Growing up as a little kid, I freaking LOVED Transformers. A toy that could start as one thing and then…wait for it….transform…into something completely different – pure brilliance. Hey look it’s a robot dude – oh wait NO it’s a car!
What’s not to love?
Fast forward to my freshman year of college: I bonded with three new acquaintances over the original Transformers movie on DVD. I now live with one of them, the other does the graphic design work for this site, and I’ll be attending the wedding of the third in the Bahamas in June.
To say that Transformers have played a major role in my life is an understatement.
Welp, today is the day that I give back. I going to teach you how to transform your life and make Optimus Prime proud. He’s the leader of the Autobots, he protects us from the Decepticons, and he can turn into a mack truck! I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a guy I’d want to be proud of me.
Make Small Changes, Get Big Results.
I’m going to guess that you plopped down $9.25 to watch the new Transformers movie in the theater.
Sure it was poorly acted, had a terrible plot, and often didn’t make much sense, but damn it was loud, pretty, and fun. If you try to tell me you didn’t get goosebumps and maybe even cheer out loud the first time you saw Optimus Prime transform (low quality, sorry) then you’re lying.
Optimus is not a fan of lying. Stop it.
Now that you’re done lying, I want you to think back to that scene – the HELL did a massive truck transform into a freaking walking and talking robot?
One step at a time.
It wasn’t one giant move that turned Optimus from shape A to shape B – it was really just one tiny process after the other. The front grill receded, then his headlights inverted (sounds painful, I know), then the windshield split apart, then the wheels tuck under, then the sides of the truck pulled out, etc. 14 million tiny processes later, Optimus had transformed (see what I did there) from a mack truck to a robot.
You will transform in the same way:
One step at a time.
1) Transform your mind.
If you weigh a lot more than your ideal weight, you might feel like one of the tiny Optimus Primes in this picture: overwhelmed.
That journey to the ‘finish line’ feels impossibly far away, the odds against you seem enormous, and your chance of success appears to be minimal.
That mentality will get you nowhere.
Don’t think about how big the gap is between where you are now and where you want to be. Instead, concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, starting the next step in your process, and moving a little bit closer towards closer towards that goal.
Imagine a young Optimus Prime transforming for the first time – yes I know there was never a baby Optimus (was there?), but look at the tiny Prime at the VERY top and just pretend for a minute.
He was probably pretty intimidated, right?
However, by only moving one tiny thing at a time and making only change at a time, over and over and over, he eventually reached a result that was pretty damn awesome.
You need to transform how you look at each day. Don’t say “holy crap I have 200 pounds to lose, I’m screwed!” Instead, say “This is the new me, and I’m going to make one change this week. And then next week I will make another change.” And so on…
Pretty soon, you will be a newer, upgraded version of yourself.
2) Transform Your Diet.
Make small changes to your diet that you can sustain for the rest of your life.
Here’s a simple example – I used to eat Skippy peanut butter sandwiches on white bread, every day of my life, since I was probably five years old. After learning about how unhealthy white bread is, I made the switch to wheat bread. A month after that, I made the change from Skippy to natural peanut butter. After reading about how many types of wheat bread contain high fructose corn syrup, I went one step further to flaxseed bread.
I know for a fact that the old Steve never would have touched a PB sandwich on flaxseed bread. However, because it was just one change (white to wheat bread), followed by another single change (Skippy to natural PB)…my picky eating habits were okay with it. Bam! My PB sandwiches have been completely transformed.
Take that Megatron!
Try making small changes to your diet too:
- Switch from white rice to brown rice
- Switch from white bread to wheat bread
- Try ONE new vegetable a week. They won’t hurt you, I swear.
- Slowly cut back on the number of sodas you drink daily (liquid calories are brutal, get them out of your diet!)
- Get grilled vegetables instead of fries as your side when going out to eat this week.
- Skip the popcorn at the movie theater when you go see Kick-Ass (who’s seen it? How was it?)
Rome wasn’t built in a day. A robot doesn’t become a truck in one step. You won’t lose 100 pounds overnight. Slowly transform your diet, make changes that you can live with, and the new YOU will have a much better chance of fighting off the Decepticons and obesity.
I like our chances against both of those enemies.
3) Transform your workout.
If you’re just getting started on your weight loss journey, I’m going to guess that the first thing you thought to do was go for a run. Maybe after a few weeks of running and a few pounds lost, you decided to join a gym…where you spend most of your time on the treadmill or on the elliptical.
You’re not alone.
Every time I work out, I have to walk through the overcrowded treadmills, ellipticals, and machines to get to my mecca: the free weight section. Anybody who reads this site knows that I’m a huge fan of lifting weights over just cardio, and a strong advocate of free weights over machines. [side note: unless you're a vampire, walking on a treadmill INSIDE when it's 70 and sunny outside should be illegal].
Sorry Optimus, your machine brethren can’t hold a candle to free weights when it comes to building strength and stability.
Now, I know just getting started with weight lifting is scary, especially if you don’t really know what you’re doing and the free-weight section is loaded with roided-up meatheads. If you’re a girl, this section of the gym can be downright terrifying (in which case, you should take notes from Moe).
Try this out: instead of jumping headfirst into the free weight section, try taking things one exercise at a time. Every week, set aside 15 minutes to learn about a new exercise, and then spend 5 minutes in the gym incorporating it into your routine.
- Instead of doing the leg extension machine or any sort of leg machine, do squats (and go DOWN far enough!) or lunges with dumbbells in your hands.
- Instead of doing the chest press machine, lie down on a bench and do dumbbell presses, or try dips. Push ups work too!
- Instead of doing the lat-pull down machine, do pull ups! Too tough? try inverted rows.
A few months of just one new exercise a week will leave you with tons of options for a full free-weight routine, a lot more knowledge about which exercises work which muscles, and far more preparation for real-world situations than the machine-trained humans around you.
Here’s another way to look at things. If you can only do one push up right now, how the hell are you going to do 50 in a row some day? One at a time! Do two in a row this week, try for 3 or 4 in a row next week. If you can do just one more, each time out, you will be getting stronger.
All of these “just one more’s” eventually add up to “holy crap look what I did!”
More than meets the eye.
If you’re trying to get in shape, whether its slimming down or bulking up, I know there’s a better version of yourself hidden inside you. The great thing about being human is that you can really transform yourself into whatever you want if you’re willing to work for it.
- If you want to be big and strong, start lifting heavy weights and eating lots of high-quality food.
- If you want to be a great runner, start running and get faster every day.
- If you want to be on Ninja Warrior, start doing a million pull ups and practice your Japanese.
Whatever you want to become, if you break it down into steps and get started TODAY on that first step, you can accomplish your goals and you will transform into whatever you want.
Now, go make Optimus Prime proud.
Warrior Dash Update: We’ve already raised 1400 dollars for Nerd Dash 2010! If you haven’t visited the site yet, please go check it out, watch the (hopefully) hilarious video, and consider making a small donation: 5 bucks, 10 bucks, whatever.
Remember, small additions can add up to huge results…like sending 4 cabins worth of kids with cancer to Camp Sunshine!
Here are some other popular posts that will get you motivated:
- Become a Jedi: Learn the Ways of the Force
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- The Lord of the Rings Guide to Getting Sh** Done
- The Definitive Guide to Hacking into the Matrix: Are you the One?