Skinny guys and out of shape guys alike often see a guy who’s in really good shape and wonder,
Huh, I wonder if its worth the effort?
As an ex-skinny guy myself who used to be skinny the majority of his life, I know what its like to be on both sides of the fence. It took around 5 years of consistency to get from point A to point B.
It still requires work on a daily basis like eating and going to the gym but since I've been doing it for so long, I've found ways to arrange my schedule in an ideal way so I don't lose a whole lot of time.
No matter what your situation is - whether you're working, in school, or retired, you will always be better off being jacked as opposed to not jacked.
Experiencing life through a strong, masculine body feels a hell of a lot better than experiencing life through a weak, slobby body.
Your body is something you carry around with you 24/7. It is the filter through which you experience the world and perceive reality. No matter what it is you're doing at any given moment, your body is going to be there for the ride and you're going to experience life through it.
If your body is operating at an optimal healthy physical state of being, people are treating you better, and you have a sky high level of confidence, its going to significantly enhance everything else you do and experience.
Its a great reward that can't be bought with money. No matter how much money you have or what resources you have access to, its impossible to build a killer physique without putting in a lot of effort and paying your dues just like everyone else.
Here are some of the benefits that come along with having a jacked, masculine body.
- Sky high level of confidence
- More respect from other men
- Increased attention from women
- People treat you better overall
- You feel a deep inner sense of power and control you didn't have before
- You're more likely to get promoted if you have a job
You don't have to workout for 3 hours a day to reap the benefits of a great body. Hell, you don't even need to have abs. If you can build up some large shoulders, chest, arms, and back, while keeping your bodyfat low enough so your face doesn't look soft and pudgy, that will suffice to reap the benefits.
But How Long Does It Take?
Results can come very quickly right off the bat, especially if you're eating right and training consistently with intensity. Putting on 25 - 30 lbs of muscle in the first 6 months just from training right and eating a lot of food.
In the long run, building a truly impressive physique requires consistency with eating and training. However, you can drastically reduce your growth curve by doing what works from day 1 and leaving behind what doesn't work.
The most important factors that will determine your progress will be:
- How much intensity you can push yourself through
- How much food you can stuff down your throat on a consistent basis to recover and build
- Staying very hydrated all day long
- How consistently you can eat and train without taking extended breaks
Supplements and even drugs make up a small percentage of your results. You can choose to ignore them altogether and you'll still get better results than most gym goers if your training is effective and you're eating enough food and going balls to the walls in terms of intensity.
Seriously... just stop and think about it logically for a second. Which approach do you think will yield better results?
Average gym goer's Beliefs:
There is a very low genetic ceiling on how much muscle the average "natural" person can achieve with only food and training. Anyone with any significant amount of size got that way because of supplements and drugs.
As long as I show up to the gym and do a certain number of sets with a certain number of reps, I will grow and get results!
Eating 3 meals a day and drinking 3 shakes of protein powder and supplements is the ideal way to get results
Supplements and drugs are what make or break an elite physique
Average gym goer's Approach:
Comes in to the gym a couple times a week, does a few sets here and there on various exercises, spends 3/4 of his time dicking around on his phone, talking to people, and subconsciously believes that the gains will just come naturally if he spends X amount of time in the gym.
The reality is, while the average gym goer can look up to guys with incredible physiques, they themselves don't want it bad enough to put in a ton of effort on a consistent basis to achieve it. The equivalent in the business world is a wannabe entrepreneur who puts in a couple hours here and there on the weekends on his business idea and deludes himself into thinking its going to just take off one day and the money will fall right into his lap.
What's going to have a bigger payoff for your life? Being strong or looking good?
Most of us are normal guys with normal lives with no desire to compete at a high level in athletic competition. Objectively speaking, would your quality of life be better off with a visibly magnificent physique
The majority of my progress in my initial stages of development came from a ghetto basement gym setup. I had a flat bench, some dumbbells ranging from 5 - 25 lbs, and a pullup bar. That's it. I didn't follow any formal training protocol. My approach was very simple.
I would dedicate a day to a bodypart. I would use whatever exercises or movements I felt gave me the best stretch in that muscle, and brought out the best pumps and most pain. I would also strive to minimize my rest times and maximize the number of reps I could get away with on any given exercise.
Here's an example of a working set I would use to train chest back in the day...
50 reps of dumbbell bench presses with 25 lb dumbbells, immediately followed by 15 reps of full contraction dumbbell flies. Immediately followed by another 20 reps of flies with a lighter weight (say 10 - 15 lbs). Immediately followed by as many push ups as I could muster before giving out.
That was 1 working set.
My entire workout could consist of repeating that process 9 or 10 times with no other exercises whatsoever.
Even though I was using baby weights, my workout will be FAR more intense and painful than if I were to load up 225 lbs on a bench press, do a 5x5 routine, and call it a day.
Today, I use a modified version of that approach. Instead, I start out with a heavy compound movement like bench press and do a routine as follows:
Warmup: 50 reps with just the bar. I'll go nice and slow with a focus on warming up the muscles.
Set 1: Put on two 25 lbs on each side for 20 reps.
Set 2: Put on two 45 lbs one each side for 20 reps.
Set 3: Increase the weight to something you can do for 12 reps.
Set 4: Increase the weight to something you can do for 8 reps.
Set 5: Increase the weight to something you can do for 4 or 5 reps.
Set 6: Increase the weight to something you can get for just 2 or 3 reps.
Set 7: Repeat of set 6
Sets 8, 9, and 10: Remove weight from the bar back to something you can do for 10 reps normally. Do 15 reps. Because of the sudden change in weight and the heavy load your CNS system was placed under, you'll be able to bust out 15 no problem. Rest as much as you need to in between sets.
The rest of the workout (maybe 30 min tops) can be whatever machine or movement you want. Cable crossovers, dumbbell flies, whatever you want, it doesn't matter. Don't go heavy though. The focus for the remaining 30 minutes will be to incorporate as many angles as possible and to use a lighter weight for a ton of reps to force as much blood as possible through the chest. Unlike with bench pressing, you're going to want to keep rest periods to an absolute minimum.
Taking a simple, yet ass busting approach like that will get you results a lot faster than pushing a ton of heavy weight for 5 x 5 on a bench press and calling it a day.
It WILL build more muscle in a lot shorter period of time. I don't give a shit about strength or how much I can bench.
There are plenty of guys who can easily bench twice what I can, and I know for a fact that they are stronger than me. HOWEVER, when it comes to aesthetics, muscle density, and how good the physique looks VISUALLY, I blow all these guys out of the water.
For some reason, a lot of skinny guys are reluctant to implement the lower weight, higher volume approach because they have some weird obsession with how much weight they can push, as if anybody gave a shit. They say want to build a physique, but subconsciously, they're afraid of not being able to push as much weight as the next guy over.
They want to look good, but they have some weird internal obsession with wanting to lift a lot of weight for validation from either themselves or other people in the gym. They don't have any impressive visible size, but they want to feel validated, and the way they go about achieving this is by showing off that even a tiny guy like them can lift a lot of weight.
If you could hear their internal monologue, it would go something like this...
Everybody's eyeing down that buff guy because of how impressive he looks, but I can lift way more than he can relative to my size! So I'm better!
In today's modern world, how much weight you can push and how strong you are hardly counts for anything. Girls will not give you extra props for it and it will not benefit you as much as you think in a fight situation. If it ever came to a fight in the real world, the deciding factors of victory will always be
- whether or not you're armed. (If you bench 500, I bench 200, and I have a gun/pocket knife/taser/pepper spray and you have your fists, who would win?)
- whether or not you actually know how to fight
- who gets the first hit
- intimidation factor, which again comes down to VISIBLE SIZE.
If "size didnt' matter", why the hell do they have weight classes in all combat sports? Why would we intrinsically consider a 135 lb guy who can bench 2x his bodyweight at a severe disadvantage against a 200 lb contender, regardless of how much he can or can't lift?
People are a lot less likely to mess with you if you're a bigger guy who has size. Living in civilized modern society, this is FAR more useful than how much weight you can push.
Being jacked and only being able to lift a moderate amount of weight is much preferred to being small and being super strong.
What good is that strength going to do you? At best, you can surprise people who previously couldn't even tell you worked out from your nonexistent physique, like a cool parlor trick. But other than that, its not going to do anything for you. Unless you aspire to be a manual laborer, the amount of positive impact it brings into your life is negligible.
Even though I can't push a ton of weight (relative to my size or physique), it hasn't hurt me one bit. When I'm walking around in a tank top on the beach on a warm summer day and I talking up a pretty girl , she couldn't give less of a shit what my PR on my deadlift is. And neither could I.
When I wake up every morning, take a look in the mirror, and see Superman staring back at me, I feel damn good. When I'm at the gym and I look over at a skinny guy deadlifting 405 lbs for a rep or two, I don't feel one shred of envy.
The reason I'm saying all this isn't to brag or to downplay anyone else. Its to shed light on why I train to begin with. Too many guys care far too much about strength and their PR, and far too little about actually looking good.
Make. Up. Your. Mind.
Do you want to be as strong as you possibly can or do you want to look as good as you possible can?
What's more important to you? Building an impressive physique or showing off how much weight you can push to a bunch of strangers for an ego boost?
If your goal is to build muscle and look as good as you possibly can, you're not doing yourself any favors by going super heavy for low reps. That approach is superior for strength, but it is far inferior for aesthetics.
Clueless Chris' Approach:
Clueless Chris has a plan of going into the gym and doing exactly 3 sets of 8 reps with 3 different exercises. He will often load up the weight as heavy as possible and as long as he can physically move it and check off the numbers of reps and sets, he feels that's enough to signal his body to grow and develop.
Clueless Chris eats 3 solid food meals a day, drinks a few protein shakes, and takes a handful of typical bodybuilding supplements like preworkouts, creatine, and test boosters.
Clueless Chris may notice himself getting stronger as time goes on and he may be able to add some more weight, but he's having a hard time making any significant progress in his physique. He may be "toned" and he may have put on some muscle, but he hasn't changed that drastically from year to year. In fact, when fully clothed, you can't even tell he lifts.
Superior Sam's Beliefs:
Superior Sam has a different set of beliefs, a different approach, and he actually has results to show for it.
- Genetics determine how effectively you respond to stimulus of food, training, and anything else you throw at it, as well as setting limiters on how far you can progress. In practice, this means some guys have more inherent potential than others, but the general formula for how to put on size is pretty much the same for every human body. You never really know where your limits truly lie until you put in 100% of your effort over a long enough period of time. Regardless of what your genetics are, unless you have some severe impending medical condition, practically any guy can build an impressive physique with food and training alone.
- Eating a lot of healthy food is the key to growing. Rather than "heavy bulking", eating shit, and looking like shit for most of the year, the best way to pack on size without turning into a fatass is eating A LOT of healthy food. The ideal would be 5 to 10 medium sized meals a day. If you're starting point is 3 or 4 meals a day, you can slowly add another meal in every time your body adjusts. If you're not accustomed to carrying food around with you when you go to school/work or eating that frequently, it can seem daunting at first. Once you get used to it, you'll learn how to find ways to make it happen without eating up a lot of extra time.
-Certain supplements can be used effectively to speed up your progress, but most of the typical "bodybuilding" type supplements are overhyped and overrated in terms of how much of a difference they will really make. The most glaring example would be products such as protein powders and mass gainers. If you can afford it, you'd be better off skipping them altogether since they are inferior to whole food sources. People love to stick to them because its more faster and more convenient to drink a chocolaty shake than it is to eat a solid meal. If you must have a protein powder for the sake of keeping costs down, at least find one with a minimal amount of sugar/sodium and don't prioritize it over actual food.
Some supplements can be very useful if used for a specific purpose. That purpose is almost always to add more of something you're not getting enough of through your diet. If you're supplementing from something that you can get in better quality from solid food, you're wasting your time - ie. weight gainers and creatine
"Mandatory" supplements for men
Digestive Enzymes (after every meal)
I take these after every single meal. They speed up the digestion process, allowing your body to get more nutrition out of everything you eat, gram for gram. When you're eating a lot of food, its also very important that you can digest each meal as fast as possible so you can eat many times a day.
Purpose - Digestion is the weakest link in the big picture. Your body's ability to efficiently absorb whatever nutrition you give it comes down to how effectively you can digest and utilize it. Anything that significantly improves digestion will go a long ways to building a physique because it allows your body to absorb more of what you give it. Rather than eating 12 different kinds of herbs after every meal, the easy way is to just use a high quality digestive enzyme.
Zinc - Common deficiency in men, responsible for testosterone production, sex drive, and can make your voice deeper (if you were deficient to begin with).
Magnesium - Common deficiency in men.
How do I know if I'm deficient in X or Y mineral? Easy. You start supplementing it and see if there's any change in how you feel. If you're seriously deficient in an essential mineral and your body has been starving for it for so long, and you start loading up on it, it will literally feel like you've started taking drugs.
The most common mineral deficiencies in men are zinc and magnesium.
*A quick note on how to properly dose minerals like zinc*
The most common mineral deficiencies in men are zinc and magnesium.
Properly dosing can be a bit tricky because the dose on the label doesn't equate to the same amount of the elemental mineral thats in it. Let's take a look at zinc as an example.
A bottle of zinc gluconate might say its 50g on the label, but that doesn't mean you're getting 50 grams of zinc with you eat that dose.
Since zinc gluconate is only 13% zinc by weight, you'd have to ingest 385 grams of it to get the equivalent in elemental zinc.
Zinc sulfate is 22% elemental zinc by weight, and requires 220 grams to equate to 50 grams of elemental zinc.
To find out how much you need for a certain mineral, just take 5 seconds to google it. It's best to take minerals alongside a meal. Depending on what vitamin/mineral you're supplementing with, it could upset your stomach if you take it on an empty stomach.
Non-mandatory, optional supplements
(you don't "need" them, but as far as safe, non-hormonal natural options go, they're top of the line)
CLA - Non stimulant based, "natural" fat burner thats safe to take year round
L-Carnitine - Non stimulant based, "natural" fat burner thats safe to take year round
Liposomal Vitamin C - for immune system, I haven't even had a cold since I started taking this. You don't "need" this to build muscle but I consider it mandatory because I enjoy having a powerful immune system and not having to worry about getting sick. This source is far superior to vitamin C gummies or the standard stuff you find on the shelves because of the dosing and the mechanism of how it gets into the cells. You won't get much out of a regular vitamin C supplement because they are severely underdosed and only a small percentage of it can actually be absorbed.
Dandelion Root - Natural diuretic that helps release excess water from under the skin. Helpful when cutting and getting rid of that extra bloat around your face and midsection. Be sure to drink at minimum 1 gallon of water a day when using this. I like to take 2 capsules at once, twice a day.
Fiber - May be necessary if you're on a no carb/ketogenic diet. If you're eating carbs, you don't need this. If you are eating less than 30g of carbs a day and a ton of protein, this will prevent you from crapping bricks. Can be substituted for fibrous veggies like broccoli or kale.
If you're wondering why I left out "essentials" like protein powder, weight gainer, or creatine, the answer is simple. They produce inferior results to high quality whole food options. A 50 gram protein shake will never ever compare to what an 8 oz steak or salmon will do for you. The only advantage of protein powders is they are easier on your wallet. If you can afford it and you have the option, you're always better off picking the food.