For as long as I can remember, I wanted to build a body I was proud of.
The kind of body that’s strong, masculine, and good-looking, with muscle in the right places and six pack abs.
As someone who’s always been involved in sports in some capacity, the idea of looking and performing good was important to me. And I’m not talking about being “an athlete” in the sense of preparing for the NFL Combine or trying to compete in the next Crossfit Games.
I’m talking about “real life athleticism”, like having a body that can run, jump, lift, and play in every direction – without aches or pains – whether you’re chasing your kids around the backyard or attempting a PR in the gym.
But there was a BIG problem: all of the fitness experts, websites, and magazines that I could find told me it has to be one way or the other.
“Bodybuilders train one muscle group per day and hit the gym 6 days per week… and they don’t have time to worry about how their body feels or performs, it’s 100% about aesthetics.”
“Athletes only do “functional” movements… and don’t waste time worrying about how they look.”
And through experience, I learned that specializing too much in either of these methods has it’s downfalls…
- Too much focus on bodybuilding requires so much time and effort that pretty soon, your entire life revolves around fitness.
- Trying to follow the plans of elite athletes can take a toll on your joints and just isn’t possible to sustain for most normal people who have jobs, families, and other stuff going on outside of fitness
Still, I didn’t really know a better way, so I’d train like an athlete for a while… but all that focus on barbell lifts and maximum strength took a toll on my joints , and quite honestly, I missed doing fun exercises like biceps curls and training for the “pump.”
So I’d switch it up and train like a bodybuilder… only to end up bored to death from training one body part at a time and burnt out from having to be in the gym 6 days per week.
I had tried every method in the book. I’d spent thousands of dollars on workout and nutrition programs. I’d taken all the pills and powders the supplement companies could sell. I did everything the mainstream bodybuilding and fitness websites said to do…And the worst part? After years of dedicating all this time and effort to the gym, I still didn’t have the body that I wanted.
But no matter what I did, I struggled to gain strength, I struggled to build muscle, I struggled to get that lean, chiseled look I wanted, and I was still trapped inside a body I didn’t like.
I was embarrassed to take my shirt off in public. Heck, I was even embarrassed to workout in front of other people because I was so weak so I’d sneak into the weight room late at night to train by myself.
It got to a point where I thought maybe having a strong, lean, muscular body just wasn’t possible. Then, I discovered something that completely changed the way I approached physique transformation. And through this discovery, I found the methods that allowed me to build the body I’d always wanted.
You Are Being Lied To
Not to go all “fear-mongering” on you, but it’s true.
Most mainstream fitness resources – from magazines to websites, even blogs – are, at best, misleading. They show you all the crazy, intense ways that athletes, bodybuilders, and actors transform their bodies. They make you think that getting in shape is really complicated…
- You gotta take this supplement “stack”…
- You gotta train 6-days per week (or even twice per day)…
- You have to discover this new “tip” or “trick”…
They give you just enough information to keep you guessing and to keep you buying their supplements or reading their “new” methods each month. But that extreme, all-or-nothing approach doesn’t work for people with average genetics, limited time, and a life outside the gym.
Do it their way, and you’ll likely end up beat up and feeling “fried” all the time. I should know. Been there, done that.
If you really want to build a great-looking, high-performing body, there are two things you must do:
- Avoid the 4 most common types of “killers” of physique transformation that are plaguing your fitness program
- Take specific, intentional steps to train smarter, not harder
The “Kryptonite” Plaguing Your Fitness Program
There are four common killers that plague most fitness programs. Think of these as the “Kryptonite” to your gains.
- Extreme muscle soreness
- CNS fatigue
- Joint degradation
- Excessive spinal compression
These killers will sabotage the efforts of even the best of us well-meaning, “normal” guys to build a better looking, better performing body. Let’s take a quick look at each of these.
Extreme Muscle Soreness
Muscle soreness is often something we use to gauge whether or not our most recent work out was “effective” or not. But in reality, that’s not always the best indicator. When you first start working out, muscle soreness is usual.
As you train more regularly, you’ll have to continue working harder and harder to feel that soreness. You may feel sore again when starting a new work out program or doing exercises you haven’t done in a while, but overall, that extreme, feel-it-for-days soreness is rare.
Some people will look at that as a bad thing and continue pushing the intensity and duration of their training sessions in order to chase the feeling. They are the people thinking up the craziest stuff possible just in order to destroy themselves in the gym and “feel” like they got a good work out.
Those people fail to recognize there’s a point of diminishing returns here.
I think a better response is to understand that prolonged muscle soreness is actually going to hold you back.
It’s going to make day-to-day activities and hobbies more uncomfortable, and it’s going to make it more difficult to recover between your training sessions, which may actually make it more difficult to gain strength and build muscle.
Some muscle soreness is fine. But if your workouts are consistently producing extreme muscle soreness, your recovery and movement quality may be hindered. And neither of those things is a good thing for long-term happiness or results.
The Central Nervous System (CNS) is like the main control system of the human body. In terms of exercise, CNS fatigue is when you push your body too hard, for too long. Some people say that reaching a state of “overtraining” is extremely difficult, others believe it’s a threat everyone needs to consider.
What I know is this: The workouts I see pushed out in the mainstream fitness culture seem to be designed for people who live very different lives than your typical “normal” person who has a stressful job, maybe a family, and gets less than perfect sleep.
After being at this for over a decade, I’ve realized that the key to minimizing CNS fatigue is managing intensity in the gym and aiming to reduce stress outside of it.
The “suck it up and be a man” approach so popular in many fitness circles ain’t gonna do that for you. And if you shrug it off and keep pushing harder and harder, you will pay the price. It’s not a matter of “if”, it’s “when.”
It’s commonplace for bodybuilders and committed meatheads alike to sustain a number of injuries on the road to maximum muscle and strength.
From Herniated disks to hip replacements (and a lot of other stuff in-between), the sacrifice is real.
There was a time when, in my mind, a few injuries here and there was worth the risk for maximizing gains. But now, even just a few years later, that line of thinking seems misguided and short-sighted.
What you do to your body now will have a significant effect on the quality of life you have 10, 20 or 30+ years from now. Maybe right now sacrificing form for an extra ounce of muscle seems worth it, but your longevity is on the line.
Failure to properly select exercises you can do correctly and pain-free is the key to long-term join health. There’s a price to pay for what we do to our bodies in the gym if we fail to recognize this and employ intelligent programming.
Excessive Spinal Compression
Some exercises and methods may be really effective, but that doesn’t mean they are optimal for health and longevity.
The more often you place heavy loads on your spine (think: barbell squats, overhead presses — anything where the weight in at the top of your spine), the greater likelihood there is of injury.
In a perfect world where people can do every exercise with perfect form and have zero flexibility and mobility limitations, maybe that wouldn’t be the case.
But that’s not reality. And in the presence of these limitations, excessive spinal compression increases the likelihood of injuries that will slow your progress now and decrease your quality of life later.
Heavy, powerlifting-style lifts are cool and can be a great tool for gaining strength and building muscle, but for health and longevity, the use of these types of exercises must be programmed intentionally and intelligently.
How To “Bulletproof” Your Workouts So That You Can Get Jacked and Stay Injury Free
Most programs that you’ll find in the muscle mags and mainstream fitness websites will tell you to stop being a sissy and train like a man. They’ll wear injuries, fatigue, aches, and pains like a badge of honor.
They’ll say you gotta be willing to pay the price. But that’s just pride, arrogance, and stupidity talking.
Truth is, 95% of the workout programs you’ll find online are designed for guys who are okay making the gym their life. Guys willing to sacrifice whatever necessary for a little more muscle. Guys who have the extra time and resources to organize everything around their training and diet schedule.
But that’s not the case for most of us. The majority are working with limited “bandwidth” for getting jacked and building the body they want.
- Don’t have a lot of time
- Aren’t on steroids of other performance enhancing drugs
- Don’t have great genetics for building muscle or gaining strength
- Are sick of getting injured from their workouts and feeling like crap all the time (and trying to force themselves to do unrealistic programs that only end in an “on again, off again” cycle)
So how can you avoid the physique “Kryptonite” and make real, losing gains?
Here’s 4 foolproof ways to turn things around and start getting stronger, building muscle, and developing flawless function so that you look and feel great:
Avoid exercises you can’t do correctly. Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how often people tell me “Deadlifts (or whatever) cause me a lot of pain but I’ll do them if I have to to make gains.” Hear me on this: there are NO required exercises you must do in order to gain strength or build muscle. I don’t care what exercise it is, if you can’t do it correctly and pain-free, there’s always an alternative that will get the job done.
Reduce Training Time. I’ve convinced that the vast majority of people can’t bring intensity and focus to a workout for more than 60 minutes. Any longer than that and things go to shit quickly. This is even more true the greater your responsibilities and stress levels. I’ve been experimenting with workouts that are more towards 30-45 minutes recently and have nothing but positive things to say.
Reduce Training Intensity. You know those guys squeezing out grinders on every set and training to extreme muscular failure? Yeah, you don’t wanna do that. Too much of that, too often will fry your CNS and leave you feeling like crap. If lifting to muscular failure (to where you have to either drop the weight or have a spotter help you lift it) is an intensity of “10”, you want to stick more around an “8” the majority of the time. Occasionally push it to a 9 here and there when you’re really feeling it. Very, very rarely (if ever) let it go to a “10.”
Focus More On Muscular Tension and Less On Maximum Weight. I alluded to this in my previous email, but one of the biggest keys to protecting your joints is to make sure you’re stressing the muscle more than the joint. This often requires shifting from a “more weight!” approach a first focusing on muscular tension and worrying about weight second. This doesn’t mean you stop trying to get stronger, it just means you do it within the context of proper form.
Know this: most of the fitness info you see is designed for guys who want to live in the gym and are okay sacrificing whatever they need to in order to squeeze out another ounce of muscle. I was once one of these guys.
But I’ve since realized there’s more to life than the gym. As a “normal” person, you gotta seek balance.
And while it flies in the face of what you’re used to hearing, doing less, but doing it better is actually the key to getting long-lasting results fast.
When you’re not beat up and fried all the time it becomes much easier for you to get leaner, stronger, and more muscular. Pretty simple.
Good news is, you don’t just have to “wing it.” There’s actually a specific, definable method for building a great looking, high performing body without killing yourself in the gym or going on a diet so complicated it takes a degree in biochemistry.
And soon, I’m going to show you the “blueprint” for building the body you’ve always wanted in half the time (hint: it involves something I call the “Athletic and Aesthetic 5”, and you’re gonna love it). Stay tuned.
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