T Nation

Are Body Transformations Realisitic?

As I look on the internet for bodybuiding information I always come across these amazing 12-week or 6 month body transformations. I’ve only been at this for a bit, but I don’t see my body making any miraculous transformations. If anything, I get the impression from everyone here that it take years to get an excellent physique. I guess I’m wondering if these “transformations” are for real or not.

When I see them I feel like I’m not making enough progress or something…or that I have bad genetics. :confused: I don’t think they’re realistic, since if they were really possible then everyone would be walking around ripped in 12 weeks or half a year. Anyway, what are your thoughts? I’m asking here since I’ll probably get people with the most amount of experience giving me their thoughts.

Also, I’m wondering when should you start seeing some definitely changes in the mirror and is it really a matter of how much body fat you have? If so, if you do have enough body fat to cover your muscles should you purely gauge progress by lifts vs. the mirror?

Thanks

Reagarding the first part, most of the people if not all that you see in the supplement adds are people that already have built a great bod, gained fat for the before pic and lost it for the after giving the illusion of a total body transformation when they just decreased bodyfat levels. Decreasing bodyfat to single digit bodyfat is easily doable in 3-6months.

Take pictures and measurements of yourself every 3 months. That’s a much better way to see progress. You look at yourself everyday in the mirror so it’s hard to see big changes, as big changes take a long time to get. If you gain a 1/4 on your biceps in 3 months it might be hard to see since it has been gaining that 1/4 little by little over the 3 months.

If you’re fat, you should still be able to guage results by the mirror, you just might not be getting big at first. Adding muscle will help decrease fat because muscle burns more calories then fat does.Losing weight will make you look smaller, but the fact is, you still have gained muscle. It may be alittle brush to your ego when dieting down, because during the proscess you will feel small, but at the end of the road you’ll look much better. A fat person should also be able to feel themselves geting firmer due to increased LBM.

Making tremendous strides in Bodyfat reduction is possible in a short time. And it can be made to look even better if you change the lighting and posture to make the “After” picture look drastically better.

Putting on muscle takes a lot of time. It might take a 20lb gain for the new muscle to really be noticed.

While I agree with your overall message here, Austin, I think quite a few people would disagree with this statement:

Decreasing bodyfat to single digit bodyfat is easily doable in 3-6months.

[quote]humptydance wrote:
While I agree with your overall message here, Austin, I think quite a few people would disagree with this statement:

Decreasing bodyfat to single digit bodyfat is easily doable in 3-6months.
[/quote]

I’m talking in the sense that a trained athlete will easily, with the right diet and training, be able to decrease there bodyfat to single digit bodyfat in 3-6 months. Not a lard ass w/ no concept of training.

[quote]Digity wrote:
As I look on the internet for bodybuiding information I always come across these amazing 12-week or 6 month body transformations. I’ve only been at this for a bit, but I don’t see my body making any miraculous transformations. If anything, I get the impression from everyone here that it take years to get an excellent physique. I guess I’m wondering if these “transformations” are for real or not.

When I see them I feel like I’m not making enough progress or something…or that I have bad genetics. :confused: I don’t think they’re realistic, since if they were really possible then everyone would be walking around ripped in 12 weeks or half a year. Anyway, what are your thoughts? I’m asking here since I’ll probably get people with the most amount of experience giving me their thoughts.

Also, I’m wondering when should you start seeing some definitely changes in the mirror and is it really a matter of how much body fat you have? If so, if you do have enough body fat to cover your muscles should you purely gauge progress by lifts vs. the mirror?

Thanks[/quote]

They are very realistic if you have the right mindset and nutritional plan. As far as I’m concerned nutrition is where most transformation efforts fail. Check out the V-Diet threads as a perfect example. It’s a bit on the extreme side but a good starting point in terms of understanding calories in and calories out. Once thats understood, the rest is just a matter of doing it.

[quote]austin_bicep wrote:
Reagarding the first part, most of the people if not all that you see in the supplement adds are people that already have built a great bod, gained fat for the before pic and lost it for the after giving the illusion of a total body transformation when they just decreased bodyfat levels. Decreasing bodyfat to single digit bodyfat is easily doable in 3-6months.

Take pictures and measurements of yourself every 3 months. That’s a much better way to see progress. You look at yourself everyday in the mirror so it’s hard to see big changes, as big changes take a long time to get. If you gain a 1/4 on your biceps in 3 months it might be hard to see since it has been gaining that 1/4 little by little over the 3 months.

If you’re fat, you should still be able to guage results by the mirror, you just might not be getting big at first. Adding muscle will help decrease fat because muscle burns more calories then fat does.Losing weight will make you look smaller, but the fact is, you still have gained muscle. It may be alittle brush to your ego when dieting down, because during the proscess you will feel small, but at the end of the road you’ll look much better. A fat person should also be able to feel themselves geting firmer due to increased LBM. [/quote]

Thanks, the decreased body fat explanation sounds a lot more realistic than a total body transformation.

I’ll start to measure every three months. I’ve been strictly using the scale and watching my weight.

Yes, they are realistic. Check this out
www.bodybuilding.com/fun/transm145.htm

They are realistic but rare. Most people don’t have what it takes to stick with it.

It might be worth noting that many of these posers in the adds are ‘trustys of modern chemistry’.

As noted above, it is possible to make a difference in your appearance in 3-6 months if the right effort and nutrition meets the key ingredient…consistency.

And there was a good point above, you see yourself every day. Harder to see these improvements than say someone that hasn’t seen you in a couple of months.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, basically since I read some things Dante of “Dog Crap” notoriety wrote. One, he brought up that he would be embarrassed if he had been training for a few years and people had to actually ask if he worked out.

Two, he brought up the connection between strength/strength gain and muscle. I can remember when I first started working out and did the whole Flex magazine bodybuilder wannabe thing and I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t look jacked. I mean, I trained hard and often, so what gives? Well, I think I was curling 30’s or 40’s for lowish reps and could only bench 250 legitimately. As for my squat… don’t ask.

The point is, you’re not supposed to look jacked if you can’t move weight.

The point of all this is, we should smash weights every time we train. Attack your log book every week and switch it up when you hit a wall, but be aggressive and don’t back down. That will cover the muscles part. As the posters above said, you can lose fat fast if you need to.

Losing fat is relatively easy if you stick with it. I lost 55lbs between April '07 and September '07. Kinda got sidetracked and didn’t stick with it and stalled out a bit till mid December.

Since the beginning of the year I’ve lost about 20ish and am pretty close to 6pack/single under 10% status.

Building lots of muscle in a short period of time unassisted…not really except for newbies.

Losing fat if you have the right mix of desire/work ethic and painfully strict adherence…very possible.

[quote]IanJMcQ wrote:
Yes, they are realistic. Check this out
www.bodybuilding.com/fun/transm145.htm[/quote]

I have never been in the predicament that I have had to work at losing bodyfat. So i don’t really know what is considered a good transformation. But here is some fuel for discussion:

Doing the math, this guy lost 31.35lbs fat and 23.65lbs of LBM.

Essentially 57% of his weightloss was bodyfat. Did he do it right?

that seems pretty rough to me.

Chickenmcnug, I am not really sure how you figured that out, but could you please show me. I am not trying to call you out, I just would like to know for my own knowledge. Thanks.

I, myself experienced this. I find the key to body transformation is to control your portions and eat good food. Do tabata sprints on empty stomach in the morning or immediately after your work out. The problem that most people face is that they don’t have self control, no perseverance, no determination, don’t want to sacrifice, can’t take the pain… after maybe 3 days of good diet and hard work, they start to slack off and go back to their old ways, then later on they don’t succeed and blame whatever they can think of…

[quote]IanJMcQ wrote:
Chickenmcnug, I am not really sure how you figured that out, but could you please show me. I am not trying to call you out, I just would like to know for my own knowledge. Thanks. [/quote]

Takes a bit of work. On that link you will see his before and after stats listed:

Starting Date: May 15, 2007
Starting Weight: 220 lbs
Starting Body Fat: 21%

Finishing Date: Sept. 15, 2007
Current Weight: 165 lbs
Current Body Fat: 9%

220lbs - 165lbs = 55lbs total loss.

@ 220lbs and 21% bf he had 46.2lbs bf(220 x 0.21 = 46.2).
His LBM would be 220 - 46.2 = 173.8lbs

@ 165lbs and 9% bf he had 14.85lbs bf(165 x 0.09 = 14.85).
His LBM would be 165 - 14.85 = 150.15lbs

Gets a little tricky here.

Now during his weightloss he went from 21%bf to 9%bf. 46.2lbs - 14.85lbs = 31.35lbs of bodyfat were lost.

BUT you will see he lost 55lbs total. 55lbs - 31.35lbs = 23.65lbs that were something other than BF. Essentially LBM.

Now to get a percentage you just divide the lbs of bf lost by the total weight lost (i.e. 55lbs).

31.35lbs bf / 55lbs lost = 57% of weight lost is bodyfat

23.65lbs LBM / 55lbs lost = 43% of weight lost.

[quote]Chickenmcnug wrote:
IanJMcQ wrote:
Chickenmcnug, I am not really sure how you figured that out, but could you please show me. I am not trying to call you out, I just would like to know for my own knowledge. Thanks.

Takes a bit of work. On that link you will see his before and after stats listed:

Starting Date: May 15, 2007
Starting Weight: 220 lbs
Starting Body Fat: 21%

Finishing Date: Sept. 15, 2007
Current Weight: 165 lbs
Current Body Fat: 9%

220lbs - 165lbs = 55lbs total loss.

@ 220lbs and 21% bf he had 46.2lbs bf(220 x 0.21 = 46.2).
His LBM would be 220 - 46.2 = 173.8lbs

@ 165lbs and 9% bf he had 14.85lbs bf(165 x 0.09 = 14.85).
His LBM would be 165 - 14.85 = 150.15lbs

Gets a little tricky here.

Now during his weightloss he went from 21%bf to 9%bf. 46.2lbs - 14.85lbs = 31.35lbs of bodyfat were lost.

BUT you will see he lost 55lbs total. 55lbs - 31.35lbs = 23.65lbs that were something other than BF. Essentially LBM.

Now to get a percentage you just divide the lbs of bf lost by the total weight lost (i.e. 55lbs).

31.35lbs bf / 55lbs lost = 57% of weight lost is bodyfat

23.65lbs LBM / 55lbs lost = 43% of weight lost.

[/quote]

Well stated. Most bodybuilders would call that a complete FAILURE in fat loss if you lost nearly as much muscle as you did body fat. That is the same shit sedentary housewives do. The average person will lose half and half body fat and muscle if they just “diet” like a slim fast commercial.

The entire goal is to hold onto as much muscle as possible, something that becomes easier the more experience you actually have building it in the first place. Also, 150lbs of lean body mass at that height isn’t impressive to too many people.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

The entire goal is to hold onto as much muscle as possible, something that becomes easier the more experience you actually have building it in the first place. Also, 150lbs of lean body mass at that height isn’t impressive to too many people.[/quote]

Tottally agree except the guy is 5’5.5". That’s damn short for a man so 150lbs LBM is pretty decent in my book.

[quote]austin_bicep wrote:
Professor X wrote:

The entire goal is to hold onto as much muscle as possible, something that becomes easier the more experience you actually have building it in the first place. Also, 150lbs of lean body mass at that height isn’t impressive to too many people.

Tottally agree except the guy is 5’5.5". That’s damn short for a man so 150lbs LBM is pretty decent in my book.
[/quote]

I missed that he was only 5’5". The rest still holds true, however.

At that starting body comp he still could have come out of it at practically his original amount of LBM had he taken a bit longer and especially if would have forgone a couple points of BF. That would look much more impressive in my opinion.