I’ve been working out constantly for about six years now and I’ve tried every workout plan under the sun. I’ve done the classic four sets of eight, 10 sets of 10, negative training, body weight exercises, machines, free weights, plyometric, isometrics, cross fit, stationary cycling, running, and every variation in between.
I was spending about one hour in the gym for each session, four times a week. That’s 16 hours a month, and 192 hours a year. This is about the average for people who are dedicated to the gym.
The Problem With The Way We Exercise Today
Before I knew better I assumed these methods were the only way to get bigger, stronger, and in shape. For a long time I was pretty content with my workouts but after a couple years of doing them I started noticing some inconvenient and annoying truths about my workouts and my gym. Maybe you have come to these realizations as well which include:
- Becoming very sweaty and smelly after exercising
- Having less free time to spend with your friends, family, and hobbies
- Realizing that the gym is more like an annoying nightclub with the lights turned on, filled with loud music, distracting TVs and mirrors, and people who like to dress up and come to the gym to hangout and meet people.
- Having to deal with constant nagging injuries and tweaked muscles or joints due to working out so much
- Having to always change my workout routine due to hitting plateaus
- Being disappointed in the results I was getting for the amount of time you put in
After searching and experimenting with all the workouts I could find on the internet, I discovered they just were never good enough. Then I came across “The 4 Hour Body” by Timothy Ferriss. If you haven’t read any of Tim’s books they are all amazing. “The 4 Hour Body” was the first time I’d ever heard about high intensity resistance training which is about inflicting as much damage to your muscles in the shortest amount of time. The workout in “The 4 Hour Body” was a great introduction but the book “Body by Science” by Doug Mcguff and John Little is by far the best workout book I have ever read.
A Better Way
No, that was not a typo, I really meant 12 minutes a week. Now, before you get you become enraged by this statement I would highly recommend you first read the book and try the workout, or at least watch his video presentation. The book and his presentation will do a far better job at explaining the science than I ever could. The only thing I can give you is my own personal experience with the program.
The protocol is called “The Big 5” workout which consists of chest press, leg press, shoulder press, pull downs, and seated row. Instead of counting reps you count seconds and the goal is to find a weight heavy enough where you can last up to at 90 to 120 seconds while moving the weight up for about five to ten seconds and down for about five to ten seconds.
The whole point of doing this is to get to a point of muscular failure which means you reach a stalemate with the weight and can no longer move it. Then you hold it there for up to ten seconds or till you can’t hold it anymore. The term “muscular failure” is important to understand because once you hit this point your muscles have been sufficiently torn and cannot be torn any further. This means that you cannot continue breaking down your muscles with more exercise and any exercise you do after you’ve reached muscular failure is a waste of your time.
After your session, you then give your muscles seven days to recover because that is the time it actually takes for your muscles to fully heal.
For this program you can use free weights or machines but I highly recommend machines for three reasons. First, it’s much safer because when you’re doing your reps till failure, there is no possible chance of the weight fall on you. Secondly, because there is no risk of the weight falling in you, you can lift far heavier weights. Lastly, the machines are designed to workout your muscles in their optimal range of motion and with perfect technique. The machines will ensure maximum results for your effort.
If you do the workout properly you should be so drained by the end of it that you couldn’t imagine doing anymore exercise. The benefits I’ve experienced through this program include:
- Having more free time to spend with my friends, family and hobbies
- Experiencing no more nagging injuries
- Achieving massive strength gains
- Experiencing faster muscular gains compared to any other previous workout plan
- Breaking through all my plateaus (whenever I can’t equal or surpass my last week’s lift, I just increase the amount of rest days.)
- Being able to get in and out of the gym quickly, without working up a sweat
Almost everyone I try and explain this program to argues with me and tells me that it’s impossible to work out only once a week for 12 minutes and see results. It sounded crazy to me to at first but after doing the program for two years now I am convinced and will never go back.
Since I’ve been doing the program for so long my lifts have gotten so heavy and cause so much muscular damage that I can physically only work out once every 14 days now. This has freed up even more free time for me while I continually get bigger and stronger.
Honestly the hardest part about the program is just getting over the anxiety of not always being in the gym. I was so use to working out all the time that when I first tried out the program I would only give myself four or so days before I went back. When I did that I kept hitting plateaus or I would even start to regress. This made me fully realized that my muscles truly needed seven days to fully heal. When I finally took the proper amount time off my lifts kept increasing more and more and that’s when I became a believer.
We’ve always assumed that to be the strongest, biggest guy in the gym you have to spend the most time there. Fortunately for us this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Sad Reality
The sad reality is that in the fitness world, brilliant marketing has beat out science. The more supplements you take, the more protein powder you consume, the more workout equipment you buy, the more time you spend in the gym, the richer these corporations become. After reading “Body by Science” you’ll realize that these companies use genetically gifted people to sell you snake oil and the people selling you treadmills to help you lose weight are scam artists. The good news is the research has been done, the truth is out there and we don’t have to follow these old paradigms anymore.
Based on our new workout, we now spend 12 minutes in the gym a week. That’s 48 minutes a month and 9.6 hours a year. Sounds a lot better than 192 hours doesn’t it? Just think of all that free time!
The whole idea of high intensity resistance training is to work smart not hard. You should be doing the highest intensity exercises to get the highest quality results. Low to medium intensity exercises will only lead to low to medium results and take up a whole lot of your time and energy. If you believe in the science and not in the “well this is the way it’s always done it so it must be right” mentality, than your world can be opened up to very new and very real possibilities.
Now i’m not saying that this is the only type of physical activity you should do. I highly recommend being a very active person but I believe there is a big difference between exercise and being active. Exercise should build muscle and strength. Being active should be either fun, challenging or relaxing. With the free time that this new protocol provides, I would suggest taking up a new physical activity that you think you would enjoy, rather than mindlessly running on a treadmill. Some activities I would suggest are:
- walking or light jogging in nature
- martial arts
- playing sports with your friends
- joining a community sports league
- cross fit ( be careful of over training, I recommend keeping it under 3 days a week)
I hope this new way of thinking about being active and exercise has opened up a new world of possibilities for you. I think most people get too serious and rigid in their quest for physical fitness. We have been under the “no pain, no gain” mentality for a long time and I think it is time to bring back the fun and relaxing side that we seem to have forgotten about.
To get you on the right track and to properly start putting this workout into place I would like to give you, for free, the Exercise Differently Strength Tracking Sheet. This sheet will allow you to write down your strength gains after every workout. After a few months of doing this workout you will be able to prove to yourself and everyone else the potential of this program.
When I first started I tracked my results and every week my gains would go up by at least five pounds every week, never hitting a plateau for months and months. Then when I finally hit that inevitable plateau, I was perfectly okay with that because that was just a signal that I now needed more than seven days to recover. Your going to be astonished by how strong you can get when you exercise differently. All you have to do is click the link below and subscribe to our newsletter!