Posted 22 October 2014 by Dave Cunningham

10 Tips: How To Build A

Fitness Model Physique

Dave Cunningham's top 10 tips on how to
build a fitness model physique

People are always asking me, whether it is on social media, at expos or in the gym, how did you build your physique? Well here are my top 10 tips that helped me and could possibly help you to reach the physique of your dreams.


1 - Nutrition is king

A solid diet should be the staple part of anyone's fitness lifestyle as, although the physique you have will be the result of the hard work that you've put in at the gym, that hard work will be lacking if your body isn't getting fuelled properly. So try to implement these changes:

1-1.2g of protein per pound of body weight.

1.5-2.5g of carbohydrates per pound of body weight.

0.35-0.4g of fats per pound of body weight.

2 - Work your arse off

Now granted, some guys are genetically blessed with the ability to build muscle fast or to stay shredded all year round, however their genetics bear no relevance to your training. A pal of mine once said to me "you know that you're not blessed with good genetics, but there's no reason that you can't get to where you want to be, you've just got to outwork everyone else". So never stop grinding, no-ones going to give you the physique of your dreams and it's not going to happen overnight but if you keep on the grind, and I mean really grind, you will get there.

3 - Consistency, consistency, consistency

There's the old saying, "don't be mad at the results you didn't get from the work that you didn't put in". And it's true, if you skip sessions, go out binge eating and partying, then don't be shocked by what you see in the mirror. Don't get me wrong, you've got to have a life and life is about living, but life is compiled of priorities, and you've just got to find out where yours lie.

4 - Stay hydrated

From working in gyms and training people for many years, I see people oh too often training without a water bottle or sports drink, which isn't going to make for a productive workout. As little as 2% hydration can affect sports performance, and the body's muscles are made up of between 65-70% of water, so don't deny them what they need.

5 - Get smart with supplements

I get asked all the time "what are the best supplements on the market?” well this depends heavily on you and your goals (for instance, you're not going to do so well on a cutting plan if you're taking 2-3 weight gainer shakes a day). My advice always has and always will be optimum nutrition products. They are the premium brand on the market and have won more awards for their products than any other supplement brand, so if you want to perform the best, you've got to use the best.

However, the staples to getting that fitness model physique as far as supplementation goes are as follows:

Whey isolate/whey hydrosolate - It's a great cost effective way and easy to consume to hit your daily macro targets

Bcaas - They make up 35% of the essential amino acids in muscle protein. This will aid with recovery, sports performance and help to stabilise blood sugar levels.

Multi-vitamins - Sometimes through dieting you might not always be getting the right minerals, vitamins and micro nutrients that you require, so always be sure to include a strong multi-vitamin to help with all round health and to keep immunities high.

Joint care supplement - This can be a fixture of oils or glucosimine supplement, but never neglect your joints as they take a massive strain too during those heavy lifts, so for longevity in your training, be sure to look after those joints.

6 - Set goals

Training without a goal is like driving a car with no destination. You will eventually tire of the journey and give up, so be sure to set yourself short term, medium term and long term goals to help you stay focused and on track. When I'm prepping for a competition, it's normally a 12-16 week process, which can be a daunting concept, but broken down into daily, weekly, quarterly and monthly targets makes the process a hell of a lot easier and makes the process enjoyable because you keep striving and you always make sure to give your best.

7 - Get some rest

The body makes it greatest gains while at rest, so never neglect your downtime with friends and family, this will help to reduce stress levels, as heightened levels of stress can inhibit gains. But most important is your sleep. Your body is like a machine running on a charged battery, if you run that battery down, it's going to need to reserve it's energy for the most important of functions, just as your body does. So be sure to get a solid 7-8 hours of good sleep each night to give your body a chance to relax and recover from the hours of hard work and strain you're putting your body under.

8 - Train your body, not your ego

We all want to make gains and progressions in the gym, and sometimes our eyes can be bigger than our bellies when it comes to some of the major lifts, and we've all done it at some stage, pushed a little further than we should have. But being able to achieve that ideal physique means staying consistent in your attempts, so make sure to do everything you can to keep injuries to a minimum, because you're not going to do well in developing your body if you can't train due to injuries and set backs. So always be sure to warm up and cool down properly as this will help with performance and recovery.

9 - Love what you do

Building the physique you've always wanted can be one of the most satisfying feelings ever, knowing that what you have achieved was every ounce of your hard work and determination, no-one gave it to you, you earned it. But if you don't enjoy what you're doing then the outcome won't be quite as fulfilling. I wake up early some days and struggle to sleep from time to time because my passion and love for what I do gives me such an energy that keeps me buzzing and motivated, but that's mainly because I know what I am capable of, and that's why I love it because the outcome lies with me. So love what you do - you'll put more into it that way and as a result, you'll get more back.

10 - Stay humbled

I have seen so many people in this industry achieve a certain status and success and all of a sudden forget where they came from. This can, as a result, knock you down from where you have risen to and the fall can be quite a reality check to some. So no matter of the success I have achieved or have yet to achieve, I always remember who I am, why I started, where I came from, and the people who supported me along the way. Every follower/supporter I get, every nice comment, every ounce of support still means as much to me now as it always has done because I wanted to make my mark on the industry by inspiring others to pursue their dreams, and I know that I wouldn't have been able to pursue my own dreams without the strong support and encouragement from family and friends.

Written by Dave Cunningham

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