Despite your best efforts, do you look pretty much the same as you did six months ago?
I used to understand this feeling well.
The problem is not a dearth of high quality information, no, there is simply too much of it, and the conflicting advice out there leads us to distraction.
When it comes to physique change the magic happens when you filter out all the chaff and focus on one way of doing things, and that’s what we’re going to do here.
How does two meals a day, three days a week in the gym sound? - Refreshing I would bet. I’m not going to pretend that this is the answer to chasing your physique goals, but I honestly believe it’s the simplest method to go about it for 95% of people – busy people like you.
Learn from my mistakes
I said above that I understood that feeling of working my ass off and not making changes.
Wind back to my early-twenties. I’m in Goa, India. I found the courage to chat to a cute girl on the beach, and I invite her out to dinner the next day. Conversation gets a little deeper, we start talking about our interests, “You know, you don’t look like you work out the amount that you do.”
There was so much truth in that statement that it hurt like a swift boot to the nuts.
See, I think I was a little nutty at that time, perhaps trying to turn myself into Jason Bourne. I was doing Karate twice, Aikido 5-6 sessions, and cramming three gym sessions into my week around work. Embarrassingly, I was also dropping around $200/month, shipping all kinds of supplements over to Japan from bodybuilding.com.
Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the obvious. I’m thankful for that comment, it lead me down a path where I started to discover the importance of getting your diet right to support your physique goals, the waste of money that most supplements are, and what quality training is. If you’re new to this, a friend linked you here probably, potentially you’re about to save yourself a lot of time and effort. Are you going to keep spinning your wheels or dare to try something new?
Steps to Success
A training or diet method is merely means of achieving your goal. Many people get hung up on a single method at the cost of progress – don’t let this be you.
Be flexible. Be open minded. Be prepared to make a change, to see a change.
Check out this client results gallery. For every person you see there are many times more scattered throughout the internet. These are regular people who decided they would do something, rather than complain about genetics or something else. There are no more excuses, all the information is right here, right now.
1. Shift the focus to diet rather than training.
Emphasis on training over diet is what stopped me from seeing the changes I worked so hard for. Many people are like this.
Fat loss is 70% diet, 30% training. If that’s your goal then put your efforts in that ratio for results.
The man in the photo trains once every 3 days, for less than an hour, with no cardio. He is natural, doesn’t use fancy supplements, and used to be fat and flabby himself. His name is Martin Berkhan and is the founder of the Leangains diet system I introduce in this guide.
2. Purposefully skip breakfast.
Dieting generally isn’t very fun, but by reducing meal frequency so we can eat bigger meals it’s possible to still feel full and satisfied most of the time and yet lose weight. (Sound counter-intuitive? Worried that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Let me allay your fears here.)
3. Eat more food when your body needs it.
We’ll eat more carbs on the days you weight train for recovery; less on those you rest. On training days you’ll eat more of your calorie intake after training than before.
A Little More Detail
The hierarchy of importance for success is as follows:
What this means is that you can’t eat just ‘clean foods’ and ignore calories, you can’t supplement your way out of a bad diet, and you can’t use some special timing tricks to enable you to binge eat on the evenings.
Calorie Balance > Macros > Micros > Meal Timing > Supplements
Looking ‘ripped’ or ‘shredded’ is a function of two things: Low levels of body fat and sufficient muscle mass. You need both so don’t skimp on training.
1. Strength-train 3 days a week.
In the short-term anything will provide a training effect, this is why there is so much BS out there. However I think it’s better to start in the way you mean to go on.
2. Your training times can vary. Some people train fasted, some in the afternoon and others in the evening. You can even vary your training times. The only requirement is that you have enough time after you train to eat before going to bed. Meal timing examples here.
3. Can’t get to a gym? Use bodyweight exercises and workout at home for now. Example in the FAQ here.
4. Don’t bother with cardio. (Justification: ‘On Cardio for the Physique-Focused Trainee‘)
As I’ve worked with a lot of people I know the mistakes that people often make. Here are my top tips to avoid making them:
- Don’t neglect tracking
- Muscle weighs more than fat. If you’re gaining muscle and losing fat you’re changing your body but the scale won’t show it. Stay motivated by tracking your progress, ‘How To Track Your Progress When Dieting‘
- Don’t use a body fat measurement device. (Justification: ‘Is It Better To Forget About Body Fat Percentage?‘)
- Keep to the plan - it works! Don’t make the classic mistake of trying to fix something that isn’t broken.
- Use the guides on the site properly. Get a pen and paper and figure it out.
- Cook your meals for the fastest gains. It’s much easier to know what you are eating that way. Eat the same meals frequently and often for ease. – This way you only have to count the macros in each of your favourite meals once.
- Keep it simple. There are more detailed articles on the site for when the time comes which you can access on the menu bar, but for now stick with this simple set-up first.
- People fail their diets because they make things too complicated initially. Always make the smallest changes you can to bring about progress.
- Get support:
- Educate yourself. Many people will tell you that not eating breakfast is bad, or that if you don’t eat for 16 hours your muscles will fall off. Arm yourself with the facts. Martin’s Top Ten Fasting Myths Debunked article is a great place to start.
The guides on this site have helped thousands of people to achieve their physique goals.
Thanks for reading and good luck! – Andy.