Zyzz was an Australian bodybuilder and internet phenomenon, who gained popularity through his aesthetic physique, radical body transformation, and positive outlook on life. Zyzz was a self-proclaimed ectomorph and video game nerd, who was naturally scrawny but had a burning desire to change himself for the better. He set forth the goal of becoming a bodybuilder but not with the goal of acquiring as much mass as possible, rather, to get the lean and tapered physique of Golden Age bodybuilders. Zyzz’s transformation over a few short years was obvious and amazing, through diet plus hard work in the gym, he went from a skinny teenager to a guy people still refer to as the Father of Aesthetics. His confidence grew along with his muscles and he garnered more acclaim, women, and fans worldwide who still draw inspiration from the life of Aziz. Unfortunately, Aziz died at the age of 22, from a reported heart defect. Yes, he also admittedly took cycles of steroids, however, his legend is not just based off of his physique alone. Literally thousands of young men got inspired to change their lives and get themselves into the gym because of Zyzz’s message during his life and after his death that, “We’re all gonna make it!” Through Zyzz’s words, writings, interviews, and other bodybuilding resources, this post will attempt to put forth a plan to attain a physique like Zyzz without using any drugs whatsoever. I will lay out a dietary plan and workout routine that can be followed to achieve a transformation over a period of time to get people mirin’.
The most important aspect of getting into great shape is diet. What you put into the body will effect what you get out of it. Now, how one eats will determine whether muscle mass is gained or fat is lost. For people who want to first gain muscle a clean bulk would be the way to go. A beginner could expect to gain 12 to 15 pounds of lean muscle mass in 6 months if they do everything right with their diet, workout, and recovery. Eating enough calories is often a hurdle people must face when doing a bulk. Muscle requires plenty of fuel in order to grow so eating is a huge part of that. An easy way to add calories to a diet is by simply adding larger portions to each meal. Almost to the point that if you arent eating you arent growing. This can further be accomplished with weight gainer shakes. This doesn’t mean eat whatever you want without consequence. You will gain fat on a bulk but how much fat you gain is up to the type of foods you eat. Junk food equals a junk body no matter what your workout is.
One way to stay on track with a diet whether you are bulking or cutting is by eating the same basic foods just changing the portions to control calories. I assess each meal as a protein good carb and usually green veggies. I also allot 15 to 20 percent of my diet for fat intake as this ensures optimal hormone production. A real simple dinner would be chicken, brown rice, and a pile of veggies. Baked potatoes could easily be subbed for the rice and fish or lean steak could be swapped for the chicken. Either way, it becomes really simple to stick to a diet when you build around staple foods that are filling and nutritious. If I want more muscle, all I do is add more of these foods to each meal and when I want to cut ill subtract or cycle the carbohydrates which I’ll get to below.
Carb cycling can be introduced after a bulk in order to help lose fat while maintaining muscle mass as much as possible. It essentially means, to cycle between low carb days and high carb days. On low carb days, the body switches to fat storage for energy instead of the simple carb sources it normally gets. If introduced slowly and effectively carb cycling can be a great fat burning tool and ramped up over the course of the cutting phase. For example, one really effective method is the two low carb days followed by a high carb refuel day. This really torches fat in my experience. Low carb is usually between 50 and 100 grams of carbs on those days but can be none at all also.
Overall, the diet doesn’t change very much just the carbs are removed in favor of more protein and healthy fats. this allows one to stay full and have more energy while burning fat. Zyzz stated in the video below that he liked to cut carbs out in order to enter ketosis and really cut the fat but it can be hard to do or even maintain for most people. Carb cycling is a slower approach but much more manageable for the long haul. It’s a lot easier to cut carbs for 2 days and then refuel than to have to make that a diet for weeks on end and then have to re-acclimate to carbohydrates which can lead to weight gain.
On those low carb days, it becomes important to add extra protein and fats to the diet. I will generally consume an extra protein shake, take a few more fish oil capsules, and just try to get some extra portions of chicken if my caloric intake allows it for that week. One great trick to stay full without adding extra calories or too many carbohydrates is by eating lots of green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach. Not only will these foods help to keep one feeling full, they will also help with keep fiber intake high to aid in proper digestion of all of the protein. Here is a short video of Zyzz talking about his own transformation and how he approached working out and dieting.
It is important to have a solid muscular foundation before starting a cutting cycle, after all, whatever fat you have to lose will only reveal being skinny and not ripped. Zyzz said it himself, that he pretty much wasted the first year of his training because he didn’t research and tried to figured everything out on his own. That’s why from a dietary aspect, if one wants to gain muscle, then beginning with a bulking phase is probably a good way to go. That way after 3-6 months or even up to a year of a clean bulk, a cutting phase can begin and reveal a great looking physique that has been chiseled.
Zyzz’s own personal advice on the subject was to cut out the crap (fast foods, snacks, processed foods) as well as the empty liquid calories (soda, other sugary drinks) and replace them with whole foods and water or green tea. He also ate up to seven meals a day in order to keep his metabolism higher, generally, cutting down on carbs towards the end of the day if he wasn’t already doing a ketosis diet. Like I said, it is a real basic set up:
- meat (or other protein)
- Good Glycemic Index Carb source (brown rice, sweet potato, whole wheat pasta, etc.)
Stick with those groups and try to manipulate either the portions in order to grow more muscle or lose fat and/or experiment with the carbohydrate side of things since it can allow for fat loss as well.
Zyzz was a big believer that one should build a solid foundation first and then chisel out the frame from there. This is the same advice that Arnold Schwarzenegger gives in his Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. In order to do this, Zyzz recommended doing squats, deadlifts, bench press, and other compound movements to build plenty of strength and functional muscle. It is claim that these types of movements will give a body that thicker and denser look. While it is true that these movements can have a great effect on the body, they also can put people at injury risk because of poor form or increased strain on the joints. I know plenty of people who cannot deadlift or choose not to anymore precisely because of that reason. So, beginner’s definitely need to learn how to properly perform these movements if they are going to attempt them at all.
Zyzz liked to workout 5 days per week with the following schedule:
Saturday: Full Body Routine
It is interesting how he included a full body workout on Saturday to further strengthen himself and promote extra growth. This type of workout could include pull ups, squats, deadlifts, and abdominal work. Other than that each muscle group received one direct workout per week and then were only used as secondary or helper muscle groups after that. Others, like Schwarzenegger for example would do a six day per week routine in which is group got worked two or three days per week. Keep in mind that both of these guys did do cycles of drugs, which would have helped them to recover faster and build muscle more quickly. The average growth rate is going to be much slower, but great results are still attainable.
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