With John Assaraf and
Guest Expert
Ari Whitten
Secrets to Achieving
your Ideal Physique
The Ideal Physique
• Throughout history,
the ideal physique
has meant two
– Lean
– Muscular
Greek pottery 525 BC
1. Our genes do not differ from our Paleolithic
hunter-gatherer ancestors.
2. Cultural evolution now occurs too fast for
genetic accommodation, resulting in an evergreater dissociation between the way we live
and the lifestyle for which our genome was
originally selected.
3. Our Ancestor’s diet and lifestyle holds the key to
realizing our ideal physique.
So how did we go from looking like this…
To This…
The Standard
“The reality is that what we now
consider elite athletes were
once the norm in every
hunter-gatherer society.”
- Dr. James Chestnut
“There is a great deal of data to
show that the strength, agility,
stamina, power, bone density,
body composition, and muscle
mass of average huntergatherers was equal to that of
today’s Olympic athletes.”
The American Trend
• In 1960 the average weight for a
man was 160 pounds. By 2002 that
had jumped 191 pounds!
• In 1960 the average weight for
woman was 140 pounds. By 2002
that had jumped 164 pounds!
• 65% of Americans are overweight
or obese
The Same Genes
Our genes do not differ from our
Paleolithic, hunter-gatherer, preagricultural, pre-industrial ancestors.
“The human genome has changed less than
0.02% in 40,000 years.”
- Dr. Loren Cordain - The Paleo Diet, 2002
Modern Homo sapiens are still genetically
adapted to a pre-agricultural huntergatherer lifestyle because the overall
genetic makeup of Homo sapiens has
changed little during the last 10,000
- Journal of Applied Physiology 93: 3-30, 2002
Mismatch between lifestyle and
Cultural evolution now occurs too fast for genetic
accommodation, resulting in an ever-greater dissociation
between the way we live and the lifestyle for which our
genome was originally selected.
“From a genetic standpoint, humans living today are Stone Age
hunter-gatherers displaced through time to a world that
differs from that which our genetic constitution was selected.
Most Commonly Eaten “Foods”
White Bread
French Fries
Hot Dogs
“Affluent populations habitually consume a diet
that was unknown to the human species a mere
ten generations ago.”
- ‘Conquering Suffering, Enriching
Humanity, The World Health Report’ – WHO,
Geneva 1997
A Healthy Standard?
The food guide pyramid, was published by the USDA in 1992
Typical American Diet
756 Doughnuts
60 Pounds Cakes & Cookies
23 Gallons Ice Cream
7 Pounds Potato Chips
22 Pounds Candy
200 Sticks Gum
365 Servings Soda Pop
135 Pounds Refined Sugar
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. Adults
BRFSS, 1995
(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person
No Data
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. Adults
BRFSS, 2006
(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
No Data
A Healthy Standard?
The foods are divided into 4 basic groups:
meat & fish
fruits & vegetables
milk & dairy products
Bread, grain & cereal
• Our ancestors living before the development of
agriculture (10,000 years ago) derived all their
nutrients from the first 2 groups.
The Result
“World-wide, the adoption of this diet has been
accompanied by a major increase in coronary heart
disease, stroke, various cancers, diabetes and other
chronic diseases.”
‘Conquering Suffering, Enriching Humanity, The World Health Report’ – WHO, Geneva 1997
A New Standard
• Our ancestor’s diet and lifestyle holds the key to
maximizing our potential for the ideal physique.
Consumed primarily fruits and vegetables (65- 95% of their diet was plant foods)
Average American eats only 3.6 servings of fruits and veggies a day!
– That’s including fried potatoes, jams, and fruit juices!
They had a fiber intake of 100 grams / day
– Typical American diet has less than 15 grams
– Improves insulin sensitivity, Improves gastro-intestinal function , Helps maintain normal cholesterol
levels, increases satiety and reduces caloric intake
The remainder of their diets were made up of lean, free-range, grass-fed game meats, wild fish, nuts and seeds
They had the ideal fatty acid ratio of between 2:1 and 1:1 of Omega-6 : Omega-3
• The modern ratio is between 20:1 and 50:1
• Increase thermogenesis, Increase insulin sensitivity, Increase the secretion of Leptin, Encourage the burning
of stored body fat, Inhibit the production of a specific enzyme that helps to create body fat
You must eat the foods your genes are designed for!
ALL your food should come from food groups that existed prior to the agricultural revolution
In other words, if it doesn’t run, swim, fly or grow out of the ground as a fruit or vegetable, DON’T eat it!
What are the results of your program?
Those Who Want Results
Those Who GET Results
The more I'm around in the strength training/personal training field the more I
notice one thing: there are mainly two kind of people in the gym - those who are
training to get results and those who are training because they love it. Ironically
over the long run, only the latter normally get results!
Some people who train merely to get results will sometimes get short term results,
but they never achieve long term success.
Because after the initial phase (where results can come quickly) progressing physique and strengthwise can become extremely difficult and arduous work
So if are in it only for the results, these will never come fast enough
So you have to work HARD to make changes to your body, and if you don't love the
process you wont make it!
If somebody gave me a pill that would stop my strength and body comp progress
training, and challenging myself. The changes my body undergoes are just icing on
the cake.
Those Who Want Results
Those Who GET Results
• Progression is never linear – you will have ups and downs
• Because of the non-linear aspect of progression people
who are in it only for the results open themselves to
"solutions" that are actually counterproductive:
– Magic Pill Diets, Steroids, appetite suppressants, diet
pills, stimulants, etc.
– Constant program change
– Stop training entirely because it’s not “worth” the
Mastery Focused vs Results Focused
As George Leonard says in Mastery: The Keys to Success and LongTerm Fulfillment
“How do you best move toward mastery? To put it simply, you
practice diligently, but you practice primarily for the sake of the
practice itself.”
“…The desire of most people today for quick, sure, and highly
visible results is perhaps the deadliest enemy of mastery.”
And as Russell Simmons says,
“Some people say ‘keep your eyes on the prize,’ but I disagree. When
your eyes are stuck on the prize, you’re going to keep stumbling and
crashing into things. If you really want to get ahead, you’ve got to
keep your eyes focused on the path.”
The Secret to Results
• If you are in it only for the results... you wont
get much!
• The real secret to getting long term progress is
become one of your passions. That way you will
approach every session like it's a privilege to be
there, you'll be excited and motivated to train
hard and as such you will get more results.
Traditional Cardio is DEAD
• Aerobic training is DEAD
• Why have we been told for the last several decades to do
aerobic training? They said it:
– Burns fat
– Develops aerobic capacity (“cardiovascular fitness”)
• It is inefficient and ineffective to the extreme
• Whether your goal is to look better or be healthier or perform
better, aerobic training is a vastly inferior method of training.
• Brief, sprint-like efforts lasting between 3-60 seconds is the
path to transforming your body in the shortest time.
– EPOC 36 hours
– HSL (hormone-sensitive lipase)
Traditional Cardio is DEAD
“If you want to look better, interval training. If you want to get in
better shape or better cardiovascular fitness, interval training.
The million dollar question: Why does anybody do aerobic
training? Because it’s easy! I look at aerobic training and think
there is no one who should do it. There is no legitimate purpose
for this form of activity. The only thing it’s good for is if that is
what you want to do – if you want to run a 10k, then practice
running 10k’s. But if your goal is to perform better or look better,
what’s it good for? Nothing. That’s why we do not at any time,
do aerobic training in my facility.”
- Mike Boyle, a world-recognized authority on training
The MYTH of Spot Reduction that Won’t Die
• We’ve all seen TV infomercials for Ab Blasters and other
crunch machines that claim to shed inches off your waist
– Built on a false presupposition
• People ask me all the time what to do about this problem
area or that one – their hips, their stomach, their arms,
their butt, etc.
– The area you store fat in is irrelevant. The answer to
fat loss is the same regardless of the area you store
fat. And it’s not to starve yourself to create a caloric
deficit, the real solution is to …
Increase Caloric Flux!!
Caloric FLUX
• You want to break free of the caloric restriction model based on
consuming less calories than you burn and start thinking through
• An example to illustrate the point:
– Person #1 burns 2,000 calories per day and ingests 1,700
– Person #2 burns 3,500 calories per day and ingests 3,200
– It is the SAME 300 calorie deficit per day, but the second
person has a far higher caloric flux, and as a result they will
have a much leaner, more toned physique.
– Person 1 will look like the average, mostly sedentary dieter.
Person 2 will look like an elite athlete.
• Very high caloric intake and extremely high caloric expenditure is
the path to extreme body transformation
How to Increase Caloric FLUX
• Increase daily activity, but more importantly increase resting
– This makes it so you’re not only burning more calories during
your workout, but also during the other 23 hours of the day!
• Add more muscle to your body!
– Everyone – and I mean EVERY one – regardless of what they say
their goals are (to be thinner here or there, to lose fat, gain
muscle, get more “toned”, etc) wants the same two goals: To
lose fat and gain muscle.
– More muscle = faster metabolism
• Every additional1 lb muscle = 50 calories /day
• 10 lbs of muscle = 500 cal/day x 7days/wk = 3,500 cal = 1 pound of fat
• This is the KEY to putting fat loss on autopilot that virtually everyone who tries to
lose fat misses!
• This is the difference between WORKING OUT and TRAINING….
“Working Out” vs. TRAINING
Maybe you already go to the gym and you think you work out hard…
You say, “Yeah, I’ve been sweating, challenging myself, pushing myself, and I
burned ____ calories on the elliptical machine.”
Well, sweating and burning calories is not the real goal we’re after. Just
burning calories and trying constantly to burn more than you take in is a
LOSING BATTLE that will ultimately end up in metabolic slowdown.
The real goal of training is the systematic and progressive creation of new
stimuli that the body is required to adapt to.
If you do not consistently create these stimuli for adaptation, you may
be sweating and burning lots of calories, but you will NOT change your
body to any significant degree.
If you DO create these stimuli, then you will increase muscle mass, and
resting metabolic rate, which puts fat loss on autopilot.
This is a WINNING battle.
The #1 Workout Mistake People Make!
Not understanding the difference between “working out” and TRAINING.
– The Art of Balancing Progression, Consistency, and Variety
The need for VARIETY:
– The body adapts to a given training program every 3-5 weeks according to research done by
expert strength coach Charles Poliquin.
• So those who remain doing the same exercises for roughly the same sets and reps for
month after month, year after year, have been wasting their time since the first month
The need for CONSISTENCY:
– There are also those who try to always “keep the body guessing” and do different exercises
and workout programs constantly.
• These people also go nowhere fast, as this style of training lacks enough consistency to
provide a progressive stimulus.
– Both of these ways of exercising – which almost everyone falls into – lead straight to
For PROGRESSION to happen, we need a systematic overarching program of training with monthlong microcycles (to give training variety every 3-5 weeks) intelligently programmed into the larger
training macrocycle (to give enough consistency for progression to take place).
How to Structure YOUR Workout Program
• Overall program structure should be determined by the
primary goal: Fat Loss or Muscle Gain
– Work in 3 month macrocycles
– Work in 1 month microcycles
– If your goal is fat loss, then you would do the first and 3rd
month as fat loss programming, and the middle month
would be a muscle building phase.
– You should not constantly change all your exercises… ALL
phases should use variations of the 7 main movement
patterns (squat, deadlift, lunge, horizontal press and pull,
vertical press and pull) and have a constant focus of
mastery of these movement patterns.
– The focus is CONSTANT PROGRESSION on these 7
movement patterns
The single MOST important determinant of leanness is the difference at the
end of the workout between FATIGUE and ACTIVATION!
Increased training frequency – daily and weekly
Training segmentation (increased EPOC, increased motivation and physical performance, decreased neural
Increasing energy demands of each exercise and each workout
This means that if you hope to be lean, fit and toned, you need to drastically rethink the way you are
currently working out.
More than likely all of your workouts now are creating little to no activation and tons of fatigue.
• This is the OPPOSITE of what creates a lean, muscular physique with a raging metabolism that puts
fat loss on autopilot.
• Most people work out with only fatigue/endurance-style training, with little to no explosiveness, little
to no acceleration training or plyometrics, only one speed of training, training to failure, and
emphasized eccentrics.
This is a recipe for decreasing insulin sensitivity, converting fast twitch muscle fibers to slow twitch,
decreasing metabolic rate (long term), and creating nervous system fatigue and burnout.
Compound movements rather than isolation movements
Whole body workouts rather than body part splits
Priming the nervous system and hormones for maximal fat loss
– Maximize insulin sensitivity through emphasizing explosiveness, maximal tension, and
maximal neuromuscular activation
Handstands and Jumps
• No extra time, big extra results
Email questions to: [email protected]

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