We don’t talk about physique or body composition, much at GMB, and there’s a reason for that.
Our goal is to train to make our bodies stronger and more capable. Often, physique follows that, but looking a certain way really isn’t necessary to achieving that goal.
Of course, we are a fitness company, so we get questions all the time about putting on muscle or losing fat, and in this episode, we’re finally going to address these questions head-on.
Here’s a snippet of what Andy had to say about our position on training:
It’s not because we want to live to be 140. It’s because we want to live the hell out of the number of years we have to live.
In this episode, Ryan and Andy discuss training and nutrition for making changes to your physique. Whether you want to put on muscle, lose fat, or even lose actual weight (if you are very overweight), this episode has a lot to offer.
What you’ll hear:
- 04:42 – Could putting a hard deadline on skill development be holding you back?
- 09:57 – Success in gaining muscle, losing weight, or losing body fat all comes down to this single element.
- 13:35 – Here’s the simplest and best way to learn what works for you in developing your body.
- 19:49 – The real distinction between losing weight and losing body fat.
- 29:23 – How to avoid blind devotion and turn strategies into success tools.
Links & Resources:
Be sure to catch the next episode by subscribing to the GMB Show:
How To Change Your Body Composition
Andy: All right. Breaker, breaker one-niner. Get your ears on for the GMB Fitness Skills Show where we’re going to talk about how to get strong, how to get agile, how to get better at using your body for all that stuff that you really care about and have a good time doing it too.
My name is Andy and with me is Ryan Hurst, head coach, all-around badass and swell dude.
Ryan: What’s up man? What’s up?
Andy: It’s another wonderful day.
Ryan: Yes. In Hawaii it’s always wonderful, I’m assuming.
Andy: It’s wonderful wherever I am. I kind of have that effect in my surroundings.
Ryan: There you go, there you go.
Ryan: I like that. We’ve got an interesting chat today.
Andy: Yeah. It’s something that we kind of avoid talking about because I think like every fitness website on the internet is about like lose fat, torch your belly flab, build muscle. So we kind of avoid that whole discussion.
Ryan: But hey, we’re going to tackle it today.
Andy: We’re going to talk about torching belly flab today and stoking the metabolic furnace.
Ryan: Yeah, baby. Yeah, baby!
Andy: Yeah, got to keep it stoked man.
Ryan: You got to keep it stoked.
Andy: So before that, what have you been working on lately?
Ryan: What have I been working on? Well, interestingly enough, this week I tried a one-arm handstand with my legs together and I got it. I was pretty surprised. Yeah. I was actually pretty surprised. I’m not saying it’s easy but yeah, I was very surprised at that.
So I’m going to start playing around with that and I actually just got a question on Facebook. How many weeks are you going to nail this in? My reply was really, I’m not even worried about that at all man. I’m just going to have fun with it. There’s no set time. I’m not going to be focused on it every single day and only doing that. I’m just going to mess around with it, take as long as I need to get it.
Andy: Since you got the regular one-arm handstand in 14, I’m giving you only 13 for this.
Ryan: Well, considering that I kind of already got it, so I think maybe I should have …
Andy: So 13 days then.
Andy: Done. All right.
Ryan: It was actually a good question and just for those of you who are interested right now, I’m working on different stuff of course. But I’m not putting myself in a particular timeframe to get stuff. I really – right now in my life, I just want to just keep doing this stuff and actually have fun with it.
By putting a timeframe on myself and that kind of pressure, it’s not where we’re at with GMB and where I want to be at with my life. So I’m just trying to have fun with it and when it happens, it will happen.
Andy: I mean that’s something we get a lot of questions about too and people ask us all the time with different goals. How long does it take to get this? How long should I expect?
Not even in me – I’m grossly overweight and I want to learn to do a planche. Can I do this in three months? I’m not even talking about like kind of silly questions like that.
But I mean people want to know realistically how long they can plan on working on something or if they’re on the right track because truly if you do work for like six months and see zero progress, something is wrong.
Ryan: Yeah, absolutely.
Andy: Something is wrong and I don’t care what guru coach says that this is the right way. If you work for six months and see no progress at all, something is wrong.
Andy: Badly wrong.
Ryan: Yeah. Just like you said, I mean figure out what you got to do first. So that’s why I think having a coach is good. But don’t still think that – just because someone else gets it in a certain amount of time doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to get it.
Andy: Yeah. Every skill has certain amounts of time that on average they might take depending on a certain starting point. It’s fine to kind of I guess try to get an idea from what other people have done but always remember that you might be working out a different amount of time. You might be starting from a different place and none of this is meant to be discouraging.
The point is, is that you have all the time in the world. You’ve got the rest of your life. It’s not like needing to fit into the tux you already bought for your wedding. It’s a totally different thing.
You don’t have a hard deadline on being able to move from three pull-ups to eight pull-ups. Some people truly just put on muscle easier.
Ryan: That’s right. That’s a good segue into what we’re talking about today really.
Andy: Yeah, definitely. Before that though, I do want to say that that was a good question and so with the relation to questions, we’re trying a new feature where there’s a button on the blog page for the show underneath the video. There’s a button that you can actually hit the button and this magical box appears on your screen.
It’s a magical box that allows you to record your voice saying – shouting obscene comments or singing your favorite song or perhaps even asking a question that you would like us to answer on the next show.
So feel free to use that. Record yourself and yeah, if you ask a good question, we will answer it on the show and if you shout expletives at us, then we will probably just laugh.
Ryan: Shouting back, yeah.
Andy: It’s all right. So yeah, let’s get back into it. We’re going to talk about – you want to talk about getting the Popeye first.
Ryan: Getting the Popeye, getting the Popeye.
Andy: How do I gain muscle Ryan? How do I get bigger?
Ryan: You know what? I’m just going to be just straight out honest with you. It’s all about steroids. That’s all it is. It’s all you need to do is take steroids and you’re done. Of course I’m kidding.
Muscle, very, very interesting. I just started reading – it’s not a new book. It came out last year but it’s actually by Clarence Bass. You know Clarence Bass, Ripped.
He has got – I mean the guy is what? Seventy – he’s over 70. So what? He’s approaching 80 right now and so in his book Take Charge: Fitness at the Edge of Science that I’m reading right now, he has got – you know, it’s a great picture of him. He’s 75 years old and he’s still ripped.
For those of you who don’t know him, just do a little Google.
Andy: C Bass.
Ryan: Yeah, C Bass and just look at a picture of the dude. Amazing! So anyway, it’s what it’s about. It’s about getting ripped, very, very low lean – or pardon me, low body fat with muscle.
In his recent book, it’s very good because it’s really – it’s just science. I mean it’s a lot of just facts. So unless you’re really into that kind of stuff, then you might not want to read this book.
But there’s a lot of great information that he talked about no studies showing that as far as gaining muscle goes, we can always gain muscle even as we age. So with that though said that there’s no one set way of doing it, which I thought was very interesting.
They looked at very heavy, heavy weights, low repetitions. Of course that’s a lot of time on the strength side. But for example hypertrophy, a lot of people talk about the 10 to 12 rep range of lifting heavy weights and what they actually found was like to gain muscle, all you really need to do is make sure that the last reps that you’re performing are close to not necessarily exhaustion but they’re taxing your body at the point where they’re actually making it hurt [0:08:47] [Phonetic].
So you could actually do – he gave an example of a leg press that he performs where he starts off with a 500-pound leg press and he’s doing that for a relatively low number but he’s really taxing the muscle fibers in his legs, hitting it hard in the beginning and then his next set, he lowers the weight but goes up the numbers. Then in his final set, he does the same thing where he lowers the numbers even more and does upwards of 25 repetitions. So he’s still gaining muscle.
So I think it’s very interesting to note that there is no one way to gain muscle and what he said which I think is true too is you have to find what works for you and stick with that.
This is like everything. This is everything we have always talked about whether it be learning skills or learning from a particular coach. You have to find a person. You have to find something that matches you and that you can work with and that you want to stick with because whether it be gaining muscle, whether it be losing weight, if you need to lose weight, or just losing body fat, it’s a matter of sticking with it.
So just to start off with, that’s really what it’s all about.
Andy: I’m clearly not an authority on maximum body mass muscular hypertrophy.
Ryan: Well, I’m no either.
Andy: I’ve never been interested in it. We sometimes get YouTube comments like, “I thought you would be stronger,” or “I thought you would be bigger.”
Ryan: A little bit bigger.
Andy: Really strong but we’ve always focused on strength and ability over size and me personally especially the martial arts that I’ve always done, it has been way more about mobility than even strength a lot of times.
But the point being is that we’re not always focused on maximum hypertrophy and so it’s not something that we really do a lot of research in to be honest.
But if you’re looking to just build muscle and to get a little bigger, to put some meat on your frame so to speak, I mean it’s definitely doable and people have done it with our programs and with – I mean almost any kind of program.
Like you said, there’s no one right way. You have to find something that works for you and you have to stick with that. Jumping from one thing to another is maybe the last way to make progress. But it’s just important to note though that it’s not like a specific – like you said, with – Clarence Bass said that there’s no one specific protocol, right?
There’s no one specific exercise. There are a lot of things you could do that’s going to achieve that result but the most important thing is just to train, to train consistently.
You need to train consistently so that your muscles are always being overloaded progressively, over time adding more stress to the muscles. Then you recover. You rest. We just wrote an article on our site on different ways and strategies for recovery. That would be useful for people. You got to eat. You got to eat. You got to sleep and you got to train.
Ryan: That’s a big thing right there. It’s the nutrition part of it.
Ryan: You can lift weights and you can just hit it hard, go to the gym, and just focus on getting big. But if you don’t have the nutrients, the proper nutrients to be able to build muscle, then it isn’t going to happen.
What I mean by proper nutrients, I’m not talking about this miracle supplement and this protein powder. What I mean is actually cleaning up your diet, getting rid of the crap, because if you’re eating McDonalds all day long, and then you hope to get ripped, you’re not going to get ripped. You’re going to get big but maybe not the big that you really want.
Andy: If you’re 16 to 25, you can eat at McDonalds.
Ryan: Yeah. You can probably get away – yeah.
Andy: And probably do just fine because your hormonal system is primed for that kind of thing. But maybe not. Not all people’s bodies will respond to that.
Again, find what works for you with nutrition. It’s important. You got to get enough minerals and vitamins and protein and carbohydrates and fats. All these things are important. So do some research and try something. It’s the biggest thing.
Andy: So I’m not trying to be vague about this but …
Ryan: It’s tough because I mean let’s just be honest. There is no one like diet as far as – there are people that have achieved particular body composition that yes, you can look at that person and mimic what they do. Maybe it’s going to help you but there’s always going to have to be little tweaks and things that you do.
Even in the programs and getting back to what we’re very, very familiar with and that is the programming in order to get strong, in order to do skills. Even though I lay out a program for you doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be exactly the way that you should be doing it.
There’s going to be tweaks and things that you need to maybe back off or maybe add something in, in order to help you. The same goes for nutrition and the way that you either lift weights or use the rings or something like that for hypertrophy.
Andy: One of our friends Anthony Michael is also very into how the “skinny fat” type of build, kind of weak skinny with higher body fat percentage but not like big fat.
Andy: But Anthony has studied a lot about how these skinny fat kind of people can put on muscle and he talks about a lot of different kinds of training protocols but he also has said that two mistakes that almost everybody makes in that position is they don’t eat enough. Even though they think they’re eating a lot but what happens often is they will eat a lot once and then they won’t feel hungry for like two days.
So they won’t eat very much, right? They think they’re eating a lot and the only way to make sure is to write it down and record. It’s the only way to be sure how much you’re eating. Track it.
The other one is they don’t sleep enough. You have to sleep. People, there are a lot of skinny guys and myself included have the tendency to not really sleep very much. All through high school and college in my 20s, I didn’t sleep more than like six hours a night, like ever.
Your body is not going to build muscle when you’re not giving it enough sleep. You don’t feel tired but you’re still not getting fully adequate recovery if your goal is hypertrophy. You need to sleep more. You need to sleep more. It’s something that it’s – people discount it a lot but almost everyone that I’ve had any contact with that is an expert in this kind of thing says that nobody sleeps enough. Sleeping more is super, super important.
Ryan: It’s interesting that you say that. Recently, I sleep a lot. I’ve actually over the past year – I’m slowly putting on muscle. That’s part of my goals right now.
I think I’m doing a good job of like keeping the body fat relatively low as well. But the big factor for me has actually been sleep and I know that the more I sleep, the better I not only feel in my workouts but look better too. Something else is backing off and not doing so much stuff.
Ryan: A lot of people, especially when we’re talking about the skinny fat kind of people, it’s like they’re constantly doing stuff. I want to do this. I want to do this, this and this. It’s really tough but sometimes you just need to back off.
So instead of going to the gym every single day, go to the gym to be done and then give yourself a couple of days rest. It might be the key for you gaining muscle.
Ryan: So I do know that there are a lot of programs out there. Dean John [0:17:27] [Phonetic] one of my favorite guys out there, he’s really big into that. Do it. Get it done and then get out of there. Give yourself a couple of days and if you’re trying to put on muscle, he said don’t do any extra exercise.
Really what you’re just trying to do is give your body enough recovery time so that it can build that muscle, so pretty interesting stuff.
Andy: Yeah, definitely.
Ryan: If you are doing other stuff, if you are an athlete, I mean really if that’s your job, it’s going to be different and chances are if you are an athlete, you do probably have a strength coach helping you and they’re going to help you to get the body that you need.
But if you’re just kind of the average Joe like we are, then you know what? If you really want to put on some muscle mass, then think about your daily activities. How much stuff are you doing? Are you getting the rest that you need, the recovery? What’s your nutrition like?
Also a big thing too is stress because the more that you stress out especially men, I know that – looking at my dad, my dad went through a very stressful point in his life and the dude just shrunk. He’s eating a lot but he’s just mentally, mentally exercising so much that it was just burning calories. So this is something else to think about is to keep the stress down. So that tends to help.
Andy: Yeah. Stress goes beyond like calories in, calories out. It’s a metabolic thing at that point and if you have elevated cortisol levels, it’s going to affect your hormones and it’s going to put your body in the state of breaking things down rather than building them up.
So it’s really important to – that’s actually a great point to keep an eye on stress.
Andy: Let’s talk about the opposite side of the coin now, how to shrink yourself down, how to fit into your skinny jeans.
Ryan: Skinny jeans, baby! Yeah. Pardon me. Sorry about that.
Andy: How to stoke the metabolic furnace.
Ryan: Stoke the metabolic furnace. Well, I think it’s interesting too because just like we’re talking about, there’s so many different ways to do it. But if your goal really is – there’s two things. OK? We can look at losing weight and losing body fat.
A lot of people say, “OK, I need to lose weight.” So unless you’re really actually overweight, a lot of the times, it’s not a matter of losing weight, but losing body fat.
So we got to kind of differentiate between the two. So we don’t want to just lose weight because when you’re just losing weight, then what you’re also doing is you’re losing muscle mass and that’s something that we don’t want.
I’m talking about the ladies out there too. This is not something that you want. In Japan, there are a lot of girls that just don’t eat because they want to be skinny. The thing is, they look like crap. I mean it’s just the face, the skin, everything goes bad.
Andy: Brittle bones, hair starts falling out. They don’t get periods and they can’t get pregnant.
Ryan: Yeah. So there’s a point with women too. If you get to a point where your body fat drops below a certain percentage, then you’re not going to have your period and things are going to go really bad.
You’ve got to have that support. So it has got to be a balance between the two. So that’s why strength, continuing with your strength building or – I don’t even want to say maintain because I think that we should always be working on getting stronger throughout our lives. Of course it’s going to change as you age.
But focusing on doing that and then also working on dropping the body fat is a good thing. Now this doesn’t mean we need to be a Nazi about it and you don’t have to say, “I’m going to completely change my entire life. All I’m going to do is this. I’m never going to eat this again.”
I think there should be a balance. Have some ice cream every once in a while. Enjoy your life. That’s why we’re doing this. It’s not just about six-pack abs to me. It’s about being able to do …
Andy: It’s not all about like optimal health.
Ryan: Right, yeah.
Andy: It’s not because we want to live to be 140. It’s because we want to live the hell out of the number of years we happen to live.
Ryan: Yes! You want to enjoy it. That’s what it’s about.
Ryan: In the beginning, when you have to lose some body fat or if you really are focusing on losing body weight, then you have to look at the numbers. You have to look at macros. You have to look at calories. This is something that a lot of people say, “Oh no, there’s things out there. Don’t worry about the calories. It’s just what you eat.”
But the thing is, is if you don’t count calories, if you don’t know what your macros are, it’s going to be difficult later to continue with that eating plan that you’re on because you don’t want to be counting calories your whole life.
But in the beginning, it’s like anything. Learn what you need to do in order to get the results you want. Then once you learn it, then you can kind of put those numbers to the side once you know exactly OK, this much equals how many calories or the size of my palm, blah, blah, blah.
But in the beginning, yeah, you’re going to have to do that and it’s not something maybe you want to but think about the results that you want and that can help you get there.
Andy: It’s something that you need to learn. If your body is not proportioned the way you want your body to be proportioned, you are clearly not an expert on your personal needs yet, right?
I mean that’s something that we can agree on, right? So you need to teach yourself to become an expert on your personal diet and exercise needs. If your body is not how you want it to be, you clearly have not found that magic ratio yet.
So you need to learn it and the way to learn it is to do uncomfortable studying. It’s to figure it out. It’s to write down everything you eat. It’s to log it. Does it suck? Yes.
Ryan: Oh, yeah.
Andy: Did doing your algebra homework suck? Yes. But you learned some abstract thinking skills from it. Now you don’t need to write 3X plus Y equals 10. You don’t need to write that out. You can figure it out. OK?
But it’s the same thing with this. You have to start out by login and it sucks. But then after you do that for a few weeks, a few months, you never really have to do it again. You will know.
Andy: You will know how much is in stuff. You will know how it treats you and you will know what you need to change if you decide to try a different kind of nutritional strategy.
Ryan: Exactly, exactly. Also writing down is interesting because sometimes we think we’re doing something but it’s not until we write it down or see it on video that we realize that in actuality, we weren’t doing that. So just writing the stuff that you’re eating right now, you go back and you look at it and you’re like, “Wow! Why did I eat four Tootsie Rolls for lunch?” or something. I don’t know where the Tootsie Roll came from.
But basically you don’t even think about it. So a lot of the stuff that you’re like, “Oh, no, my eating is fine. I don’t need to worry about it,” you can have some pretty good wakeup calls and realize that you aren’t actually eating the way that you need to eat in order to get the body that you want. So by just realizing that, it’s good.
Andy: Yeah. When I was a schoolteacher and there were always snacks next to the coffee and I was a coffee drinker and I would go in several times a day, fill up my coffee, and grab a little cookie.
I didn’t even realize it but I was eating like 8 to 10 cookies a day. I woke up at some point. I was like, “Holy shit! I’m eating 8 to 10 cookies a day.”
But you don’t realize it. I thought I was just drinking coffee. I mean in my mind rationally, I was just getting a cup of coffee and sometimes, oh yeah, I will have a cookie too.
No, I was eating a ton of cookies and I had to wake up and realize that. So we don’t notice and that’s one of the things that we think is really helpful for it.
Andy: So then if you are trying to lose weight, if you are very overweight and you just need to get down to a healthy weight, so take stress off your joints and everything. Take stress off your heart. If that’s the case, then there’s probably – you probably need to do some pretty extreme habit change.
Andy: That’s something that you cannot really take a gradual approach with. You’re pretty much going to have to change your diet. You’re going to have to do carefully controlled exercise in a safe environment and there are things out there that you can study the right way to do that. I’m not going to say that there’s this one approach that is perfect for everyone.
But you’re going to have to cut out a lot of crap food. You’re going to have to make sure that you eat balanced nutrition and you’re probably going to have to reduce overall calories.
It’s going to be drastic and that’s also going to suck. But there again, it’s teaching yourself how to take control of your habits and that’s a very valuable skill once you get it.
Ryan: Yeah. So I mean I just want to reiterate the fact that there is no one way to do anything. So whether it be extreme weight loss, whether it be just getting your body fat down a little bit, building muscle, there’s so many different ways. But really, it all comes down to the one thing and the one thing is creating that habit and sticking with that.
It’s not fun. Let’s be honest, because if it were fun, we would see some pretty amazing bodies out there in the world. It’s tough. Let’s just be honest. It’s tough.
Ryan: And there are different ways to do it. You just got to find what’s good for you, something that you will stick with and do it really. That’s it.
Ryan: So …
Andy: And don’t think that just because something works in a short term that it’s going to work forever. This is a point that I’ve made before. Just because penicillin can cure a flu or something does not mean that a healthy person taking penicillin is going to make them healthier.
So it’s the same thing with diets. A lot of people say, “Well, I went paleo and I lost 40 pounds. So paleo is right for everyone.” But then they always – they block off the part where after losing 40 pounds, they then stopped losing any fat, were unable to put on more muscle and started feeling sick.
I’m not saying this happens to everyone who does paleo but it happens to a lot of people who do. So what often happens is if you are very overweight, carb restriction can drop your fat. But once you get down to that size again, your body is not going to respond to that same strategy to go to the next step.
So just because one strategy works at one stage in your life doesn’t mean it’s going to work all the time. So you may have to try several different things. That’s the point that no one thing works for everyone all the time. Well, no one thing is going to work for you all the time forever either.
So don’t become a true believer in any system. It’s not that paleo is the best or intermittent fasting is the best. I mean they’re great. They’re both great but neither one is the best ultimate for everyone.
Use them as tools. Use any strategy as a tool for where you’re at and then change it when it stopped working.
Ryan: That’s good! That’s good stuff.
Andy: I know. I’m bringing the logic.
Ryan: You’re bringing it. You’re bringing it.
Andy: I hate it.
Ryan: You’re bringing it.
Andy: I hate it sometimes. It’s not popular or easy but sometimes that’s just how it is.
Ryan: That’s the way it is. You know what –
Andy: Sorry, I can’t open my bag of ostrich jerky and say this will cure everything for you and it’s bacon-flavored.
Ryan: It’s bacon-flavored ostrich. Bacon-flavored, awesome. Well, I think that’s a good place to end here. Wow, yeah, we talked about a lot of stuff. Muscles!
Andy: Building the muscle.
Ryan: Building the muscle.
Andy: The metabolic belly flab, torching furnace, and …
Ryan: Yeah, I’m coming out with a new book about these topics and you can get it for $19.95 and – yeah, of course I’m just kidding.
Andy: It’s called The Truth about Seven-Pack Abs.
Andy: We like to do one better than the competition wherever possible.
Ryan: You got to do it. You got to do it. You got to do it.
Andy: Yeah. All right. So thanks for watching, listening, and just being you. Hey, click the button where the little thing pops up and you can shout expletives at us. Please, like this weekend, I’ve got nothing better to do. All right, thanks.
Ryan: See you man.
[End of transcript]
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