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

I have never previously seen the passion and level of care that Jon and Thomas bring to everyone who works out at JKC. Their knowledge, insight and skills are extraordinary, and they work with everyone individually to ensure the best possible results. The attention to detail and to every person’s specific requirements and goals, and the incredible, constant encouragement they provide, is, in my opinion, what truly distinguishes JKC from any other program in which I’ve participated. I am extremely pleased with the progress I’ve achieved thus far, and it’s largely attributable to Jon and Thomas and the approach they take to training and working with people.

I’ve been weight training on and off for years but never really had a specific goal or target in mind so routinely stalled out, plateaued or stopped training all together. Before I joined JKC I was definitely in a fitness slump and needed something to motivate me and get me back on track. I did a bit of digging online, looking at various personal training options and gyms around town but JKC seemed like the best option by far. I’ve tried big box gyms and other personal trainers in the past but none of them have had the perfect combination of goal specific fitness programming, welcoming and supportive environment, and the knowledge and passion to back it all up that you’ll find at JKC. Jon and Thomas are great to work with, they know how to motivate you if you’re having an off day and are well versed in all the different ways to make your muscles burn! I also have noticed some major improvements in my deadlifts since I started with JKC and was really happy with the result.

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.

I’m 29 and I just had my 3rd Liftiversary 🥳 at JKC. I chose to train here because of the great word on the street and the fact that at lululemon, we’re encouraged to support our local community. My day-to-day routine is very busy, and I love showing up and having to think very little about my workout. The vibes are always good, my music choice is usually accommodated, and the bys are incredibly supportive and compassionate, helping me reach my goals (even when I had a broken hand). I also get to be my weird self, and am embraced fully.

I was referred to JKC by my sister-in-law and had heard good things about it from many people in the running community. I also saw Jon’s picture on the wall at lululemon years ago! I really like the personalized training and the variety the guys provide. I started for strength training for running. I love cardio and do tons of it but wasn’t motivated to do much strength work on my own. Jon mixes up my strength work week to week so I don’t get bored but also lets me work in a hard circuit for the last 20 minutes of most sessions to get my cardio fix 

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