40 Strong Review


I’ve had the chance to look over a new program from the folks at Critical Bench called 40 Strong.  This one is of special interest to me since I am now over 40 years old (I hit the big 4-0 a few years ago).  Here’s my review:


Let’s face it, a lot of guys in their 40’s (and older) are completely out of shape.  This can happen for several reasons:

*Other things take priority over planning exercise and training.

*The aging process is accelerated by bad habits (an unhealthy lifestyles).

*Testosterone levels can plummet if the natural decline is further accelerated by obesity, poor diet, etc.

*The “mid-life crisis”–men feel like their life is not where it should be.

You get the idea.  Needless to say, a workout/diet program cannot solve all of these issues.  But it may be a starting point for those who want to improve their fitness level and overall quality of life.  And a well-designed program can also help those who have been consistently training but want to mix things up a little in light of new priorities and goals.

The Program

This is where 40 Strong comes in.  The authors have designed it to be something that can be incorporated into the “typical” life of a man with a career, family, and all the other responsibilities that life brings.  I’ll give you a little information on the training and nutrition philosophy behind this program:

Nutrition:  I’ve noticed that as I get older I’m a lot more sensitive to the foods I eat.  In other words, I can quickly feel the difference between a few days of eating healthy food vs a day or two of junk.  The nutrition parameter gives you some general guidance for choosing healthy foods.

Training:  The exercise component of 40 Strong is designed with more mature trainees in mind.  It incorporates cardiovascular training (steady-state cardio as well as circuit type training), stretching/mobility, and strength/hypertrophy training.   One nice thing is the exercise descriptions link directly to a YouTube video–you can watch and see exercise (or exercises) demonstrated.  The workouts get longer and/or more intense as you progress through eight weeks.


Let me give you some ideas on the type of man that 40 Strong would be most beneficial for:

*Men in their 40’s who have neglected their health and want to start getting back into shape (losing fat, building muscle, becoming more flexible, etc).

*Older/experienced trainees who simply need a change of routine.  Guys who have been weight training for years, for example, may need to spend some time on cardiovascular training an mobility.

*Men who need to focus on diet and fat loss while maintaining their muscle/strength.  I see a lot of older guys who train but are just too fat.  They would look (and probably feel) better if they focused some of their efforts on getting leaner.

If this sounds like you I think you could benefit from this program.  You could spend 8 weeks on it then move on to something that is a little more advanced or specialized.

Just CLICK HERE if you’re interested in trying 40 Strong. 

Body Transformation: Lyss Remaly

It’s time for another body transformation interview!  I’ve had the privilege of talking with Lyss Remaly.  This incredible woman went from weight over 350 lb. to winning 1st place in a bodybuilding competition.  She’s also the first person I’ve interviewed who used bariatric surgery to help her reach her goals.

MuscleReview: Lyss I’d first like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please start things off by just telling us a little about yourself (where you live, family, occupation, etc.).

Lyss:  I currently live in Scottsdale, Arizona. I am originally from Chicago, Illinois and made the move out here a few weeks ago for a new work adventure. I am the Senior Catering and Event Manager for Hilton Worldwide so I get to plan weddings and big parties! It’s a blast!

My amazing family is in Chicago. I’ve lived with them my whole life.  Now that I’m on my own I find I’m naked a lot more than I used to be around the house!

MuscleReview: Based on the pictures I’ve seen you once weighed 350 lbs. Did you always struggle with your weight (since childhood) or was it a problem that developed later in your life?

Lyss: I was ALWAYS fat. When you’re a newborn and look like you have rubber bands on your arms and legs it’s cute.  But when you’re 18 and look like that…not so cute!

MuscleReview: What was the turning point for you? What made you decide to begin your body transformation journey?

Lyss: I had what I call my “click moment” when I was 21 (December 11th, 2010). I was getting on an airplane from Las Vegas where I went to college to New York (I was auditioning for an off-broadway play).  I literally could not fit into the airplane seat.  The airline made me buy the seat next to mine just so I could fit. To make matters even WORSE, I had to be given an extender for the seat belt because it didn’t fit.

I was a crying mess and decided then and there that I HAD to change. I had a whole life in front of me that I was sabotaging. I couldn’t even put on my own bra or walk up a flight of stairs.  Everything just clicked in my mind.

MuscleReview: You began with the help of bariatric surgery. I believe you are the first person I’ve interviewed that took this route (which makes me even more thankful to talk with you). What was that experience like? What advice would you give to those who are considering surgical intervention for their obesity?

Lyss: This can be a sensitive topic for some because some people are ignorant and just don’t understand the process.  Bariatric surgery is exactly what you said…help. It’s not a quick fix, a magic pill or even the be-all end-all to successful weight loss.

Yes, the surgery gave me a violent shove in the right direction.  But 5 months after surgery I had only lost 20 pounds.  I realized that while I was eating far less, I was still eating the same crap foods that got me into that condition to begin with.

That was when I had my second “click moment” and realized that the food wasn’t the problem.   It was just a symptom of the problem and it was up to me to really figure out what the problem was. THAT was when the real weight loss journey and transformation began because I had to work out my food demons.  I had to come to grips with the the “why’s” of what I was doing and fix the bad habits that I had formed over 21 years of life.

MuscleReview: Not everyone who does weight loss surgery gets into intense, bodybuilding style training. What made you decide to do it?

Lyss: I have always been strong. My dad was built like a brick outhouse and passed those genetics to me and my little brother (thanks daddy-o). I HATE cardio: I always say that I’ll only run if I’m being chased, and even then I would try to negotiate!

I walked into a gym after I had my second “click moment” and literally went from machine to machine, figuring out how it worked, what muscles it worked, and seeing how much weight I could move.  I FELL IN LOVE! I talked to all the “meat-heads” for advice, read everything I could get my hands on, and bought myself the Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding.  My life was totally changed!

When I got to my goal weight of 150 pounds in 2012 I looked at myself and said… “Okay…that was a fun challenge…what’s next? I’m going to compete in bodybuilding.” There it was. I put it in my mind and I didn’t stop.

MuscleReview: Did you experience any plateaus in your fat loss? How did you overcome them?

Lyss: Of course. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the beast when training for anything I think. I had to keep pushing, keep consistent, and find other ways to track my progress. Some weeks my strength or endurance improved or my clothes fit better even though I didn’t see the numbers on the scale go down.  It was helpful to celebrate improvements in other aspects of fitness.

MuscleReview: What does your typical week like in terms of training and diet?

Lyss: I train 6 days a week and take one day of active rest.  I work out using a body part split and on the active rest day I might swim or go for a long walk or hit the stair climber. I do some form of cardio every day since my job is pretty sedentary. I keep my diet very low carb and high protein. I follow a paleo type lifestyle where I have cut out all artificial sweeteners.  I make my own condiments and spices and really focus on good quality fuel.

MuscleReview: What was it like for you to compete in a show?

Lyss: It was literally the GREATEST moment of my life. I loved every single minute of the process–from day ONE of prep to the moment I walked off that stage with a 1st place trophy in my hands.

MuscleReview: What’s next for you?

Lyss: I will be competing again in 2016 in August at the WBFF worlds in their transformation division. I may do a show before then here in Arizona since a year seems like a LIFETIME away! I am also focusing on finishing my book that I am writing about my entire journey. I’ve been working on it for two years and I’m DETERMINED to finish it by fall.

MuscleReview: Is there anything I haven’t covered that you’d like to say/share?

Lyss: I just want to take a second to thank you for the opportunity to share my story. It means more to me than you know to have the chance to share my journey with others. I promise…regular people are capable of doing incredible things…you just have to trust yourself, your body and be your own motivation.

MuscleReview: Thanks again for taking the time to do this interview!

Note:  You can check out Lyss’ blog here: From Bariatrics to Bodybuilding (FitnFabuLyss.com).

Renegade Strong Review Jason Ferruggia


I’ve had a chance to look over Renegade Strong, the latest program from Jason Ferruggia.  This six-week program is designed to help you get “big, strong, and jacked.”  I’ll tell you a little more about the program design.

Renegade Strength Program Setup

This book begins with Ferruggia explaining the overall training philosophy.  He proceeds to a warm-up program you can use to get loosened up before each workout.

The main program is a four-day split, meaning it is designed for those who want to train 4 days a week.  You alternate between upper body and lower body days, but variation has been built into the weekly routine.  Some workouts emphasize heavier weights and lower reps, while others are designed to do use less weight and go with more volume/repetition.

As mentioned, this is a six-week program.   The exercises don’t require any special equipment and I think you could do Renegade Strong at just about any commercial gym.  Another nice feature is a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section where he answers common questions a trainee may have about the program (alternate exercises, etc.).


Jason Ferruggia has developed a well-deserved reputation for putting together great workout programs.  Renegade Strong is no exception.  Let me share a few ideas on who I think this program would be well suited for:

*Intermediate or advanced trainees who want to ad some variety to their workouts.

*Guys who want to ad some conditioning elements to their routines (this program features some strongman type training that would suit this purpose).

*Older trainees (over 35) or who want physically demanding workout that are designed with long-term joint health in mind.

*Guys who are a little beat up and want to train around mild injuries (in other words, guys that are healthy enough to train but maybe have some achy joints, etc).

*Guys who are bored with training only the “big 3” (squat, deadlift, and bench press) and want to mix things up a bit.

If any of these descriptions fit you then I think Renegade Strong would be an excellent addition to your training library.  Just CLICK HERE to order or learn more.