*this post first appeared on my friend Travis Stoetzel’s blog.
I normally get asked how to build muscle and burn fat; rightfully so, as most dudes I see training in community gyms don’t have a clue. Most guys want a rippin’ 6-pack, cannon-ball delts and to be stronger than their old man but are all going about it the wrong way.
Here are my top answers to questions like this. They have helped me put on 30-lbs after I stopped competing in middle-distance running. I didn’t get muscley-fat as I still have abs and am hovering around 10% body fat.
Here we go…
1) Dial in your technique
If your technique is shit, your results will be also. Dial in the basic squat and hip hinge patterns for lower body training and dial in your shoulder pack and neutral spine for your upper body and core exercises. If you can do this, you’ll be miles ahead of everyone else. Hire a coach or trainer and invest in your results.
2) Dial in a program that works
When I started lifting weight, I thought I was going to bench press and biceps curl 3x/week, no joke. That never happened as I decided to start with a body part split. From that experience and from training clients, that isn’t the best method for beginners. Dudes new to the gym will benefit more from performing exercises more often, rather than once a week as in a body part split. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I decided to go with The Texas Method for beginners. This program is based on Bill Star’s 5×5 protocol. If you want to check it out, look up Practical Programming for Strength by Rippetoe and Kilgore. Once your stop progressing on the beginner program, you can progress to the traditional Texas Method Program, or something similar. Wendler’s 5, 3, 1 is also an awesome program that works.
3) Dial in your nutrition
You gotta stop eating like you did when you were 17, unless you want to get fat. Your metabolism starts to slow down, as you get older, so you have to be more conscious about what goes into your stomach. If you want to get big but stay ripped, you’ll have to be patient with your progress and put in the time. You’ll have to eat a calorie surplus, but not too much. If you are really gung-ho, I would recommend trying the Renegade Diet by Jason Ferruggia. This diet incorporates the newly popular intermittent fasting (IF) protocol. I won’t go into detail about it here, you can just buy the book or check out www.LeanGains.com or John Berardi’s free IF ebook.
Essentially, you would fast for 16-hours a day and eat during the remaining 8-hours. The 8-hours is broken up into two 4-hour chunks. In one 4-hour window, you’ll over eat and in the other 4-hour window you’ll under eat. Another plan I like to incorporate is carb-cycling. Here, you would only eat carbohydrate rich foods around workout time. It’s a very simple plan to follow, and I’ve had great success doing it. And if you don’t workout one day, limit your carb intake to almost nothing.
Read more about The Renegade Diet.
4) Dial in your mind
There’s more to putting on muscle and getting ripped than just going to the gym and missing breakfast. It’s a complete lifestyle. You’ll have to develop the focus so that all your actions during the day and night take you one step closer to your goals. If they don’t, you’re loosing the battle. It’s not easy looking like Thor, because if it was, you would see Thors walking around all over the place! Try to workout at the same time every day. Prepare your meals so you don’t have to resort to junk. Don’t eat fast food or drink sugary drinks. Don’t get wasted and miss your Saturday morning workouts. Sleep 8 uninterrupted hours a night. Stop thinking about it and make it happen.
5) Dial up and train with a training partner who’s stronger than you
How are you supposed to get better if you’re not surrounding yourself with stronger dudes? Train with a training partner that has similar goals to you and who has their technique dialed in. You can work off each other and reach levels of size and strength impossible to reach on your own. Don’t choose a buddy that only works out so he can check out the chicks on the treadmill. They must eat, live and breathe just like you or else, they’ll just waist your time.
Looking for a badass physique? If you haven’t looked into LGN365, it’s a fantastic resource and program designed and created by my colleague JC Deen. JC and I wrote a popular article for the Greatist called “How to Fix the Most Common Workout Mistakes” last summer. I wouldn’t just collaborate with just any old trainer! JC’s the real deal and this program is awesome.
Find out more of LGN365 HERE.
Happy training and thanks for reading.
Make it happen.