Have you ever noticed every Roman statue was carved from a built man? They were built like beasts, a sight to behold. But how is it possible that men of these times, were in such excellent shape? Especially when comparing them to men in current times; often a beer belly and weak. In this article, we will dive into what it takes to build a statue-worthy physique to be proud of.

Before we get started, I just want to state that it’s an honor to be asked by my dear friend, Limitless, to contribute to his blog. I have put my best efforts into writing this post for you. I hope you will get something out of it, and most of all are entertained. Let’s dive into it. 

First, we got to understand that our lives today, are nothing compared to those of men in ancient times. While they had to work hard to feed their families, we order Mcdonald’s through Uber Eats whilst watching Netflix. An odd comparison, to say the least. But what has changed? And how have we become such docile, weak creatures? 

Here is how men in ancient times got in shape, and how you can too.

1. Weight lifting

The first, and most obvious, is resistance training. This practice was popular long before bulking culture made it known in today’s world. The Romans used physical training as a way to prepare themselves for battle. They were putting their bodies to the test long before fancy dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, and machines. They lifted weights by lifting and throwing stones, wrestling, and rope climbing. 

Weight training today gets overcomplicated. The idea is often that working out needs to be fun. And sure, you must enjoy it to some extent or else you wouldn’t continue doing it. But you don’t make it more fun by overcomplicating things. Be simplistic about working out. You don’t need 89 accessory exercises to build a good physique. The Romans threw stones, so you don’t need to do 8 sets of single-arm alternating explosive dumbbell shoulder presses to get built either.

Instead, do the following.

  • Focus on compound exercises (presses, squats, rows, pulls, and carries)
  • Lift heavy and close to failure (intensity > volume)
  • Lift 3-5 times per week
  • Train each major muscle group (chest, back, legs) at least 2 times per week
  • Train alone or with a serious training partner (no in-between)

By sticking to this protocol for weeks on end, and by paying attention to other strategies in this article, you will get big. Guaranteed.

Here’s a 3-day per week full body training split you can use:

Training 1 – to build a statue-worthy physique

A. Deadlifts3 x 6-8
B1. Dips3 x 6-10
B2. Chin Ups3 x 6-10
C. Elevated Heel Kettlebell Front Squats3 x 15-20
D1. Dumbbell Shoulder Press3 x 10-15
D2. Barbell Pendlay Rows3 x 10-15
E. Push Ups3 x to 2 RIR*
F. Lateral Raises3 x to failure

Training 2 – to build a statue-worthy physique

A. Squats3 x 6-8
B1. Incline Bench Dumbbell Press3 x 6-10
B2. Pull Ups3 x 6-10
C. Deficit Kettlebell Suitcase Deadlift3 x 15-20
D1. Dumbbell Flies3 x 10-15
D2. Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows3 x 10-20
E. Dumbbell Bicep Curls3 x 12-16
F. Lateral Raises3 x to failure

* Reps in reserve: the number of reps until absolute failure

Just alternate these two workouts on training days.

2. Physical work and activity

The second factor to their well-built physiques was that almost all Roman men did some sort of work using their bodies. Think of chopping trees, plowing fields, digging out huge rocks, or building structures of dizzying magnitude that still stand today. As if that wasn’t enough, these men had to do everything themselves outside of work.

  • Need a house? You build one
  • Want to eat? Work the land
  • Want to see family across the country? Walk or ride the horse (yes, this is exhausting)

The Romans didn’t rely on machines like we do today. They used their bodies every day just to do basic tasks. They could not order Uber Eats, hire a contractor, or call their families. Everything they did, required physical presence. Adopting this mindset will do a lot for your vitality and overall quality of life, and in turn help you build a statue-worthy physique.

You can implement this into your day-to-day by

  • Getting in 10,000+ steps every day
  • Standing at least every 30 mins
  • Getting outside at least every 2 hours 
  • Doing basic tasks like cleaning and chores yourself

Adopt an active lifestyle to become healthy.

3. Whole foods diet to build a statue-worthy physique

Ask yourself: What does the diet of an average person look like? Probably something like

  • Sugary cereal for breakfast
  • Some kind of cheese and ham atop some bread for lunch
  • A buck load of potato fries with low-quality meat and a tiny bit of vegetables for dinner

It surprises me that some people do not understand why they are feeling so bad all the time. Low energy, low drive, and a negative attitude towards life. Instead of altering their diet, they resort to chemicals to feel better. 

Instead, I would recommend, paying attention to what your ancestors did. What did they eat? Definitely no cereal. No, the Romans ate what was available. This meant that their diet often consisted of (a combination of) some form of

  • Fresh meat and fish
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • Fresh dairy
  • Fresh GMO-free bread

Can you see the pattern here? Indeed, fresh. They ate mostly protein and fats, as well as mostly unrefined carbohydrates (in the form of fruit and vegetables) and some refined carbohydrates (in the form of freshly baked bread). There were no ways to store food, as there were no fridges. This meant fresh food or no food. Also, there were no big corporations that would monetize food production on a large scale. People provided for themselves. This means no pesticides or excessive processing of foods. 

To implement this into your day-to-day, do this:

  • Buy at local farmers or markets
  • Avoid supermarkets
  • Avoid seed oils
  • Avoid refined sugars
  • Eat single ingredients

Basically, if it has colorful packaging do not eat it. See also: How to optimize your brain for peak performance to complement your journey

4. Survival of the fittest

Charles Darwin was right. We have been developed to strive for being the fittest. Why? Because in nature we would not survive otherwise. Obesity in the U.S. has nearly tripled in the last 50 years. In 2016, 39% of adults aged 18 or over (world population) were overweight. 13% were obese. An honest question to ask ourselves here is: “How would these people have faired in nature about 5,000 years ago?”. Let’s just leave it at the fact that nature can be a harsh place. 

In ancient times, the weak and sick would simply die off as they couldn’t survive without healthcare available. And that is how nature operates. Because the sick were not kept alive for so long, the strong and fit were left to flourish. There were more resources and riches for them to gather. And so, the weak got weaker and the strong got stronger. 

Therefore, my friend, you must become the fittest you can possibly be. It is in your nature. Trust me when I say this: You will all of a sudden feel more alive, aligned, and enthusiastic about life when you change your lifestyle. Everything is connected. The food you put in your body, the way you move your body, and your mind.

Work this into your day-to-day through

  • Avoiding refined sugars
  • Using the natural cleansing mechanisms of your body by prolonged fasting (24-72 hours)
  • Using natural medicine like herbs
  • Doing more fulfilling tasks for natural dopamine (like cleaning your house, and doing chores yourself)

By applying these methods to your modern life, you will tap a little bit more into your ancestral instincts. If you ask me, this is what is needed to turn the tide of the world’s health. Because we are more inflamed and sick than ever before.

Concluding, to build a statue-worthy physique like a Roman warrior you must

  1. Endeavor in physical training
  2. Adopt an active lifestyle
  3. Eat a whole foods diet
  4. Stay away from artificial healthcare

Having accumulated this knowledge on How to build a statue-worthy physique, it’s time to take action. Get after it, my friend. The time is now.

I want to thank you for reading this post. It was very fun to write and I hope you got something out of it. The Romans definitely knew the best way to live. We must learn this from them. 

If you want to read more of my writings, check out my Twitter page. It’s the place where I write daily content on what it takes to be a man, how to become disciplined, and how to become an independent critical thinker.

As always, thank you for reading!

I sincerely thank Max from Power of Values for providing us with such a powerful article about getting shredded like a statue.

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