The secret to getting lean – and I mean really, really lean – like the body fat of a leaf kind of lean – is simply the willingness and diligence to adhere to an exercise program that you’d never adhere to otherwise, and to eat foods that are mostly boring and broccoli-like. And in order to adhere to a program you’d never adhere to otherwise, I suspect you must have something of the demoniacal in you. For me, in order to train like a man possessed, there typically has to be something really big on the line. Like bacon.
Now training like this is, of course, wholly unsustainable. I believe Dan John would call it unreasonable. And he’s right. You ought not to train so intensely year round. But I believe there’s something to be said about it – getting that lean and training that hard. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what that is. I just know that there’s most certainly something to be said about it.
Now I have this theory that any exercise program will improve in direct proportion to the number of things you can keep out of it that needn’t be there. That’s to say that the secret to any good exercise program is simplicity. And so, these four weeks of workouts – which, I should mention, are dedicated in whole to getting you maximally lean and super muscly – will focus on one thing mostly, and that’s metabolic conditioning.
Over the years, I have damned metabolic conditioning up hill and down dale as the most fiendish instrument of torture ever devised since the days of the rack. But alas, I return to it again and again, because I’ve found nothing more effective for rapidly chopping fat and building muscle than metcon – specifically, metcon via kettlebell complex training.
Kettlebell complexes, for anyone unfamiliar, are like sandwiches. They are layers of exercises stacked upon one another. These exercises are to be performed successively and uninterruptedly – that is, with little to no rest in between. Typically, complexes tax multiple muscle groups and energy systems simultaneously – the system is kept under a prolonged period of stress – much is demanded from the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other such organic etceteras. Consequently, a colossal caloric afterburn ensues.
And it is to this end that you can expect that each workout will be short, intense, and somewhat upsetting – like a proper licking from the old man’s belt. And at times – especially in the later rounds – you may even find yourself pleading with divinities. One does what one can, I suppose.
And how are you to know when you’re done? How many licks does it take, you ask? Well, when you reach the point where you think you can’t possibly do another rep, when your arms feel heavy as lead and your legs go limp as linguini, when you start to bellow the pathetic and unmanly yells of a flogged schoolboy – when you reach this point, well, I think that means that you are pretty much done.