3 Steps to Guarantee Transformation Success

by | Jul 24, 2015 | Articles, For Fitness Pros | 4 comments

(Last Updated On: September 24, 2019)

Help Your Clients Achieve Transformation Success

I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of different people, from all walks of life, to help them get into incredible shape. From those wanting to get fitness-model lean to the average, overworked mom who is juggling all the stressors that come with that job. Each person has their own unique struggles and challenges when trying to reach their desired level of leanness and fitness. Each person has a unique code to crack so they can overcome the physical and mental obstacles that are holding them back.

What if you could guarantee transformation results?

What if you knew exactly how to crack the code for fat loss and body transformations?

Your 3-Step Plan to Guaranteeing Transformation Success

Transformation Success Step 1: Define the Endpoint

The first step in any journey is creating your roadmap, but to do that, you need to know your destination point.

There are two points you need to determine:

  1. Where the client is now
  2. Where the client wants to go

The real key to success is letting the client tell you where they are and where they want to go. Give them the chance to explain their current situation and what their end goal looks like to them. Not only will this help you set up a great plan that guarantees success, but it will also allow you to understand a little better the client’s needs and the obstacles you might face. Once these two points have been established, you need to work with the client to determine if they are realistic and set the expectations for achieving them.

The real key to success is letting the client tell you where they are and where they want to go

Creating the path to success includes understanding the time a client can commit to training, how willing they are to make changes, and how committed they are to their goal. You may need to recalibrate their expectations based off those things. This can all be done in a positive manner focusing on creating a series of small wins that eventually add up to the big goals instead of simply focusing on the destination.

Too often, trainers focus on the end goal and forget to bring the attention back to the starting point. If you are going to help your client determine their first steps in their transformation, you need to know what they are doing now, the struggles they’ve had in the past, and the obstacles that might hold them back.

This allows you to create a plan that is unique to that individual client and guarantees their success. In fact, you often can allow the client to tell you where they want to start by simply asking them what they think the first step is in reaching their goal.

Successful transformations all start by creating momentum. The easiest way to create momentum for the client is to start them off with nutrition and training goals they complete successfully. Again, it’s about small wins adding up over time.

Transformation Success Step 2: Progressive Nutrition Changes

Your goal is to create change through the smallest possible adjustments to a client’s diet and training. Unless there is a short time frame on the goal that needs to be achieved, there is no reason to pull out all the stops from the get-go. This not only allows the client to focus on one thing at a time but also allows you to progress them through plateaus.

The only time you need to make adjustments to your plan is when progress stops. Typically, clients can be categorized into a few tiers:

  • Tier 1 clients are beginners who haven’t been dieting or exercising to lose weight but want to start.
  • Tier 2 clients are those who have been trying to lose weight through some diet and exercise but can’t seem to have consistent success.
  • Tier 3 clients are advanced clients who have mastered several habits but need to get to the final stages of fat loss.

Tier 1 clients should start with a moderate carbohydrate program, and Tier 2 clients should start with a low-moderate carbohydrate program. Tier 3 clients will utilize strategies such as:

  • Carb cycling
  • Calorie cycling
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Macronutrient timing

Those aren’t necessarily listed in the order in which they should be implemented. That is dictated by the individual client needs. This approach can be utilized with large groups while still maintaining some individualization in the program.

Keep in mind that when running a transformation contest or challenge, you may need to be slightly more aggressive with your recommendations than when working with clients on a regular basis. The shorter the duration of the contest or challenge, the more aggressive you may need to be to get the desired results. While this may not be the best plan for long-term success, you can still use the tiered nutrition program to deliver big results with a much smaller risk of rebounding due to the simplicity of this system. Here are some samples of a tiered recommendation:

Transformation Success

To make small adjustments you can work from the upper end of the recommendations to the lower end and then progress to the next tier as needed.

Transformation Success Step 3: Fat-Loss-Specific Program Design

You can’t guarantee a great transformation if you don’t have a specific program for fat loss. When we talk about training for fat loss, we are trying to create a greater metabolic demand. You need to force the body to change through nutrition and training. The greater the metabolic demand, the better the results.

The nutrition changes you make set up a solid foundation for fat loss. You will work to establish a program that includes high quality food to fuel the body while monitoring the quantity of food consumed to ensure body composition changes.

The right training program is the icing on the cake that will help the client get the body they want. It will help them maintain, or in some cases add, lean muscle mass, which will give them the “toned” look they are aiming for while forcing the body to utilize its fat stores as energy and burning the fat that is covering those muscles.

It’s the perfect storm of fat loss!

The easiest way to create a metabolic demand or increase the metabolic demand of a client’s training program is to change the stimulus. This can be done by adding frequency, changing duration, increasing intensity, or varying the type of workout.

That isn’t always an option though, so we need to look at other ways to progressively increase the metabolic demand of a client’s program to deliver great results.

ropesFirst, you need to look at intensity of the program. Can you add intensity by increasing the density of the program? Density can be boosted by using shorter rest periods or upping the volume of the program. The goal is to get more work done in the same time frame or the same amount of work done in a shorter time frame.

There are also more advanced progressions that you can find in my article on keeping your transformation programs fresh.

Once you have looked at intensity, you can review the frequency of the program. During a shorter-term program like a transformation contest, a client may be willing and able to add a day or two of training to their schedule, which will improve their ability to make the progress they want.

Getting a client to go from 2 days per week to 4 days per week for a short time will deliver big results. However, taking a client from 4 to 6 days per week usually doesn’t provide the same impact. Assessing where the client is starting allows you to determine the changes that you need to make in their program.

You can also mix an increase in frequency with variation in the type of program by adding complementary training programs to their schedule. If a client is in a metabolic or interval training group program, add a strength-training program to their schedule. If they are in strength-focused program, add in metabolic-type workouts to their schedule.

Adding in conditioning-only days with sprinting, bike sprints, sled pushing, or interval training days that are shorter in duration can have a big impact on fat loss.

The final change before implementing steady-state cardio to someone’s program would be increasing their NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Essentially, this includes all the stuff they do on a daily basis.

Get them to start taking the stairs, parking further away, adding a light 20-minute walk to their morning or evening routine, or standing up every hour to take a walk around the office. These activities aren’t stressors and will aid in recovery while promoting fat loss. For a majority of your clients, 3 days of training with you and a walk every day (10-30 minutes at an easy pace) will get them the results they want.

More advanced clients may need 3-4 days of training with an additional day of interval training or sprinting (think HIIT) and walking daily. If nutrition and training are dialed in, it is rare to see a client who needs more training than this, and usually that is only required for a short period of time in the final phases of their program.


By following this 3-step plan, you can guarantee success with any client:

  1. Define the End Point
  2. Make Progressive Nutrition Changes
  3. Include Fat-Loss-Specific Program Design

Each client will be slightly different in the changes you make, the timeframe in which you make them, and how aggressive you need to be to get the results the client wants, but these principles remain the same. If you want a more detailed layout of the exact changes and order in which to implement them to run great transformation contests, check out our done-for-you Transformation System:

Learn More About the Transformation System