Monthly Archives: January 2011

Arthur Jones Was Right About Resistance Training

arthur-jones-nautilus (Arthur Jones circa 1960 on his Nautilus shoulder lateral raise/overhead press combo piece. A shoulder killer if ever there was one.)

As many of you know, I have been an advocate of high intensity training (HIT) for many years. But I wasn’t always one.

It all started in the early 1980’s when I happened to walk into a gym in Verona New Jersey called Powerflex Nautilus. In it were a vast array of giant blue machines that looked like prehistoric torture devices.


The workouts I had at this chamber of pain and torture are unforgettable. My muscles grew faster and stronger in a few weeks doing a 20 minute workout, twice a week than they had in the few years with free weights using Arnold’s advice of nearly everyday, hour long, multiple set training sessions.

Here I am at about 16 after a few weeks of Nautilus training (note that I was a skinny, ectomorphish kid):

I loved my new muscles (and so did the girls) and from then on I was hooked – I became a HITer.

As the years rolled on, I read everything on the subject I could get my hands on. I became a brain on the subject as best as I knew how. But after a few years of training using HIT, I was still unsatisfied with my physique – envying those who were far more mesomorphic than I was. Mesomorphs are people who have a stocky, naturally muscled body even without weight training (here is an example of the three different somatoypes):

What I didn’t know then was that no matter what I did I could not have a densely muscled, thick boned, stocky and powerful build. Asking the body builders in the gyms I frequented what I should do to get bowling ball shoulders and a neck as thick as a telephone pole, I went back to training using high volume, free weight, multiple set workouts. I didn’t get worse results, but they sure weren’t any better. And I had a lot more joint pain and muscle discomfort. And of course, I never, ever considered using drugs.

I had come to realize that after a certain point in training, genetics dictate your physique. Reality set in. So I went back to my HIT training and have continued to train clients and myself using HIT ever since. It works and works more effectively and efficiently than any other form of resistance training.

Back to Arthur Jones. A recent paper By Dave Smith and Stewart Bruce-Low took a look at all of the available scientific evidence on weight training to see if in fact Arthur Jones’ opinions and declarations about resistance training were correct. What they discovered was that for the most part he was. In sum, research indicates that the best way to perform resistance training is as follows:

*Single sets of each exercise performed to muscle failure in ~40-90 seconds
*One to two weekly sessions
*Brief workouts lasting no more than 30 minutes
*Slow and controlled repetition tempo

Arthur Jones had been saying this for several decades. And no – this was not said to sell his new machines as he advocated this regimen of training for the use of free weights or any other type of resistance training equipment. So for all you AJ naysayers out there, take a good read of this very well done paper and perhaps give HIT training a go.

The research used in the Smith-Low analysis was part of what Drs. Eades and I used (as well as our practical experiences as health professionals) to formulate our ideas for our book <a href="The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution: The Slow Motion Exercise That Will Change Your Body in 30 Minutes a Week“> (Affiliate link)

My friend Tim Ferris personally experienced the vast physical benefits of Arthur Jones’ insights gaining 34 pounds of muscle in 4 weeks. Yes, diet plays a big factor in gaining this much muscle in such a short time. Still, without the training no muscle would have been built at all. And I have yet to read a study that produced results like Tim’s using a conventional body building approach.

Recently a couple of exercise physiologists ripped into our book claiming we made fraudulent statements, told lies and bashed and trashed various forms of physical activities. Here’s an excerpt:

The book makes extraordinary claims…trashes other forms of exercise and activities like running, golfing, skiing, tennis, raquetball, and basketball…

I don’t think we mentioned most of these sports in our book at all let alone bashed them.

The rhetoric they use in their review is shameful. It’s a long winded, snarky, lie-filled review that is an embarrassment to the field. They implied we were trying to hoodwink people into buying into our philosophy by making up facts – a philosophy that isn’t ours in the first place. It’s a training philosophy that strength and fitness enthusiasts have used for decades. How absurd is this idea anyway? As if we’d put our reputations and careers on the line for a book.

One of the authors, Jeff Thiboutot, is apparently not only unaware of the scientific literature on the subject (Jeff admitted to reading the Bruce-Low paper just a few weeks ago), but in writing their rude and lie-filled diatribe, they throw stones while living in a glass house. But I don’t have the desire to do to their book what they did to mine, albeit without resorting to strawman arguments, logical fallacies, lies and the other nonsense they used to discredit our book and our characters.

For example, in their review they said:

I agree weight training will build muscle better than aerobics (possibly not for maintenance, however)

Here they suggest that aerobic exercise is better than weight training for maintaining muscle mass. I hate to tell you this guys but that is an absurd statement if ever there was one – one that is completely unsupportable.

But I digress.

Arthur Jones was a pioneer of the fitness industry and truth be told, the industry exists in large part because of him. More and more research is coming out that supports the less is more approach to resistance training and the fact that resistance training is the only form of exercise you need to obtain the benefits that exercise can bestow. Jack LaLanne was certainly a fitness pioneer in many ways, but comparatively speaking, he was no match for Arthur’s intellect on training.
arthur_jones muscle

Jack LaLanne – RIP

The legendary Jack LaLanne died over the weekend at age 96. He was unmatched in his positive, upbeat and motivational persona. Much of what he had to say about fitness and health was spot on.

Here is my favorite clip sugarholics


If the ADA, ADtA, USRDA, AMA, etc. would follow his advice, obesity and type II diabetes would be a rarity rather than an epidemic.

Mr. LaLanne you were way ahead of your time. I’m truly sorry I never met you. Rest in peace.

Anthony Colpo Insults Again

Anthony Colpo, the vitriolic Australian personal trainer and author of a pretty decent book The Great Cholesterol Con is at it once again. He read a Slow Burn bashing review written by two young men who wrote a weight loss book called S.P.E.E.D: The Only Weight Loss Book Worth Reading and blogged on it with his usual flair for colorful language, metaphors, exaggerations and lies. Of course, the blog isn’t at all informative – it’s just rude and derisive. He’s so gleeful that some other people joined his hate Fred Hahn and/or Slow Burn Club he rushed to post all about it.

Why he would take the time to write about me (yet again) in such a derogatory and ad hominem fashion is beyond me. He clearly has a fondness for me – since the opposite of liking someone is indifference towards them. And as you can tell from his blog post, indifferent towards me he is not.

And if you noticed, the comments section is closed for the blog he wrote deriding me. But the truth is the comments were never open in the first place. And why? I’ll venture a guess – he hasn’t got the guts to open the blog up for comments because he knows he can’t take the heat he’d get. He’s like that bully in the schoolyard who could dish it out but when pushed back, cried and ran away.

Colpo states:

when (Brian) Johnson pointed out Fred’s pitiful physical development…heaven forbid he ever consider that…maybe his training methods just plain suck.To help Fred understand just why his training methods are so terrible, and why they are stopping him from achieving a decent physique,…That would explain why the authors themselves are such flagship specimens for the program.

We’ll get to the ad hominem nature of these statements in a sec.

Actually, Brian Johnston, an expert in the field of strength training and someone with an impressive physique (more so than Colpo’s) never once ridiculed mine. Though we’ve had our differences, he has never stooped to that level with me. Not that I ever saw at least.

Now, when you go around making false and empty statements about a dudes physique, you’re messing with his ego. This was done by design of course to get my goat. I should just ignore it. But, you know, to heck with it – I’m going to speak out on my own behalf (one of my favorite movies is The American President where Michael Douglass gives Richard Dreyfuss a solid tongue lashing) on this not just because Colpo prodded me, but also because many people in the strength and conditioning field also make such statements about people who train in a high intensity manner using challenging weights and slow reps.

So, in my own defense, I’d say that I don’t think my physique is that bad. For a 49 year old, I’d say I’m in decent shape. 5’10” 173 pounds and fluctuate between 10% and 15% body fat. My daughter took this pic so it’s sort of dark but you get the picture.

body shot for web

Here’s a side shot getting ready to do a shoulder shrug exercise that has better lighting.


Here is a video of me performing the exercise in the photo. I’d say my back, shoulders and arms are fairly “meaty.”


One more:
fred flex dr room mirror pic for web

Again, I put these pix up to put and end to Colpo’s (and anyone else’s) lies about me not being in shape or that Slow Burn or slow rep training in a HIT manner “sucks.” Could I be in better shape? Sure, if I chose to. I could eat a bit better, forgo wine and spirits, count my calories like a metabolic miser, lose mass and get leaner. Could I be more muscular than I am now? Maybe – but not much I should think.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s an ad homimen argument anyway. Even if I looked like Woody Allen, it does not follow that my training method isn’t powerfully productive. And the opposite of this is true as well of course. If I looked like Adonis it doesn’t follow that my training program made me look that way.

People like Colpo need to be exposed for what they are – liars who will say anything to make someone they don’t like look bad. Sometimes it’s best to let things like this go – sometimes not. Sure, we all have had our weak moments and said things that we probably shouldn’t have about other people. If we are normal however, we regret it and try to better ourselves – not do it over and over again. This sort of ongoing childish vitriol by Colpo is truly disgusting and I feel requires exposure.

Here’s a pic of Colpo. Lean to be sure.


One more of me while we are at it for good measure.
fred pix II Aug 22 2009 003 for web

Ok one more added 1/25/11:

fred 11 2008 dbl biceps

And another added on the same day. This is me and a steroid taking body builder:
Fred and bodybuilder

How much time per week do I spend under the iron using my useless and “sucky” exercise protocol? About 20 minutes. As far as I am aware, Colpo spends thrice that amount of time training.

‘Nuff said.

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