How Getting Smaller Makes Your Muscles Look Bigger

Gabe Johansson
2 min readNov 2, 2023

Recently after a seemingly endless 11 hour work shift, attempting to go to a Halloween party that didn’t seem to happen, and getting dinner out, I did my push day workout.

And during the second half of my workout, Martha walks up to me holding our youngest daughter and says:

“You look huge!”

Which is funny to me, because I’m sitting at a measly 158lbs at 5'11" and that’s the lightest I’ve been since I got out of high school in 2007.

It’s crazy what being fairly lean can do, especially when you get pumped up and have some good lighting.

I look more muscular now lifting 25lbs dumbbells and my own (much lighter) body weight than I did when I was in the 190s and 200s lifting hundreds of pounds in the gym.

And it’s simply because I have a whole lot less fat covering my muscles, so you can see a whole lot more definition.

For the longest time, I would get tripped up by the raw number on the scale.

And people online posting things like…

“If you’re under 200lbs, can you call yourself a man?”

…only further reinforced this ridiculous thought.

Being a man is about how you take care of business in all aspects of life, not just some arbitrary number on the scale.

Sounds obvious when I say it like this, but I know for a fact other people are concerned with things like this too.

The reality is this:

You don’t have to be under 10% body fat to be in shape.

And you don’t have to be over 200lbs.

But if you want to you can.

That’s the cool thing with this whole fitness thing:

How you want to look is entirely up to you.

To learn more about how to get in better shape, check out more of my articles and consider joining my newsletter.

Any questions? Let me know.

Talk soon,

Originally published at on November 2, 2023.



Gabe Johansson

Man. Husband. Father. Went from skinny fat to fit. Now I'm on a mission to help 1000s get in great shape. Join 116+ readers: