Most physique photos online have been filtered, doctored, or “favorably lit.”

And many physique models lie about their diet and drug use and even their training info.

But I’ll indulge the accompanying fantasy to make a point.

This dude, Helmut Strebl, is one of the most shredded guys on the internet. Google him. Just prepare to feel like a fat turd. Here’s an example image that’s floating around online. (It might also come up if you google “shredded.” No, really.)

Recently, a flimsy article ran with Helmut’s image and the usual clickbait to “see his secret diet and training.”

The diet was ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT—but at least the graphic implied Helmut isn’t eating much when sucking down to an anatomy chart:

screenshot of supposed diet of strebl, showing not a lot of calories

When I speak to other coaches, we all say the same thing: guys who’ve never been lean before expect to get there way too fast eating way too much.

The standard story:

  • They’re currently 210 lbs and 12% bodyfat but it’s more like 210 lbs at 20%; or, more succinctly, too fat to worry about a bodyfat percentage.
  • They expect to get ripped in 14 weeks and peak at 190, but they usually need that long just to get to visible abs, and if they do make it all the way, they’ll be under 170.
  • They vow to never go below 2,400 calories but don’t start dropping until under 2,000. And towards the end (if they stick it out) it will be under 1,500 calories — aka what Arnold dieted on because he didn’t have a speedy metabolism.

Hell, according to his coach, big Ronnie Coleman was under 1,000 calories at the very end when winning his first Olympia.

The late John Meadows, before turning pro, had calories down to a whopping 800. We’re talking egg whites and a teaspoon of ketchup.

And those men are among the best in the world. Gifted, dedicated, enhanced — and just really good at this stuff.

So if they have to suffer towards the end doing hours of cardio and eating little more than vapor and regret, can you really expect to get anywhere close eating 2,400 calories a day with a full cheat day? Not realistic.

Yes, there are exceptions. But most tales of getting super lean on lots of food are fairy tales.

Or people confuse the terms “in shape” with “very lean” or the more extreme but way overused “shredded.”

Don’t believe me? Poke Helmut in the pancreas and ask him. I’m sure he’ll agree.

– Coach Bryan