How To Build The Greek God Physique: Step By Step Guide – Iron Built Fitness

How To Build The Greek God Physique: Step By Step Guide


How-To-Build-The-Greek-God-Physique1.1

Let me ask you a questions:

What are you trying to achieve by going to the gym and watching your diet? Do you want to get strong? Huge? Ripped? Healthy? All four?

What I’ve noticed (and experienced myself) is that most guys are not entirely clear on what they want to achieve. Often times they mindlessly workout and simply do what they want for the day.

One day they might feel that strength is what they want, so they focus all their training and dieting efforts around getting strong. Then the next day they change their training and dieting approach because they’ve now decided health is what they want.

And guess what:

This constant jumping between different goals as well as various training and dieting strategies is one of the biggest reason people never seem to get anywhere with their fitness attempts. They lack the consistency and focus to stick to what they truly want.

What most guys really want though, is to have it all; they want to be strong, muscular, ripped and healthy. The problem is that they don’t know how to effectively work toward achieving all of these goals simultaneously, and instead they end up underachieving on all goals.

But this ends now! In this post I’m going to guide you through exactly how you can achieve all of the four goals of getting strong, muscular, ripped and healthy quickly and simultaneously by becoming laser focused on one task, which is building the Greek god physique!

What Characterizes The Greek God Physique?

The Greeks certainly understood what a strong and aesthetically appealing physique looks like. Just look at the Greek drawings and statues that they’ve created to portray their gods.

Greek-god-physique-poseidon
Statue of Poseidon.

Their gods was portrayed to have beautifully proportioned, strong and muscular physiques that are categorized by a strong V-shaped torso, sculpted shoulders, prominent square pecs, rock hard arms, a taut waist (with the “v-cut” women love) and lean and fit looking legs.

Hollywood also did a great job portraying the Greek God ideal of the male body in various movies. One movie that stands out to me is Troy, where Brad Pitt did an incredible job getting in shape to play the demigod Achilles.

brad-pitt-achilles-physique

There are several reasons for why the Greek god physique is the ultimate goal for guys who not only want to look incredible, but also want to get strong, muscular, ripped and healthy. And these reasons are:

Reason #1 – The Golden Ratio

As I wrote in my article “What’s Considered The Perfect Male Body”, the ideal male body according to women (and most men) is one that is as close to something called the Golden ratio as possible. And striving for the Greek god physique will help you build this ratio.

The golden ratio is achieved when a males shoulders become 1.6 times bigger than his waist (while being lean). In fact, the ratio 1:1.618 is an ancient mathematical principle that governs many natural laws. Laws such as the shape and proportion of the human body and even the growth pattern of plants. The Golden Ratio is actually one of the keys to the human perception of beauty and attraction.

This is the most attractive male physique according to surveys and research:

The-golden-ratio-attractive-male-physique

So, by working towards the Greek god physique you will sculpt your body into the incredibly aesthetic looking 1:1.6 golden ratio.

Reason #2 – Building Relative Strength on Key Exercises Leads to Aesthetic Proportions

When it comes to achieving the Greek god physique building relative strength (how strong you are compared to your body weight) on certain key exercises is hands down the best thing you can do! Forget about doing 20 different exercises, with high reps and chasing the pump.

What builds aesthetic proportions more effectively than anything else is getting insanely strong compared to your body weight within the 4-10 rep range on a few key exercises. Not only will getting strong help you look better but it’s also fun and healthy.

Your main goal when building the Greek god physique is working on improving your relative strength. We will go more in depth on how we do this later in this article.

Reason #3 – You Just Need to Get Lean Not Shredded

The Greek god physique promotes strength, health and well being, mainly because you don’t need to get bodybuilding shredded at 4-6% body fat. No, once you’ve built a fair amount of muscle by getting stronger, the Greek god physique will appear at around 8-10% body fat.

shredded-vs-greek-god-physique1

Being shredded at around 4-6% body fat is far from sustainable since it’s very close to essential body fat levels. Most people who naturally reach such low body fat percentages experience insatiable hunger, low sex drive, stress, strength loss and various symptoms of ill-being.

The Greek god ideal of having around 8-10% body fat on the other hand, is a very sustainable level of body fat if achieved correctly. In fact, males who are well trained and also got down to ~10% body fat correctly are among the healthiest on our planet. We will look at how to reach 8-10% body fat the right way in just a moment.


How to Built The Greek God Physique: 3 Steps

Okay, so now that we have seen all the positive benefits that you can achieve by working towards the Greek god physique, let’s get to the how shall we?

Step 1 – Dial in Your Training For Greek God Aesthetics

When it comes to building the Greek god physique, getting your training set up correctly is definitely the most important aspect of your fitness plan. Once that is covered then you will dial in your diet to sculpt out the physique of a true god.

The main objective that you’re going to have with your training is simply to improve your relative strength on a few key exercises. I remember learning about this from Greg’s Warrior Shredding Program almost 5 years ago. I never thought that simply improving my relative strength would have such a powerful effect on my physique.

But, taking my incline bench press from doing 4 reps with 50 kg (110 lbs) to doing 5 reps with 90 kg (200 lbs), and from doing 1 or 2 pull-ups with my body weight to doing 5 reps with 30 kg (65 lbs) attached in my belt, I dramatically improved my physique:

Skinny fat to ripped
You can watch (or read) about my transformation and how I did it here.

Training Objectives For Building Relative Strength

Okay, so in order to quickly and effectively build relative strength with the goal to build the Greek god physique you are going to have the following objectives:

  1. Focus on a few key exercises
  2. Train in the 4-10 rep range
  3. Focus on progressive overload
  4. Train 3 times per week

I talk more about these concepts in my article about minimalistic training, and why I think that’s the best approach to take at least during the first 4-5 years of training.

Let’s look at these one by one:

1. The Key Exercises For Building Aesthetic Proportions And Strength

Before we look at how you should train to improve relative strength, let’s first decide which exercises to use. The exercises you chose will largely impact how your physique will end up looking.

To effectively build an aesthetic looking physique that is close to the golden ratio, you should focus on the following exercises in your training program:

Main Exercises For Building The Greek God Physique:

What follows are the main exercises when it comes to building the physique of a true god. These exercises are mandatory in my opinion, and you should have a very good reason if you were to change them out.

Incline Barbell Bench Press

The incline barbell bench press is hands down the best exercise for building square looking pecs.

As opposed to the regular flat bench press (which is also a great exercise), the incline bench press target your upper pecs better, which is the region of the pecs that most people lack muscle mass, even if they become very strong on the flat bench press.

Not only that, the incline bench press also helps develop your front delts (shoulders), which is very important for achieving optimal aesthetics.

incline-bench-press-upper-pecs-and-front-delts
Incline barbell bench press mainly target these muscles, which are both required to develop for optimal aesthetics.

Weighted Pull Ups or Chin Ups

Getting strong on weighted pull ups or chin ups is your best option if you want to build wide and thick lats to promote that V-taper. Not only that, these exercises hit your biceps very hard as well.

Pull ups and chin ups are better than rows and pulldowns when it comes to developing your back because you can’t cheat the movement and use momentum to lift the weight (your muscles need to do the work).

But more importantly, pull ups and chin ups are closed chain exercises which means that your hands are fixed to the bar while your body is moving through space. Closed chain exercises lead to more effective muscle recruitment which in the long-term promotes better strength and muscle gains.

lats-pull-ups-and-chin-ups-greek-god-physique
Pull ups and chin ups helped me build this back.

Lateral Raises

Lateral raises or side raises are very important when it comes to building the Greek god physique. The reason for this is that your side delts contribute heavily to your V-taper. Larger side delts also helps you achieve perfect shoulder development and size, giving you that powerful masculine look.

I prefer doing lateral raises instead of overhead presses. The reason for this is that overhead presses mainly target your front delts, which already get targeted VERY hard when you do incline bench press. But your side delts on the other hand, won’t get hit hard from overhead presses. In fact, your side delts only get targeted effectively when you lift your arm up to the side. For this reason it’s better to target your front delts with incline bench press and target your side delts with lateral raises.

side-delts-greek-god-physique
Lateral raises is the only exercise that target your side delts effectively.

Sumo Deadlifts

When it comes to building the Greek god physique I often don’t recommend squats or leg presses etc. Why?

Well because most guys tend to develop their quads (front thighs) very quickly and making them appear much bigger than the rest of their physique. This leads to an unproportionate look for someone looking to build a Greek god body.

Not only that, big thigh muscles looks rather feminine in my eyes. In fact, the Greek god physique is characterized by lean and athletic legs that aren’t too big.

So, for building athletic legs I recommend the sumo deadlift. Not only will this exercise help you build a powerful trunk, it will also put a TON of meat on your traps. I’ve actually found deadlifting of all kinds to build my traps better than exercises like shrugs and facepulls etc.

traps-greek-god-physique
Sumo deadlifts not only build power in your legs, hips and back, but it also put some serious meat on your traps.

Assistance Exercises For Building The Greek God Physique:

The main exercises listed above will account for 70-80% of the results you will get. What follows now are a few assistance exercises that you should sprinkle in your training program in order to fill out the last 20-30% of you development.

Bent Over Flyes

By building a set of strong rear delts you will keep your shoulders balanced and healthy. This will ensure that you stay injury free from heavy incline pressing.

Not only that, growing your rear delts will provide you with those awesome looking round 3D shoulders that are a true sign of masculinity and dominance.

rear-delts-greek-god-physique
Bent over flyes is hands down the best assistance exercise for building a pair of outstanding rear delts.

Rope Extension Curls

Biceps grow fairly well from doing Pull ups and Chin ups. But most people, myself included, need to do some extra training to get our biceps to grow. This is because biceps are very fatigue resistant.

To grow your biceps optimally I recommend doing either rope extension curls or incline dumbbell curls with higher reps, shorter rest and going for the pump. The reason why I recommend these exercises is that they force your biceps to work in isolation while also getting stretched completely under load, which causes a large signal for growth.

Rope-extension-curls
This is how you do rope extension curls. By fully extending your arm behind you, your biceps will get a full stretch on each rep.

Well developed biceps are very important when it comes to achieving the Greek god physique. So make sure you incorporate some additional bicep work in your program.

biceps-greek-god-physique

Rope Extensions

The final exercise in the list of exercises that will help you achieve the Greek god physique is the Triceps rope extension.

For most people triceps grow exceptionally well from doing heavy pushing movements like incline barbell bench press. But if you want to put the finishing touch on your triceps I recommend targeting them with an assistance exercise done with higher reps, shorter rest and going for the pump.

triceps-greek-god-physique

2. Train in The 4-10 Rep Range For Quick And Effective Gains

In order to build a ton of strength I recommend that you train in the 4-10 rep range on your main exercises and in the 10-15 rep range on your assistance exercises.

I recommend that 70-80% of your training is done with you main exercises for 4-10 reps. Then the remaining 20-30% should be done with your assistance exercises for 10-15 reps.

This allocation of your training is optimal for quick strength gains and muscle growth, especially during your first 2-4 years of solid training.

Too many people do the mistake to focus only on pump training hoping that they will get big fast, but this doesn’t work nearly as well as focusing on getting stronger in a lower rep range.

Use Reverse Pyramid Training or Straight Sets

When it comes to structuring your sets during your workouts, I recommend that you either do reverse pyramid training or straight sets.

Reverse pyramid training:

Reverse pyramid training is where you start with the heaviest set first doing fewer reps with heavier loads. Then you lower your weight and do more reps on your subsequent sets. An exercise done with reverse pyramid training could look like this:

  • Set 1: 5 reps x 160 lbs
  • Set 2: 7 reps x 145 lbs
  • Set 3: 9 reps x 130 lbs

This way to train is highly effective at building strength in the beginning of your training journey because you start with your heaviest set first when you are fresh to lift very heavy (after a productive warm up of course).

You can read more about reverse pyramid training here.

Straight sets:

When doing straight sets you will do the same number of reps and weight on all your sets. An exercise done with straight sets could look like this:

  • Set 1: 5 reps x 150 lbs
  • Set 2: 5 reps x 150 lbs
  • Set 3: 5 reps x 150 lbs

As you can see, you do the same number of reps and weight on all your sets. Also, you might notice in this example that you can only do 150 lbs on all your sets as opposed to reverse pyramid training where you did 160 lbs on your first set for the same number of reps. The reason for this is that in order to complete the same number of reps on all your sets you must start with a lower weight on your first sets.

Which is better? Reverse pyramid or straight sets?

I’ve noticed that reverse pyramid training is often more effective in the beginning for most people, and especially for people who respond well to strength training.

But later once the newbie gains has been made and things start to slow down, I’ve noticed that straight sets start to slowly do better than reverse pyramid sets. This is likely because training further from failure becomes more important the more advanced you become for recovery reasons.

Another difference between the two is that reverse pyramid training is more intensity (weight on the bar) focused, while straight sets are more volume (the total amount of training you do, i.e. sets x weight x reps) focused .

Practically what this means is that people who respond very well to strength training usually do better with reverse pyramid training because they adapt well to intensity. While people who don’t respond so well to strength training respond better to straight sets because they adapt well to volume.

Now, if you are just getting started I recommend that you begin with reverse pyramid training first, as this will likely allow you to build strength and muscle faster in the beginning. Then as you progress and learn how well you respond to training you can switch to straight sets to see how you progress with that approach.

What about assistance exercises?

I only recommend that you do reverse pyramid training on your main lifts as compound exercises are more suitable for that style of training. On your assistance lifts I recommend that you do straight sets from the very beginning.

3. Focus on Progressive Overload

Progressive overload in a nutshell!

In order to build relative strength and thus promote Greek god aesthetics, training for progressive overload is hands down the most important thing you must do. If you were to take anything with you from this post it’s this concept.

If you can lift 20, 30 or 40 lbs more on your various lifts 6 months from now you will have built bigger muscles and if you manage to stay lean you will improve your relative strength and look incredible because of it.

Now, for you to increase 20, 30 or 40 lbs on your lifts within 6 months you must have a great strength progression system set up. So let’s look at that now:

Compound Lift Progression Model:

After an intense and productive strength training workout your body will recover, adapt and improve ever so slightly. In fact, an increase between 1-2.5% is usually the upper limit of what can be achieve from workout to workout. Beginners might be able to increase by 2.5% each workout while more advanced lifters might only be able to increase 1% or less per workout.

To make sure that we end up close to the top of how fast we can make progress, i.e around 2.5% increase for beginners and 1% increase for advanced we will use the following progression model:

Double Progression (first reps then load)

Double progression is a progression model where you work with a given weight until you hit the upper threshold of the rep range you are working in. For example; 3 sets x 4-6 reps. In this example you would increase the weight on the bar once you hit 6 reps on all three sets.

Here’s an example of double progression in action:

Let’s say you did bench press and it went like this:

  • Set 1: 180 lbs – 6 reps
  • Set 2: 180 lbs – 5 reps
  • Set 3: 180 lbs – 4 reps

You hit 6 reps on your first set, but then you only manage 5 reps on your second set, and only 4 reps on your third set.

Now, your goal for the next time you do bench press is to try and get more reps. As that day comes, it goes something like this:

  • Set 1: 180 lbs – 6 reps
  • Set 2: 180 lbs – 6 reps
  • Set 3: 180 lbs – 5 reps

Awesome, you added 2 reps to your bench press, sure you didn’t get 6 reps on all your sets. But, you should still view this as a very successful workout, because it’s still progressive overload!

Great, you go home, you eat and rest. Then as you come back to your next bench press workout, the following happens:

  • Set 1: 180 lbs – 6 reps
  • Set 2: 180 lbs – 6 reps
  • Set 3: 180 lbs – 6 reps (even felt easy!)

And then the next bench press workout after that…

  • Set 1: 185 lbs – 5 reps
  • Set 2: 185 lbs – 4 reps
  • Set 3: 185 lbs – 4 reps

You increased the weights, and dropped a few reps, which is completely fine. You now have the goal to add back these reps over your upcoming workouts again.

In order to make as quick progress as possible I recommend that you increase your weight with around 2.5% on your compound lifts in the beginning. This is usually done by putting 5-10 lbs on the bar each time you hit the upper threshold of the rep range you’re working in. This will likely cause you to lose a rep or two as you make the increase in weight. But this is by design, your goal is now to add back those reps over your coming workouts. Then it’s just a matter of rinse and repeat.

When you’re no longer able to increase with 5 lbs after you hit the top threshold of your rep range, I recommend that you start micro loading:

Micro Loading For Continued Strength Gains

Eventually you will start to plateau and no longer be able to hit your prescribed reps by increasing with 5 lbs. To continue making quick strength progress at this point I recommend that you start micro loading.

To be able to micro load you need to get your hands on fractional plates, because unfortunately most gyms don’t carry weights under 2.5 lbs. Ideally, you would get a set of ¼, ½ and 1 lbs plates. This would give you the luxury to increase the total weight by 0.5 lbs to 3.5 lbs and everywhere in between by the half pound.

If you workout at a gym you can easily bring these weights with you in your bag since they are only a few pounds.

If you need to get yourself a few fractional plates you can check out the ones I recommend in this post.

Assistance Lift Progression Model:

When it comes to your assistance lifts I recommend that you use the same progression model as you do for compound lfits, i.e. double progression.

The difference here is that assistance exercises are often done in isolation which means we need to use far less weight. For this reason even a very small leap in weight, let’s say from a 16 lb dumbbell to a 18 lb dumbbell is almost a 10% increase in weight.

The best way to solve this problem is to simply make the rep range larger. For example, you can go from 10-17 reps and once you hit 17 reps on all your prescribed reps, only then do you increase the weight and start over at 10 reps.

4. Train 3 Times Per Week

How often you should train, i.e. your training frequency is a VERY controverisal topic.

But, from my own experience and from people that I’ve helped build strength and muscle mass quickly, I’ve found that three strength training workouts per week is the optimal training frequency, especially during a trainees first few years of lifting.

Taking a day off from lifting between your strength training sessions allow both your muscles and your central nervous system to recover.

By lifting three times per week and taking a rest day in between your workouts you come in fresh and recharged ready to put out maximum effort on each workout. This way you will see very rapid strength and muscle gains.

There is no additional benefit from training 4, 5 or even 6 times per week. In fact, doing so will very likely make it hader for you to recover between your sessions and you will constantly come in with fatigue being unable to perform optimally.

Recommended Training Routine For Building The Greek God Physique

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Okay, so now that we’ve been through the details behind the perfect training program, let’s look at the recommended starting routine:

*This routine is based on Greg’s routine outlined in the Greek God Program that I followed in the beginning of my training journey.

Workout A: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

  • Incline Bench Press: 3 sets (RPT – 5,7,9)
  • Lateral Raises: 3 sets x 10-17 reps
  • Rope Extensions: 3 sets x 10-17 reps

Workout B: Back, Biceps, Traps, Legs

  • Weighted Pull ups: 3 sets (RPT – 5,7,9)
  • Sumo Deadlifts: 3 sets (RPT – 5,7,9)
  • Bent Over Flyes: 3 sets x 10-17 reps
  • Rope Extension Curls: 3 sets x 10-17 reps

Workout Notes:

  • Week 1: A/B/A, Week 2: B/A/B and repeat
  • Have at least 1 day of rest between your sessions

The workout routine outlined here is for beginner to novices. If you want more advanced routines as well as specialization routines to bring up certain areas, you can find these inside the Greek God Program. You can learn more about the program here.

Step 2 – Dial in Your Diet For Greek God Aesthetics

greeks-eating-food

Okay, so now that you have your training program set up correctly to build the Greek god physique, let’s move on to the diet.

Even though training is very important as it lays the foundation for how you will eventually look, your diet is the thing that will reveal your aesthetics. I like to view training as being the map or plan to your project and diet as the thing that sculpts you into a Greek God.

Diet Objectives For Building The Greek God Physique

To build the Greek god physique here are your dieting objectives:

  1. Decide if you need to focus on fat loss or muscle gain first
  2. Eat enough protein
  3. Make your diet sustainable and enjoyable

Let’s look at these one by one:

1. Should You Focus on Fat Loss or Muscle Gain?

The first thing you need to do with your diet is decide whether you should focus on fat loss or muscle growth first.

Since fat loss requires a calorie deficit and muscle growth is best achieved with a slight calorie surplus you should decide to stick with one of the two goals in order to see the quickest results. So, how do you do this?

Well, in my post; “Bulk or Cut: Should You Build Muscle or Lose Fat First?” I outlined this process originally created by Radu from Think Eat Lift:


Bulk or Cut 101

1. Get lean first – This is the foundation, which is very important. Having around 8-10 % body fat for males and 15-17 % for females is the best place to start at, both when it comes to maximizing muscle growth, and also for staying healthy.

2. Once you’re lean – That’s when you start lean-bulking using a caloric surplus that’s as big as your rate of maximum muscular potential until you’ve reached 15 % body fat for males and 25 % body fat for females. This upper point is typically when you’ve lost definition of all your abs.

3. When you reach 15 % respective 25 % – Start cutting until you’re back down to 8-10 % respective 15-17 % again.

4. Repeat – Until you’re happy with your physique or reached your genetic potential.

Advanced trainees should just use a slight caloric surplus on training days. They’re close to their genetic potential, and can’t build muscle at a pace that’s worth bulking.


So, in other words, you should ideally become lean first before you focus on muscle growth, I explain why you should become lean first in this post.

Also, you can find out your body fat percentage and actually find out what being around 10% body fat looks like here. (Link opens in new tab)

How to Set up a Calorie Deficit

So, if you’re not yet lean at around 10% body fat then you need to start your journey by getting there. Don’t worry, in the beginning most people can build a fair amount of muscle mass while dropping body fat at the same time.

To lose body fat and get lean you must be in a calorie deficit, here’s how to set the recommended calorie deficit:

  • 25-30% below maintenance calories in the beginning (Above 15% body fat)
  • 20-25% below maintenance calories as you start to get leaner (Below 15% body fat)

Use this formula to find out your maintenance calories:

  • 15 x lbs of body weight // 33 x kg of body weight

Note: The 15 x lbs of body weight will just be an estimate and it’s very unlikely that these numbers will be dead on. However, it’s a very big chance that you’ll be within shooting distance of the number you calculated.

To solve the error in calculation you can simply lower your maintenance level calories with 10% if you’re not losing body fat quickly enough, and increase by 10% if you’re losing body weight too quickly. Eventually you’ll be able to find your approximate maintenance level calorie intake.

How to Set up a Calorie Surplus

Once you’ve worked your way down to ~10% body fat, or if you are around 10% body fat as you start out it’s time to place yourself in a slight calorie surplus to promote muscle gain with minimal fat gain.

The calorie intake I recommend to build muscle with minimal fat gain is this:

  • 5-10% above maintenance calories

The calorie intake I recommend to maximize muscle growth (with some fat gain) is this:

  • 10-15% above maintenance calories

Use this formula to find out your maintenance calories:

  • 15 x lbs of body weight // 33 x kg of body weight

If you choose to go with the bigger surplus you will gain muscle and strength quicker, but you will also need to go on a cut sooner to reduce your body fat. I recommend going with the smaller surplus, but it’s totally up to you.

Either way you will likely need to cycle between bulking and cutting phases. I’ve written about the benefits of bulking and cutting cycles here.

2. Eat Enough Protein

No matter if you’re cutting or bulking you need to eat enough protein to promote muscle growth.

The protein intake needs to be lower when bulking than when cutting, but to make it easy I recommend that you eat the same number of protein both when you are cutting and when you are bulking.

Recommended Protein Intake:

  • 0.8-1 gram per pound (1.8-2 grams per kg) of body weight per day

This intake is more than sufficient to promote muscle growth both in a calorie deficit and a surplus.

3. Make Your Diet Sustainable And Enjoyable

banana-pancakes-fitness

This is hands down the most important thing to set up correctly when it comes to getting long-term results. If you can’t sustain your diet for a prolonged period of time you will eventually give up on it and don’t see the results you want.

The way to make your diet sustainable is to make it feel easy and enjoyable.

How to Make Your Diet Feel Easy And Enjoyable

This could be a whole article in and of itself, which I plan to write soon. I also have a complete dieting guide for getting ripped that covers a lot of strategies for making your diet easy and enjoyable. You can read the guide here.

But in short, the two biggest things you can do to make your diet feel more easy and enjoyable are the following:

  1. Learn about flexible dieting and IIFYM – If you can enjoy yourself occasionally while dropping body fat and building muscle, you will succeed easier.
  2. Use intermittnet fasting – With intermittent fasting you can create a large budget of calories for later in the day. This allow you to eat large fullfilling meals and also enables you to participate in social events and gatherings without fearing that you will ruin your diet.

Step 3 – Track And Measure Your Progress

After your training and diet is up and running correctly, it’s time to start tracking and measuring your progress to ensure that you remain on the right track towards building the Greek god physique.

You see, measuring and tracking progress and doing it consistently over time is extremely important if you want to be successful long-term.

The reason for this is that the body adapts. For instance, what was once a well set up calorie deficit, could after a month or two no longer be a calorie deficit at all. At this point, it might be your new maintenance and hence that you’re no longer losing fat:

caloric-deficit-slows-down

Another reason for tracking and measuring is to ensure that you’re gaining muscle with minimal fat when you’re bulking.

Simply said:

“What gets measured gets managed”

How To Measure Your Progress:

There are three measurements that you should take on a regular basis to ensure that you are on the right track, and these are:

  1. Your body weight
  2. Your body fat percentage
  3. Your strength in the gym

Let’s look at these one by one.

1. Measuring Body Weight

Just as we covered earlier in this post, fat loss requires a calorie deficit while muscle growth happens most effectively in a calorie surplus.

And under most circumstances a calorie deficit means weight loss and a calorie surplus means weight gain.

Sure, in some scenarios it’s possible to lose fat while gaining muscle simultaneously, where in this instance your body weight would remain the same. However, this very rarely happens and it’s not the most optimal approach either as it’s a fairly slow process.

So taking your body weight is a decent measurement that you’re either losing fat (during a cut) or gaining muscle (during a bulk).

However, it’s not optimal… By solely depending on the scale, you won’t know as accurately what the weight you lose are actually composed of. And that’s where the other two measurements comes in to play:

2. Measuring Body Fat Percentage (The US Navy Body Fat Formula)

The US Navy body fat percentage formula calculates your body fat percentage with a standard error deviation of only ~3%, which is very good for a formula based fat percentage tool!

By using this tool you can see how your body composition (muscle vs fat) is changing over time. Your goal over time is to get your body fat percentage to around 8-10% body fat while getting more muscular in the meantime.

The way you know that you’ve built muscle is if your body fat percentage is lower but your body weight is the same or even higher.

To use the equation, you must know your:

  • Height
  • Waist circumference (at naval)
  • Neck circumference (at narrowest).
  • Hip circumference (at widest)

Now this formula is very math intense, and that’s why I created a web based calculator for you, which you can find here:

→ Iron Built Fitness Body Fat Percentage Calculator (link open in new window)

Make sure to bookmark the webpage so you always have the tool available for measuring your progress.

3. Measuring Strength in The Gym

Just as we covered under the training part above, if your strength goes up while your body weight remains the same or go down, you are by definition improving your relative strength and hence that getting closer to achieving the Greek god physique.

Two Tracking Habits You Must Adopt to Build The Greek God Physique

What follows now are two very important habits you should adopt. I use these and I must say that they are the main reason why I’ve been able to follow through on my fitness journey and been able to see great results over time.

Habit #1 – Weigh and Measure Yourself Daily and Calculate an Average Every Week

Your body weight and measurements can fluctuate a lot from day to day duo to things like water and glycogen storage, what you’re eating, and bowel movement etc. So watching and getting upset over daily weigh ins can quickly become a neurosis.

To avoid this problem, some people weigh and measure themselves only once every 4 weeks, which is okay, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

I believe it’s better to be more in control to make sure you lose fat or build muscle on a consistent basis, so that 4 weeks don’t pass by without you making any progress. For that reason I recommend taking weekly averages of your weight and measurements instead.

And setting it up is easy, here’s what to do:


Step 1 – First thing in the morning, after you have used the bathroom and before eating or drinking anything; weigh yourself naked/in underwear and take measures of your body parts described above. Then write all of these numbers down on a paper or mobile app.

Step 2 – Once every week add the 7 numbers up and divide by 7 and voila, you’ll have your weekly averages.

It’s enough to do this only 3-4 times per week, but it’s more accurate doing it 7.

Step 3 – If you want to, you can use the body fat percentage calculator to see the difference between last week and this week, so here it is again:

→ Iron Built Fitness Body Fat Percentage Calculator


What you want is your body fat percentage to go down as you increase your strength in the gym over time.

Pro tip: Use an app like Libra if you want a quick and easy tool to track your weight and body fat percentage changes. With this app you’ll be able to easier see your weekly averages, trends and a neat graph of your progress.

how to measure fat loss progress libra

Habit #2 – Track Your Lifts in The Gym

This is very important! Make sure you write down the weights and reps you use on all your exercises in the gym.

This can be done using a lifting app, like rep count:

Or just with the plain old pen and paper.

Your goal is to always try and improve your strength in the gym overtime. Remember, if your relative strength improves your physique improves as well.

What’s Next?

Hey, there we go! Wow, you’ve just been through the three step process towards building the Greek god physique. Now it’s just a matter of implementing the stuff you’ve learned by taking action and start building the habits!

I wholeheartedly believe that the training and dieting concepts that I’ve outlined in this guide are the most reliable, easy and enjoyable ones out there for building a downright incredible looking physique. A physique that is also strong and healthy.

Now, if you are still unsure about where to start and exactly what to do to get going. Then I recommend that you get your hands on the Greek god program. This is what I did a few years back and it helped me take the guess work out of my training and dieting. All I had to do was follow the information provided and it didn’t take me long to see the results I wanted.

If you’re interested to jump on the fast track, you can read more about the Greek god program here.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas Lampi and I work as a fitness writer, nutritional consultant and personal trainer. My favourite exercise is the bench press and my favourite food is pizza!

2 thoughts on “How To Build The Greek God Physique: Step By Step Guide

  1. Hey Niclas …thanx to you i’m going to start the greek god program but i have a question
    Is it ok if i use dumbbells instead of barbells for pressing mouvement like incline and OHP?
    Or should i stick to barbells only …i wanted to use dumbbells since they give more hypertrophy in these two lifts? And when i stack out all the weights in dumbbells i’ll switch to barbells version and focus on getting stronger on them to keep progressive overload going on …i’m still a novice btw

    1. If you want to go with dumbbells for those movements it’s completely fine and as you say can improve hypertrophy on smaller stabilizing muscles as well. So, there’s no problem at all going that route 🙂

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