Article last updated: May 2019 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
When you want to achieve a great physique, you have to PAY for it. Nothing good comes out of nothing.
To be specific, you pay for a great physique through time and money:
- Time: Study of fitness, training sessions and recovery.
- Money: A proper bodybuilding diet is VERY expensive. During my hard bulking cycles I spend $1,000 a month on food/supplements. If I didn’t train hard, I could easily get away with less than half of that.
The time and money you put into building your body is time and money that you take away from OTHER things, such as:
- Building a business or career.
- Go on long vacations.
All of these are opportunity costs.
When you want to build a great physique, you often forego the opportunity to do other things.
This cost is higher for the skinny-fat guy who has to put in more time and effort to build the same physique that a naturally athletic guy can maintain without any effort.
In this article, I will discuss several aspects of building a physique to help you decide how far you should take your bodybuilding, and to give you some perspective on what it takes to get what you want.
Great Physique vs. Phenomenal Physique
While time, money and effort can get you a great physique, it won’t get you a phenomenal physique.
This distinction is crucial to make since the difference is similar to that of a millionaire and a billionaire.
In the book Money, Tony Robbins said that a million seconds is the equivalent of almost 12 days.
However, a billion seconds is the equivalent of almost 32 years!
In other words, billionaires and millionaires are two completely different things.
The same applies to people with a great physique and people with a phenomenal physique.
Both types of physique will make people admire you, but the phenomenal physique is a completely different universe!
To get a phenomenal physique you need to have the right genetics:
- Good bone structure: Wide shoulders, narrow hips/waist.
- Good muscle insertions.
- Natural ability to maintain low body-fat levels without affecting endocrine system negatively.
Lazar Angelov has all of these:
And here’s Jeff Seid:
Both Lazar Angelov and Jeff Seid looked better in their before pictures than most guys look in the gym after years of training!
No matter how you slice it there are genetic factors that you cannot change.
This is similar to what Stephen King said about writers in his book On Writing.
He argued that:
A competent writer can become a great writer by putting in the time and effort, but a great writer can never become a phenomenal writer.
In fitness terms this means that while you can build a great physique through hard work and effort, but a phenomenal physique requires you to have the right genetics.
To be phenomenal you either have it or you don’t.
You can give a guy all the steroids in the world, but if he doesn’t have narrow hips, a narrow waist and good muscle insertions he will never look like Jeff Seid or Lazar Angelov. He will simply be a bigger version of himself!
Keep in mind though that a great physique still means that you look better than 95% of guys and stand out in most places.
Realistic But Exciting Goals Are Best
While it’s good to have a definition of your ideal physique, that definition is useless if that physique cannot be achieved.
This is what happens with most guys into bodybuilding.
They look aspire to guys like Jeff Seid and Lazar Angelov, but they never get close to achieving those physiques.
Your goal physique must arouse emotion in you and excite you, otherwise you won’t work hard towards it! However, it must be achievable.
You want a goal physique that is somewhere in the middle of your ideal physique and the physique you can realistically achieve with moderate effort and time spent.
Remember, it’s often the “middle-road” that is the best one. Extremes rarely work in the long-term!
Also, keep in mind that you can always adjust your goal physique later on. I’ve done this several times.
Diminishing Returns In Fitness
When it comes to building your body, it’s crucial to know that after a certain point, building a better body doesn’t provide the same returns where returns are defined as:
- Positive responses by other people.
- Your ability to enjoy social activities like going to the beach and doing sports.
Fitness follows the law of diminishing returns:
In my experience, this law kicks in once you have achieved the golden ratio of aesthetics.
In November 2012, I had achieved a shoulder-to-waist ratio of about 1.618 measured at the narrowest point of my waist:
Leading up to this point I had noticed that people respected me more, I became more confident in my own body and women noticed me more.
However, once you achieve this type of physique, those returns diminish significantly.
Today, over 2 years later, I still get those benefits but to a MUCH smaller degree.
It’s because once you have a good physique, it stops holding you back from living life to the fullest.
You don’t need a perfect body to feel good about yourself! You just need a good enough body.
Therefore, if you’re unsure about how much you’re willing to give up to build your ideal physique, I suggest that you start with the simple goal of achieving the golden ratio.
Once you’ve put in this 1 year, you will be in a much better position to determine how much you’re willing to give up to build a great physique.
For some, that means going all the way and becoming a fitness model.
For others, that means putting in minimum effort into fitness and focus on other goals such as career and family.
Be proud but stay hungry,