15 Apr The Five Phases Of A Transformation Journey: The Investment Phase – Continuum of Muscle Building & Lifestyle Solutions
When you reach your first transformation checkpoint at the end of the process phase and you execute a safe consolidation phase, you’re well primed for the next step of your journey – the investment phase.
The investment phase is exactly what the name suggests; it’s investing in yourself to achieve your ideal physique in the long term. Although this phase provides you with the power to maintain being in the best shape of your life for life, that doesn’t necessarily mean this phase is strictly about maintenance – it runs much deeper than that.
As well as creating further physique improvements, the investment phase refines your lifestyle solutions through continued increase in your nutritional education, meal hygiene and self-awareness. This is a lengthy phase which involves the difficult task of creating a shift in your behaviour, mindset and identity to facilitate a holistic long-term transformation.
The Investment Continuum
Now that you are in the best shape of your life, what do you want next in the journey? What benefits outside of the physical gain do you want to continue to experience? How do you continue to self-improve, and how do you prevent yourself from going back to your old ways?
The first step of this phase is determining how you want to invest, and we typically see the journey unravel in two different ways at this point, bringing two types of investors:
- The Lifestyle Solution
This type of investor will typically be someone who’s always been overweight in the past, worked for years and years to get leaner, and now has a goal of learning how to maintain this shape for life. a pure lifestyle solution is about refining your structure, strategy and systems so that when life gets in the way, you can work around it. It’s about being able to maintain more easily, which is a goal in itself. This requires a change in behaviour, mindset and identity.
- The Muscle Builder
After leaning down, this type of investor will want to focus on strength and building muscle, whether that’s filling out T-shirts, or developing curves. These people will also understand that they carried far less muscle tissue and held far more body fat than they believed they had. In an investment phase, this person will be all about personal records on the plate and on the bar, embracing the fluff, and really thinking long term to lay down a bigger and better foundation for the future.
You may find yourself resonating with both types of investors. Both are inevitably linked and feed off each other, but how you determine where you fall on the continuum between the two will depend on your psychology, your background, and your long-term goal.
- A woman in her thirties with kids may have a goal to stay in great shape but also get as strong as possible. She’d be in the middle, and slightly to the right.
- A guy in his twenties who’s finished the process phase and is unhappy with his size and wanting to build more muscle will be on the far right of muscle building.
- Someone in their forties and in the shape of their life may be more focused on maintaining condition to optimise their health. They’ll accept slower levels of muscle growth, and be more skewed to the left.
- Someone who has failed multiple times, spent years yo-yoing and now wants to know how to keep their new body year-round while living their life will be on the far left.
Where you fall on the continuum will continue to develop and change as you go through your journey. How you train won’t necessarily change, as you’ll always be focusing on improvement. What will change is how you manipulate your body composition, nutrition and day-to-day activity.
Ultimately, your position on the scale boils down to your long-term goals and what you want to get out of your transformation journey.
Wherever you fall on the continuum, there are four investment accelerators you’ll need to upgrade to your version 2.0:
- Lifestyle Management
- Performance Indicator Targets
- Health Optimisation
Let’s dive into each…
Wherever you are on the continuum, you need to picture your ideal week with regards to social eating drinking, training and the number of steps you take, and then reverse engineer the process to your daily routine.
This does require realism, while eating and drinking out all the time and barely having to move would be a dream, it is but that. This component of investment is about understanding what works for you and what is realistic for your lifestyle, and aligning this vision with your 3Ss and non-negotiables. Think of this as your investment CTP reset.
This process is key to finding a sustainable and long-lasting lifestyle solution that is tailored to you. This will require an identity shift however as, with no looming transformation checkpoint, it is easy to slip back into old habits. Therefore, you must rewire old behaviours to ensure success.
Part of this process is also identifying potential risks and triggers. Think of the types of people and environments that might encourage or persuade you to revert back to your old ways, and how you can prevent this from happening.
Performance Indicator Targets
An important shift you encounter as part of the consolidation phase it the transition from an aesthetic to a performance mindset.
If you lean more to the left side of the continuum, use strength indicators to ground your structure and non-negotiables. By valuing strength, you’ll want to stay hydrated, train hard, eat well and sleep on time.
If you lean toward the right end of the spectrum, just remember: If after 12 months you’re lifting the same weights as now, it’s likely you’ll exactly the same.
This will force you to maintain healthy lifestyle habits – you can’t stay out drinking till 3am if you want to smash your squats the next morning!
A performance mindset keeps you focused in all areas of your life which can spill over to greater productivity at work, a stronger presence with family, or a deeper ‘why’ behind your why.
Armed with a new identity and a performance mindset, you have the perfect opportunity to optimise specific areas of your health. The core three are:
– Sleep: Sleep is the most underrated tool of transformation and the benefits are exponential, from improving concentration, cognition, energy, mood and digestion. Employing good sleep hygiene improves the quality of your sleep, heightening the many benefits that come from a good night’s kip.
– Stress: Taking time to look at your level of stress, and how you manage it can have a tremendous impact on everything you do in your life, so integrating effective stress management solutions is very important. Stress can also hinder your transformation progress due to the many repercussions it can have on both your mental and physical welfare. Managing stress is imperative to a successful transformation journey.
– Digestion: A healthy gut means a string immune system, higher levels of cognition and overall performance. Paying attention to trigger foods and foods that don’t sit well with your digestion will enable you to make better food choices that satisfy both your diet and your body.
You’ll find that the more your food choices are in sync with you, and the more your sleep, stress management and cardiovascular health are functioning maximally, the easier it’ll be to achieve your physique goals in turn.
Of the four components, this is the toughest one to accomplish. It’s the real money maker for a lifestyle solution, and a critical skill to learn over the years to have the master key to your physique. It requires coaching, objective feedback, education, self-awareness and an ability to communicate so that you can really learn exactly what makes you tick.
Autoregulation refers to being able to manipulate your nutrition, training and activity based on reading your short-term biofeedback (your energy, mood, bodyweight, strength etc.). Autoregulation requires a lot of time and practice, and something that we only see long-term RNTers accomplish.
Personal Investment Anecdote
To gain more perspective of what an Investment phase can look like, here is a personal anecdote from RNT founder, Akash…
As a skinny fat kid growing up, I’ve spent more time figuring out how to build muscle than any other goal, so I’ve been in many lengthy periods where the focus has been on nothing else but to get bigger (in a good way). I’ve always preferred and seen benefits from very long periods of staying in a calorie surplus, and know that for maximum results, it’s certainly the way to go for natural muscle building.
My best periods of Investment have come in two forms.
The first was in ‘off season’ before my 2017 bodybuilding prep, where I spent close to 2 years solely focused on pushing calories higher and higher, embracing the fluff, and getting as strong as I possibly could. The patience paid off, and in 2017 I was in the shape of my life. I was way more conditioned than in 2014, and with more muscle to show for it. The investment paid massive dividends!
The second has been in the latter end of 2018, where I decided to take more of a Lifestyle Solution approach and tweak my daily nutrition to optimise my work productivity while also staying progressive on my training. It’s been an experimental phase where instead of pushing purely for growth like I’ve done before, I’m figuring out what my body likes best in order to stay in good shape year round, without making it difficult. It’s the complete opposite end of the spectrum, but one that’s slowly beginning to pay dividends almost a year later!
The Investment phase is where physiques and lifestyles are built. A period of fat loss is only there to show off your hard work after!
Minimum Investment Periods
When you’re investing in the stock market, you’re advised to wait a minimum of five to ten years before you see any tangible results. The same can be said when investing in your body to truly reap the benefits of the four investment accelerators.
Here are some general guidelines to follow if you want to see the tangible results in your body and experience the intangible benefits of your new lifestyle solution:
- Six to twelve months = miniscule return. This is the absolute minimum length of time required, although likely not going to see noticeable difference.
- Twelve to twenty-four months = good return. This is a solid timeframe to start seeing changes in your physique and behaviour patterns.
- Twenty-four to forty-eight months = big returns. This is where you will see a real life-changing difference in how you look, feel and perform.
The philosophy is really quite simple: the more you put in, the more you get out. The RNT transformation journey is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It equips you with the essential skills and knowledge to keep your journey running. Those that sprint burn themselves out relatively quickly and their race is soon over. RNT marathon runners just keep going, building greater strength and endurance along their journey and harnessing the power of the physical, which they use as the vehicle to be high performers in all aspects of their lives.
This journey isn’t only about the washboard stomach you may have achieved at your transformation checkpoint, it’s so much more, and after a lengthy period rewiring your mind and improving your body, you’re ready to enjoy the fruits of your labour in the reward phase. It’s time to be in the shape of your life, for life.
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