Body By Science

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Ah, the long-awaited post on Doug McGuff and John Little’s exercise opus – Body By Science.  Let me purge a few of the sour tastes out my mouth first, so we can get into the good stuff – because I do think that Body By Science offers your metabolic rehab “patient” the best of all exercise solutions.

My most major complaint is the tremendous overreliance on scientific theory in coming to conclusions, as if science trumps experience and observation, or is infallible and immune to error.  Not that the book really relies upon that as a crutch too much when it comes to exercise specifically, but it has that general air of scientific elitism that I find annoying.  In my experience, science is the most prone to error, because of how it examines things in isolation (instead of from a broad perspective), different contexts are not accounted for, and time – well, time ruins everything when it comes to science (as short-term changes are often the exact opposite of long-term effects… like calorie-restriction, carb restriction, fat restriction, etc… all of which lower body fat, LDL, blood pressure, triglycerides, blood glucose, and insulin in the short-term, and raise all of those things over the long-term because of the physical and psychological human REACTION to those interventions).

There’s some tater hating in there too, but I’m over that.  Most of the carb-hating stems from the misbelief that insulin resistance is a result of ingesting carbohydrate when glycogen reserves are already maxed out, a fallacy that I go into more detail on in 12 Paleo Myths.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s why I think Body By Science, and forms of exercise in that genre – including Slow Burn, Power of 10, and the like, offer what is probably the single best overall type of exercise from a health and body composition perspective.  That may seem like a bold claim, and others who fared poorly on this type of exercise only to succeed with programs that are totally out of sync may be facepalming right now, but hear me out…

I have a great deal of experience with all kinds of exercise.  Collegiate-level athletics, skiing, skateboarding, wrestling, Standard Weightlifting, Olympic lifting, several forms of yoga, pilates, running, cycling, hiking, high-intensity interval training, and Metabolic Enhancement Training are just a short list of things I’ve toyed around with over the years.  Almost all of those activities had an adverse effect on metabolism, particularly the long-duration endurance activities like cycling, running, and hiking.  As my research led me increasingly in the direction of metabolism and body temperature increase, and sustainability in approaching the loss of body fat, I gave exercise a little bit of a lashing.  Between injury, burnout, time availability, overtraining, metabolic downregulation, muscle loss, enjoyment, cost, required skill level, seasonality, and other factors – about the only activity remaining that is practical for a mass audience is Pilates, maybe.  But you don’t see me doing that every day.  I find it too boring.  And while it may keep me feeling good and lowers pain (from all the damage all the other forms of exercise did to me, haha), it doesn’t have any significant effect on body composition.

What I’m getting at is that Body By Science can significantly increase strength, increase muscle mass, improve fitness, increase bone density, substantially affect appearance, slow down or even reverse some of the natural physical declines with aging… and it can do all of those things without causing injury, without leading to overtraining, without taking up much time, without leading to burnout, there is no special skill or knowledge required to begin doing it, it is safe and effective for everyone… Sounds pretty good right?  I truly think it is.

While I have touted similar qualities when it comes to maximum-intensity interval training – what I refer to as “MAXercise,” I personally find it to be much harder, more dangerous in terms of injury (and suppressive to body temperature), and limited in its ability to increase muscle size and strength, or increase bone density like strength training performed in McGuff/Little fashion.

The problem with other forms of weight training is that special form and skill is required for doing it without causing injury.  And even doing it correctly can lead to overuse injuries, something that I frequently encounter.  I have had a lifelong history with such proneness, having throwing arm problems as a college pitcher so severe as to lose 10 mph on my fastball and have chronic pain severe enough to force me to stop playing at age 19.  With severe back problems to go with it at that age from a lovely degenerating spine at that age.  Fun!

Plus, other forms of weight training can be daunting in complexity (like Scott Abel’s Metabolic Enhancement Training), long enough in duration to be painfully boring even if you do have the time to do it, and the risk of overtraining is high.  All of these concerns are more or less removed in Body By Science.

That’s enough hype I think.  Let’s talk about the training itself.  While it alone won’t get you onto any podiums at any bodybuilding competitions, I am still going to call it the best form of exercise.  Because I define the best form of exercise very differently.

“Our purpose is to give you a program that will have broad applicability and impart a lot of bang for your metabolic buck.  It is not intended as an ‘ultimate bodybuilding routine’ for someone who plans to enter a national competition, although this workout program may prove to be superior for that purpose as well.”  ~Doug McGuff

The best form of exercise is the type that is metabolically safe and that you are most likely to continue on a regular basis for the rest of your life.  A once-weekly 10-minute weight training session that is safe, simple, and productive fits that description.  In today’s society, especially amongst those who have a history of a low metabolism, and as you age – not much else qualifies.  But I do think that this can be reasonably incorporated into anyone’s lifestyle with predominantly positive outcomes.  It can probably even be thrown in from the beginning if you are trying to rehabilitate your metabolism (meaning you can even start doing it while your body temperature is still low).

The exercise is very simple:

  • You perform one set of one exercise for each major muscle group – usually 3-5 exercises per workout
  • Repetitions should be very slow both up and down with no momentum, 6-12 seconds each way (you don’t want to allow the muscle to briefly rest – you want it under strain throughout the duration to activate all types of muscle fibers)
  • Each set should go until you absolutely cannot move the weight another inch, and then you still push as hard as you can, without the weight moving, for a count of 10 seconds – followed by letting the weight down as slowly as possible (it is important to truly fail at moving the weight, which sends a signal to your body that it was presented with something that was truly too strenuous to manage, and it adapts to be better prepared the next time.  This is where all the benefits come from).
  • Each set should last from 75 to 120 seconds – 90 seconds is a good target… so you should select the weight for each exercise based on which weight causes you to reach this point of failure roughly in this time frame
  • There should be as little rest in between exercises as possible, for extra cardiovascular and metabolic benefits
  • You perform one workout typically every 7-10 days, depending on recovery time needed (the longer you train, the stronger you get, the more damage you do to your muscle, and the more time you may need to recover)
  • You should record the weight you use for each exercise and the total time you are pushing against the weight (the time to failure) to track progress
  • It is preferably performed with machines, but free weights can be used as well. A simple home barbell weight set can be sufficient for those with time and financial concerns, or a sex drive that is insufficient to desire going to a public gym to see fit people covered in sweat in tight clothing doing exercises in vulnerable positions while breathing heavily and grunting

Anyway, that’s a pretty good introduction.  We will be discussing and breaking this down more in future posts.  This type of exercise should be particularly beneficial to the elderly and women, those who have the greatest physiological need for this type of exercise (young people and men have fewer problems with sarcopenia/muscle loss and osteoporosis/osteopenia).

Here is the basic “Big 5″ workout that most people start with, performed by Doug McGuff…


  1. Read this book and loved it…less can be more when done correctly. Thanks for posting this Matt! Being first rules.

  2. “…or a sex drive that is insufficient to desire going to a public gym to see fit people covered in sweat in tight clothing doing exercises in vulnerable positions while breathing heavily and grunting”

    This reminds me of our office gym…it seems we only hire hot college girls so the guys I work with go to the gym and treat it like a peep show. :)

    • This close to Easter when I hear the phrase “peep show” I picture Chief melting peeps into a liquid substance in a sweat lodge, for more rapid sugar consumption. For me, going to the gym helps keep me from obtaining J.D. Salinger-esque hermit status. I mean, I work from home. I hang out all frickin’ day there like the unibomber or something. The last thing I want to do in some small apartment is fill it with sweaty Matt aroma, and not see any real, actual, live, living people in an entire 24-hour period.

      • HAHA…I wouldn’t put it past Chief to be making some liquid peep IV bags. :) I wonder how many Lustigs that would be. I know what you mean about getting out…I have the opposite problem where I look forward to coming home and working out in the basement, but I am out all day. Poor me surrounded by interns and college grads. Someone has to do it, and I am happy to suffer for people like you who work from home. :) Did you ever read the companion to this book? The Body By Science Question and Answer Book? It’s interesting as well, but I only found half the questions relevant to me.

      • I have to say, I’d rather suffer a little Salinger-syndrome than go exercise at my local gym. Hellz no.

      • ah, I love the smell of Matt in the morning, making pancakeys and plantains :-)

  3. I would love to know more about how to do this at home! Is there info in his book for that? :o)

    • You could start with the book Slow Burn, by Fred Hahn. But I would recommend getting a cheap barbell set and moving around some real weight. You want it to feel pretty heavy.

      • Thanks, Matt! I’ll check it out.

        • That book is a great starter book – very easy to understand, and good beginner moves. Thanks! I can’t even push up (a girly push up at that) one time! LOL. I could only go down, but not back up. I haven’t done the full routine yet, I was just checking to see how the first exercise went. And I used to be able to do multiple chest dips back in the day! LOL

  4. Been doing this style exercise for about a year (although I also do tabata training occasionally) and have seen my strength go way up and my body composition get way better compared to when I trained 4-5 times a week with each session over an hour.

    Due to the high level of fatigue you must reach to be effective I have found that the buddy system works best, that way even when your brain screams “Stop!!” some is there to scream “Keep going!!” even louder.

    • I’ve had great results with high volume training. But usually can only keep it up for a few months before I get sick of it, life gets in the way, I hurt, etc. And then lose much of the gains, and then start over, and then lose it again, and then start over. If I had been doing 10 minutes a week for the past 15 years I would have spent about the same total time lifting weights, but would have really gotten somewhere instead of chasing my tail.

    • It’s also hard to go to failure on a bench press without a buddy. That’s where nautilus style machines work well for this method. You can push that last bit without worry if dropping weights on yourself. And if your like me and you lift heavy weights but travel to a place that has nothing but machines that max out around 250, the lower weights of this system make a dinky hotel gym all of the sudden have a purpose.

  5. I got a copy of Body B.S. when you mentioned it recently. The diet section of the book is weak, but they seem to support their cardio-hatin’ pretty solidly. Especially with regards to overuse injuries. Started training with it.

    “prolong the natural physical declines with aging” should be “retard the natural physical declines with aging”. You slow it down (retard it) not make it last even longer and therefore more severe (prolong).

    • Since the release of the book Dr. McGuff has changed his position on nutrition and is now recommending Mark Sisson’s book for dietary guidance.

      • Co-author John Little is still towing the Mentzer party line of “if less than 60% of your dietary calories come from carbs, you’re a frickin’ idiot and your muscle gains and recovery will suffer.”

  6. Is this what TIM Ferris was using in the bodybuilding portion of the 4HB? Looks like it. Anyway anyone who doubts that workout ain’t doin it right ….that shit burns like ____. Insert your favorite type of acid. I found it boring though the pace kills me and it just was no fun.

    • I was slightly embarrassed by using the quick panting technique in the gym. I does attract the attention of pretty much everybody. But if I don’t do that I tend to hold my breath and push. I have to say it does burn like hell, but as soon as you release the weights you get a nice, warm rush for about 30 seconds.

      • Here, here Jessica. I get the strange looks as well. No matter, it is an incredible workout. I cannot believe how hard I am breathing at the end of any set and through the whole workout as I maintain a quick pace (30-45 second between sets).

  7. I’m pretty stoked about this. I can totally hack one workout a week, even if it’s a buster. I’m curious: would a stronger body be able to run a 10k without many actual training runs? I promised a girlfriend I’d run the Bolder Boulder with her, but reading this site has me poo-pooing running, a bit.

    • It can help some, but you still have to do sport specific training to get your muscles used to running. That’s not too torturous of a distance though, fortunately.

    • Rebekah, in my experience a great deal of running efficiency can be acquired through strength training with weights. Even after a long period of slacking I smoke new trainees in sprints. Just from muscle mass. Most of rhem claim to be athletic or not need my help for running. This is only amazing because one I’m big and I’m certainly not built for it. 2) I am not fond of running and i never train for it but when I truly need to run I do pretty good for a big guy. I would say for the average person they are better off weight lifting if they had to choose one or the other. Personally If I was to get ready for a running event I would do this type of training with another day of sprinting during the week for 5 mins with rests in between small burst of 30 secs or so.
      Of course the risk of injury is lowest with the weight training alone.
      Every once in a while I would do a bit of high volume leg based weight training.

      I’m pretty certain a great deal of running skill can be improved through mind training as well.

      • I always heard running breaks down muscle tissue?

      • Distance running and sprinting are two entirely different animals. People who are good at one tend not to be very good at the other. Distance runners benefit from a high proportion of slow-twitch mucle fibers whereas sprinters benefit from a high proportion of fast twitch muscles. I doubt you could run 3 8 minute miles in a row.

        • Your kidding right? 3 miles in 24 minutes?
          and I wouldn’t believe anything written by Arthur Jones, salesman and fraudster

        • Hey tm s71, You are right about sprinting and distance running being different.
          Alot of the differences in runner abilities from fast or slow twitch you mentioned are genetic.
          I may or may not be able to run distance at the level you consider a good reference for fitness as I’m not built like typical distance runners. I certainly won’t bother testing it or improving my time as i see absolutely no use for quickly covering a large distance on land, when bicycles exist. I would be at a disadvantage participatiing because of size like John welbourne competing at the crossfit games against guys that are 5 ft9/160 pounds regardless of training he won’t beat em in the running events. In rebekah’s original original question she wanted to know if a stronger person would gave a better chance running 10 miles. I was assuming she wanted to avoid the negative reprecussions you get from repeated distance running. My advice related to a best of both world situation. both I and John welbourne could run ten miles if we needed to although we would probably not have the best times. However strength training, especially in this fashion described above would give us an advantage over weaker individuals with similar genetic predispositions. If i was a weak couch potatoe I most likely would fail attempting to run that far. My main point was if she wants to get the majority of the positives and complete the run without the negatives that cone with distance training, she is best off training like this. unless of course her goal is to do her best possible time and doesn’t mind wrecking herself in exchange for it then go ahead run butt loads, attempting to beat genetics but only increase a few messily minutes temporarily in a relatively pointless endeavor. Sumo wrestlers have the same athletic heart seen in runners and do no jogging or distance running. Certainly the same is possible in less large trainees. the results I see in my trainees is those that strength train but do no distance running all improve “cardio” abilities in all mechanical work including running.

          • I wasn’t denigrating your fitness level. I’m no good at distance running. Even when I ran regularly 8:30 miles were the best I could manage at a 3 mile distance. I’m also a pretty big guys (6’2″ 215lbs) and I am not good at distance running and I’m a pretty fast sprinter. What I’m saying is that I don’t think your answer to the previous post is quite right. Doing strength work does next to nothing for your distance running ability.

          • Tms71, if you read my response I am telling you in my experience coaching many people, training this way will improve your stamina in any activity and even the worst results in students is quite far from ” next to nothing” I mean no disrespect at all. Hopefully those that read this discussion might benefit. Especially those that never worked out intheir life or consider themselves “too old”.

  8. how would one supplement free weights for machines? as in, what exercises would you do instead of the machines?

    • In the book it is deadlifts, bent over rows, bench press, shoulder press, maybe a bicep curl thrown in there. I forget. There are many variations. I would watch the videos on the bodybyscience youtube channel

      • I for one, aim to do a bodyweight chin-up before I expire. That is my dream puny as it seems.

        • If you wanna train specifically for it, I can have you doin’ 3 in 2 months. I know a secret ninja trick.

          • secret ninja trick…. i can do 5×10 chinups now :) i dont knwo the trick, i just do them twice a week.

    • Get “Starting Strength, 2nd Edition” by Rippetoe and Kilgore. Use the reps, sets and times from BBS, but SS will walk you through what exercises to do with free weights to get the whole body, and do them without injuring yourself.

      • Brock, I had that book and I think I gave it to Matt.
        @Sensei Mattson:
        Yes, please. I am using a machine to do it, gradually working up to bodyweight.. but it may take another ten years at this rate.
        love ya
        weird mom

  9. Have you tried lifting like this yet?

    I’ll try it…when I’m 80!

    Seriously though, I will try it eventually, even if just for a few weeks to take a break from heavier lifting.

    I did some bodybuilding oriented lifting for a while that was light(ish) weights done for 8-10 reps with a fast positive, a true 4 second negative, and fairly short rests between sets. VERY difficult, but super easy on the joints, tendons and even the nervous system due to the lighter weights used. I healed some joint pain during that time, put on sarcoplasmic muscle and pretty much always felt great after a workout.

    • I tried it for a while years ago, when Tim Ferriss first blogged about HIT. But I realize now I didn’t do the sets correctly at all. Plus I was eating low-carb. Eating like I am now I can just look at a weight and get stronger. And bigger. But I prefer a little more volume. Anyone can add more volume or change their weight training. The most important thing is getting someone who has never weight trained into the gym to do it regularly. That’s who really NEEDS resistance exercise.

      I think it’s better to underdo it and be super hungry to get into the gym to do the workout. The workout leaves you wanting more. I think that’s a good thing. Keep in mind my audience is 70% female, most of those over 50.

      • 70% female and most over 50? Somehow I’m surprised. Interesting.

        • Women do spend more time obsessing over what to eat than men, and health in general. A woman has to be of a fair age to have gone through enough diets to actually listen to what I have to say. That’s how I’ve made sense of the site visitor data I’ve seen.

          • I guess this 24 year old male who’s only “dieted” sporadically for a few years (since college) is out of the ordinary then… interesting.

            Didn’t stop me from getting fat, weak, and sick, though. Paleo fixed me partway (I never did explicit calorie restriction, thank gawd, just shifted to a different set of foods) and now Diet Recovery seems to be helping me reach the goal line of awesome health. So far so good anyway. :-)

          • Thats right we do obsess over what we eat ;) but I’m only 26 and thanks to you I’m not obsessing as much. I also don’t have the self control it takes to go on extreme diets for more than a few weeks, but thankfully I’m one of the few hormonal women that can eat all kinds of things without gaining weight. I’m almost 7 months pregnant now and still only weigh 123, and thats with being a stay at home Mom who sits on her butt a lot! I bet I could gain some weight doing Body By Science, my husband is into it too.

          • Lack of willpower is the only thing that really saved me from doing anything that would have truly wrecked me!

      • Matt said: “Eating like I am now I can just look at a weight and get stronger. And bigger.”

        Shall I start calling you Bruce? hehehe ;-)

      • “Keep in mind my audience is 70% female, most of those over 50.”

        I always knew you were in it for the chicks…

        • Over 50 does not = dead or gross. FYI

          • It wasn’t my intent *at all* to suggest that.

            I was just razzing Matt a little bit ’cause his blog is filled with hot chicks. :-)

          • Even though you are not talking about me thank you anyways Cam

  10. Interesting; I just bought this book last week. I’m about halfway through. 

    I’m sold on it for my own exercise. I tried Al Sears’ sprints and hurt myself. First workout later this week. 

    But intellectually I’m curious how McGuff’s findings mesh with Al Sears and Phil Campbell. If the latter two are really training the heart to reach a higher maximum rate, that’s a cardiovascular response (which McGuff says doesn’t really happen). But if all Sears and Campbell do is improve recovery time, that could be a muscular adaptation. 

    My question for Sears and Campbell is – what happens when a patient switches modality, say from treadmill to rowing machine? What happens to their ability to recover to a resting pulse?

    My question for McGuff is – Does he think the heart can be trained? And is there any benefit to that?

    • This is exactly what I wonder. Although he does mention in the book some experiments that suggest the adaptations to exercise are almost entirely modality specific. If there is great overlap between the muscles used there will probably be some transfer but aside from that I doubt there is much. On the other hand there are some adaptations that serious endurance athletes have to their hearts and lungs.

    • Brock

      I had a similar experience with PACE in the early days. Wiped out on my Mountain Bike while worrying about getting my heart rate up. Still I persisted, and found that I got the best results with whole body calisthenics (including an unexpected fat loss effect).

      McGuff talks about HIIT and its dangers as if you would be pounding your joints on a treadmill or using an elliptical machine, but in my experience you would be far better off doing burpees, hindu squats, leg blaster sets (squats, lunges, jumping alt. split squats and squat jumps), mountain climbers or versa climbers etc.

      And, you could do them at home in minimal time and they would be quite safe (older people need to pre-condition for new exercises). I do 3 PACE workouts a week in less than an hour, but after listening to the Mercola/McGuff interview I’m contemplating upping the intensity even more and going to an extra day off.

      My big question for McGuff (which I also asked Matt) would be his opinion on Al Sears’ claim on the effects of PACE on pulmonary function decline. One of the major things about PACE/HIIT is that like childhood and former days as an athlete, you work your lungs to their extreme. The HIT resistance approach doesn’t do that, and I can’t imagine that it could have the effect that Sears claims for PACE on pulmonary function. That being said, I’m not aware of any studies that have showed the positive effect on PF for PACE or HIIT.

  11. Good book and Matt summed up it’s greatness in this post if you don’t want to invest if you do a part 2 matt, just sum up the cardio hating (which is the only other good element in the book. The Paleo diet stuff is dumb. Btw Peeps are grosser than raisins, never liked em.

    That finally explains the lack of HIT success you mentioned before. You were doing intense training like that sans carb…. Yikes! Holy sperm count batman , expert method for getting that 55 year old marathon runner physique And ultra low manliness

    • Chief, your Lustig destruction video, we must have it.

      • I had fun doing it. trying to get the second camera back, it was unexpectedly “borrowed”, I’ll pick it up after i finish with my training group. I’m gonna review footage later and work on getting that and the sumo posts up.

        • Post it quick, Chiefy. Or I’m callin’ BS! :)

          • This is precisely why I filmed it corena ! Lol

          • LOL I know Chief :)
            Can’t wait to see the vid. Now brrring it!!

          • I concur and also, really want to see Chief in action as he is quite the physical specimen. Ahem. See my other comment about being over 50..:=)

    • After a BBS workout I find my heart feels extremely refreshed, more so than any cardio workout. In fact my whole body feels like that. Like the tiny cracks and crevasses have finally gotten a breath of fresh air. I was totally shocked by this. I could hardly walk out of they gym after 10 minutes of working out but I felt sort of like I had just completed a 3 hour hike.

      • I cannot walk after doing a brutal set of leg presses to failure, for a good 30 seconds or so anyway. You do feel like you have been hit by a sledge hammer at times. Done properly, where the muscle is kept under load for those 60-90 seconds, this is brutally hard. I do this all on my own, but can imagine if I was being supervised, how much tougher this would be.

    • There is a challenging hike in the local mountains where I live. This hike is referred to as “Natures Stairmaster” by the locals. I had never done this hike in less than 1 hour 20 minutes in the past. Less than a year of BBS style training, I did it for the first time this year over the Easter Weekend. Set a personal best time, breaking 1 hour for the first time. Best part though, did not feel destroyed. Oh I was tired, but nowhere near what I used to feel. I do NO traditional cardio work, NONE.

      If that is not proof, n=1 as usual, I do not know what is.

      • @ Chris Highcock Ooops, sorry, this was meant as a response to your post, just above Jessica’s

        • Thanks Christian – I guessed that. It is my contention and experience that getting stronger – through a routine based on BBS – is a massive benefit for hiking fitness.

          Matt – I’d advise your readers all to get a copy of BBS – it superb. I have also set up a discount code for 180 readers who might want to buy my book “Hillfit”, which is very much influenced by BBS. Go to the promotions page and used the code “180” and it will give 50% discount.

          Doug McGuff who co-authored BBS gave me a pretty good review

      • That’s awesome. Right on point with what they discuss in the book too. And I do think this type of training is meant to be a supportive base for other endeavors, recreation, etc. Just seems very productive for something so simple and quick.

  12. Hi Matt!
    I have been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism type 2 and fibromyalgia. I get so much pain even from the slightest exercise… :-( I have tried this program one time and I could´t walk for a couple of days..ouch! So is this kind of exercise not for me or can I do something to “ease my way into it” if you know what I mean. By the way…I´ve been recommended dessicated thyroid hormone replacement. I have read a little about your point of view about this and I´m confused. It seems that you both are against it but sometimes think that it might be a good idea? Can you please set the record straight what you think about this…? Best regards from Sweden!! :-)

    • Dessicated thyroid is an option, but I consider it to be a last resort, as most people’s thyroid-related issues can be solved without it. And extra helpful tip is to keep color in your urine. In the state you are in, it’s very easy to drink too much and be urinating very frequently. Have you found this to be true?

    • I know about the problem with overhydrating so I actually don´t drink a lot nowadays. (Home made vegetable/fruit/berryjuice and whole milk. Some water and no coffe or tea.) But I urinate more frequently than I should considering what I drink and my urine is very clear. I have a history much like yours – in order to achieve dietary and health “perfection” I have seriously damaged my metabolism. (And all women in my family also have thyroid problems so I guess that that also contributed..) I have been a vegetarian, vegan, raw-foodist and finally :the nail in the coffin: low-carber… I thought that THAT REALLY would be the answer to my problems. Oh man was I wrong!!!! And I was actually a low-carber for THREE years- constantly getting more hypo-symptoms and I gained a total of 33 pounds (!!) . An achievment that the low-carb community told me was impossible on a low carb-diet….They constantly told me that I must have been doing it wrong. But I´m also actually a Nutritional Therapist and I KNOW that I did it “right”.

      I bought your e-book “Diet recovery e-book” a few months ago and I have tried to implement that as far as I possibly can, but I have so severe problems and “aches” that it´s impossible to sleep and I gain weight so rapidly that I just can´t do it “all in” so to speak. It feels that I just might need a little bit of a kick-start with the thyroid-hormones and my hope is that it just would help me in the right direction.

      Sorry for the long post that is “off topic” of this thread but I´m so thankful that you took your time and answered little meeeeeeee from little Sweden!!! (It almost feels like a moviestar would have answer a question of mine. :-) Great! Now I know that you actually exist. ;-)

      • Yeah, I don’t go super low on the carbs because the one time I tried induction I put on two pounds in two weeks and was so cold I could have cried. I seem to be best about 80 grams/day, if its less than 60 I’m in serious trouble. That said, I did learn to not fear fat, protein, and calories by going through that, so not a total wash. I really like my coconut oil for my temperature, but nothing works if there are too few carbs or calories. It only takes two days of low calories to bring my metabolism to a halt completely.

        • one more thought: I hope y’all don’t hate me for this, but I thought I saw a Dr. Oz segment where he showed a brain scan that proved that fibro is real and shows up in the brain.

          • There’s a thought out there that Fibromyalgia has a lot to do with low dopamine, which would affect the brain. And dopamine is produced by the adrenal glands. My dopamine levels were unregisterably low when I was all Fibro-ified. There’s an herb out there, velvet bean, that’s high in L-Dopa, which your body converts to dopamine. I used small amounts of it when I was feeling my lowest, experimentally. It helped. Another interesting thing I researched was a correlation between ADD sufferers and Fibromyalgia sufferers. I’ve never been diagnosed with ADD, but if I’d ever have allowed myself to be evaluated for it, I have no doubt they’d say I have a walloping case of it. People with ADD have low dopamine, too. Stimulant drugs boost dopamine, thus improving focus…I read about a woman who used ADD meds to treat her Fibro symptoms…and weirdly, I had noticed that daytime cold medicine (the hardcore stuff behind the counter) improved my symptoms. Daytime cold meds are loaded with stimulants, not far off from your typical ADD med. Anyway. My greater point is that I think it likely that many cases of myalgia of the fibers has something to do with stress and that chilling out and giving your dopamine receptors something to get excited about can help you greatly. Something like an ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles and a good laugh. For serious.

        • I like coconutoil too. I eat about 1 tablespoon a day. Should I eat more? (It´s quite expensive here in Sweden…at least the organic coldpressed is.)

          • I buy my coconut oil online.

      • Hi Immi – I have fibro too. It can be so exhausting fighting fibro and getting frustrated at all the things you can no longer do. One of the great things about Matt’s website here is that it (re-)teaches you how to be good to yourself. Kindness really is the best medicine. :)

        If you’re looking for exercise-y type things to do with your body, perhaps try Martha Peterson’s Hanna Somatics or Feldenkrais. Some of the exercises are nothing more than very slowly turning your head, but very deliberately and with full awareness, such that it turns meditative. While you might not gain muscle mass, you’ll definitely gain neurologically. Also Vidyamala Burch’s Living Well with Pain and Illness book is seriously awesome at helping find peace during exploration of treatment options.

        I wish you well!!! Know that you’re not alone. :)

    • Hey Immi, can I just tell you that I had a Fibromyalgia-esque situation going on (three doctors told me it’s what they’d have diagnosed me with if they believed it was an actual condition) and I would suffer the same ridiculous pain after any kind of exercise. I would feel a little better so I’d want to maximize my energy so I’d do some weight lifting or just yard work at about a quarter the duration I would have in a previous life, and I would be bed bound for a fuckin’ week afterwards. Totally discouraging. From my experience, I would suggest you NOT try any exercise program of any kind (other than maybe strolling to the mailbox and back) until you really truly feel markedly better. Diet, rest and stress management strategies are most important for your state right now. Take two ice cream cones and call me in the morning:)

      • Big Kitten=
        I soooooo recognize that description…It´s impossible for me right now to do any kind of exercize. I can´t even walk now since my feet feel “inflamed”. (Don´t know if that´s the correct term..but they are like “throbbing” of pain.) It´s supposed to be a symptom of hypothyroidism type 2 according to my doctor. So I know that weight-lifting is in a distant future right now but I thought that when I do feel good enough maybe I can do this kind of training but maybe just one repetition and not to failure or so… God, I miss to lift weights!!! I really love that kind of training…

        • my feet did a weird throbbing thing too. just setting them on the ground hurt. is your blood pressure low? do you have numbness or tingling anywhere?

      • Big Kiten=
        Oh! Forgot to ask! Are you “healed” now and can exercize again????

        • Yeah, I guess you could call me “healed”, I suppose. For the most part. Last week I was doing some tough physical labor for hours per day and I felt great, which would have been impossible a year ago. But then I started feeling really angry about some personal shit. The kind of anger that you can’t really express without destroying a few relationships you’re not sure you’re ready to destroy, so you just have to suck it up and absorb it back into your tissues for it to fester there and make you feel like garbage. Excellent. So instead of dealing withit all, I was drinking a bunch of wine and gobbling chocolates to medicate and a few of the old symptoms weaseled their way back in. It’s definitely on a feedback loop with my mental state. Also, I find that I feel my best and most invulnerable to muscle fatigue during the second half of my menstrual cycle, like post ovulation.
          This stuff can be so overwhelming, it’s like you don’t know where to start with recovery. If stress is a factor, I really think the best thing to do always is to address that first. Easy meditation techniques can do wonders, and frankly, I am the absolute worst person ever at any type of “mind relaxation” techniques, but just trying can have seriously soothing effects on stress and pain.
          But really, yes, I don’t suffer pain like that anymore. I can carry like, eight bags of groceries at a time now, whereas a year ago, one was a tremendous load. If you’re interested in what all exactly I did to get here, you can email me if you like

      • Sounds like good advice to me.

  13. Almost too good to be true! Definately something to try at least. Thanks for bringing this to our attention Matt!
    I’m also planning to work out at home and doing free weight exercises.

    What do they say about caloric/protein intake? Should you eat a caloric surplus everyday with a certain amount of protein in order to build muscle?


  14. The slow-motion exercises remind me of ballet movements, lots of control & repetition, with weight resistance. Think Male ballet dances hoisting (carefully) 110 # women with grace. I could see doing this in conjunction with dance-type activities for all around agility, flexibility & balance.

  15. What about a combo of resistance bands and free weights for those of using a home gym?

    • I think you’ll have less luck using resistance bands vs. free weights (where a barbell is preferable). Curious what others think.

    • Resistance bands won’t do much for you attempting this kind of training, but I do generally like resistance bands.

  16. Hello,

    Someone pointed me to this website yesterday and I’ve been eating up all the info.

    I’ve studied nutrition for several years because my health is slowly declining to the point that in 2010, I nearly died (found mercury / arsenic poisoning). Currently a student at Hawthorn University – distance learning. I do not believe in diets – I believe each person is an individual and needs to be treated as such. Oh, I also was a follower of the WPF 100% – no more. I see you are not into WPF. I love some of what they teach, but their very high fat diet got me in trouble. Started Metabolic Typing a month ago – first time I got energy in many years. I added massive carbs! But shot the adrenals out while using up all the energy (cortisol and such) I built up, thus back in bed.

    LONG story short, I have been bedridden for over a yr., but sometimes feel better and can get up and around. Adrenal health: shot. Same with thyroid (obviously, as they go together),

    I have been fascinated since finding your info on your blog about RBTI. I believe mineralization of the body and eating clean foods is right. I don’t know how to go about getting this done. I was ready to just die in 2010 – so tired of suffering – ready to go be with Jesus, but my family didn’t see it that way and spent thousands to get me well enough to continue suffering but not be knocking on the casket-seller’s door yet (though many days it feels that way). So, we are now out of money and I’m left in bed (they are in another state too).

    How can I get help with RBTI? If I could study it and learn it, I think I could “get it,” but seeing Challen on YouTube, I wish I could just go see him (well, I wish I could walk to my backyard too lol).

    Also, signed up for your 180 starter kit, but got no email (wondering if it’s a prob on my end?). Tried twice.

    Thanks for any help you can point me to.

    Tamara Slack

    • Tamara, first all I can say is THAT FUCKING SUCKS. How awful…

      For RBTI you should definitely go over to The site is pretty detailed and will give you all of the instructions you need. Also, they have forums you can post questions in and if you have $40/mo they will do email consulting with you (and all the money goes back into upkeeping and growing the website. The consultants are doing this out of the kindness of their heart, not to make money) For the consulting, Jacqueline on the site will do a 14 day free consulting trial to see how you like it before you have to start paying. They do insist that you get all of the testing materials before beginning consultation, and they have links to some of the cheapest possible places.

      The reason I am liking so much is because they do not prescribe to one specific practitioner of RBTI. Like we already know, most “gurus” follow their program and are very against outside information. From everything I have heard Challen really seems to have some absurd and messed up logic in his practice, though I am sure he also knows a lot and is beneficial for many people. But for my health I like people that are not fanatical about following one particular ideology. satisfies that very well.
      Note: the website does have some occasional typos. William, the guy that runs the site, has great english but it is not his first language.

      Good luck Tamara, let us know how it goes for you

      • Thanks for the info.

        I need someone who also understands the nervous system. I am 40 and when I was in my 20’s, I kept having panic attacks (had no idea about adrenal health, hypoglycemia, b-vitamin deficiencies, etc. at the time).

        Went into the dr. because it had been happening since I was about 15 really – she popped a benzodiazepine in my mouth (benzos = things like Klonopin, Valium, Atavan, etc. – highly addictive, suicidal-tendency-causing horrific meds).

        Lo and behold, I became addicted (oh, did I forget to mention that THEY didn’t mention they are addicting?). I have nearly died several times trying to get off it. It’s Klonopin. Actually have blogged much about benzos and the stupidity (read: greed) of pharmaceutical companies who put this stuff out there and lie to the public about it.

        Any-hoo-ways, The benzo has totallly screwed up my body and the only way I *won’t* die is to stay on it. I tried a 3.5 year VERY safe taper, but my nervous system still can’t handle it. My peristasis shut down (thus bowels couldn’t move at all). Docs say: “there’s nothing wrong.” I say “you put me on this stuff.”

        So, to do RBTI, I would need the practitioner to understand that when I used foods that are high in cysteine (poultry, dairy, etc.), that I get really sick because I am not making the glutathione to push out the mercury / arsenic / other toxins from this benzo. I suppose because I know what I can and cannot eat, I can do use their program, but make sure my amino acids are right (have no idea if they understand amino acids / liver function). I don’t make enough bile, so I can’t eat much fats (take some ox bile again because of it).

        Do you think with all that info I just wrote up, they could help? I can’t detox. Anytime I try to detox, I get deathly ill – I just need my minerals right (I believe) in order to come to homeostasis, but they NEED to understand I will not be able to detox until I get to that place – once I am there, I believe I will be able to detox some of this septic body of mine because I will be on the mend.



        • Tamara I’m not able to do the liver/gallbladder flush either bc it will make me too sick. Yet I keep on bombarding my body with all these toxins by eating everything that’s not healthy for me,out of pure frustration/desolation/anger&hurt.

          However can you tolerate a footbath with epsom salt for a couple of minutes to detox? I also drink lots of some Green detox Tea,no idea if it actually helps,I drink it bc I like the taste of it.
          Drinking mineral water is supposed to bind&flush out toxins too,however I struggle with having to drink that much water so I drink it in the form of tea….though it doesn’t bind that well to toxins in comparison to plain water,according to my therapist.
          Also Coconut Oil,which I guess is almost the only fat one can handle with low bile. And eating lots of spinach&kale are supposed to help detox the liver.

          • Dutchie (another awesome name – what, does Matt collect only great names? lol)

            Oh the gallbladder flush would kill me. I have a gallstone that almost fits the size of the gallbladder. Found that out when I was dying in 2010. Docs said *enter deep intelligent voice* “this is your whole problem.”


            It couldn’t be that my central nervous system is messed up from the drugs you put me on?

            It couldn’t be from the Standard American Diet you guys push?

            It couldn’t be from withdrawal symptoms that shut down the peristalsis in my intestinal tract?

            You know what they said? *deep intelligent voice again* “Stop eating fats.” (duh) and “let’s take out your gallbladder.” (uh no thank you) and “the pain on your left side is maybe due to a phenomenon where pain is happening on the opposite side of the body.” (uhhh, no, the peristalsis stopped, I couldn’t make bile, I was low on magnesium, and couldn’t make hydrocholoric acid, so I was making a ton of gasses (endotoxins) that were caught in the left corner of my intestine. They SAW THE GASSES on a test and said “it will pass.” Ugh!!!!!! I am not a Dr. Oz watcher much but today he said something everyone should hear “doctors only know what they are taught by other doctors.” Yep. And then the pharmaceutical companies come in, doc sells out, becomes drug pusher, stops being stimulated by new research – game over and then they say dumb things like they did to me (oh, while I was turning orange because I wasn’t converting beta carotene to vit. A). Gotta love them doctors.

            You said you keep bombarding your body with “all these toxins.” You can’t do that :( There’s a science called epigenetics that shows promising stuff that the more you feed your body the right nutrients, the more you can prevent chronic disease. Gotta push the toxins out as you put in proper nutrients :) But……. at a slower pace for some of us because our immune systems are compromised (and adrenal glands – we need to have enough adrenal strength to be able to handle detox).

            I might be able to handle an epsom salt footbath – not sure – was doing full body ones back when in 2010. Might try that sometime again – the foot, not whole body!

            Not sure about coconut oil being the only fat that someone with bile probs can handle. I have use coconut oil, *almost* raw butter, and EVOO for a long time, but just this past week, only using EVOO. I’ve been studying adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) and probs that some people (boys and men really) have that do not make the enzyme that breaks down very long chain fatty acids, so I’m kinda getting a little concerned about coconut oil – I bought into the “eat lots of coconut oil” craze when I was a Weston Price girl, but now rethinking it. I don’t cook with oils (if I ever do which is very rare, I cook on very low temps with coconut oil). Will look into that re: the low/no bile and only being able to handle coconut oils. Do you have a study or somewhere I can read up on that?

            Yeah, spinach and kale – oh I crave them like you wouldn’t believe. Some people crave oreos. I crave kale and other greens lol. They are SO high in thiols and oxalyic acid that I have some trouble with them. I am going to reintroduce them this week like maybe at 2 meals. Each time I eat them, I feel fantastic, but then, not so much after that – liver so jammed up with toxins ya know?

            Thank you for all the advice and responding to me :)

            I sure hope you feel better. Blessings to you….


          • Tam- I can eat cooked spinach but not kale, it totally chews up my guts.

          • Hey Tamara-
            Coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid, not long. MCT’s do not require bile for breakdown, that’s a fact, so have no fear. Also, I know oral forms of L-Glutathione don’t readily absorb, but what about trans-dermal creams? A friend of mine was put on a cream form of it by her chiropractor. Do you think that could help you?
            Also, this may be something really obvious to you, but have you tried trading out your benzo’s for Valerian or something like that?
            I have this idea in my head that Ativan isn’t as bad of a benzo because A.) the dosage is so small, so you literally have less drug per effective dose to deal with and B.) it actually doesn’t require the liver to be metabolized, unlike most drugs. Do you think any of this could help you? Maybe you could switch your script to Ativan (lorazepam) as a step in a right direction?
            Just a few thoughts!

          • There are glutathione IVs, too. I can’t speak to them but I know people do them for detoxing.

          • I wish these comments gave an email blast to say someone responded. Just saw all these comments.

            KITTEN –

            I thought all fats required bile. Glutathione got me in trouble. I was using the kind you inhale and I had a bunch of IVs – once I started getting the IVs, that’s when this laying in bed, can’t get well thing started happening. I’ve found many people get super sick, some have died apparently, and I know one lady who went into a coma from the IVs. I was *almost* that bad – became suicidal on them too. No more glutathione for me. Thanks for the thoughts on the benzos. I’ve tried it all and consulted with many people; there is just no way to get off it for me until I can get this body more stabilized – I think if I had the right minerals and the adrenals / thyroid fixed and was more parasympathetically dominant (which I am becoming by going high carb, low purine meats, lower fats), I *might* be able to get off…. we’ll see.

            AMY – yes, see above :) the IVs are quite detrimental to a lot of people.

            DUTCHIE – Yeah a naturopathic doc said I was not converting beta carotene to vit. A – liver congestion. I was doing everything to detox too – coffee enemas, juicing, certain supplements to get this liver not congested anymore, but the more I detoxed, the sicker I got; I believe I was moving the toxins around so much, it drained the adrenals – stopping my periods, my digestion (couldn’t eat for weeks – nothing except a little broth – became skin / bones, very, very near death). I don’t turn colors anymore! Thanks for the linnk on the “leakygutcure.” Will look into it; when I was detoxing, I would get these gasses in my intestinal tract and my head would feel crazy (literally like “get a straight jacket NOW” kinda crazy) – I couldn’t even think of words, etc. I would shake really bad / tremors, felt like mini seizures and the left side of my body would go numb. It still goes numb once in a while.


          • Hey Tamara, it does sound crazy but have a look:

            And I suggested the Ativan, not as a cure to your benzo addiction, but as a substitute for Klonopin because Ativan isn’t so hard on the liver.

            That’s interesting that taking glutathione can make people so sick. I wonder why that is.

            Good luck getting well.

          • Well Dutchie isn’t my real name,just my nationality….but thanx anyway for the compliment;)

            You’re the first person I hear about turning orange too. This also happens when I ate pumpkin/carrot but nobody ever believed me. I love pumpkin but kinda have a weird reaction from it….sometimes it makes me feel nice&warm,yet other times it makes me feel cold,anxious/lethargic.Which is what happened yesterday and today I woke up,warm but also felt like crying/emotional the entire day for no reason.
            I also turn yellowish at various times of the day/month?

            Every day/week I try to schedule things to walk/bike to/keep moving especially outside in sun…..cause that seems to be the only thing that calms me/my anxiety(especially when I ate something) cause I’m going nuts of crippling anxiety when I stay home and actually try to do something creative which I keep fantasizing about,while being on the move.

          • So I’m not the only dutch person here :).

          • Nope….Nice to meet you! Where are you from?(probably the Northern regions and/or Randstad?:))

          • Nope… all the way in the south in Maastricht. what about you?

          • Are you serious?!….LOL,I live in Heerlen:)
            Studied in Maastricht at HSZuyd.

            If you like,maybe we could meet up sometime? :)

          • I’m from Heerlen and my parents still live there!
            Yes, let’s meet up sometime. It would be nice to talk to someone with whom I share this interest :). You can add me on facebook, my full name is Franz Wojciechowski.

    • Never give up. I spent over 20 years barely crawling through life exhausted beyond all imagination. Simple changes like drinking less water and monitoring Brix with the refractometer and lots of rest and good food has had a major impact on my recovery. Mincol is also my supplement of choice for restoring mineral balance. Sometimes less is more, so try not to over analyze your symptoms. Matt has my email if you’d like to correspond with me.

      • Heather, thanks, see my reply above.

        I would love some help – you would think with all I know now, I could fix myself. I am *that close* to fixing myself, but can’t get this dang liver to work properly (and my adrenals, thyroid, and thymus glands either). People say to me all the time “I have NO IDEA how you are still alive.”


        I do! I believe God has kept me alive for a reason – I’ve been able to help many, many people through all this and one lady even not commit suicide. So, though I suffer greatly, there is purpose in all this. I’ve lost my children, my health, my husband, many friends, most family members – quite an amazing life I’ve had – errr, not had, really.

        Well, if you think you can lead me in the right direction, yeah, give me a holler. I don’t want to post my email here (well, just click on my name above; it will take you to my blog which has it there).


        • Hi Tamara. Sent some info via email for ya.

          • Got it, thank you! You have a plethora of info I need, I think. I already eat like the no-no list says lol…. had no idea. Anyway, hope you respond – I look forward to talking more with you!



        • Tamara,
          I have been reading some of your comments and my heart goes out to you. I am praying for God to give you wisdom and the perfect help that you need. I am stuck in a situation with my dear brother whom has been diagnosed with a very rare type of bladder cancer and he is an insulin dependent diabetic and has a massive infection going on and I feel that his medical care has much to do with his health and Tuesday he weighed 116 lbs, weight going down, will not try anything that I suggest, only what the doctors say and that’s not much these days except endocrinologist says surgery is bad idea, surgeon says must have, I do not know if this is suicide or homocide but what do I know? I need to lighten up and forgive the medical system as they know not what they do most of the time. I just feel helpless in my brother’s case. I cannot spell today either but my mind is full of things that I wish that I did not know. Anyway, I do not want to waste your energy reading if you see this but there is a wonderful lady in Canada that I found several years ago and have spoken with her, Julia. Rebecca is now answering questions by email. Her web site is sensiblehealth dot com I highly recommend spending some time there reading if you can. I know that God wants you well and everyone reading this and thank God for Matt and his work and his love for his fellow man and all who are participating here.

          Also, have you ever done castor oil compresses on your liver? Tumeric is very good for the body, especially the liver and I have read that it is fat soluable. Okay, know that someone else is hoping for your full recovery! Becke

    • Hi Tamara,

      Wow. What a journey it’s been!

      If you are a believer in an individualized approach (which I am, and I believe that this is the only way to truly heal in the long term), then you may get some good tools out of RBTI, namely the urine brix testing using a refractometer. It helped me greatly. Of course, the minute you follow all the RBTI rules or all the rules of any other system, even if your body might be telling you otherwise, you are just setting yourself up for another failure.

      Have you jumped off the dietary rule wagon yet? —i.e. listening ONLY to your body one hundred percent of the time and not functioning under some system? Have you gotten to the point where you realize nobody could possibly know your path to healing but you? It might be time for that.

      Those are just my feelings, this may or may not be true for you.

      • Luke (awesome name!),

        See my 2 replies above.

        Oh yeah, not on a diet – never really have been except in my 20s and knew nothing about nothing. I study the diets to turn in homework assignments and study them also to pull out info that would be helpful, but to be on them, no! I understand more of Metabolic Typing (they market it as a diet, but I use the science of it like with the high purines to determine what MY body can handle / does best with – I don’t adhere to any diets :)

        I like looking at the science of things and so this RBTI has me very intrigued. Coming from a place of getting the right nutrients (well, micronutrients) into the body is, I believe, the right thing to do – feeds the cells which then feeds everything else. Just gotta have the right ratios and I’m not sure of the right ones for me.


        • I would say go talk to them on Post on the forum, explain all of your health problems/history. See what they say. Or, once you have the testing equipment, start the consultation and see what Jacqueline says.

          • Thanks Drew. I took a look all over their website. They seem like they really know what they are talking about. I was hoping they had a phone number, but I see they only have email. Argh! So I might email them – didn’t see the forum yet. Will look into that. THANKS!


          • i’ve been taking some of the basic RBTI supplements for 3 months now and i think they are helping. giving the liver enough calcium to start working right is their basic approach. you will find a lot of sites and information about RBTI if you spend some time reading. i haven’t even tested myself yet, but the algazim seaweed capsules and calcium gluconate won’t hurt. i’ve done some liver flushes too so i know i have stones (hundreds have come out). i really think rbti is great, but at the same time it can promote obsession with minutiae, when the important thing to remember is that rebuilding the liver function takes time and requires supplementation. the fact that you crave kale etc indicates to me your are quite deficient, since kale has more minerals and protein than most other food. also, greens are good for the liver, along with the rest of the body. also, you can easily drink too much water and or lemonade on rbti. i did that, just with their half body weight in ounces, and had problems.

    • I would recommend promise outreach for RBTI. They’re absolutely wonderful people with many many years experience and they’re in it for the right reason – help people, not making money. Remineralization is the key, which is impossible to do with the low brix so called “health foods” in supermarkets.

  17. I think Ill give some of this a try. I dont have a gym here in Dallas yet, but I think I can at least do some at home with some low level free weights I have.
    I gotta say, those videos are no where near as fun to watch as those videos…


  19. Matt, you say:

    Plus, other forms of weight training can be daunting in complexity (like Scott Abel’s Metabolic Enhancement Training), long enough in duration to be painfully boring even if you do have the time to do it, and the risk of overtraining is high. All of these concerns are more or less removed in Body By Science.

    I dunno…I think what is “daunting” and “boring” and “overtraining” are terms and concepts that depend on the individual. I think that Body by Science (henceforth abbreviated as BS, not BBS like most people do) workouts sound absurdly boring, boring, in fact, to the point that they become “daunting.” As for MET and the risk of overtraining: People need to listen to Scott and pay attention to their biofeedback; if one feels overtrained from such training, reduce the sets a little, or take a week break, perhaps step back and ease into it. In short, build up the work-capacity required to do such training, most people have no real work-capacity and when they try a real workout program they quickly find they have bit off more than they can chew because of their lack of preparation. And, instead of realizing this, they want to blame a properly designed program, such as MET.

    Note: I haven’t tried MET training, but last summer I tried 6 Day Hybrid Training, another program of Scott’s. It was the must fun I’ve ever had in the gym, and I got the best gains ever, both in term of hypertrophy and strength! For people who want to try Scott’s programs, and can’t afford his individual coaching, I would recommend that they start with 6 Day Hybrid, or 5 Day Whole Body Hypertrophy (which can be tweaked for 3 days per week). These programs are not nearly as complex as MET, and they prepare you for MET, which is by far the hardest program he offers on DVD.

    As far as BS goes, I guess I will have to agree with Matt that it is a good choice (see below)** for people that have a “low metabolism.” However, for anybody who wants to accomplish any other goal beyond metabolic healing, whether it is strength, or hypertrophy, or athleticism, or any combination thereof, BS is not a good choice: There are dozens and dozens of programs that are better suited to such endeavors. For example, if one is looking for strength and moderate hypertrophy but craves simplicity, try Jim Wendlers 5/3/1 program. Compared to other, better designed programs, BS is, well, you know, BS.

    **(But BS is not necessarily the best choice for low metabolisms, I think that a program that involves multi-planar movements –at low to medium intensity– along some strength training and yoga would be an even better choice. The short explanation as to why I think this would be better is that such a program would 1.) Increase sensory-input and the minds ability to process it; 2.) Engage (stimulate) the parasympathetic nervous system, and; 3.) Lead to moderate increases in strength and muscle mass, all of which are weak in people with low metabolisms.)

    • To provide a counter-viewpoint, I worked with Scott as a direct client for 38 weeks. When I repeatedly told him I was making no progress on fat loss or hypertrophy despite working my ass off he responded that it was “completely normal” and I just needed to “toughen up”.

      • More details please, or I call BS.

        • What I mean is that you haven’t provided enough details to provide a “counter-viewpoint.” People hire coaches all the time and don’t follow through on their advise and recommendations, and, when the don’t get the results they want, the blame the coaches and not themselves, where all the blame belongs. That is not to say they are always right; nobody is perfect and has all the answers, Scott Abel included.

          If you think I you will be (or are) more successful on a half-baked program like Body by Science, more power to you.

          • What sort of details would you like re: Scott?

            I was already on body by science before Abel. I eventually started doing BBS with my Office Mate, and I’ve still got access to the spreadsheet on Google docs that we made to keep progress. I can’t remember how long I did it before or after, but for the 18 weeks we recorded I had some minor strength gains, but I recall seeing zero body recomp.

            As you can see, I don’t advocate BBS at all based on my personal experience. I think you and I had a communication gap, where I was just trying to say that I found Scott to be extremely unimpressive when it came to coaching, and I think maybe you thought my counter-point was BBS vs. Scott.

          • Microsoft Office on the brain I guess, dunno why I capitalized Office Mate. =P

          • Hi dcx,

            Thanks for not taking offense to my “BS” comment. Sometimes I get carried away when I am writing and come across a lot more aggressive than I actually feel.

            Anyway, I just wondered what your goals under Scott where, and what kind of program(s) he had you doing.

            I haven’t hired Scott as a coach yet, but I know a couple who have and they have had phenomenal results –and believe me, they have extremely average genetics, so superior genetics are not playing a role. On the other hand, I have ran across a couple people on the web, such as yourself, who are not impressed with Scott at all after being coached by him. Hence, my curiosity.

          • No worries DML. I glanced over my archived emails. I asked Scott to help me make slow but steady and permanent progress on body recomp with a focus on fat loss. I was willing to pay his coaching fee because I’ve been trying to get to where I can take off my shirt without embarrassment for 12 years now, and Matt swore by MET around this time.

            I did program 1 for 20 weeks. 3 days/week of biplex weights, rest only enough to catch your breath. 2 days/week of 45+ min of cardio, I also did sprint intervals with Scott’s approval because Matt was gushing about them back then.

            Program 2 I did for 11 weeks (sorry, I unintentionally lied earlier, 38 should have been 31). 4 days/week of weights, same minimal rest schedule. Stuff like 20×5 dumbbell squats, 20,15,12,10,8 single leg squats, etc. for legs.

            In the gym I pushed myself to the point of nausea. Sometimes when leaving I made it about ten feet and had to lay down.

            Diet was basically oatmeal, chicken breast, and vegetables. Oh god, and quinoa, I forgot about the quinoa. I swear to god I’ll never eat quinoa again. I don’t remember when it started, but I had what must be the worst digestion of my life. One time I pooped and it was just quinoa, completely unchanged.

            I first complained around week 12 of seeing no progress, but I was told these things take time and to stick with it. In retrospect I surely deserve some blame for not being more forceful with Scott and telling him to give me some real answers instead of vague generalities. I struggled because I wasn’t sure where the boundaries were on what I could or should ask about, i.e. digestion vs. exercises.

            Alas, now it is just an expensive lesson in not trusting people who claim to be smarter than everyone else.

    • Trust me, I know EXACTLY what you mean. And I would say we agree in many ways. One can always step into something like BS (haha) and build upon it later. That’s kind of the point of it anyway. To progress. To switch up the routine. To try some new things. I think the most important objective I have with this is getting people who have never touched a weight taking advantage of this type of exercise without causing injury or fear of taking the first step. But your points are all completely valid.

  20. One thing McGuff mentions in the blog comments on one of the blogs is how other “activity” fits in the picture which I think is something that should have been included in the book — maybe I missed it. But basically the idea is that the day after your training, you’ll relax, and then by 2-3 days after training you’ll feel antsy to move. So you use that energy to do activities you enjoy, staying active but not “working out”

    I found the book real insightful. Loved his clear definitions of exercise, fitness, and health, but he failed to do the same with “strength.” He used that term interchangeably with hypertrophy and maybe that served the audience best to avoid that discussion.

    The discussion of athletics and specificity was awesome, but he oversimplified it a bit, again fine for the audience because his overall point was spot on. However, expanding exercise selection to use barbells and single leg, single arm variations is what top strength coaches do with success. He made it seem that your choices as a coach are completely binary, either go for pure hypertrophy/strength in the most stable synthetic environment, or practice your exact skill, that any mix of strength training and skill is misguided. When in fact strength is a skill and a nervous system function.

    While top strength coaches agree that there is way to much silliness out there in the name of “stability” “core” etc, they do seem to find benefit from their athletes building strength in ways that involve a little more skill than a machines require, single leg, single arm movements for example, power cleans seem to be a staple for football training etc.

    You may argue the risk reward of Olympic lifting is not worth it for many athletes but I find it hard to believe that explosive movement doesn’t translate to other sports. It seems that it does.

    I don’t think he made the case well that the bench machine and row machine can be just as effective for building a football player as power cleans. Power cleans take skill and athleticism but he’s claiming none of that is transferable, he’s arguing that type of strength work is simply building a competing pathway, a distraction from the real skill of exploding off the line, etc.

    Science is one thing. But until the NFL gets rid of the power clean or sled pulls, I’m not going to take his word for it that they’re ineffective. There’s too much money at stake. Follow the money!

    • “Science is one thing. But until the NFL gets rid of the power clean or sled pulls, I’m not going to take his word for it that they’re ineffective. There’s too much money at stake. Follow the money!”

      Follow the money? Like in that movie Moneyball, in which professional baseball scouts had been doing basically the same thing for decades, only to be beaten by someone who used science to analyse things? Or follow the money, like the big banks who made stupid loans and nearly bankrupted the entire U.S. economy, then testified to Congress that “the greatest financial minds in the country were making these loans” so it seemed like a good idea to do the same? Or about a thousand other examples? Power cleans and sled pulls may or may not be ineffective. I don’t know. But if everyone is doing them, no one will notice that they don’t work… and there will be a lot of group-think pressure to keep doing them, because “The successful teams are doing them!” Of course, the worst teams are also doing them… Where big dollars are involved, this pressure is even greater because of the fear of financial loss. It’s often better to fail conventionally than to try something new which has a chance of success. Science, with its skepticism and insistence on proof, is better than doing “what everyone knows” because “it’s obviously true”. Too often, what everyone thinks is true is just plain wrong.

      • That’s a fantastic and really well-thought out comment Terry.

      • Damn right.

  21. Is it possible to raise the body fat setpoint inspite of age, drugs, or doing anything considered particularly unhealthy, and without calorie restriction? How would one do this?

    • Jimba, it is 100% possible, age and drugs are rare in terms of causes in terms of the widespread changes we see today. something as seemingly unrelated as taking a real crappy job can do it. Men tend to shift their point after losing their jobs and remaining unemployed for a significant period of time.

      • Some how IPhone typing dd not work do well. Should have read :Drugs and age are rare causes in terms of coinciding with the widespead change we see now.

  22. I never EVER train to failure anymore and I am in better shape, more muscular than I have ever been in my life at 32.

    Also I dont use weights anymore except once in a great while. The bulk of my workout is capoeira, which both strengthens and stretches muscles at the same time. I also do parkour movements, climbing trees, etc.

    I urge everyone to lift explosively and never train to failure. Trust me. If you train to failure, you will fail at building muscle mass. All you’ll get is a good pump. Olympic weightlifters and gymnasts rarely train to failure.

    • n=1. Good for you by the way.

      My n=1. Have had to replace all my shirts, yup, training to failure, guess I have “failed” at building mass. Good thing I just train by instinct and do not listen to the 95% of rubbish that is spewed in your average gym. I would have ditched training to failure after giving it a fair shot if I did not see obvious progress.

      “I urge everyone to lift explosively”….Great advice my friend. Good thing most readers of this blog are intelligent enough to ignore that advice. My physiotherapist cousin also advices people to lift explosively as he naturally wants to build his patient base. Good luck man.

  23. “Great advice my friend. Good thing most readers of this blog are intelligent enough to ignore that advice. My physiotherapist cousin also advices people to lift explosively as he naturally wants to build his patient base. Good luck man.”

    Yeah never mind you’re right, train exactly the opposite of how olympians train and go slow. You might risk injury. All the best things in life are risk free.

    • Thanks man, I am right.

      Go worship your genetic freak, chemically enhanced Olympians and ask them how their lives turn out when they are done competing. The physical wrecks many of them are, destroyed metabolisms, shortened lives, etc.

      Have you actually read the book? Do you know anything about the history of High Intensity Training and the huge number of success stories it has produced. Of course not. People like you are just a waste of time to discuss anything with. Go dance in front of your mirror.

      • Funny because when I used to train to failure my metabolism would be sluggish for days after a workout. I never seemed to heal. Now that I never train to failure, I can train at a higher volume, and I feel healthier and stronger than ever in my life. And more flexible. Training using machines is no bueno in my opinion.

        Again, post pics or vids of your athletic ability. Can you stand on your hands? Do a back flip?

  24. Christian want to post pics? I guarantee I am in better physical condition than you are.

  25. What about functionality? Doesn’t this slow type of exercise reduce speed and explosiveness (eg.
    for sports like martial arts)?

    • I don’t think so at all, as the idea behind the slow reps and constant tension is to peel through layer after layer of muscle fibers to fully fatigue all of the fast and uber fast twitch muscle fibers, making them a lot more powerful.

      • Yeah Matt,

        I was going to ask this as well. I read Campbell’s “Ready, Set, Go!” where he discusses that people don’t train super-fast twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers as much, and need to do so by doing explosive lifts and sprints. So you don’t think this is necessary to train those muscle fibers? It would be interesting to look into more. This was a great post. Thanks for sharing Matt!

        • Mercola interviewed Doug McGuff, and I was hoping it would come up in the interview, because it was my understanding that fast twitch fibers are worked when doing heavy weightlifting, and that it had more to do with the intensity of the effort than the speed of the effort. McGuff basically said that Campbell sufferred from what is a very common scientific mistake. Having read BBS I think McGuff is probably right, but I have Ready, Set, Go in my car – so we’ll see if that changes. I will post the interview today, because it’s very interesting.

          • Awesome, thanks Matt. I’ll check out the interview.

  26. Hi guys,

    Am I the only one who thinks that this guy does not look muscular at all? He looks kind of thin, sure, but not like someone doing bodybuilding following the best sceintific approach… The best scientific approach should produce results like in Rocky 4 in my opinion !!


    • I agree, but it’s hard to tell because he wears baggy clothes. He’s definitely not “big” but it’s hard to tell how ripped he might be under that dorky shirt. :-P

      • He also eats low-carb, even though the founders of this type of training warned that anywhere below 60% of dietary calories as carbs would limit muscle growth, recovery, and performance…

        • Yes and that makes him sound completely retarded to me, to the point where I struggle to believe anything else he has to say. In many of his videos, he blames carbs on fat gain !! What nonsense. And he says that his paleo summit, the average BMI is excellent thanks to the paleo diet but I bet it is still worse than most asian countries !!

          I am still considering doing it though. I think that I should cut back to 1 training session a week just to see how it affects me. I was thinking about doing the following:
          – going to the swimming pool, doing a few 50m sprints
          – going to the gym, doing a few 30sec bike sprints
          – doing a bodybuilding session:
          – train at my one-rep max on “the big 5″ (or my version of them anyways)
          – train at this slow, long duration and intense lifting

          –> rest for 7 days. That would mean cutting down a lot on HIIT and other pace-like activities. I think that I train too much and this is why, although I am muscular, I didn’t improve more this year.

          What do you think Matt?

          • I think you should read the book. John Little has been training people like this for 20 years or something, and has dealt with over a thousand trainees. They talk about how, when progress stops, it almost always means that the client is training too frequently. They find that less is more again and again. And John Little, the co-author, believes like Mentzer did – that the diet should be at least 60% carbs.

            According to them you would probably be better off doing one 3-set workout every 10 days, and doing some swimming and sprints on your off days.

  27. Well I think he doesn’t do a good job recommending his low frequency training lol.

    But I am always up to try new things and ideas. I just read his book and he at least convinced methat maybe I am overtraining, as I did little progress in strength in the past few months. I’ll try once a week training (pace followed by weightlifting) to see what will happen…

    I already noticed a difference from doing pace followed by weightlifting and working out my legs first. For two weeks, I noticed big muscle gains but they slowed down quickly….

  28. Body by Science. Sounds like my body. It’s so perfect you’d think it was made in a lab. Kinda like Robocop, inde-freakin-structable.

  29. The most advanced application of this type of training is Renaissance Exercise. Look it up.
    There is some rather elitist thinking by some peoples standards, but they are very thorough in their definitions and what they are trying to accomplish in regards to exercise.
    The machines are amazing but not easily accessible to everyone. Just something to look up if you are curious about or like the bbs approach.

    • I will check it out. Thanks.

  30. I’ve been trying to download the starter package for a week now, but it’s not letting me in. I tried from 2 different email addresses! I am very interested in the exercise suggestions and how to raise body temperature. I have pretty much no health issues other than a crappy metabolism from a lifetime of eating too little. I currently eat a somewhat WAPF diet, but we’re not sticklers. The only time I have had a temp approaching 99 is when my thyroid went hyperactive after the birth of my first child, and I lost 20 pounds in 1.5 months, but was absolutely miserable! Otherwise it is usually around 96-97, which I know is pretty low. It doesn’t seem to have affected me negatively other than not being able to lose weight or gain muscle; I’ve had two fabulously easy pregnancies and births, and I’m nuring a newborn now. I would love to get to the weight that I was before my son was conceived, but without the thyroid issue. 5’3″ and 125-130 pounds; that’s not too much to ask, right?!

    Oh and my other concern is the cost- I’m not sure that I can afford to RRARF for very long! I’m unemployed and our food budget is already more than we can afford. How long is usually necessary to change one’s body temperature/metabolism?

      • ah. I think that I was omitting the exclaimation mark! thanks

    • Hi Sara-apart from nutrition, you may want to look at your hormonal levels. Progesterone is closely tied to thyroid. I am finding that hormones play a big role in my health. I am not sure how old you are, but it’s with a shot. I’m definelty not saying “disregard nutrition” but if your hormones aren’t right nothing else will be. Especially weight-especially for females it seems. :0/

      • I would think that if progesterone were the problem, I might have more fertility issues? As it is, I’ve gotten pregnant twice while trying to prevent, haven’t had any miscarriages, and carried to 40 and 41 weeks. I also have a milk oversupply, so all of that points to progesterone not being the culprit. It’s something to look in to, but I don’t have insurance so I really can’t afford to do tests right now. :/

  31. I once read that training a muscle to failure (like that which would occur in bbs?) leads to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy of the muscle. As a girl, I really don’t want “the pump” but rather want to see more myofibrillar hypertrophy for strength and lean muscle gains. Would this be the exercise for that? Maybe I should modify it and stop just short of failure like it’s recommended in Visual Impact for Women?

    • I think you can control the amount of muscle hypertrophy with diet primarily. If you look at Bo Railey’s wife though, you can tell that in 6 months of doing the training her muscles have gotten tight, strong, and hard while she dropped 4 dress sizes supposedly. She certainly doesn’t look “bulky,” just kinda badass.

      • “I think you can control the amount of muscle hypertrophy with diet primarily.”

        So then what you recommend? Waiting to eat at least an hour after exercise or would you focus more on changing macro nutrient ratios to minimize muscle hypertrophy?

        • More calories and carbs for extra growth. More protein and fewer calories if you don’t want as much growth.

  32. Immi – In an ideal world, we’d all eat the food (ETF), rest, practice stress reduction and cure our hypothyroidism with all of that. However, that does not always happen. Eating the 180 way cured my severe insulin resistance, but did not touch my hypothyroidism at all. Even Ray Peat’s diet had no effect on my temperatures and symptoms whatsoever; well aside from making them WORSE.

    I have just started T3 only however (after spending two years going from doctor to doctor begging for it) and for the first time, my temps are starting to come up a bit. Also, for the first time EVER, my thyroid antibodies are negative.

    So, I say try desiccated thyroid in combination with a good diet, rest and stress reduction if the latter three have not worked. I’d also advise checking out

    Matt – Can you point me to any resources on where to buy an at home weight set and what I should buy? I am DONE with gyms. Here, all the gyms are frequented by size 4 Eastern European women who are just naturally skinny (I can count on one hand the eastern European women I have seen who are above a size 8), so going to the gym just does a number on my already fragile self esteem.

  33. Hi Matt
    I’ve tried today…Might not have taken heavy enough as the burning sensation was not long, but still tiring. I intend to combine this with Spring 8 from Phil Campbell beforehand. Now the thing is I like going to the gym, to me it’s not a duty.Going once every 7 days would not be enough to my taste…So does it become counterproductive if you do it 3 times a week? If so is it better to do it once a week and regular training for the other two? Thanks!

  34. A while ago,I read something on Kruse’s site (though I usually don’t understand what point he’s trying to make.) about Cold Thermogenesis and some swimmer Michael Phelps? of which he wrote who consumes like 12.000cal a day and looks ripped! It said bc it was bc of the cold water.

    So,I wonder if one can eat more daily when one is exposed to cold? (Man seeing his ‘diet’….I’d sign up for it immediately)

  35. What put me off Body by Science as a program rather than as theory is that you need to go to a gym and use machines. And, I suspect that trying a watered-down home version of the basic approach a la the Slow Burn book does not much of anything at all. The other related book, Power of 10, promulgates the myth about the calorie burning effect of simply having more muscle tissue.

    If you look at McGuff’s videos, he’s really doing expert level, nuanced stuff with his machines. I’m sure it works for him, but I don’t want to go to a gym and I doubt that I could get it to work at the same level for me.

    One of the interesting statements McGuff makes is that “Cardio doesn’t even really exist”.

    What’s wrong with some good old bodyweight pullups, pushups and squats for strength training? And what about Sear’s claim that HIIT can slow the decline of pulmonary function? Not cardio, strictly speaking, but just as important.

    • Nothing wrong with it at all. My own personal exercise has been very simple, just focusing on basic movements. I think it’s great to focus on the simple, especially for someone new to doing this type of exercise – which is someone who needs this the most. Body By Science was worth bringing up because it is simple, safe, and unintimidating.

  36. Thanks for the reply, Matt. Just plain old Convict Conditioning works for me. And it does recognize the need for an anabolic phase and discourages over-conditioning, so is probably pretty compatible with the 180 pov.

    Do you have any opinion on Sears’ claim that PACE (HIIT) has an effect on the decline of Pulmonary function? It’s an interesting thesis, but I haven’t seen any evidence that backs it up (not that I’ve looked very hard).

    Thx, and as a 1st. time poster let me say that I appreciate the 180-ness of this blog.

    • Sears’s claim seemed reasonable, although I didn’t dive into it any deeper. Thanks for your comments and welcome. Eager to hear some of your future thoughts.

  37. I’ve been working on improving my metabolism after back to back to back pregnancies, and an unprecedented 30lb weight gain in 9 months, starting after I stopped nursing my son.

    So I don’t want to screw that up. Yet. I *do* want to lose this 30lbs.

    Any reason I can’t combine BBS 1x/week with cardio maybe 1-2x/week?

    Or, can I expect to lose weight *just* doing BBS? And/or… should I read the book?

    I’m just trying to compile the strands of information into an actionable plan.

    • Also, if I want strength, but not bulk — higher protein, lower calories?

      I eat to appetite, so I’m not talking about dieting, or calorie restriction.

      • Just eating a whole foods type of diet, with more protein, is enough for most people to avoid substantial size increase while training. But I wouldn’t eat more than you want or overfeed intentionally.

        • Thanks. How about doing cardio, which I generally enjoy? No reason not to, in btwn weekly HIIT session, right? So long as I don’t see seriously adverse affects on temps?

  38. Okay, this may be off topic, but I’m about ready to give you an awesome tip…..

    Best yoga teacher ever with free podcasts!!!!

    • Yoga, lol. I remember those daze :)

  39. I’d previously dismissed Body by Science having been hoodwinked by the whole functional fitness movement, but an now totally convinced through the results gained by both myself and my PT clients.

    That said, I do agree with Matt’s comments that the book does try a little too hard to “sound sciency” and as a result is probably needlessley long and boring for the average reader.

    I’d strongly recommend checking out HILLFIT by Chris Highcock (of the conditioning research blog). It’s much more concise and to the point, and can be read in a couple of hours. Although its a bodyweight routine desinged to be done at home, the general principals can be applied to a gym routine to suit anyone who has the goal of building muscle for health/physique/sports performance.

    • Currently reading High Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way. Sweet book. You would like that one too. Functional fitness is good for overall flexibility and important neurological connections are made when movements are done for skill. Like play. But substantial results in health, fitness, strength, development, etc. are limited, and risk of injury is much higher.

  40. Is like the consept and everything but isnt it really hard to messure progress? i mean based on timing. You take your time under tension thats ok, but doing the exentric part of the training is much easier then the contraction so you have to make sure you are doing them both equally long each time and everyone knows when stuff gets hard its easier to the contraction part a litle faster then last time etc etc. Would be great to hear what you guys think of that

  41. Congratulations, you’ve discovered… CURVES. Have you ever wondered what goes on in all those little Curves that are in every strip mall in the Universe? It’s a bunch of crappy little weight machines! And the people in there, mostly women, and mostly in that age range you are talking about are doing strength training in a circuit The big difference is I suppose they take a “recovery” period where they do a little cardio in between lifting the weights.
    I don’t think you can claim BBS training is the ultimate for Metabolic Healing until you’ve dressed in drag and gone to a CURVES to fill us in on it.

    • How do you know that I haven’t gone to CURVES in drag?

  42. I found the book in August 2011 while I was looking for a better, healthier way to exercise – because I was a gym rat, in great shape but yet worried about ruining my joints and just not sure anymore if I did a favor to my body in the long run…I liked what I have read and I decided to give it a try (taking care of all the other components – eating, sleep, stress, water, etc) and we are now in June 2013 and I cannot be happier with my decision…and I started to train a friend of mine too…


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