This article was inspired by this one by Masculine Millenials, which has some great…
We all want to look better.
We all want to be more muscular, have a better v-taper, less body fat etc. The world simply opens up to you better and more easily when you’ve got a chiselled face, a narrow waistline, and visible muscles.
But the problem is that most people either completely fail to ever achieve this, or if they’re on the ‘lucky’ side of thigs, then they only have temporary success with it.
Meaning; they look good for a month or two out of the twelve. The rest of the year they bloat up and gain weight from Easter, the summer holidays, or Christmas and seemingly have no control over themselves.
Looking good for a couple of months but looking sub-par and bloated the rest of the year is not a win in my book – never has been, never will be.
So how do YOU stay lean throughout the entire year?
Dominating Your Diet With Intermittent Fasting
The first part of this puzzle I’ll adress, is your diet.
Now, most people ‘go on’ diets, with the expectation of it being a temporary thing, when it isn’t. This is a disaster waiting to happen. If for some reason you either expect an eating pattern to be temporary, or you are forced into keeping it temporary because you’ve chosen a stupid and unsustainable method, then you’ll never look good year-round.
You need to do two things:
- Create an eating system that is going to last long-term
- Make damn well sure it isn’t a stupid one, and can be integrated seamlessly with all your other life areas – social, women, travel, family etc.
The best eating system by far is Intermittent Fasting, because it’s so damn flexible. There’s many different ways of structuring this eating system, and is actually ideal if you have key parts of your life that would conflict with a ‘normal’ diet – women, family, friends etc. It works in harmony, rather than in conflict.
And as I keep saying on Twitter, the key to long-term fat loss/staying lean is to make it as easy as possible to keep your calorie intake relatively low, and that’s exactly what IF does.
If you’re feeling restricted at social events, with your family, and with the ladies, then your diet has no chance of lasting long-term.
Training For Aesthetics
The next big piece of the puzzle, is training.
And no, ‘training for aesthetics’ doesn’t mean that every set needs to be 12.2 reps, and high-rep training instantly equals aesthetics. That’s misleading, at best. There’s some truth to it, in the sense that your glycogen stores will tend to be a little bit fuller during any given moment, but it’s not the main factor here.
So yes, higher reps tend to be a little bit better for looking good year round, but it’s very, very minor, and I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
The main factor is of course, staying lean and keeping the body fat levels way down. I would argue that one of the main ways to do this in the gym, is to set relative strength goals, rather than absolute strength goals.
How easy is it going to be to hit a 350 pound bench press at 8% body fat? Virtually impossible for most naturals. That’s an example of where absolute strength goals are going to directly conflict with your ability to stay lean.
Whereas let’s look at a relative goal – a 1.75* bodyweight bench press. That’s perfectly do-able for the majority of you reading this. If I can do it, you can either do it, or get damn close trying. Sure, you will absolutely need to spend time in a calorie surplus, and it will take years to achieve.
But your focus is always on keeping the body fat down, rather than just eating as much as possible to get as big as possible in order to hit some arbitrary, absolute, static number.
Absolute strength goals will not keep you looking good.
Relative strength goals ensure that you DO stay looking good, by default.
If you want some programs to guide you step-by-step towards improving your relative strength, then these two are BOTH based on maximising muscle without the fat gain. The 007 program is for Men Over 40, the Warrior Program is for skinny guys (or hard-gainers).
If you get an Intermittent Fasting eating system that works well for you and integrates into the rest of your life, that is also high in protein and low in sugar and alcohol, you’re onto a winner.
Combine this with an aggressive focus on relative strength progression in the main lifts with your 10RM, 8RM, 5RM, whatever, then you’re sure to look good year-round.
If you’re really looking to step up your game and get personal, one-to-one coaching with me, then check out the Silver and Gold coaching options here. You’ll experience massive improvements in both muscularity and body fat.