The strength training program that we provide here at Sustainable Success is not new. In fact, it goes back to at least the early 70’s through the work of Arthur Jones of Nautilus fame. Arguably, even he was not the originator, as, if you look back to the old time strength trainers and body builders, you will see that by today’s standards, what they did was very abbreviated, training no more than 3 times a week, progressively with a few basic exercises. At some point, the muscle magazines started to recommend marathon workouts, as well as encouraging people to train several times per week, and sometimes even twice in the same day. I think this was a combination of the “more is better” mentality combined with the increasing use performance enhancing drugs.
Over the years, there have been many people who have championed this type of abbreviated training, from Arthur Jones, Ken Hutchins, Ken Leistner, Mike Mentzer, Dorian Yates and others. One of the most respected of these has been the gentleman featured in this podcast ***(note you can stop here and just listen to podcast, as everything below is included in podcast.). Dr. Doug McGuff. Doug enjoys immense credibility in the field and I think it is for three major reasons.
First off, he has MD after his name, and this is probably the least good reason, as there are many MD’s who have capitalized on this credential to promote a lot of what is not actually valid, but nevertheless it does carry weight as compared to other previously cited spokespeople.
Secondly, and more important from my point of view, is that he has authored a number of books and the one that he is most well known for is Body by Science which he co-authored with John Little. Doug and John did a great job of making the methodology accessible by presenting research in a readable manner. The book is also notable for providing a great initial starting point with a basic routine that is suitable for the majority of people. For some it can even serve as a good lifelong routine or at least one that they will regularly return to during their training career.
Finally, I admire Doug primarily for being a great ambassador for evidence based training. He not only has a knack for presenting really technical material in a way that a lay person can absorb, but he does so in a manner that is respectful of diverging points of view. For whatever reason, many other spokespeople have alienated many potential allies, by implying that anyone who disagrees with them is foolish. While there may be times when bluntness can serve to get people’s attention initially, longer term it may not be the best approach. What causes a lot of doubt, unfortunately is that this methodology is not very well known. It has been said that common sense is not all that common. Just as people often point out that the internet, while providing us with a quantum leap to accessible information, has potentially negated this benefit, by providing an equal or greater amount of misinformation, and there has long been a similar issue in the area of fitness information.
Fads have come and gone, and today there is an endless variety of recommendations, some of which are currently in vogue and will likely be replaced by whatever is considered the “next big thing”. This is even true of much of what is taught in universities.
As people feel overwhelmed by all this “information”, they sometimes make the mistake of assuming what is most popular must be correct. Otherwise, why would so many “experts” all agree on it? I like the following quote from Mark Twain: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”
I invite you to take about an hour to listen to this podcast which will provide you with a rational explanation so that you can decide based on whether it actually makes sense to you rather than just going with the flow.
If you’ve read this far, thanks!