By: James Atheneos
James Atheneos is a fitness model and magazine cover star. Here, he shares his tips for looking and feeling stronger.
Washboard abs and a toned physique are two of the most common things people strive for – and fortunately, achieving this fitness goal isn't as difficult as people think. There's simple yet effective training everyone should incorporate into their workout routines to feel better and look stronger.
When it comes to training, consistency is key. One of the responsibilities of being a fitness model is keeping your body photoshoot ready 365 days a year. Unlike most people who can bulk in the winter and cut in the summer, a fitness model has to maintain a lean physique knowing that at any time they could book a job. Since you have to maintain such a strict physique, it only makes sense you train with the same type of strict intensity. For me, staying photoshoot-ready means fasted cardio five days a week for 20 minutes, weight training five days a week, engaging all the major muscle groups using compound lifts such as bench press, squats, overhead shoulder press, deadlifts, pull ups and dips.
Staying consistent with your workouts is only half the battle. Once you find a steady regime, you need to make sure you’re not getting complacent with your training. If you do same exercises with the same weight every time you’re at the gym, your body will become acclimated to your routine and will stop seeing changes. Without any progress to show for your time at the gym, you'll ultimately grow frustrated and might even stop working out altogether.
I recommend using the shocking principle to counteract a potential plateau. This means tricking your body each time you train to ensure you never become complacent and continue pushing yourself. The shocking principle will help to stimulate muscle growth and help you move the bar higher each time you work out. For example, one week you can train hypertrophy, which means you focus on the muscle growth training 8-12 reps of 3-5 sets and you do this for each body part that week. The following week you switch it up and train for strength. This would consist of moderate volume: Performing 5-6 reps of 3-4 sets using heavier resistance, for example. By incorporating the shocking principle into your workout routine, you'll be switching up the weight and style in which you lift in order to avoid running the risk of letting your body adapt to your workouts. Why? Ultimately, you only see changes when you challenge your body.
Photos: Frank Marando