Muscle with Minimum Investment

Read time: 2 minutes

I’ve been training myself and hundreds of clients for nearly 20 years.

Throughout this period, I’ve used various training methods: bodybuilding, Superslow, powerlifting, so-called functional training, and olympic-style weightlifting. And in recent years it has been all about athletic development.

At times I even used a combination of these methodologies.

A Look of Disproportion

In the end, however, most people I work with — myself included — just want to be healthy and possess an attractive physique… not to  have a disproportionate look!

Most of us don’t care about winning lifting trophies, or prancing around a bodybuilding stage in purple bikinis. We don’t want to possess a barrel torso like that of the powerlifter, a thick set of legs and hips like that of the weightlifter, or the odd-looking, cartoon caricature of a bodybuilder.

Most people I know don’t need (or want) to look like this, or train like this, to play a round of golf or a pick-up game of basketball on Sunday afternoon. We don’t need to do any of this to go to the local coffee shop.

A Need for Change

I asked myself why I’ve been beating up myself and my clients with these brutal programs that are based on maximum athletic development. It all made no sense.

So I took 2 decades of practical experience, the theoretical knowledge gained from my Sports Medicine degree, and years of reading scientific journals, and made things easier on myself and the people I train.

I began to exercised for aesthetics — for looks.

It’s easier on the joints, the back, and the knees. There’s a lot less physical stress, but still just the right amount for positive adaptation to stressful situations, both physically and psychologically. It’s a nice balance.

Putting Exercise Into Perspective

Training for aesthetics means that we may not be as strong as a powerlifter that back-squats a thousand pounds, or an Olympic weightlifter that clean-and-jerks 3 times his own weight.

But I know that proper exercise of any kind — even those not considered by the fitness gurus as “functional training” — will make us better and healthier people. The fact that we do some lifting (even if for only aesthetics) invariably makes us functionally competent.

If I have ripped abs, defined legs, and veiny arms, then I’m fine being functionally competent.

Sleekness is the New Black

In future posts I will write more about the exercise that I use to build just the right amount of muscle in just the right places, for that sleek movie-star, fashion model physique. It involves manipulating the hormonal responses first, and then targeting areas you want to increase muscularity.

This sounds complicated, but it’s not and takes a lot less time than you think.

I call this the economics of aesthetics exercise.

Stay tuned.

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Effortless Style

Read time: 30 seconds

These pictures are taken from the Sartorialist blog.

I love that this girl rides a road bike without wearing the typical multi-colored, fake-sponsorship Lycra kit. Not only does she look stylish on the way to the local cafe, but the whole scenario represents an active lifestyle.

I grew up in the generation that feared shorter shorts, but with a lean body and a flair of confidence, I’m warming up to the style. This ensemble is simple and easy, and the defining characteristic that makes the whole thing work is the veins down the biceps.

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Intermittent Fasting and Fat Loss

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So how do you lose the fat, get a lean body, and beat up the world?

Most of you probably already know that a body like Brad Pitt’s comes mostly from exercise and dieting.

But we’re talking about getting lean through fat loss. The scientific literature tells us that fat loss is mostly ineffective through exercise. Rather, fat loss relies heavily on diet.

Intermittent Fasting (IF)

The fact is this: there are many fat-loss diets that work. No single fat-loss diet works best for everyone, but the diet that works best for you is the one you can adhere to permanently.

With that said, the fat-loss diet that seems to offer the best adherence has been the one utilizing the concept of Intermittent Fasting, or IF.

There are many very smart people who have written about IF, like Brad Pilon, Martin Berkhan, and Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple. (I also write about IF regularly on my other blog.)

Having adopted IF myself, I can tell you this dietary lifestyle is the single easiest diet for weight loss and weight maintenance. It is sustainable in its simplicity. And, although many biological complexity is involved in the energy regulatory system that causes fat loss, the fundamental rule to losing weight is still based on a calorie deficit.

This is why IF is so effective for a lot of people — it averages a calorie deficit through time, but without restricting your joy for food. I don’t know about you, but I still enjoy good food and great champaign with close friends.

Check Your Gut

The human gut is essentially in two states: fed or unfed. While we sleep through the night, the gut is in an unfed state. When we just chowed down lunch, our gut is in a fed state.

So it is fair to say we’ve all done IF practically all our lives, every time we went to bed. Intermittent fasting is simply a replication of the same condition, but during the daytime.

The unfed state is actually very natural for the human body and should make up the majority of our lives; this is so that the body can free its resources from the process of digestion and focus on other biological processes — like recovery, rebuilding, and cellular house-cleaning.

Glorified Gluttony

Our culture, however, have conditioned us to eat constantly, to snack throughout the day, and eat as many as 6 so-called “small” meals a day.

Since it takes 3 to 4 hours to digest a meal, it means our gut is constantly in a fed state, digesting from the moment we wake to the time we go to bed. Talk about overworked — it’s such a pervasive (and perversive) theme to our society. Work work work.

The French Don’t Work Themselves to Death

The French are known to eat less, because they don’t snack between meals. Reports claim they truly enjoy their food slowly, enjoying every bite slowly, and this might allow them to eat less. They also simply go longer between feeding.

Intermittent Fasting, a Multitude of Positive Effects

Intermittent fasting studies show that going longer between feedings has positive health impact, from improved hormonal profiles, blood lipids, brain protection, and blood pressure to increased fat metabolism. So it seems that it’s not just eating fewer calories that decreases body fat, but that going longer between meals can also decrease body fat and improve health.

Filippa Hamilton, French Model

Kevin Flamme, French

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Read time: 2 minutes

My wife says that I did a “180.”

I went from 204 pounds of fat to 175 pounds of lean weight. And at 5’8″ with this body weight, I competed fairly well in amateur bodybuilding. After those competitive days, instead of going back to being an overweight slob, I kept up the bodybuilding  lifestyle.

But that wasn’t the 180-degree turn my wife was talking about.

The turn I took was when I eventually gave up this bodybuilding lifestyle. I had gone from lugging around massive muscle mass (sort of gorilla-like, if you will) to being lean and slender. So I went from a heavily muscled freak to the current, much healthier, lighter, and defined 155 lbs.

That was my 180.

A Much Better Look

I can tell you this: I feel much, much better. Not only that, but I also believe I look way better. My wife agrees. My friends say the same — and they now describe me with adjectives I hadn’t thought about before: healthy, sleek, and less painful-looking. 

How on earth did I ever thought that looking like an ape was attractive, or even healthy?

So, yes, I agree with my wife that I made a big turn. But I wouldn’t call it a complete “180.” It’s more like a 110-degree turn. What I mean by this is that I wasn’t shooting to be completely out of shape with no muscle and only flab. I still love having muscle.

But having the right amount of muscle, and having it strategically placed on the body, is very important to me.

Hot Physiques

I have come to appreciate the physiques of Hollywood actors, of hip models, of soccer or track athletes (Beckham comes to mind, as does pole vaulter Allison Stokke). These are people who don’t look… well, painful. And most people would agree that they look very attractive.

There’s no doubt that these people are hot. Yes, they have a larger-than-life persona, but they have the kind of physiques that most people admire. If you’re a guy like me, you probably wouldn’t mind walking on the beach sporting a body like Daniel Craig’s. Or if you’re a female, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind walking into a cocktail party with a body like Allison Stokke’s, wearing a low-cut dress.

Mind the Threads

But it’s not just about a lean and defined body. After all, there are only a handful of times you get to show off the body in real life — you can’t walk into a Starbucks shirtless. Clothes must visually work for the body, even if they don’t show off your definition, the veins on the arms, the six-packs.  

But no matter how wonderful the cut, the style, or the taylor of the shirt, the jeans, or the sweater, they can only look great on a well-built, sleek physique. They look otherwise plain on an out-of-shape body.

An international soccer superstar (or football superstar, for you European purists) can make a statement solely by the threads hanging on his body. Forget that he’s an international athletic figure head.

This is the essence of this blog. It’s not to have a nice physique just to have a nice physique, but to make a statement wherever you go with the thread you wear and the life you enjoy.

This is Lean Couture.

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