Body transformation essentials, you have to lift – building DRIVE

Body transformation essentials, you want to lose fat, won’t complain about adding a little lean muscle in the right places, and you want to feel energized enough to tackle the 1001 things you need to do in a day while still enjoying the things you love and not living in the gym? Yes, then cool, I get you.

You feel you’ve been working out enough but you just haven’t seen that translate into the changes you want to see. You’re starting to wonder if there’s something wrong with you or your body? Is it age, metabolism, carbs, sleep? You’re frustrated and not sure what to do, you’re not alone and I’ve helped a lot of my clients get unstuck from this position.

Getting there is a holistic process that starts with building CAPACITY, and the right FUEL which I’ve outlined in the BID Lifestyle Transformation Roadmap (DOWNLOAD THE ROADMAP).

Today though we talk about building the DRIVE to put that all together to create a true body transformation, the first stage of that is to LIFT.

In the beginning

First quick story, 21 years ago I walked into the gym for the first time, I had zero idea what the hell to do.

Now, I’d worked out a bit at home in my basement, using those old school gold(ish) York sand weights and a death trap guillotine-like bench press. Once I got tired enough of tempting fate I begged my mom for my first gym membership.

The york bench press comparison to a guillotine
Don’t let them fool you, these are pretty much the same thing.

At the time I felt my goals were simple; rid my body of the life offending moobs(male boobs for those unsure) that were destroying my confidence game (aka get in better shape), and I wanted arms about 80% the size of Arnolds (aka build a little muscle).

Simple right?

So I did what 90% guys do when they enter a gym…I did 87 different chest and arms exercises that I happened to catch someone else doing, spent 10 minutes on a bike, then called it a day.

I figured if I worked out hard enough, I’d see something happen. I saw some changes but not to the degree I expected. Especially considering back then it was rare there was a day I wasn’t in the gym.

Eventually, after some self-study, I figured out what I was doing didn’t entirely make any sense.

4 Biggest Mistakes

  • There was no plan, my workouts were random based on how I felt that day, so there was no goal for the end result and no plan to get me there.
  • I worked out for the mirror, I was only worried about the muscles I could see and the areas that mattered to me.
  • Choosing the wrong exercises, I didn’t realize I could accomplish more with a chin-up than a bicep curl.
  • There was no recovery time, I didn’t understand it’s not the training but the recovering from the training that creates change.

Over the next 20 years I figured it out. I refined the process and successfully applied it to not only own body and life transformation but that of many others as well.

I figured you might appreciate saving a couple decades of trial and error. Now to be fair you’ll likely pick it up faster than me because I’m incredibly stubborn (Bay will confirm this) but still, this should help shave some time off.

Why should you care to lift?

You might be thinking “I don’t really care about building muscle” or “that would be nice, but I want to lose some bodyfat first”.

So why Jason are you advocating to build muscle as a priority?

Well my friend, there’s a few reasons.  Muscle creates the visual body transformation, so that when you lose bodyfat you don’t just look like a smaller still out-of-shape version of your previous self. It also burns calories and allows your body to use them more efficiently and it also helps improve your function and abilities.

So, building muscle will:

  • Change the way you look by adding lean muscle
  • Take away those aches and pains and shave some years and mileage off the body when you do it well
  • Help you stay fit even during a layoff (think travel, vacation, worldwide pandemic…)
  • Make everything you do in life easier (yes the stuff you actually want to do)
My client David Squatting
This is my client David, I know you wouldn’t guess it but he’s 63, stronger and in better shape than most guys in their 20s and 30s. You might think he’d been doing this all his life, but in fact he started 5 years ago. He’s kindof a badass(understatement), but also proves it’s never too late to start.

Not bad right? Ok so what counts as lifting?

Learning to use free weights and getting progressively stronger is the most efficient formula, but in general it’s doing any sort of progressively challenging resistance training. So yes body weight training counts and everything in between.

Definitive Guidelines

Lift 3 days per week – I say three because it’s enough to make a huge impact but not so much of a commitment as to disrupt the other obligations you have in life.

Focus on compound exercises –  You don’t need a ton of isolation work unless something just isn’t responding, and that might just be your technique. Our body likes to function as one, rather than in parts so the majority of our training should be the same. We need to think in patterns (ex. squat, hinge) not body parts (ex. quads, hamstrings).

Movement Patterns and Common Progressions/Regressions – Not a full list but it should give you an idea

Primal Movement Table
Click for PDF

Progressively challenge yourself – Complacency is the enemy, aim to get better. There are many different ways to improve:

  • Increased reps
  • More sets
  • Added weight
  • Better form
  • Slowing down or speeding up
  • Less rest
  • Pairing exercises
  • Use a challenging variation
  • Change the implement (Bodyweight > Band > Dumbbell > Kettlebell, Barbell, etc.)

“If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worst”  -Mark Bell

The point is you must continue to evolve and get better, the advantage though is that the more you do the more you’ll want to.

Make strength a priority – Especially at the lifts mentioned above. No one cares how much you leg press, and you shouldn’t either, but the squat might save you from using a walker in a few decades.

I’ve taken the liberty of answering some common questions I receive HERE, but what questions or even hangups do you have? I’d love to know!

Post them in the comments below or send me your burning question HERE and I’ll look to answer it in the future.

P.S If you want to fast track your own body and lifestyle transformation and want work with me directly, let’s chat about how I can help you. 

About the author 

Coach Jason

Coach Jason Ingham is a personal trainer, nutrition coach, and founder of BID Health and Performance. Jason has spent more than 20 years practicing the art of lifting and coaching, continually refining his skill set to help his clients build bodies they're proud of pain-free while doing what they love.

When he's not in the gym you'll probably find him buried in a book, exploring the city's restaurants, or crushing the latest streaming sci-fi or fantasy series with his partner Bailey.

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