My name is Victor Gaspar.
I am the founder and creator of LivingLeanAndMean.com,
…and I’m a wimp.
Growing up, I was your stereotypical push-over. Zero physical ability, not a muscle on my body, and conditioning to rival an Antifa member.
And when I started working out in my late teens, it took me years to build myself up to a respectable degree.
I had to face a painful reality.
My genetics for building muscle are laughable.
I wasn’t made to be strong, muscular, or lean.
But look who’s laughing now.
My good fortune was that I grew up during a time where genetics, environment, and happenstance weren’t used as excuses to slack off.
I grew up in an era of larger-than-life men like Arnold, Stallone and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Icons who represented the “can do, will do” spirit that is all but forgotten today.
In those days, whining and complaining were frowned upon, while we encourage excuses, inaction, and weakness today.
The attitude was “You can do it. So get up off your butt and DO IT!”
Nowadays the attitude is “It’s OK if you’re a fat, lazy failure. Treat yourself.”
It’s really no wonder you see individuals spend all their time and energy arguing on social media about who’s taking steroids, who’s “natty” and other meaningless drivel.
Time and energy that could be spent on getting to the gym and building the body of a real-life superhero. Precious time and energy that could be spent on becoming who you always wanted to be.
Wake up and smell the coffee.
The way you EAT, TRAIN and LIVE – That is what you can and must control.
In this article, I will show you how to build yourself up to elite-level strength, muscle, and performance.
Enter the 10 Laws Of Muscle.
1st Law: Strength is King
I have to chuckle every time I see these complex exercises and fancy drills on social media.
I get it. It looks cool and you get to show the world what a creative lil fairy you are.
But all it does is confuse people and undermine their results.
When we’re talking about results – about muscle and strength – when we’re talking about reaching an elite level in fitness…
The basic exercises, done progressively, beat any fancy stuff you’ll come across.
Learn to perform a handful of exercises with immaculate form. Then get gorilla strong.
If you want to add slabs of rockhard, powerful muscle to your frame (believe me, you do), don’t be afraid of picking up some heavy iron or grinding out intense bodyweight drills at the gym.
Building up your strength to a reasonable level takes time, dedication, and a serious case of tunnel vision.
The good news is, there’s no guesswork involved here.
Every time you work out, aim for more repetitions, perform more challenging exercise variations, and/or add more weight to the bar.
For the majority of your training, focus on the low to moderate rep ranges (5-10 reps per set), and work to beat your former best every time you hit the gym.
[Start monitoring your weekly progress in the gym!]
Don’t be fancy, be proficient.
How many push-ups and pull-ups can you do? How many squats, or better yet, pistol squats are you able to hit with perfect form?
Gotta pump those numbers up. Those are rookie numbers.
Every workout must be better than your last. Every workout should be the best workout of your life. That is the objective.
We can talk all day about different training systems and modalities, but if your workouts are not designed to make you stronger than everybody else in your gym, you’re wasting your damn time.
2nd Law: Less Time In The Gym = More Muscle On Your Body
As we speak, I’ve been training for 247 days straight.
No rest days. No easy, “maintenance” workouts.
Hard, heavy and intense every day. I didn’t even take a day off when I got COVID (Eat your excuses).
And I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s wholly unnecessary and possibly detrimental. But that’s a different story.
I said I was gonna do it, so I did it. And as soon as this challenge is checked off, I’m jumping straight back into a minimalist training routine.
Over my 17+ years of training, I learned that time in the gym should be kept to a necessary minimum.
20-30 minutes of intense, progressive work blows long-stretched, half-assed sessions out of the water.
And it’s for a very simple reason.
Strength is the main driver of muscle growth and development. Consistent strength gains is what we’re after. Doing too much in the gym, however, will make steady progress next to impossible.
Don’t let your ego get the best of you.
Instead of wasting hours upon hours every week on a substandard training routine, focus on creating the proper growth environment for your body.
Make your workouts count. Track your weekly progress and aim to beat your former best every time you train.
Progress can come with daily training. I know for a fact.
But don’t for a second think that the mere act of training every day will transform you into some kind of specimen.
The amount of time you spend working out is meaningless. Did you get stronger? Did you get better? That is what you need to honestly assess.
Train harder than you did yesterday, but then, back off. Training is an essential piece of the puzzle.
But it is only one piece.
In order to build muscle, lose fat, and get ripped you have to create the right framework for your body.
And it starts with learning how to eat.
3rd Law: Stop Eating Like A Little Girl
Chicken and broccoli. Chicken and broccoli. Chicken and broccoli.
Everybody and their lovely grandma knows that’s what you gotta eat to get ripped, right?
Nothing to be gained by following a mind-numbingly monotonous diet. And forget about “eating clean”, will ya?
Here’s what you want to do instead:
- Calculate your calorie requirements and
- build your menu on earth-grown whole foods
Manage your energy intake and make better food choices, but NEVER overcomplicate your nutrition!
I have made this process so simple, so enjoyable and so efficient for myself, it’s a walk in the park at this point.
I tried the whole chicken and veggies 5-6x a day thing when I was young and dumb.
My diet today is a different story. Other than the occasional piece of fruit, I eat once a day, at night.
Discipline. Efficiency. RESULTS.
(Plus I like to eat like a pig every night and wake up ripped the next morning.)
A lot of “experts” are telling me I’m doing it wrong and I’ll end up with metabolic damage and an eating disorder.
At the end of the day, my results speak louder than any silly argument. I’m stronger, leaner, and more capable than I’ve ever been in my life.
It’s not even close.
And here’s what a lot of you get twisted: RESULTS ARE THE BOTTOM LINE!
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to fast for 20-22 hours every day like yours truly. What it means is you must find a routine you enjoy and can sustain for the rest of your days.
A routine that produces outstanding results, but doesn’t compromise – no – actually improves your daily existence.
And this is very possible. I am living proof (you could be too).
Listen, regardless of individual preferences (and biases), we are all subject to the rules of nature.
You won’t lose an ounce of bodyfat if you’re eating too much. And you’ll never grow if you’re chronically underfed.
Cover your bases, before you dabble in experimental diets (oh and never dabble in experimental diets). Eat good food, in reasonable amounts, and monitor your progress over time (i.e. weekly weigh-ins).
Anything more radical than the above is unnecessary and possibly detrimental to your long-term success.
Refrain from trying to micromanage every element of your diet. Give yourself some much-needed freedom to try different things and find a template you can follow till the end of your days.
4th Law: You Don’t Need More Protein
“How much protein do I need to build muscle?”
Less than you think.
I got in arguably the best shape of my life eating a fairly low protein diet.
How? Progressive resistance training & eating enough food to fuel recovery and growth. (Yes, it’s really that simple)
You don’t need more protein. You need more energy.
You need enough TOTAL CALORIES to support your training and fuel muscle growth.
Those calories should come from a variety of foods and provide generous amounts of ALL macronutrients — Protein, Carbs, and Fats.
For you eggheads out there, 0.7-0.85 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is plenty.
A high protein diet can be helpful in times of calorie restriction, but there are much better ways to lose fat than eating like a meathead (download Rapid Fire Fat Loss for FREE).
One-dimensional diets (i.e. keto, vegan, Adkins, macrobiotic, carnivore, etc.) are ticking timebombs and should be avoided at all costs.
[Unless, perhaps, you’re trying to address a particular health condition. But even then, we’re talking about a short-term intervention.]
Real food, in reasonable amounts. Done.
Meal timing (i.e. when you eat your food) is up to you entirely. Although I’m a heavy proponent of intermittent fasting, it is by no means a prerequisite (breakfast is still the worst meal of the day, though).
Choose a meal pattern that supports your goals and requires little effort to maintain. 1-3 meals a day is what I recommend.
5th Law: Never Get Fat In The Name Of Muscle
Now that you understand the fundamentals of physical transformation,
should you bulk up and get huge, or should you go on a diet and lose the titties first?
Probably the latter. Certainly not the former.
You see, “bulking” or forcefully trying to gain weight is one of the worst things you can do to your body.
Never get fat in the name of muscle!
Sure, go ahead and allow yourself to eat freely and fill up on good food, but do not eat like a slob every day in an effort to “get big”.
You’ll only “get fat” and make it next to impossible to perform at a high level and look reasonable with your clothes off.
Instead of eating anything and everything in sight, set up a rock-solid nutrition regimen.
- Eat high-quality food,
- eat when you’re hungry (first, learn what true hunger is) and
- always keep low-calorie days in the mix (critical!).
Most importantly, figure out how much food (calories) your body requires to look and perform at 100%. Getting sloppy due to your lackluster diet is not an option.
Look at yourself in the mirror right now (take your clothes off first, silly).
What do you see?
Are you fat? Cut out the tasty treats, eat a little less, and move a little more.
Looking like a prion camp escapee? Start training with brutal intensity and let your hunger dictate how much you eat.
What’s that? You need more detail?
I got you.
Get LEAN MACHINE – Your Guide To Physical Supremacy.
Next, let’s take a look at how natural steroids will get you ripped the old fashioned way.
6th Law: Take Advantage of Nature’s Steroid Solution
The body is a magnificent machine. It will adapt to anything if you create the right framework, the right environment.
It takes time, though.
It took me a good 4-5 months to feel like my body had fully adjusted to the daily training. But at that point, I knew I could easily do this till the end of my days.
My system had adapted. Only a question of discipline now.
And here’s where I need your undivided attention: Physical mastery is about achieving and maintaining a natural rhythm, a balance.
What is “balanced” about training with brutal intensity every day on an empty stomach and eating only at night?
And I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I struggle to find the middle ground. Extreme hardship and deprivation get lil Vic excited.
With that said, I always make sure to balance the high output with sufficient nutrition and plenty of rest during my downtime.
I eat BIG when I do eat, and most importantly, I get a solid 8h+ of sleep a night.
And whenever I don’t, I pay the price. Because nighttime is where the magic happens.
During sleep, your body pumps high levels of growth hormone and testosterone into your system to help you recover, regenerate, and grow.
These are nature’s most powerful muscle-building, fat-burning and longevity-promoting agents. Nothing you could ever inject or swallow measures up, side-effect free.
And there’s absolutely no question about it. If you habitually cut this regenerative cycle short, you will undermine your training and dieting efforts.
I know, I know…
Skimping on sleep and waking up at ungodly hours to “hustle” is all the rage these days, but the tradeoff is no joke.
I’m not telling you to be in bed by 22:00 every night and to never get up early. I’m telling you to keep an eye on your sleep habits and make sure you get an average of 8h+ of shuteye.
Anything less than that is a compromise. Are you not sick and tired (literally) of compromising your health, performance, and appearance?
No, I don’t care about your oh so busy schedule. Prioritize and execute!
7th Law: Supplements Don’t Build Muscle
I worked in the supplement industry in my early twenties.
And during that time, I tried pretty much every product under the sun claiming to build muscle, burn fat, and turn you into a sexual tyrannosaurus.
My sentiment after popping pills like an American housewife for 3 years straight?
I do not take or recommend any supplements.
Not because none of them work. Some compounds (very few) are actually backed by solid research.
Creatine and caffeine, for example.
But are they necessary? Any of them?
While I do occasionally enjoy experimenting with different products, I rarely, if ever, finish an entire bottle. The effects simply don’t justify the use.
Regardless if we’re talking about muscle-building agents, vitamin and mineral blends, or performance-enhancing concoctions (i.e. pre-workouts).
They’re unnecessary and entirely expendable.
And in the rare event that something actually “works”, the effects are negligible. We’re talking about a marginal boost, at best.
If you’re a pro athlete, these things might warrant consideration. For everybody else, I got a question: Do you enjoy wasting your time and money?
Forget supplements and focus on the fundamentals: Your training, diet, rest and recovery regimen. No supplement, no pill, no product will ever trump these.
Got it? Good. Let’s move on.
8th Law: Get Your Head Straight
I am a man of faith.
Unshakeable faith and self-belief have always driven me. I never needed anyone’s blessing or approval to go after the things I wanted.
And that was even before my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, revealed himself to me and made me truly invincible through his Holy Spirit, Amen.
Faith and relentless determination are veritable superpowers.
I’m not using that term lightly. They will give you a supernatural advantage, whether you realize it or not.
Your body will do as it’s told.
The problem is your insecurities are sniffed out and your weak-willy commands are all but ignored. You don’t believe you can do it and your muscles second that opinion.
I’m telling you right now, you can train night and day and shove buckets of protein down your gullet, but if you lack faith, lack belief in your ability, you will fail.
No question about it, you will fail.
How do you strengthen your mind muscle?
Easy. By keeping the promises you make to yourself (Spoiler: Nothing easy about this).
You say: “I will eat better”, and you do it.
You say: “I will work out every day”, and you do it.
You say: “I will get more and better sleep”, and you do it.
You say: “I will look for solutions instead of excuses”, and you do it.
You say you’ll do something, and you do it, without fail.
You don’t bitch out. You don’t come up with silly excuses. You simply execute.
You do that long enough and your brain will take note. It will register a new pattern, a new MO, and respond accordingly.
Confidence and assertiveness will take the place of anxiety and self-doubt.
Sounds too good to be true? Trust me, it’s not.
I’m here to tell you: You can do it.
I know for a fact.
Because I did it. And I did it without any physical gifts or genetic advantages.
I did it through sheer willpower. I willed myself to physical supremacy.
And if I can do it, you can bet your flabby buttcheeks, you can too.
9th Law: It Takes As Long As It Takes
Speaking of superpowers.
Here’s one very very few possess. I would go so far as to say that this particular gift is harder to find than an honest politician.
I learned this the hard way (the only way to learn). You can’t rush muscle-gain and fat-loss. You can’t rush physical transformation.
I mean, you can, but you’ll fall flat on your face every time.
So instead of violently pushing for the end result, take a step back, and accept that this takes time. In fact, it takes a lot longer than you would think. And there are no shortcuts.
No, not at all. That’s the beauty.
The beauty lies in the struggle, in the fight, in the daily hardship. That is where you will find your answers.
In practical terms, you should always monitor your progress, making sure you’re closing in on your ultimate goal.
Check the scale and mirror, take unflattering pictures of yourself at regular intervals, track your workouts and nutrition, monitor trends, without losing sight of the big picture.
What are your goals? And what are you doing, every day, to secure your ultimate victory?
Don’t think “Boo hoo, I still look like dog poo 3 months after changing my diet and picking up a training routine.”
Embrace the opportunity. Embrace the fact that 9 out of 10 people on this trajectory will never make it to their destination.
But you will.
You will come out on top if you put your head down and do the work, chipping away at it relentlessly until you reveal your personal masterpiece.
Do not allow yourself to get sidetracked. Get your workouts in, eat better, rest harder. Work like hell every single day, but take your sweeet time.
Patiently, quietly, surely you will reach your goals.
10th Law: Love It, Kill It
You know, reading through these 10 Laws of Muscle might make you question if it’s all even worth it.
I mean, all this trouble just for bigger arms and a better physique?
Not worth it, I agree.
The good news is these superficial effects will be overshadowed by something much greater.
A new perspective. A fresh start. A new lease on life.
I believe it was Rich Piana (rest in peace) who coined the phrase “Love it, kill it”. And though he and I are worlds apart in our approach, I have a ton of respect for the guy.
He dedicated his life to his craft (= getting ridiculously huge), to the detriment of everything else.
All or nothing. Do or die.
But in spite of his hardcore approach, there was always an element of passion embedded in his message. You could tell he truly loved what he was doing.
And that’s the master key.
Yeah, you gotta go hard to amount to anything in this life. You gotta go so hard people around you think you’ve lost it.
But you have to learn to love it.
Personally, I love my daily routine. I love my diet and I look forward to every single workout.
It has made me who I am today. More than anything, it has made me a better person.
My regimen has made me a happier, healthier, more accomplished human being… with bigger muscles. And this is what it’s all about.
You gotta work till your eyeballs pop, but you gotta learn to love the process. There’s no other way you’ll stick around. And truth be told, it wouldn’t be worth it if you dreaded every step of the way.
Muscles are cool, but what else do you have to show for? If it’s only a bigger sleeve size, my man, you didn’t get it.
Life is good. Live it well.
I’ll see you around
This advice is gold. Not new perhaps but why don’t people ‘get’ this? Great article and it should be put up at each gym