It might be anything as obvious as the model pushing out their tummy in the first pic and looking sad next to the same individual "30 days" later looking happy after a workout so their muscles are 'pumped'. The first shot is normally pretty dull, compared to a professionally shot, well-lit "cover model" style picture.
Now that "photo shopping" can be done quite easily using a basic smart phone and a few clever apps it's even easier to hoodwink the public.
Even though we all know the smoke and mirrors at work here it's hard not to get carried away and awe-struck by something so incredible. What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes - Harry Houdini.
So I set out to do my own 'real talk' transformation. What you're going to see and read over the next few blog posts is REAL results, from a real human being, just like you. 100% genuine pictures, with genuine time frames. No tricks, filters or fancy photography.
Try 6 months, and I am proud of these results, because I knew the struggle it took from when I started. It's a personal thing; anyone else's opinion does not matter to me.
Could I have acheived better and faster? Yes probably. But in this time frame is Christmas, NYE, birthdays, valentine's day, pancake day, nights out on the beer, Friday night take aways, those nights where you just cant be arsed to prep something healthy, sickness etc...
You know, normal things that we all have.
This is going to be a multiple blog post documenting my weightloss journey and on-going transformation I've called #Project30 - to be in the best shape of my life on my 30th birthday.
So bare with me as we go back to the start... Summer 2015 and these pictures my girlfriend candidly snapped of me.
Wait a minute... If you're looking at these, and thinking, "this guys in good shape - I wish I looked like that right now."
That's okay. I really don't want to body shame anyone, that is the whole point of this blog. We live in a world of fat shaming, and if someone starts going to the gym and wants to post their achievements online we even have FIT shaming now!
It's your body, and you can do whatever you want to with it. I'm going to presume from now on that you've made it this far, and you want to lose weight.
These pictures became my goal in a way. My goal for my 2016 holiday was to be able to walk around with my shirt off and be really confident and proud as I flexed my resting six-pack.
I missed that target. I missed it by miles. I thought I was working out, I thought I was dieting, but as you can see from the first picture of this post (December 2016) I was no where near.
Things were pretty bad now I look back - I was barely training (by my standards), and I was following no kind of diet plan - just convincing myself that I ate well, and allowed myself a few treats here and there. I was "free-wheeling," you know, like my legs were spinning but I wasn't really going anywhere.
I see this all the time in the gym actually. Men and women coming in for months at a time and not really seeing any significant changes. Now this is fine if you're enjoying yourself. If you like the feeling of exercising, but don't have any specific fitness goals or maybe you just enjoy the social aspect of going to the gym... whatever your reason is fine as long as you're happy with it.
I wasn't though - I recognised that I'd become one of my 'clients'. Not singling anyone out but all personal trainers will understand, just as I'm sure any non-PTs know that person who is always complaining but not taking any action, or responsibility for themselves.
Fortunately I saw this as a blessing. "If I'm one of my clients," I thought to myself, "now I can get in touch with exactly what they're thinking and feeling, AND I can put together a solution to solve our problems."
A Quick Side-bar:
After all you are working with people who want to change their lives, but in general have issues with self-worth and confidence (as we all do). In my opinion the best trainers are those who can empathise with their clients because they've "been there."
I see so many trainers who have always been the fittest, strongest and most muscular person they know. These trainers have no idea how intimidating a gym environment can be.
I've known trainers to hand out exercises WAY outside the limit of what their clients' capable of. I've seen ridiculous diet plans that compromise the health of the client and include waking up in the middle of the night to down a protein shake! I hear daily, trainers, spouting non-sense about 5 meals a day, or no carbs after 6pm.
All of these unrealistic requests inevitably lead to failure - I should know I've tried most of them. This then knocks your self-confidence, "Why doesn't this work for me? What's wrong with me? I'm weak, I'm unsuccessful etc..."
Add in the unrealistic transformation images, celeb pictures looking great a few weeks after they gave birth and 10 superhero films released each year with men portrayed as chiseled Greek gods it is no wonder the average human being is unhappy with their body. (Congrats if you're not btw - you're really doing well)
As "the expert" in this situation, it's so important that we don't add to the 'noise' surrounding the fitness industry which has been made so complicated; it's really not - but it makes it easier to forgive yourself when you fail because "it's so complicated".
This is what lead me to bringing you my real results from #project30.
Back to the transformation
I don't think I'm alone in this. I still feel 18, but something in the back of my head was niggling away at me. The disappointment of 2016 being a 'wash out' in terms of my physical goals coupled with the idea of turning 30, I knew that I didn't want to taste the same bitter feeling of failure in November 2017. #Project30 was born.
A quick recap:
I was fed up.
Sick of starting off the year with good intentions
Tired of working out, eating well and seeing no changes I like
Demotivated and disconnected to any kind of diet plan, because it wasn't working
That's when I decided to get my shit together. I decided to stop blaming circumstances, let go of old notions that were holding me back and to focus on what I really wanted.
Which is (as shallow as it sounds)... Abs... Rock hard abs, aged 30
That's all for now, and over the next few posts I'm going to reveal my exercise plan, diet, "miracle may" as well as my current condition and what I plan for the remaining few months of #project30.
I hope reading this that it's resonating with you, and you're inspired to embark on your own project, whatever that would be. If so, keep checking back for updates, and let me know what you think.