Everyone works out for their own reasons. Some people work out for health reasons, some people work out to help their mental well-being, and others work out because it’s a part of their lifestyle and they enjoy it.
However, there are some people who work out specifically to obtain a certain body type that they aspire to, whether that be a lean, toned, and muscular body type or one which is all mass and strength.
Regardless of your goals, training for a specific physique is a popular reason for training, and it’s also one of the most effective motivators as long as you track your progress carefully.
For most people, especially men, an aesthetically pleasing body has a few common characteristics, such as broad shoulders, muscular chest, and abdomens as well as toned arms and muscular legs with a thin waistline. Some aim to build a Greek god physique that features not only these characteristics but also perfect symmetry, strength and bulk. These are the body types that are often championed by the media and in Hollywood, and before that were championed by sculptors and artists throughout history.
While the debate around body positivity and healthy training and eating is an ongoing one and full of controversies, there is still no shortage of people who pursue and obtain the body of their dreams.
This can have an immensely positive impact on your life, giving you confidence and improving your mental and physical health, but not everyone is able to reach these goals as quickly as others, and there are an array of factors that should be taken into consideration including your work-life balance, health, starting a fitness and other demands on your time and money.
It’s true that any form of fitness and training regime is a taxing one and this makes having a plan incredibly important if you want to achieve your goals.
In this guide we’re going to look at some of the best tips for pursuing your dream physique, delving into setting goals, finding programs and other important decisions you’ll need to make about your journey, and how to make sure they’re the right ones for you.
If you need a little help or some new suggestions for how to keep making progress, check out these tips and share them with your friends so that you can pass on the positivity and keep motivating yourself and others!
Proportions and Goals
First and foremost, you need to consider what your actual goals are. Starting to train or pursue a certain physique without goals is one of the key reasons why people end up losing motivation or stalling, but luckily there are ways to avoid this.
First, you need to set yourself achievable and definable goals and organize them properly. This means you don’t simply look at a picture of a ripped Brad Pitt and say, “I want to look like that!” This is too vague, and to be honest, achieving anything close to a celebrity physique can take years of effort without the sort of budget and assistance professionals to have access to.
If you’re serious, you need to make a plan, and identify steps you can take towards your final goal to make the process encouraging and motivational. There are different methods for this, such as tracking your weight, tracking your strength and fitness as well as monitoring your calories and diet.
Setting a plan can be time-consuming, but it’s worth it in the long run, and you can find a lot of great plans online and tweak them to suit you, or even find a personal trainer to help with this and keep you motivated.
In terms of proportions, it’s also important to take stock of where you are starting from. Your body fat percentage, height, weight, and even your bone structure can have a huge impact on your journey as well as any health conditions you may have.
Generally, those who are starting relatively lean with wide shoulders and a narrower waist will see a head start in their progress, but don’t be fooled, these body types are attainable for everyone, it can just take some people a little longer. What’s more, people starting from an easier spot will often lose motivation as it can be harder to see progress! It’s a bit of a tortoise and hare situation, but ultimately you should stay focused on your own goals and your own plan. Eventually, the results will speak for themselves.
Find a Regime which Works for You
One of my favorite pieces of advice is this, ‘we overestimate what we can achieve in the short term, and underestimate what we can achieve in the long term.’ It’s one of the best pieces of advice when it comes to fitness and obtaining the body you want.
Consistency is more important than anything else, and working out on the days you really don’t want to is when it really matters as you’re defeating what’s holding you back and changing your mindset as well as your body for the better.
It certainly isn’t easy, but it’s amazing what 6 to 12 months of a solid diet and workout plan can accomplish for most people.
Part of this is finding a regime that works for you.
Some people like to focus on cardiovascular training and sports, while others prefer to focus on weights or crossfit style training or even martial arts.
Almost all trainers regardless of their background will tell you that mixing in something you enjoy is critically important to maintaining your motivation long term, so don’t simply do what everyone else is doing, and take some time to experiment at the start to find out what you enjoy most.
This will pay huge dividends later when you’re struggling to motivate yourself and can turn a fitness journey into a hugely improved and rewarding lifestyle.
If you want to build a lean muscular physique in a faster time period however it’s strongly recommended to at least work in some weight training into your regime as this will massively speed up your muscle gain while also helping to burn fat. Just weight training two or three times a week can make massive improvements to these aspects of your body, but don’t forget to rest up enough too to prevent injury and allow your muscles time to heal and grow.
Diet and Hydration
Many people neglect their diet, but it’s arguably more important than the training itself. As it is often said, ‘abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym’, and this is true in many ways.
While you should never make significant changes to your diet or lifestyle without first consulting your doctor, there are things you can do to improve your performance and help gain results faster.
For gaining mass, eating protein is key, and this is why many people use protein shakes to supplement their diet and increase their muscular strength and mass as well as recovery.
For cutting and losing fat, avoid diets high in fat and carbs, and try to keep your calories below your own personal calorie intake recommendation. There is a lot of talk about how to lose weight, but it’s a very simple numbers game at its core.
Put in fewer calories than your body needs, and your body will burn off its fat to account for this. That’s all there is to it. Avoid sugary juices and meal replacements as these are low quality and often aren’t as beneficial as they are made out to be.
It’s also important to stay hydrated and drink enough water as this helps with recovery and preventing injuries and cramps. Sports drinks can be useful in some scenarios, but generally, water and green tea are the best options you have in terms of both health and hydration.
This is the secret behind almost all impressive transformations, and is the secret behind improved strength as well as sculpting your dream body.
This essentially means, increasing the strain you put on your body gradually as you train, in line with your plan.
If you simply lift the same amount of weight each session, or continually run the same distance and speed, your body won’t adapt and it will plateau, slowing your development and progress and causing you to lose motivation!
While overloading is challenging, it’s what will actually lead to your body adapting and becoming stronger, leaner, and fitter.
After all, no one ever said pursuing your ideal body was going to be easy! This is where prior planning and enjoyment are really important as it can be daunting to face these challenges and it’s where many people quit or fail.
Not everyone wants a six-pack, and you don’t have to make this your goal, but for those who do, it’s not an easy thing to pursue. Your body fat percentage needs to be in the low teens or ideally single digits for your six-pack to show.
There are variables such as height and other factors, but getting body fat this low is a real challenge. If you’ve built your abdomen up by doing sit-ups and squats and other exercises that strengthen your core, it may be partially visible at higher percentages, but for a truly cut look, there’s no alternative to low body fat.
Again, before pursuing this, speak to your doctor as there are health implications for cutting weight, and having low body fat and no body aesthetic is worth risking your long-term health over.
Even the most sculpted athletes don’t have perfectly symmetrical bodies, and very few, aside from the genetically blessed, do. It’s a fact of life that your pecs may be a little asymmetrical or your abs a little slanted.
However, you can make things as symmetrical as possible by ensuring you work out unilaterally, meaning you work each limb individually, instead of constantly relying on compound exercises and barbells. Unilateral training ensures that your limbs progress evenly and don’t get left behind as your stronger arm or pec takes more of the strain.
Accentuate your Assets
If you have naturally strong and chunky legs, work on them and make them a focal point of your aesthetic! If you have wide shoulders work on bulking them out! If you have large forearms, ensure your biceps match them! In short, find what your natural gifts are and use them to your advantage to craft an image you find pleasing. Learn more about the best aesthetic workout routine here.