What does it really take to carve your physique? I don’t get asked this question as much as I should. Instead, I get asked “how much longer until I start seeing the lines in my arms” or “I’ve been working out for a month, why aren’t my muscles coming in.” When it comes to training for physique changes, there are certain variables to consider when evaluating your progress.
The reality of physique changing workouts isn’t as simple as 1) put in time at the gym + 2) Eat Right = results in 1.5 weeks.
Here’s the thing, if we want to see defined arms, a tighter, stronger butt and legs, and strong shoulders: it takes time, it takes volume + frequency and intensity of a properly designed program, too.
Intentionally intense training programs like the free #SuperF*ckingJacked total training program, are just that: training programs that are designed to run for a set period of time with the sole goal of eliciting physique change.
In order to see tangible physique changes in a short period, and yes, 4-8 weeks is a short period in the grand scheme of exercise, then drastic, specific measures need to be taken to achieve it. This is why the program is set up with 6 days a week of movement: be it lifting weights, treadmill intervals or sprinting in the park.
We don’t go from flab to shredded in 4-8 weeks by working out 2 or 3 days a week.
Here’s why that formula doesn’t work: because we aren’t challenging the body enough.
I’m not denying the benefit of exercising 3 days a week, because movement is movement and at the end of the day living a healthy, active life is the goal for me, my coaching style, and a large majority of my clients.
But when a client or myself want to really push the changes our physique can make in a set period of time, we up the ante. Meaning, we challenge ourselves with pushing our bodies, minds, and diet to the next level.
There’s nothing wrong training for physique changes.
Where we sell ourselves short is when we allow our physique to dictate how we show up in our lives and in our relationships. Where we miss the bus is when we allow the size and shape of our body, or the size it *isn’t,* to dictate how we feel about ourselves.
What is the next level?
For many, it’s a program like #SuperF*ckingJacked. It’s designed to get you working out, consistently so that you’ll instill habits of regular movement into your lifestyle. That’s the main goal of any training program: to get someone moving consistently.
On top of that, the goal is to reward gym consistency with physique results.
Think about it: there aren’t many of us who want to go to the gym or workout at home and not see some changes on our bodies.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to see our dedication, consistency and hard work reflected on our bodies. In the way I designed #SFJ to be monumental with ensuring people get consistent with their workouts, I also make physique change pivotal in the programming.
Let me ask again: who doesn’t want to see tangible results from the time invested in their health? That’s like asking someone to go to their job for 8 weeks, put in their 8-9 hours a day, and not get paid.
The intensity of #SFJ is what makes it a short-term program, meaning, the workouts are done for a set period of time and then cycled off of. Training intensely 6 days a week is tough on the body, physically and mentally.
When I cycled off the program, I went 2 weeks without doing any heavy lifting and instead, stuck to short-duration, 20 minutes or less, metabolic strength conditioning workouts. I wanted to sweat, get a great workout in, and leave feeling like I’d accomplished a lot for my time at the gym.
Metabolic conditioning aka lifting weights faster ala Jen Sinkler is the name of the game for this style of workouts.
This is what it takes to bring your physique changes to the next level: intentionally intense workouts systematically designed to illicit body change. That’s the part a good coach handles.
What’s left to the participant is where most of the hard work lies, in fact,they are responsible for putting in all the work.
This is where patience comes in. This is where the hard work and dedication comes.
When we’re on the journey towards physique change, patience is one of the harder facets to master.
We want to see results and we want to see them NOW.
For 80-90% of the population who aren’t genetically predisposed to performing and looking like an olympic athlete, physical change will take more than a few weeks to appear on our bodies.
Here’s what to expect within the first few weeks of a training program like #SFJ or any program created with physique changes in mind.
The first weeks of lifting can leave you painfully sore from the workouts. Here, proper nutrition and recovery are essential (calories, carbs, protein, sleep, stress management). Week 2 will see slightly less overall soreness and by week 3 the body will have adapted to the new level of stress, and that’s exactly when we switch up the workouts.
For physique change, once the workouts get *too* easy, meaning, once they are no longer challenging the body with a specific demand, we switch up the workouts to bring about another round of challenging movements.
The process you experienced in weeks 1-2/3, will be repeated during the second phase of workouts and so forth until the program ends.
There are too many variables to give an example of that it’ll be like for every person that trains this way but in general, they start feeling stronger and tighter in their bodies within the first few weeks.
This is when people also become impatient with wanting to see the visual changes on their bodies.
Going back to being in the top 1% genetically enhanced population of Olympic athletes: unless you’re in that class, or already walking around with a very low body fat percentage, the physique changes will take more than a few weeks to settle in to our bodies.
More so, the changes will be relatively discrete at first and can be hard to see with our emotional, non-scientific eye.
This is why I recommend people to take the emotion out of tracking their progress: get systematic about how you measure results.
Don’t stand in front of the mirror and say: “I still have loose skin under my arm, the program isn’t working.”
Instead, take one day of the week and spend 10 minutes in the morning collecting data in your science experiment AKA the training program.
Make sure you’re empty of food, drink, and waste. Measure yourself on the scale, take progress photos from the front, side and back wearing the same clothes with the same lighting, and if you want to track measurements, use circumference measurements to see where size (muscle) is increasing in the body.
Progress tracking and measuring is not something I advise everyone to do,especially on an ongoing basis.
One of my goals with the way I coach is to help people be more judge the progress and results of a program through how their body moves and feels versus what the number on the scales says and how large their biceps have grown.
Too much of anything is never a good thing.
When we measure on a regular basis, we risk becoming fixated and attached to what the numbers say and in turn, we run the risk of allowing the numbers to dictate how good we feel about ourselves that day.
For me, that’s something I worked years to break free from and dedicate a portion of my coaching to helping women do the same.
Consider that a disclaimer of sorts.
It doesn’t mean measuring our progress on our body is bad.
It just means this: collect the data and evaluate the results. Don’t let the data impact who you are as a person. It’s not worth it.
There are a handful of variables that go into the process of changing our physiques via the ways we workout. Those variables are as clear as the timelines for expecting to see and feel results as well as the realistic shift we have to make with our expectations.
Often times, the mental aspect of training for physique change is just as challenging as the physical work.
It takes a lot of discipline and commitment for physique change but it’s possible with just that: commitment.
For me and my clients, the rewards outweigh the work because: we commit to a program, follow it through to the end then witness the visual changes our bodies experience. We finish stronger, leaner, more defined versions of ourselves and for us, it’s all worth it.
Anything worth having takes work.
Get started with physique changing workouts and grab the free 4-week total training program and don’t forget your 1-page nutrition starter guide – these two guides, when used together, have the power to produce lasting physique change.