What does it take?
What does it take to create something most people will never possess?
Something spectacular. Something awe-inspiring. Something money can’t buy.
I’m talking about a body that looks as good as it performs.
Lean. Hard. Powerful.
What does it take to become a legitimate physical specimen?
And where do you start?
Let’s set the record straight.
It Begins At The Dinner Table
Another day at the office.
I had just completed my last set of push-ups for the day, totaling 500+ reps.
My chest and front delts were screaming.
But that didn’t faze me.
All I felt was the intense rush from the sky-high endorphin levels in my body.
I had completely changed my workout routine during this lockdown. Infrequent, short, high-intensity sessions were replaced by high-volume training every single day of the week.
It was a complete 180.
And this new demand on my body taught me more about the human machine than anything I learned in the last 15+ years.
You see, heavy demand on your body mercilessly exposes any and all weak areas in your regimen.
Your diet, your training, your rest and recovery protocol, your overall health and resiliency will be X-rayed in times of high physical stress, revealing fundamental errors.
Case in point. Doing hundreds and hundreds of push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, curls, etc. day in day out fired up my metabolism unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
What is the telltale sign of a high metabolic rate? Massive appetite and the ability to eat for a family of four without batting an eye.
High output demands high input.
So here I was putting away 4000-5000 calories every day. I was ravenous and no food was off-limits.
The results after a month of eating like a pig? Fat gain, crippling fatigue, sluggishness, compromised mood and mental function, and sure enough, declining physical performance.
Wait, what? More calories equals better performance, right? Right?
A massive surplus of calories will inevitably run your body into the ground (That’s why you should stay far away from traditional muscle-building “bulking” diets).
Sure, I did expend a lot of energy during those training sessions, but certainly not to the degree that would warrant 4000+ calories every single day (and most certainly not all the desserts and sugary junk I was indulging in).
High physical activity does give you a tremendous amount of freedom with your diet (“the good life”), but it doesn’t warrant stuffing yourself like a Thanksgiving turkey every day. (What can I say? When it comes to food, I’m a fat kid at heart.)
Fortunately, I was still fasting and would only eat in a 2-4 hour timeframe, late in the day. That kept the side-effects of overeating at bay… for a while.
Intermittent fasting is truly remarkable. It has changed my life for the better. But fasting is not a free pass to eating like a slob.
A chronic energy surplus will always be a detriment to your health, performance, and well-being. No matter how you look at it.
All the training I was doing didn’t justify my “anything goes” approach to eating. And I found out the hard way.
Not only did I start getting sloppy after a couple weeks of overeating I was also burning out much faster in my workouts, and worst of all, my brain function and mental processing power slowed down to a near halt.
I was fatter, slower, and dumber. Bien hecho, Victor!
All was not lost, though. I cleaned up my act and radically cut down on the amount of food I ate and…
I dropped weight overnight, restored brain function, and felt like my old self again.
Now, here’s where I need your undivided attention.
Overeating is one of the single most destructive habits you can cultivate. But the other end of the spectrum is no better. Failing to feed and fuel the body adequately during times of high demand will not end in your favor either.
Yes, you should be red-lining your body during workouts, but you also need to learn to compensate at the right time.
Redesigning your body begins at the dinner table.
Give your body what it needs to operate at 100%. Striking the balance without spilling over or shriveling away to skinny fatness.
Sounds complicated? It’s not. But you’ll have to start doing things differently.
Enter The Lean Machine Energy Cycle
Every minute of every day, your body is seeking to balance growth and repair, degradation and detoxification.
All in an effort to maintain metabolic integrity and keep you alive and well.
Here’s the problem: Chronic over- or undereating crush this delicate balance.
And that is why, regardless of your individual goals, you must avoid extended periods of stuffing your face or forcefully cutting back on your food consumption.
Well then, how do you drop fat, build muscle, and truly transform your physique?
You eat more.
And then you eat less.
5 days of the week you eat to your heart’s content. No restrictions on the amount of food you allow yourself to enjoy.
The other 2 days of the week you eat at an energy deficit. Simply put, you eat less, focusing on the essentials: protein, fruit and veggies. Stay away from your momma’s cooking and highly-processed, high-calorie foods.
That’s 2 days a week of “dieting” if you will.
If your main objective is fat loss, turn the tables: 5 low and 2 high days a week until you’re lean. Easy peasy.
Now, when I say “eat to your heart’s content” I mean eat mostly high-quality foods until you’re happily satisfied, not “eat deep-dish pizza and ice cream sandwiches till you pass out”.
Always maintain good nutrition habits, but stop obsessively restricting yourself. You must allow your body to compensate, recharge and rebuild.
You must allow your body to go through periods of abundance and periods of scarcity.
This is how it evolved over millennia. And you’re not going to change that with your new fancy diet or supplement (or drug) protocol. Play by the rules.
Following this cycle, you’re providing sufficient fuel to keep metabolic function and performance peaking while avoiding spillover and consequent fat gain.
How To Build Muscle and Burn Fat At The Same Time
“Can you build muscle and burn fat at the same time?”
Very common question. And for good reason.
This is ultimately what everybody’s after.
This is what people mean when they say they want to “get in shape” or “get ripped”.
It always boils down to losing body-fat and building lean muscle.
And while these processes seemingly contradict one another, they can and should work in perfect harmony.
Energy turnover is the keyword here. Training your body to amplify energy production (= increase metabolism) by increasing energy output and input is the objective.
Eat more, burn more.
To optimize nutrient partitioning (= making sure the food you eat is going to your hard-working muscles instead of your fat cells), crank up your daily energy expenditure.
Avoid sitting down as much as possible. Walk more. Take the stairs at every opportunity. Help the elderly cross the street.
Ideally, you’re on your feet for the better part of the day.
In addition to that, hit the gym hard at least 4 days a week to further stimulate metabolic function and muscle growth. As previously noted, working with high volume (doing more sets and reps) burns through more energy than a strength/intensity-based routine.
And that is exactly what we want.
High energy expenditure, when balanced with adequate nutrition, will not only help you get and stay sharp while you’re adding slabs of muscle to your frame, it will speed up recovery between workouts and greatly improve hormonal output, mood and energy levels.
This is “quality of life” we’re talking about here. Your body was made to move. So get off your ass and move it!
Leaner is always better
“You can always be thinner… look better.” – Patrick Bateman
Before you set out on your quest to becoming a physical specimen, fired up and motivated to the gills, I need you to understand this:
Leaner is always better.
And I’m not even talking about appearance here. I’m talking about your health and real-world performance.
Getting to and maintaining a low level of body fat is the top priority.
Forget the muscle magazines. Forget the juiced-up monkeys on social media and get your priorities straight!
You will never look, feel, and perform your best carrying around an extra 10+ pounds of lard. No matter how much you work out or how active you are, get your nutritional ducks in order and lose the blubber.
Even if you currently see a stick figure in the mirror, do not make the fatal mistake of force-feeding in the pursuit of muscle.
Bulking is obsolete for any self-respecting individual.
Get and stay lean, by following the Lean Machine Energy Cycle and aggressively ramping up activity levels.
If your main objective is to gain muscle, make sure to eat enough on your high days, but never force feed.
Your “anything goes” diet and half-assed gym sessions will not get the job done. Train and fuel your body purposefully if you want worthwhile results.
Otherwise, you’ll end up like yours truly a couple weeks back. Not a good look for me. Not a good look for you.
Set the bar higher.
I’ll see you around.
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Your Guide To Physical Supremacy.
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