How To Look Awesome Naked: A Step-By-Step Guide
February 14, 2011
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I can talk forever about health and digestion and gut health and herbs and what not but what most people care about is looking good naked. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with that. A good looking body is more often than not a healthy body (as long as you don’t go to the extremes of course). So if your fitness goal is to look awesome, look no further ‘cos here is your step-by-step guide.
- You need to know how to perform the exercises or be willing to spend a week or two learning the exercises.
- You need to know what carbs, proteins and fats are. You need to know what foods contain what macronutrients.
- You need to be willing to make some sacrifices (Eg. dropping carbs, giving up getting smashed etc.).
- You need to have some basic strength to start. I’m talking in the 20 push-ups + 5 strict pull-ups range.
- You need to be willing to put in some hard work. This is not a ‘morbidly obese to less obese’ program… this is program that will make you look ‘awesome’… and looking awesome requires work!
Step 1: Self-Assessment
Stop fooling yourself that you’re in good shape and get a reality check done on yourself!
- Get a photo of yourself with as little clothing as you’re comfortable with.
- Weigh yourself first thing in the morning before eating/drinking anything and after clearing your bowels. Be sure to weigh yourself with as little clothing as possible or remember to wear the same clothes during every weigh-in session. (Body fat measurements are grossly inaccurate and will only confuse you if anything. Unless you have the luxury of measuring your body fat using one of the proven methods, I wouldn’t even bother to track it).
- Determine your problem area i.e. the part where you pack on fat easily but have the hardest time losing it. Using a tape measure and measure the girth of that area. Note this number down.
Step 2: Goal Setting
Starting a program without a goal is like getting on a bus not knowing where you’re going. If you don’t have a goal, stop reading right now and set a goal or just stop reading.
- Set a fat loss goal. This could be number of lbs/kg you want to lose or the way you want to look (say, visible abs) or even a performance goal (say, 20 unbroken strict chin-ups)
- Commit to working towards your goal for a reasonable amount of time. Understand that transforming your body takes time and be ready to give yourself that time. Most people see stunning results with 10-12 weeks of lifting and eating right. If this is too long a time commitment for you, then you’re clearly in the wrong place.
- Put your fat loss goal and time commitment together in one sentence and see if it sounds reasonable. For example, ‘I want to lose 12 lbs in 12 weeks’ is a perfectly reasonable goal while ‘I want to go from 25% BF to 5% BF in 6 weeks’ is just dumb.
Step 3: The Program
While there are many programs that can help you reach your goals, in an effort to keep things simple and ensure more people benefit from this, I’ll share one of my dumbbell+bodyweight only programs.
- Dumbbells (up to weights that challenge you and then some more)
- Pull-up bar
- Monday: Do the chosen exercise per the rep scheme resting 1-2 min between sets or superset the exercises and rest 2-3 min between supersets.
- Tuesday: Do a short conditioning workout. Sprint 100 m, do 10 push-ups, rest 1 min. Repeat 8 times. Or do one of these workouts and go home crying.
- Wednesday: Rest. Eat less. Stay active during the day. Walk as much as you can. Play with your dog/kids. Nothing too serious. No 5k running or any other nonsense. Chill out.
- Thursday: Do the chosen exercises per the rep scheme resting 1-2 min between sets or superset the exercises and rest 2-3 min between supersets.
- Friday: Do some walking and mobility work. Eat less. Rest much. Chill out.
- Saturday: Do an activity you love. Go for a hike or play a game of Ultimate or do power yoga or run a 5k. Have fun.
- Sunday: Rest all day. Eat less. Laze around the house or go watch a movie. Don’t obsess about exercise or diet. Chill out.
- Increase the load (or reps till you get to the upper end of the rep range prescribed) for workouts on Monday & Thursday.
- For Tuesday’s workout, aim to sprint faster and reduce rest period by 5 sec. If you did a conditioning workout, aim to complete it faster or do more reps (per the nature of the workout).
- On Saturday, choose a different activity. Have fun with it.
Weeks 3 and above:
- Continue to progress on each exercise until you stall (takes at least 6-8 weeks). Then change up the exercise or rep ranges to break the plateau.
And just so we’re clear…
- Each exercise is hyperlinked to instructions so click on an exercise to learn how it is done
- Don’t pick up tiny ass weights and go through the motions. Choose weights that are challenging. Realize that intensity is everything.
- Don’t obsess over food or exercise. More is not better with respect to exercise. Less is not better with respect to food. Better is better.
- Most importantly – Don’t mess with the program. Do exactly as mentioned and you will be happy you did.
* 4-6 reps means you’ll choose a weight you can lift (with good form) at least 4 times but not more the 6 times.
** max means maximum repetitions without compromising form.
Step 4: The Diet
- Don’t count calories. Eat till you’re satisfied but never till you’re full.
- Drop the junk. Drop the sugar. Drop the grains (wheat, rice, corn, quinoa etc.). Drop the legumes/beans (including lentils). Drop the starchy vegetables (carrots, peas, potatoes, yams etc.). Here is an easily printable cheat sheet.
- Reduce dairy to only full fat dairy.
- Cut the fruit out.
- Eat only fibrous low calorie vegetables for carbs (spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, asparagus etc.)
- Eat good fats liberally. Read this post for information about good and bad fats.
- Eat a lot of protein (preferably from natural sources). Ensure that you get at least 1gm/lbs of bodyweight.
- Skip breakfast and make lunch your first meal. Intermittent fasting is probably the best way to restrict calories.
- Eat a cheat meal every week. Plan for it. Relish it. Read this post to learn how to cheat without hurting your progress.
- If you are serious about reaching your goals, read this post to understand why diets fail.
This is the option I recommend since this is by far the easiest way to diet. It doesn’t matter if you eat 2 meals or 8 meals a day. It’s all fair game as long as you get enough protein and calories.
Step 5: Monitoring Progress
People don’t take this seriously, but this step is probably more important than every other step. You absolutely need to know if you are progressing in the right direction in order to know if your program is succeeding or failing. If you’re not tracking progress and just doing the motions you’re just wasting your time.
- Make a note of everything you consume (at least food item and quantity). Most people eat the same foods over and over again (though they think their diet is very varied). This will help you modify your diet if and when weight loss or performance improvement stalls.
- Make a table like the one above. After every workout make a note of how much weight you moved and how many reps you did. I also write notes on the side like ‘focus on hip drive’ or ‘repeat same weight till all reps are done with good form’ or ‘sleep deprived’ etc etc. More information is never a bad thing.
- Check every week to ensure that you are doing exactly what is called for – nothing less and definitely nothing more.
- Weigh yourself every week before you eat your cheat meal (using guidelines mentioned above).
- Measure the girth of your problem area every week when you weigh-in.
- Make a table and log these numbers every week diligently.
Step 6: Looking Awesome
- Show off and you better mail me a cheque!
Like I always say, fat loss is simple… not easy but simple. Do exactly the way this is laid out and results are inevitable.
And if you thought this post was awesome enough… share it with the fine folks on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or whatever else you’re a part of.