Body by Science - review and training log
Not really bodybuilding but some of you will have heard about the book Body by Science. You can find videos on this if you look up the title on youtube.
The author (Doug McGuff M.D.) redefines health and cardiovascular health from a medical and scientific perspective and does it very well (separating health from athletic competition). The main thrust is that infrequent (once a week), short (one set 3-5 exercises: 12-15 minutes), full body, high intensity / anaerobic weight training to failure has the following effects:
1. breaks down muscle but provides adequate time to rebuild, maximizing potential muscle growth and helping to maintain a healthy body weight. He recites a lot of research data pointing to the fact that unless you have low myostatin levels or are steriodic, training much more than once a week has been shown repeatedly to be counter productive. They have been running a gym for a few years and have had impressive results in terms of muscle growth and strength increases.
2. causes a glycogen dump giving you more leeway in your diet. The background argument is that "cardio" is an inefficient way of dropping body fat and that your time is better spent watching what you eat - basically a controlled carbohydrate diet.
3. causes a chain reaction at the cellular level which revs up the metabolism and ultimately has the exact same beneficial effect (post-work-out) as what is now referred to as cardio. Its now fairly well established that interval training gets the same job done as low intensity aerobics - the argument for weights is that you get the extra metabolic boost of more muscle.
They follow the "super-slow" weight lifting system with 10-15 second counts on positive and negative parts of lifts. There are elements of Mike Mentzer / HIT theory here such as stimulating different types of muscle fibres, avoiding counter-productive and possibly dangerous momentum, overly heavy weights, and overuse injuries. They recommend nautilus machines on the basis that it is easier and safer to train to failure - a good argument is made that your muscle doesn't know whether it is pressing against a machine or a free weight.
In a nutshell improving your appearance and maximizing your genetic potential as proposed by the book basically comes down to:
1. once weekly weight training; and
2. diet combined with drinking lots of water, which it is argued, stops your body going into starvation / fat storing mode.
He talks about how they used to start very unhealthy people on the program and tell them to not do anything else, only to find them jogging or cycling after a few months. He talks about how one of the early proponents of the system, Drew Baye, when he would see one of his trainees jogging on the road, would stop his car, get out and tell them to stop running immediately and walk home (you have to love that kind of enthusiasm in a trainer).
My view is that it is a great read and very thought provoking. There are some limitations though:
A. Its basically just a rough outline for exercise and diet;
B. It is very brief on diet considering how much the system depends on this aspect. Avoiding fat-loss plateaus involves more than just drinking water and restricting calories. There is more detailed info out there now on cycling caories and maintaining leptin levels.
There is too much to cover in the book. It blows up a lot of myths and explains the rest very clearly. I can't recommend it enough.
At the start of the year I was about 193 lbs (5'11"). I had the start of a double chin and my pants and shirts were on the tight side. I did the usual split wieghts routine with cardio and have tried to clean up my diet, although I have a tendency to have more beers than a strict diet would allow. despite that I have had fair/good results. I am now about 174 lbs.
Two weeks ago I started my own variation of the Body by Science workout with my wife. The main variation is that after reading other material including some of Drew Baye's material (baye.com) I thought I would try slightly faster repititions (6-8 seconds). I will try to track our progress here. I will start by posting the first 2 workouts already completed.