Stop for a minute and ask yourself, “What exactly am I trying to achieve in the gym? Why do I show up here 3-4 times a week?”
Do you want to get ripped and strong? To be healthy? A bit of both?
Most guys aren’t clear on what they want to achieve. They gain some strength and they think well I guess I’ll get even stronger. They gain some muscle and they think maybe I should get a little bigger. Or maybe it’s time to cut fat?
I’m going to suggest a focus for your training that makes everything much simpler.
It’s perfectly attainable with the amount of time you are already putting in. A goal that has a clear path and end point. You will know when you reach it.
Train to look like a Greek god.
What Does a Greek God Look Like?
The Greeks understood aesthetics. And this fact is portrayed in the way they displayed the bodies of their gods.
In their drawings, and the statues they built, their gods were perfectly proportioned with a powerful physique, strong shoulders and arms, a slim core and athletic legs.
Hollywood has done a good job of portraying the Greek god physique in movies involving powerful male characters. And for good reason. People love to see it. The Greek god physique is very attractive.
Think about the movie Troy. Brad Pitt was cast to play Achilles the Greek hero of war. During preparation for the film he built his body exactly as we imagine a mythological war hero should look. Powerful, agile, strong.
I still remember watching the movie with a female friend of mine. There is a scene in the middle of the film where Briseis (Rose Byrne) has been taken captive by Achilles and is sleeping with him in his tent. While he is sleeping Briseis comes to Achilles bed with a knife and is about to cut his throat. Just before she does it he wakes up, looks intensely into her eyes and tells her, “do it, there is nothing easier”. She stops, paralyzed by his intensity, after which he rolls her over in the bed and takes her. I remember how my friend got so excited by that scene.
The Greeks ideal male body is not based on absolute measurements. It is based on perfect ratios of different body parts.
This is good news because no matter how tall (or short) you are you can train to achieve these ratios and to achieve the look of a Greek god with your own body.
The first and most important ratio is the golden ratio (or divine proportion). The golden ratio is found everywhere in nature and on the human body.
The golden ratio is defined as (A+B)/A = A/B. It is a ratio of 1:1.618.
This appears naturally all over your body. For example, the length of your hand compared to the combined length of your hand + forearm has an approximate value of 1.618. The proportion of your upper arm to hand + forearm is the same ratio of 1.618.
Ideally, the distance from the top of your head to your fingertips vs your fingertips to the bottom of your feet is also 1.618.
The face is another great example. The head forms a golden ratio from the top of the head to the eyebrows with the eyebrows to the chin. The mouth and nose are each placed at Golden sections of the distance between the eyes and the bottom of the chin.
It’s found in waves, snail shells, snowflakes, and 1000’s of other patterns.
So how do you use this ratio to your advantage?
Fortunately, the largest application of the golden ratio in the male body is fully within your control. The ideal ratio of your shoulders to waist circumference is 1:1.618.
The closer you can get to this ratio the better looking your body will be. This is the main ratio around which the Greek god physique is based.
Male bodies with this ratio have continually scored higher on perceived attraction tests with females.
Not only have they been rated more attractive than average or fat bodies, but also more attractive than the overly developed and muscular bodies found in bodybuilders and strength athletes. The Greek god body is strong and ripped but most importantly looks natural.
The good news is it doesn’t take a lifetime of dedication to the gym and thousands of dollars in steroids to achieve. Unlike an IFBB membership.
Is there more to it than just the 1.618 ratio?
Greek God Primary and Secondary Ratios
The golden ratio (shoulders to waist) is the most important ratio for achieving the Greek god body.
However, there are other primary and secondary ratios of the Greek god body that make the overall appearance of the physique even better. We’ll look at those below.
To begin, you’ll start by taking one measurement (your height). From there all of the other ideal measurements you want to achieve will be calculated.
Height to waist ratio.
Your waist should be 43-46% of your height.
Taller or naturally skinny guys should be striving to hit closer to 43%. Shorter or naturally thicker guys should try to get closer to 46%. If you are not sure it is usually better to be closer to 43%.
I’m 5’9” tall. Therefore, I calculate my ideal waist to be between 29.7” to 31.7”.
Ideal Waist = Height (69”) x 0.43 to 0.46 = 29.7” to 31.7″.
Shoulders, arms, and neck
You’ve calculated your ideal waist size. Now use this to calculate ideal shoulder, flexed arm and neck size.
To get your ideal shoulder size multiply your ideal waist size by 1.618.
To get your ideal flexed arm and neck size multiply your ideal waist by 0.5.
To make things simple I’ll choose my ideal waist size to be 30”. Which is just above 43% of my height.
Ideal Shoulder Circumference = Ideal Waist (30”) x 1.618 = 48.5”
Ideal Flexed Arms Size = Ideal Waist (30”) x 0.5 = 15”
Ideal Neck Size = Ideal Waist (30”) x 0.5 = 15”
Focus on the primary ratios. The waist, shoulders and arms are where 90% of the look comes from.
However, for completeness we’ll discuss the secondary measurements here.
These don’t need to be perfect. But keep them in mind because if you’re too far off from these measurements it might start to look awkward.
In particular, if you completely neglect to train legs for a long time you could end up with an un-athletic, top heavy looking physique. We’ve all seen this guy in the gym. Don’t be this guy.
Continue to workout legs for strength and stability purposes. Even if you don’t need to focus on getting them bigger.
Here are the secondary numbers that work well for chest, forearm, thigh, and calf size.
Chest = 12” bigger than waist.
Calves = arms
Thighs = 0.75* waist
Forearms = 0.85*arms
Summary of Greek God Ratios and Measurements
Here is a summary of the primary and secondary ratios of the Greek god body.
I’ve also calculated the ideal Greek god measurement ranges for guys between 5’6” and 6’3”. So you can easily see your ideal measurement range here in this table.
I’ve also calculated the ideal Greek god measurement ranges for guys between 167cm and 194cm. So you can easily see your ideal measurement range here in this table.
Health Benefits of Training to look like a Greek God
A lot of people these days stick up their nose at someone who trains to look good.
They’ll say that they train to “be healthy” or “get fit”. And if you train to look good that you´re vain.
But here’s the reality.
To achieve the Greek god ratios, you are going to have to get into great shape. You will need to drop your body fat percentage to around 10% and gain considerable neuromuscular strength to build up your muscles.
You are not trying to achieve the body of a steroid using bodybuilder. This is a physique that is attained through eating extremely well and exercising consistently. If you achieve this physique you will be healthier than 90% of the people out there who train to “be healthy”.
Intuitively we know what “healthy” looks like. It looks attractive. So if are not training to look attractive you are not likely getting much healthier. The more attractive your body is in 99% of cases the healthier it will be.
Don’t confuse building the maximum amount of muscle with building an attractive physique. We are not bodybuilders. The Greek god physique is lean, strong and attractive.
This physique is also very functional. Most guys after achieving this physique will be walking around at between 155 to 180 lbs. I’m 5’9” and when I achieved it I was 167 lbs. That’s not a big and bulky body. You can be fast, agile, and not need to live in the gym or spend your life obsessing over supplements and chicken breasts.
The most important advantage of training to reach the Greek god ratios is that it brings crystal clear intention to what you are doing. This solves a massive problem that most people have with their training. People go to the gym but they don’t have a long term measurable purpose for being there.
Training to achieve the Greek god physique gives you that end goal to go after. When what you’re doing is working you know it’s working because you’re getting closer to your goal. You also know when it’s not working because you aren’t getting any closer.
With this focus and clarity, you can make the necessary changes to your workouts and diet along the way. And you will achieve far more than someone who just shows up because they want to be healthier without a real plan.
How to Become a Greek God in 3 Steps
You need to do 3 things.
- Measure yourself.
- Cut fat.
- Build strength with the muscles that matter.
Step 1: Take Your Measurements and Compare to the Greek God Ideal
Once you’ve taken your measurements compare them to the Greek god ideal range from the table. See where you have gaps and where you should start to focus.
Here is an example for a 5’9” guy.
Priorities for this guy are:
- Lose 3-4 inches on his waist
- Add 1-2 inches to his shoulder circumference
- Add 1 inch to his arms
If you were him what should you do?
Step 2: Cut fat until you’ve reached the waist size of a Greek god.
For most people (including the example above) your waist size will be more than 46% of your height. In this case the focus is simple. You need to cut fat.
You need to be slim to have the waist size of a Greek god. Most of us need to be in the 30-32” waist range. For most of us cutting fat is more important than the need to add muscle to your shoulders and arms.
Of course while you are cutting fat you will continue to strength train. Your goal will be to cut fat while maintaining and maybe even gaining a bit of muscle. But your top priority is to cut fat until you reach a height/waist ratio of 46% or less.
I’ve written a step by step guide on how to diet to lose fat in my article “The 30 Minute Plan: Minimal Time for Maximum Fat Loss” which you can follow by clicking here.
Step 3: Build Strength on the exercises that will help you achieve a 1.618 shoulder to waist ratio.
For anyone who already has achieved the waist size of a Greek god your top priority is to gain muscle on your upper back, chest, shoulders and arms while maintaining your waist between 43 to 46% of your height.
You’ll do this by consistently gaining strength on the exercises that support muscle growth on these parts of the body.
You don’t need to “bulk up”. Eating anything and everything in an attempt to add muscle is a recipe for getting fat again. Maintaining a low body fat and building strength over time is the way to achieve the Greek god body.
A lot of guys get into a cycle of bulking, then cutting, bulking, then cutting and end up just spinning their wheels for years without making the progress they want.
Gain strength consistently and slowly on your upper back, chest, shoulders and arms. Stay lean. And watch as your Shoulder to Waist ratio gets closer and closer to 1.618 over the months.
A note on posture.
Greek gods have great posture. They don’t look like gorillas with their arms and shoulders rounded over and their heads lurched forward. While you are working towards your Greek god ratios be sure to fix your posture as well if you need to.
If you have any questions about how to improve your posture, I have you covered. Check out the 3 exercises I used after 8 months of experimentation to fix my posture by clicking here.
Sample 8 Week Training Program to Achieve the Greek God Physique
This is the training program that I used in the final months before I achieved the Greek god physique. It can be done whether you are currently focusing on cutting fat or focusing on building up your shoulders and upper body.
If you are dieting to cut fat this program will support you to maintain lean muscle mass while you reduce the size of your waist.
If you are dieting to gain lean muscle this program will support you to gain strength and muscle while maintaining a lean waist and low body fat percentage.
There is some debate as to whether you should work out three, four or more times per week for the best results. I believe the answer is unique to each person and depends on your lifestyle, stress factors, and how much time you actually want to spend in the gym.
There are a lot of good programs out there that can help you build a Greek god physique. Just make sure you are focusing on building the muscles that enhance your golden ratio and tracking progress over time.
This program has you in the gym 3 times per week. I’ve had great success with it. And I personally like to get the maximum gains while spending the least amount of time in the gym.
Track Your Progress
Every four weeks retake your measurements to see if you are progressing or not.
If you are progressing, Great!
If not, why not?
Take an honest look at your training, diet, and lifestyle choices from the last four weeks and make the necessary changes if needed.
Use a table like this to track your measurements.
Keep measuring and making changes until you get your waist to measure between 43 to 46% of your height and your shoulder to waist ratio to 1.618.
Congratulations, you are now a Greek god.
I’ve Achieved the Greek God Physique. Should I Be Happy Now?
It feels cool to have the physique of a Greek god. It’s a nice accomplishment, and it takes a lot of hard work and discipline to get there. So when you achieve it be proud of yourself.
Just remember that achieving a badass physique is like any other personal-improvement goal. It’s for YOUR personal improvement. Not for anything outside of yourself.
If you want to look like a Greek god because you feel like you’re inadequate as you are now, then I have bad news. You’ll feel inadequate as a Greek god too. There are a lot of jacked guys out there who hate themselves.
When you hit the 1.618 ratio people don’t start lining up to congratulate you. Women won’t start falling from the sky into your bed. And although you may look like one, you’re still not quite a god.
However, if you treat it as a personal goal and you learn to be secure with yourself as you are now, then it’ll be that much more badass when you do reach the Greek god physique.
When you’ve achieved the Greek god physique you’ll be healthier and better looking. You’ll have learned a lot along the way about incremental progress, taking feedback, and being consistent.
So not only now do you look awesome but you can apply these lessons to achieving any other goal you want to accomplish in your life.
Thanks for reading.
If you have any questions about the article or anything else fitness related in general hit me up at email@example.com or comment below.