24 Apr The Five Phases Of A Transformation Journey: The Reward Phase – Enjoying the Fruits Of Your Labour
You have made it. The holy grail. The promised land. The final piece of the puzzle. The reward phase!
This is the part of the journey that everyone dreams of and where everyone would like to skip to from the beginning – but very few actually reach it. This is always for one of two reasons:
- A failed consolidation phase
- Insufficient time spent in the investment phase
By definition, the reward phase is the last part of the equation. You will have a consistent set of rules you follow on a day-to-day basis that enable you to stay in the shape of your life, for life. You have a structure that serves you, systems that enable you to tick off your daily transformation checklist and strategies to allow you to work around anything that life may throw at you.
What Exactly is the Reward Phase?
The reward phase is the period in which you can enjoy the fruits of your hard-earned labour, and with everything the journey has taught you, you can enjoy it for life!
Typically, this phase involves the recycling of phases two to four, albeit with a different mindset and far greater outcomes. Having already accomplished being in the shape of your life, your goals become deeper rooted and often transcend the physical.
The transformation journey never ends, its simple evolves with you.
The Evolving big Why
The reward phase marks your first lifestyle transformation checkpoint, which is where you can confidently say that you have achieved the long-term vision you initially set out to accomplish. At this stage, your why will evolve into your ‘big why’, linking to the physical and mental benefits experienced on the journey so far. While you reflect on how the physical has been the vehicle in your life, you will construct your new why.
Having undergone all of the phases of the transformation journey leading up to this point, your 3Ss (structure, strategy and system) are firmly established, you’ve created your unique lifestyle solution, and have experienced the multiple benefits that stem from physical transformation. These, combined with your evolving ‘big why’, push you to new, exciting and bigger ambitions of self-improvement. Whether it’s in terms of greater muscle building, mental wellbeing, or using the physical as the vehicle as a driving force within your professional life, the journey continues to facilitate the many different realms of self-evolution.
This is exactly what Akash did:
Back in 2017 for my last bodybuilding prep, I got into the shape of my life and beat all my previous conditions. In order to do this though, I spent two years straight in an Investment phase focusing purely on building muscle. I’d done long building phases in the past, but never had I done it with as much focus, intensity and deliberation as this one. I was investing heavily, and playing high risk! After 21 weeks of dieting, I ended up with striated glutes, feathered triceps, and I was completely shredded all round. I also did this while maintaining my social life as normal and embracing a lifestyle approach. Two real game changers, and essentially the fruits of my labour.
Since then, I’ve shifted on the Investment continuum to a Lifestyle Designer. I now maintain good condition year-round with a decent amount of muscle mass. This combination is typically where most people want to be, and it’s taken me 10 years to get there. For myself, aggressive building phases are a thing of the past. I’ve paid my dues and deposited the pennies over the years, and since my last lengthy diet, it’s been all about enjoying the dividends.
If you read the case study on Tom Hollis, you’ll notice the same. After over 3 years being aggressive in the Investment phase, he’s now reaping the rewards of being lean year-round while holding a good amount of size.
For the Lifestyle Designer, their Reward phase will be a little different. For most here, it’ll be about staying in the shape of their life for life, effortlessly. It’ll be to have their cake and eat it. It’ll be to be able to intuitively eat, stay lean, and have an extreme level of consciousness so that they never go off track. The Lifestyle Designer will likely never embark on a hard muscle building phase again; instead, they will have reached their ideal physique, and now spend more time ‘refining their system’ so their lifestyle solutions are more and more automatic.
This is a difficult place to reach, but for many of you reading this, this will be the ultimate end goal. The work required to get here is significant, and with the right education, it’s certainly possible.
Once you have made it to the promised land, you will start to notice the first of many shifts and rebalancing of your priorities with your health and fitness. What was once a top three may now be a top five. This is completely normal and to be expected. As your new reward phase goals will materialise, your priorities will bounce around.
The differentiator here is that no matter what life throws at you, your health and fitness will always remain a top priority, and you will autonomously take care of yourself as these habits are now engrained within your lifestyle. Should your efforts ever start to slip at this point, your mind and body will have ways of telling you and your self-awareness will kick in and take charge.
Embracing New Challenges
Once you have made it to the reward phase, the goals are endless. New goals and ambitions will naturally manifest as a result of experiencing the many benefits the physical brings, whether it’s maintaining the physical or aspiring to reach new physical peak levels, with your unique long-term lifestyle solutions set firmly underneath you, you have the potential to use the physical as the vehicle to reach any new hight.
Recycling the Journey
Once you have entered the reward phase club, you are a member for life. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the journey. While you might be in the shape of your life, it mustn’t be neglected. Certainly you have developed the skills and behaviours to maintain this shape for the long-run, but as you evolve, so too does your journey.
From this point, the journey is recycled with specific emphasis on the investment phase. This is known as the reward-investment period, and it is here that you unlock your full potential, work on achieving new challenges, and fully experience the transcendental benefits of being in the shape of your life, for life.
Pay Your Dues
The reward will only be as good as your investment. The longer you invest in the goal, the bigger and better the reward will be. If your goal is to build 5 to 10 kg of muscle, you will need to go through at least three to four annual cycles of investment. That can be difficult to accept for many, which circles back to creating realistic expectations for yourself at the start.
Similarly, if your goal is to simply be able to eat without tracking, always hold a similar bodyweight, and never have to worry about dieting, the more you invest in creating lifestyle solutions, improving your meal hygiene, building self-awareness, and understanding what works for you, the easier it’ll be to reap the rewards in the future.
As always, how you approach the reward phase, as a continuation of the investment phase, will be interlinked. It’ll always be on a continuum and dependent on your individual requirements and needs.
In the meantime, those of you working towards this phase, keep investing. And if you’re here, enjoy it. You’ve reached a critical checkpoint of your journey, and it’s time to reap the rewards of your investments.
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