Let’s talk transformations. Most people when they consider posting a #TransformationTuesday picture on their social media platforms they think it should be a drastic change of a selfie. Like a new hair color/cut, new muscles or a big weight loss.
But does it have to be?
Reality check. A transformation can be as tiny as an attitude change. Think about it. Transformations mean progress has been made. So when it comes to fitness we have to smash that stigma that a transformation is only happening when we lose a massive amount of weight or get those drastic booty gains only because we can finally see that progress. While it’s true that progress doesn’t happen overnight that doesn’t hold true for every piece of transition.
Breaking down transformations
In the fitness industry it’s super easy to get stuck in the mentality that fitness success only occurs when we see a metamorphosis in our appearance when in reality this can be broken down into our 5 senses.
So clearly this is the most obvious of all the sense when it comes to a transformation. While we typically feel our transformation(s) first, the visual aspect of a transformation seems to sit better with us because sight is just more tangible to us. I, like pretty much every one else ever in existence, heavily rely on my sight to be a constant reminder of my progress, good and bad.
From evaluating our weight loss versus weight gain, muscle growth and definition or remaining the same to seeing how our clothing fits differently – tight versus loose – or what the scale says.
But most of all, any transformation is seen on how we see ourselves. When we look in the mirror, we want to see our best selves, whatever version we believe that to be.
For me, I want to see myself standing tall, looking healthy. I want to see my clothes fit proportionately and not just feel comfortable but look it. I want to see a smile on my face because I don’t just feel good but that my feelings reflect on my face, showing how great I do feel. That’s a lot of feels. But THAT is what I like to see out of my transformations.
Have you ever taken a minute to just listen to yourself? No, I’m not talking about the sound of your own voice as you talk or as you’re trying to practice to be the next Whitney Houston. But really listen?
Take a minute and listen to your heartbeat. What does it sound like as you sit relaxed? What is it telling you after you go for a run or how does it feel during your 15 minute walk around the block?
Now think back to the last time you went to physically do something. Whether it was lifting a heavy box to move it from one corner of the house to the next. Or maybe it was stretching. Maybe it was even the last time you were at the gym and you were lifting weights, doing a row workout or doing push ups. What did your muscles tell you then? Could they move in a wide range of motion, comfortably? Did they feel stiff or pull at all? Did they start the activity tight but come loose after a few minutes?
Listening to your body and what it tells you, you need to do – push harder or softer – really tells you a lot in terms of progression. The first couple of times you go to try something new or push yourself to a new level, it should be a little hard. It’s like the mindset of practice makes perfect because if you keep at it, it’ll soon become easier. Your heartbeat won’t skyrocket at much as it did the first time you ran that 8 minute mile or when you bench pressed what is now your old max for the first time.
Another way to find transformation in sound is through your mental stability. Are you more confident? Are you excited in not just your mind but your heart to try something new or to tackle a fear? Being mentally sound can compete to be a total game changer in our transformations. It’s when we have an inner confidence in who we are and how we want to change for the better that any transformation can really transpire.
Believe it or not but your taste can also roll in some pretty awesome transformations in two different ways, literal and not.
Clearly the literal side being the evolution of our taste buds. From the time we were born to today and even our future, we have the opportunity to change how we see the nutrients we throw in our body. Clearly some things just taste better and we all have likes and dislikes for certain textures and tastes than others. Obviously anything with more grease or sugar is going to taste better than something that most would compare to dirt. BUT the fact is that if we want to treat our bodies like a kingdom and have a healthy body to live a long, prosperous life we have to learn to sometimes like foods that we might not currently be able to stomach.
Like anything, we have to learn to adapt. For instance, I used to hate hate hate peas. I thought they tasted like poop and smelled funny. But as I got older, I realized how great of a vegetable they are for us and that I should learn to like them. Well that’s not the whole truth. They are also in nearly every mixed vegetable blend that exists so I better learn to like them or I’m going to look like that picky millennial every time I see a pea in my food. So, even though I wasn’t a fan, I started eating them when I was given them. And after a certain amount of time later that I’m not really sure of, I found that I actually like peas a lot.
Point is, we can literally change our taste buds if we choose. Sure, I will never enjoy mushrooms and I won’t willingly eat one but there are so many other foods or drinks out there, that are healthy that we can learn to love – but you have to want it and you have to try.
So I encourage you to think of at least one food (or drink – because I hear all the time how some people hate the taste of water) to learn to love. Give it a chance and change your buds to have your back.
The non-literal way to see a transformation in our taste is through growing that hunger for more. We’re not just settling to a single goal we achieve but we’re pushing ourselves to want more, to do more. We’re pushing our limits to truly become the best we possibly can and then push a little more.
When I first started working out and choosing to be a healthier me, I admit that my workouts were the bare minimum. It took me forever to get into it and that’s if I did. It honestly wasn’t until I saw my very first transformation, followed by the feeling of my transformation in losing my first 10 pounds, that my hunger for more really kicked in. It started slow. I would find myself getting a little more into my workout faster or wanting to go a little longer on the elliptical. Eventually the elliptical wasn’t feeding me so I moved to the treadmill and eventually the road. I pushed further by getting back into my dance roots and leaning on dance to continue to fuel my desires for more. The hunger grew and grew and grew. All of these small transformations lead me to my biggest transformation that was body and soul, which is who and where I am today. Let your hunger grow and don’t look back. Don’t even settle for where you are now because growth is amazing and we should always strive to achieve more. Be more than we are today.
How we touch things probably isn’t something we typically correlate to a transformation, but again, this can be literal and not.
This time we’ll start with the non-literal side which is how we touch others as we, ourselves progress. Again, remember that a transformation is also about our mental state alongside how we present ourselves. As we transform we can touch those around us and inspire them to continue on their journey. When most think about their life and how they want to look back on it, one of the most common things you hear is that they wanted to make a difference, touch someone’s life for the better. As we continue to transform ourselves to be a better person, not just physically but mentally, we start to help others transform too – which is like backlinking to ourselves – sorry, digital brain here.
On the literal side, touch transformations hit in two factors. Physical strength and how we feel.
Strength can come in the form to how much we’re lifting and how long we can handle it. Building calluses? Awesome. Can you dead hang longer and longer each time your try? Grip strength baby. Soon that 15 pound weight that once felt like you were trying to lift a car will feel like you’re picking up a baby kitten. You’ll start moving up in muscle weight and the next thing you know, you’re the strongest lad on the block.
Now, not to be redundant but how we feel is another way we connect our touch sense to having an amazing transformation with our sight. How do things feel on you? Are you wearing a new size in your clothes that just makes you feel all goo-goo-gah-gah about yourself? Find yourself posing and checking your bod out in the mirror because “Damn I look good!”? Well you deserve it. The feeling inside and out that we’re achieving the goals that we yearn for deserves from attention!
So this one might be a reach in tagging it to fitness transformations but let’s go with it. Let’s think back for a second. When you first started did you sweat very hard? I didn’t. There are days I can’t get into it and I feel like I didn’t get much out of my lift. Other days I try harder and I sweat much more. Some days I can smell myself and other days I can’t. This is a transformation to me. A small one that I personally rank workout to workout.
We can also relate our sense of smell to our hydration. We all know that the more we sweat the more hydrated we are. Did you know that on average, our body sweats out about 10 percent of the water that it loses everyday? Yep – look it up! Through being properly hydrated we are making sure that we sweat and therefore allowing our sweat glands to clean themselves out which means we are preventing any kind of bacteria buildup – which is what can cause body odor. Gross. If we are not hydrating ourselves properly, we won’t sweat nearly as much as we should, build bacteria in our sweat glands and stink up the gym and make people vomit. Okay, maybe that last part was a little extreme but really! Have you ever been around people whose body odor was just too much? B.O. isn’t always related to not showering. More times than not, it’s also related to the fact that these people aren’t drinking enough water and therefore no amount of deodorant is going to mask the aroma they are sharing. So don’t be that person. Check to see how much water you should be drinking each day, based on your weight here.
We can also relate our smell to what we are eating. I’m sure you’ve heard a close friend or family member say, “I ate asparagus and now my pee smells!”. This is a real thing. Certain foods can really mess with more than the odor of our bodily gasses. I’m clearly no doctor, so I had to read up on why this happens. It’s always intrigued me as to why food can affect us like this, I mean farts are one thing but our urine? From what I’ve read multiple times over and over again, this occurs often times because all the vitamins that filter through our body after consumption are released through our pee. The specific vitamin of B6 is one that can really affect this odor when it’s unused – meaning you’ve taken in too much. B6 is an every day vitamin we all need. It is important for our digestive and cardiovascular health as well as helping to keep our immune system up and has benefits with our nervous system too. WIth this vitamin we can also help to keep our brain functioning right and developing the way it should. (You can read more on the benefits to the B6 vitamin here).
Foods like garlic, fish/tuna, asparagus and alcohol or coffee are among some of the most common foods that can change the aroma of your urine. As you can see, this is a good amount of healthier foods. So I guess you can slightly say that the healthier you eat the more likely you are to smell a little 😉
Point is, our transformations don’t always have to be so damn literal. We have to remember that living a healthy lifestyle has no end date. Well until we die – sorry that was morbid. But seriously. Being healthy isn’t about the next latest and – debatable – greatest weight loss pill, smoothie/shake, cream, wrap, 21 day fix, or celebrity trick fad.
Living healthy is about being healthy. It all goes back to healthy organs, a healthy ratio of body fat and being hydrated. It’s about fueling our bodies correctly and giving ourselves the outlet of exercise so we can have a healthy range of motion, lower our risk to maaannnyyy diseases, improve our quality of life by reducing stress or helping you sleep better.
Living a healthy lifestyle is about balance. It’s not a turn on and off switch. It should be maintained and never seen as a punishment for eating too many slices of pizza.
Being healthy is about realizing that transformations are more than what meets the eye. It’s more than what we see others posting about on social media or anywhere else on the internet. It’s about change in all aspects of life – big or small. Don’t ever box yourself into something. Break through and make things your own, transformations included. Don’t go with the status quo. People break these barriers every day, especially in the fitness industry, on how never to judge a book by its cover. So don’t take the definition of a transformation at face value.
Write your book the way you want to. Make up your own transformations and be proud of them.
I know I am 🙂
**The featured image is of my from after I ran my first half-marathon in Spring 2011 compared to my most recent half marathon this Fall 2017. The before was taken about 6 months after the start of my lifestyle change. The difference in these two photos is about 30 pounds and an unmeasurable amount more of happiness that lives within me today. Never forget that anything is possible when you work hard and never give up.