Fat And Strong, Or Ripped And Weak?
There has been a tug of war for years between the preference of being strong but having a softer physique vs. being ripped but being considerably weaker than you could be.
The concept of whether or not being a very low body fat percentage and being brutally strong are mutually exclusive traits has been debated for decades.
If you have ever seen power lifter physiques, you probably have noticed that the majority of them aren’t lean whatsoever. They are the strongest humans on earth though.
Bodybuilders on the other hand have tremendous muscular development, even more so than power lifters, but not as much strength as power lifters (except for very rare cases with genetic outliers).
There is indeed a direct correlation between the two.
As you put your body in a state of energy deficiency via dieting down to lose fat, you are depriving it of calories and nutrients that would be necessary to maximize your strength progress.
A bodybuilder during preparation for a competition would be content with simply maintaining their strength while they get to insanely lean levels of body fat, and intentionally avoids heavy weights to minimize the risk of injury.
Power lifters don’t have to worry about how good they look whatsoever, so they can eat in a calorie surplus constantly to always be gaining more strength.
So Is There Such A Thing As A Strong AND Ripped Bodybuilder?
There are many bodybuilders that are actually insanely strong.
Essentially, yes you can become a hybrid athlete who is not only aesthetically pleasing with low levels of body fat, but also has a very impressive level of strength.
Here’s the catch: You will NEVER be as strong as you could be or as lean as you could be unless you focus 100% of your attention on it.
By watching your caloric intake strictly to maintain a certain level of body fat you are limiting your strength gains.
By eating in a minor surplus to at least gain some strength, you will still pack on a little bit of extra fat and blur your definition a bit, and lose a decent amount of your visible muscular separation.
I find it funny because on competition days, bodybuilders are so freaky looking with humongous shredded muscular development, but they are at the absolute weakest they have ever been despite looking like they could lift a car over their head.
This is where prioritization becomes very important.
What is most important to you?
Myself, I used to strongly favor strength over muscular development.
I became strong as a house, but I had a gross, fat, soft, marshmallow physique (in my opinion) that I wasn’t happy with.
I totally changed my priorities around, and now I almost entirely favor maintaining an extremely low level of body fat.
I have what would look like double the amount of usable muscle than I used to, to the average human eye. But, believe it or not, even with this greater level of muscular development, my strength is literally a fraction of what it used to be.
Despite looking like I am probably ten fold stronger than I was a few years ago.
Find Balance Between The Two If That’s What You Prefer
A lot of guys will just straight up ask me, “what do I do to get shredded and gain size?”
I can’t help but shake my head because those are the 2 most counterproductive goals to each other on the planet.
Ultimately, it comes down to what is most important to you personally.
While you can stay shredded and be very strong, this combined effort to achieve both goals makes maximizing your true potential in either category impossible as they will always be hindered by your desire to not totally give up one or the other.