- Adopt primal lifestyle per Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint
- Build muscle using sledgehammers and barbells
- Apply strict Leangains principles per rippedbody.jp until desired body composition achieved
There you go. Now get cracking!
Eh? You want more detailed instructions? Perhaps a good story, a
few pictures, a kick in the rear? A meticulous step-by-step guide you can follow like a mindless automaton? Well then!
First you must send me your email address. Then a $2 application fee by wire transfer. After you have signed my 20-page consent
form, I will put you on my waiting list for paid consultant services. The average wait is 18 months, but priority appointments
are available for Hollywood celebrities and eccentric billionaires.
Haha, just kidding! I am giving you all this
right now for free, courtesy of my lame web site that doesn't even have ads. We're all human beings and being lean
and strong is your birthright. If I wanted your money, I'd mow your lawn.
When I grew up, I became fat:
|How I know my wife loves me for my inner beauty
Primal eating made me thin! But I had no muscle:
|Shaved bird mode (155 pounds)
Then I did a lot of cardio. Big mistake. Never do cardio:
|After this 10K, I never ran for distance again
Then I finally started lifting and gained some muscle:
|That's more like it
Then I did the things described in this article for 11 weeks:
|A much better 155 pounds
At 5'9.5", I went from 176 pounds to 155 while raising my squat and
deadlift work weights considerably.
Why do such a crazy thing?
First, for evolutionary reasons. Humans are clearly
adapted for cycles of feast and famine. Getting shredded is all part of the genetic plan. You can't just have the feast
without the famine, partly because that's not nearly as much fun, but mainly because you will end up like, well, almost
everybody in the modern industrial world.
Second, for athletic reasons. Lean people put on muscle
more readily than fat people, and anything that accelerates that glacial process is greatly to be desired. Also, less adipose
tissue means better hormonal profile, including less aromatization of testosterone and greater tolerance for pigging
out on carbs.
Third, for didactic reasons. Ever since learning I could be healthy, I've
wanted to pass that message to others. Words and logic are ineffective, but images resonate. The best argument
I can make for the effectiveness of primal diet and exercise is my own story in pictures.
Fourth, for existential
reasons. If you can train to the brink of unconsciousness on a calorie deficit, you can summon courage for anything
else in life. If you can master hunger, you can master all other appetites as well. The only true freedom is freedom from
the heart's desires! These are real skills, people. Is this not sufficient motivation?
No, not really. Fourth
and most crucially, one must look like an anatomical model covered in cling film. For aesthetic reasons.
How on earth...?
First, I started eating real human food. You know, the kind of stuff our ancestors ate for millions of years before the invention of the Twinkie. See
Second, I started training with weights. Being lean without muscle
is merely cadaverous, which is neither healthy nor a particularly fetching look.
Once I had been training with
barbells for an entire year, I had a decent muscular foundation and was ready to lean out. (If you haven't started with
barbells yet, please read this. Sorry, there are no shortcuts, at least none that don't shrink your gonads and put acne on your back.)
To cut the fat, I applied the following Leangains principles:
- Eat all food between 1pm and 9pm daily
- Cycle macronutrients (training days low-fat, high-carb, small caloric surplus; rest days higher-fat, very-low-carb,
moderate caloric deficit)
- Train reverse-pyramid style with maximum intensity but few sets, focusing on the Big Three
- Keep it low-key on rest days
didn't do this all alone. I retained the coaching services of the esteemed Andrew Morgan of rippedbody.jp. He gave me my macronutrient targets and some general guidelines which proved most helpful. If you want
that level of personalized detail, you ought to consult the oracle himself.
There you are. Now go forth and get ripped!
...what? You're still here? Jeez,
you're killing me. Alright alright, I'll spell it all out for you.
After a couple of weeks of fine tuning, I was soon eating the exact same thing every training day, and the exact same
thing every rest day. Why mess with success? I prepared the following day's meals the night before, so all I had to do
to stick to my diet was clean out my Tupperware.
The magic of Primal Leangains is achieving maximum nutrient density
- the greatest micronutrient bang for the macronutrient buck. This speeds progress and helps control hunger.
you're looking for a solid resource on nutrition and supplements, I highly recommend examine.com
. Many of the concepts and nutrients in this article link to there.Training day lunch:
|Best! Bison! Ever!
One pound 96% lean ground grass-finished bison, baked in oven at
325F until medium-rare/medium (from Lindner Bison at the Santa Monica farmer's market)
WHY: This is what Apache hunters ate and they were fricking jacked, y'all. Way tastier and more
nutrient-dense than traditional lean proteins like tuna (blah) and chicken breast (barf!) Flavor with unrefined salt
or organic chophouse seasoning.
2/3 of a raw red onion (from the Santa Monica farmer's market)
WHY: Alliums are magical. Onions, the outer layers in particular, are a great source of quercetin. Everybody within a half mile will hate you, but this is just one of the many social costs to getting ripped and you're
going to have to live with it. Welcome to Freakville, population us.
of broccoli, parboiled (from the Santa Monica farmer's market)
WHY: Broccoli has beneficial effects on blood glucose and anti-aromatase properties, not to mention
containing all the vegetable micronutrients, and you should eat it every single day.
|See you there!
Bunch of asparagus,
parboiled (from the Santa Monica farmer’s market)
WHY: It makes your pee smell funny.
As long as everybody hates us, we may as well mark the bathroom with our scent.
OR half a bunch of red kale (from Whole Foods)
Kale is the most nutrient-dense of all the leafy greens, especially the deeply pigmented varieties. At
least, they sure taste that way.
Two bags frozen boreal wild blueberries (from Trader Joe’s)
Berries are packed with antioxidants which put out the inflammatory fires from intense training, so they are perfect
for a post workout meal. They are also relatively high-fructose and low-glycemic-index so they spare insulin
sensitivity for the big insulin spikes which are reserved for nighttime. Blueberries have resveratrol in
the skins; these wild berries have a very high skin-to-pulp ratio. Resveratrol plus quercetin destroys fat cells. True story.
One bag frozen organic mixed berries (from Trader Joe’s)
berries are good. And yes, altogether this is a crap-ton of berries, about enough to fill a large mixing
bowl. They will turn your mouth purple and everybody will think you’re a weirdo. You
can point out that this is still fewer calories than their triple-sugar-espresso-mocha-lattes but the irony will be lost on
them. At least there is ample parking in Freakville.
Training day dinner:
Half pound 96%
lean ground grass-finished bison, baked in oven at 325F until medium-rare/medium (from Lindner Bison at the Santa Monica farmer's market)
WHY: Mr. and Mrs. Lindner are really nice people.
One bag of organic leafy greens
Doesn't matter what kind. Mix it up. Baby spinach, chard, kale, romaine, whatever. No iceberg lettuce, though; you may
as well eat wet newspaper.
OR celery or cucumber
WHY: There's good stuff in
these, although not a whole lot. We principally want a lot of fiber to slow down your digestion so that you're on a steady
amino drip while you sleep and in the morning.
Shredula Cereal (maple quinoa)
WHY: I invented this recipe. IT IS THE MOST DELICIOUS FOOD YOU WILL EVER
EAT. It is your reward for cheating death in the gym. Seriously, you should send me money for this one, or at least
let me mow your lawn.
135g red quinoa,
prepared according to box instructions (Eden Foods brand from Whole Foods)
WHY: Red quinoa falls into
the category of “primal enough” and offers all the essential amino acids. Red pigments signify
exciting phytonutrients which is why we don’t go for the pale stuff. These non-fiber carbohydrates
are exclusively glucose which makes them ideal for spiking insulin (which we only want to do on the evenings of training
days for obscure reasons). It has an excellent micronutrient profile, particularly in minerals, as well as a nutty, maply flavor
that combines well with the other ingredients.
Mix in 18g coconut butter (Artisana brand from Whole Foods) while quinoa is still hot.
We don’t want to drop fat below 10-20% of calories or hormones may be impaired and the body will start synthesizing its own fat. However, medium chain triglycerides from coconuts are
digested by the body at minimal enzymatic cost and are preferentially burned for energy rather than stored. Take that, you fat-hogging miserly
Mix in ¼ cup Grade B Maple Syrup while quinoa is still hot.
syrup is magical and will someday be shown to cure cancer.
in two cups Unsweetened Vanilla Organic Almond Milk (365 brand from Whole Foods). This cools the concoction.
WHY: This is the “milk” of the cereal. The best part of hedonistic cereals
is when the milk soaks up all the good stuff, don’t you think? There’s a lot of Vitamin E here, too, which is rare elsewhere in this diet.
Mix in 11g natural-chocolate-flavored, stevia-sweetened grass-fed micellar casein (from proteinfactory.com). This clumps up into “marshmallows”
and adds chocolate flavor.
WHY: Casein is the slow-releasing milk protein and helps prevent lean tissue
catabolism overnight. Protein Factory offers a nice flavor that will chocolatize the whole dish.
And you can’t have a hedonistic cereal without marshmallows.
Optional: add organic cinnamon for cinnamon-roll flavor.
Cinnamon is an amazing antioxidant that also happens to taste fantastic. Somehow this gives the entire dish a cinnamon-roll
flavor. It is preferable to actual cinnamon rolls, and I know this for a fact because I tested it on my
while watching Mythbusters with your three-year-old.
WHY: Explosions and Jamie
Hyneman’s mustache are powerful anabolic agents.
Now GO TO SLEEP. Sleep is absolutely critical and ideally you would
sleep until you could sleep no more. Unfortunately most of us have to hold down a day job, so an early bedtime is the
only solution. And even worse, if you stay up late, your hunger hormones will start to torture you and possibly take
control of your brain.
Rest day lunch:
Two-thirds of an 840g
wild salmon fillet, cooked at 280F until the fat bubbles up throughout (from Santa Monica Farmer's Market)
Wild salmon has all the omega-3 you'll ever need and most of the micronutrients. Forget fish oil or krill oil supplements,
this is the real deal. It's also incredibly tasty, especially the fat from the spinal area. I mean, oh my fricking lord.
Two-thirds of a raw white onion:
WHY: More allium goodness, and more quercetin, though perhaps
slightly less than the red onions, as well as slightly less offensive to those around you. A little sweeter, which is nice
on a low carb day.
Large head of broccoli, parboiled (from the Santa Monica farmer's market)
Every... damn... day.
Bunch of asparagus, parboiled (from the Santa Monica farmer's market)
Sometimes you might run out of asparagus, and it is okay to use parboiled kale, raw leafy greens, or raw cucumbers instead.
Rest day dinner:
The remaining third of that 840g wild salmon fillet
What, all your salmon fillets don't weigh out to exactly 840g? Just use baked eggs (30 minutes in the oven at 325F) and
extra protein powder to fill in the missing macros.
Bag of frozen organic strawberries (from Trader Joe's)
WHY: This is the entire non-green-veg carb portion for the day. Savor it. I like to dip it in stevia powder
and cinnamon (and casein, if you've got room in your macros) to make it more like a real dessert. Alas, it is gone all
Now GO TO SLEEP for pity's sake before your appetite hormones make you do something crazy.
Regarding diet, all you
can do is follow the formula and wait. This is the discipline of restraint: annoying, but necessary.
But regarding training, your
efforts determine your destiny. This is the discipline of exertion: terrifying and glorious!
You can mope through your lifts and achieve nothing. Or you can work hard and achieve progress.
Or you can fight like a starving lion and transform yourself into a demigod. If you’re going
to do it, do it right!
For best results, you must convince your body that if it doesn’t get stronger, it will die.
I strongly recommend investing
in a home gym. If you’re lifting as a matter of life and death, you are going to be making horrible
noises and scaring people. At home you are free to take your shoes off, swing your sledgehammer, spit on
the floor, smear yourself with your own blood, and generally comport yourself like a predator without spooking the prey animals
grazing on the treadmills.
All you really need is a sledgehammer, a barbell with sufficient plates, and a squat stand. A bench press, dip station, and chin-up bar are
calorie-restricted training protocol follows the reverse pyramid approach. Warm up with light volume at
increasing weight. Do your heaviest set, then a drop set where you reduce the weight, then a second drop
set where you reduce the weight again (except on deadlifts where two sets is quite enough). For each work
set, you’re aiming for a certain rep range. If you hit the top of the range, you raise that weight
next week. If you fall below the bottom of the range, you drop that weight next week.
You will work out at maximum intensity three
times per week. On rest days, you will go for a nice walk, and perhaps do casual bodyweight exercises and
swing your hammer a bit if you feel like it.
Here’s my routine. These are my weights so you’ll obviously want to scale them to
your own current levels. The rep ranges, however, are utterly sacrosanct.
Click on the links
for video of how I do these. (I am not saying you should do these the same way. Just that I
do them this way. See the difference...?)
Deadlifts: (WARNING: Many people consider my deadlift
form a moral outrage and possibly a crime against humanity. I can only use my best judgment, and you should use yours.)
195x5 (Romanian style for just this one set)
Paleo Pendlay Rows:
Power Clean and Press:
(This one’s a little different; I just
keep raising the weight and doing singles until I fail three times in a row.)Dip:
FRIDAY (Option 1, good for the early cut):
FRIDAY (Option 2, good for the late cut or if you don’t have a bench and dip station):
Hammer Charges (6-10 intervals)
Low-intensity jog (20-30 minutes) (THIS IS THE ONLY
CARDIO YOU ARE EVER ALLOWED TO DO)
Hammer Flurries (6-10 intervals) (This video has me doing them with a machete, but you get
(The hammer battle routine is spelled out in my article on Stubborn Hammer Protocol 2.0b.)
Crucial training tips:
Lots of people like coffee. I personally like one serving of 1MR and one gram of L-Tyrosine, taken three times: at 60 minutes out, 40 minutes out, and 20 minutes out. No, that isn’t primal,
but the behavior it evokes certainly is.
Always train fasted. This might be tough at first but stick with it and you’ll
adapt. Did your ancestors eat a bunch of food, and then go hunting? No.
No they did not.
BCAAs. 10g, 10 minutes before the workout. This is the Leangains sacrament.
Don’t ask, just do it.
Take video of all your sets. I use my phone propped up against something.
This will help you analyze your form after the fact, because you are not going to be able to think about that while
you are staring death in the face. It will also motivate you to struggle just a bit harder, because when
your efforts are being recorded that makes it somehow more real and meaningful, and you can prove to yourself later that yes,
you really did do that.
If you reach the brink of unconsciousness; if you feel like you just narrowly missed getting hit by a train; if you
are screaming or cursing involuntarily; if you forget how many reps you just did – you may be training with acceptable
THE FOUR STAGES OF THE CUT: WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT
Based on my experience, this is how it breaks
STAGE I – THE EARLY CUT
Caloric restriction has just begun, but your metabolism hasn’t
really noticed yet. It’s charging ahead as if nothing had changed. Hunger might
be a little awkward at bedtime, especially on rest days, but when you wake up you’ll feel great. Your
workouts will be solid, possibly even better than before you restricted calories because you’ve got more catecholamines
and less of a load on your digestive system. You may feel like you’re leaving the gym with energy
to spare. Resist the urge to work out on your rest days.
Pounds will drop quickly, especially in the first week as you
run down your glycogen stores. Your body is torching through visceral fat with ease. Waistline
is closing in fast, but subcutaneous fat is pretty much untouched. Use this time to establish good habits
and be totally consistent with your food choices so you know what works.STAGE II – THE MIDDLE CUT Hormones
are starting to flag. You’re starting to feel relieved when your workouts are over. You
are no longer tempted to work out on your rest days. You may hit a weight loss plateau – don’t
worry about that, it’s normal to stall for a week or two at a time as your body hits various points of resistance.
Hunger is starting to get stronger, but you should welcome it – those same hunger hormones are also prompting
your body to reach deeper into its energy reserves.
Visceral fat is nearly gone and your body is forced to dig into the intramuscular
and subcutaneous stuff. You’re starting to see some muscular striations and vascularity, particularly
in the shoulders and upper back. Waistline is still dropping. Hang in there –
every day is a victory. You’ve paid a lot of dues and you’re starting to reap the rewards.STAGE III – THE LATE CUT Hormones are hitting the floor. You still have energy in the morning, and you are possibly more
psychotic than ever when you do work out. But during the feeding period, you are exhausted.
You get cold easily. Libido is absent. You are overly serious -- even grumpy.
You are starting to feel real hunger, the kind our ancestors knew and feared. The kind of hunger
that will eventually drive a person to eat anything and undertake the most desperate of measures. The kind
of hunger that gave birth to modern man!
of visceral and intramuscular fat. Your body is finally digging in to the stubborn stuff around your belly
and lower back which, for some reason, it really does not want to give up. Every pound lost is a real struggle
now. But on the other hand, every pound lost now is more visible than ever before. You
are finally becoming shredded! Hold fast, this is what you came for! Hold faaaaaast!
STAGE IV – AAAAAAAAAND IT’S GONE Eventually you’ve got to give up the caloric restriction. I knew that point was coming for
me when I spent a full four hours lying awake at night unable to stop thinking about food. A few days later
I had to travel on business to a hotel where my pristine primal fare was not available. It had been
11 ½ weeks – close enough. I soon found myself eating HUGE amounts of food, almost uncontrollably,
including things so very unprimal that I hadn’t touched the like for three years.
I snapped back massively over the next two weeks,
gaining back almost every pound I had lost. And I rediscovered in vivid detail why one should eat only
primal foods, regardless of calorie restriction. But this was far from a total catastrophe; I was physically
much stronger and, oddly, more vascular than ever before. I still have abs, but I’m not going to
take a picture of them for you right now, hell no.
Thus ended my first experimental cut. Right
now I’m back to eating the exact same meals as I did on my diet, but with additional calories at night.
On January 14th, I’ll apply everything I’ve learned to a real-life cut with real-life consequences –
getting ripped for my sledgehammer presentations at PrimalCon 2013. Maybe I’ll have a few more tips for you then. I will certainly be taking lots
MISCELLANEOUS CUTTING REMARKS
Parboiling. Thanks to Chef Rachel for this technique which revolutionized my vegetable preparation:
water to boiling
Dump in vegetables, cover and boil for 1-3 minutes
3) Remove vegetables with tongs
and dump in bowl of ice water
When cool, remove with tongs and serve or pack into Tupperware
It’s like getting all the nutritional
benefits of both raw AND cooked veg at the same time! And the taste can’t be beat. Sometimes,
I swear, parboiled broccoli tastes like a watery milkshake.
Vegetable tea. After parboiling, you’re
left with a bowl of cold water and a bowl of hot water, both of which are loaded with micronutrients. Don’t
let them go to waste! Pour the hot water into the cold water and stick it in the freezer. Let
it cool and maybe even ice over a bit. Now you have iced vegetable tea, which is a great beverage for nighttime,
morning, or between lifting sets. Not a single drop of vegetable goodness goes to waste, especially those
water-soluble B vitamins which are essential for fat oxidation.
Midday sun exposure. On training
days, work out outside if you can, as undressed as weather and local morals permit. On rest days, go for
a brisk walk for 10-15 minutes before lunch. Not only does this help with Vitamin D and other secosteroids,
it will keep your circadian rhythm on track and improve sleep, which is crucial.
Stay active during the fast.
This is your most energetic, productive time. Don’t just sit in a chair. Move
as much as you can, keep the circulation flowing and the fat burning. Walking and bodyweight squats are
great for this.
Stay cold. Eat cold food. Take cold showers. Drive
with the windows down. Drink cold water, and lots of it. Force your body to get in the
habit of making its own heat. Brown fat is a powerful ally.
100% compliance is the easiest way. I may be in the minority on this, but I found
it easiest to stick to my diet when I was absolutely ruthless about measuring everything down to the precise gram.
The moment I started getting approximate with my numbers, everything went absolutely to hell. Think
of it this way: the diet is not a set of guidelines, it is a precise chemical formula for turning lead into gold.
Deviate from the formula and the results become totally unpredictable, perhaps explosive. At least,
that is the mentality that made compliance easiest for me.
Well, there you have it, a complete guide to becoming ripped. I
hope it was worth what you paid for it. Now are you actually going to go do this or what?
Got a story of your own to share?
How about some advice or corrections? Want to hire me to break rocks in your backyard with my hammer?
Drop me an email at Timothy at this domain.