What We Go Through
Typical reader reaction: Hold it there, mister. What compromises, which sacrifices? Getting huge for the last 36 months hasn't exactly been a picnic. Six meals a day, tuna, beef burgers, slippery eggs a la Rocky... slurp... salads, broccoli... chomp... bomber blend... gurgle... squats, deadlifts... groan... jugs of water, creatine... DOMS, rest, sleep, rest ... tuna and more water... ugh... vitamins... heavy bench presses, singles, doubles, squats... have mercy... more protein, cross-eyed smiles and ponderous shrugs...
In your quest for muscle separation and definition you are going to sacrifice some size. Relax, sit down and put your head between your legs... breathe deeply... you're experiencing minor shock. Your shirts won't fit as tight around the shoulders and pecs, and your arms begin to look like pipe stems. That inexhaustible power, energy and the super pumps you delight in from the extra bodyweight and prodigious eating will diminish. Get the man some water. Give the girl some air. Get used to it.
At the same time your jeans are looser around the waist and your sweats are baggier in the butt. She likes that sacrifice. The puffy face gives way to a lean jaw line and an attractive hollow replaces the soft padding beneath the chin. Not a bad compromise for the frumpy image you're beginning to project. Lean is very cool. You're seeing veins in the forearms and across the now-distinct and slightly striated deltoids. The biceps muscle really does have two heads and you notice the outline of a horseshoe on the back of your arm. Hi ho, Silver.
All these new and unusual formations make you want to shave your body, get a tan, throw on a coat of oil... find some good lighting in the corner of the gym before your favorite mirror -- no one looking and you hit a double overhead biceps pose like that classy old shot of Frank Zane backstage at some contest in New York City. Probably need more oil.
Frank Zane hitting a pose with Arnold in the background!
The best cutting strategy is a combination of gleaning your menu and eating less food, letting the body fat fall away. This means continuing the frequent eating, yet eliminating the excess sugary carbs (less fruit, no juice, light-light-light on the pasta, breads and potatoes), plus a medium drop in the fat intake, while continuing to lean heavily on the protein intake. More chicken and fish and less red meat. Milk products other than your protein powder will be the first protein foods to go (tend to thicken the skin). Drink water by the buckets as always and eat salads and vegetables by the bushel.
It's up to you to calculate -- rather, finesse -- your consumption of food. That's just a matter of observing the skin and its tone, the scale and favorite indicators such as the mirror, finger-pinch calibrating telltale areas, the fit of your pants, your general body presence and other similar "feelings," and eating accordingly. Tape measures and body fat tests, food lists and values can be obstacles too onerous or mind numbing to surmount. Go basic. Have instincts, will travel.
Depending on your established muscle density, training understanding, genetics, work input, attitude and other variables, everyone will achieve different levels of hardness and muscle delineation through different investments of time. And it is relative: what is muscular to one is simply toned to another, what is toned to one gal is smooth to her training partner. Be realistic and personal; do not compare yourself to the pros or racehorses or your investments in the stock market.
The target is attainable when tight nutrition and hard-hitting workouts intersect. Recall Bodybuilding 101: Everyone is different, requiring different methods of operation. I give you my method and hope it has a beat you can march to. Training to the rhythm of a B-52, based on my training today and 40 years ago, a quick overview goes something like this: As your goal is to attain muscle tightness and fine sinewy formation, so do your training and eating habits assume tightness and fine form. In contrast, gaining weight, muscle size and power -- not exactly easy achievements -- embrace broader margins and looser parameters. It's a wide and burly road of travel.
Getting ripped is a tense, narrow runway with little room for sidestepping. Steady pace and meticulous form, therefore, are the primary elements of muscularity training.
Be Good To Yourself
Sound serious? Relax. Don't freeze up or start sweating. I'm pointing you in the right direction and suggesting you gently tug on the reins. The first rule is to be good to yourself and allow the mind and body to adjust to the new pursuits and changes of action. Given sufficient time, practice and personal consent you will find yourself loving the rearranged workouts and responding to their savory crispness. Be strong and keep your eye on the premise. Here we go. I'll bet you think I'm going to superset. Right again.
Well, lower my flaps; the skies are darkening and we have a long way to travel. Let's get some rest and pull out next week when we're fresh and invigorated. Watch the carbs, stay off the sugar. We'll be getting into multi-sets, hitting higher repetitions with less poundage, maintaining a keen yet unrushed pace with totally focused reps as we command superior control and intensity within the muscle. Heavy and laborious sets and reps for the sake of sets and reps are replaced by preciseness of groove to accentuate muscle resistance and ultimate muscle formation. Don't sweat it; give it a bear hug and a big mushy kiss. Change is grand and loves to be welcomed foolishly.