How To Look Awesome Naked: A Step-By-Step Guide

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.

Requirements:

  • 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.

Equipment Needed:

  • Dumbbells (up to weights that challenge you and then some more)
  • Pull-up bar

Week 1:

  • 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.

Exercise Option 1

Exercise Option 2

Set x Rep

Dumbbell Squats

Dumbbell Step-Ups

3 x 4-6*

Dumbbell Bench Presses

(Weighted) Dips

2 x 6-8

Dumbbell Rows

(Weighted) Inverted Rows

2 x 6-8

Close Grip Chin-ups

Neutral Grip Pull-ups

1 x max**

Diamond Push-ups

Bench Dips

2 x max

  • 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.

Option 1

Option 2

Set x Rep

Dumbbell Deadlifts

Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift

3 x 4-6

Dumbbell Overhead Presses

Handstand Push-ups/Pike Presses

2 x 6-8

Dumbbell Cleans

One Arm Dumbbell Snatch

5 x 3-4

Hammer Curls

1 x 10-12

Tricep Extensions

2 x 10-12

  • 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.

Week 2:

  • 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

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.

Monitoring Diet:

  • 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.

Monitoring Workouts:

  • 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.

Monitoring Results:

  • 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.

 

Option 1

Option 2

Set x Rep

Dumbbell Squats

Dumbbell Lunges

3 x 4-6

Dumbbell Bench Press

Weighted Dips

2 x 6-8

Dumbbell Rows

Weighted Inverted Rows

2 x 6-8

Chin-ups

1 x max

Diamond Push-ups

1 x max

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35 responses to “How To Look Awesome Naked: A Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Divya February 15, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Lovely post! Can the weekly cheat meal be anything? Fries/one scoop of gelato/chaat?

    • RG February 15, 2011 at 8:00 am

      Totally. My recommendation – see what you crave during the week and eat that. And save your next craving for the next cheat day.

  2. Anju February 15, 2011 at 1:44 am

    This is an amazing post!! Can clearly see that you have walked the talk and you have spent time to think this whole thing over and written this post. Great Job Raj!! Keep it up

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  4. Leonardo February 15, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Great post;
    I’m with you about not counting calories. However, I do believe in correctly intaking the correct proportions of carbs/protein/fat

    Whilst I’ve eliminated grains and refined sugars, I still eat rice, potatoes and other starchy veggies (not constantly as I also do IF & try to recycle). Given that you suggest to eliminate starchy carbs, how much do you believe your carb intake represent as a percentage of your total calories?
    I’m struggling to grasp how low I should go with my carb intake

    Thanks,
    Leonardo

    • RG February 15, 2011 at 8:02 am

      Leonardo,
      About 50-75 gm of carbs per day works for most people and that’s where I’d recommend you start. If you’re stalling drop it down to ~ 40 gm. You should definitely lose fat there. If you don’t… then its time to look into your workouts/stress level/sleep etc.

  5. Himadri Dimri February 15, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Oh God this fat loss n weight loss things does get on your nerves at times..M trying my best to do it all good.. I wonder ,when will i look good not so naked but in smaller clothes 😉

    • RG February 15, 2011 at 8:03 am

      Himadri,
      Realize transformations don’t happen overnight. The key is consistency. Stick to the plan and you will be happy you did.

      • M_JM February 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm

        I Couldn’t agree more with you on this. it took me 15 whole months for my transformation!! I took it slow and with patience.

  6. sam February 15, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Thanks Raj for a great post. I have a question. I am a male, 54, of Indian origin, and have followed the Primal Blueprint eating method for 7 months and have lost 15 kgs. (now 82 kgs at 5′ 10″). However, I have never exercised in my entire life, and I cannot finish one push-up or one pull-up. What do you advice for such people. Can you write a little about that. I think people like me need more detailed guidance than those who can do several pushup’s or pullup’s as you describe as the ‘basic strength” requirements.

    • RG February 15, 2011 at 8:04 am

      Hey Sam,
      You bring up a good point. I’ll address this in detail as a blog post.

      • M_JM February 15, 2011 at 10:24 pm

        future blog post suggestion – Yoga vs weight training.
        personally, I find the combination of both has worked great for me. But I would like to know your take on this interesting topic.

      • RG February 16, 2011 at 8:07 am

        M_JM – Planning on doing some experimentation there. Will blog about it soon.

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  8. JP February 16, 2011 at 7:06 am

    Hey RH,

    How about strength training and gaining weight? Don’t want to end up looking like John Daly, but I’ve been training with the big 5(Deadlift, benchpress, backsquat, chin ups, press) for 16 months now, and would like some diet/nutrition advice- specifically on the post-workout meal. I am 6″1 and 82 Kg with 7% body fat. I would like to get up to 85~86. Wouldn’t mind a 10% body fat look. I find that fasting postwork out improves body composition, but right now I am training to play college hockey next year. I like your site because it is nice and personal 🙂 My questions don’t usually get answered on MDA and robbwolf.

    Thanks!

    • RG February 16, 2011 at 8:16 am

      If you’re doing the big 5 with intensity then gaining 3-4 kgs shouldn’t be a big deal at all. PWO is the most important meal and if your goal is to gain mass, skipping PWO is not going to help.

      Eat a bunch. Get about 100 gm of protein, 200 gm of carbs keeping the fats to a minimum. That comes up to a 1200-1300 cal meal. Have this within 90 min of working out. Protein can be any fast protein (lean meat, whey etc.) and carbs can be any starch (rice, potatoes, yams etc.).

      From your stats it looks like you dont have much problem leaning out. You shouldn’t worry about the minimal fat gain that accompanies muscle gain. So eat a bunch (especially PWO) and lift big… you will grow. If you’re not allergic to dairy… down some milk/yogurt. Dairy is a huge growth promoter.

      When you’re in a strength/mass gain cycle you should be setting PRs every time you hit the gym. Let me know how it goes.

      • JP February 17, 2011 at 6:38 am

        RG:

        I really appreciate the rapid response.

        I’ve tried the dairy route before, but I tend to break out big time with it (I guess that means I’m allergic/intolerant?)However, I also love the taste of peanut butter and I tend to eat half a jar (Skippy’s all natural extra crunchy) before going to bed. I am aware of the O3:O6 ratio, and so I pop lots of fish oil with the PB.

        What about eating Leangains style? Today, for example, I skipped breakfast, and had a sweet potato with about 10oz worth of chicken. After school three hours later, I squated a PR of 97 3×5. I then had about 80% of my calories from 6-7 PM.

        Cheers,
        (Greetings from Kadena airforce base in Okinawa!)

      • RG February 17, 2011 at 10:18 am

        Gotto love PB! Try almond butter too. I wouldn’t be too worries about o3:o6 right now. You’re in a strength/mass gain phase and if you have to eat some less optimal foods to reach your calorie requirement, so be it.

        And yes… you are allergic to dairy.

        About leangains – Awesome stuff. I swear by it. But again when you’re trying to pack in some muscle mass fairly quickly, 16/8 fast might not be the best way to go. Leangains is exactly what is it… lean gains. Slow muscle gains with minimal to no fat gain. And this is possible if you are fine with adding say 1-2 lbs per month. But if you’re looking to add say 4-5 lbs a month, you’re better off eating breakfast.

        Okinawa eh? How many 100 year old do you see right now?!

      • JP February 22, 2011 at 5:57 am

        Hey RG,

        I realized one of my pain problems is a low HCL acid in my stomach. Any tips on how to increase gastric acid? Eating special foods? Avoiding any in particular?

        Cheers,

    • JP February 22, 2011 at 5:58 am

      This thwarts my ability to look good naked because of the constant bloated look..

      pls advise

      • RG February 22, 2011 at 11:55 am

        I’m not a doc so don’t take this as a prescription.

        Get yourself checked for H.Pylori. Low stomach acid is mostly associated with lack of digestive enzymes. Some good digestive enzymes/probiotics/prebiotics might help.

        As far as diet…
        – Definitely stay away from gluten and legumes (peanuts!) in addition to sugar and other junk.
        – Drop the intermittent fasting. Eat every 3-4 hours and consciously chew your food better.
        – Eat a lot of fibrous vegetables. I’m talking 1-3 lbs per day.
        – See if you’re allergic to nightshade vegetables.

  9. FamilyLivingSimple February 16, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Like JP I am also looking to increase my strength and size. I am thinking about doing this program and posting about it on my blog. But was wondering if I should differ at all in my plan of attack since I am not trying to lose any more weight.

    A little back story. I have been eating strict Paleo for almost a year now, was following the primal blueprint with the 80% 20% rules but now am pretty strict on how I eat. I have lost of 50 pounds. I am 5′ 10″ and some change and weigh around 145-150. I currently work out 3-4 days in the gym most weeks with just a half hour at a time. I like to do the standard Deadlifts, pull ups, push ups, squats etc. I also love tabata intervals. On my none gym days I will do sprints or long walks. I have gotten in pretty good shape, but need to increase my intensity for better gains and some size would be nice. My wife just complains about how skinny I am.

    Thanks for any advice.

    • RG February 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      If you’re not looking to lose fat, make the following changes.
      – Add in some starch (~50-60 gm) like rice/sweet potato/yam in your PWO. Stay low carb during other times.
      – Bring down the cardio. Keep the sprints short. ~ 10 sec sprints x 8 is plenty.
      – Ensure every working rep is intense. 2-3 sets in the 4-6 reps range for Sq & DLs work best. You could go upto 8 reps for upper body moves if you’re interested in hypertrophy.
      – Get 2-3 rest days per week. Do nothing but walking, mobility work/stretching and may be some skill work.

      Let me know how it goes.

      • FamilyLivingSimple February 17, 2011 at 9:33 am

        Thanks for the info. I have one other question. What is the reason for using dumbbells in some of these lifts instead of a barbell?

        Thanks

      • RG February 17, 2011 at 10:13 am

        Dumbbells provide more ROM for upper body moves and exposes any muscular/strength imbalances that may not surface when using barbells.

        But the main reason I used dumbbells was to make the program more approachable for folks. If you have barbells available and you’re proficient with the moves, by all means use the barbell.

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