“I go for two kinds of men. The kind with muscles, and the kind without.” –Mae West
Becoming lean and muscular is the holy grail of fitness.
The Hollywood celebrity look is often placed on a pedestal and for good reason. Look at movie stars like Brad Pitt, Ryan Reynolds, and Taylor Lautner. Then look at the people around you. How many people among your family, friends, and coworkers have achieved this kind of physique? Chances are few to none. The reason for this is simple. Everyday people either don’t know what it takes to get into this type of condition, don’t care enough to do so, or both. Almost everyone I know falls into one of these three categories. When you think about the build of the stars I mentioned, one of the first things that comes to mind is “lean muscle”. But what is lean muscle?
What is lean muscle?
This phrase gets thrown around a lot and I don’t particularly like it because quite frankly, there is no such thing. There aren’t two distinct categories of muscle where one is lean and the other is fat. When people say lean muscle, they are referring to having a decent amount of muscle while being lean at the same time. People associate lean muscle with someone like Taylor Lautner. While he does have muscle, his muscle is no leaner than that of a sumo wrestler. The difference is that he is leaner than a sumo wrestler and the reason why his physique is much more impressive than that of the sumo wrestler is that sculpting it goes way beyond just putting on muscle.
Let me get back to the three categories of people I mentioned.
My goal is to help the people in the first category: those who are willing to put in the work, but are misinformed. You see, you can’t just put in time at the gym and expect to get a Hollywood body. Many people workout regularly and they might have sufficient muscle, but they are still a little chubby. They think that if they keep pushing hard at the gym, eventually the flab will go away and they will look like Ryan Reynolds. Unfortunately, this is not going to happen unless they take a synergistic approach and focus on what they are doing outside of the gym and the timing of these activities.
Getting lean and muscular requires a two-pronged attack.
The thing is it’s very difficult to attack both at the same time. This is because the activities that are best for burning fat hinder muscle building and vice versa. So here’s what I’m suggesting. Have days when you focus strictly on fat burning and days when you focus strictly on muscle building. My plan of attack is a 5/2 weekly split between fat burning days and muscle building days. So five days a week, I focus on fat burning and give it my all. The other two days, I focus on muscle building and completely ignore fat burning! You can tweak the ratio based on your goals, but I’m more focused on remaining lean and staying at low body fat levels, so the 5/2 split works very well for me.
How is this different from bulking and cutting?
The traditional bodybuilding bulking and cutting method calls for months of overeating and getting huge and then only a few weeks of cutting to try to get lean. This won’t build an ideal physique because the constant calorie surplus from the bulking phase will inevitably result in fat gain that’s difficult to reverse in only a few weeks. So what you’ll end up with is the big puffy look that’s a little over-the-top. What you want to do instead is to focus the majority of your effort on getting lean because this is the driver behind the ideal Hollywood physique.
My method accomplishes this because for 5 out of 7 days a week, you’re just shredding fat. And then you devote a couple of days to putting on a respectable amount of mass that looks good and suits your frame, not too much. Also, because you’re spreading out the calorie surplus days and being strategic about it, overall long-term fat gain will be minimal. This is your path to the Holy Grail. So if you find yourself asking “what is lean muscle and how do I get it?” the answer lies in this path. Stay tuned to my next post where I discuss exactly what I do on my fat burning and muscle building days to make sure I’m constantly working towards this ideal physique.