The NO BS, No Holds-Barred, Minimalist Strength Program FROM HELL(?)…NO(!), WORSE, WISCONSIN!
The following is a guest post by Pat Flynn of The Chronicles of Strength:
I have in the past done things not so respectable to my health in pursuit of fitness.
Immediately this brings to mind my experience with the ketogenic diet.
Now, the difference between me doing the ketogenic diet and most others who say they have done the ketogenic diet is the plain fact that I actually did the ketogenic diet and did not just say I did it. This was a mistake. I would have been much better off just having said I did it and not done it at all.
However, the ketogenic diet, like swinging a dead rat around on a piece of string, teaches you something that can be learned no other way. In other words, a lesson learnable only by hard experience.
I don’t want to bounce around too much, but this reminds me of yet another account where I sacrificed health for fitness, or, in this instance, the exhibition thereof.
The scene of this tale is set in the Northeast - New York, to be exact - and amongst a crowd of tough and manly individuals, mostly flaccid - intellectually speaking - and up to no good. We got around to pressing kettlebells, and even managed to collect a small audience. This example is a classic one, and I am sure you are familiar with the turn out. I will add the preface, however, that to pass up the opportunity to out-press another fellow in the presence of spectators, well, it would be a downright betrayal of manhood.
I was disadvantaged from the start, as I was the lightest in the group and by a significant margin no less. But as I am only human, the attraction of competition was too much and overruled my sound and better judgment, foolishly assuming I had been in possession of any to begin with.
I took up my act and pressed the first bell. A mere peanut, really. Still, I looked around, to the left, and to the right, hoping to collect some applause. But it was a tough crowd. So I upped the stakes and got to stacking two bells for what was to be an enormous bent press.
For the first roughly fifty percent of the lift, the bells traveled a smooth and steady course. I even had, for a brief moment, the puerile notion that I might be successful and go home with a prize. But that notion fleeted as the cluster arrived at a standstill.
As I knew the conventional manner of lifting weight (which is to say, a sufficient amount of strength) had abandoned me, I then did what any male who is not in full possession of his intellectual facility might do in my situation, which was to contort my figure under the load and pray that I could somehow twist, bend, or warp myself into a position granting better leverage. This caused me to look like Quasimodo.
From there, I made a brief spectacle of myself, writhing and shaking violently under the weight in what to the untrained eye must have looked like a sort of deeply spiritual or perhaps even sexual ecstasy, that was, until my shoulder popped like a cork and I entered into a state of desperate, agonizing pain.
Luckily, I was in the presence of a horse doctor and he took to working on me at once. He prescribed a vat of Castrol Oil as to turn my pain into a case of wild hallucinations and provide for me, in his words, a “temporary imbecility.” I thought this practice was questionable at first and not very well thought out, but was pleased with the effects.
Needless to say, I no longer engage in these sorts of puerile activities, unless I am very sure that I can cheat and get away with it. No, now I value much more my health and am far less susceptible to dares, even those of the double and triple dog variety.
Fitness at the expense of health. I think this is a terrible, terrible thing.
In fact, just the other day I was reviewing a fellow’s fitness program and I noticed that it suffered from this very defect as he had in it some rather horrendously harmful recommendations on how to go about reducing body fat to a nearly imperceptible percentage. This is a shame, as it was the part of a major publication, and very many people are bound to take it very seriously.
As a matter of fact, it was one of those programs that produces nearly the same effects of ingesting Castrol Oil! I say “nearly” only because I still believe the Castrol Oil to be necessary for the hallucinations, but one could very well induce a “temporary imbecility” through the literature alone.
Perhaps you have detected some bitterness within me? It’s likely there. But I will leave that matter be, for now, and move on to what was supposed to be the point of this article.
But you will have to give me a minute, because we’ve wandered around for so long now, that I have forgotten where I placed it.
It has returned.
Guidelines - or Everything You Need to Know to Be Fit and Healthy
First, let me say that I pride myself in being a fitness blogger who writes only when he has some value to impart, and not only to satisfy my own ego, which is full already, or to release steam pressure from my spleen.
If you are unfamiliar with my philosophy, let me put you through a brief course. I am a minimalist, and my entire approach to health and fitness may be conveniently reduced to the following two statements:
- Any fitness program will improve in direct ratio to the number of things you can keep out of it that needn’t be there.
- A diet should contain no unnecessary meals; a meal no unnecessary foods.
Minimalism, by definition, is any design that employs the fewest possible components to produce the maximum result. Now, no learned and intelligent person would ever doubt - certainly not I - that any desirable level of health and fitness demands a significant and continuous application of effort. So to this end, I must be very clear that minimalism is not about doing very little; it’s about doing the very least.
That is, the minimalist seeks to purge all superfluities and to focus intently on the vital few efforts proven to produce the largest results.
Ah, the superfluous, what Voltaire called a very necessary thing.
Not here, my friend, not here.
A good exercise program is neat and orderly. A bad one is a teenager’s bedroom.
Enough! I now present to you the guidelines:
- Train strength 4-5 days a week.
- Train metabolic conditioning 1-2 times a week.
- Practice movement, mobility, and correctives every day.
- Walk briskly as much as humanly possible, preferably in a fasted state.
- Eat a mostly boring and repetitious diet consisting of lean proteins, healthy fats, fibrous vegetables, and some fruit.
- Eat the least amount of meals you need to eat and practice some form of intermittent fasting.
I speak in generalities, of course, which is sure to generate a few complaints. It never fails. So, to hedge against this, I will issue you the first phase of a program - and only the first phase of a program - free of charge.
But just a few notes, before I do:
- This GPP (general physical preparedness) program is not personalized (I mean, how can it be?). So it may or may not suit your current goals or level of ability. Sorry, can’t please everyone.
- If you want personalized program design and nutrition protocols, then you’ll have to join my online coaching program. It’s tough and it’s expensive, but I’ve heard it’s worth it.
I delay no longer.
Without any further ado, my friends, and in true minimalist fashion, I introduce to you…
The NO BS, Take No Prisoners, No Holds-Barred, Strength Boosting, Fat Blasting, Booty Shaking, Minimalist Strength Program FROM HELL(?)…NO(!), WORSE, WISCONSIN!
I did, in fact, write this program up in Wisconsin. But I don’t remember what I was doing there. Also, I offer you the added convenience of embedded video links for technical reference. If you are unsure of any movement, or any nuance of any movement, please voice this concern in the comment section.
Monday: Lower Body
- Practice set of Dan John’s Armor Building 20 minutes. Sets of 1. As many quality sets as possible. Heaviest set of bells you can muster.
- Bulgarian Split Squat x 5 sets x 5 reps (both legs). Use 7 rep max weight.
- (Kettlebell swing x 30 seconds + jump rump x 60 seconds + plank x 60 seconds) x 5 rounds. No rest.
Tuesday: Upper Body
- Practice Set of Muscle Ups. 20 minutes. Sets of 1. As many quality sets as possible.
- One Arm One Leg Push Ups (or appropriate variation) x 1,2,3,1,2,3
- Pull Ups x 5 sets x 5 reps (weight as needed). Use 7 rep max.
- Hanging Leg Raises x 3 x 6
- Windshield Wiper x 3 x 6
Wednesday: Metabolic Conditioning
- 15 minutes of sprints + 20 minutes of metabolic conditioning (you may wish to use my Birth of a Hero eBook or my Kettlebell Workout of the Week video series for this)
Thursday: Lower Body
- Practice Set of deadlift (barbell). Sets of 1. As many quality sets as possible. Use 3-5 rep max.
- Single Leg Deadlift x 5 x 5 (both legs). Use 7 rep max.
- Hollow Position Drill x 60 seconds x 3 sets
- 4-Point Plank x 60 seconds x 3 sets
Saturday: Upper Body
- Same as Tuesday, plus 20 minutes of metabolic conditioning (optional)
- Follow unflaggingly and enthusiastically for ninety days.
- Do not modify the weight or advance onto a more difficult movement variation until the end of ninety days.
- Unless a specific rest period is given, follow the general rule of “rest as long as you need but as little as you have to” between sets.
I’ve grown tired of writing this piece - and it is almost time for my supper - so I’m going to sever it abruptly. I think this is for the best, as we’ve wandered around to many interesting places in this article, and lost ourselves a few times along the way, to be sure, but ultimately, we arrived where I believe we intended to, or at least in close enough proximity that we could walk the rest of the way.
If you have any questions about anything I have mentioned, or have failed to mention, please bring them to my attention in the comments section.
And if you enjoyed this article please share it with both of your friends.
With Kind Regards,
And Arms Wide Open,
- Pat Flynn