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Brutally Simple Fitness Solutions: The Power of BS Training


Fitness and nutrition is a complicated mess. Whether it’s out of desperation, overzealousness, or confusion, we pursue incredibly complicated solutions and actions plans, most of which are unsustainable.

Sometimes it’s all or nothing: working out 5 days a week, whole foods-organic-gmo-lean-supplement, inhumane calorie restrictions, cleanses and detoxes. Sometimes the gimmicks are downright weird or dangerous.

Simple, Tough, Intelligent


Nutrition is king, and can be difficult to navigate. But training can be simplified, and it should be.  BS (Brutally Simple) Training, calls for HARD work and SMART work in as little as TWO DAYS a week. Each day requires approximately 60 minutes each of a BRUTALLY SIMPLE and efficient total body training program. If possible, try some other form of exercise 1-2 times a week (spinning, yoga, running, rowing), but the core of the program is twice a week. Yes, this program is BS.

Try something like BS for 8 weeks, and I’d be surprised if you don’t notice significant improvements in strength, muscle mass, and improved body composition. The gains will be lean, the fitness will be superb, and foundation will be laid for future deeds of fitness greatness (or just feeling better about life in general. See Dustin’s story).

The program is not flashy. It is SIMPLE. And it works. Make no mistake: a BS program is not EASY. It’s butt-busting. But you target your efforts intelligently and sustainably, and every bit of energy expended will be aimed at snowballing the progress.

If you want to take a crack at a similar program, you’ll need a gym, or at least a decent set of dumbbells/kettlebells. A trainer or a someone proficient in basic weightlifting movements is also a plus, but it’s entirely possible to get started on a BS program nothing more than a couple of milk jugs. More on the jugs later.

What is a BS Program?


There lots of BS programs out there, and they don’t get much love because they’re BS. For example, walk through a basic commercial gym, and gaze in wonder at all the opulence: row upon row of treadmills, seas of shiny machines, clusters of cables, pulleys, and levers. A little Frankenstein workshop.

This is not BS. It’s a bunch of unnecessary clutter that can confuse and distract. Conversely, you can get the BS workouts done in the back corner of your 24 Hour Fitness, or maybe in the hotel gym, provided they stock a few dumbbells. This means you will have to venture into the free weights section, and perhaps endure the lingering gaze of a few unsettling strangers. Or buy your own dumbbells. Or fill up a couple of jugs.

A BS Program is built around four basic movements:

  • upper body push (pushups, standing overhead presses, chest presses)

  • upper body pull (pullups, rows, pull downs)

  • squat/lunge variations

  • posterior chain (deadlifts)

It’s good for boys, girls, grey foxes, and aspiring gym rats. You work the entire body as a system, practicing movements that will help you function better in everyday life. Each of these movements uses multiple muscle groups, so it’s profoundly efficient. This is not new, innovative, or revolutionary, but in the morass of fitness products, it’s easy to miss the BS gem.

Put these movements together in a sensible fashion, and you have a BS Program that can be done 2-4 days per week. This summer I’ve been working with a group that following a similar BS program which starts slow, and systematically ramps up to heavier weights and technically/physically demanding variations of these movements. After six weeks, they are ALREADY making progress.

A Starter BS Program

If you want to try it out, here’s a starter template. All the movements are shown in the video.

  • Grab some dumbbells, kettlebells, or the aforementioned  milk jugs.
  • Allow at least 48 hours rest between each of the workouts.
  • Keep the resistance at the level where it’s challenging to get 10-12 repetitions.
  • Allow 60 seconds of rest between each movement, except for the EMOM’s (Every Minute on the Minute)

Workout A

  • Pushup (modified on a bench or chair if necessary.
    • 3 sets of 8-12
  • goblet squat
    • 3 sets of 8-12
  • deadlift
    • 3 sets of 8-12

THEN, for 12 minutes every minute, at the top of each minute, perform the following:

  • walking lunges (5 each side) Odd minutes
  • milk jug rows (5 each side) or table pullups Even minutes

For the EMOM’s:

Start off with the lunges, then rest until a minute has elapsed. Then do the rows. Rest for the rest of the minute. Repeat until 12 minutes has elapsed. You will accumulate six sets of each movement. Keep the form perfect, and if you fatigue to the point of compromising form, stop on that rep and wait out the minute.

Workout B

  • Standing milk jug/dumbbell presses
    • 3 sets of 8-12
  • Renegade rows or bent over rows or tablepullups
    • 3 sets of 8-12
  • Sumodeadlift
    • 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.

EMOM for 12 minutes:

  • Odd: 8 Goblet squat thrusters (squat with a press)
  • Even: 5-10 Burpees

Eventually you’ll need to add some resistance or modify the sets and repetitions, and there is a TON of variety you can add to the basic movements. For starters though, this gives you a pretty good idea of where to start with a BS program.

The cool thing about the EMOM is that it allows one to accumulate a significant amount of work on two additional movements while still allowing some recovery so that fatigue does not necessarily compromise form. Notice that the EMOM pairings are different muscle groups, so that while your heart rate will get jacked by the third of fourth minute, the different muscle groups will have time to recover.

A BS Training is simple, efficient, and effective. It’s also designed to expand, so if two days a week becomes easy, there’s a BS program for three days a week. Or four.




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