Old School, New Body Review

Introduction:

I have had the opportunity to review an extremely popular program called Old School, New Body by John Rowley and Steve/Becky Holman. This is a system designed for men and women who want to stay in shape or get back in shape.   I’m interested in this program for a couple of reasons:

I’m in my mid-40’s and I’m interested in maintaining a high level of strength and fitness for years to come. I’m always on the lookout for training and diet information designed for more mature trainees.

One of the major health issues we face here in the West is sarcopenia–the decline of strength and muscle that occurs with aging. Some of this is inevitable, but lifestyle choices do worsen/accelerate the problem. I can tell you from personal experience that it is possible to look and feel much younger than your chronological age. I’d like to see more men and women enjoying a healthy, high energy lifestyle in their 40’s and beyond.

With this in mind let me share with you what you will get if you order the Old School, New Body program. Keep in mind that these are all digital products–they are quickly and easily downloaded from the website if you decide to order this program.

Program Components:

Old School, New Body Main Guide: This E-book is your guide to the overall history and philosophy of the program. According to Rowley, he and Steve ran across some of the training journals of the legendary Vince Gironda. Gironda was a trainer to many Hollywood celebrities in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. He was a man that was truly ahead of his time.

These training journals inspired John and Steve to do more research and eventually created the Focus-4 Exercise protocol (F4X). These workouts make it possible to build muscle and burn fat while minimize the wear and tear on joints (something older trainees have to be more conscientious about).   Another beauty of this system is that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym every day. You can, in fact, maintain a high level of fitness by training only three days a week and adjusting your diet. The book gives several examples of success stories–those who have used this system to stay in shape.

Here’s one thing you may find surprising about Old School, New Body: even young people can benefit from these workouts. The authors have seen 19 and 20-year-olds transform their physique with these training techniques.

Needless to say, there’s a lot more I could share about this manual. But hopefully this gives you a pretty decent idea of what the authors hope you can accomplish by applying this system.

Quick Start Workout Guide: This document will guide you through the F4X workouts. It is divided into four different phases. The first is called Lean workouts–these are the beginner level workouts that will help you get started on your fitness journey. The second phases is called Shape workouts, designed for those who are ready for more intensive training. The third phase is called Build. This phase is for those who want to add some muscle after building the foundation from previous phases.

Ultimate Fat Burning Secrets: This E-book includes some additional fat loss tips that you may find helpful. The key to fat loss, of course, is a negative calorie balance. But you’ll learn some extra things from reading through this document.   Here’s one example: those who eat diets higher in protein tend to be more successful at weight loss. Protein helps you to feel full and keeps you from eating other more high calorie foods.

Ultimate Muscle-Building Secrets: Like the previous book, this one includes some additional information to help you build muscle. The authors mention different supplements, for example, that you may want to consider adding to your regimen. One example is taking 400 milligrams of magnesium before you to bed. This mineral is helpful for keeping cramps away and may help you relax and sleep better

Ultimate Sex and Anti-Aging Secrets: This is another E-book/manual with helpful information: supplements, dietary adjustments, etc.

Ultimate Health and Happiness Secrets: This E-book is a little bit different than the others because it includes some tips on the psychological/mental aspects of life in addition to the physical.

MP3 Interviews: you can also download interviews with fitness experts–you’ll hear some of their insights on staying healthy and happy.

Review:

As I mentioned before, I’m interested in diet and training information that can help with both longevity and the quality/vitality of life. I think that Old School, New Body is a good program for those in search of this kind of resource. Let me tell you who I think would most benefit from this program:

Older adults (middle-aged and up) who wish to improve their level of health and vitality. I think this is a great program for those who wish to lose fat, gain muscle, and become more energetic. One of the beauties of this program is you can do so without worrying about trying to lift heavy weights.

Younger trainees who want a break from heavy lifting may also enjoy this program. It would be useful to follow for a few weeks to let your joints recover.

If either of these descriptions sound like you then I think Old School, New Body is definitely worth a try. It is not expensive and available for download as soon as you purchase it. Just CLICK HERE if you’d like to order this program or learn more.  

40 Strong Review

40strongreview

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:

Introduction

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.

Review

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. 

How To Get Abs: Five Cold, Hard Truths

HowtoGetAbsMost young men walk in the gym with dreams of looking like a bodybuilder, NFL wide receiver, or maybe even a UFC fighter. Trainees may desire different levels of musculature, but most of them want the one centerpiece that all great physiques have in common: washboard abs, also known as a “six pack.”

Having shredded abs is an admirable goal. But there are some cold, hard truths you should embrace before hanging all your hopes and dreams on the status of your midsection. You’ll be much less frustrated if you keep some of these things in mind.

1. Diet is THE Key to Six-Pack Abs:

Some sectors of the fitness industry continue to perpetuate the myth that abdominal training is the key to having a washboard stomach. We’ve all seen that infomercial with the incredibly lean, tanned, well-oiled fitness model using some kind of gadget designed to train the abs. And you can look like him for a few easy payments of 20 or 30 bucks.

You might as well hold on to your credit card, because the key to having visible abdominal muscles is having a low percentage of body fat. And the key to having low body fat is diet. Yes, exercise definitely helps–I’d highly recommend lifting weights combined with some form of cardiovascular conditioning. But it is virtually impossible to do enough exercise to overcome a poor diet.

Getting really lean will require you to put as much planning in your eating as you do your training. There are several effective diet strategies you can use (I prefer an intermittent fasting approach), but all of them will require you to use more calories than you consume for several weeks (or even months, depending on your current level of fitness).

2. Genetics Play a Role in Visible Abs:

Like it or not, some guys will have a much easier time achieving and/or maintaining six pack abs than others. Some men have low body fat levels because of their parents–they are genetically “programmed” to be lean and can stay that way with minimal dietary adjustments. We’ve all met that guy who eats a steady diet of fast food, trains sporadically, and still looks incredible with his shirt off.

The role of genetics doesn’t stop at overall body fat levels–it also has a huge influence in where you store your fat. Men naturally tend to have more fat around the midsection (women tend to carry it on their hips/thighs). But there is great variation in the proportion of fat we store around our stomach vs. other parts of the body. Some men can be quite lean through the arms and legs yet have large waistlines. Others store fat more evenly. These differences in fat distribution mean some can have visible abdominal muscles with a higher body fat percentage than others.  Some will have to get their body fat level very low in order to have visible abs.

3. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Crunches:

Remember the picture of that bodybuilder you wanted to look like? Chances are he doesn’t look like that 99% of the time. Bodybuilders, fitness models, and even actors usually spend several weeks preparing for a single show, photo shoot, or scene. They undergo a strict diet and training regimen that, if properly executed, will get them to their desired level of leanness at the right time.

Hugh Jackman: Ripped and Thirsty
Hugh Jackman: Ripped and Thirsty

The “shredded” look often requires more than getting lean–subcutaneous fluid/water has to be carefully manipulated to make muscle definition more visible. Hugh Jackman began intentionally dehydrating himself 36 hours before his shirtless scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Bodybuilders often resort to using diuretics drugs, sometimes with fatal consequences.

To summarize, the strong physiques you see in magazines and movies are often temporary illusions–you may be looking at someone who is weakened by dehydration and calorie/carbohydrate restriction.

4. Getting Shredded May Lower Your Testosterone:

Here’s something else you should know: extremely low body fat levels (or the process required to get there) can have disastrous effects on testosterone levels. One study followed a natural bodybuilder as he prepared for a contest. He began with 14% body fat and worked his way down to 4.5% body fat over a period of several weeks. His testosterone went down 80% by the time he had reached his goal–80%!

It is incredibly difficult to naturally maintain strength and vitality when body fat drops into the lower single digits. This is one of the many reasons anabolic steroids have such great appeal to those who get ripped for a living. These synthetic hormones help offset the body’s natural response to several weeks’ worth of calorie restriction.

It is possible to diet and train your way to 5% body fat with no “pharmaceutical assistance,” but be prepared for a serious drop in testosterone.

5. Women May Not Care:

Let’s just assume you are able to get completely shredded without losing your interest in the ladies (remember that testosterone thing). Chances are they will not be nearly as impressed as you had planned. Yes, most women appreciate a lean, muscular physique. But don’t expect them to line up just to look at your abs. It just doesn’t work that way.

GymExpectations

Attraction tends to be a complex thing for women, and most of them will simultaneously weigh several factors before giving you their attention. Personality, sense of humor, communication skills, success/ambition, and a long list of other characteristics are going to be more important to her than your shredded six-pack.

Wrap-up:

Believe it or not, I’m not trying to discourage you from pursuing physical excellence.  Find a good program.  Go to the gym. Clean up your diet. Lose that gut. Put on some muscle. Build some strength. Your genetic makeup may allow you to get a six-pack with a reasonably low body fat level.  But you may need to settle for a good shoulder-to-waist ratio and flat stomach.  Don’t despair: you’ll look and feel great at this level of fitness.  And you’ll be within striking distance of the “shredded” look if you decide you want to take it that far.