Let’s be honest – the reason why most guys and gals get into working out is mainly because of the looks.
I know that’s why I started out and I can tell you that it feels awesome to turn some heads on the street and have people complimenting you for your physique.
Getting that aesthetic type of body can be a real struggle, especially if you don’t really know what you are doing. In this post we’re going to share the know-how – but you will need to put in the work, there are no shortcuts here.
What’s Aesthetics Anyway?
If you look at different athletes that have that Greek God body you will notice that all have the same things in common.
They all have a pretty low body fat, there’s some vascularity going on and there’s clear muscle definition in all muscle groups from the chest to the back, arms, shoulders, legs and of course the core.
Even though the muscle mass is nowhere near what you see in pro bodybuilders, these guys still have plenty of size.
I would say an average Joe needs to build at least 20-30 pounds of lean muscle to get to the aesthetic level – something that it’s definitely achievable naturally, regardless of your genetics.
How To Train For Aesthetics
The goal of your workout routine should be to build a decent amount of muscle mass while maintaining a pretty low body fat percentage.
For males this means under 12% body fat and for females no more than 20% body fat.
Have you noticed how the biggest guys in the gym are usually the strongest? That’s simply because in order to get big you need to lift heavy.
There’s no way around it. If you stick with the same weights over and over again you will be getting the same results.
So step out of your comfort zone a start pushing yourself. Add more weight and struggle with that.
Lifting heavy is relative. Don’t pick up the same weight as the biggest guy in the gym, pick a weight that’s slightly more difficult FOR YOU.
The key here is progressive overload.
Studies have shown that training with a weight which is around 85% of your one rep max is optimal for muscle growth.
That’s going to probably allow you to do 8 – 10 reps per set, so try to pick a weight which puts you in that range.
A common mistake you need to avoid here is going to failure. Even though this might seem the right thing to do if you want to get bigger, it’s not.
By hitting failure you are going to burn yourself off and ruin your entire workout.
After you hit failure on one set you will either need to drop off the weight on the following sets quite a lot, or you will do less reps.
A good workout is the perfect combination of volume (number of sets and reps) and intensity (weight used).
You want the intensity to be high so you use heavy weights, but you also want to get in enough sets and reps with that particular weight.
Going to failure on just one single set will kill both your volume and intensity for the rest of your workout.
Typically 50-70 effective reps per muscle group each workout is a good volume.
Exercise selection will play an important role on how your body looks.
There are literally tens of machines in a gym and probably hundreds of different exercises you can do. As you would expect, some are better than others.
For our purposes, doing more compound exercises is better. These type of exercises will use two or more muscle groups at once, and more joints at once – which will enable you to move more weight.
And more weight means superior muscular development.
Now, even though a compound exercise uses more muscles, the main focus will be primarily on one of the muscles and that’s how you want to keep it.
Here’s a good selection of compound movements per muscle group:
• Chest: Bench Press, Incline Dumbbell Press
• Back: Pull-ups, Deadlifts
• Biceps: Chin-ups
• Triceps: Dips, Close Grip Bench Press
• Legs: Squats, Leg Press
• Shoulders: Overhead Shoulder Press
Put 80% of your time and effort into these compounds movements and use the remaining 20% for a variety of different isolation exercises such as bicep curls, triceps pushdowns, lateral raises, leg raises and so on and so forth.
Compound movements will also use more calories than isolation movements which is great for weight loss, but more about that down below.
High Intensity Cardio
Keeping your body fat percentage low can be challenging especially if you are trying to build muscle (which you should).
Any type of cardiovascular exercising which gets your heart rate up is beneficial for fat loss, so definitely include some cardio training in your workouts.
However, there is one particular type of cardio training which is optimal for dropping fat while minimizing any muscle loss.
High intensity interval training or any other kind of high intensity activities such as sprints, running stadium stairs or boxing will burn the most amount of calories during your workout, but also after your workout.
This is something called the after-burn effect and it can last for as long as 24-48 hours after you’ve stopped training.
During this time to body enters a post-workout recovery period in which the oxygen level is restored and the whole system kind of catches up after an intense physical activity.
On top of that, high intensity cardio is more time efficient as well. A 20 minute HIIT can burn more calories than a 60 minute jog.
So if you ever struggle with fat loss do 3 high intensity cardio sessions per week. Ideally you want these to do these after your weight training routine, or on your rest days.
Putting It All Together
It’s as simple as that guys – lift heavy, focus on getting stronger, do a lot of compounds movements and try to stay as lean as possible.
But please, do understand that this is not a get jacked overnight type of routine.
You will probably need to be following this type of training and eat properly for at least 1.5 – 2 years before you’ll get close to achieving that aesthetic body type.
Now that you have the know-how, are you willing to put in the work?