I’m always interested in how the “deficiencies” people think they have led them to where they are in life. Particularly in the fitness industry: I was a chubby kid, so it’s really no surprise that I became sort of a fat loss ”specialist.” Vince Del Monte was a gangly ectomorph, and his focus has always been on muscle gain.
Chad Howse has a similar story. Although he was a skinny adolescent, he was also a focused athlete—an athlete who was always held back more by his lack of physicality than his lack of skill. So it’s no surprise that when it comes to physique augmentation, Chad’s become known for building bodies that don’t just look great, but also perform great. He makes bodies that are truly fit—not just muscular, but strong, fast, agile, and capable. In this short guest article, the Young Gun shares some of his tips for developing a lean, muscular and above all athletic body. Enjoy! -Roman
What are your fitness goals?
People hear that question from me a lot, because I think it’s important: You need to understand exactly what your goals are so you can then achieve them. When I ask people that question, I’ll more often than not I’ll hear one of two answers: build muscle or burn fat. Two simple and great goals to have, but I think if people really thought about their ultimate goal or dream body, their answer would be different. Take muscle gain, for example. I always wanted to build muscle because, well, I was a skinny twerp, awkward and unconfident in how I looked, and in perpetual dread of any unscheduled shirtlessness. I thought muscle would be the remedy for my insecurities. But then there’s fat loss. You know it, I know it: Ladies like six pack abs, and I haven’t met a lot of guys that want to be muscular and round. So I wanted lean muscle. I wanted definition and I wanted to be lean. But, I’ve also been an athlete since Day One, and whether it’s in boxing, basketball, hockey, or any of the dozens of other sports I’ve tried, improving my athleticism has always been one of my biggest priorities. I still want this ultimate, hyper-capable, jack-of-all trades body—and with goal like this, there’s always room for improvement.
So, you want it all?
Hell ya! I want to be shredded, muscular and athletic. Why the hell not? People settle far too often for something that’s more realistic or easier to attain instead of striving for their ‘ultimate goal’. By getting stronger and more powerful, you’re making it easier for your body to build muscle. And by increasing your muscular endurance, you’re also making it easier for your body to build muscle. So believe it or not, bodybuilding does have its place in your training, and so does training for athleticism and fat loss. I don’t just work on improving my power, speed, and athleticism, but also on improving certain body parts, like building bigger arms, chest, shoulders, and so on—which essentially is bodybuilding. I train with hypertrophy rep counts, power rep counts, and higher rep counts to help me improve my muscular endurance while I’m training for size. The result is that I’m stronger and more powerful for longer periods of time. I’m more athletic and I’ve been able to improve my leanness as I’ve put on weight.
What Can You Do To Build This Ultimate Body?
1. Keep track of your results Write down your weight for the big lifts like deadlift, squat, military press, and bench press. Strive for improvement in these lifts every week. Also, start working on your Olympic lifts like snatches and cleans; both will help you improve your power, in an athletic sense. 2. Lift heavy Don’t just focus on hypertrophy reps in the 8-12 range. Have heavy days at least a couple times a month where you aim for a 4-6 rep count with longer rest periods. This will improve your power and your strength; allowing you to lift more weight for the aforementioned hypertrophy-focused rep counts. This means more functional muscle—not the “all show and no go” muscle that some bodybuilders wind up with. 3. Compete If you’re not in a league of some sort and you don’t want to be in one, find a lifting partner, someone to compete against, or implement challenges and benchmarks into your routine. I’ve used challenges for a while now as a way to track my performance improvements, but also as a way to compete against myself and my previous results. *** Super interesting post from a super interesting guy, right? Keep in mind, there are a lot of programs out there to help you achieve that “Ultimate”—the body that not only looks great, but also has intense athletic capability. A great example is “Show and Go” by super-trainer Eric Cressey, which, not surprisingly, touches on everything Chad talked about.
My programs, while not specifically marketed for increased performance, are based on a set of training protocols that I’ve used with high level athletes for years, and as a result, they tend to increase performance anyway. However, I never stop learning from guys like Chad and Eric, and you shouldn’t either. Now, if you’re interested in Chad’s stuff—and you should be—you can check out this article, which will tell you 4 ways to naturally improve your testosterone and gain more muscle. It’s a great read.