Style Training

The Most Neglected Wardrobe Component: An Aesthetic Physique

aesthetic physique men's fashion

When I first started telling people I was writing a blog about style and fitness, confusion was probably the most polite reaction I received.

“What do style and fitness have in common?” they would ask with a crooked expression.

I've always thought that they have everything in common, so I didn't really see the disconnect.

Both are about feeling great and presenting the best possible version of yourself.

Both take dedication, discipline, and desire to achieve.

Browse through any popular men's magazine and you'll find the majority of pages are dedicated to one or the other.

So to me, building a body and dressing it well seem inseparable.

But they can also work against each other

It's entirely possible to be so into either building the ultimate body or dressing in high fashion clothing that both goals simply cannot coexist.

For example, if a man is immersed in fashion and obsessed with wearing runway-inspired looks, he'll likely be unmotivated to put on muscle and may even be terrified of changing sizes and “sizing out” of his meticulously curated and expensive wardrobe.

He may go too far in wanting to look “slim” and end up with an androgynous physique.

Likewise, a man with his heart and soul focused on building the most massive body possible will undoubtedly appear very masculine, but will also find it challenging to shop off-the-rack.

He'll also have to all but rule out dressing in a sleek, modern, and sophisticated manner.

For myself, at 200 lbs, my thighs rubbed together so bad that I would wear through several pants during the colder months.

While it felt really awesome to have beastly legs and squatting heavy weights was a blast, the extra mass didn't support the rest of my goals.

I saw my future of investing in a respectable suit wardrobe only to ruin every pair of pants.

So over the past six months, I've been working strategically to slim my legs down to a more normal size.

You can see that my legs are still strong and defined, but now they aren't as much of a barrier for me when shopping for clothes.

aesthetic physique

What is an aesthetic physique?

Men's magazines portray athletically built guys who appear healthy, successful, and energetic.

They have low body fat, a prominent V-taper, and above average muscle mass, but they aren't exactly massive or shredded.

Why don't they just keep lifting and eating until they're bursting the sleeves of an XL tee?

Because for the majority of guys, being fit enough to look good at the beach, attract women, and fit into sleek modern clothing trumps the desire to be the biggest guy on the block.

This intersection of muscular and lean is the calling card of an aesthetic physique.

An aesthetic physique will look almost normal in clothes, but when the shirt comes off, all the definition and musculature becomes prominent despite the lack of sheer size.

My aesthetic physique efforts

I've definitely been obsessed with gaining as much mass as possible in the past (it's hard to not want to be like Arnold), but eventually, it hindered my life more than it enhanced it.

I love the training, enthusiastic eating, and discipline necessary to build muscle, but now I've shifted my focus to achieving an aesthetic physique that works with my wardrobe.

I'm an ectomorph and, had I ever been truly lean at my natural level of muscle mass, would've been around 150 lbs at 6'2”.

The handful of times I've been up to 200 lbs, I had a really hard time finding stylish clothes that fit, and normal activities felt more taxing.

That extra 50 lbs of bodyweight just didn't feel quite right on me.

I'm much happier now at a leaner 185 lbs.

That's still plenty big enough to stand out in a crowd while also being able to wear the kind of clothes I want.

Take Control

aesthetic physique body transformation

I used to be 200 lbs of chewed bubblegum (as a rather large guy who couldn't even do a single pushup).

Besides being chubby and weak, I felt overwhelmingly self-conscious in my clothes.

So believe me when I say that an aesthetic physique does not come naturally or easily to me.

I've had to work for it and I assure you that you have to ability to achieve the same.

When it comes to your appearance, you can't change your height, you don't have control over your ethnicity, and you don't get to choose your bone structure.

But with effort, you CAN control two things – your body fat levels and your muscular development.

Manipulating these variables can have a significant impact on the way your clothes look and feel.

It makes complete sense to me to want to dress a hard-won physique to the best of your ability.

I don't see the point in hammering away in the gym and passing on birthday cake at parties only to spend my leisure time wearing sweats from head to toe.

Likewise, I can't see why a man would put a tremendous amount of effort into being well-dressed, only to completely neglect the body underneath.

How can an aesthetic physique help with style?

With enough thought and effort, men with any body type can be extremely well-dressed.

But dressing an unfit physique does require a lot more effort, as well as cost you in the health department over the long-run.

Here are the benefits of developing the body to complement your impeccable style.

Tell a story about your personality

Much in the way we don a fitted suit, an ironed shirt, and an attention-grabbing tie to project the image of power, trustworthiness, and success, a trim waistline and broad shoulders send a similar message.

I remember walking into a business class my freshman year of college (when I was still dressing like a tween) and seeing a young man who definitely stood out in a crowd of college kids.

He was carrying around about 15-20 lbs of above average muscle mass, had a sharp haircut, and was wearing a fitted polo to show off his aesthetic physique.

I immediately started to formulate ideas about his intelligence level, work ethic, and academic achievements.

“If we have to choose partners for a project, this guy has to be on my team,” I thought to myself.

Luckily, we weren't doing group work because the guy turned out to be slacker with head a full of sawdust and only managed to make it to class for a couple weeks before quitting altogether.

This experience stands out to me because, despite a lack of any real academic talent, this guy had fooled me (and likely everyone else) into thinking he was the smartest kid in class.

Just think what you can do with a well-dressed, aesthetic physique, and the brains and personality to back it up.

Find a better fit off-the-rack

men's fashion aesthetic physique

Pretty much anyone concerned with having a proper fit is going to have issues with mass-produced clothing.

But being overly skinny or carrying too much body fat can make it that much more difficult to easily find clothes that fit.

Pursuing an aesthetic physique by gaining just a few pounds of muscle and/or losing a little body fat can help the average man achieve better proportions that allow for a more universal fit.

Now I'm all for having core pieces tailored to fit perfectly, but sometimes you just want to buy a shirt or jacket and have it fit without alterations, especially if you enjoy frequently purchasing new clothes.

When I was first dabbling in reinventing my style, I had the dreaded Skinny/Fat body.

With close to a 40-inch waist with 13-inch spaghetti arms (when flexed), I had the antithesis of an aesthetic physique.

This meant that I had to wear shirts large enough to cover my mid-section, but that sizing up meant my arms were dwarfed.

Even just losing the excess body fat before building muscle allowed me to size down in clothes to achieve a better overall fit.

If that hadn't worked, I was seriously considering having the sleeves on all my t-shirts tailored, haha.

Allow you to dress more simply

men's fashion aesthetic physique

It isn't fair, but people are making judgements about your character based on your fitness level.

Pair a little extra weight around the middle with jeans and a tee and people might mistake your deliberate laid-back look as a lack of effort.

When you take control of your body and make improvements, you'll find that you need to focus much less on “dressing up” to make a good impression.

A man with an aesthetic physique can look plenty elegant in a v-neck sweater, while his less fit peers may feel the need to pair that sweater with a button down and sport coat to achieve a high status look.

Casual clothing in particular will look much better once you've built some muscle and minimized body fat.

Most casual clothing has a rugged element and pairs well with a physique that looks like it can handle a day of manual labor, even if sprinting to catch a train is the most activity you see outside of the gym.

Increase confidence to wear what you want

When you feel good about the body (and the man) underneath, the clothes become less about covering up and more about having fun.

When guys are underwhelmed with their physical appearance, they can develop a tendency to want to blend in with the crowd, or to merely dress appropriately.

The guy who's worked hard to create a body he's proud of isn't afraid to wear something a little “out there” if that's what he genuinely likes.

Receiving a little extra attention and attracting additional glances isn't anything to fear when you're proud of who you are.

This confidence comes not only from your new outward appearance, but from a deep level of satisfaction with the creation process.

Improve posture

When your posture improves, your body and, by extension, the clothes you put on it, look their best.

The improved posture that comes from building your body is two-fold.

Rather than being constantly slumped over at your desk, spending some time “under the bar” forces you to practice good posture so your spine can safely brace against heavy loads.

Working hard on pulling exercises strengthens your back muscles and helps you keep your shoulder blades back and chest up.

The other pathway to improved posture is less about a physical change and more of a mental shift.

You'll find that you develop a habit of holding your head high while enjoying the pride that comes with a job well done and a hurdle tackled.

Nothing can beat a man who is in charge of himself.

Blueprint for an aesthetic physique

For some, fat loss will be the dominant goal.

Others will have to focus on the relentless pursuit of more muscle mass.

For others still, both tasks are important to produce an aesthetic physique.

When the end goal is to create a canvas for your sartorial musings, rather than a beastly and imposing body, training can be approached from a slightly different angle.

You don't need to specifically concern yourself with impressive max lifts and tape-stretching thigh measurements.

Your benchmark is going to be how your body and clothes work together to create a strong, healthy, and capable appearance.

But don't think that means you don't have to train hard!

Focus on what's most effective

While many bodybuilders and strength trainers (myself included) get a real kick out of spending six days per week in the gym trying a variety of exercises, techniques, and programs, guys looking to make style-supporting changes need only focus on the basics.

The newest technique or workout plan may be fun for some, but training beyond three or four days per week on anything except classic bodybuilding exercises will ensure you see diminishing returns.

You may still see additional benefits, but doubling your gym time won't double your results.

Keep focused on the things that really matter.

Three part formula of an aesthetic physique

To build a body that looks strong and muscular and acts as the perfect foundation, rather than an obstacle, for a killer wardrobe, you need to:

  1. Decrease body fat to around 10-15%
  2. Build a base of overall muscle (i.e. increase lean body mass by around 10%)
  3. Add additional muscle to arms and shoulders

1.  Low body fat

men's fashion aesthetic physique

The images above were taken one week apart. If you saw me walking down the street dressed as I am in the first photo, “bodybuilder” would probably be the last word that would occur to you.

You might think “fit”, “athletic”, or maybe even “lucky”, but “behemoth” wouldn't be anywhere in your mind.

You can see that maintaining a low body fat level allows you to have a muscular body, while skipping the need to wear XXL everything.

I've spent the last 8 months or so slimming down to achieve an aesthetic physique and can now fit into the types of clothes I like to wear.

The sweater above is a medium from Banana Republic and the pants are a size 32 x 32 (hardly abnormal sizes).

Having low body fat, but not necessarily being shredded, will allow you to wear the slim fit clothes you want while still having a decent amount of muscle.

2. A muscular base

To create a more aesthetic physique, nearly every guy could use more muscle mass.

Even if your main goal is fat loss, don't forget that you need something to show off when you get lean.

I forget who said it, but one of my favorite quotes is: “Worrying about building too much muscle makes as much sense as worrying about making too much money.”

It's a non-issue for most men.

And if you're overall muscle mass isn't where you want it to be, putting in some hard work on heavy compound movements is the quickest route.

Your physique goals may not be as far off as you think.

Adding around 15 lbs of muscle to your frame (or increasing your lean body mass by about 10%) is enough to get everyone around you to start asking, “are you a personal trainer?” or “what have you been eating?!”

When I went from a fairly lean 170 lbs to a slightly leaner 185 lbs, everyone noticed a difference!

And that was spread out over my 6'2” frame. If you're shorter, you can likely achieve the same results with less overall muscle mass.

3. Embellished proportions

aesthetic physique men's fashion

While being truly massive is a sure-fire way to look more muscular, it isn't the only path.

Having a significant V-taper creates the illusion of having more muscle than you actually do.

Having a big chest and back definitely helps, but they'll also make shirts and jackets harder to fit.

On the other hand, building up the shoulders adds width to the frame without doing much to change your actual clothing size.

To achieve a better ratio between shoulders and waist, there's no need to focus exclusively on adding mass.

Working off inches from your midsection will have the same effect as adding bulk to your upper body.

Pumping up a pair of larger than normal arms will also give you a much more aesthetic physique, without the size altering bulk.

And when the time comes to take your shirt off, having lower body fat actually makes you look larger, provided you didn't lose muscle mass by crash dieting.

After my daughter was born 9 months ago, I had to start working out at 6 am rather than noon.

Now when I do go in at my old time, the midday regulars swear up and down that I'm bigger since the last time they saw me – even though I'm actually 15 lbs lighter!

It's time for action

So am I telling you that you have to develop a runway model physique?

Absolutely not.

The point I'm trying to make is that guys have often been misled in what they think they need to accomplish in order to have a respectable physique.

They've been told they need to be huge. They've been told they need to be shredded. But the real ideal for most is to simply have an aesthetic physique.

They want broad shoulders, a solid chest, muscular arms, and visible abs.

Truly, an aesthetic physique aligns best with the things that most men desire – a dense, muscular, balanced-looking body, a platform for sharp clothing, and an appearance that's attractive to women.

But I hear beginners all the time talking of plans to gain 60 lbs of muscle to accomplish these goals.

The fact is, they could probably achieve the same showman's body with only a third of the gains (and time) as long as they keep their body fat percentage low.

And just because I'm setting the bar at a more reasonable level, it doesn't mean it's going to be an easy task.

Mother Nature is lazy, your body may be a stubborn bitch, and it's going to take sweat and determination to force a physical change.

But it can be done.

So reset your focus to achieve an aesthetic physique and watch your style and body goals come together in the best possible way!

All the best,


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  • Reply
    November 11, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Brilliant, as always. Thanks Nate!

    • Reply
      November 11, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks, Davide!

    • Reply
      November 12, 2015 at 4:35 am

      How did you specifically achieve #1?

      • Reply
        November 12, 2015 at 11:38 am

        I’ve learned to approach weight loss and gain very slowly. By doing this I was able to go from roughly 15% body fat to below 10% without ever going below 2600 calories per day. This percentage also seems to be fairly easy to maintain now. Specifically, I’ve counted my macros every day since the beginning of 2015. I make a small cut, hold steady as long as the weight comes off, then make another one once the scale stalls. It can be a tedious process but well worth the results.

        • Reply
          November 12, 2015 at 8:34 pm

          Did you cut anything in particular out such as grains or sugar or ? Did you weigh everything you ate! I’m 5’9 and 200 lbs and trying to get down to 175 lean muscle. Seems like working out is actually making me gain weight since I’m eating more. Think diet is way to go first but seem stuck or want to maximize the results.

          • Nate
            November 14, 2015 at 5:47 pm

            For my diet, I guess you could say that I follow a clean “If It Fits Your Macros.” It’s super simple to do with an app. I’ve done things like eliminating certain food groups in the past but didn’t see a lasting benefit. Lifting can be a double edge sword. You’ll burn more calories by lifting and building muscle but it also stimulates your appetite. That’s why it’s important, at least in the beginning, to track what you eat rather than go with how you feel.

        • Reply
          November 15, 2015 at 9:20 am

          I like this approach. Which app do you use to track macros easily?



  • Reply
    November 11, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Great article!motivating and providing best of both aspects of changing life completely

  • Reply
    Financial Samurai
    November 11, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Motivating! I hate working out, so when I do, I work on lats, delts, chest, biceps, and sit-ups and that’s it. What is one thing you’d throw into my 45 min routine that could help the most?

    My legs are pretty thick and toned bc I play rigorous tennis 3x a week.



    • Reply
      November 11, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Even though you don’t necessarily need the leg size, I would add squats or deadlifts (leaning more towards deadlifts). These lifts are important to build total body strength and help improve athleticism. And don’t worry about gaining too much mass from them, that’s all down to diet.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Gotta admit, your style and fitness have been pretty motivating! Most guys that dress like you don’t have physique like yours.

    Definitely helping me, I believe since I started reading this blog I have dropped about 4% body fat and upgraded my style quite a bit.


    • Reply
      November 11, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      That’s what I want to hear, Dave! How have things been going since making these improvements? Any boost in confidence, increased compliments, or success at work?

  • Reply
    November 11, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Great article! A lot of the guys I see in the gym and then I see them out somewhere it’s like in the gym they look huge and cut but when I see them out its like they have clothes on from 1982 the clothes don’t fit right and it makes them look ridiculous! Years ago an older friend told me, “If You Wanna be somebody, You gotta look like somebody”

    • Reply
      November 11, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      You have a very wise friend, Craig. Unless you’re so good at what you do that people know of your accomplishments before you even speak, you have to make an impression with your appearance.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Great article, Nate! I know all too well about how your physique can affect your mood. While I’m not fat by any means, I do have a little belly pudge that I’m working on getting rid of. I’ll see a side profile of myself in a window reflection or something and think “Damn….that’s how I look?” While it sucks, it gives me motivation to work harder. I prefer bodyweight exercises since I’m on the move a lot, but I think I’m going to start incorporating a few barbell exercises to help further stimulate muscle growth. Keep up the great work! Your transformation is inspiring.

    • Reply
      November 11, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      I know what you mean, Jacob. When I was skinny/fat I had a dark blue t-shirt that I thought made me look OK. I bought the same exact shirt in a lighter color and felt like complete shit when I looked in the mirror could see the shadow cast by my tits. It was time for a change. As for exercises, bodyweight movements are great for your martial arts needs. You’ll also get some really good carryover from adding the barbell exercises.

      • Reply
        November 11, 2015 at 8:00 pm

        What are some of your biggest bang-for-your-buck arm exercises? I have relatively small arms and was thinking of adding bicep curls and lateral shoulder raises to my regimen of pushups and pullups. Any thoughts?

        • Reply
          November 11, 2015 at 10:13 pm

          If we’re talking about isolation exercises, I like to do standing tricep extensions with a dumbbell (two hands) and decline dumbbell triceps extensions. For biceps I like hammer curls and incline curls. Those are the exercises that I “feel” the most.

        • Reply
          November 11, 2015 at 10:19 pm

          I was in the same boat as you. If we’re talking specifically about isolation exercises, I like to do standing tricep extensions with a dumbbell (two hands) and decline dumbbell triceps extensions. For biceps I like hammer curls and incline curls. Those are the exercises that I “feel” the most.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Nate – love your site. Followed a ton of your articles. Do you have workout routine and diet plan you recommend for beginner looking for a similar aesthetic like you? I’m built the same way as you (5 9″ 155) so your results are inspiring.

    • Reply
      November 11, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      Thanks, Sameer! For a beginner, the biggest thing is to focus on the basics. Increase your strength on just a few exercises and replace any junk food with quality whole food and you’ll be well on your way. For specific recommendations, I’m going to release a diet and workout program in the future.

  • Reply
    Eduardo Garcia
    November 11, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    What a great article, Nate! Keep up with the great content of the articles! Already excited to the next one. Greetings from Brazil.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Great article! What have you been focusing on to slim your legs down?

    • Reply
      November 11, 2015 at 6:09 pm

      Diet wise, I’ve been eating at a deficit for a while so I’ve lost some overall size. I’ve been limiting the weight used on leg exercises. I still squat and deadlift but I don’t approach it with as much intensity as I used to. Also, I’ve changed up my stance from the wide powerlifter style to a more narrow bodybuilder style. The hope there was to minimize inner thigh activity and shift the load more to quads.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Long write-up, but worth the read. Really think years from now, this article will stand out. The message is simple, but so often lost in our American culture: Balance. That’s what it’s all about.

    Happy you’re giving legitimate advice, and wish other cookiecutter men’s improvement sites followed your lead, Nate. Would love to see more specific exercise advice (maybe sample routines?) from you, in the future! Wishing you success,


  • Reply
    November 11, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Great post and sense I came across your blog I have been motivated to keep pushing after my goals. In December of 2014 I weight in at 371lbs and I had a hard look in the mirror. I was turning 51 yrs old and had my fair share of hard blows of life. I decided that day it was up to me to make the best life possible and 2015 has been dedicated to my health. I had a lot to learn and read everything I could get my hands on to learn. Today I weight 313 and though I not one of the one year wonder I feel great at what I have accomplish. and I look forward to where I will be this time next year.

    Your posts have help me understand progressive over load. working on the basic compound movements of squat, deadlift, and bench press and so much more. the style section helps me with motivation on where my goals are leading me and helps me stay focus at the end game. Just thanks a lot of the great content and know you are helping this guy in south Florida.


    • Reply
      November 11, 2015 at 7:48 pm

      Congrats on the 40 lb weight loss! Keep pushing hard and you’ll end up exactly where you want to be. I’m glad I could help you along the way.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2015 at 10:45 pm


    Again, fantastic article. I mean really, one of the best, if not it.

    I’m about to make my steps in to the first world of style and I must admit, am a little confused.

    From what I’ve gathered, the concept of ‘style’ is essentially clothes that mirror who you are as a person, but it has to at least have some form of, err.. decency?
    But mainly it is a form of who you are, where you’ve come from, what you think you are.
    And I use you as an example as I listened to a group podcast on Masculine style I think and you said your style is a reflection of elegant ruggedness, given your background but improved style and taste.

    What were your first steps however? It’s quite a daunting process I must admit!


    • Reply
      November 12, 2015 at 11:24 am

      Great question, Andrew. Style should reflect who you are, but in the beginning, don’t worry too much about it. You’ll develop that part naturally. When shopping for clothes, you’ll gravitate towards certain styles and colors without any effort on your part. This is all of your past experiences shaping what you’re attracted to. Just work on dressing in clothes you’re comfortable in and focus on achieving a good fit.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2015 at 12:30 am

    Nice aesthetics Nate. Brahs, we’re all gonna make it!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2015 at 1:57 am

    “It isn’t fair, but people are making judgements about your character based on your fitness level.”

    I’m not sure I agree that it’s unfair to judge a person’s character based on their fitness level appearance. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that someone who doesn’t take care of their body or appearance would be lacking in other areas. Maybe it’s just me….

    In general I like your opinions but I can’t help but as a runner I don’t always agree with you. My fitness goals are probably just different since I’m trying to get faster and build endurance. Gaining mass doesn’t necessarily help with my goals. Regardless, I like how your goal is to inspire men to be better, healthier people.

    • Reply
      November 12, 2015 at 11:32 am

      I get where you’re coming from. It is absolutely reasonable to judge people on their fitness level, but it definitely isn’t fair. I’ve known plenty of amazing human beings who were completely out of shape. Just because they’ve spent the last 30 or 40 years working hard to take care of their families and everyone else around them, I don’t think it’s fair to look down at these individuals because they’re out of shape. I’m curious about your training. I know you aren’t concerned with gaining mass, but do you stick primarily to running or do you put in some work weights? Thanks for bring up these points.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Another great post. I’ve experienced on myself the change on how people behave toward me when I’m well dressed. It’s normal to judge people from their appearance. We are wired this way, like it or not, and it makes sense for me. We recognize some patterns in others: those patterns can be menacing, showing wealth, success, laziness, determination, etc. Once we register those patterns we react accordingly. All this is for our own survival and for optimizing interactions in the society. So looking good and being at our best it’s a very smart move.

    • Reply
      November 12, 2015 at 11:49 am

      You’ve nailed it with that explanation! Recognizing patterns is all about survival and saving time. Image how slow the world would operate if we approached every situation like a child exploring his surroundings for the first time.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    My “natural-untrained” size is 5’8 140. When I’ve been hitting the weights (and the juice) I’ve been as high as 175. At that size I couldn’t find anything that fit off the rack.I’d size up but the extra torso length of the shirt would make it fit like a dress. Sizing down would make me look like a clown trying to show off!

    Im sitting at 155-160 and shredded. I may not be as strong as I was but I feel and look better than ever. At this size, Calvin Klein solid vnecks and designer slim-fit jeans fit me like a glove. I am easily the best dressed in my small town without invested much money into my wardrobe. Great for spartan spenders like myself!

    • Reply
      November 12, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      Excellent feedback Blayde! I completely support guys who want to be as big as possible, but want to spread the word that you can still look awesome at a more normal body weight.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Thanks for more great content Nate! You’ve had a lot of useful and interesting posts on a wide array of topics which I appreciate.
    I do think people underestimate fitness on how they are perceived. I’ve seen guys in tailored expensive suits that still look sloppy and lazy because of how out of shape they are.
    While I’ve always been into fitness, I used to compete in Olympic lifting, and despite having an interest in dressing well I never put any thought into it until I started reading your blog. I find things have been great! Lots of compliments which feel good, confidence I’d say is higher when I feel I’m dressed well and I have more motivation to actually go out and do things. It’s actually pretty fun to learn about and implement into my life. So thanks!
    On the topic of shifting the focus to your quads do you ever do front squats or zercher squats? Both work the quads great. Ok long winded post over haha.

    • Reply
      November 14, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      I’m glad to be the one to help motivate you to dress better! One the topic of squats, I’ve done front squats but never Zercher, those seem brutal! Since back squats are one of my favorite exercises and feel very natural for my body, it’s hard to select another exercise over them.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Interesting. And very true. So far you and Victor Pride are the only people I’ve seen emphasising the importance of having a good body to go with your style. It was his post on style a few months ago that motivated me to start lifting in the first place, so good to see more people spreading the message.

    As the saying goes, you can’t outrun a bad diet. Or in this case, out-dress a bad body. Didn’t stop me trying for over 10 years though…

    Great post as always, looking forward to the next one.

    • Reply
      November 14, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      You’re right, Seb. Most of the style conscious guys I know are simply concerned with losing, or preventing the gain of belly fat. They couldn’t care less about muscle mass or having a quality body. Not being fat is enough for them.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2015 at 3:24 am

    Hey Nate, Im 6’ 2” and used to weight ~350 and I’m down to ~200 but I’m still skinny/fat. Do I focus on cutting my weight down to ~175 first then focus on adding muscle or do I start adding muscle now worry about the fat later? Thanks!

    • Reply
      November 14, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      First of all, congrats on losing 150 lbs! Second, that’s a very good and well timed question. My next article is going to be about the skinny/fat struggle! With your situation specifically, I imagine that your muscle mass and metabolism took a pretty big hit to lose 150lbs. Without knowing anything else, I would think that you could benefit from a short bulking cycle to regain some muscle mass and work up the amount of food you’re able to eat. Then a series of smaller bulking and cutting phases will get you to a quality 175.

  • Reply
    Ori Geshury
    November 13, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    What I really like about this article isn’t the aesthetics, which are less interesting to me, frankly, but the realization that it’s okay to stop, and you should actually have the courage to stop.

    For the last 6 months, I’ve been pursuing the following goals: Bench 300, Squat 400, Deadlift 450, Overhead Press 200. More precisely Bench 1.5X bodyweight, Squat 2x, Deadlift 2.5x, OHP 1x. I’m about 20 weeks away from realizing them, and then I will STOP.

    I have no desire to be a powerlifter or to get injured or obsessed with putting more iron on the bar. After those goals are completed I’m going to work on adult gymnastics, rock climbing, or explosiveness (see the book jump attack), while throwing the weight workouts into maintenance.

    It’s important not to get caught up in the religion of weightlifting. Use it as a tool. Don’t become its tool.

    • Reply
      November 14, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      Well said, Ori! I’m all for people going after whatever goal it is that they want to achieve. But like you said, if your goal is to achieve a certain strength level to support other activities, there’s no reason to commit additional resources to the pursuit of more, more, and more strength.

  • Reply
    David Briard
    November 14, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Body types are so interesting. It’s such a complicated thing that seems so easy. Just work out, just eat better etc. But as you talked about with your low T posts it’s not always the case for everyone. My body type is a natural 162 at 5,10. Small arms, big belly, endomorphic. So I really have to focus on those two areas when train, particularly cardio for my higher body fat levels. I hate cardio, but I LOVE lifting.

    • Reply
      November 14, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      Very true, David. Everyone has different goals, starting points, and body types that respond differently to training and dieting. I’m glad to hear that you’re zeroing in on your trouble areas.

  • Reply
    November 15, 2015 at 9:15 am

    I loved the article. Congratulations!!!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Another excellent article, Nate. Too many men in the gym get hung up on getting bigger when I totally agree with you, they’d be much better off losing weight in the middle and toning. I’m right at 160 and will stay there. Love my current weight. Will probably work on dropping a tiny bit of body fat though.

    • Reply
      November 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      That’s the idea, Roman. When you get to a weight you’re happy with it’s time to start refining. Glad to hear about your success!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2016 at 7:06 am

    I love what you put up Nate ! I have been reading some of your articles and this one is my favorite.

    The life advantages of a leaner physique cannot be overstated. I have been an athlete all my life and have always stayed fairly lean. I let myself go for over three years ago where I was partying too much and eating as much junk food as my heart wanted. It was an addiction. I went from my competitive weight of 90kgs to a whooping 110kgs of a fat slob. For the past year and a half I have been continuously “cutting” while lifting 3 days a week. I haven’t taken more than three days off in a row during that whole time. I eat more complex carbs when I train heavy and I eat less when I am “resting”. I guess I’m eating 2800 calories on rest days and 3300 calories on heavy lifting days. My list of food includes: Boiled eggs, boiled chicken, beef stews, brown rice, oatmeal, green veggies and fruits. That’s all I literally ate during that time.

    I look like Brad Pitt because of my cut-up jaw and I get double glances from women on the street. It’s also amazing what a minimal amount of muscle looks like when you get under 10% body fat. I had a guy come up to me at the gym yesterday and I immediately thought of your article.

    He asked: “You are looking HUGE ! What exercises are you doing to get those bulky V-shaped shoulders?”

    It would have taken too long to tell him about the sacrifices that I made the last year and a half. I gave him two exercises that I do even thought I know in my psyche that it was ALL self-discipline and delaying self-gratification.

    My point is that the population today has no patience. I am sure it took you a long time to start up your website. It started as an idea, then as small daily baby steps geared towards that idea. Your fitness lifestyle helped I’m sure. It’s great how the discipline from fitness seeps into all areas of your life.

    Thanks for all that you put up for us !

    • Reply
      January 19, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      You’re living exactly what I’m talking about. Your current eating lifting plan sounds really solid and you’re obviously reaping the rewards. Glad to hear it!

  • Reply
    July 12, 2016 at 12:41 am

    Nice post, Nate. You are actually the first person with a beard that projects power and coolness without being an emasculated boy. Where I am from most men with beards are fat feminine fakes or skinnyfat sissies. So kudos to you!

    • Reply
      July 12, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Thanks Stephan. I always say that elements of your style should be authentic and if having a beard made it look like I was trying too hard, I would choose to shave.

  • Reply
    September 19, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Thanks for sharing Nate. Very inspirational!

  • Reply
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    […] New clothes after a training session – you have this rush of endorphins from exercise that everybody gets, and then you get that nice feeling of fresh clothes. […]

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    9 Ways to Stay Motivated Every Day - Bold and Determined
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    […] The only people who can look good in t-shirts, and especially v-neck t-shirts, are men who have a good build. If you’re a skinny guy or a fat guy you need to hit the gym before you worry about an […]

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    […] If you love to play basketball, then always replace the word meditation with basketball and you will get every supposed benefit of meditation and it will help you build a good athletic physique. […]

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    September 26, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Solid article, Nate.

    An aesthetic physique is undoubtedly the #1 asset in a fashion arsenal, and this was a thorough write-up with several good points throughout, even on training – a rarity online.

    +1 on ensuring a solid fit and enhancing the V-taper – especially at the shoulders and lats. TO expand:

    1. Try on everything and only skip if you’ve bought and worn consistently in the past
    2. Core compound movements are key in the gym but don’t forget specially targeted single-joint movements

    The main idea of fashion for an aesthetic physique is displaying personality without detracting from the efforts in the weight room. It’s the canvas to let your personality shine. Particularly ensure the joints are not made excessively bulky, as this will detract from the muscular proportions on either side.

    Keep it up,

    Author, Architect of Aesthetics

  • Reply
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    […] If you love to play basketball, then always replace the word meditation with basketball and you will get every supposed benefit of meditation and it will help you build a good athletic physique. […]

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