There was a time when the image of masculinity was characterized by super-hero like size, round muscle bellies, and low body fat percentages. The former ideal physique was epitomized by Sly Stallone or perhaps even Arnold in Commando. These men sculpted physiques that not only looked strong, but were strong.

Enter the 21st Century... the game has changed. Arnold and Sly are no longer in the forefront. Their less muscled (or unmuscled) successor – Toby Maguire – marks a changing of the guard. Nowadays people are more likely to attempt to emulate Brad Pitt's physique in Fight Club (good luck) than even the moderately muscled physique donned by Christian Bale in Batman Begins.

You may be thinking "I have never aspired to look like Arnold so what's your point?" Well I too have never aspired to be the next "Oak" but this change in thinking most prominently illustrated by the new breed of Hollywood action heroes has lead to an explosion of "skinny fat" young men attempting to shred their 150lb. un-muscled physiques.

If you don't believe me, go to any message board on the Internet and you'll find endless posts by underweight boys (or men) restricting their calories, popping fat burners, and doing endless crunches in a futile attempt to get, as Dr. John Williams would say, "RIPT ABZ."

Well this has to STOP. NOW! I'm making a rule. Yes, a rule. I don't know if everyone (or anyone) will abide by the rule, sort of like prohibition in the early 1920s, but I'm still making it:

No boy or man weighing 150 pounds or less is allowed to function in a hypocaloric state.

That's it! That's the rule. And do you know why? Because at 150lbs, you don't have enough muscle to put on display regardless of your bodyfat percentage.

If you were to lose weight at 150 lbs., you'd look like a holocaust survivor and not a cover model for Mens' Health, regardless of what your Internet buddies say.

I know you're probably thinking, "But Mike I'm different. I need to be shredded". Hmmmm... .no. The rule still applies. The only way to get around this rule is to send me your photo. I'll then take council with a group of experts (Eric Cressey, Dan John, etc.) and we'll decide if you're exempt. No other exceptions, PEROID.

The Anti-Skinny Fat Guidelines

Now that I've called you out, what are you to do?? Here's a simple list of things that you can do (or not do).

  1. Slowly put down Muscle & Fitness and step away from the magazine rack. You are never allowed to purchase a "bodybuilding" magazine again. From now on if you are to take training advice it needs to come from:
    • Chad Waterbury
    • Christian Thibadeau
    • Dan John
    • Charles Staley
    • Alwyn Cosgrove
    • Eric Cressey
    • Mike Robertson
    • Dave Tate
    • Mike Boyle
  2. No More Chest and Biceps. That's right, your world is going to be completely thrown for a loop because "Chest Day" is GONE. You're allowed Full Body workouts or Upper/Lower Splits. You know that cage you do curls in? It actually has a different function.
  3. Stop Asking the Guy at GNC for Advice. I'm going to make your supplementation decisions easy. This is what you need:
    • Protein/Simple Sugars (Plazma™) for your workouts
    • A protein blend (e.g. Metabolic Drive®) for other times during the day
    • Mag-10® after workouts
    • Fish Oil (e.g. Flameout®), 2-3g EPA/DHA everyday
    • That's it. No more supplements. If you have any extra money, then buy more food. Oh yeah, stop paying retail prices for supplements.
  4. If their last names are Coleman or Cutler, they're not qualified to give you nutritional advice. Since you're no longer allowed to read bodybuilding magazines, the chances of you receiving poor nutritional advice will be greatly reduced. But there's still a lot of bad advice out there. Thus, to ensure success you can only listen to:
    • John Berardi
    • Lonnie Lowery
    • Cassandra Forsythe
    • Mario Di Pasquale
    • And Myself
  5. Nutritional Freestyling is prohibited. You're going to need lots of calories and a good plan to guarantee success. Clean eating is the key. Here are your allowed food choices:
    • Proteins:
    • Salmon
    • Tuna
    • Cod
    • Trout
    • Halibut
    • Shrimp
    • Scallops
    • Eggs
    • Chicken breasts
    • Cottage cheese
    • Milk protein isolates
    • Whey-casein blends
    • Flank Steak
    • Ground Beef
    • Top Round Cuts
    • Carbohydrates:
    • Broccoli
    • Green Beans
    • Spinach
    • Lettuce
    • NO Potatoes or Corn
    • Mixed Beans
    • Berries
    • Apples
    • Oranges
    • Kiwi
    • Grapefruits
    • Oatmeal/Oat bran
    • Mixed-grain bread
    • Brown Rice
    • Quinoa
    • Sweet Potatoes
    • Millet
    • Fats:
    • Flax oil/Flaxmeal
    • Fish oil(EPA/DHA)
    • Olive oil/Olives
    • Almonds
    • Walnuts
    • Cashews
    • Pistachios
    • Avocados
    • Canola Oil
    • Coconut Oil
    • Butter (occasionally)
  6. Plan, then Act. This goes for training and nutrition. You're not allowed to lift another weight, make another "muscle shake", or post anything on an Internet forum extolling all your knowledge until you have a 6 month plan.

"SIX MONTHS! But I only need 12 weeks to become a cover model." I don't know what to tell you... Bill Phillips lied. It wasn't like deca and you need more than 12 weeks.

Here's what you need to do. Where do you want to be in 6 months (physique wise)? Write that down. Specifics – body weight, weights for lifts, etc. Okay, now we need to break that down into smaller increments. Using your 6 month goals as a guide, set monthly goals that should build on each other.

In the next step we need to get very detail oriented. Exactly what are you going to eat for the next two weeks (foods, amounts, times/order, supplements, etc.)? What is your training schedule going to be like for the next 4 weeks (weights, cardio, mobility, etc.)? If you're having trouble with this part, do some reading or ask for some help (and not from your Internet buddy or your squat-rack curl buddy).

As the end of the first four weeks approaches, you'll need to repeat the process in the above paragraph for month two and subsequent months.

  • Name: Skinny Sammy
  • Weight: 145lbs
  • 6 Month Goal
  • Increase Lean Body Mass by 30lbs
  • Increase Deadlift by _____
  • Increase Squat by ______
  • Increase Bench Press by ______
  • Weight Training Plan
  • Weeks 1-8: Focus On Deadlift
  • Weeks 9-16: Focus On Bench Press
  • Weeks 17-24: Focus On Squat
  • Lean Body Mass Goals (Cumulative)
  • Weeks 1-4: +5lbs
  • Weeks 5-8: +10lbs
  • Weeks 9-12: +15lbs
  • Weeks 13-16: +20lbs
  • Weeks 17-20: +25lbs
  • Weeks 21-24: 30lbs

Weight Training Plan

Here you'll need to write down exactly what your weight training plan will be for the first 4 weeks.

  • Nutritional Plan: Weeks 1-2
  • Total Calories: ______
  • Total Protein: ______
  • Total Carbohydrates: ______
  • Total Fats: _______
  • Supplement Plan:
  • 2.5g EPA/DHA per day
  • Mag-10® Post Workout
  • 1-1.5 Serving Plazma™ Pre/During/Post Workout

Meal Plan

Here you'll need to write down exactly what you're going to eat for the next two weeks.

Now, Get Going

You've got the tools. You know the rules. Now make it happen. We're going to put a stop to this 150lb-Skinny fat-emaciated looking "man" paradigm one person at a time!

Mike Roussell's academic background in nutrition science, coupled with his broad range of experience with clients, gives him the unique ability to translate scientific findings into relevant, understandable, and actionable strategies that get results. Follow Mike Roussell on Facebook