You can’t just pick your physique out of a catalog — and it wouldn’t quite be fair to say that you can achieve literally anything if you just train hard enough, either. You do have to work with what you’ve got.
Your workouts unquestionably shape who you become, both literally and emotionally, though, and you can be chiseled in more ways than one. Have you always admired that perfect swimmer’s physique? Full ottermode might be what you’re aiming for.
The Ottermode Physique Explained
Everything about the otter screams grace. An otter’s slender and ridiculously streamlined body can speed after its prey like a missile, after which he can effortlessly float around on his back, flexing his dexterity as he prepares and eats his meal and chills. The other doesn’t look especially strong, though he is. He does look chiseled, like he was made for the water.
Ottermode isn’t just a peak physical aesthetic, but a lifestyle, and an aspiration. Men who have embraced ottermode have lean, low-fat, bodies that are all muscle without being bulky. They’re strong, to be sure, but also toned to perfection.
When you decide to go full ottermode — or at least to aspire to this physique — you’ll typically aim for a toned body with broad shoulders, rock-hard abs, a lean waist, and elegantly strong legs. Though not all guys who aim to get to ottermode are primarily swimmers, their bodies will be primed for the water.
Still not forming a mental picture? Michael Phelps, Brad Pitt in Fight Club, Shahrukh Khan in Om Shanti Om, and Aziz Shavershian should be your prime role models if you’re aiming for this physique.
Ottermode isn’t a series of parameters to aim for, though, as what you’re going for is to chisel yourself. The perfect combo of low body fat percentages (think 12 percent or under) and well-trained, lean, muscles will get you there.
How to Get to Ottermode Status
While diet, mindset, and dedication are all crucial ingredients, working out forms the core of getting to ottermode. There is, believe it or not, more than one way to make it to ottermode, you can stay 100% natty about it or you can get enhanced like the two chaps above (just conjecture), but one way or another, you’re going to have to incorporate most of these elements.
1. Regular Lap Swimming
It’s the only cardio workout that allows you to train your body to its fullest potential without feeling it. By swimming regularly, you’ll chisel your body just like the otter — and men like Michael Phelps, who’ve inspired the envy of many. You can get to full ottermode without swimming, but it sure helps.
2. Other Cardio Options
In addition to swimming, you’ll want to hit the gym three to four times a week to get in a full cardio workout that involves your entire body and leaves you feeling positively exhausted. Try rowing machines, elliptical trainers, and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to eliminate nearly all of that body fat.
3. Resistance Training
Tone your muscles and burn fat by aiming to increase your training volume over time, increasing the number of sets you do while spreading them out, or adding more weight. Although you’ll be looking for compound workouts to streamline your workout routine, you’ll ideally aim for 10 to 12 reps of every exercise, doing three to four sets.
You’ll want to choose four to five different exercises for each muscle group a day. Here are some examples:
- Dumbbell or cable front raises and military presses for the delts.
- Barbell bench presses and decline pushups for the chest.
- Chinups and bicep curls for the biceps.
- Triceps dips, skull crushers, and overhead dumbbell extensions for the triceps.
- Towel pullups for the forearms.
- Spider-Man plank crunches, mountain climbers, and Russian twists for the abs.
- Barbell shrugs, shoulder rotations, and seated cable rows for the back.
Weightlifting can only help you achieve your goal, and it’s great to incorporate those challenging deadlifts, which focus on your hamstrings, back, and of course, arms — all the muscles you need to go full ottermode — into your weekly routine as well.
4. Work on Your Flexibility
The ottermode physique isn’t just lean and toned AF, it’s also super flexible — just like the otter himself. Of course, if you’re not a total workout noob, you’ll already know that you can’t skimp on the stretching exercises if you want to meet and exceed your goals.
Swimming a lot will help you in the agility department as well. Guys who don’t just want the looks, but also the movement, should seriously consider adding Yoga or Tai Chi to their workout regimens, though. Don’t think yoga is suitable for bodybuilders and weightlifters? Tell that to yoga-loving 6 consecutive My.Olympia title holder Dorian Yates!
5. Keep Your Diet Clean
Focus on protein, healthy fat, and complex carbs, maybe add a weight gainer shake depending on how fast your metabolism is. Don’t forget to make the most of your exercise routine by choosing one of the many epic preworkout supplements currently on the market to boost your stamina, gains, and energy.
6. Commit — Fully, Over Time
Nobody said that going full ottermode is easy. Don’t stop until you’re there, and then work just as hard to maintain it. Never think you just can’t do it. That’s just a lie you tell yourself when you’re lazy, distracted, or you lack confidence. Repeat after us: You CAN do it. You WILL do it. Now watch some motivational Arnold Schwarzenegger videos and get to the gym!
Brad Pitt in Fight Club Styled Workout Program
There’s no single right answer here. We can still learn from some of the best, though, and here’s a peek at the hardships Brad Pitt put himself through to get ready for Fight Club.
- Monday — chest day. Pushups, bench presses, Nautilus presses, incline bench presses, pec day fly reps, crunches, and lying leg raises.
- Tuesday — back day. Pullups, seated rows, lateral pulldowns, and T-bar rows.
- Wednesday — shoulder day. Arnold presses, dumbbell lateral raises, front barbell raises, dumbbell shrugs, hanging leg raises, and cable woodchoppers.
- Thursday — arm day. Preacher curls, EZ cable curls, dumbbell hammer curls, cable pushdowns, and EZ bar skullcrunchers.
- Friday — leg day, because even though you’re not focusing on your legs, you don’t want to skip this. Barbell squats, lying leg curls, leg extensions, standing calf raises, Russian twists, and cable crunches.
- Saturday — cardio day.
- Sunday — chill day.
How many reps and sets was he doing? Yeah, you bet that that info is out there, but remember that you’re not Brad Pitt. Start where you’re at, and build up from there. Stay in it for the long haul, shaking Brad’s workout plan up with your own exercises (don’t forget swimming!), and you’ll be in ottermode before you know it.
If you aren’t sure if you want to go full-blown ottermode yet and perhaps prefer the yoked-AF look of the bear, then we have a how to go bearmode guide as well just for you!