Guys who are going to the gym usually go there with the idea of building some muscle and gaining strength. But there’s always been a dilemma when it comes to training philosophy: what look are you going to go for? What exactly do you want to be? What best fits your goals and body type? There are a few different directions you can go, each with pros and cons.
The Low Body Fat Look
Some guys just want to lose weight and get as lean as humanly possible. Their goal is to looks something like Brad Pitt did in Fight Club. I guess there’s nothing wrong with this if you really want this kind of body. Pitt doesn’t have any problem getting the ladies’ attention, and this has been one of his most well-known looks and roles.
But the problem is that some of us want to have a little more muscle than what Pitt had. This is a body that you would hardly notice if he had his shirt on. Are there other options?
The Powerlifter Look
Those who just want to lift as much weight as humanly possible may go for the powerlifting look. One of the most famous examples of this would be Paul Anderson, pictured here. Powerlifters often eat huge quantities and eat in very high calorie diets. This is especially true for those in the heavier weight classes. Needless to say, these physiques are powerful and impressive.
But some trainees may not want this particular look. They want to be strong, but they want a more aesthetically pleasing look. They are more interested in getting a girls phone number than being hired as a bouncer.
The Bodybuilding Look
No discussion of training would be complete without including bodybuilding. These guys train in such a way as to maximize hypertrophy (muscle growth) while adhering to strict diets to keep their body fat levels low. The “Golden Era” guys in particular had really balanced physiques: broad shoulders, full muscles, and narrow waistlines.
This look can be very appealing from an aesthetic standpoint, but even this kind of training may not be what everyone wants. Bodybuilding has become an obscure sport that appeals to a relatively small subculture. This audience has apparently demanded increasingly massive physiques that just don’t look athletic. Some of the modern champions weigh well over 250 lb.–that’s not realistic for your average guy walking into the gym.
The sport (on the professional level) is now synonymous with massive doses of drugs, which detracts from what was meant to be the original purpose: becoming healthier.
Hybrid Training: The Best of All Worlds?
The good news is that there may be a happy median, a type of training that would help you to be bigger, stronger, leaner and more athletic. It’s called the Lean Hybrid Muscle program, created by Elliot Hulse. He and Mike Westerdal have carefully put together a training plan that combines multiple styles. You don’t have to chose between being strong and fat or having low body fat and being weak–you can follow a plan that helps you look and perform better. Give it a try if you have been stuck in your training or if you’re unsatisfied with more traditional weightlifting programs.