You can do it in 12 minutes per week. Yes, 12 minutes of working out can give you a kickass body. We frequently believe that more is better. The more we work out, the better it is for us.
After 32 years as a Rolfer and owning a holistic medical clinic, where I worked with Olympic and professional athletes, I can tell you that more is not better. Many of these elite athletes saw us because they were injured from doing the wrong workout and too much of it. They would tell me that they knew their workouts were bad for them, but the ‘authorities’ told them they had to do the workouts.
Many behaviors you’re told to do are wrong – they’re hurting you.
Here are a few misconceptions I have noticed over the years that harm us:
- a hard body is a strong body
- sit ups are good for the back
- working out fast is the best for you
- running with your feet straight is the way to run
- tucking your pelvis and butt is the way to stand
- shoulders back, chest out is good posture
- elbows pointing behind you is the way to ‘hold’ the arms
Each one of these produces strain and eventually injury; compounded with the wrong exercise, they produce chronic injuries.
A better way
If you want a body that is not only strong, but lasts, you need to change, not necessarily what you do, but certainly how you do it. I’m speaking specifically about working out.
Recently I discovered the work of Doug McGuff, MD, an emergency room physician turned exercise geek. McGuff put his not so successful experience with weight training and his medical training together to figure out that a little of the right workout produces more than longer and more frequent workouts, all with no injuries.
His 12-minute per week routine not only gets you stronger, but also changes how your body uses insulin, while improving your cardiovascular system. I knew enough physiology to follow most of what he was saying, but not enough to explain it here. McGuff does an excellent job making the complicated easy to understand. (See the resources below to learn more about the science behind this approach.)
After discovering Doug McGuff, MD and his program, I was able to find a fellow who just opened a gym in my small town. It happens that Bo Sullivan is an avid fan and trainer of Doug McGuff’s program. A week ago when I walked into his 360-Fit gym, I was greeted by a big muscular guy introducing himself as Bo.
My reaction of feeling dominated by Bo’s size immediately disappeared, because of his genuine, affable nature. He explained he knew who I was, then shared his experience with McGuff’s work. Without hesitation he said, “Why don’t we do a little workout?” Dressed in my street clothes, I said sure. In one minute, he had me hurting. I hadn’t breathed that hard or felt my muscles burn like that in decades. Maybe I’m a masochist, but I loved it. I felt my body give all it had and more.
A few days later I noticed my tight shoulder joint was freer. I wasn’t sore. I felt good. Yesterday I went back for my official session. This one was a little longer and harder. Last night I had a hard time putting the fork up to my mouth. This morning there was only a vestige of the soreness.
Last week, I wanted to cheat – I wanted to work out more. I didn’t because a core of McGuff’s program is rest. He explains, in his book, the importance of allowing your body to rebuild from an intense workout. I constantly see clients overtraining. When I bring up that they may want to slow down, I am often met with resistance. What is it about us men, that we just keep training even when it is injuring us?
Why I do this – what’s in it for you
I’m busy. I don’t have the time to go to the gym several times a week to slowly get results. I’m doing it to gain weight. Because of not being very physical in the last few years, I lost weight. Many in McGuff’s clinic do it to lose weight. My heart rate is high for me – 72 beats per minute. I want to get it down, and his program will do it.
I want to do it right. After seeing so many people harm themselves with their workouts, I wanted to not only be efficient, but also not injure myself . Having more energy and stamina is also important to me, so I tracked down the best way to do it.
You are my witness
I’ll keep doing this, at least until I get what I want. I will also share my results with you. In doing that, you are my accountability partner.
I like being a guinea pig. Over the last 35 years, I was often the first to try a new thing. In the vast majority of the situations, I was glad I did. I expect I will be with Doug McGuff’s protocol. Whatever happens, you will know.
In his book, ”Body by Science” McGuff lays out in detail why this is possible, as well as how to do it. For those who don’t want to read the book I suggest these sources:
- His website:
- On the site he lists the trainers whom he trained
- Review of book and McGuff videos explaining his workout:
- Videos explain how exercise effects insulin and fat storage
- 2 hour audio interview with Dr. Mercola
- Excellent in-depth interview by two docs that do this kind of work out. McGuff makes some interesting distinctions that tweak the standard high intensity workouts that Dr. Mercola was doing.
For those in the North Idaho area, check out Mike Teater’s site. Mike’s one of the top trainers using Doug McGuff’s techniques. He will be working with Bo Sullivan setting up one of his Exercise Institutes here in Sandpoint, ID.
Find someone in your area and give this a try. Let us know how it works for you.