Archive for the ‘Program Reviews’ Category

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 if 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.

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:


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 races 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:

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:


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:

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

Recently a friend asked me if I was interested in being a coach for Beach Body so I did a little research on the idea and this blog will cover what I came up with.

First and foremost I’ve had a little bit of experience with beachbody in the form of P90x, which remains a decent option for people who don’t want to go to the gym.

Next, when I searched for reviews and experiences of others I turned up mostly BS and fake articles which were basically just marketing sites. I can’t fault beachbody for advertising this way since it seems to be the new marketing trend even if it is a little shady. So this review might just be the only genuine one out there… However I will use the term “review” cautiously as my ultimate was to not do it for reasons I will share.

When I was first presented with the option of being a coach I thought it was due to my physical fitness achievements and education, however it soon became apparent that the term “coach” is not a coach in the traditional sense, but a fancy/gimmicky title for what most companies would call a sales rep.

This quickly rubbed me the wrong way. I understand that BeachBody wants to empower people, but it is a really bad business idea from all perspectives. First of all it lessens the value of the term “coach” and it sets people up to feel duped. I can see how it might work to fool people in the short-term, but it seems like a bad idea for the longevity of the company.

Still interested to know more, I learned the following details out about what it takes to be a “coach” and what the benefits are.

To become a coach you first sign up for one of their challenges that is currently around $40. If you look around online this is not too bad a price tag for a program based on the others that are out there. However I can’t judge the quality of the program having not done it. I will say however that their main programs are significantly more expensive than this so I would be surprised if it is to the level of their others.

After paying this startup cost you then must pay $15/month. This gives you access to 25% off BeachBody products plus your own personal web space which you can direct others to and earn commission on any sales you refer.

Stopping right there I was very tempted by this. I could see how it would be mutually beneficial. I would get access to products and commission by advertising to my friends, plus the small fee might act as motivation. BeachBody would get their $15 from me plus any products I buy and any I refer.

But hold on, there’s one teensy tiny thing that I was then told; you the “coach” are also obligated to buy their flagship supplement Shakeology every single month, which currently sells at $140 (so about $100 after the 25% discount). THIS IS WHERE THEY LOST ME.

First of all I’m not a huge fan of meal replacement shakes, but when I do want powdered food it is very easy for me to go to the supplement shop and get a month supply of whey, greens and fish oil for equal to or less than the cost of shakeology with more flavour options and have it in my pantry that day.

Secondly, if the product is as good as they claim it should sell itself. Now I understand that due to the reasons I listed above they might have a challenge selling their shake to new people, so I suggested to my friend that it would make sense to include shakeology with the startup package and if it is really that good I would WANT to continue to order it rather than being forced to.

Obviously my friend was not in a position to negotiate BeachBody policy, so my suggestion stayed there.

If you are at this point in my blog and are considering joining beachbody  as a coach my recommendation to you is to take a look at both sides of the ledger: what are you putting in vs what you are getting out of it.

There are certain people this would be beneficial for:

  • If you are a shrewd business person and think you can make commissions that would exceed the amount of cash you are putting in ($120/mo give or take).
  • If you simply love shakeology and don’t mind being married to it.
  • If you want to have the title of “coach” that really means nothing to anyone with a shred of knowledge about BeachBody.
  • Personally I don’t fall into any of the above categories. I fall into the category of wanting to stay active and healthy, and hopefully inspire and lead others. That is the Shawn Buffington definition of “coach”.

    Vince Del Monte attacks P90x:
    vince del monte criminal

    Super Hero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington

    SOA – a new Animated webseries

    Time for another no-biased, no BS and of course non-endorsed review that is not here only to sell you on buying the program.

    One of latest fitness “program”s to hit the on-line marketplace is Mike Gillette’s “strength psychology”  Or “psychology of strength” (depending which site you go to) which has been advertised to help people build “mental toughness”.

    It is an interesting starting point for a program but not a program in its entire form. It is pretty much the exact same concept as part 1 of Superhero Physique – so those who have bought that will find nothing new here (and Gillette’s program is a supstantially greater cost).

    For those who haven’t bought Superhero physique and are interested in Strength Psychogy, I would suggest using causion before buying it. First of all, if you consider yourself menatally “weak” much of what he says will fall on deaf ears, and if you consider yourself already mentally strong chances are you wont listen to many of his suggestions anyway. 

    Also keep in mind that this product is being marketed by a group that tells salesman to give their best information away for free, so basically the best stuff to be learned is on the sales site and his articles anyway, so you are likely to feel underwhelmed if you buy it — but they don’t care as long as they get your money.

    I’m not going to sit here and tell you the information here is bad as such, it’s just rehashed concepts that have been around for decades. With that in mind I can’t recommend spending your money on this one.


    Super Hero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington

    SOA – a hilarious new webseries