IF YOU’RE 6’3” and 250, it’s hard to see yourself training as if you were a 5’10”, 155-pound guy. For you, the treadmill probably seems like a medieval torture device. And forget restrictive diet plans—there’s no way you’re living on carrot sticks and kale juice.

But why should you train like a gazelle if you’re built like a grizzly bear? In other words: What’s the best way for a naturally big dude to shed some extra weight? 

To get the lowdown on how big guys like Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy might get down to fighting weight, we got in touch with two pros from EXOS, the high-performance training facility that helped Lacy get absolutely shredded for his combine workouts: Scott Schrimscher, an EXOS performance specialist, and Joel Totoro, R.D., an EXOS nutrition solutions manager. We also talked to Luke Pelton, C.S.C.S., NSCA-C.P.T., a competitive powerlifting coach and weight training instructor based in New York.

Here are five fundamental strategies that a big guy should use to gain muscle and shed that extra weight.


First, it’s important to determine the difference between useless extra weight (the stuff you’re presumably trying to shed) and “functional mass” (which you presumably want to keep), Totoro says. “Ten pounds of fat is simply extra weight and extra stress on the body, whereas 10 pounds of muscle can produce force production, stabilize the body, and can handle more stress or physical loads.”

A big guy seeking to get lean, in other words, wants to “promote lean muscles maintenance or gains while promoting fat loss.”

This is especially important because gaining muscle tissue will also ramp up your metabolic needs. “Muscle tissue, by nature, requires energy to be used simply so it can exist and work minute by minute,” Pelton says. “If you have 10 lbs. more muscle than someone else, and you both sit in a chair for an entire day, you would theoretically have a higher caloric expenditure than the other person (all other physical attributes being equal),” Pelton says.