I was wrong; You really can get stronger and fitter with 12 min of exercise a week

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I’ve seen claims like this before and laughed at them. Keeping fit and strong has been a life long interest, well at least since I was 15 and started weight training and running. I even did a Gym Instructor course a few years ago simply for interest. During all of this time the recommendation to train for strength 2 to 3 times a week, and cardiovascular health 5 or 6 times a week has never changed. Those workouts would often involve sessions around an hour long too.

My big problem has been time though, over the last few after walking dogs, being Dad, promoting the business and actually seeing clients and helping people there has not been much time to weight train. I’d start and then a couple of weeks later I’d be missing sessions.

So when I watched the Cereal Killers Movie and saw 41-year-old Donal O’Neill completing personal bests at things like pullups after reducing the frequency of his training and doing high intensity stuff I got me thinking.

A bit of research later and I found Doug McGuff’s Body of Science and so for the last few months I have been doing the shortest hardest routine I have ever done. In a nutshell the idea is that you do one super slow set of a bunch of compound exercises. Choosing a weight that results in failure after about 90 seconds and taking around 20 seconds to complete one rep. Doing it that slow is hard because there is no momentum to help. So shoulder press is followed by lat pull down, then chest press, followed by seated row and finally onto leg press and that is it for a week or two! Shortest amount of time I have ever spent training.

The thing is that it works. After a couple of months I worried that I was not working my core and went in the gym to use a cable machine and do some wood chop style moves. Much to my surprise I easily upped the weight from what I had been doing 6 months before. Equally after a couple of weeks break from swimming, with the McGuff routine as my only exercise I significantly increased the number of lengths I could swim without a break. I think I have also put on about an inch of muscle around my chest, although I have also lost a lot of body fat and never measured myself before starting the routine.

Interestingly the real proof for me has come no I no longer have gym membership. With nowhere to keep weights I have decided to try Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint for fitness, a body-weight more functional based exercise routine.  This routine involves an assessment of how many pushups, pullups, and squats you can do followed by how long you can hold a plank. Depending on your results then depends on whether for example you do pushups against a wall, on your knees or inclined etc.

To my joy and amazement I managed 24 pushups, easily over twice what I have been capable of for several years. 5 pullups, 70 squats and I held a plank for over 2 minutes. Not bad for someone who is 50 years old this month.

It will be interesting to see how things workout over the next few months on the new workout. There is a lot I like about it, so I am optimistic that I will continue to gain strength and hopefully muscle mass.

Watch this space, maybe I will even be doing nude selfies lol, actually that is probably reason not to watch this space!!!!!!


Cereal Killers Movie

Body of Science

Primal Blueprint for Fitness



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