“Building the Ultimate Body Means Focusing on More Than One Thing

Chad Howse is an interesting guy. I’m always interested in how the “deficiencies” people think they had led them to certain places. With fitness professionals, it tends to really define the perspective. I was a chubby kid, and so looking at it now, it’s really no surprise that I became sort of a fat loss ‘specialist.’ Vince Del Monte was a skinny guy, and his focus has always been on muscle gain.

That, of course, is really just what the focus is, not where the knowledge stops.

Any fitness professional worth their salt can—and has—written excellent programs to build muscle or burn fat.

Chad Howse is no different, though. Although he (like Vince) was skinny, he was also a focused athlete—an athlete who was always held back more by his lack of physicality than his lack of skill. And 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.

In this short guest article, the Young Gun shares some of his tips for developing a lean, muscular and athletic body.



What are your fitness goals?

You’ll 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 muscleor burn fat. Two simple and great goals to have, but I think if people really thought about their ideal, their ultimate goal or dream body, their answer would be different.

Ok then: Chad, what are your fitness goals?

Let’s start off with the muscle.

I always wanted to build muscle because I was a skinny twerp, unconfident in how I looked, and I dreaded taking off my shirt at the beach and I thought muscle would be the remedy for these insecurities (35+ pounds of lean muscle later and yes, it has helped big time).

Second: ladies like six pack abs, and I don’t know of any guy who wants to be big and round—so I wanted not just muscle, but lean muscle. I wanted definition and I wanted to be lean.

But, I’ve also been an athlete since Day One, and improving my athleticism has always been a huge motivator.

Yes, I wanted to look good, but I also like having a body that performs great. Even today as I’m no longer competing in boxing, basketball, hockey, or any other sport, I still want this ultimate, all around great body, and it’s something I continually strive for. Which is something that is a continuous process as 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?

Let me ask you this: do you want to look like Jared from the Subway commercials, or like Reggie Bush – who is also in Subway commercials?

Jared’s lost a ton of weight, I don’t want to diminish that, but his body isn’t anyone’s ‘dream body’. People settle far too often for something that’s more realistic or easier to attain instead of striving for their ‘ultimate goal’.

If you want strength, power, and athleticism, but to also look amazing – not just ‘good’ – you need to focus on all of the above. If you just want to get skinny, then that’s what you’ll get. If you just want to get big, then again, that’s all you’re going to get. But if you want it all, then train to get it all.

Two points:

  • Bodybuilding didn’t work for me because a. it didn’t improve my performance, and b. I’m naturally a twig, and there were too many isolation reps with not enough recovery time for me to gain any mass.
  • I ran a lot and ate less when I was fighting and I didn’t lose fat so much as I lost weight. I also felt weak with less energy than I should have going into a fight.

A Case for Focusing on “It All”

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.

Bodybuilding has it’s 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 is essentially bodybuilding. I train with hypertrophy rep counts, power rep counts, and higher rep counts with help me improve my muscular endurance.

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 stay lean, actually getting a lot more shredded as I’ve put on this 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 deadlifts, squats, military press, and bench press. Strive for improvement in these lifts every week. Also, start working on your Olympic lifts like snatch 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, but also strength; allowing you to lift more weight for the hypertrophy-focused rep counts. This means more muscle.

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 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 previous results.


A short, interesting post from an interesting guy, and a great set of tips.

And 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 so tend to increase performance anyway. However, I never stop learning from guys like Chad and Eric, and you shouldn’t either.

Finally, if you’re interested in Chad’s stuff–AND YOU SHOULD BE–you can check out this video, which will tell you all about how Chad gained muscle and learned the info he just shared above. It’s a great watch.

And now, the big question: how many of my readers are former (or current!) athletes?

What coaches and programs do you follow to increase both sexiness and performance?

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  • http://www.mikearonefitness.com Mike Arone

    Great post Chad—always insightful as well as informative.

    To 'compete' is such a great point. I think there comes a time, like I have noticed, where I am not competing like I did—for instance when I wrestled in college.

    With that said, I have made it a point to find competition whether it be with myself, a workout partner or the dude next to me at the gym.

    By doing this you will continue to progress, learn and motivate yourself.

    Good stuff—Thanks fellas


  • Tpaul

    I play both ice hockey and soccer, so performance and endurance are very important for me. I do a lot of strength-based training right now, simply because, well, I spent several years NOT focusing on strength and now I'm weaker and not as muscular as I want to be. So recently I've been putting a lot of effort into strength training, using compounds lifts and 4-6 rep ranges with long rest periods. I still throw in hypertrophy ranges around 8-12, but strength is my focus right now.

  • http://www.runforthebikini.com KatieM~ Run for the Bikini

    Love this post!!

    I have always been a runner and have just gotten back into racing again. This time around though, as I am also looking to achieve a certain aesthetic, I am focusing on gaining speed. I think the kind of workouts that increase your speed are better body shapers than longer endurance runs.

    Goal: Sub 20 5k

    Of course the long runs will burn lots of calories, but they might not give you shapely legs and booty :D

    I still do some long runs since it is good to incorporate some variety, but I do more sprint intervals/ incline running.

    I'm also going to compete in some short triathlons this summer.

    Another goal I have, in order to include my arms is achieving at least one, and hopefully a few pull-ups and increasing my push-up count.

    Vanity goal: Rock the hell out of my bikinis this summer with a thin but fit physique :D

  • Alex

    I am an athlete and since age 6 have been in organized sports. Similar to Roman, I was fat/chubby growing up. Even when I hit my growth spurt and started training I had a little extra.

    Soccer and basketball are the primary sports today I play during open gyms or when I feel like kicking the ball around.

    I rotate my “routines” if one would call them that. Currently I am doing a body-weight one. After the 8 weeks commence, I am switching to a focus on compound lifts but at the same time keeping a focus on body-weight movements. An example is front and back squats, straight and regular deadlifts, power cleans, snatch squats, etc. At the same time I am going to do a variety of one-legged movements.

    I noticed during the second week of my body-weight workouts, which had been switched from a 4 day lift workout, my body was EXPLODING. Granted, I eat and drink very well and do yoga but I was doing those things before as well. I started dunking consistently and my game picked up. I was always a good player but this EXTRA bit turned me into the guys I saw with freakish hops. While I am not there yet, I have not incorporated any jump type of movements at all. It is very exciting and rewarding to allow creativity to flow and watch your vehicle (body) to show the fruits of your efforts.

    Love the post as it gave me a little reflection on the past couple of months.

    Yeha Noha

  • http://www.brotherhoodofiron.com Jared

    This is what most people should be focusing on, lean muscle gains that can also perform athletically.

    No fun having the muscle if you can't do anything with it !

  • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com Chad

    Thanks for the great comments guys.

    I'm a big fan of this blog – always great content on here, is was awesome to be able to contribute to it!

    Merry Christmas,

    - Chad

  • http://www.topfatlosstrainer.com/2010/09/15/matthew-mcconaughey-workout/ Brad Campbell

    For me, I've done both weight-training and practicing martial arts. I take some major adjustments at first because both training is not easy. Currently I chose the former because I focus more on developing muscular strength.

  • Jacob

    I am a basketball player at my local high school and would love to see more performance based posts like this.

  • http://burn-fat-x10.com/fat-burning-program-review Dan

    Some good info there, I do martial arts and I totally agree with the high intensity training regime. It is always better to have a partner to train with to spur you on and encourage you to do them extra few reps you wouldn't normally do alone.

  • http://www.quickmusclebuild.com/critical-bench-review/ Luke H

    This is an interesting post and even thou it is short it pretty much hits it on the head for how guys want to look, feel and be. I have just finished rugby due to a shoulder injury and have focused on getting stronger, faster and bigger. Now that I have focused on this stuff I think I'm in better shape than ever! Just wish I read posts like this while I was playing rugby!

    Keep them coming!


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