Think for a moment about the types of people in life that naturally look in great shape. The first people who come to mind are professional football players like running backs, wide receivers, corner backs, and line backers. Next, I think of elite sprinters in the sport of track, as well as some high performing cross-fit athletes. All of these populations of people share a couple things in common. First, they train hard, and second, they train heavy. On a consistent and strategic basis, they provide their bodies with a stimulus that forces them to adapt and get stronger and larger, or else that stimulus next time could injure them. You might be wondering, what is this stimulus in the first place? To keep it simple, the stimulus is lifting heavier weights than the time before or doing more repetitions with the same weight.
This is what is called in the fitness realm as “Progressive Overload” and it works wonders for every single type of trainee- period.
The groups of people I mentioned in the beginning use this principle on a year in- year out basis, and it shows by not only the strength/power they demonstrate in their sport, but some of the physiques these guys have. From head to toe they are symmetrical, well proportioned, and have a type of muscle density that looks like they have been lifting weights for 30 to 40 years. Their training is not specific to aesthetics (which is what bodybuilding/physique competitors train for), but because they train this way, their bodies naturally build high quality muscle.
Social media in general- but specifically Instagram- has tons of these “fitness” guys and gals who film their training for the public to see. The public sees what they are doing and some of the physiques these people have, and automatically think that this is the program they should be doing to get results like the IG fitness king/queen has. This is sad for a couple of reasons. First, a large majority of the IG-goers are taking enhancement drugs like testosterone and hardening/cutting agents, which expands their results tremendously. Second, although someone may make some gains initially by copying the person they are following because it is a new stimulus to their body, the gains will soon come to a halt because a majority of the fitness people hardly train heavy and push themselves.
They care about the “feel” of an exercise and getting that “pump” because it looks super cool to look at themselves in the mirror, and it seems to be safer since the loads are not very heavy. Good luck with developing a good physique. If you want to actually develop an impressive physique (without the use of enhancement), then do these things:
1. Hit the main compound movements like squats, dead lifts, and bench press with high intensities (1 to 6 reps) on a weekly basis.
2. Each week thereafter, either add more weight (5 to 10 lbs.) to the bar and perform the same number of reps you did the week prior, or if you can’t add more weight, then do more reps with the same weight you used the week before.
3. Continue this process for 4 to 6 weeks depending on how your body is feeling then de-load for a week and then repeat the process (now you’ll be starting with heavier weights than the first cycle).
4. Add in other major movements like pull-ups, row variations, shoulder press, dips, split squats, lunges, etc. to supplement your main compound movements (a little higher repetitions). 5. Lastly, train hard.
You should go into some of your training sessions with a feeling of anxiety because of what lies ahead for the session, embrace it!