You’ve seen a few episodes of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, and now you want to look just like the main character. You and every other twenty-something guy! Don’t worry, though, because unlike everyone else, you’ve actually got a fighting chance at achieving that chiseled, muscular physique. Ignore the BS articles you’ve been seeing in the news stands, and read on for the nitty gritty on how to really get ripped, strong, and fast like Spartacus.
Just say NO to Jogging
I’ve talked about this before, but it certainly bears repeating. Whether your goal is strength, speed, size, or fat loss, jogging does NOT do a body good. That may sound weird, since long, monotonous runs are the average man’s idea of a good workout – but you’re not trying to be average, are you?
The truth is, jogging will wear down your joints and torch your muscle mass like nothing else. It’s in that “intermediate” zone of cardiovascular activity, where you’re working too hard to rely on fat stores, but not hard enough to really stimulate fat burning. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at any marathon runner – they’re skinny as rails!
Get on the Track
Think you can ditch any and all road work? Not so fast! Jogging might suck, but you’re still going to have to put the pedal to the metal if you want to get as lean as possible. Head on over to your nearest stadium or track, lace up your running shoes, and do some intervals sprints. Alternate 10 to 15-second periods of all-out effort with 60 to 90 seconds of rest. Repeat for ten total rounds one or two times per week.
Why sprinting? Unlike walking or jogging, sprinting is actually an anaerobic activity, just like heavy lifting. Interval sprints may not burn much fat while you’re doing them, but they stimulate extra fat loss for days after you do them! Again, just think about the physiques we’re dealing with. Joggers are rail-thin, while sprinters tend to be lean and mean. Which looks more like Spartacus to you?
If you’re reading this article, on THIS site, then you’re probably already interested in strength and size. Think you need to sacrifice those goals to achieve the perfect gladiator physique? Hardly! In fact, heavy lifting is only going to help. You may need to drop some fat, but if you stop lifting, you’ll only lose muscle. And if you’ve yet to start hitting the gym, there is no better time to start than now!
Your program really shouldn’t change much compared to your normal strength routine. Squats, presses, deadlifts, and pulls should still be your mainstays, and you should ALWAYS strive to add more weight and reps. If your body weight drops, and your strength stays the same, you’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re on the right track.
That said, you might want to add in some more work for your shoulders, traps, and upper back – also known as your “yoke.” You can hammer your pecs all day long, but these are the muscles that really make you look strong and powerful, even when you’re lean and light. Start religiously doing shrugs, dumbbell raises, military presses, and rows, and watch your shoulder girdle take off!
Here’s the hard truth: If you want to look anything like Spartacus – or any other historical superhero – you’ll need to get ripped. No matter how much muscle you’ve already gained, and no matter how strong you are in the weight room, you can’t really show it all off without shedding the fat. And I’m not just talking 12% body fat or so; you’ll need to get down into the single digits.
A cyclic ketogenic diet is by far the fastest, most surefire way to get to this level. It’s not always pleasant, and it’s certainly not easy, but it absolutely works. Just endure six and half days in a row with ZERO carbs (other than green vegetables). You can eat fattier meats, whole eggs, and even a bit of cheese here and there. Just stay away from any and all sugar or starch. On the evening of the seventh day, have a three- or four-hour pig-out on whatever carb-heavy foods you want, and then go right back to zero carbs the next day.
How long your diet takes will depend on two things: your starting point and your strictness. If you’re already sporting a four-pack when you start, you can probably get below 10% in a couple of months. If you’re sporting rolls, then sorry – it’s going to take a lot longer. Of course, the only way to move things along as quickly as possible is to stick to the plan. The keto diet is damn near fool-proof as long as you avoid those carbs during the week. Yes, just one cookie or a handful of chips really can throw you off. If you’re tempted to cheat, just remember you’ve got that end-of-week pig-out coming right up.