Why NOT to do a 6 week body transformation

Now, chances are you know someone who’s really into the gym – we’ve all got that friend who is the ‘fit one’, who could probably go and run a marathon tomorrow if asked. You probably also have a friend who really wants to be that person and so tries lots of different classes, gyms, programmes and just can’t seem to find their fit. You can almost guarantee they’ve done some sort of 6 week body transformation programme or insane routine that they commit to for a specific number of weeks. Maybe this is you? And have you continued with it? Unlikely. Today I am going to outline exactly why you shouldn’t do a 6 week transformation, or for any other number of weeks for that matter.

Results rarely last

When you sign up to complete a 6 week body transformation programme at the gym or online, you are committing to the process for 6 weeks. Not 6 weeks and a day, not 6 weeks and the rest of the year – 6 weeks – and that’s it. You’re setting yourself an end point, a finish line upon which you are giving yourself permission to end your new routine. What happens after the 6 weeks? Do you continue with the same routine? If so, would it not be called a ‘lifestyle change’ and not a 6 week programme?

The whole concept reinforces short-term thinking, putting everything you’ve got into the next 6 weeks and then seeing what happens. If you haven’t been motivated to keep going with any sort of fitness routine before, then why would now be any different, when you’ve literally set an end point? If you stop the routine at 6 weeks, you’ll stop seeing results too.

You don’t learn independence from a 6 week body transformation

A big reason that your results don’t last is that you don’t learn how to maintain those potentially transformative physical results when the programme is over. Whilst following a programme you very rarely learn why it is you’re training the way you are, or doing certain exercises or why you’re eating certain foods. Without that knowledge, how can you continue to maintain results yourself? You can’t.

That’s how these programmes succeed, people feel the need to keep coming back again and again – because it worked last time. Often they do ‘work’ but it really depends on your definition of it ‘working’. Getting absolutely ripped in a month and a half? Check ✅ Losing it all, feeling your mental health suffer and then investing even more money next year? Also check ✅

They over-emphasise the physical results

Above I did refer to using these programmes to get ‘absolutely ripped’ and I just want to emphasise that, in my mind at least, this is not the main goal of increased fitness and good nutrition. Personally, movement and fuelling my body with nutrient-rich foods makes me feel good, it makes me feel strong, powerful, energetic and motivated. It does wonders for my mental and physical health. And honestly, for a lot of those people that fit into that ‘fit friend’ category, getting ripped is just a welcome side effect. If you learn to love the process, the physical results often follow.

These transformation programmes however, focus solely on the physical results, the end goal – which reinforces a misplaced belief that getting ripped is the only reason someone would go to the gym, go for a run, join a class or cook a meal that they know contains the nutrients their body needs. Getting ripped or toned or slim should not define your self worth, and I’m telling you now, it DOES NOT. I cannot stress enough how much you can benefit mentally from taking care of yourself properly, and these programmes do not allow you to appreciate this enough.

Ray, personal trainer in Mancheser,  sits to have a coffee and a chat with a client after a session.

You can damage your metabolism with a 6 week body transformation

Most of these 6 week body transformation programmes are based around building definition, losing weight, getting lean, or all of the above. For a lot of people this can mean losing quite a bit of weight, and losing it fast. There are drawbacks to losing weight rapidly, both from a longevity perspective and also in terms of your health. Losing weight too fast can lead to nutrient deficiencies, loss of bone density, hormonal imbalances (affecting mood and fertility), gallstones and extreme fatigue – to name a few.

Even if you only want to look at it from a results perspective, losing weight too fast can throw your metabolism way out of whack so it’s a lot less predictable and results harder to maintain. What is predictable however, is that you’ll have lost a lot of muscle as well as fat during the rapid weight loss process. The less muscle you have, the lower your metabolism is, so to maintain your lower weight you can hardly eat anything. This is the main reason people put all the weight back on after crash diets or transformation programmes. You can imagine what this does for motivation!

It can take over your life

Invariably, these 6 week body transformation programmes are very intense. They have to be – they’re promising dramatic results in just over a month. This means that it can easily take over your whole life, it’s all you think about. You start looking at it like a chore, something you have to do rather than enjoying the process. But the secret to success often lies in enjoying the process! If you gradually find more and more ways to add regular exercise into your routine and develop healthy eating habits, rather than going from 0 to 100, you could gain and maintain your results for the next 6 years not 6 weeks. There will be no stopping you, especially not a 6 week countdown!

So, if you have been on the fence about how to go about making some lifestyle changes to improve your self-confidence, body-confidence, mental or physical health, I hope this has nudged you in the right direction, away from short-term quick fixes and onto long-term healthy choices. Yes, the results take longer, but they last longer, and I guarantee you’ll feel better for it.

In case you missed it, here is the link to our 3-part How to Gym blog series, to get you started with your gym life. As always, if you are interested in working with me, please give me a shout!

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Picture of Ray Hickford

Ray Hickford

Hi, I’m Ray, a health and wellbeing professional in Manchester working with clients through training and nutrition programmes to help them feel more confident, strong and happy both in and outside of the gym.
As a Qualified Personal Trainer and Level 4 RSPH Nutrition Advisor, I am constantly learning myself - from my clients, from other industry experts and sometimes myself! And sometimes I write some of this down for ya.

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