T Nation

Official 2020 T-ransformation Announcement Thread

Mark your calendars, prep your meals, and grab your lifting belt. The 4th 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 five 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 2020-you should be in better shape than June 2019-you whether you’re doing the contest or not. Lifters who went after it hard in 2019 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 should be submitted as close as possible to January 1. If, somehow, you only stumbled onto this challenge in the middle of February, dive in anyway. You’ve got lost time to make up for, but go for it.

“After” pics can be submitted anytime you think you’re finished, but no later than June 1. If there’s a physique show on May 3rd and you crush it, we’re not gonna force you to stay in peak shape an extra month (even though the Pro-Tan probably won’t have come off yet).

Judging is based on how you look in your official Before pic compared to whenever you declare yourself done. That’s, ideally, 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 leading up 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, it’s been consistent that 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 2019 and 2020 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 2019 T-ransformation:

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Members eligible for the Most Improved category, based on their completion of the 2019 challenge:
@alex_yu @Allberg @antiquity @Basement_Gainz @brady888 @burien_top_team @caesium32 @Chieftain @dagill2 @dchris @DoubleDuce @Fabadab @j4gga2 @jackolee @JMaier31 @kd13 @kleinhound @lelouch92 @littlesleeper @loganator @Lonnie123 @losthog @mattjp @muskratlifts @random8889 @raoh1990 @samul @simo74 @strongmanbrett @TrainForPain @vvfoo @Waittz @wanna_be @yonkey


God forgive me, I’m in. Updating the travel log will be a bit difficult during deployment, and training may be sporadic, but I’m giving it a go!

I’ll be winning most improved, good luck to everyone on the 6 month transformation

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I am in.
Just got some hard wear out of my leg.
Goal: be able to do a full squat with some weight. And lose some of the couch rest fat.

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I’m in.

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Is this only for physical transformations?
It’s kind of pointless for me to loose fat, and building significant muscle in a year probably won’t happen :thinking:

Do strength “transformations” count?

Nope, only physical. You don’t need to lose fat (please don’t), but you can definitely gain some muscle, and it may even be a good motivator for you to start eating more if you have that goal.

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I don’t understand why I was tagged. How can you improve perfection?


I’m in, with very limited expectations.

I don’t know if I should join. I’m healing from a bone edema and training like shit. And I don’t want to get the second place for three years in a row :joy::joy::joy:

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I’m in. I dropped out last year, but I’m determined to finish and post a photo.

I’m in again. Always up for some torture!


I’ll be in the long term group. Didn’t let myself get fat enough to win the short term contest, but hopefully I’m better than last June by next June.

Thanks @chris_colucci just when I was thinking about staying out of shape and strong you tag me in this. Looks like I might be trying to get stronger and look better. That should please the misses !!


Woot woot!!!

I’m in, although my main goal is 100% function of my left arm

I’m in to make it three years in a row of posting near-identical before and after pics.


@Chris_Colucci is it okay to submit your initial pics right away?