I will save you years of confusion and failure right now, so listen very carefully.
Whether you’re trying to lose fat, build muscle or, ideally, do both at the same time…
Respect your genetic heritage.
What do I mean by that?
If you’re naturally lean, don’t shove tons of food down your throat and train with excessive volume in the gym in an effort to pack more mass on your frame than it can carry.
Conversely, if you’re naturally “fluffy”, don’t go through life trying to starve yourself into shape and doing nonsensical “fat-burning” workouts.
Because here’s the deal…
You will NEVER look good chasing this unnatural, inauthentic version of yourself.
You will NEVER feel and perform your best by ignoring your genetic build, by ignoring what your parents gave you,
by trying to be something you’re not.
If you want to maximize your God-given potential, you gotta start listening. You gotta start paying attention to the cues your body is giving you and respond accordingly.
Whether that’s at the gym or the dinner table.
The Secret To Building A Jaw-Dropping Body
Let me tell you a lil story.
Around 3-4 years ago, I realized I was closing in on my genetic potential for muscle growth. After over a decade of training consistently, I realized there was no way I could put on another 15-20 lbs of lean muscle
… which I so desperately wanted back then.
So what did I do?
That’s right. I bulked up like there was no tomorrow, training like a mental case and eating like a horse.
I gained the damn 20 lbs I wanted… and paid the price.
I was in the worst shape of my life.
I felt heavy and sluggish, and my performance in and out of the gym took a huge hit. I looked jacked with clothes on but like a sloppy mess when they came off.
Unsurprisingly, raw weight-lifting strength was obscene during that period, but I couldn’t keep a decent pace to save my life and would gas out doing anything other than curling a barbell (i.e. hiking, boxing, horizontal gymnastics).
Despite training more than I ever had in my life, I was out of shape.
And f**k me, there’s nothing I hate more than being out of shape. There’s nothing I hate more than feeling my muscles burn out and my lungs collapse.
Granted, eating 4000+ calories a day was fun while it lasted, but I certainly would never do anything like that again.
Today, I’m a completely different animal.
I’m leaner, stronger and more durable than I ever was. I can go hard all day every day. And I have yet to meet someone who can keep up.
What happened between then and now? What did I do differently?
I stopped trying to be something I’m not and I finally started listening to my body. I embraced my true nature, my strengths and my weaknesses, and made the best of it.
I learned my lesson. Did you?
The Two Drivers of Physical Transformation
Everybody can lose fat, build muscle, and look fantastic with their clothes off.
But you and I both know most people NEVER get there. And there’s a reason for that.
Now, don’t get it twisted.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t work hard, as hard as humanly possible, in pursuit of your goals.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t train with the intent of getting stronger and bigger every time you hit the gym. I’m not saying you should be afraid of seeing the scale go up as a result of your muscle-building efforts.
Not at all.
I’m saying work with your body and never push it in a direction it doesn’t want to go. Play to your strengths, build on your strengths and for the love of everything that is good…
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS!
My body was telling me loud and clear that it didn’t want to carry around more weight. It told me that putting on another 10+ pounds was a bad idea.
But I didn’t listen.
I wanted to look different. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but I wanted to be something I’m not (everything wrong with that).
It’s a mental disorder of epidemic proportions we’re faced with today.
People have lost the ability to call their own shots, to go their own way. They’re constantly comparing themselves to others, constantly trying to measure up, to fit in, while completely neglecting their true nature.
Listen here and listen good.
What other people are doing is meaningless to you.
You can take inspiration from others, but that’s about it. Don’t lose sight of what really matters.
Focus on you! Your body! Your training! Your diet! YOUR RESULTS!
Have enough self-respect to go your own way.
F**k what they’re doing! You do YOU! And you do the best damn job you can do.
And yeah, you guessed it. The best damn you is in the best damn shape of your life.
So let’s get this party started.
There are two drivers of physical transformation. Two elements you must master in order to get in awe-inspiring shape and unleash your ultimate self.
- Resistance Training
It all boils down to eating and training properly. Dropping bodyfat via strategic dietary manipulation and building lean muscle with the right approach to training.
That is what ultimately creates the coveted Vitruvian physique, known to drop jaws left and right and spark wild steroid accusations online.
We’ll start with your nutrition, as that is by far the most powerful driver of physical transformation. It’s also the most difficult to master.
How To Eat For Rapid Fat Loss
Alright, now that you got your priorities straight, let’s get down and dirty. Let’s talk real-world tactics to drop fat, build lean muscle and transform your body.
But first, strip down and get naked.
You heard me.
Take your clothes off and get on a scale. Now, walk to your nearest mirror and take a good long look at yourself.
Painful for a lot of you, I know. Painful but necessary.
While you’re at it, take some unflattering pictures of yourself from the front, side, and back (maybe cover your private parts?).
THIS is your starting position.
Knowing the reality of your current situation, how much fat do you need to lose to look good? Scratch that, how much weight do you have to lose to look like you just walked off a Hollywood movie set? Lean, strong, physically imposing.
Now, take the number you have in mind and subtract 4-8 kgs (10-20 lbs).
This is your GOAL BODYWEIGHT. This number lets us know how many calories and how much protein you need to eat every day to reach your goal. Let’s start with calorie intake.
Take your goal BW in kilogram and multiply that number by 26 (i.e. 75 x 26 = 1950 calories | Goal BW in lbs x 12). This is your daily calorie intake for the foreseeable future.
Give or take…
Don’t blindly trust this or any other formula. Don’t trust numbers. Use them as a reference point. Listen to your body, look in the mirror and monitor your progress.
Eating the designated number of calories every day are you consistently losing fat and getting harder? Do you have steady energy levels throughout the day? Are your hunger and cravings manageable? Are you getting closer to your goal every week?
Adjust your calories accordingly (raise or lower calories in 100 calorie increments and reassess).
As far as what to eat, we’ll start with the most important part of your diet…
Your goal is to eat 1.8-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of goal bodyweight every day (0.8-1 gram per pound of goal BW) and fill the rest of your plate with carbs and fats. Never massively restrict carbs or fats in your diet!
What foods are on the menu? Which meals are best for fat loss and muscle gain?
You tell me.
What do you like? What do you enjoy eating? And did your great grandparents consider that stuff food?
Fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and quality dairy (i.e. cottage cheese) should comprise the majority of your calories. Choose high-protein, high-fiber and volume foods over industrial junk.
Forget the keto, vegan, paleo or some other bullshit diet you read about in a women’s magazine. Eat real food, without allowing yourself to become an extremist (if you do you’ve already lost).
70-80% of your diet should be based on nature-made “real food”. The rest can be whatever you want it to be (i.e. stuff that comes in a wrapper or box and tastes reeeal good).
I would never tell anyone to eat a strictly “clean” diet.
For one, I myself don’t eat strictly healthy whole foods and still manage to look and perform somewhat decent. Also, I can promise you this: the more restrictive your diet is, the more it will backfire on you.
Find enjoyment in your daily routine. This isn’t a 4-week or 8-week program. We’re in this for life.
To recap: Eat the designated number of calories and protein every day while making your diet as enjoyable as possible! Following the rules we’ve established, find a diet set-up that works for you and your lifestyle.
If you cannot sustain it long-term, it’s not going to work. Read that again.
The Missing Link
You now know what and how much to eat to drop fat, build muscle, and look and feel like a million bucks every day.
But we’re only scratching the surface. I wasn’t kidding when I said that if your routine isn’t sustainable, it’s not going to work.
You have to incorporate the above rules seamlessly into your lifestyle. You have to find ways to make this process sustainable and – here it comes – ENJOYABLE for you.
You see, if you’re hating your meals, constantly craving junk food and finding it next to impossible to stick to your calories, you’re not going to make it. It’s only a matter of time until you give in and give up.
You have to realize that, yes, you will get hungry, you will get tired and you will want to quit, regardless of how dedicated and disciplined you are. That is the nature of this game.
And that is precisely why 99% of people walking the streets don’t look the way they want to.
But you can make this lifestyle work for you. You can make eating right a rewarding part of your existence.
And I’ll show you how.
I am 100% positive that you cannot derive enjoyment and fulfillment from your diet if you’re… eating like a dieter.
I don’t think anyone can sustain a long-term diet of chicken and rice, spread out over 5 or 6 birdshit-sized meals throughout the day.
What a miserable existence. I say f**k that.
You’ll never see me carry my meals around in plastic containers. I don’t eat every 2-3 hours like a newborn. I don’t prepare my meals days in advance. I don’t follow a “diet”.
I eat like a KING.
And I recommend you do the same if you want to make it in this game. Throw away your plastic dishes and eat big, satisfying meals… but eat less often.
I eat 1-2 large meals a day and don’t think about food at any other time.
A typical “day of eating” for me is to have my first meal 4-8 hours after waking and to eat the majority of my calories for dinner. On training days, I have a pre-workout snack (i.e. a couple pieces of fruit) 15 minutes before hitting the gym.
This style of eating is known as intermittent fasting and since adopting it into my daily routine, I enjoy every meal and every day of dieting to the fullest. Yes, even when I heavily restrict calories.
Dropping body fat and staying razor-sharp has become a breeze.
My recommendation: Skip breakfast and eat 2 meals a day instead of eating around the clock like all the fat slobs you know. Some people prefer to eat only 1 meal a day. It works let me assure you but might prove too restrictive long-term.
Staying in a calorie deficit in this manner is much more manageable long-term. But more than that, this is by far the most enjoyable and rewarding way to eat I’ve found.
I get to put away large, satisfying (but still goal-oriented) meals every day and go out to eat as often as I like. Furthermore, by pushing the majority of calories later into the day, I never go to bed hungry.
And boy oh boy does not eating make for productive mornings. Fasting dramatically amplifies my mental clarity, energy levels, and productivity.
I am a veritable machine on an empty stomach.
Make sure to drink plenty of water during your fasting period for best results. A cup or two of black coffee (or tea) also goes a long way in managing your appetite and boosting energy levels.
Heads up! Fasting doesn’t mean you can just eat whatever you want and get results.
You MUST hit your calorie target to drop fat and you MUST eat enough protein to build and maintain muscle. And that’s the bottom line.
If you’re going to give this a shot, don’t expect overnight results. Give your body a week or two to adjust to this novel routine. I’ve been fasting, on and off, for almost 10 years and will never go back to a standard breakfast-lunch-dinner routine.
This is the freakin’ Cadillac of diets.
How To Train For A Sculpted Body
You thought my take on dieting was controversial? Wait till you see how I train.
I got in the best shape of my life, the leanest and strongest I’ve ever been, training as little as 2 times a week.
In doing so, I managed to keep my strength (and muscle) deep into a cut. And this is key.
Most people lose muscle and performance like crazy when they’re trying to lean down. They indiscriminately burn through muscle and fat mass with their excessive workout routines and substandard diets.
NEVER do long and strenuous workouts in a calorie deficit!
Don’t hit the gym every day doing endless sets and reps if you want to look, feel and perform your best.
You will not recover from those sessions and you will lose muscle and strength. Also, you will fail in the pursuit of a lean and sculpted body.
That’s a guarantee, sweetheart.
I want you to LIMIT your time in the gym for optimal fat loss and muscle gain. Get in, go hard, get out. You should be in and out of the gym in 45 minutes or less.
Your goal in training is not to burn calories but to get as strong as possible.
Focus on lifting increasingly heavier weights or doing increasingly challenging bodyweight work.
And don’t give me that “I don’t want to get too big…” nonsense.
In order to look good – and I’m not talking about big bulky muscles, I’m talking about looking like a statue carved from solid granite – you must train for superhuman strength.
You must increase your reps and/or weights every week. You must GET STRONGER over time.
Yes, even if maximum fat-loss is your prime objective.
I don’t want to see you in the gym every day, but I want to see you push yourself hard when you’re there. Progress is the name of the game.
Don’t be one of those weak bitches you see at the gym looking the same month after month, year after year. Raise the bar higher for yourself if you ever want to make it in this game. Much higher.
“Got it, but what exercises should I do when working out? And how many sets and reps?”
Build your training routine around the best exercises known to man:
- Leg raises
Pick 2-4 exercises per workout and perform 2-3 hard sets (all you need) per exercise. In and out in less than 45 minutes. That is how you build a body.
More gym time does not equal better results. In fact, the opposite is often the case as more work will not allow you to recover and come back stronger.
You’ll be spinning your wheels putting in hours upon hours of training every week.
But some of you can’t seem to stay out of the gym. You’re addicted to the high training provides. And I get it.
The most alive I feel is after a brutal training session.
But again, if you want to get in elite-level shape, you have to be smarter than the average. Quality over quantity in the gym, always.
A new program I’m currently experimenting with is to train with a higher frequency (5-6x/week) but to limit my output to only 2 (!) exercises per session, adding a rep, adding weight or doing harder exercise variants every single time I train.
As soon as I am no longer able to progress in a meaningful way, I cut back to 3 sessions/week and allow my body full recovery.
This is what my sessions look like right now:
- One Arm Push-ups: 2 sets of 10-20 reps (once I hit 2 sets of 20 reps, I raise the difficulty i.e. legs on a bench)
- Weighted Dips: 2 sets of 20 (performed in rest-pause fashion, using my Phantom Training Vest)
- Pistol Squats: 3x 5-20 reps (weighted and non-weighted)
- Walking lunges: 1x 150 reps
- Weighted Chin-ups: 3x 10-15
- Leg Raises: 2x 20 (rest-pause work)
3-5 hard sets per workout. These sessions last around 20-25 minutes (take your time between sets) and are perfect for getting superhuman strong without sacrificing recovery and sabotaging your results.
High-volume training is absolutely useless unless you’re a genetic outlier or you’re helping your genetics along with a syringe.
With that said, I don’t recommend training like a powerlifter (although, that is much more effective than your average bodybuilding routine). Use powerlifting intensity with bodybuilding rep ranges (5-20).
That’s how you train for a sculpted physique.
Start tracking your workouts in a training journal (I use my iPhone “Notes” app), writing down the exercises you did, the weights you used and the reps you completed with good form.
Use that data to facilitate consistent progress and to modify your routine as you go. This is an incredibly important (and incredibly neglected) step. Don’t sleep on it.
“What about cardio to burn fat, Vic?”
The only cardio I recommend is WALKING.
Interval training (HIIT) like sprints, boxing, rowing and the like are optional. No point in doing HIIT unless you really enjoy it. Even then, limit your output and prioritize recovery.
Remember, the main driver of physical transformation is your diet.
You can never out-train a shitty diet. You can never outwork a calorie surplus.
Personally, I like to play soccer a couple times a week, do some boxing intervals and intense hiking here and there. But that’s it.
I walk for 60-90 minutes daily but keep the intense stuff limited.
Yeah, high-intensity intervals are a great conditioning tool, but they’re also very taxing on your system. Intense cardio sessions raise stress hormones in the body, amplify muscle breakdown and leave you ravenously hungry.
If you push cardio excessively, it will undermine your results and make sticking to your diet next to impossible.
Stay active every day, yes, but don’t rely on cardio to get you in shape. It’s never going to happen (as evidenced by skinny-fat marathoners and the cardio bunnies at your local gym).
Don’t be a fitness idiot!
You know, the people who are always jumping from one silly diet to the next and doing all types of “fat-burning” workouts to lose the love handles… while always looking like a bag of shit.
Don’t work yourself into the ground without getting results. Don’t value your gym routine and your fancy diet over the bottom line.
If your results don’t speak for themselves, if your results don’t make people scratch their heads in disbelief, you’re doing it wrong!
And now you know how to get em. So what are you still waiting for? Follow the rules and get in the best shape of your life.
One more thing before I let you off the hook…
Redesigning your body will take longer than you think.
Don’t think days or weeks, think months or years.
Don’t throw in the towel after a couple of weeks because you don’t look like a model. Stay the course and DO NOT negotiate your goals with yourself.
You know exactly what you want. Don’t bitch out because getting it is harder than you thought.
Results won’t come overnight and chances are, you will look worse before you look better. Stay strong and play the long game.
Let me be clear here, this is by far the hardest part of your fitness transformation. It was for me and continues to be to this day (but then again, I’m simply an impatient bastard).
Physical transformation is a test of character more than anything.
Do you have what it takes? Can you stay the course even with the odds stacked against you? Even when everyone else around you is getting fatter and sicker while ridiculing your efforts?
I believe you can.
I believe you must.
I believe in you.
So let’s get it.
The statistics don’t lie.
9 out of 10 people fail to lose weight and keep it off.
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