Sometimes we workout just to get fit. Sometimes, we just want to retain a certain level of health and activity in our lives. But there are those who train and workout because they want to achieve a certain look in terms of their physique. Are you one of those people? If you want to LOOK or perform a certain way, how you train IS crucial. Follow these 3 missions and learn how to build any athletic physique.
Want to look like the superhero of your choice? Change your mind.
We see somebody doing something we want to do, or looking how we want to look, and our first thought is “Well, because genetics/lifestyle/opportunity/excuse, they can do that and I can’t.”
We use this mentality to justify our current position, let ourselves off the hook for not trying, explain why we don’t look a certain way, and give ourselves an an excuse why we can’t try/do something.
THIS IS THE WRONG WAY TO THINK.
The truth of the matter is the exact opposite: our bodies are INCREDIBLE pieces of machinery – they reshape themselves and adapt to whatever is thrown at them.
Run fast, and your body builds muscle in the right places to be more efficient with sprints. Train like an MMA fighter and your body will start to resemble a guy that gets in the octagon. Run distances and your blood cells and joints and muscles start to adapt to covering long distances and tiring less easily.
So change your thinking right now. FORM (your body) follows function (the stuff you do with your time).
Mission 1: Select your Class
Take the next few minutes and find somebody known for a particular skill or sport you admire, or someone who you’re interested in looking like. What activity are they good at or known for? What’s the body type you’re going for?
And then start acting like that person. Immediately.
You don’t need to lose weight before you train like a gymnast. Start training like a gymnast NOW so your body starts to develop like that of a gymnast from day one.
You don’t need to lose weight before you train like a parkour traceur or a marathon runner. Start training like a traceur or go for your first long walk or 10 second jog NOW and your body will start to adapt over time to look like your heroes.
You don’t need to become more bendy before you can try Yoga. You become more bendy BY trying Yoga. The more you do, the more your body responds accordingly.
Want to get bigger and build muscle? Don’t run just because you think fitness = running (this path will never get you where you want to go!). Start hitting your body with strength training and barbells and bodyweight movements and tell it “better get used to this by getting stronger!”
Every meal, every push-up, every step walked, every mile run, every second practicing a handstand, every second doing ANYTHING is sending tiny signals to your body “change and get better at this thing.” THAT’S how you get started building a body to be proud of, and that’s how you end up building a body that looks like the body you want to have!
Once you have your training path selected, it’s time for your next mission:
Mission 2: Overcome Genetics and Age with Lifestyle
In this game of life, you are randomly assigned a character/race. You might be a waifish high-elf, or a lumbering troll/ogre. You might be predisposed to be better at strength training or running. Or predisposed to Type-2 diabetes and had parents that fed you junk food your whole life.
It ain’t fair, but that’s life, bub.
Some people just hit the genetic lottery, and it is what it is.
Depending on your genetics, age, job, lifestyle, how many kids you have (playing life as a Multiplayer Game!), or how much disposable income you have, yes: all of these factors will affect your training and ability to transform.
But you WILL be able to transform.
REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU ARE IN LIFE, I guarantee we have somebody in our community who has it worse, is older, has the same injury you do, has more children, less money, and has found a way to succeed in the way you want to succeed.
This realization leaves you with two choices:
- Rationalize why you don’t look like that person, why you’re a unique snowflake with unfixable problems for whatever reason, and go back to Netflix. (I get it. So many good shows!)
- Get EXCITED: if they can do it, so can you! Yes. Even you. Even in that situation. I promise. Learn from them. And then do what they do.
Once realized, this is amazing:
… that you AND YOU ALONE have the ability to do and become whatever you want.
Mission 3: Conquering Nutrition is 90% of Physique
Now that we’ve talked about picking your character type and training like them despite whatever your life situation is, we need to talk about your nutrition.
I can see you eating that donut right now, by the way. Put it down.
Every day, your body uses a certain number of the calories you consume to perform basic bodily functions like breathing, pumping blood throughout your body, brain functions, liver functions, and so on. This is called your basal metabolic rate. Any calories you consume over this amount essentially need to go somewhere and do something.
Depending on how you train and how much you eat, your body will respond to those extra calories in one of three ways:
- Your excess calories go to building more/bigger muscles.
- Your excess calories are burned off with additional activity.
- Your excess calories get stored as fat.
Conversely if you eat LESS calories than you burn every day, your body has to make tough decisions and determine what to do with the lower quantity of calories it consumes: does it preserve the muscle you have and burn the fat you’re storing? Does it conserve those calories and burn fat and muscle equally? Does it use the calories to fuel runs instead?
So how do you tell your body WHAT it should be doing with calories and transform the way you want?
Through your own Sorting Hat, like in Harry Potter! Each calorie entering your body is sent to the Sorting Hat, which tells them which of three houses to join:
- Build muscle and strength: Pick up heavy things or do advanced bodyweight training and you’re “sorting” those extra calories into muscle building.
- Burn as energy: If you choose to run a lot, the body will sort the calories into “use as energy” house, fueling your runs with more and more efficiency.
- Store as fat: If you sit around like a bum, you’re signaling to your whole body “meh, please sort these calories to the “fat storage” house. Mmmm double stuf oreos.”
Start asking your new identity the following question, and where you want your body to sort the calories you consume:
- Am I signaling to my body through my training to my body what to do with these calories?
- Am I eating how the person I want to look like would eat?
- Am I recovering how the person I want to look like would recover?
Don’t overthink it, just ask yourself with each meal: “is this what a [what you want to be] would eat?” Ask yourself this with EVERY nutrition decision you make every day. The more times you can answer yes to that question every day, the faster you will see results.
Just don’t expect to have it happen overnight!
Impatient? Use performance goals, not physique goals
I leave you with one final piece of advice: be patient, my friend.
Here are some steps to get you started:
- Surround yourself with people who are succeeding like you want to succeed.
- Structure your environement to constantly remind you of your new identity and minimize the steps between you and taking action.
- Start training like future-you, right now.
- Start eating properly.
For more complete information, you can read the full article here: https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-building-any-physique-or-skill-set/
Watch this related video to find out more:
10 Exercises to Develop an Athletic Physique
Here is another resource you can look into: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodybuilding
Are you now ready to build an athletic physique?