4-Step Body Transformation Blueprint For a Lean Body

Having the right plan of action in place can be a complete game changer for getting the body you want.

I’m talking about a workout plan and meal plan that not only produce awesome results, but also make you want do it … over and over and over.

But that’s just the beginning.  Having the right training program and nutrition plan are just half of the equation for a lean, strong and defined body.

Today, I’m going to uncover the other half of the “get lean and strong” formula so that you can look and feel your best … not only for this year, but for this life!

Now I know that some of you that read this already have mastered the science and the art of getting (and maintaining) a year-round body that you’re proud to show off.  For others of you, this simple blueprint may just be the fork in the road that you’ve been searching for.

Regardless of where you are in your fitness journey, what I am about to unveil will undoubtedly help bring you closer to the body you want, and the body you deserve.

The 4-step blueprint that I’m about to explain to you is the exact system that I use not only for my in-person coaching clients, but also for my Fit In 42 Body Transformation Challenge.

AND, it’s the same system I use for myself.

I feel that’s important, because in order for someone to truly communicate that their “way” or “system” is the right way … they need to be walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

You picking up what I’m putting down?  I hope so.  Now I’d like you to join me in a quick daydream …

Imagine You’re Going On a Cross Country Road Trip With Your Best Friend

I know that this may sound completely cheesy and off topic, but just follow me for a bit and it’ll all make sense, I promise.

RoadTripI want you to pretend for a few minutes that you and your best friend are traveling across the country for the first time.  You’re heading from New York to Los Angeles or maybe it’s Baltimore to San Diego.  Whatever it is, it’s a LONG trip and you’re super excited about it because the two of you have planned all kinds of fun stops and activities along the way.

Neither of you have been to Chicago before, so you’ve decided you want to hit up the windy city and check out a Cubs game.  You’ve also decided that you’d like to check out the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains and even spend a day in the Napa Valley.  Heck, you both love wine so why not?

Both of you have agreed that it’s best to take your car because it’s a proven and reliable vehicle.  It’s got fewer miles on it, gets better gas mileage, has more trunk space and has more techie gadgets on it to make the driving time a bit more fun.

As the trip gets closer, the excitement begins to build for both of you.  Because you’re both A+ with your finances, you’ve made sure to save plenty of money for gas, hotel rooms and food along the way.

Clear strategy and solutions for business leadership symbol with a straight path to success as a journey choosing the right strategic path for business with blank yellow traffic signs cutting through a maze of tangled roads and highways.

And, because your best friend is such an incredible planner, she’s taken the time to map out the exact route that you’ll take to get to each city along the way.  She’s even set daily “travel goals” so that you won’t over extend yourselves on how many miles you drive each day.  You want the trip to be a fun one that you’ll remember forever, so it’s important you enjoy the process.

Before you know it, the day to begin your trip across the U.S. has arrived and it’s time to embark upon the first leg of your journey.

Sounds like fun, right?  I’ve never actually driven across the country, but I’d like to think that this would be the process for making it happen.

Ok, now I want you to join me in a different daydream …

Imagine You’ve Decided That You Want To Lose Weight, Build Muscle and Get the Body of Your Dreams … a Total Body Transformation

What I’m about to explain to you is going to sound eerily similar to the cross country road trip that I just explained, and there’s a reason for that.

The blueprint for transforming your body is the same as taking a cross country road trip.

Wait, what?!?! … you think I’m losing my mind, right?

Hear me out, and maybe you’ll think I’m not as crazy and you think I think you think I am.

Elements of a Successful Cross Country Road Trip

If you think about all of the elements of the cross country road trip, you’ll quickly realize that:

  • The destinations & stops along the way = GOALS
  • The vehicle you’ve decided to take on the trip = MOVE OF MOVEMENT (exercise)
  • The gasoline you’ll put into the vehicle = TYPE OF FUEL (nutrition)
  • Your best friend or your passenger = SUPPORT SYSTEM (accountability)

Is this starting to make more sense now?  I hope so.  Keep reading though …

Elements of a Successful Body Transformation

Regardless of what “system” you’re following, any successful body transformation program or challenge must have the following elements:

  • GOALS
  • EFFECTIVE MODE OF MOVEMENT
  • NUTRITION PLAN THAT SUPPORTS YOUR GOALS
  • ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE FORM OF A SUPPORT SYSTEM

Let’s dive a little deeper …

Step # 1: Set Your Goals

Prior to actually getting started with your body transformation program, you must determine exactly where you want to be.  And I’m not just talking about where you want to ultimately be at the end of your fitness journey (which never ends btw, but that’s another blog post in itself), but where you want to be in 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years and even 10 years.

SMART GoalsWhat I do with my in-person and online clients is have them complete a Self-Inventory Questionnaire that asks them the following questions …

  1. What is your ULTIMATE goal?
  2. WHY do you want this goal?
  3. What can you do in the next 30 days to help bring you closer to this goal?
  4. What can you do in the next week to bring you closer to this goal?
  5. What can you do on a DAILY basis to help bring you closer to this goal?
  6. What are some obstacles that you feel you’ll face as you work to achieve this goal?

When you’re setting your goals, it extremely important that you know your “why” for wanting to achieve that ultimate goal.  Usually, it’s not what you initially think it is.

Most times, it has to do with how you feel.

  • How does it FEEL to not have the body you want?
  • How does it FEEL when you look at yourself in the mirror each day?
  • How does it FEEL to know that you’re not as healthy as you could be for your children?
  • How would it FEEL to know you’re in awesome shape?
  • How would it FEEL to step out of the shower each morning and be proud of what you see?

Once you’ve taken the time to really think about how you feel and what you want, you’ll be able to develop the following:

  1. Your ULTIMATE goal
  2. Your YEARLY goals
  3. Your MONTHLY benchmarks (mini-goals)
  4. Your WEEKLY guidelines (wee little goals)
  5. Your DAILY tasks (teensy weensy goals)

This, my friend, is your road map for reaching your destination.  From New York to LA, you’ve got every step along the way covered and accounted for.

The mistake many people make, though, is focusing way too much on # 1, and not nearly enough on the teensy weensy goals.  Even though you’ve invested the time to create an incredible road map to guide you along your fitness journey, not making your daily tasks the MAIN priority is a recipe for failure.

Read the quote below from Mahatma Ghandi … he was sort of a wicked smart dude.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

Now read this quote from Corey House … I’m not even close to wicked smart.

“Your daily accomplishments will shape your week, your weekly accomplishments will shape your month, your monthly accomplishments will shape your year and your yearly accomplishments will shape your life.”

The big takeaway here, is to put a HUGE emphasis on accomplishing the daily tasks that you’ve determined will help you reach your weekly goals.  This, in turn, will help you to reach your monthly, yearly and ultimate goals.

Step # 2: Determine Your Mode of Movement (Exercise)

Now that you’ve set your goals, it’s time to take the first step in deciding how you’re going to make those goals a reality.  This could start with figuring out your workout plan or your nutrition plan, it doesn’t really matter which you plan out first.  What’s more important is that you figure out BOTH, and don’t try to rely on just exercise or just nutrition to get you lean, strong and defined.

3 BEST Kettlebell Tabatas BlogWhen it comes to exercise, there are a TON of options available to you.  Instead of making this a debate on what’s the best program and what programs completely suck, I’m going to focus more on prioritizing the following …

  1. Resistance training / strength training
  2. Cardio / conditioning

And, since I’ve already listed them in the correct order, let me explain why resistance training ALWAYS trumps cardio when it comes to getting a lean, strong, defined and athletic body.

As we age, there is only ONE way to either increase our metabolism or maintain it.

It’s not raspberry ketones, drinking ice cold water instead of lukewarm water, or adding cinnamon to our oatmeal.  These are all what I refer to as “hacks” that will have an effect so small on changing your body, that you’ll never see their effects in a bazillion years.  I don’t care what Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil or Dr. Seuss says … focusing on hacks like this will never get you the body you desire.

Ok, back on topic …

The ONLY way to increase your metabolism is to add new, active tissue to your body.  I’m talking about muscle … lean, hard, and metabolically-active muscle tissue that will make you better a picking things up and putting things down (with a focus on heavy things).

Unfortunately, cardio just isn’t going to build new muscle.  The purpose of cardio / conditioning is to break tissue down and use it as energy – fat tissue.  When you do too much cardio and neglect resistance training, you end up breaking down not only fat tissue, but muscle tissue as well.

This is not good, regardless of who you are or what your fitness goals are.

15MinFLR Instagram Workout 1In order to add new muscle to your body, you must resistance train on a consistent basis.  Hitting the machines twice per week and moving minimal weight isn’t going to do the job, either.

You need to be varying one of the following elements at all times, on a consistent basis, in order to achieve muscle growth:

  • Weight lifted (resistance)
  • Number of reps and/or sets (volume)
  • Intensity (how hard you work)

The part that sucks, is that most people have a tough time putting together a quality resistance training program that will actually produce real results, while also minimizing risk of injury.

That’s why I provide a detailed 6-week training plan as part of my Fit In 42 Body Transformation Challenge, and each month inside the Austere Athlete Academy – so that my clients have something that’s “done-for-them” so they can spend more time focusing on other things that matter.

For some [FREE] workouts that you can begin using immediately to shed fat and build lean muscle, see the list below …

Now, don’t get me wrong, cardio does have it’s place … but it’s second place, not first place.  Behind resistance training.

After you’ve obtained a quality resistance training program, it’s time to figure out how cardio will fit into your training program.  Ideally, you’ll want to do a combination of short, high-intensity cardio sessions and long, low-intensity cardio sessions.

As a quick rule of thumb, the harder and more intense your cardio workout, the shorter it should be.  The less intense the workout, the longer it should be.

Two great examples would be:

  • 30-minute HIIT session (high-intensity interval training)
  • 60-minute brisk walk

Another rule of thumb to follow, is the more intense your resistance training sessions are, the less you’ll want to load up on high-intensity cardio sessions.  The reason being, you’ll eventually fry out your nervous system and hit a wall.  You’ll end up extremely sluggish, you body will be stressed as hell, and you’ll more than likely not lose an ounce of fat.

Too much stress on your body = an inability to shed stubborn fat.

So to make sure your fat stops being so damn stubborn, be smart with how you mix in your cardio sessions.

Alright … on to nutrition!

Step # 3: Find a Way of Eating That Works For YOU (Nutrition)

There are quite a few sayings about nutrition and fat loss.  It’s been said that fat loss is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise … or that “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.”

Personally, I don’t really care what the percentages are.  In fact, nobody does.  Someone made them up along the way to help justify their “way” or “system.”

Grilled Lamb Chops Pea SaladWhat’s more important is that you’re working on both, and not just relying on one or the other.  Since we’ve already dove deep into exercise, let’s talk about the foods you should eat.

Just like training programs, there are countless diets on the market.  All of them claim to be the best and all of them work for some population of the world.

What you need to do is determine a way of eating that works for YOU.  It doesn’t matter is Paleo is the hottest diet trend right now, if it’s not something that is going to work for you, then you should just move past it and find a nutrition plan that WILL work for you.

So instead of bashing the shitty diets and promoting the ones that I feel are best, I’m going to talk more about what a quality way of eating should look like.

Keep in mind, everything I’m talking here about is centered around shedding fat and getting strong.  For those who are more interested in gaining muscle mass and getting hulked out, shoot me a message and I’ll do s separate blog post if enough people want it.

obesity rates 2013More than 2/3 of Americans are either overweight or obese.  This is a fact.

So, with that in mind, it can be safely assumed that whatever most people are being encouraged to do for at least the past decade (U.S. Nutrition and Dietary Guidelines), simply hasn’t been working.

We’re fatter and weaker as a nation than we’ve ever been, and this is in spite of the ever-growing availability of gyms, personal trainers and fitness programs.

Needless to say, it’s time for a change … for most people.

For individuals who struggle to lose weight and are either overweight or obese, consuming a diet that’s 50% carbohydrates (250 grams for a 2,000 calorie diet) is going to make matters MUCH worse.

For many people, carbs ARE the problem … as well as simply eating too much, and eating too much food that has little or no nutritional value.

The more overweight or obese someone is, the more difficult it is to use carbs as they’re meant to be used – as energy for our bodies.

Chard SaladIn order to get lean, strong, athletic and defined, we need to follow a diet that supports our goals of shedding stubborn fat and building lean muscle, and also is tailored to our body composition.

Here’s what this means …

  1. Focus on eating high-quality protein at every meal, including snacks
  2. Start your day with protein & healthy fats, while avoiding all starchy carbs early in the day
  3. Consume starchy carbs immediately after your workouts
  4. Eat LOTS of fibrous (green) vegetables
  5. Drink LOTS of water
  6. Reduce your fat intake as the day goes on (majority of fat in 1st half of day)
  7. The higher your body fat % is, the more you’re going to restrict starchy carbs on a daily basis
  8. Shoot for 85% compliance to your diet, or better

Pretty simple, right?

The more simple your nutrition plan is, the more likely you’ll be to follow it in the long run.  At the same time, you also need to make sure that it’s something you truly WANT to do.  If you dread eating the foods that are a part of your nutrition plan, you’ll never stick with it.

Here are some [FREE] quick and easy recipes that you can begin using immediately to shed fat and get lean …

Lastly, here are some things to avoid …

  • Quick fix diets (you’ll gain the weight back)
  • Meal replacement diets (they aren’t sustainable)
  • Weight loss pills (they’re unsafe)
  • Detox diets (they’re useless – your body has a liver to detox it)
  • Anything that you cannot see yourself doing for the duration of your life!

And the last step of your body transformation blueprint is …

Step # 4: Finding Your Support System

Even though I listed this as step # 4, do NOT underestimate the importance of having a reliable support system and other people to help keep you accountable.

accountabilityBy nature, we are social creatures and thrive on doing things with others.  The same goes for exercising, eating and accomplishing goals.  We’ll ALL do better when we have other people to help support us, encourage us, call us out when we screw up, and keep us on task.

Accountability and your support system can take many forms …

  • A friend, family member or co-worker
  • A group of co-workers or friends
  • Accountability group at your gym

Just like traveling across the U.S. alone would be a daunting task, so too is trying to completely transform your body.  You need someone there with you as you experience the ups and downs.  You need someone to compliment you when you do well, call you out when you’re slacking and give you encouragement when you’re in doubt.

But, just like your nutrition plan, it has to be something that is going to work for YOU.


If you’re looking for a program that will get you leaner, stronger and more fit, then I urge you to check out my Fit In 42 Body Transformation Challenge

It’s a 42-day body transformation program that ties together awesome kettlebell workouts, the best in nutrition guidance and killer accountability!