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The 13 “intangibles” that lead to the most successful physique transformations

Physique Transformation, Success

TrevorIn my last post I gave you a real-world example of one of my most successful clients ever: Trevor. As the saying goes – success leaves clues. So today I want to look at the clues behind that success.

In my last post I hinted there was a “bigger picture,” and if your physique transformation goals end “only” at physique transformation, then you're robbing yourself of what's truly possible.

You can use that “growth” experience to propel yourself forward in life: your career, your family and your relationships, and so on. And, as I said last time, it's the “intangibles” that separate those who transform and succeed versus those who yoyo diet forever, endlessly stalled.

In contrast to someone like Trevor, I've talked with plenty of clients and potential clients who won plenty of contests back in the 90s, but they write to me now and always point to pictures of themselves from back then. They're now 15-20 years older and 45-50 lbs. heavier and fighting the transformation battle all over again. They're caught in a loop.

If it were merely about nutritional and training “knowledge,” these people would never have let what they accomplished slip through their fingers. But something else is going on, because that is exactly what happens when the competing goal or the transformation goal is “everything,” rather than part of a greater journey of personal growth and self-discovery.

Before I discuss the intangibles behind his success, let me quickly sum up Trevor Timmins “today”:

He's successful and doing important, fulfilling work, in an important corporation (who wouldn't want to work for an national sports team?). He has a family. Now in his mid-40s, he carries with him his lean, ripped physique, as well as all the valuable teachings his early days gave him.

So much of true success in life boils down to “paying attention” to what you are doing, while you are doing it. At the same time, however, what you are paying attention to makes all the difference, especially when it comes to these “intangibles.”

So let's talk about these intangibles Trevor had that lead to long-term success both in physique transformation and in the rest of his life.


Your attempts at physique transformation in any form are simply a reflection of how you approach YOUR WHOLE LIFE.

The 13 Intangibles

1. Coach-ability: From the get go, Trevor was just plain Coachable. This means he knew how to trust “authentic leadership.” He knew how to trust the process and let success take care of itself. Note that this is not the same as being influenced by status, reputation or fads that come and go. True leadership affects someone on an individual level.

2. Dutiful: There is a sense of “duty” among my most successful clients. Note that this is not the same as “obsession.” Being dutiful means being committed to yourself and the elements of your character that you will not compromise (honour, commitment, love). Obsession, by contrast, reeks of insecurity and fear. These are vastly different things.

3. Time-Management: My most successful clients organize their time and use it to their own advantage. Time never uses them. Even now, when Trevor visits, he may be scouting a game till after 11:00 pm, yet he still asks me to wake him up in the morning before 5:00 am, regardless of jet lag, time zones and all the rest. If you don't manage your time, your time manages you.

4. A Sense of Real-life Priorities: This is a follow-up from the point above. To be truly “successful” your real-life priorities of family and work have to come first. Your physique transformation goals have to be subservient to real life commitments. When your priorities of what matters get out of whack, then short-term accomplishments will crumble under real-world consequences. I see this all the time in my work. It's why I use the phrase “weight-loss tourists.”

5. Sense of Obligation and Personal Responsibility: Real life success is about bringing elements of character to everything you do, and how you do it. It's just the real “YOU” rubbing off on that thing you are doing. Success necessitates that once you commit to something, you prioritize it, with a sense of personal obligation, responsibility and devotion to it. HOWEVER, that something doesn't define you: it becomes a manifestation of who you are, and how you do things. And you just won't compromise that.

6. Commitment to the Process: Trevor was able to be successful because he committed to the process of being successful. Even though I told him in the early days he could not beat his local competition, that didn't stop him from wanting to improve and be HIS best. The great Vince Lombardi once said, “The will to win is not nearly so important as the will to prepare to win.”

7. Good Attitude: In short: no macho bullshit. This one is unique to the fitness industry. There are bad attitudes everywhere when it comes to physique transformation. It's unnecessary and juvenile. With a good attitude you are more open-minded, and you can learn and absorb way more, because you leave your ego out of it.

8. Honesty With Oneself: Real success is about being honest with yourself about your efforts and about your consistency and compliance as to the discipline necessary to accomplish something and grow from the experience.

9. No Overthinking or Questioning: Real success comes from believing in leadership, because leadership means you stop questioning all the “what if's” inside your own head. You just “trust and go, straight ahead.” Subconsciously, you know the truth has always been that the shortest distance between two points is a straight-line. Mentally, this means when you don't have to overthink and question every little thing and ponder every little detail. You move ahead much quicker and you learn more by doing so. Many people who come to me have never made it over the long haul fail because instead of a steely focus on what they should be doing, they focus instead on what everyone else is doing. That's how losers think.

10. Calm Responsibility, Not Urgency: Many people keep failing because they bring urgency and frantic energy to the process, instead of the calm, assertive and decisive energy that comes from personal responsibility. Successful clients are calm, and they're collected. If you're a successful client, you realize the Coach isn't the answer — YOU ARE. Trusting the Coach just helps you get there, and learn about yourself along the way.

11. Commitment to Excellence AND THEN an Investment in Results: It's NOT the other way around. True success comes from committing to excellence from within yourself, then investing in results for whatever accomplishment you are seeking. This is why Trevor was able to succeed at a high level in his every undertaking. A commitment to excellence is about what you can control. An investment in only the outcome is about what you can't control. For so many people who continually stall or fail, it's because you have this backwards. You ‘commit' to the results you want, while only intermittently ‘investing' in the excellence required to keep it.

12. Reality-Based. Successful clients base their progress in REALITY, not industry promises and fantasies. Trevor was realistic about how far his physique could take him in competition. He had no “illusions” about pro cards and the rest of the fantasies of the industry. When a client is reality-based, they stop seeking “recipes,” “formulas” and “magic powders and supplements.” Reality-based clients don't fall into the fads. Their trust in Coaching prevents them from that, whereas so many trainers in this industry endorse all the noise and nonsense, because they fall into fads themselves. So many people who struggle write me and tell me how many fads they have bought into in terms of training and diet. And many of them don't even realize it. They seldom realize what they actually “need” and instead they follow vogue trends. People ‘truly committed' to long-term success don't do that.

13. Transferable. For successful clients, the lessons of all the above mean that over-time these things become part of their character. These things build and build so that they are “transferable” from one goal to the next, over and again. This is one reason why Trevor and people like him will always be truly SUCCESSFUL at anything they undertake. Their skills and abilities are “transferable.”

Take note that most of the things in the above list are things that having a solid personal network, a Coach, or a mentor, can help you build and develop.

Without the right people in your life, you are unlikely to ever establish these skills and abilities and insights on your own. You need to surround yourself with the kind of people who can keep you in check.

If you have people in your life who can direct you toward building these intangibles, then you won”t struggle so much with physique transformation and maintenance. Instead, “physique transformation” would merely be a reflection of who you are, and how well you do things.

It still amazes me that people would rather continually fail on their own than succeed with help.