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Body by Science is a complete fitness program that emphasizes strength training. In just 1 minute, this book review offers a concise overview of the principles and benefits of body science.

Body by Science – by Dr. Doug McGuff & John Little

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The idea that you’ll get a re-sculpted body at 12 minutes per week is a bold claim, isn’t it? Medical Doctor Doug McGuff and bodybuilder John Little team up to lay out their case. So, how does it stand up to scrutiny?

First, is it “backed by rigorous research” as claimed? Yes… with caveats.

The book uses a large body of scientific literature as its foundation, and that weight of evidence does support this general approach:

  • Endurance cardio isn’t very good at burning fat
  • Muscle, even just having it without using it much, burns fat to maintain it
  • To that end, muscle can be viewed as a fat-burning asset
  • Muscle can be grown quickly with short bursts of intense exercise once per week

Why once per week? The most relevant muscle fibers take about that long to recover, so doing it more often will undercut gains.

So, what are the caveats?

The authors argue for slow reps of maximally heavy resistance work sufficient to cause failure in about 90 seconds. However, most of the studies cited for the benefits of “brief intense exercise” are for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT involves “sprints” of exercise. It doesn’t have to be literally running, but for example maxing out on an exercise bike for 30 seconds, slowing for 60, maxing out for 30, etc. Or in the case of resistance work, explosive (fast!) concentric movements and slow eccentric movements, to work fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers, respectively.

What does this mean for the usefulness of the book?

  • Will it sculpt your body as described in the blurb? Yes, this will indeed grow your muscles with a minimal expenditure of time
  • Will it improve your body’s fat-burning metabolism? Yes, this will indeed turn your body into a fat-burning machine
  • Will it improve your “complete fitness”? No, if you want to be an all-rounder athlete, you will still need HIIT, as otherwise anything taxing your under-worked fast-twitch muscle fibers will exhaust you quickly.

Bottom line: read this book if you want to build muscle efficiently, and make your body more efficient at burning fat. Best supplemented with at least some cardio, though!

Click here to check out Body by Science, and get re-sculpting yours!

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