by Scott Tousignant Iron Magazine
There’s a hot new trend taking over the fitness industry like wildfire, and the great news is, it’s not some new fad program that will die off in a few years. In fact, this rising trend is not new at all. It’s been time tested and proven to continue producing the best looking physiques for over half a century. Now that’s an impressive track record that cannot be ignored! The trend is Physique Training and it’s now more popular than ever, which should not come as a surprise to anyone. After all, the concept involves “Training for Looks”. The same “Look” that draws your eyes to the cover of a fitness magazine, causing you to daydream about looking phenomenal in a swimsuit.
According to Stef O’Donnell (pictured to the right), “I like the female model “look” because I believe it’s a look that holds universal appeal, as it projects the epitome of health and vitality, as well as youthfulness. Instead of having to wear shoulders pads, tight belts, and jeans that give your butt a “lift” (lol) isn’t it better to actually sculpt your body to really have that shape?!”
Sculpting your body into a work of art… isn’t that what training is all about? Chiseling out a symmetrical physique with ideal proportions. Carving out your most aesthetically pleasing figure. Developing sexy muscle with curves in all the right places. Bringing out the finer details to create a polished look that catches the attention of the opposite sex.
Yet, for reasons unknown, mainstream fitness spent the past ten years shunning the practice of physique training. “It’s not functional!”, they shouted from the roof tops. “It doesn’t transfer over into real life situations” they proudly claim as they balance with one foot on a ball and juggle pretty pink 3 pound dumbbells.
What the heck does “functional” mean anyway? I’ve jokingly been known to say that the function of my training is to look hot, but the truth is, Physique Training has improved my hockey game and allows me to perform daily tasks to the best of my abilities. I’m also certain that I can out sprint many of these desk jockey’s who have been pushing this nonsense to fitness enthusiasts.
I can’t even begin to count how many real life situations where I’ve had to lift objects in a curling motion, yet there isn’t one single incident where I’ve had to balance objects while standing on an unstable surface. So wouldn’t that make biceps curls more functional than any exercise where you are lying down on a ball or standing on a wobble board?
Oooh, I bet that just sent chills down the back of some mainstream fitness trainers. They’ve spent the past decade frowning upon isolation exercises calling them a waste of time.
Unfortunately, this one swift blow took the art and beauty out of training, for it’s the isolation exercises that are the icing on the cake. They bring out the finer details of your physique, creating the finished and polished “Look” that you desire.
It’s isolation exercises that carved out the detail in my lateral, rear, and front delts as you can see illustrated in the picture to the right. Isolation exercises have sculpted my arms by focusing on more than just the biceps and triceps muscles. One of my favorite muscles to train is the Brachialis muscle, which you can see popping out the side of my arm.
Crunches and twisting movements have also received a bad rap from mainstream fitness, yet it’s those very exercises that have allowed me to get my abs to “POP” and my obliques to stand out. I chuckle every time that I read an article or email that claims these exercises will break your back or make you fat. HA!
The truth is, Physique Training incorporates all of the best functional exercises that you could possibly perform, such as Front Squats, Deadlifts, Pull-Ups, and Dips, just to name a few. We simply choose to take things a step further and perform those finishing exercises that enhance your physique, allowing you to look your absolute best. We’re not just creating a leaner body… we’re sculpting a masterpiece!
Stef O’Donnell echoed similar sentiments, stating “It was not my desire to become a smaller, skinnier version of my old self. I wanted to actually physically change the proportions and structure of my body. I started out with narrow shoulders and wider hips. My goal has always been to reverse that and have wide shoulders, a v-taper, and a lean lower body. That can only be accomplished through body sculpting.”
The Physique Artist Mindset
The difference between mainstream fitness and Physique Training goes well beyond the weight room. What makes physique artists unique is their mindset toward fitness. This has been one of the greatest insights that John McLellan has gained since he recently adopted the Physique Artist lifestyle. John shared, “On the surface, body sculpting is using weight resistance training to build a strong physique that radiates confidence, strength, sexiness and fun. However the change isn’t just seen in your muscles. One’s mental attitude is forever changed.”
Physique Artists don’t workout because they “have to” or need to lose some weight. Weight training is an expression of who they are and what they are made of. Commitment, dedication, focus, and perseverance. Physique Artists find joy and peace during grueling workouts where they step outside of their comfort zone. The gym is their serenity. It’s where they become “in-tune” with what makes the tick.
Training is their craft, much like sculpting is to an artist. Physique Artists take the time to step back and view their art work in progress. They see the big picture and have a keen eye for the changes that will make the most visually stunning impact. Most important, the physique athlete views body sculpting as a life long journey. It’s a lifestyle absent of quick fixes. Each workout is viewed as an opportunity to grow. Not just physically in terms of gaining lean muscle, but to grow as a person spiritually and emotionally.
When I asked my fellow body sculptors to define a Physique Artist, their response reflected this unique mindset approach to training. Vicki Pittman McCarter stated, “It means being in control of your life…mentally, physically and spiritually. It’s honoring your body…feeding it well and making the mind body connection that is needed to address all aspects of life! All while looking pretty darn good!”
“Honoring your body.” Now that’s something that really resonated with me!
Taking Physique Training To The Next Level
The greatest discovery many of my fellow Physique Artists make, is that their potential is much greater than they had ever thought. Their ability to continue improving their physique never ceases to be an eye opening experience. And then it happens… Somewhere along the line throughout this journey something magical takes place. They realize that they have what it takes to step on stage and stand side by side next to the best looking fitness models in the world.
Somehow, these former “Average Joe’s and Jane’s” of all ages find themselves entering physique contests. This is one of the reasons that we are witnessing a BOOM in natural physique and fitness model competitions.
You can count 42 year old Shaun Flaherty (photo to the right), among this crowd now that he has selected his first event to compete in. Shaun summed this transition up by stating, “I just saw it as the next step really. The chance to better myself at the ultimate level.
Most people can look good on the beach or by the pool but never really take it to the max and stand up on stage. It’s a combination of all you have learned all coming down to one day under the spotlight. Perfect body perfect posing.”
Not everyone develops the desire to step on stage. Some Physique Artists, such as Stef O’Donnell prefer to simply “look like they could compete” without ever entering a contest. What many of us have found is that going through the experience of a photo shoot is very similar to stepping on stage… minus the itsy bitsy posing trunks It’s just as rewarding too. A photo shoot is the best way to capture your body as a work of art.
However, even the shyest among the Physique Artists who swear they would never enter a physique competition, end up finding themselves up on stage. As Shaun shared with me, “It fills me with mortal terror just to think about it because by nature I’m the most placid shy man you can ever meet, but I figure to break the cycle I need to go all out.”
That’s something that I can totally relate to. I never ever thought that I would see the day when I would compete in a physique contest. It wasn’t in my nature either. Yet hear I am scheduled to compete in my first event on October 27th, 2012. (Note: How’s that for public accountability?) I admit that I’m scared as hell. I have no idea what I’m getting myself into. I don’t have a clue about posing, nor how to go about purchasing posing trunks. But that doesn’t matter right now. What matters is that I’ve made the commitment to take my physique to the next level and share the results of my hard work with the world.
It’s a Lifestyle
Continuous growth and improvement is a motto of mine, and as previously mentioned, this growth occurs both physically and spiritually. The beauty of the Physique Artist lifestyle is that it’s an ongoing journey of self-discovery. You will be amazed at what you learn about yourself through the process of sculpting your body. You will become fascination with your true potential and your ability to continue shaping your body while you improve your health. Every goal you achieve opens the doors to more possibilities. When I first adopted the Physique Artist lifestyle in early 2011, I never could have dreamed that I would look like I do today. I knew that I had it in me to get ripped, but I couldn’t fathom how I would look with more muscle.
It wasn’t until I saw the true shape of my body after peeling away the layers of fat that I realized where I needed to make some improvements. Achieving one goal led to new goals of adding muscle to my chest, shoulders, and back. This process of strategically adding muscle to specific areas of your body in order to create a symmetrical and proportionate physique is what really sparks the artist within you. Arnold Schwarzenegger talked of this in the movie Pumping Iron when he said, “The good bodybuilders have the same mind that a sculptor has. If you analyze it, you look in the mirror and you say, okay, I need a bit more deltoids so that the proportion is right, and you exercise and put those deltoids on, whereas an artist would just slap on some clay on each side.”
It’s this attention to detail that really separates Physique Artists from mainstream fitness. There is no way that I could have chiseled out this physique if I had continued along the path of abbreviated workouts that focused solely on compound exercises. As good as mainstream fitness may be for some people, it does have it’s limits. Whereas Physique Training is nearly limitless. It’s where you discover your true potential.
It’s time for me to give you a little homework. Set aside 10 minutes to check yourself out in the mirror. What do you see? An incredible masterpiece in the making of course! There are no “trouble spots” or “problem areas” to a Physique Artist. Excess fat is simply material to be chiseled away. It’s part of the beautiful marble that you’ve been provided with in order to sculpt your work of art. Now carefully examine the areas where you need to slab on some clay (muscle) in order to improve upon your symmetry and proportion. How do you envision the finished product? What details do you see? How do the shadows accent the features that you’ve carved out? Think about what this work of art represents… commitment, consistency, and character.
You have what it takes to sculpt your body into a masterpiece. Embrace the Physique Artist lifestyle and become part of a growing movement that will reshape the fitness industry and how we view training. Your first step… visit the Metabolic Masterpiece website today, where you will find an incredible collection of training programs designed to sculpt an aesthetically pleasing physique with spectacular symmetry and ideal proportions. Bottom line… You’re going to look great nekkid! Get started NOW!
About The Author
Scott Tousignant, BHK, is a Certified Fitness Consultant with a passion for transforming fitness enthusiasts goal driven, dedicated, and voracious physique artists who take pride in their body, fitness, health, and lifestyle. Embraced by physique artists around the world, his Metabolic Masterpiece Body Sculpting Programs will guide you through the process of sculpting your body into a work of art, by applying what Scott has coined, “The A.T.T.R.A.C.T. Formula. With his synergistic, boredom busting body sculpting workouts you will melt stubborn fat and gain muscle while skyrocketing your metabolism! The art of molding and chiseling an aesthetically pleasing physique with ideal proportions and spectacular symmetry is one of life’s most rewarding and fulfilling experiences. It’s an opportunity for self growth and self discovery that will impact every area of your life. Check out the Metabolic Masterpiece!