Investment Phase Deep Dive, Part One: From Checkpoint, Consolidation & Priming For Investing

You must consolidate all you have learnt to progress in your fitness journey.

Akash Vaghela Akash Vaghela · 30 Sep 2020

Mindset Beginner
11 Mins

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You’ve reached your first transformation checkpoint, and you’re in the shape of your life.

What next?

The first point you need to acknowledge is that what you’ve accomplished is a fleeting moment in your journey. An opportunity to create something remarkable for yourself. A chance to become unrecognisable from the person you were before. Your 2.0.

True transformation accelerates from your first checkpoint. As always, it requires cycles of introspection and action to take you along the journey.
To begin with, the best exercise you can do at this stage is to reflect on your journey up till the checkpoint.

Ask yourself:

  • What were your biggest struggles before the journey, and how have you worked through them?
  • What have been your greatest moments of introspection and insights gained on the journey up till the checkpoint?
  • How has the physical been the vehicle in your life so far?

This exercise gives you the opportunity to crystallise the glimpses of your future self that you will have caught deep in The Process Phase. This is where you’ll have started to become an essentialist, and begun questioning different aspects of your life. By crystallising all of this, you can start seeing clearly how and why you need to transform your behaviour, mindset and identity in the upcoming phases.

Remember, at your first checkpoint, while you’re physically in the shape of your life, your behaviour, mindset and identity are still stuck in your old way of being. Which is why insufficient investing only leads to slow deterioration back to the beginning.

The best analogy is always one of a snake that needs to shed its skin to allow for new growth and remove parasites that may have affected their old skin. If they don’t shed their skin, they risk death. It’s exactly the same here. If you don’t shed the skin of your old behaviour, mindset and behaviour, you will risk falling back to the bottom, and into a whirlwind of issues that can take years to break (e.g. yo-yoing).

The reflection point also allows you to connect deeper to your 'why', and your 'why' behind your 'why'. It’s likely to have evolved from the start, as your ability to look within and connect the dots will have expanded. At this stage, your reason to progress on the journey begins to transform to a higher purpose. Having seen the physical as the vehicle in action, you realise the potential of what you could do in your life if you could sustain a level of high performance year round. All of a sudden, the journey takes on a different lease of life, where it’s driven by a desire to be a high performer for your greatest purpose in life. This forms the underpinning for what is arguably the hardest goal to achieve: staying in shape for life.

It Starts With Consolidation


Before you begin your Investment Phase, you must consolidate all of your progress so far. The value in consolidation lies again in opportunity. If you don’t consolidate, you lose the chance to move yourself forward into a phase of rewiring your behaviour, mindset and identity. It’s the primer to shedding your skin.
Everything you do in this phase is getting ready for the next. It starts with a CTP reset, where you re-align your non-negotiables, decision automations and precursors to create action on your evolving transformation checklist.

Whilst resetting yourself with an ‘easier’ period than the depths of The Process Phase, a la The Grind, you have to start asking yourself what you want your future 2.0 to look like, with questions such as:

  • Think to the future, what would you like your Version 2.0 Reward Phase to be? How do you want to look and feel?
  • What is your ‘why behind your why’ for the Investment Phase? Read and watch this exercise in action here.
  • How would you like the physical to be the vehicle in your life? (Think relationships, work performance, mental health, etc)
  • What habits / identity / behaviours do you want to move away from that you currently have?
  • Is there still muck remaining that you need to work through to eliminate destructive old habits for good? If so, what are they and why do you want to remove them?
  • Where do you sit on the Investment Continuum?
  • What is your ideal lifestyle solution?

The answers to the questions here will form the backbone of your future Investment Phase. While the first five will drive the underpinning of your progress, the final two will dictate how you navigate through.

The Continuum


Every Investment Phase is different. You have the opportunity to take it in as many directions as you like. While answering the above will dictate the underpinning for your investment, your stance on the continuum will dictate how tangible in nature you will experience this phase.

On the continuum, you have two types of investors: the lifestyle solution and the muscle builder.

Put simply, the pure lifestyle solution is all about learning how to stay in shape for life, and living in your ideal sweet spot year round. It requires identifying with a lean, healthy person, and cultivating a strong purpose to do so. The pure muscle builder is all about drastic changes to your physique through increases in muscle mass. Both will incorporate elements of each, and most will typically fall somewhere in the middle.

What’s important to understand is that the continuum only dictates the tangible element of investing. The intangible nature of a behaviour, mindset and identity transformation will be present in however you place yourself.

Another key element to take note of is that wherever you fall, the core concept is control. If you want to drive muscle building, and the bodyweight increases that come with it, it’s done with control. If you want to stay in shape for life, it requires control. Over time, you learn that mastery of the body links closely with being able to control its state. This ties the tangible with the intangible together in this phase.

Identifying Your Lifestyle Solution


The phrase lifestyle solution is used in a few ways in the context of our journey. In the continuum, it’s about the ‘tangible stance’ they’re approaching to their Investment Phase. For the question, ‘what is your ideal lifestyle solution?’, it’s referring to the self-care checklist you want in your day to day that feels automatic, desirable and easy. This is your recipe to staying in shape for life, or rather, how you will stay in control of your body composition.
The questions to ask yourself here are:

  • What is your ideal bodyweight range? (where you look, feel and perform best based on The Process Phase)
  • What is your ideal frequency of social meals out?
  • What is your ideal alcohol intake without going over the top?
  • What is your ideal training frequency and time spent on individual sessions?
  • What is a good step target for you to achieve without it becoming a burden?
  • What elements of your current schedule / time commitments and priorities do you want to alter for the long term?

Wherever you are on the continuum, you need to build this ideal week and scenario. The answers need to be realistic and in line with your goals, or you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment. Once you find alignment, you then work on creating daily rules, which is what we’ll be diving into in part 2 of this article series.

The ideals you write here, and the rules that facilitate them will form the crux of the next stage of your education in this journey. You’ll begin to learn how to manage your food, both on a day to day basis, but also socially, on holidays and different environments and lifestyles. You’ll be able to live a healthy lifestyle, and find your identity in this. You’ll cultivate self awareness to facilitate better choices that make you think, feel and perform at your best. All of these link together to drive the reason you’re investing, and becoming a high performer in that domain of your life.

The Physical Value


While physically you’re in the shape of your life, that doesn’t mean the physical loses value. The physical is the vehicle, and the driver of any future shifts you will experience. All the muck you deal with as you shed the skin will manifest physically, which is why accountability to non-negotiable rules is so critical to facilitate this transformation, inside and out.

One element of the physical that is often neglected in this phase by those who are only after a lifestyle solution is training. Training is far from the be all and end all of your physical self-care, but it can be an anchor that drives other behaviours, helps cultivate a new identity, and improves your overall mindset. The benefits of hard, progressive training transcend the tangible benefits to your body. Progressive overload in training is a metaphor for life, and it cascades into all that you do. It’s a method to connect to your greater purpose, which is why identifying this is important. Even if you have no desire to build any muscle, you must find a way to train that you enjoy.

It may not be in the gym. It may not be with weights. But you need to ‘load the skeleton’ in some form, and do so in an progressive fashion over time. That way you can channel focus and build an anchor. Keeping a progressive component in your training means you have to be on your A game in each session. Which means living by your rules, non-negotiables, and taking care of your health. Training progressively can be a cascading action to other behaviours, and that’s why it’s key.

Entering The Investment Phase


As you master consolidation, the future journey that lies ahead becomes clearer. All the introspection in this phase is primed for action. It’s an exciting time ahead. You’ll know you’re ready when you’ve gained control on your progress so far and your behaviours are healthy (i.e. no bingeing). In the next part of this series, we’ll dive deep into what it takes to build your lifestyle solution with rules!

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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