T Nation

Official 2019 T-ransformation Announcement Thread

Mark your calendars, prep your meals, and grab your lifting belt. The 3rd T-ransformation is on.

What: A physique challenge. Start in some kind of shape on January 1, end up in even better shape by June 1.

At the end, forum members will vote for the lifter who made the most visually significant progress in six months. There are no age divisions, weight classes, male/female categories, or other sub-groups. Just before and after comparisons with no context needed or asked.

It’s about best transformation, not best finished product, so it’s open to the judges’ interpretation. Is going from ‘beer belly’ to ‘slight ab definition’ a more drastic transformation than improving from ‘slight ab definition’ to ‘shredded’? Maybe, maybe not.

There will also be a Most Improved category comparing the lifters who completed last year’s T-ransformation challenge to their shape at the end of this year’s. Because regardless of anything else, the only person we ever seriously compete with is ourselves. It’s super-cliche, but it’s super-true.

June 2019-you should be in better shape than June 2018-you whether you’re doing the contest or not. Lifters who went after it hard in 2018 have the potential to be rewarded for long-term progress if/when they surpass their previous condition.

Where: The T Nation forums. And in your gym. And in your kitchen.

Keep your own Training Log for tracking progress, discussing your plan, and (of course) some friendly trash-talking with other challengers. Keep an eye here in this official thread for more info and probably more trash-talking. Fine-tune your diet with advice in the Supplements & Nutrition forum.

When: Begins January 1, ends June 1.

“Before” pics must be submitted no later than 11:59pm EST January 1. “After” pics can be submitted anytime you think you’re finished, but no later than 11:59pm EST June 1.

Judging is based on how you look on January 1 compared to whenever you declare yourself done (no later than June 1). That’s 21-and-a-half weeks. Competitive bodybuilders often spend 16 weeks or less getting shredded for a contest, so it’s definitely enough time to make gigantic progress when you dial in your training and nutrition with a good plan, regardless of your current condition.

Why: Fortune and glory, kid.

Prizes up for grabs include bragging rights, a moderate level of T Nation fame, a large level of self-respect and well-earned pride, and a to-be-determined reward from Biotest.

The winner will be decided on the forum by simple voting at the end, but understand that any awards and accolades really aren’t the point. Spending a good chunk of the year being laser-focused attacking one specific goal is the point, and it’s something most of us just don’t do on our own. If you won’t push yourself to get in serious shape unless you’re trying to win a quarter-million dollars, your priorities are out of whack and you’ll more than likely fall off the proverbial wagon.

How: Train hard, eat right, see results… just like you should’ve been doing long before this contest.

The training and nutrition details are entirely up to you. This challenge is a chance to step up your programming and be goal-focused for a few months to really push for your best ever condition.

You want to dirty bulk from November to Jan 1 for “better” before and then crackdown on the diet until June? Try it, just know that you’ll be paying for that extra fat with sweat equity later on. You want to hire a contest prep coach and treat this like a mock bodybuilding show? Your call, and you get to skip the tanning and posing at the end, so that’s a plus.

Remember that it’s a transformation challenge, not just a fat loss challenge. If you’re a 160-pound skinny-fat dude whose goal is to be 175 with abs, you’re in. Ladies, you’re definitely part of the gang too. If you’re 150 pounds with a “post-baby belly” and want to drop the fat, don’t think this challenge is only for guys who want biceps veins and quad striations. Join in.

The point is simply to make major improvements in our physiques. Sorry powerlifters, strength levels and gym performance aren’t factors here. (Maybe another time, we’ll see.)

Additional Details:

Progress Pics - The only mandatory pic is a “front relaxed” with arms at your sides, wearing a beach outfit (shirtless in shorts for the guys, two piece outfit or shorts and sports bra for the ladies). That’s the only pose that will be voted on. If you want to include additional pics to showcase your physique, no problem, but only the front relaxed will be considered official in terms of judging “before and after progress.”

Bodybuilding poses like double biceps, lat spreads, or most muscular aren’t necessary and aren’t really the best way to monitor progress anyway. But, admittedly, they look pretty cool if you can pull them off.

You do not have to post your face in pics. You can crop it out or obscure using photo-editing software (hiding your identity is the only type of acceptable “Photoshopping” allowed in pics).

Training Logs - Keeping a regularly-updated training log on the forum is highly, highly suggested. You don’t necessarily need to post the full details of your training/diet and you’re not required to post update pics along the way, but it’s the best way to get useful feedback as you go along while also tracking your own progress.

It’s also worth noting that in past years, most people who didn’t keep a log didn’t end up finishing the challenge. So don’t underestimate the accountability and motivation found in keeping a log.

"Most Improved" - Being a recurring challenge gives us the opportunity to assess improvement through a full year’s training rather than just cracking down for a six-month challenge and slacking as soon as it ends. Lifters who completed both the 2018 and 2019 T-ransformations will also be entered in the Most Improved category for the chance to be rewarded for their long-term progress.


A reminder of what we did with the 2018 T-ransformation:

Members eligible for the Most Improved category, based on their completion of the 2018 challenge:

@alex_yu @basement_gainz @bigjez @boombalatti @brady888 @burien_top_team @caesium32 @chonglorduno @coyotegal @dchris @dicksharpe @doubleduce @dr_pangloss @duketheslaya @fatkidfromfl @flipcollar @furo @jmaier31 @kd13 @kleinhound @lelouch92 @littlesleeper @loganator @lonnie123 @lord_humongous @markko @mattjp @mr.v3lv3t @myrevolution78 @planetcybertron @random8889 @raoh1990 @steigs @trainforpain @anon50325502 @yonkey


Might as well. Since I’m a bit leaner now. Can only go forward


In. Don’t know how impressive the ‘after’ will look since the ‘before’ is in the middle of wrestling season, but whatever

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I’ll join again, why not?

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@Chris_Colucci pics can’t be submitted later than Jan 1, but when is the earliest we can send them?

Is most improved Jan 1 to Jan 1? If that’s the case… I’ve got 45 days lol.

The Before pic? It should be taken as close to Jan 1 as possible so everyone’s working with pretty much the same timeframe and nobody has an extra week or three to put work in. It’s a basic before pic, so it’s not like there’s peaking or water cutting involved.

Like, if something comes up where you’ll be traveling in Borneo with no wifi connection from Christmas Eve 'til New Year’s, that’s one thing. But otherwise, there shouldn’t really be too many legit reasons why we can’t throw a pic up within a couple days of the deadline.

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To paraphrase a wise man from last year, “For Most Improved, take a look at your “after” pic from June 2018. That’s the fucker you have to beat by June 2019.”


Makes sense. Was 100% looking to game the system after this weekend’s bender :slight_smile:

Count me in for this year.

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I knew my 2018 before and after pics being close to identical would pay off somehow!


I’m in again. Just have to decide if I’m going to cut or just keep doing what I’m doing at the minute, the temptation to go full prep mode is strong though…

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I’m in. I need to get rid of this powerlifter bod I’ve acquired during 2018.


I’m in!

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Round 2 baby, let’s do it! Don’t know how much of a transformation it will be, trying to keep weight up for a comp in August but most improved from last year might go okay

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Definitely in this time.

And might be a good excuse to work another couple of months more with Paul Carter :thinking:

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I’m in. I’m sitting at 195 this morning about 10 pounds under where I finished the 18 T-ransformation challenge (iirc).


I think I’m going to have to bow out of this one. I’ll be watching though.

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The fame has gone straight to me head. Sadly, only a few hundred people have recognized me in person.