arnold bench press
*this post first appeared on my friend Travis Stoetzel’s blog.

I normally get asked how to build muscle and burn fat; rightfully so, as most dudes I see training in community gyms don’t have a clue. Most guys want a rippin’ 6-pack, cannon-ball delts and to be stronger than their old man but are all going about it the wrong way.

Here are my top answers to questions like this. They have helped me put on 30-lbs after I stopped competing in middle-distance running. I didn’t get muscley-fat as I still have abs and am hovering around 10% body fat.

Here we go…

1) Dial in your technique

 
If your technique is shit, your results will be also. Dial in the basic squat and hip hinge patterns for lower body training and dial in your shoulder pack and neutral spine for your upper body and core exercises. If you can do this, you’ll be miles ahead of everyone else. Hire a coach or trainer and invest in your results.

Read 4 Weight Lifting Tips to Master.

2) Dial in a program that works

 
When I started lifting weight, I thought I was going to bench press and biceps curl 3x/week, no joke. That never happened as I decided to start with a body part split. From that experience and from training clients, that isn’t the best method for beginners. Dudes new to the gym will benefit more from performing exercises more often, rather than once a week as in a body part split. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I decided to go with The Texas Method for beginners. This program is based on Bill Star’s 5×5 protocol. If you want to check it out, look up Practical Programming for Strength by Rippetoe and Kilgore. Once your stop progressing on the beginner program, you can progress to the traditional Texas Method Program, or something similar. Wendler’s 5, 3, 1 is also an awesome program that works.

Read Bulk Fest Muscle Building Workout.

3) Dial in your nutrition

 
RenegadeDietBook3DAYou gotta stop eating like you did when you were 17, unless you want to get fat. Your metabolism starts to slow down, as you get older, so you have to be more conscious about what goes into your stomach. If you want to get big but stay ripped, you’ll have to be patient with your progress and put in the time. You’ll have to eat a calorie surplus, but not too much. If you are really gung-ho, I would recommend trying the Renegade Diet by Jason Ferruggia. This diet incorporates the newly popular intermittent fasting (IF) protocol. I won’t go into detail about it here, you can just buy the book or check out www.LeanGains.com or John Berardi’s free IF ebook.

Essentially, you would fast for 16-hours a day and eat during the remaining 8-hours. The 8-hours is broken up into two 4-hour chunks. In one 4-hour window, you’ll over eat and in the other 4-hour window you’ll under eat. Another plan I like to incorporate is carb-cycling. Here, you would only eat carbohydrate rich foods around workout time. It’s a very simple plan to follow, and I’ve had great success doing it. And if you don’t workout one day, limit your carb intake to almost nothing.

Read more about The Renegade Diet.

4) Dial in your mind

 
There’s more to putting on muscle and getting ripped than just going to the gym and missing breakfast. It’s a complete lifestyle. You’ll have to develop the focus so that all your actions during the day and night take you one step closer to your goals. If they don’t, you’re loosing the battle. It’s not easy looking like Thor, because if it was, you would see Thors walking around all over the place! Try to workout at the same time every day. Prepare your meals so you don’t have to resort to junk. Don’t eat fast food or drink sugary drinks. Don’t get wasted and miss your Saturday morning workouts. Sleep 8 uninterrupted hours a night. Stop thinking about it and make it happen.

5) Dial up and train with a training partner who’s stronger than you

 
rocky-training partner
How are you supposed to get better if you’re not surrounding yourself with stronger dudes? Train with a training partner that has similar goals to you and who has their technique dialed in. You can work off each other and reach levels of size and strength impossible to reach on your own. Don’t choose a buddy that only works out so he can check out the chicks on the treadmill. They must eat, live and breathe just like you or else, they’ll just waist your time.
 

*****

 
LGN365 coverLooking for a badass physique? If you haven’t looked into LGN365, it’s a fantastic resource and program designed and created by my colleague JC Deen. JC and I wrote a popular article for the Greatist called “How to Fix the Most Common Workout Mistakes” last summer. I wouldn’t just collaborate with just any old trainer! JC’s the real deal and this program is awesome.

Find out more of LGN365 HERE.

Happy training and thanks for reading.

Make it happen.

-JK

JKC was recommended to me by my good friend Casidhe Dyke. Cas had been training with JKC for a while, and both he and his father had seen great results from the personal training that Jon and Thomas were giving them. I was and still am primarily a triathlete and I’ve always struggled with injuries. I was talking to Cas about incorporating more strength training in my program to try and prevent injuries going forward and Cas suggested that I give JKC a try. I reached out to Jon not long after, and the rest is history! After working with Jon and Thomas for a few months, I was getting stronger, faster, and most importantly, I was staying injury-free. I ended up being able to train the whole season without significant injury and posted a personal best at Ironman Copenhagen in 2018. A big part of that was due to the strength training and coaching I received at JKC.

Astrid Billfalk-Kelly

Personal Strength Training by Thomas King

I wanted to add strength training to my cardio, but have always felt gyms to be a bit intimidating, and was worried I would hurt myself without some supervision and help. JKC was highly recommended by several work colleagues. Thomas and Jon are both fantastic, making sure that everyone gets a highly personalized work out in a very supportive environment. The attention to detail and professionalism are second to none. The groups are very small, but very supportive and make the workouts even more fun. Since getting pregnant (36 weeks as I write this) I’m so happy that they continue to help me get stronger while always being safe.

I recently visited Newfoundland for one month, and was looking for a good place to train while I was there. Jon and the team at JK conditioning really took the time to assess what I already knew, and set achievable goals for the time that I had with them. The gym was such a great place to push yourself. It had everything you needed, but more importantly it had a well organized, very knowledgeable, and really motivating group of trainers to push you at each workout. Not to mention a really nice group of other members who also motivated me to go that little bit further. I would highly recommend the gym to anyone who has a goal and wants to find a place to help them achieve it.

I’m 34 and started at JKC in 2015. My wife joined while I was working away in 2015 and started making amazing progress while also completing exercises I’d never perform on my own. I felt I was missing out so I signed up. JKC helps in establishing goals while also having clear direction of what to do, and how, in each session. They also measure your progress which is another means of motivation! At other gyms I wouldn’t have a clear plan and would just use whatever equipment was free, it was hard to see any results. Between setting some personal bests and making good friends its hard to identify a favorite memory.  One that does come to mind was when I hit my target goal/PB in both bench and squats in the same session, big day.

I’ve always struggled with both my weight and anxiety throughout my life. As a writer you live a pretty sedentary lifestyle filled with both realistic and unrealistic deadlines, so I needed something to get me off my butt and to get me moving. JK has been a godsend during this past year and a half in particular. The pandemic has been tough, but workouts with both Thomas and Jon have really helped reduce the stress and strain of a global pandemic, and added an anchor of normalcy back into my life — which has been worth its weight in gold.

JKC has created an incredibly inclusive environment that’s filled with all kinds of supportive folks from all kinds of different backgrounds. For folks like myself, being surrounded by people with such athletic ability can be intimidating in most gyms. It can actually be a deterrent, and it sometimes has been for me. But, at JKC it’s far from that — it’s inspirational. Everyone supports one another. Which is something that’s not easily found in this day and age, inside of a gym or out. Not to sound like a total cheeseball here, but it really feels like a family.

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