Let’s go back in time for a moment. to the moment where I wrote the ‘about me’ section of this website. It is on this page where I dive into my ‘still’ very recent past. Say from 2007-2009. Now, I won’t talk too much about the events that occurred during this time. But let’s just say, they weren’t the most pleasant years in terms of being happy, in comparison to many previous ‘happy’ years. And of course, it was that unhappiness that lead to the creation of the ‘now’ Stay-Fit Bug you see before your eyes.
Nearly two years on since inception, guess what? Happiness has been found again.
I still wouldn’t consider my self to be completely happy. In fact, I don’t think any of us really do ever reach a state of complete happiness. If we do, then it’s usually seasonal. Because happiness = life balance. Life, as it happens is like a yo-yo. It’s up and down, never constant. In fact, the only guaranteed constant is change. So it’s no surprise that life balance and total happiness is hard to achieve.
Where am I going with this?
Well, as you may know by now, I constantly ‘shout’ to everyone in the fitness world to live it as a lifestyle, as that is the only true way to achieve long term results, especially when you’re trying to get ripped or build 14lbs or more of fresh lean muscle mass. But let’s stop for a minute. The first part of the word ‘lifestyle’ contains the word ‘life’.
As mentioned earlier, life is very up and down, and many things that happen in our lives will have a direct impact on what we set out to do in the fitness world. Like…
1) Your lady stresses you out for some reason or another (Yes, relationships are great, but we all know they can be stressful).
2) Your boss stresses you out with their personal problems.
And many others.
With that being said, living the fitness lifestyle is obviously more than just about becoming physically fit. In fact, there are 3 other key elements to add to being physically fit in order to truly be fit and happy. And so, I introduce you to the 4 pillars of the fitness lifestyle.
Pillar #1 ‘Physical’
Now, it has been stated time and time again that you don’t really know what you have until it’s gone. And I felt the brute force of this between 2007-2009 when I was part of a new internet start up business. You see, I had always been physically fit, coming from an athletic background. And the longest I’d stayed away from the gym was 12 months max. So I’d always have some kind of muscle mass and more often than not, be physically fit and healthy. So to be away from fitness for 2 years, not only turned me into a walking zombie. It also shattered my health, which in turn melted my mental state (Because a healthy body = A healthy mind and vice versa) and my confidence to go with it! Which is a vicious cycle to be in, because you can’t be happy if you aren’t healthy, let alone ripped or shredded.
This will have a direct effect on your relationships or potential dates too. If you have a life partner, you better just hope they are supportive, because if they aren’t, they’re probably a bag of negative or ‘wrong’ energy. THAT… you don’t need! And if you’re dating, what new date potential wants to get with some one whose nuts and bolts are all over the place? But more on this shortly.
The main point here, whether you have taken up fitness or not, is that you need to (First and foremost) get your physical health sorted out to begin living the fitness lifestyle.
A few quick starter points
- Wake up early, between 5.00am – 7.00 am (We are super mind and body fresh at this time of the day)
- Go to bed early (9.00pm is ideal. But let’s be honest, you won’t hit the sack until 11.00pm. Which still isn’t bad)
Pillar #2 ‘Emotional’
OK, earlier I talked about relationships and dating. I’ve spoken briefly on this topic before, in terms of how this can have an effect on your fitness lifestyle. But the emotional pillar is more than life partner relationships. It’s about the relationships that you have with anyone in your close circle. But to point it out again. You simply can’t fulfill pillar #2 without sorting out pillar #1 first. It won’t be fair on you, your partner or potential partner. You have to take care of no.1 first before even attempting to take care of anyone else.
Now, in terms of relationships with other people, you just need to follow a few simple rules if you want to fulfill pillar #2 and be emotionally fit and happy.
- If some one drags you down, verbally, physically or any kind of ‘…ally’, Cut them loose! (Friends, family or whoever. It doesn’t matter. They’re the wrong people. Cut them loose!)
- If someone continuously lifts you up. Bring them close. Reeeal close. They may not be that way to you forever. But they will indeed be the right person(s) to have around at the time.
- This may sound cliche. But follow your gut, always. Because it’s always right. Not doing so will lead you down a wrong path = emotional pillar fail.
Having great emotional balance with those you associate with is not always an easy thing to accomplish. But I can almost guarantee that following the above can get you there. Once you get this part of your being right, pillar #3 should become much easier to conquer.
Pillar #3 ‘Mental’
OK, so now you’re physically fit.
You look good…
You feel good…
Strangers now react to you differently in a new and positive way….
You’re attracting the opposite sex…
You’re getting laid (The opposite sex some how sense that too)…
You’re happily taken or happily dating…
You’re in the zone!
But you only got to this place because you conquered pillar #1 and #2. You see, fitness really is more than just being physically fit. Yes, once you become physically fit, pillar #3 becomes much easier, but you still have to work on getting mentally fit if you are mentally ‘ill’. Because if you are in the wrong place mentally, you’ll eventually back down on the fit and happy scale.
Being mentally fit interms of the lifestyle is more of a case of having things in working order.
– Do you have a daily planner?
– Do you have a plan for your fitness regime?
– Do you have a set plan for your short term/long term goal?
That list could go on and on. But if you currently don’t have that kind of structure in place, then the 4 pillars are in danger of crumbling one by one… back to square one! Of course, in reality, all 4 pillars won’t be equal at all times in your life. They’ll move up and down as time goes on. But having that structure in place will allow you to achieve success in the 3rd mental pillar.
Everything will seem ‘in flow’ and you’ll find your creative sweet spot.
- Switching up your routines and taking on new fitness challenges becomes a breeze
- Being creatively romantic to your partner becomes a breeze
- You can become instantaneously spontaneous, regardless of how much responsibility you have
But to achieve and succeed at pillar #3, you have to work at it. It will take months, sometimes years to get it completely right. Once you do, you really will be in a sweet spot.
Pillar #4 ‘Spiritual’
This is my favorite pillar of all
Because if you have reached this point, you truly will be one of a kind ‘fit’. Seriously. Life in 2011 and beyond is busy. Life in 2011 has internet + mobile internet + internet on airplanes = super duper noise for your brain. With all that mess, I can bet that most people don’t reach a true spiritual place. I’m talking about being thankful, meditating, being grateful, forgiving, studying (Most people don’t reach this place because of surrounding negativity). 90% of the time, the most spiritual place I find is the gym.
- Working out opens up and clears my sweat glands
- Big open spaces in the gym (It’s just me and the gym – when it’s quiet – mostly day time – It’s just me and the bar)
I would love to meditate, but I’m also a born westerner. So even if I manage to travel to places such as India, like mentioned in this post (Where real meditation happens). I still have a thing for the fast life, being a young guy and all. So my next best friend is the gym. Or simply a quiet park.
I’ve talked about living the fitness lifestyle before. But THIS… is how you live rthe fitness lifestyle successfully. It’s more than just getting physical and throwing a few dumbbells around.
If you ever feel like you at rock bottom, follow these pillars in the said order (although it probably won’t happen that way) and you will truly live a happy fitness lifestyle.
The key = Daily persistence = Magic
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Screw the intro. Let’s just jump right into it.
#1 Longer arms need a specific fix
Ok. We all know that taller/shorter guys build muscle at the same rate, as heavily discussed in the building muscle for short vs tall guys post. However, the main issue is not so much that it’s harder to build muscle for taller guys. The main issue is how to make the muscles ‘appear’ bigger.
The solution for bigger arms =
You see, height really isn’t the issue here. If you’re a hardgainer, you’re a hardgainer. And 9 times out of 10, your main issue will be fixing the struggle of building muscle on longer limbs. In most cases, you’ll be able to build stand out chest, shoulder, lats and abdominal muscles with ease. Triceps, Biceps forearms and legs however is a whole new challenge altogether. You’re probably nodding your head right now, talking back to yourself saying ‘yup, yup, that’s me’.
Now, there are many factors to why you could be struggling to build on those muscle groups as a hardgainer (Diet, workout frequency, workout intensity, workout longevity and others). But the reason I place consistency as point #1 is because the rules of building muscle are mostly the same for anyone who decides to do so.
- Compound exercises (Mostly)
If you have naturally smaller muscle groups on certain parts of your body, it’s not hard to workout that those muscle groups may take a little longer to build to take them to ‘stand out’ level. So the only real solution is the above + consistency. It may just take a little longer until those muscle groups begin to ‘stand out’. That’s it.
Now that we have consistency out of the way. Let’s look at the exciting stuff. The most effective ways to build 3d arms as a hardgainer.
#2 The exercises
Ok. Most of you know of my distaste for the lack of pull ups/ chin ups being performed by the average gym goer. Which is retarded, because pull ups and chin ups are hands down two of the best upper body exercises there are (Which also help increase your gains in the big 4 compound exercises).
And if you’ve been around the site for some time, you’ll also have picked up the points where I talk about the importance of focusing on building your triceps over your biceps, as triceps make up at least 2/3s of your upper arm (They are the real t-shirt fillers). Although that point is true, you do in fact need to focus on building both. It’s just that you can get away with skipping bicep isolation exercises altogether and get the same or even better results ‘over time’ (Because building standout arms naturally, as a hardgainer will take time I’m afraid). And now for the exercises that will get you those stand out bi’s, tri’s and forearms in record time (As long as you stick to all other aspects of the training regime).
- Chin ups + weight assisted – Biceps
- Pull ups + weight assisted – Triceps
- Muscle ups – progress to these from pull ups
And of course, the big 4 compound exercises
Like I said earlier, triceps make up nearly 2/3s of your arms. Compound exercises are great, but they won’t always necessarily hit those…
#3 smaller muscle groups
Why is this important?
Well, this is something that I don’t see talked about too often. You see, the muscle building trend in todays world is how to build a shredded yet somewhat still bulky physique. (Unlike our 1980 ancestor friends whose goal was to get as big as a house). And when your goal is to build the ‘ripped’ physique, it’s your smaller muscles that will play a big part in getting you to look that way. Now, it is true that you can follow a training program that focuses on building out certain parts of your body, which of course would be an ideal solution for buildng out these smaller muscles (After all, following ANY good training program is recommended for opitmal results, regardless of what your goal is – I’ll cover this at some point).
But let’s now look at the exact smaller muscles in your arms that will make that 3D effect happen for you. And the exercises you can perform to make them grow and stand out.
(Click exercise name to view video of each exercise)
- Barbell Preacher Curl
- Cable Prone Incline Curl
Places a focus on the long head (lateral head) of the biceps brachii as the shorter head will enter into less active state as it continues to contract.
- Barbell Reverse Curl
- Barbell Reverse Preacher Curl
- Cable Reverse Curl
- Cable Reverse Preacher Curl
Triceps brachii (Medial head)
- Barbell Close Grip Bench Press
- Barbell Lying Triceps Extension + incline, decline
- Dumbbell Kickback
If you can build these smaller muscles to the point where you can see them without flexing your muscles, then you will truly stand head and shoulders above the rest and your arms will truly look 3D.
#4 Grow a pair of wings
Now, like I said before. It’s important to build both tris and bis when building muscle to get your arms looking truly 3D. And I did say to place a focus on building out your triceps. Because most of that roundness and appearance of size (from a front view of your arms) will come from the muscles at the back of your arms (triceps).
However… a common thing that I see on some people, is that they build stand out triceps (GREAT!). But have no bicep development what so ever. Which means, when you turn your arms outwards away from your body while standing upright, your arms will look puny as hell. Not a good look when wearing that tight white tee/vest in summer. If that is a problem you face, follow all that you read above and you will be cured.
Redbull gives you wings…
No it doesn’t, resistant training does.
Ok, I’ve talked about building your lats before, in this post. And here’s the extreme lats development picture that I used in that post…
Now, building a great pair of lats will do two things…
- Give you width and make you look bigger than you are
- Make your arms appear bigger than they actually are
And point no.2 is what we’ll discuss here. You see, it’s all good and great talking about how to build 3D arms, developing muscles groups that you constantly struggle with, etc, etc, etc. But it’s not always that easy. Most of us have lives outside of fitness, which we have to combine with fitness in order to live it as a lifestyle. Because this muscle building game is a marathon and not a sprint. And as a hardgainer, you will struggle to build stand out arms.
If you can build a solid pair of lats, you can cheat a little. Because your arms will have no choice but to rest against them. Which means your triceps will look bigger than they actually are.
Of course, I don’t encourage NOT building struggling triceps/biceps. But if you are sick of your long lanky arms making the rest of your body look puny, then an increase in lat development is one way to go.
In fact, forget you even read that. Work hard and build EVERYTHING!
I could probably go on and speak more in depth on this topic, but I’m going to stop before I bore you to death. (To be continued – at some point). The main thing to take away from this is that you need to focus on building rounded, truly 3D arms as a hardgainer. Do that and you will look skinny no more… from ANY angle.
And if you need to fix the diet part of your bodybuilding lifestyle to a whole new level, then check out this video from fitness model Kyle Leon. Who has designed a way for everyday people to get ripped the fitness model way. After all, those are the folks who get into that lean shape a few times a year. Diet IS the most important part of building muscle, so here is the video for you.
Build it… > Wear it right!
See you in the comments.