Physique Goal Setting (Part 1)

Andy MorganCoaching28 Comments

Physique Goal Setting

Identifying Where You’re At Now, Deciding On Your Best Course of Action, and Setting Realistic Goals

I have had to decline nearly half of all coaching applicants in the last three and a half years because the expectations on what they thought could be achieved, and my opinion on what would realistically be achieved, simply could not be reconciled.

Nearly half. Let that sink in for a moment.

To be sure, it is a shame for my bank balance that I have a conscience.

The reason for this huge disconnect is simple – the exceptional results of the drug-enhanced or genetically elite are promoted as being normal by the industry. We are told that when results don’t pan out to the expectations we were sold on, we just need to buy a new, more specialised training program (and maybe some more equipment), along with, of course, the appropriate supplement stack  – because the one that we purchased before wasn’t right for our body type, or biology, or something like that. This process spirals out of control, people eventually get frustrated and give up, and the collective result is that we’ve all pitched in to buy Mike Chang and his friends another Lamborghini.

Unfortunately it seems to me that the effect of the industry’s marketing is so powerful that the majority of people need to go down the hard road and get screwed first, before they are willing to listen to someone with a more realistic outlook.

The goal of this post is to save you from taking that hard road. Using a similar categorisation system that I use when working with clients I will help you identify your current physique condition, and then give practical recommendations on the path I think you should take (cut, bulk, slow-bulk, recomp for example) realistic expectations of what you can achieve, the common mistakes that people make, and what you should be aware of as you progress.

This is potentially going to save you time on your journey to getting the physique that you want. It’s going to get exceptionally detailed, and I sincerely hope that you find it useful.

Audio version available after the link.

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Simplifying Your Way To Shreds – Katsu’s Story

Andy MorganClient Stories & Results22 Comments

RippedBody.jp Results - Katsu

The picture above is of a former client Katsunobu, winning his masters class (50+) bodybuilding competition. It is possible that this means even more to me than it does to him. For me it represents the culmination of three years of effort.

Katsu is the first real bodybuilder to take our Japanese site seriously enough to consider competing with the minimum. I mean 2 meals a day, three days a week training and no cardio. This is in stark contrast to the typical 5-6 meals a day, 5-6 days of training + cardio that pervades here, and is a big win for the science-based crowd and our battle against the industry nonsense here.

It wasn’t a smooth ride. It started with an argument (almost), and ended up with him on stage a little over a year after our first contact. Here’s the translation of the Japanese article, but with a bit more emotion and background inserted in there. Thank you to those that responded on the Facebook page when I asked, I really had no idea that you’d be so interested.

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Don’t Make It About The Money

Andy MorganNews40 Comments

Underpants Gnome Profit Theory

“Nice guy, not the kind of person to change an industry though.”

Reading these words didn’t sting like you would imagine. I realised there was truth to them and felt the comment was fair. They came from a man who had single-handedly lit a rage-fuelled fire in me that lead me to quit my stable government job and plunge head first into this business.

I’m talking about Martin Berkhan. I didn’t think that there was a possibility he would be wrong about that one day though.

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How Do I Find Maintenance Calorie Intake After Dieting?

Andy MorganDiet Theory35 Comments

Finding Maintenance - Epic Meal Time

While you can’t go crazy like the Epic Meal Time gents above, you can certainly eat a lot more and maintain most, if not all of your leanness, after dieting.

But people screw this up. They either diet blindly without ever thinking how they were going to maintain it, diet too hard for too long and then can’t maintain it, or they mess up a calculation trying to maintain it.

When people ask the above question then, what they really mean is, “How do I find the maximum I can eat each day after dieting while still looking shredded?”

The following is my guide to doing this using observation and incremental adjustments rather than calculations. We’ll cover: 1. when you should consider maintenance rather then attempting a slow-bulk, 2. why you can eat more after dieting, 3. the practicalities of finding maintenance, 4. what affects the maximum level of leanness you can reasonably maintain.

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The Myth of the ‘Best’ Macro Ratio

Andy MorganDiet Theory18 Comments

The Myth of the Best Macro Ratio

There is an idea out there that ‘golden’ macronutrient ratios exist that can transform a person’s physique. The idea was born in bodybuilding forums by people looking at someone else’s body transformation, asking their macro intake, then reverse engineering it to come up with a macro ratio that is assumed to be somehow special.

I’m not a fan of this idea. It’s logically flawed and here’s why:

Metabolism is adaptive. Calorie needs increase over time (when bulking) and decrease over time (when cutting). Protein needs to be set (mainly) according to lean body mass, and fat also (to an extent), so carbohydrate increases and decreases will be used as the main energy balance manipulator. Ratios are therefore a function of the stage of dieting, not something to target.

Let’s explain this with one quick and very simplified example.

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Summer 2014 Client Result Selection

Andy MorganClient Stories & Results18 Comments

Rippedbody.jp Summer Results Selection

I’m trying to figure out a compromise where I can still share photos & testimonials, but save you the hassle of the results page load times (and me the headache of editing that huge lot of html). I think we’re nearly there, but in the mean time, here are a three recent client results that I thought might be of interest. Hope you find them motivational, and thanks to Adrian, Tom and Marc for agreeing to share.

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On Cardio for the Physique-Focused Trainee

Andy MorganCardio66 Comments

Rowing Cardio Fat Loss

Cardio is a poor time investment, it’s not necessary for most men to get shredded, it can steal recovery capacity, serve as a distraction, and the level of fitness most people will be happy with for their weekend warrior activities can be achieved by simply getting leaner and stronger.

If physique change is your priority then strength training and diet should be your primary focus. Cardio has its place, but shouldn’t be thrown in randomly and is best used sparingly.

I’ve done my best to bring together all notes on cardio that were previously scattered around the site into one comprehensive guide, and I’ve updated things drawing on the knowledge of some of the smartest minds in the industry in doing so. Time is a gift you will never get back, so use it wisely.

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Which Routine Is For Me?

Andy MorganTraining Principles54 Comments

Lifting ChalkImage EliteFTS

This article ties together the threads that link the training program suggestions on this site. It shows you the big picture: what routine is going to be most suitable for yourself and when, what to expect, and suggestions on when it’s suitable to modify things to chase progress. We start off by filling in the broad strokes that will apply to most, then we discuss some caveats. Take what is relevant to you now and ignore the rest, bookmark it then come back later.

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What To Do When You’re Done With Your Beginner Strength Training Program

Andy MorganTraining Principles, Training Programs50 Comments

Stress-Recovery-and-Work-Capacity-Sink-Analogy

If you have exhausted the gains from your beginner program and are looking for what to do to push your physique to the next level then this guest article by Greg Nuckols, one of the top drug-free powerlifters in the world, could be for you.

Friendly, smart, and humble we got along well when I first met him at a conference in May, and I became a fan of his blog, Strength and Science. When I asked him to write this I didn’t realise quite how special his gift of making difficult concepts appear simple was. It is our sincere hope that this article will help to teach you to be independent with your strength training programming for the intermediate phase.

Enter Greg Nuckols… Read More

How To Count Macros – A More Flexible Approach

Andy MorganDiet Fundamentals82 Comments

Rabbit Carrot
You have a pet rabbit. You have been feeding him 3 carrots a day but he has gotten so fat his stomach drags on the sidewalk. You are starting to worry about his health. What adjustment to his diet do you make to slim the fella down?  – Image: The Jester’s Corner

I liked maths at school – there was a single, neat answer with little room for interpretation, which meant I could ace tests with little effort compared to hacking through Shakespeare, pretending to understand.

It doesn’t give me any pleasure to tell you that calculations aren’t the key to solving the diet puzzle. Many people first encounter this when the math of their energy calculations doesn’t work out, and they realise that consistency, tracking and relative adjustments is key. This is an important step, because once we let go of the idea of perfection as a requirement for success, it’s less of a mental leap to accept that purposeful inaccuracies with counting our food can be fine also.

The purpose of this guide is to offer an easier and more sustainable method to counting your macros than entering every single food and drink you eat, every day, into a nutritional calculator. The trade-off to this is a little more thought up front. Essentially I’m going to explain here why your instinct to feed your rabbit just two carrots a day is correct, and how we can apply this principle to ourselves.

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