Muscle and Function: How You Can Train for Both

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A Guest Post by Chad Howse

I’m always interested in how the “deficiencies” people think they have led them to where they are in life. Particularly in the fitness industry: I was a chubby kid, so it’s really no surprise that I became sort of a fat loss “specialist.” Vince Del Monte was a gangly ectomorph, and his focus has always been on muscle gain.

Chad Howse has a similar story. Although he was a skinny adolescent, he was also a focused athlete—an athlete who was always held back more by his lack of physicality than his lack of skill. So it’s no surprise that when it comes to physique augmentation, Chad’s become known for building bodies that don’t just look great, but also perform great. He makes bodies that are truly fit—not just muscular, but strong, fast, agile, and capable. In this short guest article, the Young Gun shares some of his tips for developing a lean, muscular and above all athletic body. Enjoy! -Roman

What are your fitness goals?

People hear that question from me a lot, because I think it’s important: You need to understand exactly what your goals are so you can then achieve them. When I ask people that question, I’ll more often than not I’ll hear one of two answers: build muscle or burn fat. Two simple and great goals to have, but I think if people really thought about their ultimate goal or dream body, their answer would be different. Take muscle gain, for example. I always wanted to build muscle because, well, I was a skinny twerp, awkward and unconfident in how I looked, and in perpetual dread of any unscheduled shirtlessness. I thought muscle would be the remedy for my insecurities. But then there’s fat loss. You know it, I know it: Ladies like six pack abs, and I haven’t met a lot of guys that want to be muscular and round. So I wanted lean muscle. I wanted definition and I wanted to be lean. But, I’ve also been an athlete since Day One, and whether it’s in boxing, basketball, hockey, or any of the dozens of other sports I’ve tried, improving my athleticism has always been one of my biggest priorities. I still want this ultimate, hyper-capable, jack-of-all trades bodyand with  goal like this, there’s always room for improvement. chad-howse-229 (1)

So, you want it all?

Hell ya! I want to be shredded, muscular and athletic. Why the hell not? People settle far too often for something that’s more realistic or easier to attain instead of striving for their ‘ultimate goal’. By getting stronger and more powerful, you’re making it easier for your body to build muscle. And by increasing your muscular endurance, you’re also making it easier for your body to build muscle. So believe it or not, bodybuilding does have its place in your training, and so does training for athleticism and fat loss. I don’t just work on improving my power, speed, and athleticism, but also on improving certain body parts, like building bigger arms, chest, shoulders, and so onwhich essentially is bodybuilding. I train with hypertrophy rep counts, power rep counts, and higher rep counts to help me improve my muscular endurance while I’m training for size. The result is that I’m stronger and more powerful for longer periods of time. I’m more athletic and I’ve been able to improve my leanness as I’ve put on weight.

What Can You Do To Build This Ultimate Body?

1. Keep track of your results Write down your weight for the big lifts like deadlift, squat, military press, and bench press. Strive for improvement in these lifts every week. Also, start working on your Olympic lifts like snatches and cleans; both will help you improve your power, in an athletic sense.

2. Lift heavy Don’t just focus on hypertrophy reps in the 8-12 range. Have heavy days at least a couple times a month where you aim for a 4-6 rep count with longer rest periods. This will improve your power and your strength; allowing you to lift more weight for the aforementioned hypertrophy-focused rep counts. This means more functional musclenot the “all show and no go” muscle that some bodybuilders wind up with.

3. Compete If you’re not in a league of some sort and you don’t want to be in one, find a lifting partner, someone to compete against, or implement challenges and benchmarks into your routine. I’ve used challenges for a while now as a way to track my performance improvements, but also as a way to compete against myself and my previous results. *** Super interesting post from a super interesting guy, right? Keep in mind, there are a lot of programs out there to help you achieve that “Ultimate”the body that not only looks great, but also has intense athletic capability. A great example is “Show and Go” by super-trainer Eric Cressey, which, not surprisingly, touches on everything Chad talked about.

My programs, while not specifically marketed for increased performance, are based on a set of training protocols that I’ve used with high level athletes for years, and as a result, they tend to increase performance anyway. However, I never stop learning from guys like Chad and Eric, and you shouldn’t either. Now, if you’re interested in Chad’s stuff—and you should beyou can check out this article, which will tell you 4 ways to naturally improve your testosterone and gain more muscle. It’s a great read.

And now, the big question: how many of my readers are former (or current!) athletes?

What coaches and programs do you follow to increase both sexiness and performance?

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

Comments for This Entry

  • Amanda Dawson

    Nice article... The article is very informative... I'll gonna try these exercise. And I hope these tips or exercise works for me.

    March 8, 2016 at 9:26 pm

  • Young Gunz: Roman Fitness Systems

    [...] Howse wrote a guest post for me a while back, and he’s got a fantastic ebook called the Power Howse Challenge, which [...]

    September 5, 2012 at 1:58 am

  • Luke H

    This is an interesting post and even thou it is short it pretty much hits it on the head for how guys want to look, feel and be. I have just finished rugby due to a shoulder injury and have focused on getting stronger, faster and bigger. Now that I have focused on this stuff I think I'm in better shape than ever! Just wish I read posts like this while I was playing rugby! Keep them coming! Cheers

    February 1, 2011 at 11:23 pm

  • Dan

    Some good info there, I do martial arts and I totally agree with the high intensity training regime. It is always better to have a partner to train with to spur you on and encourage you to do them extra few reps you wouldn't normally do alone.

    January 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm

  • Jacob

    I am a basketball player at my local high school and would love to see more performance based posts like this.

    January 6, 2011 at 10:07 pm

  • Brad Campbell

    For me, I've done both weight-training and practicing martial arts. I take some major adjustments at first because both training is not easy. Currently I chose the former because I focus more on developing muscular strength.

    December 30, 2010 at 1:29 am

  • Chad

    Thanks for the great comments guys. I'm a big fan of this blog - always great content on here, is was awesome to be able to contribute to it! Merry Christmas, - Chad

    December 25, 2010 at 1:14 am

  • Jared

    This is what most people should be focusing on, lean muscle gains that can also perform athletically. No fun having the muscle if you can't do anything with it !

    December 23, 2010 at 2:22 pm

  • Alex

    I am an athlete and since age 6 have been in organized sports. Similar to Roman, I was fat/chubby growing up. Even when I hit my growth spurt and started training I had a little extra. Soccer and basketball are the primary sports today I play during open gyms or when I feel like kicking the ball around. I rotate my "routines" if one would call them that. Currently I am doing a body-weight one. After the 8 weeks commence, I am switching to a focus on compound lifts but at the same time keeping a focus on body-weight movements. An example is front and back squats, straight and regular deadlifts, power cleans, snatch squats, etc. At the same time I am going to do a variety of one-legged movements. I noticed during the second week of my body-weight workouts, which had been switched from a 4 day lift workout, my body was EXPLODING. Granted, I eat and drink very well and do yoga but I was doing those things before as well. I started dunking consistently and my game picked up. I was always a good player but this EXTRA bit turned me into the guys I saw with freakish hops. While I am not there yet, I have not incorporated any jump type of movements at all. It is very exciting and rewarding to allow creativity to flow and watch your vehicle (body) to show the fruits of your efforts. Love the post as it gave me a little reflection on the past couple of months. Yeha Noha

    December 21, 2010 at 9:18 am

  • KatieM~ Run for the Bikini

    Love this post!! I have always been a runner and have just gotten back into racing again. This time around though, as I am also looking to achieve a certain aesthetic, I am focusing on gaining speed. I think the kind of workouts that increase your speed are better body shapers than longer endurance runs. Goal: Sub 20 5k Of course the long runs will burn lots of calories, but they might not give you shapely legs and booty :D I still do some long runs since it is good to incorporate some variety, but I do more sprint intervals/ incline running. I'm also going to compete in some short triathlons this summer. Another goal I have, in order to include my arms is achieving at least one, and hopefully a few pull-ups and increasing my push-up count. Vanity goal: Rock the hell out of my bikinis this summer with a thin but fit physique :D

    December 18, 2010 at 9:46 am

  • Tpaul

    I play both ice hockey and soccer, so performance and endurance are very important for me. I do a lot of strength-based training right now, simply because, well, I spent several years NOT focusing on strength and now I'm weaker and not as muscular as I want to be. So recently I've been putting a lot of effort into strength training, using compounds lifts and 4-6 rep ranges with long rest periods. I still throw in hypertrophy ranges around 8-12, but strength is my focus right now.

    December 17, 2010 at 6:55 pm

  • Mike Arone

    Great post Chad---always insightful as well as informative. To 'compete' is such a great point. I think there comes a time, like I have noticed, where I am not competing like I did---for instance when I wrestled in college. With that said, I have made it a point to find competition whether it be with myself, a workout partner or the dude next to me at the gym. By doing this you will continue to progress, learn and motivate yourself. Good stuff---Thanks fellas MA

    December 17, 2010 at 2:36 pm

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