Article last updated: January 2019 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
Updated: 30 November 2017
After training over 100 skinny-fat clients, I’ve realized that the number one reason people fail at transforming their bodies is their mindset.
It’s the way you think that’s holding you back.
Now, the big question is: do YOU have the right mindset to transform your body from skinny-fat to aesthetic?
Do you rely on motivation to get to the gym?
…constantly talk about your fitness goals?
…get confused when you hear experts give different advice on the same topic?
If you’re doing any of the abovementioned things, this article is a must-read for you.
1. Don’t Rely On Motivation Because It Comes And Goes.
I often see people at the gym that come for a few weeks, and then they’re gone for months. Suddenly you see them motivated at the gym again… until they lose motivation.
Let me tell you this: sometimes I’m motivated, sometimes I’m not. Motivation comes and goes.
If I relied on motivation to make my transformation happen, I would never have done all the consistent work that lead to me losing 60 pounds of fat and gaining 40 pounds of muscle mass.
Instead, I would have gained a bit when motivation was there, then lost my gains when motivation disappeared. Gained a bit, then lost a bit. Gained a bit, then lost a bit…
The end result? No progress.
This is why you can’t rely on motivation to make a lasting change in your life.
Nobody is motivated every single day to train and prepare food. If you want results, you need to make this lifestyle a habit, rather than rely on motivation.
In my experience, a habit takes about 3 weeks to develop.
That’s why you want to be consistent with this lifestyle for at least 3 weeks.
In the first 3 weeks of training and dieting, you want to make training and dieting the #1 goal in your life and get obsessed with them.
During this time you want do anything you can to make it easier for you to change your lifestyle.
Here are some examples:
- Reduce your workload and reduce the time you spend on other leisure activities.
- Prepare food every night to have it ready for the next day.
- Prepare your training clothes, water and small pre-workout meal before going to bed.
- As soon as you wake up, do your training first thing in the morning to minimise the chance of missing a training session.
If you can stick with your training and diet for 3 weeks, they will both become a habit.
The goal is to make the process feel like brushing your teeth in the morning.
It just happens automatically every single day.
After 3 weeks you will feel bad about breaking your new habits:
Ohh I didn’t get enough sleep today, maybe I should just skip my workout.
I didn’t get enough sleep today, but I have worked out every day the past 21 days, so I must also do it today.
2. Don’t Talk About Your Goals.
In early 2010 I announced to my family that I will transform my physique. They replied:
“But you’ve never been athletic.”
“Be reasonable and focus on school.”
“Just take it easy and exercise once in a while to be healthy.”
They tried to impose limiting beliefs on me, which is normal for people that have known you for a long time.
If they’ve always known you as the skinny-fat guy, there’s no reason for them to believe that you can suddenly transform.
I ignored their limiting beliefs, but I made the mistake of constantly talking about my goals to get validation.
When you talk about your goals, you trick your mind into thinking that you’ve already accomplished them.
Think about the fat girl that orders a diet soda, and then proceeds to talk about her diet every single time you happen to see her. When you meet her 1 year later she’s still fat.
She’s still fat because excessive talking about your goals results in less incentive to accomplish them.
Therefore, instead of talking a lot, you want to be a man of action and focus your efforts on achieving your goal.
Once your goal is achieved, feel free to talk about your achievement.
It feels much better to just do your thing, and then surprise people with your ripped physique.
3. Follow ONE Coach and Trust Your Plan.
As a beginner, I would obsessively search google and bodybuilding forums for search queries such as:
- How much protein should I eat per day to gain muscle mass?
- Do skinny-fat guys need a lot of protein?
- Should skinny-fat guys lift heavy weights?
The end goal was to educate myself and learn about the best training and diet methods for myself.
Instead, I confused myself with information overload.
For example, one day I would read John’s bodybuilding website where he said I need to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight to gain muscle mass.
The next day I would watch Dan’s YouTube channel where he said I need to eat less protein and focus more on my carb and fat intake.
Both of them had personal trainer credential, tons of client success stories and plenty of scientific studies to back up their claims.
But they had completely different opinions on protein intake.
This is just one example out of many.
Every single piece of training and diet knowledge that I wanted to learn about had contradicting opinions from high level coaches.
So how do you know who is right?
The truth is that unless you have years of experience transforming your own body and training dozens of clients, you won’t be able to know who is right.
There are scientific studies that support nearly any type of training and diet.
There are studies that support high protein intake and studies that support low protein intake.
There are studies that support heavy weight, high intensity training and studies that support high volume pump training.
Therefore, stop looking for contradicting information from different people, because I can already tell you that you will find plenty of that in fitness.
Constantly looking for more information is only going to hurt your progress because you will lose trust in your plan.
Instead, choose ONE coach that you trust and put all your trust in their advice.
Even if their advice isn’t the most optimal, you will still get your best results by believing it’s the best shit out there.
Believing that a plan works is a very powerful thing and now I’ll explain why.
4. Your Mind Is Extremely Powerful. If You Believe It, You Can Get It.
When I take on clients for my Online Transformation Program, I have my clients fill out a comprehensive 6-page Client Assessment Form with a variety of questions about their unique body-structure, training history and diet history.
One important section in my assessment form is related to mental health.
To be specific, I ask my clients if they have any issues with anxiety, stress or depression.
And nearly half of them have anxiety, stress and depression.
The truth is that being skinny-fat is linked with mental health issues.
And it all makes sense: When you have below average genetics, it makes sense that you are pre-disposed to have naturally higher stress and anxiety levels and that you have an easier time falling into depression.
Having a skinny-fat body that you aren’t proud of doesn’t help here either.
Now, when it comes to transforming the body, a lot of skinny-fat guys want to isolate the mind from the body.
We focus obsessively on dietary factors such as protein intake while neglecting a powerful mind.
The truth is that a powerful mind can make all the difference in your body-transformation.
For example, we know from scientific studies that:
- Changing from a bent over desk-job posture to an open and dominant posture results in an immediate increase in testosterone levels and testosterone is the main muscle building hormone in your body.
- Controlling stress levels, anxiety and breathing properly, you will lower cortisol and thereby increase testosterone further.
- Being around beautiful women will increase your sex drive and natural testosterone production.
- The amount of high quality social relationships you have is linked with your mortality rate. People with a lot of high quality relationships live longer.
- Chronic stress leads to a lot of disease formation and pre-mature deaths. (I.e. you can kill yourself with worry).
- Believing that something works can make it work even more than it’s supposed to.
In other words, your mind and body work together and you can’t isolate the two.
For example, when Arnold Schwarzenegger trained his biceps, he imagined that his biceps were the size of the whole room.
This made his biceps more powerful and over time this surely made them grow more as well.
You will also see his videos that Arnold always kept an open and dominant posture, had a lot of friends, spent time relaxing on the beach and doing fun stuff and had an unbreakable belief in himself.
He didn’t get any of these things from a high protein diet.
He got them from focusing on building up his mind and body at the same time.
I can tell you from personal experience that the mind is an extremely powerful thing.
When you live a fun, healthy and low stress lifestyle with fun activities and good friendships and you combine that with a strong belief in your fitness plan, you will get far superior results compared to someone who is on the same plan yet feels depressed, anxious and lives a lonely life.
This is why it’s so important that you work on the health of your mind while working on your body.
5. Transmute Your Sexual Energy Into Fitness and Life.
Another important secret of achieving success and having a strong mind is to cultivate your sexual energy and then direct it into your training and diet.
Sexual energy is extremely powerful because it’s most often the #1 driver behind a man’s success.
Now I’ll explain how this works.
First, think about the way you feel when you’re sexually aroused.
You feel driven, motivated and unbreakable.
You feel like you want more out of life.
When you go into a workout while being sexually aroused, you will do more repetitions and train harder.
Now think about the way you feel after having sex or reaching orgasm.
You feel relaxed, tired and low on energy.
You have no drive to work hard or go to the gym.
When you go into a workout, you do the minimum and try to cut corners.
This is the difference between high sexual energy and low sexual energy.
So how do you maintain high sexual energy?
First and foremost, you need to cultivate a high sex drive by eating a healthy testosterone boosting diet.
Testosterone is the male sex hormone and high testosterone levels will lead to a high sex drive. (This is why teenagers have such high sex drives. It’s because testosterone levels are at their highest during teenage years).
I have covered the basics of a testosterone boosting diet in my guide the 2 Phases of a Skinny-Fat Transformation.
In addition to eating a testosterone boosting diet, being around beautiful women, getting regular sunlight and controlling stress levels will help massively with sex drive.
The goal is to wake up with morning wood at least 5-6 days per week and to get random wood once in a while throughout the day.
This will maximise your motivation and energy levels.
Second, you need to protect your sexual energy by avoiding excessive sex or masturbation.
I’m not saying you should stop having sex or masturbating, because stopping completely has diminishing returns (whey you don’t use it, you lose it).
However you want to find a balance where you’re having sex at a rate that allows you to have high sexual energy everyday.
In my case for example, I have a desire to have sex 4-6 times a day but I will only have it once every day or once every 2 days depending on my energy levels.
By controlling my urges, I’m more motivated to train hard, develop my skills and work on my business.
Find your balance and you will be surprised at the amount of things you achieve.
6. Accept That It’s Going To Take A Long Time
The last lesson I want to give you is that you should embrace that it’s going to take a long time to transform.
A lot of skinny-fat guys try to cut corners on their transformation by looking for the next quick fix diet or supplement, but the truth is that there’s no substitute for putting in the time.
It takes a lot of time and effort to change your physique.
When you’re skinny-fat with below average genetics, there’s no quick fix diet or training or 12 week program that will get you there.
2 years into training I didn’t even look like I had ever lifted a weight. The third year, I would barely make any progress.
I was on the verge to give up, but then things started changing.
I started doing the opposite of what I had done before and got my best results.
Now I’m not saying that it will take years for you to transform.
I’ve had clients who did it in 12 weeks, but they’re the exception.
Most of us need longer than that, therefore you’re better off just accepting that it’s going to take a long time.
This way you won’t quit early and get disappointed with your results.
If something is easy to get, you won’t value it and you won’t get all the character building traits such as confidence and persistence that come from achieving something that is hard.
Therefore, it doesn’t matter if it takes 1, 2 or 3 years to transform your physique. In the end the whole process is all worth it.
Embrace every part of the journey and celebrate everytime you hit a new milestone in your training or fat loss.
Be proud but stay hungry!
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer