Almost every person who walks through the door of Aspire has one of two primary goals when it comes to their bodies – they either want to get smaller or they want to get bigger.
Regardless of which end of the spectrum your goal is, there are two things you need to be doing in order to look good naked be healthy and achieve the body you desire.
#1 – Strength Train
Yup, to both “get smaller” and “get bigger” we want to strength train to change our body composition and influence our muscle tissue.
Let’s first define strength training for this current topic as multi-joint exercises using high load and low volume AKA squatting, deadlifting, and pressing heavy shit for just a few reps.
Secondly, let’s dig deeper into the goals of “getting smaller” and “getting bigger.” 99.9% of individuals that are looking to get smaller need to lose body fat. Fat is their issue and not muscle mass. So, we need to create a program that helps them decrease fat as rapidly as possible.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your goals) strength training with heavy loads and low volume doesn’t make muscle grow. Strength training has benefits (next paragraph) that aid in both muscle growth and fat burning, but those reps alone won’t help the tissue grow. Instead, these low reps and high load movements increase the strength of the muscle fibers and do not cause expansion of the muscle fiber itself. Growth will occur in higher rep ranges along with proper nutrition and caloric needs.
Strength training will increase muscle building and fat burning anabolic hormones like testosterone, HGH, and HCG. It will allow you to preserve muscle while eating at a caloric deficit, also allowing for caloric needs to be increased throughout the day due to repair and maintenance of muscle tissue. More calories being burned = higher metabolic rate AKA metabolism with an end result of burning fat.
To use these hormones to shrink or grow your body, you will now need to assess your nutrition.
#2 – Eat in appropriate quantities
To reach your goals, you probably don’t need a fancy, regimented, or strict diet scheme. You need to eat appropriate quantities of calories in proper macronutrient ratios – for your goals, not anyone else’s!
Calories can be fairly simple:
Lose Weight = Calorie Deficit
Maintain Weight = Calorie Needs
Gain Weight = Calorie Surplus
Don’t make it much more complicated than this. If you want to lose body fat you need to be at a calorie deficit and if you want to gain muscle you need to be at a calorie surplus. Yes, you can gain muscle at a calorie surplus – but don’t worry about that right now, keep things simple. You also need to eat proper macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) to support your goals. You can begin to determine what you need by logging your food and beginning to experiment with different variables. However, meeting with a nutritionist to determine the exact numbers of your caloric intake and macronutrient demands will take a lot of the guesswork out of the equation.
To makes things even simpler – you need to eat less than what you need to “get smaller” and more of that you need to “get bigger.”
Do you feel like you are doing one of these two things pretty damn well, but not achieving the results you desire? It’s time to dig deeper and concentrate more on the one you are lacking. If you are strength training, but eating/drinking improperly, you are not going to change. Same goes the other way around about eating properly and not strength training. Period. In very few cases, we see individuals who are nailing both their strength training and their food, but still not hitting their goals. This is when we now need to look deeper into hormonal health, sleep patterns, overtraining, and additional factors such as accessory exercises during workouts.
For the vast majority of us – lift heavy shit, do not drink alcohol excessively, and eat in appropriate quantities for your life and goals. It’s that simple.
Sean Spire is the Owner and Head Coach of Aspire. Athletically, he enjoys lifting heavy shit, running in the middle of the day, and tough MetCons. Personally, he likes spending time with his amazing wife, Erika, and dog, Reef.