Archive for the ‘Program Reviews’ Category

When I saw this new ebook listed on Kai’s page I was intrigued, certainly enough to drop the ten bucks to find out what it was. My expectation was that it was a recomp type program or possibly shredding program, so now I will break it down for you to set your expectations in check.

The book is broken into 3 parts: Secrets of the beast, the beast’s diet and footsteps of the beast.

Before getting into specifics I should mention that this was my first experience reading one of Kai’s ebooks, and I must admit that the writing style is… unique.

The section called “secrets of the beast” can basically be summed up like this: eat nutrient-rich foods with a caloric deficit to burn fat. So calling it “secrets” is kind of odd.

The second section, diet of the beast, basically goes into a little more depth of the previous section, telling you how to determine caloric needs and suggesting calorie/macro breakdowns. It’s very brief, about two pages long.

The final section is a workout routine which is high volume, broken up into two three-week blocks.

Final verdict: save your ten bucks and buy some creatine.

Anyone familiar with Layne Norton may have read some of his contest prep articles, as I have – and in fact I used some of his advice when preparing for more than one photo shoot.

Recently he unleashed an ebook which is extremely long and in depth, all about the process of preparing to go on stage in a physique competition, and even though I have no interest in stepping on stage it intrigued me.

First of all, I must say I highly appreciate the fact that when you go to his page (which I refuse to link) it is not one of those 10-zillion page long advertisement pages, it is simply a picture of the ebook and you can choose either the men’s or women’s version — although I’m almost certain they are the exact same book… because throughout the thing it gives advice for both men and women.

So while it was a far better buying experiences than most of the online sales experiences I have to admit that my first read through of the books ok left me annoyed.

Why? Because it is being pitched as a comprehensive 260 page book, which suggests there is a ton of information packed in there. However it could have easily been shaved down by a hundred pages or so.

The first 80-some pages were filled with very basic information about calorie balance… in other words stuff that anyone who is about to enter a show already knows.

The last section is all about poses, which is probably helpful to some people but let’s do a quick reality check… anyone who is serious about getting on stage will almost certainly need a coach, not a $40 ebook to learn this stuff. Having a coach for doing a show is also vital because you tend to be so depleted that it’s almost impossible to do everything with meal planning and creating an effective training program on your own.

Buuut – the book does an excellent job of laying out much of the detailed information a coach would normally be handling so it can be good educationally if you choose to work with a coach and if you choose not to, you’ll have a better idea of why you probably should be.

I actually see the book as more of a narrative in the life of a professional bodybuilder than an actual how-to guide.

There are millions of books that will help you get from bad to good in terms of physique improvement and I believe the goal of this book was to help people go from good to great. Does it succeed in that? Yes in a sense. Layne discusses much of the same topics that can be found in his pre-contest articles but in more depth in the latter parts of the book. He also talks about what to do after a show, which may be excellent for anyone on a restricted diet of any kind.

That being said, I would simply suggest that if you get the book you set your expectations appropriately; it is not likely to be 260 pages of NEW information, but a large dose of old information, some “nice to know” information and a little bit of advice that will very likely be valuable at some point in your life if you want to get ridiculously lean.

Back in 2008 bodybuilding e-books were all the rage just at a time where I was first learning about the subject.

One or two were great (like Tom Venuto’s) and many were garbage (like Vince Del Monte’s).

There was one that was getting a lot of hype called Optimum Anobolics by Jeff Anderson who also called himself “the muscle nerd”. I picked up the program and what I found was a very easy-to-read manual laying out a very promising philosophy. Here it is in a nutshell: there are 8 muscle “factors” the main one being to overtrain and then super-compensate via 3 weeks of incrementally increased volume followed but three weeks of lower volume. There is a hierarchy of exercises that vary in effectiveness starting with isolation machines being the least effective to body weight being the most effective.

My results on this program were not what I had hoped for, but it was so long ago that now it’s difficult for me to truly account for what the actual problem was.

Fast forward to fall 2016 – I was in a dispute with Greg O’Ghallagher and his entourage about exercise form – my position being that exercise form is of the utmost importance, theirs being that it is of little importance. While looking for material that would support either my claim or theirs, I stumbled upon a manual written by Leo Costa and Dr Russ Horine back in 1998.

Obviously my first takeaway was that they agreed with me on the form issue, but then the further I read on, many of the concepts seemed familiar… eerily so – it was almost as if I had read this exact same manual in someone else’s words… that’s when I remembered Jeff Anderson’s program. I pulled out Jeff’s program from my old files and sure enough – the similarities are too striking to ignore…
Both of them list the same “8 factors” for muscle growth, they both have 3-weeks of increasingly high volume followed by 3 weeks of lower volume adaptation. They both even have virtually the same hierarchy of exercise movements.

I tried to get in touch with Jeff to ask about this – but he is totally off the grid. In fact I thought perhaps he was dead or something. The only thing I could find was a personal Facebook page, which, aside from a couple publicity pictures had some not-particularly flattering picture of him.  Now I’m no one to criticize someone falling from the grace of physical fitness due to Father Time, but I’ll admit that when I saw one of his pictures(below) in which he was looking a bit chunky at an internet marketing convention I began to feel that the naive, trusting me of many years ago had been scammed.
anderson

I reached out to a couple of the sites he used to contribute to and even sent him a friendly message on Facebook, but neither he, nor the websites he once wrote for wanted to respond to my questions of the similarities of these two programs.

Graciously Jeff’s programs don’t seem to be available anymore, whereas Big Beyond Belief is on amazon – albeit for a pretty steep price tag. That being said, I can’t speak to the effectiveness of it as I only did Jeff’s variation many years ago.

Jeff, it would seem has been replaced now by the likes of O’Gallagher, yet it makes me really nervous thinking that he is still out there lurking online using who-knows-what pseudonym selling who-knows-what – very possibly following the footsteps of such world class douches as Eben Pagan.

Update: while it seems Jeff has left the world of fitness e-book writing, a colleague found his current website in which he claims to be a master of “combat” and a “survivalist”, making no mention of his previous claims of being a master fitness guru – as much as I hate to plug the guy it is actually really funny in a cringe-worthy way: http://www.moderncombatandsurvival.com/


Time for another BS-free, non-sponsored review that is just as likely to piss off as many people as it pleases.

For those who have seen Mr O’Gallagher on YouTube via his company Kinobody, you certainly know this much about him: he’s young, fit, seems to be well off financially and loves keeping training and diet simple (non-time consuming). Specifically he raves about intermittent fasting (IF).

So from that outlook he’s doing a fantastic job of marketing using the ideology “I have what you want”, which is all well and good, but does he deliver for people who fork out cash on his program(s)?

First let’s consider what you get for $40-50 (he offers a $10 discount for doing a survey)

  • A pdf e-book
  • A couple extra pdf’s
  • Video demonstrations of the exercises
  • Access to a Facebook group (for more on that particular subject: https://youtu.be/A59xS36QfkA)

So considering the price tag it’s not a bad return. That being said you must also keep your expectations in check.

The program is based on two key concepts:

1. Intermittent fasting

2. Strength-based training; specifically Reverse Puramid Training (doing heavy sets first)

Those familiar with Martin Berkhan’s LeanGains blog know that this is precisely what he has been preaching for ages. Of course finding his information is a little tricky as it is spaced out of several blogs, so the fact that Greg altered it slightly then put it all into one place is actually quite convenient.

There are two questions I feel we should ask then:

Question 1: does this method work?

Question 2: is this method “optimal”?

To be honest I think I have to side with Tom Venuto on this one, who said that this is definitely not THE way to get into great shape yet it is certainly A way. Does it work? Absolutely! Is there any lean mass loss? Hard to say, but personally I believe that if your training is really intense it shouldn’t be an issue.

So we’ll leave the program review as being worth the cost. It’s a solid method, and it brings many concepts into one place.

One caviat here: he discussed a bit of “spiritual” content here, basically quoting Eckhart Tolle. While I am all for spiritual and mental open-mindedness and learning, this aspect of the book did not appeal to me, not because it may not hold merit, but because it seemed irrelevant and almost forced.

Onto the next component: the bonus pdf’s. There was a “missing chapter” which was just more of the spiritual stuff I mentioned before, and there was an updated workout, which could potentially be a useful followup program to what’s in the main book.

The videos of him doing the routines are pretty much what they sound like, but unfortunately they are a little flawed. While Greg shows you the movements he does not talk about such useful information as form (one of the reasons MI40 excelled). But I’m not sure how appropriate that would’ve been anyway because the videos give the impression that correct form is not a big concern of his anyway.

The Facebook group is simply a private community for discussion. If it is personal advice from Greg you want you are unlikely to find it here, however you may get assistance from others who follow his programs.

To be honest this program is not that difficult to reverse engineer from YouTube videos etc, and the “bonus” material is probably not substantial enough to make it worth the cost. However, if you’re a complete noob to the concept of IF and want a fairly good rundown of it from someone who has utilized it firsthand this may be for you. Just know that what you’re getting is a suggestion from a young man, not a scientific document or profound/innovative work.

Hope this helped with your decision making and make sure to check out this video for more:

douche

Okay in fairness, much of this is not from Greg himself but rather his minions, but since they view him as a god I give myself licence here. I used to be a member on the “Project Beach Body” facebook group (if I recall the name right), and it was usually good for a laugh, but eventually it became less entertaining and more frustrating, so I had to separate myself from the rampant stupidity that people want to believe.

Regardless, here are some of the gems they taught me…

1. Greg is God!

2. Intermittent Fasting is the only effective way to burn fat.

3. Exercise form is unimportant (unless you’re taking steroids).

4. It doesn’t matter what you eat as long as your calories meet your goals, the Twinkie is evidence of this.

5. Getting high before lifting heavy weights is not just safe and intelligent, it’s downright awesome!

6. The whole point of making progress is so that you can post selfies and lifting videos to show how awesome you are.

7. Diet soda is good for you.

8. The more education someone has the less they know (after all, grand master Greg has no qualifications and no education yet knows everything).

9. Sugar has no impact on insulin.

10. The only way to build muscle is by lifting heavy with poor form.

11. Adrenal fatigue is a myth. The more stimulants you can take the better!

Okay I gave you eleven instead of ten. Don’t you feel enriched!

And here’s the video version:

I’ve updated my original review of Hypertrophy Max with a video review: https://shawnthebuffer.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/my-non-biased-no-bs-review-of-hypertrophgy-max-by-vince-del-monte-and-ben-pakulski/

All feedback is appreciated, either here, on the video or on the original article.


Hey guys and gals,

So in my efforts to adapt with the times I’m revamping my blog and videos a little…

I’m going to be publishing a new video each week, but the theme will be alternating between:

  • one Superhero-physique-themed video per month (based on whatever the newest blockbuster is)
  • one fitness program review per month including books, online programs and even equipment
  • the other weeks will cover all kinds of topics in the physique transformation world like exercise, nutrition, hormones, tips and tricks, supplement and maybe even the odd rant *cough* Planet Fitness *cough*

A lot will be linked here in my blog but they might not all be (and some will be relating to my archived blogs), so to get it all please subscribe to my new YouTube channel, and as always your feedback is appreciated: Buff-N-Toned Channel