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Body by Science

A Research Based Program for Strength Training, Body Building, and Complete Fitness in 12 Minutes a Week

By Doug McGuff, John Little
13-minute read
Audio available
Body by Science by Doug McGuff, John Little

Body by Science (2009) is a comprehensive guide to building muscle. This handbook is driven by data, and it offers a scientifically proven approach to sculpting a fitter, firmer body. All you’ll need is a few minutes a week.

  • Fitness buffs looking to optimize their routine
  • Couch potatoes eager to amp up their physical activity
  • Anyone curious about the science of building up muscle

Doug McGuff, MD, is an expert in emergency medicine and former chief resident at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

John Little is a fitness expert and owner of Nautilus North Strength & Fitness Centre. In addition to training athletes, he also publishes fitness books. Mr. Little is the author of The Time-Saver's Workout and The Warrior Within: The Philosophies of Bruce Lee.

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Body by Science

A Research Based Program for Strength Training, Body Building, and Complete Fitness in 12 Minutes a Week

By Doug McGuff, John Little
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Body by Science by Doug McGuff, John Little
Synopsis

Body by Science (2009) is a comprehensive guide to building muscle. This handbook is driven by data, and it offers a scientifically proven approach to sculpting a fitter, firmer body. All you’ll need is a few minutes a week.

Key idea 1 of 8

Not all physical activities result in a healthier body.

Greece, 480 BC. The united forces of Athens and Sparta defeat the invading Persian army at the Battle of Marathon. Generals give a young courier named Pheidippides an important task: to deliver the good news back to the capital. 

Elated, he sprints the 25 miles to Athens. It only takes him a few hours, and his run becomes legendary. We still remember it as the first marathon. Surely, someone as fit as Pheidippides must have lived a long, healthy life? 

Unfortunately, no. As soon as he arrived, the young courier collapsed and died. 

His fate tells us something really important about how the human body works. This lesson is that exercise, fitness, and health aren’t always connected. In the following blinks, you will learn what modern science tells us about fitness training, and why running marathons – like Pheidippides did – may not be the best thing for your overall health. 

The key message here is: Not all physical activities result in a healthier body.

So, what does it mean to be healthy? Surely science would have an answer to such a basic question, wouldn’t it? Well, as it turns out, you can pore through hundreds of medical texts, and you’ll probably find hundreds of theories. Still, in general terms, being healthy means being free of disease and having a body that naturally balances its internal chemical processes.

Two of these processes are really critical. They are called catabolic and anabolic. Catabolic processes are all about breaking things down. Turning proteins into energy would be an example. Anabolic processes are the opposite. They’re all about building things up. This includes growing muscle or producing hormones. 

A healthy body will balance its catabolic and anabolic activities.

There’s a common misconception that all forms of physical activity will keep a body healthy. Sadly, this isn’t true. Some activities will make you fitter, which is to say better at withstanding the pressure of physical challenges. But these activities won’t necessarily improve your overall health. 

Let’s look at long-distance running, for example. It will certainly make you faster, but there are trade-offs. Runners can develop serious health issues. Their knees can get damaged, their spines can degenerate, their hearts can develop unhealthy rhythms. This is because long-distance running supercharges the build-up of some parts of the body. But, in return, it also speeds up the degradation of other organs. So, over time, you end up with an imbalance.

But there are things you can do to improve your body’s overall fitness; to maintain the balance of catabolic and anabolic processes. This is true exercise, and in the next blink, we’ll take a closer look at what it looks like. 

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