T Nation

My Brother's Dilemma

My younger brother is majoring in Fine Arts with an emphasis on musical theater (no homo…seriously the kid gets more pussy than I could ever hope to). As a sophomore he scored the lead in the school play, which is quite a big deal. He’ll be playing Tony in West Side Story. He’s excited and will do just about anything to get the part.

There’s a problem, however. Despite being a phenomenal actor and singer, he does NOT look the part of a typical actor and certainly not scrawny mid-1950s Tony. He is 5’6", 165ish and built like a fireplug, definitely fitting an endo-mesomorph body type. Think Sean Sherk if he took his training VERY casually.

He’s always been athletic, but never seen the abs and always has looked a little soft. A short while ago, he came to me for help with training to look better and get healthier and I gladly obliged. He started training very hard and strict with the program and eating well. Thing was going great for about two months and then he got his audition.

He got the role on raw ability, but the director gave him explicit instructions that he was “not to work out until the play was done”. The notion was that a guy like Tony, at that time period, did not work out like we do now, and big muscles were not stylish. Admittedly, prior incarnations of Tony were similarly scrawy, with the biggest probably being David Habbin. Christian Bautista is going to be starring in a 2008 remake of the play if that gives you any clue.

So what do I do? I know he’s still willing to do things to keep himself strong and healthy and, depending on his instructor’s leniency, continue to lose bodyfat. But there’s no way he will risk losing this spot in favor of working out.

I was considering putting him on a maximal strength/power program alternated with mobility/prehab work, but despite it not being aimed at hypertrophy, he is literally the kind of kid that begins putting on mass with very little effort.

Advice on how to improve on everything BUT looks? I know it is contrary to the site, but I figured you guys would probably know better than I.


Larry Kert - first stage production of West Side Story

This image is from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

David Habbin


Christian Bautista

Honestly I think his career should come first. Actors are famously scrawny. In my opinion he should make cardio is top priority and lift secondary. Even when this play is over he will get more rolls built like a mens fitness model then being bulky. In this case, i would say if you can’t beat em… join em. If he places more focus on diet and cardio but still keeps some lifting in the mix it will be the best for his future. That is my 2 cents

He could possibly look into bodyweight programs; I know there are a few good ones on the site. It may even end up being a nice change of pace for him.

Nick

calories bro.

Even if he is a kid that puts on muscle easy, its not possible without adaquete nutrition. I just say bring down calories to maintence levels and continue hitting the iron hard. I’m speaking from personal experience since I’m 5’6 and have a fairly easy time putting on weight. 18 x BW and I experienced no strength loses and very insignificant fluctuations in body weight. However, if he wants to make gains in strength, its tough but doable. Much much slower than with a caloric surplus as well.

So in short, diet.

[quote]DJS wrote:
Honestly I think his career should come first. Actors are famously scrawny. In my opinion he should make cardio is top priority and lift secondary. Even when this play is over he will get more rolls built like a mens fitness model then being bulky. In this case, i would say if you can’t beat em… join em. If he places more focus on diet and cardio but still keeps some lifting in the mix it will be the best for his future. That is my 2 cents[/quote]

They don’t want him looking like a Men’s Fitness model for this role though, he’s supposed to be looking scrawy…literally. Like 1950s pretty boys.

[quote]Fiction wrote:
DJS wrote:
Honestly I think his career should come first. Actors are famously scrawny. In my opinion he should make cardio is top priority and lift secondary. Even when this play is over he will get more rolls built like a mens fitness model then being bulky. In this case, i would say if you can’t beat em… join em. If he places more focus on diet and cardio but still keeps some lifting in the mix it will be the best for his future. That is my 2 cents

They don’t want him looking like a Men’s Fitness model for this role though, he’s supposed to be looking scrawy…literally. Like 1950s pretty boys.[/quote]

So whats the problem? Tell to eat very little, and do cardio and weights. It ain’t rocket science.

[quote]Fiction wrote:
DJS wrote:
Honestly I think his career should come first. Actors are famously scrawny. In my opinion he should make cardio is top priority and lift secondary. Even when this play is over he will get more rolls built like a mens fitness model then being bulky. In this case, i would say if you can’t beat em… join em. If he places more focus on diet and cardio but still keeps some lifting in the mix it will be the best for his future. That is my 2 cents

They don’t want him looking like a Men’s Fitness model for this role though, he’s supposed to be looking scrawy…literally. Like 1950s pretty boys.[/quote]

then, depending on the time frame, he’s probably not going to be able to achieve that look through healthy means. He’ll have to starve himself with very low calories and do a lot of running. It will suck balls, but gotta do what you gotta do to follow your dreams right? Yeah, traditional bodybuilding ways of cutting shouldn’t be used because that’s geared toward preserving lean body mass, not purposefully losing it.