Quadruplicate Functional Aesthetics Training
Get Ripped~Get Strong~Live Healthy~Be Athletic & Youthful At Any Age!
In Greek mythology as a means to escape imprisonment for himself and his son Icarus, Daedalus constructed two sets of wings which they would use to liberate themselves.
Daedalus warned Icarus beforehand that their departure would have to be resolute, staying high enough from the sea so that the wings do not become dampened, but tempered as the feathers of the wing apparatus were affixed with wax and that flying too close to the sun could present a problem due to the wax melting.
The two exited the labyrinth prison and ascended into the endless blue sky.
Elated that he was free and delighted in his new-found, quickly-developed skill of flight Icarus soared and soared.
Being a bit cocky and also caught up in the moment, he did not realize he was very close to the sun.
When he finally did realize, he hurriedly flapped his arms remembering his father’s warning.
And then it hit him.
The wax had already melted and all he was left with was his bare arms. He immediately fell into the sea and died an untimely death by drowning.
Like Icarus we too are best suited to take a moderate approach for long term success in reaching our health & fitness goals.
Stay too laid-back, never really pushing ourselves too much and our wings will become dampened (always going through the motions in workouts, nutrition, not progressing etc.)
Like-wise constantly being too aggressive and over-zealous in our approach can also present problems (extremely strict continuous dieting without a reset, frying our CNS with forced-reps, endless drop sets, and other high-intensity techniques without regard to recovery etc.)
If we are not diligent with our rest/recovery, it’s a matter of time before the wax of our wings will melt from the searing heat of the sun.
Nearly all training programs you will encounter are in some way based upon “The Big 3”—The Bench Press, Squats & Deadlifts.
These compound exercises are standard in powerlifting training and contests as a gauge of overall power & strength.
All three incorporate multiple groupings of muscles and when programmed intelligently can increase a trainee’s strength capacity fairly rapidly.
I have included all three of these exercises throughout much of my training over the years.
In the last few years my training focus has been on strength, but with a slightly higher emphasis on aesthetics.
While the “Big 3” are undoubtedly outstanding exercises, I feel there are an few caveats to add to them if you have similar aspirations of an ageless shred.
The Bench Press
With apologies to the barbell curl, this may very well be the most popular and most often performed exercise of them all.
The bench press targets the triceps, front deltoids, and chest.
Although, touted as a chest exercise, there may be better alternatives if your objective is classic aesthetics.
I believe dip variations will bring you better value in promoting muscle growth in the right places.
Wide shoulders, massive triceps & also a rock-hard, defined masculine chest.
Not to say that the bench press doesn’t have it’s place.
Performing the bench after dips or incline bench can provide a very powerful 1-2 punch in your strength & aesthetic ambitions.
Squats & Deadlifts (low dose)
I think these two exercises can complete the lower body in very good fashion.
My only adjustments in recent years is to actually increase the frequency and dramatically lower the load.
I think there is a tendency (especially with deadlifts) to increase the poundage a little too rapidly resulting in compromised form and an increased risk of injury.
These two exercises demand the recruitment of many muscle groupings that when even moderate loads are applied wisely can create outstanding results.
So, do the “Big 3” have a place in the quest for optimum aesthetics?
Sure, but consider the low-dose approach and spend your training time and energy on what will deliver not only functional strength but also a Classic physique.
It is the rare day that my alarm clock serves it purpose.
I usually wake up fifteen or twenty minutes before it sounds.
It is 4:10 a.m.
“What day is it?” I ask myself.
Nothing more I would like than to go back to sleep for another thirty, forty-five minutes.
I immediately raise the question in my mind.
“I can try to catch my workout after work tonight right?”
“I’ll be more focused, more awake.”
“I should be home between five and six tonight, maybe I’ll do that.”
It’s now 4:15.
My dog starts to stir a little and needs to go outside.
I take him out and I start the coffee machine.
I bring him back in and he lays back down, sleeping again within a minute or so.
I grab my coffee and turn on my computer.
I really enjoy black coffee.
Not so much for the effect, but actually for the taste.
“Wow, I have a bunch of stuff to do after work.”
The reality of the day becomes a little more apparent.
“If I get home at 5:30 and start my workout at 5:45, I can finish it by 6:30 at the latest.”
Then I would make a quick dinner and catch up with the family.
“I really need to balance my checkbook, and return some calls and messages.”
Then it hits me.
If this stuff was easy everyone would do it.
It takes a special kind of commitment to do the uncomfortable and push yourself to workout when your body would like nothing more than to go back to sleep.
As important as rest and recovery are, it is also equally important to sometimes get uncomfortable, push your limits a little and do the things that others won’t.
Sure, in the grand scheme doing my training in the evening, or not at all is minutia when looking at it on the whole.
But, by taking that step of discipline you build a “toughness” that over time compounds for an eventual excellent result.
Taking a simple step of action can positively alter an entire day.
I look at my sleeping friend and smile.
A few minutes later it’s now 5:00 a.m. and I am starting my warm-up sets.
Before I discuss my nutrition philosophy and ideals, I have to admit some bias.
I am not a fan, no actually I detest the idea or act of eating six, seven, eight, ten times a day.
(five is even a lot, but every once in a while I do have a fourth meal on those particularly long days.)
When I first became interested in bodybuilding and researched the nutrition aspect of it, all the publications advised the many-meal-a-day approach.
Wanting to make progress as rapidly as possible I subscribed to that approach thinking it would be the path to increased muscle growth & strength.
I gained weight no doubt, but the majority of it was in the form of adipose tissue (fat.) I also felt miserable much of the time because I was force-feeding, eating when I really didn’t feel like it and also trying to digest food on a constant basis.
It seemed like I was always watching the clock usually with dread, thinking about scarfing down that tuna & pasta.This went on for quite some time, years in fact.
Eventually, I decided to research other methods to achieve the goals I had and stumbled upon various forms of intermittent fasting and macro allocation and realized that my long term beliefs that I had established may not necessarily be the only or even the best pathway to my goals.
I have had more success in not only my physique goals pursuits, but also my strength endeavors by simplifying things and most days eating 2-3 meals. These meals are larger generally—meaning that I am more satisfied and they are also consumed only when I am actually hungry.
Constant force-feeding is not only uncomfortable and in my opinion unnecessary, but also can’t be good for your internal organs. All biological systems share a commonality of work/rest/recover and our organs are no different.
Another albeit fairly recent experiment that seems to be challenging my prior beliefs is on the subject of protein. In the past I would attempt to ingest up to two grams per pound of body weight. In recent times I generally would strive for around one gram/per, but in the last few months I have experimented with an increase in carbohydrates and a marked decrease in daily protein intake.
Most days, I have been getting roughly 100g or so, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more and have not noticed any muscle loss whatsoever.
In fact, I feel better, sleep way better and my gym performance has been progressing nicely.
My energy levels are great and supplement-wise, I have only used a multi, fish oil, vitamin D, and of course my nightly glass of Cabernet.