Let's get superficial for a minute. Let's talk about physique.
To have an attractive physique or if that word doesn't gel with you...
To have a physique you're proud of, only two things are necessary:
Adequate muscle mass. It doesn't have to be anything crazy! Just enough.
And low enough body fat to see some of the above mentioned muscle.
That's pretty simple right?
Here's the only two things you need to focus on to get there.
1. GET STRONGER.
Progressive overload is the key to making strength and muscular gains.
Progressive overload is a fancy term that means: Do a little bit more over an extended period of time.
There's more than one way to achieve this.
The clearest example is to add weight to your lifts.
If you could add 5 lbs to a lift every week, you would make crazy progress quickly. But it's not always that easy!
For example: let's say you start with lifting 50 lb dumbbells over your head for 3 sets of 5 and then a few months later, you can do 60 lb dumbbells for 3 sets of 5.
You gained strength and on the back of strength overtime comes... muscle mass.
Another way is to progress your exercise selection.
Mastering a movement then moving to the next progression results in a natural progressive overload.
This is the technique commonly used by calisthenics.
Let's say you work your way up to doing sets of 40 pushups and they're feeling easy... Now you choose to challenge yourself with a harder variation... say a 1 arm pushup.
This will in time lead to strength and muscle gains because you'll be overloading your muscles more with the 1 arm work.
But another way is to simply do more work.
For example: Let's say you only have one 35 lb kettlebell at home. You can lift it over your head for 8 reps on both arms. Because we can't increase weight, we can try to lift it overhead 9 times. But that's not always straightforward. So another way to progress is to add an additional set of 8 reps.
This is less common but really good for making gains. Building volume and work capacity leads to more gains over time.
There's other ways to accomplish this like shorter rest times or EMOMS and slow negatives and more time under tension...
But at the end of the day, we're looking to gradually do more in whatever way we train.
It's interesting to note that this can happen in non-traditional strength training as well.
The climber who starts as a beginner and then progresses to more advanced routes will be naturally progressive overloading and with enough volume, will experience some muscular gains.
You can often see this in acrobats, gymnasts and dancers... the more strength and power it takes to do advanced moves makes your body change.
Big compound multi-joint movements have always been the go-to for most, but it seems you could still make progress with smaller isolated movements as long as you seek progress.
When it comes to creating a respectable stronger physique, you need more than just sweating.
You need more than the same old 3 sets of 10 exercises... no matter with barbells, kettlebells or bodyweight calisthenics you need to strategically push your body to get better.
2. MASTERING YOUR DIET.
You gotta fuel your body for the specific goal you have.
If you want to train everyday for long hours and really push your limits, then you're going to need to pack in a lot of good calories to do so.
But in general... most of us probably need to cut a few off.
If you're training hard with the above protocol, then your metabolism and hormones will be working well.
We can make diet so complex, but the most basic way to approach it is to... eat healthier.
By eating healthy, I mean sticking to whole foods, keeping an eye on added sugar, prioritizing foods without packaging and high protein to support your strength and muscular gains.
Whether you eat meat or no meat, grains or no grains... that's all personal choice.
But cutting out sugary, processed foods often leads to less calorie consumption overall.
Of course, you could count calories. You could do intermittent fasting, which I'm a big fan of, but essentially you need to become more aware of what's going into your mouth.
Let's face it. The average American diet is pretty crappy. If you fall to the status quo... you most likely won't be super proud of your physique.
A great example of this is the airplane diet.
Do you mindlessly eat the crackers and soda pop just because they give it to you?
Every time I hop on an airplane, I'm amazed at how many people are heaving coke at 10 AM in the morning.
This is a greater metaphor for how the standards work against us. Bad food is cheap and easy to grab quickly.
And societal norms tell us to have a pastry and cereal for breakfast and to feast every time we see a family member.
Essentially it takes courage and will to eat healthier. But it pays off in how your body feels and looks.
If you get these two right, it's really hard to not have a strong, good-looking physique.
Too much obsessing over physique can be quite egotistical and unhealthy.
But on the healthier side a good looking physique can build confidence and pride.
It says that you take care of yourself and are disciplined enough to do so.
I've found one method to help very much in creating a strong physique without the negative superficial side-effects.
Want me to share it next week? Hit reply and let me know.
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