelcome to part 3 of the 6-part interview with fasting and nutrition expert, Brad Pilon. Last day, Brad shared his road map to  creating a new physique, and how you can easily piggyback off of those steps to create your very own successful body transformation story.

If you’re just starting your fat loss journey, then you’ll want to stick around and read Brad’s tips that will ensure you stick it out, and ultimately achieve your transformation goals.  A lot of great information in this one, so let’s get at it….

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Craig Ballantyne:  Well, let’s take another step back here and right from the start if somebody wants to start a transformation what do you tell them to do first in terms of getting prepared in terms of getting foods into the house, foods out of the house and preparing for their workout information?

Brad Pilon: Your main thing first is to TELL EVERYBODY what you’re going to do.  transformation tip

You need support and you need support in your own home.  And your friends and your coworkers.  You need everybody to kind of be on your side.  It can’t be a joke to them.  It can’t be let’s throw a bunch of donuts in front of Brad and see how long he can resist because chances are I won’t.

So it’s really important to tell people what you’re doing.

The next thing is to make sure that the goal you have is something measurable.  Your goal can’t just be I’m going to get shredded by some time in 2008.  It really has to be a final date.  This is what I’m going to do by this date.  This is how I’m going to look and this is how I’m going to accomplish it.

Once you’ve done that and you’ve got your support network, you have to look at your living arrangements.  Whomever you live with.  If you live on your own, it’s almost a bonus at this point but you have to tell them.  If you don’t have the willpower to have the food sitting in the house, and I know I don’t, then the only other option is not to have the food in the house. junk-food

It’s not an option of we’re going to have Oreos or we’re going to put them on the top shelf so Brad doesn’t get to them because you can hide them anywhere in this house and I’ll find them.  So it was a commitment by my wife and my family too for family gatherings that this is what I’m doing and I need your help.

Getting that down and you sort of purge the house of the foods you don’t want.  Everybody is supporting you.  You know what your goal is.  The next step is just deciding what foods you’re going to eat.  What workout you’re going to follow and sort of writing it down so you commit to yourself.

I mean goals aren’t really goals until you’ve written them down and told people about them so you have to know exactly what workouts you’re going to do.  Exactly what you plan on eating.  And when you’re going to buy that food.  When you’re going to bring it in the house, etc.  Everything has to be very methodical for a transformation to work really well.  If you’re going to follow the multiple meals and instruction workout of paradigm, you’ve gotta be ready for it.

So that would be my first thing.  Is tell people what you’re going to do.  Set your goals.  Make sure they’re measurable.  And then figure out how you’re going to reach your goals via what you’re eating and how you’re training.

Craig Ballantyne:  Okay.  So you really just can’t fly by the seat of your pants here?  You gotta put a little prep work into it.  Right?

Brad Pilon: Absolutely.  And it’s prep work on the MACRO and MICRO.  It’s a big prep work in terms of where you’re going the next three months and then micro in terms of okay, if I’m going down to visit the relatives on Sunday are you bringing your own food or what are they serving?  You have got to be on top of these things.

At the end of the day no one’s going to guarantee your success but you so you have to make sure that everything is preplanned.

Craig Ballantyne:  Okay.  Good.  Now second, after they’ve got all this together, how do you tell them to document the process properly?  We’re talking whether someone’s doing a transformation contest for say Turbulence Training or for a supplement company or even just for a fitness competition or just for themselves, what do you recommend regarding photos and measurement tips and all that sort of stuff?

Brad Pilon: Pics and measurements.  The No. 1 things you need is pictures of yourself and circumferences.  And the pictures, I mean we all see the before and afters that are in ads.  Your before does not have to look like that.

Take an HONEST BEFORE PICTURE so that you’re not lying to yourself.  You don’t have to stick your gut out and throw the cotton balls in your mouth to make yourself look all swollen.  Just take an honest before picture.  Take it in the same room with the same lighting that you’re going to take all your pictures in.  transformation-photos

And be aware that while a picture says a thousand words, they say it kind of slowly so you’re not going to see massive differences from your picture from Monday to your picture on Thursday.  But over the course of six Mondays and six Thursdays you’re going to really start to see something.

The other thing is measurements are key especially for the psychological battle.  I know specifically how it is for guys.  It’s probably the same for girls.  But you lose ten pounds, you’re on your way.  You think you’re looking great and all you need is one of your buddies to tell you your arms have shrunk of something and all of a sudden you start second-guessing everything.

If you’re not taking proper measurements you fall into that I’m losing muscle routine.  As soon as you start thinking that way, and even though we know if you train with weights you’re not losing muscle, you’re going to start into the I’m losing muscle and I’m not losing fat or I’m losing too much off of my shoulders.  You just start second guessing everything.

Whereas if you take your measurements and you look at it and you go my arms are like the exact same size they were before I started training and my waist is an inch and a half smaller, then that’s kind of information you need to have to be confident and just keep moving forward with your plan.

So it’s all circumferences and pictures just to help you sort of visualize what’s happening.

Craig Ballantyne:  And you just mentioned a very important point there.  As long as you’re training with resistance training that you’re going to keep your muscle mass.  And that’s a big concern of a lot of people that they make it sound as if it’s very, very, very easy to lose muscle mass but you talk about this in your fasting eating book.

Why don’t you just give us a rundown of exactly how little resistance training one might need to do and how few calories one can still eat and still maintain their muscle mass?  And just at least point out to people how hard it is to lose muscle.

Brad Pilon: Absolutely.  It’s hard.  We’ll just put it like that.  There’s quite a lot of research on the area of losing muscle because it’s becoming a very hot topic in our elderly.  Keeping them strong and fit keeps their quality of life high.

So what we found is that anywhere from young 20-year olds all the way up to 75-year olds even on very, very low calorie diets, you’re talking 800 calories a day, and fairly low protein by most people’s standard, 80 grams a day.  I’ve seen as low as 50.  As long as there’s resistance training happening at a fair level of intensity.  I mean you are working hard but as little as TWICE A WEEK you’re going to MAINTAIN most of your MUSCLE mass.

The easiest way to lose muscle mass is get bedridden.  Bedridden patients lose muscle mass very quickly.  A great analogy I always use.  If you can think back to your younger days or your high school days when one of your friends broke his arm or broke her leg and the day they got that cast off just how much muscle they’d lost in that one limb it really illustrates that if you’re not moving something and not using it your body has no need to keep it.

But if you’re moving it and if you’re really stressing it with resistance training then your body’s going to fight to preserve every last ounce of muscle you have.  So the easy way to lose muscle is to not train.  The hardest way is to train really, really hard and it’s virtually impossible to lose muscle unless you’re doing something very, very wrong with your diet or your approach to training your muscle’s going to stay on you during your duration of transformation.

Craig Ballantyne:  Okay.  And you’ve done a lot of very intense and accurate measurements of bodybuilders during some of these transformations and do you ever see any muscle loss in those people?

Brad Pilon: No.  To tell you the truth I am extremely privileged to have my eyes on data of some of the really, really disciplined bodybuilders, fitness models and everyday regular people doing their very first transformation and I can tell you that there is three to four people out of a group of let’s say 40 to 50 every year for three years and three to four of them lost muscle mass.

I measured some girls who were dieters and long distance runners and that was how they were getting into shape.  And they were the only group who lost muscle.  Even then, I’ll be honest with you; the loss was minimal.  It was from a lean mass of maybe 110, 120 pounds they might have lost three to four pounds.

The rest of them I saw numbers maintaining extremely close to what they were when they started and for some people who are new to training in general these people were even going up while dieting.  And I know some people have their opinions on whether that can happen but from my measurements it did.

Craig Ballantyne:  Okay.

Brad Pilon: So difficult to lose and that’s a good thing.

Craig Ballantyne:  Excellent.  So it comes back to what Brad said.  If you’re taking measurements, I mean your brain can psyche itself out all it wants and your eyes might think that you’re losing muscle mass but if you take the measurements then you know the truth.body-transformation-measurements

So that’s good there Brad.  And back to some beginner changes.  If you have some beginners coming in that wanted to start a transformation program, what type of nutrition plan do you recommend to someone starting from scratch?

Brad Pilon: First I start with suggesting Eat Stop Eat which is one to two 24-hour fasts a week.  The fasts divided between two days.  So if you started today at 2:00 you’d fast until tomorrow at 2:00.  So every single day you’re eating something.

But that being said, all diet programs work.  I think Eat Stop Eat is the most flexible and therefore most effective long term but if people are against that concept then six, seven, eight, three meals a day, whatever it is, as long as the calories are restricted in a way that you’re going to be able to maintain for a 12-week period or however long your transformation is you’re going to be okay.

The key is for you what’s going to work best and that’s it.  I mean if you follow a diet that’s restrictive and cuts out foods you love and makes you miserable, you’ve just cut your chance of success in half. I mean everything has to be good.

Your workout program has to be something you love.  And the diet you’re following has to be MAINTAINABLE and that was the whole concept behind Eat Stop Eat was just making it so it was simple and you could follow it long term and that’s the concept behind any good diet.  That should be the concept behind it.  Is getting something you can do for an extended period of time without feeling like you’re going to die or never, ever going to eat tuna again.caloric-deficit

So that’s the key.  Find a diet that you can lower your calories down but maintain and be happy on and that’s the very first step in nutrition.

Okay, let’s move on to part 4 and take a closer look at fasting for fat loss in Brad’s book, Eat Stop Eat.

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Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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