How To Develop Strength. Courage. And Look Good Naked.

Vulnerability. That annoying little thing that women want from us. They want us to expose our feelings. Share what’s inside.

“Tell me what you’re feeling… inside.”
“Express your feelings!

So many arguments between men and women begin and end with our inability to express our feelings, and their abundant need to do so. It’s a painful and never-ending cycle with both sides lacking empathy for the other. Both sides at odds and unable to understand the frustrations of the other.

It’s true that when we’re at our most vulnerable, we’re exposed. We’re exposed for the world to see. Who we are underneath the multiple layers and defenses that have built up over the years. The hardened facade that we’d like people to think is the real us.

What’s this article really about?


If you’re confident when you’re completely exposed. You’re a truly confident man. Now let’s build the armour needed to get there.


It’s easier to be strong when we have armour. When there’s a line of defense protecting us from the world. Or us from our enemy.

Our bodies are our armour. The better equipped we are for battle (sports, emergency situations, or literally for a fight) the more confident we’re going to be. And just like the best armour and weapons in the world can give a warrior confidence. A great looking physique can (and undoubtably does) give us the same.

We’re going to go over unique strategies to help accomplish both: a great looking, and great performing physique that will give you the confidence you need to be at your best every single day you’re alive. Does that mean our confidence is only skin (or muscle) deep? Of course not. We’ll deal with the courage and strength that a man should possess within in an upcoming article. But for now, it’s all about muscle.

300 muscle

Find your purpose.

We’ll go into it further in a future article, but having a powerful “why” is maybe the most important thing you can possibly have – no matter what your endeavour. I’m getting emails daily from guys who list “a lack of motivation” as one of their greatest obstacles to building their ideal body. We all have this as an obstacle, if we’re honest, from time to time.

Some of this can be attributed to a hormonal imbalance. In which case you should check this article out on improving your testosterone levels. But a lot of the time it’s simply a matter of not wanting it enough – or not knowing why you should want it so much.

Some (few) seem to be born with a burning desire to accomplish great things. They usually have a powerful mission and purpose attached to what they’re doing. If you’re going to build your ideal body, you need to have a powerful reason that will get you to the gym when it’s the last thing you want to do. But also help you eat the right foods when you’d rather eat crap.

Most of the time we don’t have to search very far for this reason. It’s usually right in front of us. Improved confidence (why do you want it?). A longer, more energetic life (why do you want it – or who do you want it for?). Ask why, and keep asking until you get to the root of your most emotional desires.

Find your purpose. Then implement the following strategies.

Add some intensity to your training.

In preparing for the movie 300, the entire cast had to go through rigorous training in order to look like they eventually looked like in the image above. To start, they had their purpose: $. If they didn’t get the body they were supposed to get, some of them wouldn’t make it in the movie. The film clearly wouldn’t have been as successful had a bunch of chubby dudes been shown running into battle against the mighty Persian army. And chubby is what a lot of them were when training started.

They also trained like athletes. They lifted heavy, mixed intense (sprints) cardio into their weight training, and lifted with a lot of variation in their rep counts. Their success in their training was measured on their performance, not simply how they were looking. The lesson: if you’re getting stronger, improving your power and endurance, you’re most likely going to be building a better looking physique.

Adding different athletic movements to your training can help with the intensity. Most namely plyometrics and Olympic lifts (and variations for both).

Why do we want intensity?

Sprints are the best way to burn fat and maintain muscle. With weight training, it’s the last 3 reps before failure where the majority of the muscle damage is created. Add in the right nutrition and you’re going to find that perfect balance where you’re burning fat and building muscle at the same time.

The key: intensity, and explosive athletic movements.

Olympic Lifts and Plyometrics

The majority of the athletes we see on TV playing basketball, boxing, or playing football do a lot of these kinds of exercises because they build power, speed, and explosiveness. In the case of Olympic lifts, they also really help broaden the shoulders and build thick traps.

You don’t see a lot of these lifts done in gyms these days. You see even more of them done improperly with terrible form. Start off with low weights and progress.

A few tips for each Olympic lift:

1. Keep the weight close to your body. You want it travelling in as vertical plain as possible. You don’t want the bar looping out in front of you like a semi-circle. You want it to remain tight to your body throughout.

2. Use a weight that you can explode with. If the exercise is slow, lift lighter weights.

3. Both the clean and the snatch require a very fast movement. The majority of the “lift” is done in the first 6 inches of the exercise. This is where most of the explosion will happen.

Add the clean and press into your shoulder day and the snatch into your hip or traps day. We’re building armour, but we’re also building weapons. Both exercises help build lean muscle, but they also dramatically improve explosiveness.


Chad Howse Muscle

Pull twice a week for 1 month.

The back and the shoulders are the two most important muscle groups when constructing a physique that will make you confident. But the back is also one of the biggest muscles in your body. It’s involved in virtually every movement our upper body makes, especially in the athletic arena.

When we think “I want to look good with my shirt off,” we think of the mirror muscles. The chest, abs, shoulders, and biceps. But the back pulls the shoulders back, making them appear much more broad in the process. In doing do they also make our chest appear much broader as well.

For 1 month, specialize on this very important muscle group. Focus on back-dominated pulling exercises twice a week, with the rest of your days taking care of the other muscle groups. Odds are, what you’ve been doing up to this point has been focusing more on pushing that pulling anyways, so it’ll do your physique (performance as well) some good regardless.

Suck your stomach in whenever you workout.

One of the greatest mistakes you can make when you’re training is pushing your stomach out. You see it a lot with squats or the leg press where we push our stomach in an effort to support our lower back. Sucking your belly button to your spine and activating your core will have a greater positive effect.

When you push out your stomach, you’re also creating a belly (even if that belly is pure muscle). For years I did this. And even though I had a six pack, with a shirt on it looked like I was in my first stages of pregnancy. When I started sucking my belly button to my spine (I know I know, we’ve been told to do it a million times – but who actually does it?) my abs flattened out. My waste shrunk. And the V was born.

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  • Spencer

    Awesome article! Having a purpose is very important, and I have a couple purposes myself, wich keeps me very motivated. Also, the part of the back is very important, and something I have done for a while now. It has litterally transformed my upperbody getting into back training real hard. I never really thought about my stucmach, but I am gonna start paying attention to it. Thx!

    • No problem. The stomach's an important one. You'll see changes pretty quick.

  • Kay

    Sweet article indeed Chad. You're the first person whom I've heard the advice of sucking in your stomach – of course we hear it when we are supposed to be doing doing an exercises, but I had no idea you do it when performing other exercises. Two questions 1. Do you personally suck in your stomach during your entire workout – wether its sprinting or weight lifting? And 2. Does sucking it in actually build more core muscles over time? Thanks in advance man – you rock!!

    • Hey Kay,

      Think of it more as a cross between sucking it in, and flexing your abs. I keep my core activated throughout. You obviously forget at times, but for the most part I keep it sucked in, yes.

      Glad I could help!

      • Hey Chad,

        Do you have a video of yourself (or any other trainer) performing the exercises while sucking in the stomach? I think I'm doing it wrong and being a visual person, I'd appreciate some kind of a demo.


      • Hey Max,

        Great idea. I'll work on that for the weekend.

  • Lawrence

    Hey Chad,

    First off, I would like to thank you for all the work you put into this blog. The posts that you turn out and the rate that you do it is simply fantastic. I really apreciate how you mix motivation/get off your behind and do something posts with workout posts.

    Anyway, I have a question about weight training in general. I'm seventeen years old and have already had my growth spurt, but will probably still grow for a few more years. I'm on the skinny side and would like to add some mass as I play a lot of contact sports. Do you know if it is safe for me to start free weights at my age without causing any complications(like if a ten year old started weights)?

    Thanks again for the great blog!
    Stay strong,
    Lawrence – Faciat Deus me fortem!

    • Hey Lawrence, thanks bro, glad you're liking the site!

      There are different theories behind this, but I'm on the side that it's all good. Especially at 17. I'd stay away from the "Max" lifts (although I don't think they'll hurt at all, but just to be safe). But you'd be fine to start lifting and lifting hard.

      Good luck man.

      • Lawrece

        Thanks, I think I'll give your Thor workout a try.

  • eidolon138

    Once again ,good points and very succinct.
    You know me fairly well from being a challenge member, So for the DRIVE portion I tend to fall into the later description (coming back several times from neat death, told I can't walk, or lift, or sprint. Now I do it all again, and with your help hope to get back to my former level and then exceed them (Oh and even though I took a little training side track (more volume) from the first stage-your techniques have led me to be benching, squatting, and chinning at level not seen since injured several years ago, so thank you.
    A purpose is very important to every man's reason for getting up in the morning; it is often not a tangible or quantifiable idea but an intrinsic quality that drives us to be what we see ourselves as (our own inner HERO)
    If you give up on achieving that HERO burning deep within your psyche, (both mentally and physically) then you essentially give up on yourself-
    I see it all the time in the Paramedic/rescue field-Those who are physically out of shape/ill/ and depressed- It seems that they have resigned to misery.

  • eidolon138

    Oh and on the stomach thing I too have noticed that, in my martial arts and in the service we sucked in our gut and braced it for impact all the time and we would do contraction exercises with impact to teach that constant tension. I often do about 3min a day of 3x1min butterfly kicks while having my abs hit.

    • Thanks bro – well said on both accounts. Ya the sucking in the stomach is something we're all taught at a young age but we forget – especially when we start lifting heavier weights.