Yesterday, the popular site for bodybuilding disinformation T-Nation.com posted an article entitled 5 Reasons Why You Don’t Look Like You Lift by Dan John. Unfortunately, the material did not reveal the real reasons why people don’t look like they lift and instead focused on mainstream broscience such as deep squats.
Here’s my take on the subject.
1.Poor dietary habits.
Nutrition is highly responsible for our body fat levels and muscle mass. You can’t eat bad food all the time and expect to look good. That’s what the masses are doing. The strategy doesn’t seem to be working very well, does it?
In general, training cannot reverse poor nutrition regardless of popular opinion. It can help but not as much as you think.
2.Expecting to look like the steroid users
The images of steroid addicts determine how one is supposed to look when he/she lifts. They’re everywhere – on supplements, in magazines, online…etc. Similar imagery acts as a factory for brainwashed lifters. People buy supplements with cool names and take them religiously hoping that one day they will look like they lift. That day never comes.
I am almost sorry to inform you, but the natural potential is a lot lower than one might think.
3.Expecting miracles from the basic lifts
Many people believe that the squat and the deadlift are magical lifts that can produce extraterestrial growth. At the end of the day, exercises are just that… exercises. The master lifts are very useful and powerful tools, but even they can’t make you the Hulk naturally.
The whole purpose of training is to subject the body to stress that will result in adaptation including growth and strength gains. It’s better to do a few things right than many things wrong. Focus on a few lifts and do them often. It also helps if you set specific goals such as 20 consecutive pull-ups, 10 muscle-ups, a 2.5BW deadlift…etc.
5.Not investing enough effort towards leanness
If you want to look like you lift as a natural, you have to stay lean. Having extra body fat may help you appear bigger in clothes, but you will morph into an average brah when you take off your shirt.
Just look at people like Jason Blaha. He’s on steroids, but people don’t take him seriously because he is fat. Leanness is your friend. It will help you look more aesthetic. If you have to sacrifice some artificial size (fat) to achieve it, so be it.
If you are a natural, you will have a hard time satisfing the expectations of the general public when it comes to muscles. After all, most people expect to turn into Arnold upon entering a gym. That’s what the mainstream media and the supplement companies want us to believe. It’s not happening.
Having said that, you can still look just fine as a natural if you follow an intelligently designed training routine and keep your body fat low.