What we want is pretty simple: to be strong and muscular with a defined 6-pack… while also having the flawless function of an athlete.
Not because we are training for NFL Combine or to be the next CrossFit Games champ, but because we want to live life on our terms with “real life athleticism.”
We want a strong, masculine body that gives us confidence and attracts positive attention from others.
I call this the “athletic and aesthetic physique”, and here’s 7 rules of building it:
1. Work the muscle, not the movement
This is always number 1 on my list, not necessarily because it’s most important, but because it’s the one guys seem to have the most trouble accepting when they’ve been fed the “lift heavy weights at all costs” message for so long.
Your muscles don’t know how much weight you’re lifting… did you get that? All they know is the amount of tension and force they need to produce. Moving 225 pounds through limited range of motion with crappy form is far less effective for muscle building than taking 20 pounds off the bar and owning the movement.
The first thing I do when someone comes to me saying they’ve been training for a while but still lack significant muscular development is tell them to scale back the weight, slow down the movement and maximize tension first and foremost.
2. More Weight, More Work, or Better Work – progress in some way.
When progressive overload comes up, most people focus on the “more weight” aspect, but there are two other main ways to use progressive overload as well: do more work (more reps with same weight); or do better work (use better form, create more tension in the working muscle).
Progression is the name of the game for gaining strength and building muscle. You can’t do the same thing week after week, month after month, and expect to look or perform any differently.
You gotta progress.
You gotta give your body a reason to change – to gain strength, to build muscle, to get better.
When you consider these three options rather than just focusing on adding weight, you are able to make progress every time you hit the gym.
3. Vary the Stimulus
If you want a body that’s aesthetic and athletic, you can’t pledge your allegiance to just one kind of training; you need to find a way to balance explosive work, strength, hypertrophy, and conditioning.
This means doing some heavier weights for low reps (4-6), some medium weights for moderate reps (6-12), some lighter weight for high reps (12-20+), and some light/moderate weight done explosively for low reps (1-6).
Bodybuilding methods? Yep.
Powerlifting and strength principles? Gotta use em.
CrossFit inspired concepts? They have a place.
You gotta get out of the dogmatic, small-minded, “I’m a bodybuilder/powerlifter/etc. mindset and be willing to use all the tools at your disposal.
4. Illusion of Size Trumps Actual Size
I look more muscular at 170 pounds than I did when I bulked up to 190 pounds a few years ago.
How is that possible?
At 190, I was carrying around an extra 15 pounds of fat that was covering much of the muscle I had; at 170, more of that muscle is on display which actually makes me look bigger at a smaller weight.
This flies directly against the common notion that you have to weigh a certain amount to be “big” enough, but trust me on this, the illusion of size beats a number on the scale every time.
5. You can’t forget about the muscles you don’t see in the mirror.
People rarely skip chest or arm day, but it’s common to skimp on leg or back day. But this is a huge mistake if you want to build a body that looks like a Superhero and has the physicality to back it up.
To have a balanced, proportional physique, you have to work the muscles of your back as much (or more) than the “mirror” muscles. If you sit at a desk or work on a computer often, you’ll need to give those muscles even more emphasis to undo the hours and hours of being hunched over a screen.
6. The name of the game is Strength AND Conditioning
The goal is to have a body that’s great-looking, strong, and capable. That means you’re never held back because you can’t do something.
Whether it’s chasing your kids around the backyard, showing up some guy (5 years younger than you) on the court, or running on obstacle raise on short notice – you always wanna be able to say “yes” without hesitation.
In order to do that, you gotta make conditioning a habit. Good news is, it doesn’t have to suck that bad. Programmed correctly, you can get in good shape without hours and hours on the treadmill, pounding your joints.
7. Intelligent, scientifically-backed programming is a MUST
You wanna know a guaranteed way to look the same a year from now? Do random workouts, program hop, or follow any of the Muscle Mag’s “Monthly Super Programs.”
They key to getting long-lasting results fast is intelligently designed, scientifically backed programs followed consistently.
DO ^^^^ and 100% guarantee you’ll start building muscle, gaining strength, and losing fat faster than ever before right away.
Heck, do just ONE of them and that’ll happen.
But there is more.
(I know, typical cliffhanger).
I’ve found that by implementing these 7 tips into a system that has a specific order, with precise structure, and detailed guidelines, you can fast track your success.
What’s more, you remove ALL the guesswork.
I’ll give you the exact details in just a few days.