Living well is more than physical health, more than financial success, more than social wellness. It is the combined existence of all three, working syngergystically to greatly improve the quality of one’s life, moreso than any one of these individually.

Living well is a conscious act. It isn’t some workout plan, or some lucky promotion. The steps to achieving it really aren’t that huge either. A tiny step in the right direction sets you up to take the next step, which makes the next step easier, and so on, until your life is so different that you barely recognize the path you took.

This summer, I am competing in the PopEye’s Canada $100,000 Transformation Challenge. This competition is a bodybuilding transformation contest, but to me, it represents so much more. Over the last year and a half, I have started to live reactively to my environment. Instead of exercising for a purpose and for improvement, I was just “maintaining”. I had developed a routine that was easy to follow, left me fitter than most, and was BORING AS HELL!

So with this transformation, I will be doing much more than just eating better and exercising to lose weight. This transformation represents a complete overhaul of my life, and of all the habits I have built up this last year or so.

My transformation plan is as much an experiment in what it means to be healthy, as it is an aesthetic transformation. I intend to pick out the core habits that lead to a sustainable healthy lifestyle and perfect them. What I don’t intend on doing is recommending some crazy supplement plan, with stringent diet, and working out so much that you feel sore every day. This is a plan DESIGNED for life. I want to be able to continue with the same principles for years, not weeks. I don’t want to cycle between “bulking” and “cutting”; instead, I want to live a lifestyle where I build habits in order to improve in whatever I am interested in at that moment.

So what is the plan?

First week: Primer

This last week has been a “primer week”; with the intention of replanting just the buds of my previous best habits, and pruning some of the habits that have overtaken areas of my life. First, I started with the easiest diet trick I know, intermittent fasting. By restricting my food intake to only a portion of the day, I find it much easier to monitor what I’m eating. It also gives me the freedom to eat pretty much whatever I want without binging.

I also began my new exercise routine. This routine isn’t much different from the maintenance routine I’ve been doing for the last year. Really, the biggest difference is in recording how much I’m lifting in weighted exercises, and how well I perform in other activities. By incrementing and improving each week, I can ensure that I will improve physically, it’s that simple. (tk – Muscle is just a byproduct of increased performance)

My primary focus for the next twelve weeks will be on skill mastery, so while I haven’t worked on a particular skill yet, I have been introducing more mobility and calisthenic training into my daily routine. While working, I follow the pomodoro technique, which consists of 25 minute focussed work sessions, followed by a 5 minute break. Rather than spend this break browsing the web, I have been performing brief L-Sit, Planche, and handstand progressions. In the following weeks, I intend to focus on a different one of these movements each day, with a weekly check-in on my progress to acheiving these movements. Once I have become proficient in the basics, I will be focussing on more and more complex skills.

Second week: Preparing the plan

This week’s focus is on figuring out what I want to do for the next ten weeks. In order to accomplish a goal, I need to determine an exact goal.

By focussing on removing the current roadblocks in my life, I am able to limit my options to those that better me. In order to aide this process, I have begun to remove the excess from my life. In the process of moving, for instance, I kept only the clothes that I would want to wear – leaving me with exactly two week’s worth of clothing. In my fitness plan I removed needless movements that didn’t benefit me – By sticking with compound movements, I can complete an hour to two hour workout into 45 minutes.