When it comes to cuts, so many scream "Diet, diet, diet!!" Yet what are those who aren't screaming but just talking sensibly say about getting lean? "Athletics, athletics, athletics."
Too many who embark on bodybuilding programs spend the majority of time with their weights and diets and not enough time just being athletic. Athletics – from playing intensive sports to swimming in the ocean to dynamic fitness regiments (i.e., like CrossFit) to getting outside and goofing around – burn more fat, retain less muscle and require less calorie cutting for the same effects. Yet so few bodybuilders represent this idea.
I give you Chris Brown (Pandemonium). For the fourth year in a row he is once again dieting to achieve his "typical goal" of being mind-bogglingly shredded for his upcoming competitions. The guy gets veins so tight tot he skin they look like a road map!
But the vascularity and you see in this pic is not just the result of dieting and "cutting calories." It is actually hugely the result of being incredibly athletic. In fact, to get this lean Chris did not diet nearly as long as many of similar vascularity. He just gets himself involved in all manner of intensive athletics.
How do you know if something is "athletic enough?" Well, while I must recommend there be a heavy state of exhaustion and all that, the "fun factor" is actually tremendous. Look, contrary to the popular ideology or not , people who are happier burn more fat and keep less muscle. Happiness is not just some ephemeral idea; happiness is a biological fact. There are hormones and neurological patterns to happiness and contentedness that boost the immune system like rocket fuel. And a boosted immune system heals more muscle (thus retaining more mass weight) while being more conducive to releasing fats stores. So when it comes to moving (notice how I didn't say "exercising"), more "fun" or enjoyable forms of movement will expend more calories and fat than "chore exercise." (There's the use of that word.) As such, the more fun you are having with your athletic programming, the better results you will get.
Chris is teased about being a robot because when he hits the field (or stairs or beach or studio or wherever) he has a very intense "game face." But while he is teased, it is only out of envy – envy because Chris is having fun. He does hard athletic tasks that he finds exciting. Much of his joy comes from the sense of accomplishing "the next harder version" of what he just did prior. He is in athlete bliss – and that brings results.
This Spring of 2013 Chris is prepping yet again for bodybuilding competition. And while he is dieting, his diet is (once again) not the main way he is bringing out the incredible vascularity. While diet is crucial, he is perpetually athletic, always seeking new ways to enjoy himself. There is a wise lesson in his process.
The key is how diet and movement fit together. Someone who moves more athletically can burn more calories, retain more muscle and eat more while doing so. Those who drudge away on stair mills, treadmills and other mind-numbing cardio rat-traps will indeed burn fat, but will need to cut far more calories and may be far less entertained (i.e., less happy).
Enjoy how you move. Be more athletic, and when combined with strategic weight planning and diet competence, the cuts will arrive.
They will be arriving via the north highway, traveling southwest across lower Quadriceps Canyon . . . .