It seems every day a new detox, cleanse, weight loss pill, or exercise gadget promising EFFORTLESS weight loss is promoted across social media feeds.
These ads appear too good to be true, but advertisers use "doctor" and "celebrity" endorsements enhancing credibility. With dreams of looking like Ryan Reynolds or Jessica Alba, you consider purchasing.
Celebrity and doctor endorsements are eye-catching, but I believe it's the amazing before and after transformation photos littered throughout the ads that convince people to pull the trigger and whip out their credit card.
You suspect these pictures aren't legit, but with so many amazing transformations, they become convincing. In the end, you roll the dice hoping that pill or gadget lives up to the claims. I mean those pictures can't all be fake, right? And if that fat burning pill transformed others physiques, maybe, just maybe, it will work for you too.
What usually follows is disappointment when the fat doesn't "melt away" as promised.
Below I share my before and after "transformation" photos and how I believe MANY transformation photos are created. The moral of the story: If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Or in this case, if it looks too good to be true, it is.
You can see I "transform" from a skinny, soft, non-muscular guy, to fairly lean, with some additional muscle. My transformation would be particularly exciting if an accompanying ad told you it only took "three minutes of exercise a day, when combined with the powerful, all natural, organic Fat Blaster 3000 Super Shake!"
When I ask people how long they think my transformation took, the average guess is six months.
The TRUTH is those photos are 3.5 hours apart!
Below I share how simple faking a "transformation" photo is without using any photo editing software.
The BEFORE picture.
The before picture was taken in the morning, prior to eating, and after completely voiding my bladder. This is when I appear the thinnest. Manipulating my posture dramatically changes my appearance. Internally rotating my thighs and wearing longer underwear makes my legs appear smaller.
Tipping the front of my hips downward, while pushing my stomach out as far as possible makes my abs disappear. Protruding my head forward, and slumping my shoulders together make any upper body musculature disappear. And lastly, a depressed look on my face tops off the despair I feel.
The AFTER photo
After eating a large breakfast and re-hydrating, I completed an intense, full-body workout achieving a good "pump." Retracting my shoulders and neck restores proper posture, creating the illusion I developed upper body musculature.
Externally rotating my thighs, wearing shorter underwear, and cropping the photo closer, adds to the illusion my thighs have grown. Changing the lighting with a lamp, some coconut oil on my skin, and flexing completes the illusion of a transformation!
You can do more than manipulate the look of your physique to sell rapid fat loss. It's possible to show a 10- to 20-pound weight loss on a scale in a matter of hours.
Dehydration techniques (fasting and spending time in a sauna) used by wrestlers and martial artists has allowed me to lose 13 pounds in 24 for a Jiu-Jitsu tournament. I know professional fighters who have used this act of "cutting weight" to lose 25 pounds in 24 hours!
Sadly, none of the above equates to fat loss or muscle gain. It's simply water weight loss, and posture manipulation, both of which are temporary. It's an illusion that helps sell thousands of weight loss gimmicks every year!
I hope seeing this doesn't discourage you. Instead, I hope this article saves you from the frustration that comes with wasting money on a quick-fix gimmick. It will also save you the disappointment when you don't end up looking like the fitness model on that supplement bottle.
You see, you CAN achieve a killer physique. People are creating real before and after transformations all the time! Unfortunately, those transformations aren't found in a bottle or accomplished in 10 days. Each day spent on a quick-fix gimmick is a day wasted. It's a day that could be used to create lasting lifestyle change. Change that leads to lasting results!
Transformations take work, time, and dedication, but they are happening.
Don't let the idea of that work scare you off. Taking the necessary steps to achieve that physique (improving your nutrition and fitness, you know that whole "lifestyle" thing), not only makes you look better, you will feel better than ever too!
As a fitness coach, no matter how many times I hear it, it never gets old when clients share how amazing they feel from working out and eating healthy. They don't just rave about losing weight and developing great physiques. They go on and on, about how amazing they feel.
They find their productivity at work, strength of relationships, capacity to deal with stress, and overall happiness are all influenced by exercise and food! Everything in life, really is better when you are healthy and fit!
Most people begin exercising with a physique goal in mind. But it's the feeling great that keeps you motivated in the long haul. Endless energy, feeling vibrant and confident each day is what convinces you to continue eating healthy and exercising to create the authentic physical transformation.
The reward of that necessary "lifestyle" is more than pounds on a scale. It's something no scientist, celebrity, or supplement company can sell you.
Ask yourself, is this the year you truly transform?