Palestra Swan, Firenze, 2016

What does it mean to be “in shape”?

That varies person to person.

So before you begin getting “in shape” decide what that means to you.

Is it based on a feeling? Feeling more energetic, feeling strong enough to move your own furniture, or confident enough to appear shirtless?

Is it based on fitting into your clothes better, or buying new ones to show off your hard work (and the pride that comes with)?

Will you determine your level of “shape” by muscle to bodyfat ratio aka bodyfat percentage?

Will strength be your gauge?

Once you decide the goal, then you must carve a path. I will continue to re-iterate: you can’t out-train a bad diet. So what will you eat?

Carbs or no carbs?
Paleo or Atkins?

Keto?

IIFYM?
Intermittent Fasting?

Deciding on a goal and a path and committing are the only things that matter.

You commit, because that’s what you do. You succeed, because that’s the result of commitment. Then what? How do you take two steps forward without taking any back?

Two years ago, I was in the midst of serious personal and physical transformation. Until then, my progress had all but stalled. I’d take two steps forward, two steps back, and then sit there wondering why I wasn’t moving. I had promised myself again and again that I’d make the changes I knew I was capable of.

Enough was enough, I decided. I got to work.

The physique and mindset I carved for myself then I carry with me today. How have I kept my gains?

Simple.

My will to change instilled me with discipline. Discipline created habits. These habits are very ingrained.

  1. Be working on something. When I’m working on a production, I’m unstoppable. My focus cuts diamonds. When I’m not…it’s all I can do to not become a lazy piece of shit. I use training to enhance my focus and if I’m not committed to a project, then everything-training included-suffers. I am in the best shape when I have a show coming up.
  2. Eat protein. Seriously. Once you create the physique you’re after, you don’t need to count macros. You’ll eat at maintenance out of habit. Get a decent amount of protein at each meal, and you’ll have a hard time over-eating.
  3. Stay hydrated. Water and oxygen are what your body needs most. In the words of strength god Mark Rippetoe “A hydrated cell is an anabolic cell.” In addition to aiding every single function of your body, staying hydrated will curb cravings and prevent eating too much.
  4. Build muscle. It is really hard to undo being lean and having a lot of muscle. I’ve been eating like trash for 3 months and I still have abs in places that are only evident from low-bodyfat. Muscle mass keeps your metabolism high, and your body from looking like soy. Muscle and strength go hand-in-hand, and being strong makes you hard to kill. Muscle mass is what gives you a shape to begin with. Without muscle, you are a blob.
  5. Listen to your body. You know when you need to make a change. Your mind will tell you. Your body will tell you. When training has become habit, you’ll know what you need to do on a certain day to feel optimized for performance in the game of life. If you’re feeling stuck and want a blueprint to building the body you want, visit the programs page.

A killer physique is a great achievement, but it is not the goal. A killer physique acts like money or alcohol-it complements what is already there

It is an outward sign of an inward commitment.

It is just as easy to be out of shape as it is to be fit.

Re-frame your obstacles. Develop different habits.

Once you figure out how to listen to-and build-your body, the fun starts.

If you’ve always wanted arms to envied, a thick ass, head-turning legs, or boulder shoulders…the key is to get started.

So get started.

In iron,

Michael

Get on The Gain Train

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