Welcome to the second instalment of Great Physiques! Within the first instalment, we discussed how…
So we all want a great physique. The big questions are how do we achieve one, and how to then maintain one?
Great physiques have excellent body compositions. They have significantly greater than average muscle mass, and crucially, very low body fat levels. As many of you may already know, your body composition is 80% attributable to your diet.
The most efficient way to achieve a great physique, through building more muscle and even more importantly losing body fat, is to allocate periods of time where you prioritise one over the other. Of course you need to ensure that whilst you are prioritising one, you limit the damage you cause to the other.
Attempting to do both at the same time is very inefficient. Even if you were to have success with this due to lack of training experience (newbie or returning from injury), or drugs, or any other factor, it would be incredibly short lived. I am not going to try and sell the idea that you can do both. It’s very difficult and unsustainable, so even if you were to succeed initially, it would simply be a matter of time before you started spinning your wheels and making zero progress in either direction. This therefore completely contradicts our goals of long term progress and improvement.
With this in mind, it is important to remember your diet is crucial to our journey to achieving a great physique in the most efficient way possible. Whether it is gaining muscle with minimal fat (damage control), or losing body fat with minimal muscle loss (also damage control). No amount of training or cardio will keep you looking lean and chiselled if you’re eating 50% over maintenance calories. No amount of training will maintain all your muscle if you’re eating 50% under maintenance calories.
Now, where most people struggle in their journeys’ to achieving great physiques, is body fat levels & calories being too high. They can’t get lean enough. If they do get lean enough then they can’t maintain it. Granted there are some people who can’t eat enough, or have a “fast metabolism” and therefore never build any muscle, but most people in western societies normally eat way too much.
When it comes to failing to achieve and sustain a great physique due to body fat issues, 90% of the time the sole reason for this is an unsustainable diet. They cannot stick to it. Therefore the diet required to have an incredible, lean physique needs to be a way of life as opposed to an effort. I’m also not going to sell the idea that getting down to the EXTREMES of 6% body fat, for example is going to be effortless. It’s not. But it can be a lot easier than most people make it.
The two main contributors to having a sustainable diet conducive to an incredible, chiselled physique are
- Lifestyle Restructuring.
- Appetite Manipulation.
Lifestyle Restructuring is SO POWERFUL because it creates an environment whereby social, emotional, and habitual needs are all being met and absolutely minimal sacrifices need to be made. Intermittent Fasting is one example of this. People like to eat in the evening. The vast majority of the time nobody cares about breakfast. Even if you are in a situation whereby breakfast becomes a social eating time, you can organise your schedule slightly differently it’s not a problem. The power of IF is that you can eat out with friends, family, girlfriends in the evening and not feel guilty or deprived. You feel great. It satisfies all three of those needs above.
Long term and short term goals that excite the living shit out of you, with a strong drive for success are also important, as these both normally alleviate boredom (habitual eating) to a large degree. Regular sex and emotional intimacy with women and generally good relationships with those who matter to you will tend to alleviate emotional eating to a large degree. Details on all three of these will follow in the future.
Diets fail most of the time because the three needs mentioned above are not met. You feel shit, and eventually your finite willpower will fail.
The second factor, which is huge but I don’t see many people talking about it is Appetite Manipulation. This is different, and is where you are legitimately hungry. (In the case of a “hard-gainer” you are legitimately stuffed to the point of sickness.) You have either been losing fat for a while, losing fat at a relatively quick pace or are already lean and are trying to get leaner. Or any combination of those. This isn’t social, emotional or habitual.
There are many ways to manipulate your appetite, and I’m not going to delve into the strategies in depth today. But it is enormously important, whether you are a “hard-gainer” or have a “slow metabolism” (which are other words for saying you have appetite issues), suppressing or stimulating your appetite is the solution to your problem. It suddenly makes your diet sustainable.
Therefore, a person with a “slow metabolism” can maintain low body fat levels and a great physique, and a “hard-gainer” can start consuming more calories and therefore gain the muscle required to build a great physique, assuming they are already very lean.
Some examples that can potentially suppress appetite in no particular order are:
- Sports/Fun Cardio
- Sleep quality & length
- An absence of liquid calories
I would like to note that these things need to be timed well, and performed in a sustainable manner (gradual implementation). To illustrate, cutting out carbs completely (as you’ve heard it’s the least satiating macronutrient gram for gram) or even going cold turkey on sugar, or to suddenly start drinking 5 cups of coffee per day are all terrible ideas the vast majority of the time. It’s unsustainable and will make you miserable. Whether it takes a day or several weeks doesn’t matter, but it will do. However, this is where it gets complicated so that’s another story for another day.
Time to wrap up, so the main take-away’s for this post are:
- Body composition is 80% diet.
- To achieve & especially to maintain a great physique requires a sustainable diet.
- Sustainable diet = Lifestyle Restructuring + Appetite Manipulation.