Posts Tagged ‘7 Minute Muscle’

May 21

Working Out Only 1 Day Out Of 3?

Can you workout only one day out of three and make gains?

I certainly can… and I bet you can too.

Today I begin my audio series where I address your questions and comments. Today’s question comes from Mike K. in NYC who asks…

“Hi Jon…First, I LOVE your Every Other Day Diet and 7 Minute Muscle books! But I was wondering if you could help me with a problem. I’m having a hard time finding the time to make it to the gym using 7 Minute Muscle. Obviously I’m not referring to the 7 minutes (ha!) but the 5-day-per-week Monday-Friday schedule you recommend for beginners. Is there any alternatives? Thanks!”M

Below you’ll find my response and a workout plan you can put to use today to make faster gains with less overall time in the gym. Just click the “play” button to listen in.



Related Materials:

7 Minute Muscle     Every Other Day Diet

December 24

4 Common But Useless Fattburning Exercises

You may be wasting your time in the gym or at home if you are trying to shape your body or get rid of bodyfat.

Most people are. That is when it comes to exercise for getting rid of bellyfat and getting into better shape.

I was in the gym today (nothing new… ; ) and I saw all 4 of these exercises being performed by various gym members (again… nothing new.)

And they are useless for 99% of the people on the planet.

Here they are…


USELESS EXERCISE 1: Walking Dumbbell Lunges


Okay ladies, this one is for you… although I see guys do this exercise as well.

This is where you take a pair of dumbbells and kneel with one leg, then the other, and so-on, walking around the gym as you go.

The idea behind this exercise is to work the butt, and to some extent the thighs… but it’s a joke. It’s something invented by trainers who should know better.

If you want to build and tone your butt, exercise one leg at a time. Lunges are a great exercise for this, but save your energy. Do them on a Smith Machine or with a barbell. Work one leg at a time, too. Do not alternate legs. This just wears you out aerobically before it has a chance to get to your glutes.

Here’s how I perform lunges:  On a Smith Machine, with pretty heavy weights… one leg at a time. I will do 2-3 sets, or do them in my 7 Minute Body-style workout fashion. I will finish one leg (and one butt cheek) before moving to the other leg.

Why? Again, to focus on the muscle more intensely and to avoid turning a leg/butt workout into a cardio session.

I cover exactly how to work the butt area for the best results in 7 Minute Body and 7 Minute Muscle, found right here: —– >  7 Minute Workout Plan




I’m shocked that people still think sit-ups done the old-fashioned way actually work the abs. Even worse, most people have been fooled into believing this actually helps get rid of bellyfat.

Nonsense. Bellyfat is burned off when you have a good nutrition plan and through general exercise, not using exercises for the abs. Ab exercises are fine, but guess what?

I never train my abs more than 3-5 minutes. Today my ab workout took 3 minutes and 12 seconds to complete. And my abs are sore!

But without the nutrition plan, forget it… I’d never SEE my abs at all. I’d just have a nice wall of muscle with a bunch of flab covering it up.

The best nutrition plan for abs is my Every Other Day Dietplan, found here: —– >  Every Other Day Dietplan

The best exercises to do for the actual ab muscles are hanging leg raises, done slowly, crunches (if you do them right)… and that’s really all you need.




I’m going to get a lot of flack from the guys out there who love to bench, but I’m here to tell you that this exercise for bodyshaping is all but worthless.

Why? Because most people are not built right body-wise to bench press on a flat bench with a barbell. I am not, that’s for sure.

Bench presses work if you have short arms, a relatively short torso, and your shoulders are genetically strong.

Protect your shoulders and really work your chest by doing incline dumbbell presses with your palms facing IN, toward your head. (NOTE: This was originally a typo. The correct movement is to perform with your palms facing your ears.) This protects the rotator cuff, a part of the shoulder that is often injured using barbell bench presses.

Combine this with a good cable fly or press movement and you’re set. Again, you only need about 7-14 minutes of chest work tops to get the job done.


USELESS EXERCISE 4: Most Cardio Exercises


Yep… saved the best for last.

Here’s a fact:  Most cardio (bike, treadmill, glider, whatever) is a waste to time… UNLESS you do it at the right time with the right nutrition plan.

The calories you burn from cardio will be easily negated simply by eating a bagel! Hardly effective for getting rid of bodyfat. Weight training and/or resistance training at home or with your body weight, as covered in 7 Minute Muscle, is your best bet for exercise that burns-off mega-calories and keeps on burning long after the exercise session is over.

Here’s how to use traditional cardio wisely:

1. Do it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach;
2. Keep your heart rate down to 75% of your max (220 minus your age x .75 will give you this number, at least approximately);
3. “Burst” for 2-3 minutes in your session up to 85-90% of your max heart rate.
4. OR, do cardio right after weight or resistance training when your heart rate is already elevated and your blood sugar is lower. Your body burns blood sugar first during exercise.

Cardio for most people only needs to be performed 3-4 times a week for 20 minutes. The only time I break this rule is when I want to get my bodyfat below 10%. Then I will do more, but only using the rules above.

Hope this saves you a ton of time with your workouts.

Enjoy your holidays!

P.S.  You can get both of my books, The Every Other Day Dietplan and 7 Minute Body, for a big-time discount by going here and watching this presentation: —– >

May 7

Workouts For Black People (Formerly Workouts For Dutch-Irish People)

Can’t see the video? Go here —

Just a wee bit of comedy and fitness fact for you to chew on.

Ladies… this one is especially for you.

NOTE: Please comment on this video by clicking here. Let me hear your thoughts. Do you think I’m right? Wrong? Insane? Damn sexy in those Prada shades? Just plain silly?

Let me have it… ; )

April 29

What You Must Know About Your Self

The Kruger/Dunning Study:
What You Must Know About Your Self

This study and story absolutely fascinated me. I hope you get the same “ah-ha!” moment from the results of the study as I did.

Have you ever met someone who thought they were … well, “more special” than they really are?

Perhaps they believe themselves to be fantastic musicians when in reality they stink. Or maybe they think they know something about XYZ when in reality they are hopelessly lost.

When I was on the debate team in college I ran across a lot of these types of folks. Debaters who, even after being thoroughly trounced maintained victory. I also saw this while dabbling in boxing (I never really boxed, but my father was into it.) Fighters would almost always claim victory when they were clearly beaten.

But never is this self-blindness more evident than in the fitness world… especially bodybuilding. Man, ‘everyone’ seems to think they are in better shape than they really are in these shows.

Almost everyone.

There’s a minority — perhaps you are a part of that minority — that can actually see themselves as they really are.

But this minority, according to the Kruger/Dunning Study, also have a handicap: The overestimate the talent of others and undervalue their own.

Let me paraphrase the results of the KD study before letting you know why I think it’s vital for us all to understand it.

  1. The study look at self-perception and competency and how they relate.

  2. The study showed a striking result between those who literally ‘were’ competent at something versus those who merely “thought” they were competent but were actually incompetent.

  3. Those who were incompetent, even AFTER being showed the results of the test, still perceived their competence to be far greater than it actually was.

  4. After being showed the results, the truly “competent” adjusted their perceptions to be more accurate in the positive direction (aka a release of false modesty or over-expectation of the general population.)

  5. In short: Incompetence breeds an inability to “recognize” incompetence, while being competent allows you to recognize the skill more accurately in your self but yet overshoot the mark when it comes to recognizing it in others.

Whew! That’s a mouthful… and you’re probably still wondering what this has to do with anything, despite being really kinda cool.


This is the fundamental link between mastery of a dietary and/or fitness solution and those who “dabble” at it and proclaim success.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve met the dabblers — folks who genuinely believed themselves to be “healthy eaters”, “in terrific condition”, and “so lean they can eat anything.”

The irony: Almost all of them were fat… I mean F-doubleA T — F A T.

One woman in particular stands out. She was lecturing a group of professional fitness buddies and myself over dinner about how to eat “in alignment with your body’s natural energy.”

Blah, blah, blah… All I saw was the roles of bodyfat hanging over her belt and the “wing effect” — the flapping underarm bodyfat — waving at me as she raised her arms.

Harsh? Perhaps…. but it’s necessary to the story.

Now, all of us “knew” that she was hopelessly lost, even if some of her points had validity. Why? Because we are all competent in the art/skill/science of body-shaping.

It wasn’t until she said, “Look at me… I mean, I can barely keep my weight on! I literally have to eat dessert every night just to keep from being too skinny!” that I hit the breaking point.

“What do you consider to be too skinny?” I asked.

“Anything under 12% bodyfat for a woman,” she said. Technically, a pretty good answer. That’s very lean for a woman.

But she wasn’t anywhere NEAR 12% bodyfat. 22%… perhaps. 32%… more like it.

“Okay, what’s your bodyfat right now?”

(I know, this is getting heated… : )

“Oh, I think it’s too low… under 12%.”


“Well, I happen to have calipers in my room if you want to check to make sure (as I try to maintain my composure) you’re not getting too lean.”

Here’s the shocker: She agreed.

“Oh, that’s great! Sure, let’s go…”

Now here was an otherwise very intelligent gal who was completely blind to her own competency when it came to her own body and what worked for her nutritionally.

And frankly, it shocked me when she said “yes” as I NEVER expected it. I really wanted out, as I didn’t want to embarrass her. That was not my intention. I was just curious as to why she was thinking the way she was.

Well, up to the room we go and I measured her bodyfat. My latter guess was pretty close: 29.7%.

What to do…. what to do….

Well folks, I’ll let you guess what I did. All I will say is that I handled myself as a gentlemen — meaning “gentle” man. And it turned out to be a positive experience for her.

But this led me to wonder why I have just the opposite reaction with myself. I usually see myself in far ‘worse’ shape than I really am.

Herein lies the value of the KD Study:

  1. If you see yourself worse than you are, you may be quite competent but really over-estimate the results and competency of others. The harm in this is if you are like me you can turn to “anti-depressing” tools like food from being bummed out! (More on that in my article on my “drug addiction.”)

  2. If you are not competent, you may overestimate your health and fitness levels. This can lead to ‘serious’ health and social issues.

  3. The more open-minded and intelligent a person is, the more apt they are toward learning competency and learning how to evaluate their self. This is crucial in knowing what to do, how to eat, and how to exercise to meet your own specific goals.

If you want to read the study, it was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; 1999, vol.77, no.6, pp1121-1134.

All of us need an external eye — feedback to not only keep us going but let us know where we truly stand.

Fit Bits: The Missing Study

Man, I hate when this happens, but I lost a study I had saved for a Fit Bits article. I’ll try to find it online and post the source in my next newsletter.

Bottom line: People who exercise for shorter periods of time more frequently progressed faster and stayed with their programs longer than those who exercised infrequently for long periods of time.

Duh. No surprise. But it’s nice to see this in print.

The shocker was the timed intervals of training were as low as 10 minutes a day.

This is really the tortious and the hare scenario. Slow and steady wins the race.


The study said they “progressed FASTER” — so it’s like the tortious “fused” with the hare.

Bottom line: You can train less and gain more. My book 7 Minute Muscle is a prime example of shorter duration training that also gives people faster results.

You’ll want to get it this week as my freee coaching offer is attached at the hip.

7 Minute Muscle     Click to get your copy

April 28

My “Drug-Addiction” Confession

My “Drug-Addiction” Confession

This was hard to write. Hard to confess. Hard to explain.

Short story: I’ve been addicted now for about two months. Addicted at first by accident… then by design.

Addicted to a sinister drug.

I’m both ashamed and excited to tell the story.

Let me preface by saying this: Anyone who claims to have it “all together” when it comes to their diet and nutrition is either an extreme rarity or an outright liar.

I will never claim that. I will always give it to you straight.

Yes, I have some rock-solid answers to getting leaner and more muscular that simply work.

Yes, I’ve changed my own body from obese to fit.

But folks, I’m not Superman. I’m not even close. I still blow it. I still abuse some of my own principles.

Sure, it’s not all the time. It’s pretty rare. But it happens.

And unless I can be honest about that — honest with you — then I feel I’m blowing smoke up the wrong place, if you know what I mean. You need to know that the quote-unquote best of the best can really blow it.

To me, that’s a positive thing. It is more reassuring to me to read, for example, that one of my personal role models struggled with sugar addiction even after she got into top shape. Long after.

The difference between her and most people: She knew exactly what to do in order to get back on the horse. And she did.

Well, let me tell you about my drug addiction problem.

It’s not an illegal drug.

It’s sugar.

And, let me say this: If you do not think sugar is a drug, you need a reality check. It’s a sinister drug. It is replete with side-effects that mirror heroine addiction.

What started out as an act of irresponsibility coupled with emotional and work-related stress (ah, that word again!) turned into a pretty dangerous experiment.

I decided to make myself a guinea pig for the past six week.

The results were horrible.

One of the reasons I have not been able to write my normally daily (or near-daily) Fit 365 Newsletter is due to this experiment.

I hit rock bottom when I ended up (gasp) in bed all day long… twice! Folks, this is not the “good” kind of “in bed all day”. I simply didn’t want to move. I had my laptop and my “fix” and I was set.

Boy, I’m sounding like a fitness hero right now, eh?

Will I lose subscribers? Yeah, perhaps. I hope not. We’ll see.

Let me give you the short story — and then tell you how I came out of the downward spiral.

A few months back when I returned from France, I noticed my body felt different. I was in great shape at the time. France allowed me a lot of peaceful time to train, but more than that it allowed me access to hormone-free foods. I ate plenty of hormone-free meats, pesticide-free veggies and healthy fats. And I had a bit of sugar every week as it’s always been a part of my Every Other Day Diet System of Eating. It always will be. “Cheating” helps keep your metabolism elevated. It’s actually vital that you DO enjoy your favorite foods every week in order to maintain your fatloss.

When I returned to the States I had the pleasure of almost a month with my good friend (and little sister) Sherry Strong. She cooked all organic foods and I felt amazing, of course. Naturally I ate a bit more loose than normal. For starters, I was on a two-week break from my intense 7 Minute Muscle training. Second, I wanted to take Sherry, an Aussie, out for a good time and let her taste a bit of Texas.

Even during this my body did not change drastically at all. 7 Minute Muscle training keeps your metabolism elevated and I have plenty of muscle to burn off extra calories. Sure, I put on about 4-5 pounds of water and bodyfat, but that’s hardly a big deal.

What WAS a big deal came after Sherry left.

First, there was the emotional loss of missing a friend. Second, to be totally honest, I had grown quite accustomed to Sherry cooking for us all. Sherry is a chef and it’s her love — so this was a no-brainer. “Jon’s tuna or Sherry’s chef-style healthy cuisine.” No choice there!

The problem was I got out of the habit of preparing my own foods. For me, this is an easy habit to break… but I had no idea how easy or how quickly until my “drug addiction” kicked in.

How did it start? Innocently. I began writing my Personal Fat Loss Certification Course, which you will receive (or have received) if you are reading this article. It comes free with your membership to my blog. It is over 100 pages in Word — literally a book’s worth of material, all free, and all quite intense to write.

Then I added quizzes. Those took as long as the Course itself to compose.

People love the course, and I’m thrilled to give it away along with my latest book The Radical Fat Loss Blueprint, which you can get free at the end of the course. The supplements suggested are not free of course, but people wanted to know exactly what I take to get into top shape… so there you go.

Anyhoo… during the composition of the Personal Fat Loss Certification Course and the book, I began to find myself very pressed for time. I decided to forgo training another week to get it done. After all, what’s “one more week”, right?

Right…. (as in wrong.)

As I was out of the habit of prepping my own foods (and a bit bummed over my friend going, and stressed over the workload… sound familiar?) I opted for a better “bad” choice for my first meal: Protein bars. Sure, I use them… but rarely and only when I am stuck on a plane or something. I figured a week would not hurt.

The protein bars I like contain almost no sugar, but the nearest stores were all out of these bars. Damn… what to do? I remembered that my friend Fabrice was eating a MET-Rx bar that looked fantastic. I decided to grab three of those and give it a shot.

Despite the 40 grams of sugar in the bar. Oops.

Three days later I was almost addicted to these suckers. I mean… wow. They tasted great, they allowed me to focus on my writing, and they were a hop, skip and a jump away. And (yep, even I do this) I rationalized, “Hey, high in protein!” Yeah man. Yeah. Keep it up… ; )

Within about a week I noticed I started craving sugar. I stopped by 7-11 at night and picked up an old favorite: Lemon drops. Hard candy. I like this as a general approach when you’re mentally healthy, but when you’re stressed and bummed, NOT a good idea. A few lemon drops can be sucked on for hours and you’re satisfied. That’s a trick I used all the time. But a few became a few dozen… then a bag…

… then bam. Addiction kicked in. I KID YOU NOT.

If I didn’t’ have my sugar fix I would literally feel like the day was not complete. I began getting the shakes. I began sleeping during the day. My level of depression rose (not to the point of needing drugs, but damn close.)

And my belly fat? Well… goodbye abs. I was still “okay” in-shape, but certainly not a poster boy for fitness.

After waking up one day at 2:30 PM with a nasty stomach ache and intense cravings for these suckers, I decided enough was enough.


I decided to do a three-week experiment. Stupid perhaps, but I had to know.

Could I simply reduce my calories and still get my sugar fix? Was sugar really the cause of the way I was feeling?

For three weeks, up until this week, I tried to cut my calories down to essential protein and… yep… sugar. Not sugar as in “ice cream” — pure sugar as in various forms of hard candy. I cannot bear the taste of Coke (even that is too sweet all the time) and I did not want a lot of calories at once. I wanted to see if just a few hundred calories of sugar here and there, sustained all day, without added calories from fat, would continue my downward spiral or balance it out.

Oh, what a dumb thing to do. I bet you saw that coming. ; )

Two weeks later, I’m absolutely starving. My normally-controlled appetite was through the roof. My bodyfat shot up. My energy vanished. My depression rose. I got the shakes. I woke up with night sweats. I literally could not concentrate enough to write a newsletter or do my work (sound familiar parents?… as in A.D.D. perhaps?… yep, I think it’s sugar.)

Chest pains. Even blurred vision. I had to call off the experiment early to save my sanity. Plus I was beginning to notice that I could not ride my bike as well (I ride a Harley-style chopper) — that was that.

I sat myself down and confessed what I was doing to one of our 7 Minute Muscle coaches.

She sent me some (uh-HUM) encouraging emails after that conversation.

I’ll put it this way: She does not talk to our clients like this!

But it worked.

I needed coaching to pull myself out of this one. And I still do.

Now, the truth be told, I’ll be back to my normal, vibrant, fit and lean self in about 4 weeks or so. But I deserve what I asked for. Sure, there was a bit of “mad scientist” going on there toward the end, but I started this without noble intentions.

It reminded me of how crappy I felt when I was obese — and how easy it is for any of us to fall off the wagon.

It also clinched the deal for me when it comes to one vital aspect of my new business model:

Personal coaching is not an option–and it should be made available to as many people as possible.

I got together with our coaches and asked them for a favor.

I wanted to create an All-Product Coaching Program. And we have. For a very small monthly cost you can have 24/7 access to my certified training staff (and myself; I jump into the mix almost every day) to help you tailor-make my workouts into YOUR workouts.

My diet plans into YOUR personal diet plan.

And of course a good kick in the butt.

I needed the latter. You may too.

So here’s the deal:

I’m giving away 30 days of free personal coaching to all of my 7 Minute Muscle members. These are people who own 7 Minute Muscle NOW (if that is you, look for an email shortly after this one) …

… OR….

…anyone who picks up a copy between now and May 1, 2009.

Get the books, get the coaching for 30 days free. You can continue coaching if you like for a monthly cost or you can just take the 30 days and be done with it. Simple as that.

Here’s how you get it:

1. Go to and order the books. You’ll get them instantly.
2. Be sure to check your email and confirm your email subscription to the 7 Minute Muscle members list! The first email you get will contain the link to the 30 days of free coaching.
3. Act fast — we can only fill about 200 slots. I may be able to push that to 400 since I just added another trainer, but we are absolutely dedicated to keeping this PERSONAL. That means real people answering your emails on a real forum. You will get to interact with hundreds of others as you make new friends to help your progress along.

This is my introduction to All-Product Coaching. What that means is simple: Any fitness book you own of mine you can get personal coaching on. We’re just doing the 30 days free thing with 7 Minute Muscle for now, however.

Pretty cool stuff.

Listen: I REALLY needed (and still need) coaching. I get my encouraging email and it reminds me of who I really am and what I really want for my life.

Folks, in crazy times like these — times of stress and emotional chaos — it’s easy to forget what you already know.

Coaches are friends who remind and professionals who instruct.

I hope you let us help you.

I hope you can relate to the story of drug addiction I just shared as well. Sugar IS a drug. Do not be deceived. It is okay in moderation, but even the best of us can fall prey to its siren song if we are not careful. I was not careful, and I REALLY know better.

That means anyone can make the same mistake.

Don’t beat yourself up. I’m not. Just make a plan, get a good coach if you can, and rock-n-roll.


(And Julia — thanks for the not-so-gentle reminders… : )