Investment Phase Deep Dive, Part Five: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Investors

Being in the shape of your life, for life involves solidifying changes on a deeper level.

Akash Vaghela Akash Vaghela · 28 Oct 2020

Mindset Beginner
15 Mins

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Over the years, we’ve started to spot the commonalities in those who do well during their Investment Phases. Being in the shape of your life, for life, is about having control and being intentional with your body composition, whether that means maintaining a level of leanness, or focusing on gaining weight for the purpose of muscle building. The key word is control.

When you have control of your body composition, your behaviour, mindset and identity is wired a certain way to think and act differently, and in accordance with your true authenticity. That’s why control is easier, because there’s less muck holding you back, or rather, you’re more self-aware of new muck and can continue to eliminate through your quest of self-mastery.

Studying commonalities in long-term investors, we’ve noticed seven key traits they all share:

1. It’s More Than Just the Physical


Staying in shape for purely aesthetic reasons is one which doesn’t hold strong when life gets in the way, which it always will. You have to connect to a greater purpose, and know what impact you want to create in the world.

When asking our Founder, Akash, why he priorities the physical, his reply was:

“My physical well-being is so tightly connected to my greater purpose of facilitating transformation that it becomes mission critical for me to be in shape and at my best. If I want to do all the important work I have planned, I need a strong physical foundation. Understanding this makes training hard, eating well, staying active and getting rest easy to fit into what can be a relentless schedule.”

2. Cultivating A Love for Training


Physical training is such a key part of long-term investing. What’s important to note though is that the type of training is less relevant. Rather, it’s the ability to find a method of training to anchor down against and enter a void state. If you can cultivate the meditative state training can bring, your ability to invest long term in your physical health will sky rocket.

Especially when you add a progressive element to it, because then all the rules you form as part of your lifestyle solution become far easier to adhere to. Progressive overload in your training becomes a metaphor of life, and forces a level up in all areas.

3. 80% On Your Rules


As you transition into a new identity, anything above 0% can be counted as a win. But in the long term, the key to successful investing is to live by rules at least 80% of the time. Those who do well are those who have a core set of 3-5 ‘super rules’ that amplify everything they do in life, for example:

  • Eat first meal around 11am
  • Walk 10,000 steps every day
  • Sleep at 10pm every night

Rules are transferrable to any environment you’re in, and are core non-negotiables that you govern your health by.

4. Education via Trial & Error


Finding your rules to live by is an education, whereby you adopt a trial and error mentality to discover what works for you, and what doesn’t. As life evolves, your rules will evolve. The underpinning to this is an education of self, whereby through each rule you implement, it adds more knowledge to your internal database of how something makes you feel, think and perform.

5. Accountability to Introspection + Action


To continue transforming to greater levels, you will repeat cycles of introspection plus action as you identify and clear the muck. This is hard. Each time you shed the skin, you dive deeper into your inner core. It’s easy to run away from it and choose stagnation instead, which is why accountability is critical – at all three levels: self, peer and coach (or any objective eye). Accountability is what drives the process forward, and allows for education and growth to occur.

6. Growth Mindset


The foundation in every long-term investor that stays in shape for life is maintaining a growth mindset at all times. This means you’re willing to learn, be educated and try new things. It means you’re willing to take feedback to improve, be held accountable, problem solve and evolve thought.

A foundation of growth mindset allows for all of the above to happen, because you know that investing in yourself is going to take you to a new level in everything you do.

7. Playing the Long Game


The Investment Phase is one which never quite ends – it just moves into different ‘stages’ and focal points. These stages may shift between identity, performance, lifestyle, training, and so on. While one part will never stop, each stage will bring one area of improvement to the forefront as you strive for self-mastery.

This quest requires playing the long game. Attempting to rewire a new identity, behaviour and mindset, and then truly use the physical as the vehicle isn’t a 6, 12 or 24 month fix. It’s something which takes years and years of tinkering, improving and striving for. It’s why the journey never ends.

An Investment Phase Q&A…


To wrap this five-part series up, we’re going to answer some of the most common Investment Phase questions.

1. Do I need to be 100% ‘on’ all the time for life?


Part of building a lifestyle solution is understanding that you don’t need to be perfect. The commonalities in successful long-term investors is living by their rules at least 80% of the time. Seeking perfection in your rules and lifestyle solution is a futile path – it’ll lead to frustration, self-sabotage and a growing feeling of being ‘on’ or ‘off’, as opposed to being in a steady state of progress.

One of the most important concepts to understand early on is that there is no such thing as an RNT diet. Instead it’s about building an education around quality nutrition and foods so that making healthy and conscious choices year round is the preferred option, owing to how much it gives you in all areas of life.

2. Will I eat a lot of food during the Investment Phase?


A big myth of investing is that as soon as you finish consolidating, your food intake doubles and you’re able to enjoy tons of productive calories every day. Unfortunately, it rarely turns out like this. If you have plans to control your bodyweight, whether it be in maintenance or slowly gaining (to build muscle), the reality is more like so:

  • If you’re a woman weighing 40 to 60kg, and you finish dieting around 1000-1200 calories, you’ll probably be investing long-term with around 1400-2000 calories. The range is high owing to the range in bodyweights, muscle mass, activity levels, and goals.
  • If you’re a man weighing 60 to 80kg, and you finish dieting around 1200-1600 calories, you’ll probably be investing long-term with around 1600-2500 calories. This will be dependent on bodyweights, muscle mass, activity levels, and goals. If you’re pushing hard for muscle gain, then this may go into 2500-3000+ calories. The calorie brackets can feel a bit underwhelming, yet the reality of being in shape, and living a healthy lifestyle. If you fill these calories with highly nutrient dense foods, adopt meal hygiene and live consciously, you’ll always feel satiated, energised and healthy!

3. How many investment cycles do you need to really achieve a body transformation?


If you want to see tangible progress in your body (via muscle building or toning), and experience the intangible benefits of your new behaviour, mindset and identity, the general minimums for each investment cycle should be 12 to 24 months, with a total investment phase of 24 to 48 months providing the best returns with how you look, feel and perform.

If we’re speaking strictly in the sense of body transformation improvements, having periods of ‘embracing the fluff’ to build muscle for 18 to 24 months at a time is advised, with cycles of ‘tidying up’ either interspersed as needs be (to prolong the phase), or to be used after to reveal new checkpoints.

The worst thing to do generally is to throw yourself back into lengthy dieting 6-12 months into investing, as you will sell yourself short. It’ll create a sense of false progress through instant gratification of ‘fake tangible gains’. It’s the equivalent of drawing your investment out of the market as soon as there’s a small down period. You won’t make any gains this way. While you’ll ‘feel’ like you’re making progress by dieting again, it’s all false, and worse yet, a waste of time.

To make drastic improvements in your body, three to four cycles of 24 months investing followed by 6 months of process and consolidation will make you unrecognisable. That’s up to ten years, and for true body transformation, it really does take that long.

4. What is the difference between buffering and autoregulation? Isn’t buffering just conscious autoregulation?


Buffering is an education tool used in The Process Phase to raise awareness around portion sizes, calories and create the future ability to ‘eyeball’ foods through intuition. It’s bringing the subconscious to the conscious, and forcing you to assess your nutrition set up. Done correctly, it starts building your education base, so you can learn how to autoregulate your food intake in the future, without buffering or obsessive tracking. It’s the first step of moving along the dieter’s continuum of being on a set meal plan, to introducing flexibility, to building buffers for socials, to being more flexible, to being intuitive in your approach through autoregulation. When you achieve a true lifestyle solution, your ability to autoregulate is high, as you can gauge real hunger signals, satiety and use mindfulness to drive your intake. When you first use buffering, your education and self-awareness isn’t quite there yet to be able to autoregulate effectively, and will only lead to calorie overspill.

5. Why do I still get social stigmas?


Unfortunately, general society still perceives living a healthy lifestyle to be a strange practice. While the world is slowly heading in the right direction, we’re still way off the mark of where we need to be. Social stigmas evolve over time. If you’re in the process of getting leaner, you’re attacked for looking ill and malnourished. When you’re living the lifestyle during your Investment Phase, you’re asked, ‘are you still on that diet?’ At each point, you want to explain your real 'why' to these people, and not shy away from the questioning. When you’re investing, tell them why the physical is the vehicle. Talk about the amazing benefits you feel, and aim to inspire a domino effect. This is the phase you can show fruits of your labour that transcends the physical, so don’t be afraid to talk about them! What may just happen is in a few months time, that very person will be sharing his/her own tips and experiences!

6. Can I take a break, or is this for life?


The journey to self-mastery is one that never ends. There’s always opportunity to improve, grow and learn about yourself. Your mindset determines everything, which is why a growth mindset is so critical in this journey. You need to be willing to be held accountable, look within, take feedback and use it to drive you forward. Leaning into continuous cycles of introspection and action every week will allow you to continuously shed the skin to new levels – that’s what transformation is all about!

7. How do you think long term when you can’t see it?


What starts off as building a physical foundation transcends into transforming your mental, emotional, social and spiritual health. The possibilities to improve are endless, but they require a trust in the unknown, deep introspection and high levels of action. Transformation is never ending, and the potential ‘vehicle’ benefits you gain later in the journey can never be predicted. Thinking long term when you can’t see is part of a growth mindset. It’s faith that you’re on the right path, and that each steady improvement will impact and serve your life in ways you could never imagine.

8. Do I still need accountability?


Accountability is the driver of long-term investing. Objective accountability in a phase where you’ll need to ask yourself hard questions is essential. It’s difficult to remain objective when you need to reflect on years of engrained behaviour that so far, have only changed temporarily. You need to keep your accountability systems to help facilitate shedding the skin at each level, or it’s easy to run away from yourself. Accountability allows your new behaviour, mindset and identity to be embedded. It’s what allows you to drive performance and progression through objective feedback and a third eye.

What Defines Investment Success?


Entering The Reward Phase is the holy grail of transformation, but does it truly exist? When we speak about the intangible, The Reward Phase is the epitome of it.
It represents the following:

  • A behaviour, mindset and identity shift.
  • Control of bodyweight, whether in gain, maintenance or loss, for at least one annual cycle.
  • Solidified 3Ss, automated ‘menial’ decisions, rules
  • High performance in other areas of life

More than the above, it represents the recycling of the journey, underpinning with continuous education and accountability, built on a foundation of a growth mindset and a greater purpose. Investment success is living the lifestyle solution, but understanding that there’s always room for more improvement.

Akash VaghelaAkash Vaghela

Akash Vaghela has spent 10+ years transforming bodies and lives around the world, and in May 2017, founded RNT Fitness to serve this purpose. His vision is to see a world transformed, where ambitious high performers experience the power of the physical as the vehicle to unlock their real potential. He’s the author of the Amazon best-sellilng book Transform Your Body Transform Your Life, which explains his unique and proven five-phase methodology, is host of the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, has been featured in the likes of Men’s Health and BBC, whilst regularly speaking across the world on all things transformation.

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