How Long Does it Take to Get a Beach Body?
The summer is almost here, so it’s time to get ripped. You know, “sun’s out guns out”, etc. I’m ready to hit the beach and show off this toned, statuesque body.
Maybe I’ll go for the David look and hit the nude beach
Here’s the problem – I don’t have a toned, statuesque body. I’m not in beach shape yet, and I’m a little behind the 8-ball getting prepared. I understand it takes a few months at the gym to start moving curves from the wrong spots to the right spots. That means I’m late to the game by…30 years.
My statue is more like Buddha
But the peak of summer is still over a month away, and I’ve never let things like long odds or self-doubt or basic biological facts get in the way of my blind optimism, so I’ll assume I still have time to get super jacked. This site tells me it takes 3 months to 2 years to get “ripped”. Obviously, I don’t have that kind of time, so I need to find out: how fast can I get a beach body?
Not this kind. The muscly, sexy kind
Now, personal trainers will tell you the getting in shape is about eating well and being healthier overall and blah, blah blah, blah blah. I don’t have time for that. I need to get ripped, now. I obviously don’t care about parts of my body that don’t make me look like Hercules, so I’ll focus on the body parts that really count: biceps, chest, abs, and calves. These are the body parts that won Arnold Schwarzenegger 7 Mr. Olympia titles in the 70s, if the picture below is accurate.
1976-1979 was spent fathering love children
There are lots of sites that tell you how to get “jacked” in a few months, but to condense things, I’m just going to calculate the time these sites recommend actually working out – not resting, or eating, or buying sexy workout clothes, just the actual exercising – and just do it all at once. Then I’ll be ripped. That checks out. Let’s do this.
This paper says women rate men’s biceps 3.94/5 on importance to sexiness, meaning I need to pump the arms. According to this paper, three weekly sets of 8-12 reps of biceps curls for eight weeks increases biceps size by 8%. I figure I’ll need least twice that much to look like Arnold, and I have half the time, so I’ll multiply everything by four: 12 weekly sets of 32-48 reps for four weeks. Let’s say it takes two seconds to curl, then that should take: ([12 sets x 48 reps x 2 s/rep x 4 weeks] / 3600 s/hr) = 1.28 hours.
The chest is ranked 3.84/5 in sexiness importance, so I need to get myself some double Ds. The chest is primarily made up of two muscles: pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. We’ll focus on p. major, because an anatomy textbook told me p. minor was an inferior muscle. We will also henceforth be calling pectoralis major “pecs”, like guys who wear tank tops say.
I’ve been trying to be more insufferable anyways
Pecs are about 60% type II (fast-twitch) muscle fibers that specialize in high-power movement over aerobic movement. Which is good, because fast-twitch fibers have about 100% greater growth potential than slow-twitch fibers. In fact, this site tells me I can get a “bigger chest” in 28 days…if I do a series of 10 different chest exercises split over two days. I did the math on all that, and it adds up to 7.78 hours of chest-pumping.
Also, be specific when searching for “chest-pumping” online
Actually, that picture makes it look like Arnold’s torso is going to open in a gaping mouth and eat us all, but whatever. Abs are usually sexy, ranking 3.82/5 on the sexiness importance scale. The internet is quick to point out that getting a six-pack is more about losing fat than gaining abdominal musculature. This guide tells you how many weeks it will take to get abs, given your starting body fat percentage and assuming a loss of a pound a week, and it says I need to lose 21 lbs. just for the possibility of having slightly visible abs. Jackass site.
I think the internet would be much less condescending if I sat on it for a while
Losing a pound takes a loss of (arguably) 3500 calories. At a (pretty fast) running pace of 6 mph, it takes about 4 hours for someone my weight to burn 3500 calories. Meaning it will take…84 hours to get abs. That’s 504 miles, or 811 km, or 13 km longer than the distance between Toronto and Chicago.
Google helpfully lets me know that I have to run to a different goddamn time zone to get abs
To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll have much energy left after my 84-hour run. This workout is supposed to grow your calves over 6 weeks, but the math works out to only 0.38 hours of actual exercise. I don’t really care about my legs, though, and I imagine they will get plenty muscular on my run to Chicago, so let’s just call this one a wash.
Even Superman skips leg day
Time to figure out how long it will take me to get ripped. After cutting out all the nonsense about resting and hydrating and such, here’s where we are:
Biceps: 1.28 hours
Chest: 7.78 hours
Abs: 84 hours
Calves: like, an hour maybe, if I actually care.
TOTAL: 94.06 hours
94 hours. That’s three days and 22 hours. Almost four straight days of curling, lifting, and running. Mostly running. What a rollicking good time.
I might be better off going for mental enlightenment
Anyways, I guess I best get going, I have four days’ worth of working out to do.
See you on the beach. Possibly in Chicago.
Dan’s going to try on some mankinis. Email him at info [at] scienceeverywhere.ca to see a topic covered here.