“Dude, you’re freakin’ jacked!”

I heard these words a few days ago while lifting weights with some teenage boys at the gym. They normally see me fully clothed, but this time I took my sweatshirt off. I was sweating like a pig, just got over a virus and felt dizzy. I’m not ashamed to say that I felt like a million bucks when the 17 year old said that to me. Here he is in the prime of his life, and he’s looking at a 40 year old with admiration. Felt good.

The last time I heard something like this was when I was in college. I started lifting weights in a big way and was making fast progress. I looked damn good. I was getting on the elevator with a guy from my dorm. He was a football player for our school. “Damn son, you gettin’ BIG!” Same effect. I smiled for about 3 hours. Yes, even dudes like a little validation every now and again.

I’ve thought about when I’ve been the happiest in my personal relationships with women. Was there ever a time when things were going well for me and not a drama-filled soap opera ? Oh yeah. At the end of college and a few years into my post-college career… the early 20’s… and right now. Is it a coincidence that I was the most “jacked” during those two time periods? Nope.

A man needs to feel like he can take care of himself and can take care of his family. He needs to be able to look at himself in the mirror and say “Damn.” A man should fill out a shirt. Other men should give you the respectful man nod and get out of your way.

“Wait up kids… dad… fat. I hate me.”

Being “jacked” is awesome. Being awesome is… awesome. It permeates everything you do. You are respected. Women flirt with you. Men want to be your buddy. You are confident. Your work improves. Your relationships improve. As a man in his 30’s and 40’s and above… being muscular puts you in the top 1%. Just look around you. Fat dads. Everywhere.

fat powerlifter

Speaking of fat… I see a lot of guys, especially those older dudes, going down the road of “LIFT EAT EAT EAT EAT LIFT EAT EAT EAT”. They get into the “ME WANT BE STRONGER AND MORE MUSCLE” mindset. They get fat. Not healthy and not attractive. It’s important that you stay lean. All that muscle doesn’t mean anything if you look like a potato. Sure, you can lift a fridge… but nobody will give a shit and you’re not healthy. You don’t want to be a shape that women will say “ew” to.

Even a few extra pounds of fat will be enough to cover whatever muscular gains you’ve made in the gym. I tend to put on weight easily, so if I don’t really watch what I eat… I put on a quick 10 pounds like it’s nothing. Then I look sloppy. Doesn’t matter that I just did an awesome workout and pressed 100 lb dumbbells. My personal barometer is “Can I see my abs?” If so, I’m in good shape.

I’m not going to outline a workout program. Google it. “Starting Strength” is good. Any program that gets you in the gym on a regular basis is good. A program should be heavy on the weights and relatively light on the steady state cardio. Running around the block isn’t a workout. It’s just activity that you can easily do that convinces you you’re doing SOMETHING. You need to be straining against some weights in the gym. Watch what you eat and the fat pounds will melt off. The occasional game of basketball, treadmill or stairmaster is good to keep your heart rate up and the muscles working when not lifting. Get massages. Stretch. It’s really not complicated.

Again, if you hit the gym and take care of yourself… you are in the top 1%. Enjoy the spoils.

P.S.: Get your hormones checked. If your testosterone is low, you’ll just be banging your head against the wall and frustrated at your lack of progress.

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