Just recently I had the privilege of getting on the phone with a fellow strength coach and friend named Ryan Munsey who has a kickass site at RyanMunsey.com
This guy’s an awesome dude and knows his stuff when it comes to getting people into SICK shape.
He runs a strength program out in Roanoak, VA named House of Strength, is an ex-fitness Model turned strength addict and has some awesome tips to share on how to get Jacked and Shredded.
I’ll let Ryan take it away from here…
A lot of people simply want to “look better naked”.
There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact I once (and still do) fall into that category. But most people who pursue this appearance based approach make one critical mistake. And that mistake prevents them, YOU, from ever attaining the body you imagine in your mind. I’ve been there, I know. And over the last decade as I’ve gone from Food Science and Human Nutrition student to fitness model to gym owner, I’ve had the chance to see, AND FIX this mistake firsthand many times. Let’s make sure you’re armed with the knowledge to build whatever type of body you desire.
The mistake – sacrificing performance for looks.
All too often, in the pursuit of “looking better naked” lifters and athletes become more concerned with the appearance of the body rather than the performance.
Even for competitive physique athletes like bodybuilders or figure ladies, focusing on performance FIRST will always lead to a better appearance than the opposite approach.
If you’ve ever dieted down for a show, competition or meet, then you know that maintaining or even gaining strength during this time is crucial. No matter what the pursuit is, we want more muscle and less fat. That works better on the field, on the platform, or on a stage – no secret there. So logically the training focus should be on strength progression, moving forward, and getting better. This is what will drive the body to adapt, change and improve.
Form follows function & function determines form.
Ever seen a guy who can bench press 400 pounds? Chances are, he actually looks like he could bench 400 pounds! Now think about that person you know who wants to (insert random feat of strength here) but doesn’t train for strength. Getting stronger will help 99% of the people chasing that goal – whatever it is.
As I said earlier, I’ve seen this mistake time and time again. I made this very mistake when I was a beginner. I went to the gym chasing that adrenaline rush, trying to move as fast as possible from one exercise to the next, killing cardio machines, judging progress by sweat. Sure I got leaner. I was shredded! But I never developed that look I was chasing. I never got bigger or stronger.
Over the years, however, I’ve learned the importance of strength. I’ve learned the error of my early thought process and helped many others overcome the same beliefs.
- Learn proper technique on all the big lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press, O-lifts)
- Strive to do more weight or more reps with the same weight each session
- Lift HEAVY. The main moves should be performed for sets of 1-5 reps using 80-95% of your 1RM. This alone has been the biggest source of improvement for me and my clients over the years. You’ll learn to brace, create tension, express force, increase neuromuscular rate coding, stimulate growth in the muscle fibers with the greatest growth potential, stimulate favorable hormonal responses, and of course, improve strength.
- Focus on recovery and mobility. If you can’t move properly, you can’t perform optimally.
- See conditioning for what it is – a tool to make you a better lifter and healthier person. Cardio should NOT tap into your recovery so much that it negatively impacts your strength training. Stop spinning on that hamster wheel for hours to burn calories. Make your “cardio” fun and beneficial by using finishers at the end of your lifting sessions.
Of course nutrition plays an equally important role in this equation. You can’t out-train a bad diet. Your body WILL perform like a Formula-1 racecar if you treat it like one. Don’t pollute it with garbage.
I know Travis loves the JERF (Just Eat Real Food) approach. I’m right there with him, quoting the late Jack Lalanne often, “If man made it, don’t eat it.”
Eating a diet that centers around grass-fed, wild-caught, and free-range animal meats and eggs along with fresh, local, and organic produce will help you create the body you seek. Remember form follows function. And proper fueling is the only way to get optimal functioning.
Don’t worry about counting calories. Eat enough to recover from today’s training session or enough to dominate tomorrow’s. Then hit the weight with reckless abandon and beat your log book. Repeat the process every day, every month, and every year. Consider yourself warned – this WILL turn you into a Badass!
Jim Wendler said it best, “Want to look like you’ve been squatting and running hills for 10 years? Squat and run hills for 10 years.”
Great stuff from my man Ryan!
If you want more info or have questions for Ryan, you can find him here: http://www.ryanmunsey.com
Keep Training H.A.M.!