Do you want that lean look you see in fitness magazines? Genetics help a ton but you can still have “the look” without the genes. That is, if you are willing to lead the lifestyle to get it.
The stage-ready physique competitor, whether it be bikini, figure, physique, classic physique for men, or bodybuilding has treated their body as a temple for months (if not years) while they are preparing for their competition. As does the athlete expecting themselves to perform at their best at their next competition whether it be team sports or an individual sport. “Treat your body as a temple” is such a cliche’ I know. However, it is TRUE.
If you want “the body” then:
Be consistent in the weight room or at practice
Be consistent about how you nourish your body
Be consistent about resting your body
The first requirement for having “the body” is to show up at the gym and do the work. If you don’t have genetics on your side, then you have to work harder than those with “the genes”. You will have to show up more than once or twice a week to practice or to the gym. If two times per week is really all you are able to carve out of your week due to work, family and other aspects of real life, then you can still perform in your field or get decent results but you may have to adjust your expectations.
Your results may be a little slower than if you were able to train 3-5x/week. If you want “the body” it will definitely take longer to get to the lean look training twice per week versus 4 or 5 times per week consistently over time.
If you want the lean muscular look, you have to put in the work. By the way using age as an excuse doesn’t fly with me and if you sit your butt on the couch for 5 minutes without intention, that is 5 minutes you could have been working toward your goal. I have a rule for myself, no TV unless I’m folding laundry or doing cardio and I’m really out of the loop on what’s trending but I don’t really care. My health takes priority.
Having “the body” also requires nutrition that helps it run efficiently. Meeting a calorie goal that allows for retaining muscle and efficiently burns fat is the basis of having “the body”. Relaxing on calorie consumption once in a great while is fine IF it won’t derail you. You have to be able to shut that door, if you open it, in order to keep consistent with your goals.
This is why Coach Jimmy says “Go for it!” once in awhile and enjoy being with family and friends without the overhanging thought of going over your calorie goals or macronutrients.
If I’m in physique competition prep, I will plan for special situations like this and I don’t open a door I know I cannot shut (caramel flavored rice cakes with peanut butter, I can eat the whole package). Check out Jimmy’s post When Things Don’t Go Your Way.
You must rest to get the results you want. Rest is equally important, if not more important, as training and nutrition. If you are working hard in the gym and hard at keeping within your calorie budget, then also make sure you are getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is related to obesity and Type II diabetes. Without sleep your body’s insulin response doesn’t work efficiently. This is the opposite of what you want to happen if your goal is to lose fat. Not being rested also causes issues in your emotional brain and logical brain that diminish your resolve to stick with your goals and you are more likely to blow yourself up.
If you are after “the body” you need to be rested so your metabolism works efficiently and you can make good decisions regarding the care for your body.
The bottom line is if you want “that body” from the magazines, or your co-worker’s legs (by the way she works out 5 times a week), you need to work for it and treat your body with respect. That means:
Eat and drinking within a calorie budget. You can’t drink and eat whatever you want every weekend and expect your body to love you back.
Make sure the number of workouts each week will get you to your goal.
2-3X a week for general fitness and health
4-6X per week for “The Body”
Get enough rest so your body knows you love it.
Your body will respond by loving you back if you treat like a temple 💓.