At some point all we really need is guidance. We need mentorship, we need for someone to simply point us in the right direction, tell us where to start and then what to do next. We need clarity so we can do what we do best, work.
Motivation is something that will come and go, but if you’re doing the right stuff day in and day out, motivation will be but a footnote in your incredible story. This is true for both life and fitness, and it’s fitness, the gym, training and nutrition, that often serves as a wonderful microcosm for how we live our lives, how happy we are, and how successful we are.
Just as we need guidance in life, we may need even more guidance when it comes to our bodies, our health, and our strength, and that’s what I am going to give you in this article; a no-bullshit guide from beginning to end. I’ll remove the noise, the overload of information, and bring to you the simplest, straight-forward way to your best body.
The Journey That Never Ends, Nor Should It.
I’ve built my own body to a point that I’m very happy, proud and comfortable with, but I’m not done. I’ll never be done. Physical improvement, just like the improvement of the Self, the spirit, and the mind, never ends, nor should we want it to. Even as age aims to take our strength and our vibrance, we must move onward and upward, forward toward a stronger, more resilient body, mind, and spirit. Life is a constant ascent. There are times where we stumble and regress, but there is no plateau, no place to sit back and lament. We move and improve or we ease up and we regress and we fail.
I have a unique perspective because it’s a perspective that’s less unique than most authority figures; I’m no naturally-born Adonis and my transformation didn’t happen over night. I built my body in the face of bad genetics and even worse information. I’ve done pretty much every workout you’ve heard of and many you haven’t. I’ve followed most of the diets you have subscribed to, and over the past decade I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t.
Is it the only thing or things or stuff that work? No. Anyone who claims to hold the fountain of youth, the only key to your ideal body is full of shit and their Holy Grail is likely some fine sales copy and marketing with no real solution, no value. There are other options, but just like when I’m buying something, options aren’t always the best thing in the world. More isn’t better. Focus is.
Within this article you’re going to be presented with a very focused way to build you ideal body over the next two years. Most of your results will occur in year one, the eye-opening, jaw-dropping gains of muscle or fat loss or athleticism will occur within the next 365, but to truly build your best body (again, something that will take a lifetime to develop and you’ll never develop it, but the thing closest to that goal will require 2 years) I need two years of your life.
Within these two years, though, you’ll gain the tools and the strength and the power and the confidence to live that strong, bold, audacious life that your soul would define as truly living.
When you set out to build your best body the first thing you’re hit with is information overload. Everyone under the sun wants to tell you how to eat and how to train and what magic potions you should consume. I bit on nearly every promotion that came my way and I was able to figure out who knew what they were talking about and who didn’t, and I’ve created my own programs and diets with one thing in mind above all else; simplicity. My goal isn’t to impress you with big words or fancy terms, but simply to give you stuff that works in the shortest possible amount of time with knowledge not merely gained with my eyes glued to a book but in the gym and in the kitchen, trying, experimenting, and discovering what the truth is, what works, what’s myth and what’s pure nonsense.
The fact, though, remains that you can’t simply “workout” or “eat healthy” and build a great body. I did this for a while. I’d read a book or an article and think it was the be all end all and head to the gym and simply implement what I just read. It doesn’t work. You need a program and you need a diet. In fact, you need programs and your diet will need some adjusting.
With that, the shocker, in this article I’m going to shamelessly plug my own stuff. Why? Because it’s awesome. My workouts have helped a lot of people get in the best shape of their lives by following the most strait forward path to their goal available. No nonsense. No fluff. My diet, the Man Diet, is, essentially, how every man should eat. It’s an incredibly simple method to follow and one that you can and should follow until you kick the bucket. It’s far more than a “cutting or bulking protocol”, but a method of eating that is healthy, that will help you boost testosterone levels naturally, which will help you become better in every other area of your life.
My own products aren’t the only things I’m going to plug or recommend. I do not want to provide you with too much information, but I’ll give you the names of some other guys who put out great information, who can also give you guidance. I make no money from these names, but I know most of these guys, their stuff is great, and I’ll include them in this article where I can.
Now, having possibly written too much already, let’s get into how to build your ideal body from start to finish.
Let’s start with the diet.
1. Eat Like a Man.
The focus of this article will not be on enhancing your testosterone levels because that’s precisely what each of these programs do by making you stronger, leaner (most important to boosting T), getting you in better shape, or feeding you the building blocks of testosterone, as this diet does. With that said, the Man Diet will help you build a better, stronger body for a few reasons:
1. You’re not going to deplete your calories too much like many diets recommend.
This will keep your cortisol levels in check and help you avoid muscle loss. The Man Diet also has two routes, the muscle building route and the fat loss route, so both goals are taken car of within the diet with adjustments made to the macros you’re going to consume.
2. The fat intake.
Testosterone comes from cholesterol, it occurs when our bodies convert it into testosterone in our testes. We get cholesterol from fat, and there are certain fats at certain times of the day that are great for us.
Simply put, the Man Diet is the first start to your ideal body. With your diet in check, with your hormones given room to thrive nad flourish, you’re able to focus purely on your training. All you need to know about how to eat effectively is in this article: How to Eat Like a Man.
Rather than taking you through how to eat, read that article and discover how to boost your T levels through your diet. Get your diet settled FIRST. Don’t read beyond this paragraph if you’re not going to get your diet in check. If, however, you’re already on the Man Diet, one of the thousands benefiting from the meal Diet, then you may proceed.
2. Start With Strength.
Before any aesthetic goal is pursued; before you aim to get abs or bigger shoulders or anything like that, start with strength. It’s strength that will help you build muscle, more muscle, and burn fat, more fat. Without strength you’re setting yourself up for what will amount to less than what you could have accomplished if you were stronger. You’re lowering your bar, you’re quelling your potential.
How does training for strength differ and where can you find guidance with this goal?
When you’re training for strength you’re not constantly training to failure and your focus on each lift should be the explosive speed of the concentric contraction. Some of my best strength gains have come when I stopped the set as my lift slowed, not when I failed, but when the speed of the exercise began to slow.
Strength, maybe more than any other goal, requires strategy. You need heavy weeks, deloading weeks, and there needs to be a fine balance between training and recovery. You need a roadmap. And yes, I’m plugging my own stuff, but if you follow someone else’s stuff, FOLLOW IT to it’s completion. You need to see each goal to a reasonable fruition (you don’t need to become the strongest human on the planet before you can move on) before you can move on to the next step in your evolution.
A couple years ago I teamed up with an awesome strength coach from New York, Joe Meglio, to create a program that will help you get as strong as possible over the next few months.
Check out Strong Like a Warrior Here.
This is the first step of your evolution. If you missed this step, come back to it. It is a step that you will come back to once again, but to create the right foundation for a great transformation into a body that you love and let’s you live the life you want to live, start with strength.
Other guys who have great strength programs:
- Elliott Hulse (youtube channel)
- Mike Westerdal of CriticalBench.com
- Charles Poliquin
- Christian Thibaudeau find him on T-Nation
Look them up.
A few more tips on strength:
1. Don’t get out of shape.
We cover this in Strong Like a Warrior, but your goal with strength isn’t to simply powerlift, you want athletic strength and strength that translates to better performance in the real world. We work on a lot of structural stuff with the Warrior program, helping you with your posture and grip strength, explosiveness and even endurance.
When you’re getting stronger you should be getting in better shape. This will further any future goals you have as well.
2. Explosive power should be a primary focus.
Yes, lifting heavy things means you’re getting stronger, but the explosive, athletic power that you get from lifts like deadlifts and cleans and the snatch and plyometrics are invaluable. If you have this power with you as you’re building your base there’s little that can stop you from reaching the body you want.
So it’s not just a slow, heavy lift that should be your focus from the onset, but the explosive power that will also help you become a better athlete.
Always be sprinting.
Springing plays an important role in the Warrior program, as it should with any program. Sprinting is one of the few forms of cardio that will improve your lung capacity while also improving your power and helping you burn fat without compromising your muscle gains. We use sprinting typically as one of our finishers. Don’t over-do it, but like everything else, have a plan and a course of action, don’t just go outside and run as fast as you can until you’re tired.
The Right Muscle Building Routine (for fat loss guys too)
When you have a stronger base, you can then build upon that base and see some actual success with your next endeavor. Spend at least 3 months getting stronger, more if you like, then it’s time to focus on the muscle, and that includes those of you trying to lose fat.
There’s a myth that training for fat loss should differ than training for muscle. The reality is that the more metabolically active muscle you have the more fat you’re going to burn. The only changes that exist while training for fat loss vs. training for muscle come from the diet, something that we cover at length in the Man Diet.
As an aside, if you’ve read about the Man Diet, you’ll know that I’m against the practice of bulking. It wreaks havoc on your hormones namely testosterone, by forcing your body to gain fat and typically eat far too many highly glycemic carbohydrates. There is a better way. So while we’re training to pack on muscle, you’re still going to be sprinting and staying in shape. The goal isn’t pure mass, but lean mass.
… and for those of you trying to burn fat, you’re golden, just follow the fat loss portion of the Diet, and do as follows.
Remember, this is the next step in a linear process, focus on athletic strength and power first, then move into this next step.
This next step should take even more time, at least a year. A few mistakes people fall into over this span:
1. They follow the same program, rather, a program that has no variation, no progressions. It’s worked once so they stick to it.
2. They follow no program. They read an article like this and hit the gym using the tips laid out, creating their own workouts when they walk into the gym.
Both mistakes will lead you directly into the arms of frustration, nothing more.
A good muscle/fat loss program should…
a. Offer your muscles looks that you’ve yet to see.
This whole “muscle confusion” thing that P90x made famous is simply progressively overloading your muscles by adding weight each week, but also changing up your sets and your cadences.
Some take muscle confusion as an open door to simply do something different every day with no real rhyme or reason, no starting point nor end point to the training, just pure confusion (Crossfit, you have some awesome programs, I like a lot of what you’re doing, but I’m looking at you).
Just like we started with strength here, you can’t start at the same point as someone who’s 5 years into their training life. There are specific starting points and boxes you have to check off before you move on if you want your best body, if you’re fine with mediocre, incremental improvements, then by all means have at it and keep doing random shit.
b. Should put your muscles through a considerable amount of pain.
Strong Like a Warrior is a TOUGH program, don’t get me wrong, but in this phase of your evolution you should be exposing your muscles to even more excruciating pain that’s brought on by lactic acid.
Lactic acid is a precursor to growth hormone, and while testosterone is one of the most awesome things on the planet, growth hormone isn’t far behind. It’s growth hormone that will help you burn even more fat during your workouts while helping you maintain and gain muscle. This is important because body fat opposes testosterone, so whichever program you choose in this phase of your evolution, make sure it uses some of the following methods:
- Combine sets: super sets, giant sets, even quad sets and 5 exercise-sets are a great way to just decimate your muscles during a workout without spending a ton of time in the gym. The key is the quality of time, not necessarily the quantity.
- Cadence adjustments, that is, changes in the tempo of your lifts. The main changes in cadence should come on the eccentric contraction of the lift, and while changes in weight and reps and sets are very important, cadences are just as important changes to make in your training.
Where muscle building programs and fat loss programs are concerned, I’ve been sifting through the good and the bad info out there for the past decade. I’ve created some awesome programs, a number of them. One will help you build your best “shape”, another will bring you through phases designed to help you increase your testosterone levels and propel to a greater body, and another lasts nearly a year and will help you go from mediocre to great.
Individually, they’re awesome, they’ve each brought me and many others closer to my and their ideal. But when packaged together you have a program, or a set of programs, that will help you burn fat while building muscle and reach your ultimate goal as long as they’re followed with proper nutrition. Thus, I packaged them all together as the Alpha Male Bundle.
If you spend the next 15 months following the guidance held within the pages of the Alpha Male Bundle’s programs you’re going to love the results you get. The key is focus.
Where most fall off the wagon is with their focus. They see something new and shiny and quit whatever they’re doing to go try the new and shiny program.
I wrote this article because of the same question I had when I first opened a muscle building mag or searched for workouts online…
With all of this information out there telling me what to do and how to train, what will actually get me results?
There are a number of programs that will help you, a few diets, what you need is someone who knows what they’re talking about, someone who’s done what you want to do and ultimately someone you trust. The other guys I mentioned in this article all have programs that will yield great results, check them out, and check out the Diet, The Warrior Program, and The Alpha Male Bundle.
If you see things through you’ll be happy with the body you create.
Check out the Alpha Male Bundle HERE.
Guys who have awesome muscle-buiding/fat loss workouts:
- Ben Pakulski is simply a massive, intelligent human.
- John Romaniello of Roman Fitness Systems
- Mike Matthews of Muscle for Life
- Vince Del Monte of Vince Del Monte Fitness
Look them up.
How to Create Your Best Body
It’s not an easy road, it requires focus and persistence and real, intense work. But it is a relatively simple road when you consider that all it takes is the following of a program that works. It doesn’t require of you a ton of research, though each of the aforementioned programs will provide you with that research. Find a method that you believe in and that works, and stick to it. Don’t start a program then search for another. Don’t buy a workout then stop a week into it and start another. Focus.
See each phase of your transformation through.
Start with the diet, then strength, then the details. It really is simple, and if you’re willing to work and persist and stay the course, you will build the body you’ve always wanted, it’s just a matter of time.