What does it really take to achieve a "complete physique"?
It's more than just getting your reps in or eating celery all day.
Transformation specialist and author, Hollis Lance Liebman, explains in a very detailed fashion how to eat clean, burn fat, and build lean muscle in his new book, Complete Physique.
The book contains information on the type of workouts that give you the greatest results, diet and nutrition tips, supplementation information, and even resources for online support.
Listen as Liebman joins host Lisa Davis to share more from the book, as well as his many years of expertise in the health and fitness arena.
Achieving a Complete Physique with Hollis Lance Liebman
This episode of Talk Fitness is in partnership with The Vitamin Shoppe, where knowledgeable health enthusiasts are standing by to help you thrive every day.
Lisa Davis (Host): So glad you’re listening to Talk Fitness Today and I’m thrilled to have back on the show, the wonderful Hollis Lance Liebman. We’re going to talk about his latest book Complete Physique Your Ultimate Body Transformation, Eat Clean, Burn Fat, Build Lean Muscle. Hello there Hollis. Welcome back.
Hollis Lance Liebman (Guest): Oh, thank you so much for having me. Happy New Year and really thanks for having me back. It’s really cool.
Lisa: Well we had a great time and we talked all about stretching that incredible book the 1500 Stretches and now you have got this book and I meant to say in the title, Your Ultimate Body Transformation and it really is. I mean you don’t miss a thing. And I have to say, these photos are fabulous.
Hollis: Thank you.
Lisa: You are looking quite fit.
Hollis: Well thank you, thank you. I think you know in life, if you get the opportunity to do projects you love, this is certainly one of them and for me at the very top of the list, even rarer does all the – do all the stars line up and for this book everything worked out just perfectly. I mean down to the publishing. They gave me my cover. I don’t know if listeners know this but unless you are Stephen King or a big-time author, I’m not there yet or there; you don’t get to choose your cover. So, the fact that I even got to – I begged and pleaded and cajoled and they gave me my cover said it’s just everything. Everything lined up perfectly. I’m very thankful to be in this spot to share this work with the world.
Lisa: Oh, well I’m so glad. I can’t imagine them not wanting this cover. It’s you and this gorgeous woman standing on a beach and there’s this cool looking rock thing behind you and the water is blue and lovely and the foam of the waves and your bodies, I mean what’s not – what’s better than this?
Hollis: Well, I’d say specifically we spent maybe an hour maybe an hour and a half on cover photos and a million degrees of them and I think a quick funny story I can share with you is the final cover is me in short which I thought was appropriate but we took some takes with me in like a bodybuilding, not a thong but posing trunks which are very skimpy and I had not worn such things in many years because I don’t compete anymore and when I put them on, let’s just say, it was a little chilly on the beach and for some reason, there were a lot of passerby’s and there were tourists and people taking photos and it was an interesting feeling and I put my shorts on rather quickly after that. I’ll just say that.
Lisa: So, some people you don’t know out there have pictures of you in that little thing you are talking about.
Hollis: Ah, yes. And somewhere out there and yeah there’s no. It was fun.
Lisa: Well, it sounds like it was great. Okay so you know you actually did – I like to plan ahead and write questions and sometimes its like oh what should I ask and this and that. Well you in your chapter 2, my gosh, you have all these fantastic questions. I’m going to ask some of these, you have these myths, debunked and truisms. So, for example, one of them is shouldn’t I lose weight before I actually start weight training? And I thought that was interesting. Talk to us about that.
Hollis: Well in my experience especially in my role as my other role is personal trainer; a lot of people are like Hollis I really want to start. I’m just going to lose weight first and I always try to say whether you start with me or not, because for some people it’s a financial thing and I try to get that out of there quickly. So, I go whether you start with me or not, or start on your own, if you lose weight first and I don’t like that word because it doesn’t tell us what we are losing, weight is a general term and we are losing water, muscle and fat, so basically by losing weight first, and then sort of building from there or going from there; it’s like we’re doing double the work. We are jettisoning precious muscle tissue which the body is going to use for fuel and it’s just doing a great disservice. I think what people are saying is I don’t know the gym, I’m uncomfortable there and I don’t know that world and I’m just going to do it in this sort of way, but what I’m trying to say in the book is that the gym is for everybody and this takes me to another story I was going to share, but I do want to answer your question.
So, the best way to do it is from day one, is to have a sound structure of training as a leg, nutrition as a leg, recuperation as a leg, cardio as a leg. If all four legs are strong, you are complete. You are going to have everything working for you. By rolling in and saying I’m going to lose weight first is a great disservice. It’s making it in my opinion, harder on yourself in the long run.
Lisa: That makes so much sense. Tell us the story that you just mentioned you wanted to share.
Hollis: The story I’m going to mention this at the book signing in a few days at the Augusta Georgia Barnes and Noble for the premiere, but the story I’m going to mention is many years ago I was – I started training at 13, I’m 42 now and my mother and I happened to be at the YMCA on night and my mother was – I could talk hours about her, we are not here for that. But she was just a magical selfless person and she brought her son there to then feed my love of body building and bettering myself because I was former victim of a bullying and while my mother was in the pool area, I was working out and there was an older gentleman there and I saw my mother come through the hallway and this guy who didn’t know that was my mother or our relationship, made a derogatory comment about my mother’s weight. And I’m 13, this guy is much bigger than me. I remember I didn’t go along with it and I didn’t laugh but I felt really crappy inside and I swear to you from that moment on, at 13, I realized the gym is for everybody, how dare anybody make fun of anybody and it really pissed me off for lack of a better word. So, what I can tell you about theme of this book is it is a book for everybody. I don’t like when people don’t feel comfortable at the gym. They have as much right there as anybody else. To me, it is the great equalizer whether you are rich, poor, white, black, it doesn’t matter. The gym is – we are all there, it’s our classroom to get better and I learned that lesson that night at the YMCA those many years ago.
Lisa: I am so glad. That must have been so hard, and I hope you didn’t beat yourself up too much because you were a kid, right and it’s hard to confront an adult like that and especially one that you don’t know and he’s bigger than you. But I think it’s great that it in terms of it helping shape that concrete idea that in your belief because I feel the same way and I feel like people do turn away from the gym if they aren’t in great shape, but the whole point is to get in shape is to go to the gym. So, it’s like that vicious circle where you feel like you’re not welcome there and there are some really funny commercials now. I can’t remember the gym but it’s basically it’s trying to say that message that here we don’t judge, just come and work out.
Hollis: Yeah, it’s true and you know it is human nature to look. We are going to look at the person next to us and in front of us and compare ourselves whether conscious or unconsciously we do that. But I think that we have to look in the mirror and I say it all the time, but our competition is ourselves. For this book Complete Physique, my competition, I wanted to better my condition over the book previous to it and I did, and it didn’t matter to me about what anybody else looked like, it was just the war against myself and to me, that’s what this whole thing is about. Bettering ourselves. Now we do look at Instagram and social media for inspiration, but I think it can be very damaging when we see people up there and we think oh, I don’t have self-worth, I don’t look like that all the time.
I’m going to tell your listeners right now. I myself am in an off-season sort of mode right now. I myself do not look as ripped or as complete if you will as the cover of my very book and you know what, that’s okay because this is a marathon, not a sprint and I know you have heard that. This is a lifestyle and we can’t always floor the pedal. We have to know in life when to let up on the gas a little bit. I’m just here to say this is for everybody, everybody can better themselves and to me body building just saved my life and also and I know I’m babbling, but body building should not be thought of as a four-letter word. Body building is what we all want. Who doesn’t want to lose body fat and gain lean muscle? I mean that’s what body building is and that’s what we are here to do. So, it’s a love affair that can be had by all.
Lisa: Oh, I completely agree. You know I want to get into this title. Complete Physique Your Ultimate Body Transformation, Eat Clean, Burn Fat, Build Lean Muscle. I’d love for you to spend a few minutes on each of these. Eat clean, what that means to you, some of the highlights for burning fat and then some of tips for building lean muscle.
Hollis: Sure. Eating clean to me basically denotes eating as close to the way food has been placed on this earth. It means little processed food. It means breads, pastas, cereals, things that are manmade should be jettisoned or lessened from I don’t even like the word diet; but from our nutritional intake. Clean fuel or least processed food will give us sustained energy throughout the day. To me, clean eating is about taking control. It’s about beyond thinking ahead and taking a few minutes each night to prepare food for work or school of what have you the next day. It’s about learning about the art of eating out food almost anywhere and get something healthy. You don’t have to succumb to peer pressure or to just saying oh I blew it, here we go again. It’s about taking control and just knowing that food is medicinal, but it is also fuel, and we have control. It should not control us. To me, that’s what eating clean is really about.
Lisa: I love that.
Hollis: The next thing was burning fat. Well burning fat is of course we have all heard, the more lean muscle mass we have, the more calories of fat we burn. So, it does it implore us to yield more lean muscle mass. Burning fat is basically taking in enough quality calories and it’s also about eating to lose. Most people think if I’m going to lose weight, if I’m going to burn fat, I’m going to have to eat less. Not necessarily. You can still eat quite a bit of volume of clean unprocessed food, you must eat to lose. If you eat good fats, i.e. avocadoes, nuts, ham and lean beef and things like that, your body will actually burn fat. So, burning fat is also the hybrid of resistance training, weight training, cardiovascular work, recuperation and of course eating clean.
All of those things work together to power the machine that is you to burn fat. Everything works cohesively, when applied and then another quick, quick story, but when I auditioned the model, Sarah, who was just perfect for this book. I am so thankful to have worked with her. I remember I auditioned her, we met, I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. She looked amazing. I booked her right there. And it was funny because I think it was six weeks after we met that we went to go shoot. So, as soon as we went to shoot the book, my shirt came off because I had to, and it was funny her reaction. She had said to me something to the effect of well I didn’t know you looked like that. And I just sort of smirked and I guess my point is a lot of times we don’t know what’s in front of us, we judge. When I get ready for these things, I get as lean as I can in a healthy way over the 12-week progression just like my book suggests and teaches and a lot of times, people will not know what they are looking at. I had someone come up to me and say you are looking very skinny. I said no, no, let me correct you. I’m looking lean. Skinny is emaciated. But lean is to me a healthy thing. And I think what I’m trying to say, and I had too much caffeine this morning, but I think we need to re-examine the vernacular we use, words we are saying because words have power. Diet is a terrible – I just don’t like that word of course it has die in it which means finite. I think we need to change the word skinny again to me is emaciated. We need to replace these words with lean and lifestyle and look at things a little bit differently.
And then I think the third point of course of the triad of my book is build lean muscle. Well build lean muscle, which I might have already gone into but is again, the resistance training, is the catalyst if you will, the stimulus and as you know, we are in the gym, we are breaking down muscle tissue, we are causing microtears in the muscles and it’s where we eat and recuperate that we grow new tissue. To me it never made sense. Forget the “I want to have a big chest or big biceps or abs” type of thing. The aesthetics. To me it just never made sense to not lift weights and simply because it is like a car, you would not not service it and expect it to perform. To me – I saw what my parents went through and they both passed last year, and they gave everything to my brother and me, all of the opportunities, but they didn’t take care of themselves.
And it never made sense to me to not invest in you and just go to the gym, just a little bit. You don’t have to go hours a day or even every day. And beyond the aesthetics, it’s the functionality which I am learning with age, is more important that the visuals of what we are doing here. And I just think it’s very important. A lot of people don’t know, how do I get started and I’m going to keep coming back to the book, we are talking about it. But this book, has everything that one would need in my opinion from a writing standpoint, I was a teenage body building champion standpoint, from all these unique standpoints of applicable knowledge and know how of saying you have as much right here as the rest of here is your instruction manual if you will. In fact, one more point if I may, I don’t know if you remember the show Greatest American Hero years ago.
Lisa: Oh yeah, I do. Oh yeah.
Hollis: Does that ring a bell?
Lisa: Oh definitely, the guy with the blonde curly hair.
Hollis: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I’m glad we are talking about this and I actually would like to mention this at my signing. I will mention it now first with you. That show, this guy got this super suit, all the powers you would ever want but one problem, no instructions. And he would throw it for a time and bumbled his way through each jump, but my point is imagine he had those instructions what he really could have done. This book is that – those instructions. This book is what you can really do when you have you and you in your corner and the instructions. And that’s the point I tell you.
Lisa: That is such a brilliant analogy and yeah, I liked that show. It’s true you have tons of great yeah, it was it was fun. You have so many fantastic workouts in here and in the last little bit of this interview, I would love to talk about the twelve-week program because you have got workouts, meal plans. Give us a little bit of information on those.
Hollis: Sure. Twelve-week program I broke it down into three four-week phases simply because we must walk before we can run and I think especially with New Year’s resolutions here, people tend to overdo things. You must build up slowly. The car must do 45 before it does 75. And it’s a lot easier to say you know what, I could try this program on. I can do this for four weeks instead of saying 12 weeks. Twelve weeks to you and I is not a lot of time. But to a newby, a neophyte, somebody that’s not familiar with this, it can seem too long. So, therefore, it’s a progressive program. It doesn’t call for a lot of time in the gym. It’s maybe 45 minutes to an hour a day four days max of weights a week, cardio to be done after that and it basically is a progressive program and what I really love when people do is take a photo as unflattering as it might be from week one, for their eyes only. Have someone do a selfie of yourself of all four sides of your body or have someone you trust and put those photos away. Because I guarantee you when you go to week 12, you will be blown away. And I absolutely love posting before and after pics. Scales don’t tell us everything, but photos do. In my opinion. And that’s what – that in a nutshell is what the program is.
It’s tailored for everybody; men and women of all skill sets and for everybody and it is you against you and another thing before I forget too. The program explains not just do this, but it tells us why and I don’t see this in a lot of books. Why excuse my French, the hell are we doing what you are telling us to do? My book Complete Physique, explains what the muscles do, the function for example the chest. The function of the chest is to draw the eye across you know, hence we do flies in the workout for chest. I don’t understand how you can tell somebody a workout to do if you are not explaining what the muscles do. And I think if the reader gets an appreciation of the form and the function of what their muscles do, then they are going to get it and I think they are going to get much more results out of it that way.
Lisa: I think so too. On the cover of the book, it says vegan friendly and then you have this – you have a sample day for a vegetarian, and you have stuff for vegans and I think it’s good because a lot of people think well if you are going to eat clean, that means that you are eating grass fed meat and then people say oh what if you don’t eat meat then what am I going to eat if I’m supposed to stay away from carbs but in your plan you have got a little bit of quinoa, you have got some brown rice, talk to us about that. Because it seems like more and more we are hearing that you don’t want any grains.
Hollis: Yeah, I thought it was vitally important in this book, the first of my – I said you really are going to put everything in a book with a complete title, you need to cover the vegan population because they are a legion and it’s definitely not a fad, it’s here to stay and what’s cool is history shows us that you can accrue large amounts if that’s your goal of muscle mass and be really lean. I can give you a famous body builder Bill Pearl from years ago, one of Arnold’s idols. Bill Pearl was a vegetarian and he got very big, very lean or hard rather with that kind of lifestyle. So, I thought if I’m going to put a traditional route here on the five meals a day and how you would get lean with being a carnivore, well let’s do it also for vegans through legumes, beans, and rice and quinoa and vegetables and all these wonderful non-processed, clean foods that are already here on the earth, and definitely I wanted to give vegans their due. They are a huge populace and I thought it was time at least in my literary work to include them. And to boldly put it on the cover too, I’m very proud of that chapter.
Lisa: Yeah, I think so too. I mean I’m not a vegan, I do like my grass-fed meat. But I understand. I think it’s a thing of like well, you have to eat this certain way or now keto is a big thing and it’s very restrictive, so what’s your opinion about keto? I’m just curious.
Hollis: Not a fan of low carb, everybody is different. They have many, many years [inaudible][00:18:37] this and that. I just – it never made sense to me to go keto or low carb rather. You don’t feel good when you are on low carbs in my opinion, you certainly can’t do it for long and the way I train, see I’m greedy in that when I do a photo shoot or when I used to compete, I didn’t want to give up muscle. I wanted to lose fat and I knew that I would need basically plenty of energy, plenty of carbs, and good fats to do so and I have seen many competitors and models go on the keto diet. It for some people, not for me, but they would have what I would call a flat stringy look to their physique rather than be full and hard as we say in the body building industry, they were flat and stringy, and it just doesn’t denote what in my opinion what we are trying to do. So, at best, in my opinion, now and I’m not a doctor, it could temporarily work, but what happens when we reintroduce those carbs? You often over-introduce and often wind up at a weight higher than that which you had. So, I’m not for keto. I don’t believe in tricks. I don’t believe in there is no shortcut.
The only thing is in my book, it just has a plan all in one. And I will take a plan all in one any day that will save me time and effort because life is precious. It is going quickly, and it is already 2018, it was just 2000 the other day. I think I’m just over answering. But, I’m not a fan of keto or any of the components in my opinion.
Lisa: Yeah, I mean I think and we are all different. I mention this a lot. My husband can eat tons of whole grain carbs and feel great. I eat carbs even whole grain carbs and I feel lousy. I just do better on a more Paleo type of diet for myself. I hate the word diet as well, but lifestyle I guess you would say. But he also exercises a lot more than me. I mean I do exercise, but he’s like a nut about it, in a positive way by the way. But anyway, like it blows me away, he will sit down and have this like bowl of whole wheat pasta and it’s like it could feed a family and I’m like how are you so lean and in good shape but it’s like he works out a lot you know. If I eat that, I would just be gigantic and tired.
Hollis: Well, I don’t know about that, but as you know there are certainly different body types different genetics, so I don’t know your husband but he could be perhaps a little bit of ectomorph and that generally they can generally eat somewhat what they want and – I myself am more endo-meso so while I can get big and muscular, if I don’t watch it, I develop five rear ends so, your genetics has a lot to do with it as well with how you handle and process food.
Lisa: Well Hollis, you are so great and by the way, you never babble. I love your stories. You make this show so fantastic, so it has just been super fun. Alright so Complete Physique Your Ultimate Body Transformation, Eat Clean, Burn Fat, Build Lean Muscle. Tell us all the ways we can get this amazing book.
Hollis: Local bookstores, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, just really go online and if you just type Complete Physique Hollis Liebman, it is going to pop up somewhere, someway. I believe the digital version is coming out later this year, publisher wanted to put the hard copy out first and it is my 12th fitness book and I’m not just saying this to sell copies, I can never outdo this book. It took everything, every ounce of me it came out, I’m so proud and thankful and if I know this is a little morbid, but if one day when I’m not here anymore, if I could put one thing in the box it would be this. Because this book I want to help people and this book is my report on what I have seen in this industry for many, many years. Complete Physique. It’s my life. And I hope it helps everybody.
Lisa: Oh, it is really, really incredible. I want to thank you so much. I want to thank everyone for listening to Talk Fitness Today. You can check us out on social media on Twitter @talkfitness2day. Check me out healthmediagal1. You can also check out ItsyourhealthwithLisa Davis.com that will bring you to Talk Fitness Today and Talk Healthy Today as well. Thank everyone again. Stay well.
This episode of Talk Fitness was produced by The Vitamin Shoppe where trusted health enthusiasts help you thrive every day. Visit one of 800 stores across the country or head to Vitamin Shoppe.com for all your wellness needs.