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The World’s Fittest Book Summary – Ross Edgley

What you will learn from reading The World’s Fittest Book:

– The essentials of building strength, muscle, speed, and endurance, including foundational movements and training techniques. 

– How to integrate proper nutrition and recovery practices into your fitness routine to optimise your performance and prevent injury. 

– Innovative training strategies and mindset techniques to push beyond your limits and achieve your fitness goals. 

The World’s Fittest Book Summary

Ross Edgley’s The World’s Fittest Book is a breath of fresh air in the crowded and overwhelming modern fitness industry. With a clear focus on the foundational principles of physical health, Ross expertly translates complex fitness concepts into easy-to-understand advice. The book offers a comprehensive overview of how to optimize fat loss, build strength, increase speed, and improve endurance, making it an invaluable resource for fitness novices and seasoned athletes alike. While it does not delve into minute details, it covers a wide range of topics, providing a broad understanding of the field. What’s more, Ross’s amusing stories make for an enjoyable read. Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to start their fitness journey on the right foot.

Why The Book Started

“Too many people see this idea of ‘fitness’ as a fixed doctrine. A set of infallible laws they must religiously follow… Instead, fitness is a vast, malleable and fluid concept. Within it are thousands of ideas you can learn, ignore, adopt or discard.”

There are the often-quoted ten components of fitness: 

  1. Cardiorespiratory Endurance

  2. Muscular Endurance

  3. Strength

  4. Speed

  5. Power

  6. Flexibility

  7. Coordination

  8. Agility

  9. Balance

  10. Accuracy.

The Law of Biological Individuality: However alike we may be in many ways, our physiologies hold so many differences that each of us is truly biologically unique.

51% of ‘printed fitness’ cannot be trusted. It’s misleading, misinformed and wrongly mass-broadcasted as a solution to all.

People tend to prefer simple and easy-to-understand solutions, even if they are not as accurate or effective, over more complex and accurate methods that require more mental effort.

‘We humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things we do not observe, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas, reductive categories, specific vocabularies, and prepackaged narratives.’ NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB

Strength, Power, Hypertrophy and Endurance Criteria

‘One rep maximum’ (1RM) is a term used to define the maximum amount of force that can be generated in one maximal contraction or lift.


PART 1: The Five Laws of Fitness

The Pyramid of Priority

The lower parts of the pyramid make the biggest difference to that goal.

The higher parts make a meaningful contribution to your goal, but only once you’ve laid the foundations.

The top part of this (and every) pyramid is actually infinite and forever evolving.


The Law of Body Basics

‘Be general in your foundations so you can be specific in your goals.’ ROSS EDGLEY

General Physical Preparedness

General Physical Preparedness (GPP) is a versatile and effective training method used to enhance an athlete’s overall fitness, including strength, speed, endurance, flexibility, and skill. Unlike specific training programs, GPP focuses on a broad range of exercises that emphasize large, functional movements, utilizing universal motor recruitment patterns to increase work capacity.

Essentially, GPP is a training program that encourages athletes to perform a variety of exercises such as squats, lunges, jumps, climbs, presses, and throws, with a focus on high volume and frequency. This comprehensive approach lays the foundation for athletes to excel in specialized training by developing a well-rounded level of fitness and athleticism. By implementing GPP before any specialist training, athletes can improve their physical preparedness and unlock their full potential.

The Russian Training System – The Process of Achieving Sports Mastery

The notion of General Physical Preparedness (GPP) is a key component of any comprehensive training program. Typically, this preparatory phase is a longer-term period that occurs when there are no imminent competitions or specific skills and game strategy to be focused on.

The primary goal of this preparatory phase is to establish a foundational level of conditioning that enables athletes to endure more rigorous and intense training sessions. At first, the focus is on low-intensity exercises performed for high volumes, such as long-distance running or swimming, low-intensity plyometrics, and resistance training with light to moderate weights and higher repetitions.

By consistently engaging in GPP activities over time, athletes can develop a heightened level of neurological efficiency and general physical preparedness, providing them with a solid foundation upon which to build their specialized skills. This foundational level of fitness can be leveraged to excel in any sport or activity with greater ease and efficiency.

The Soviet coaches believed the direct relationship between the central nervous system (CNS) and physical training played a paramount role in an athlete’s adaptation to training.

Kinaesthetic Awareness 

This is essentially knowing where your body is in space.

Developing kinaesthetic awareness helps you in two ways:

  1. Means a better understanding of when the movements you’re doing feels right or wrong. This kind of biological feedback helps you make adjustments to perform the movements better and more efficiently.

  2. Better physiological intuition and understanding of external feedback (coaching). 

‘This provides the base framework for the neurological construction of all subsequently developed motor skills.’


The Law of Progressive Overload

Progressive Overload

This is the gradual increase in weight, volume, intensity, frequency or time training in order to achieve a specific goal.

It’s not training if you aren’t progressing in some way. 

Homeostasis: This is the ability of the body to seek and maintain a stable internal state.

By an apparent contradiction, it maintains its stability only if it is excitable and capable of modifying itself according to external stimuli and adjusting its response to the stimulation. In a sense, it is stable because it is modifiable – the slight instability is the necessary condition for the true stability of the organism.’

Homeostasis Study: An Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist by the name of Hans Selye used the work of Cannon and Richet to explain how certain ‘stimuli’ and ‘stress’ can impact our homeostasis and cause us to adapt and improve. To prove his theory, he took a lab full of rats and found that if he gradually subjected them to an increased dose of poison they began to develop a greater resistance to it, so much so that certain rats remained unharmed when later subjected to dosages that had previously killed them. ‘By giving gradually increasing doses of various alarming stimuli, one may raise the resistance of animals… rats pre-treated with a certain agent will resist such doses of this agent, which would be fatal for not pre-treated controls.’

This essentially means that ‘Stress’ and ‘stimuli’ (like exercise) cause us to adapt and improve.

‘When an organism is exposed to a stimulus to the quality or intensity of which it is not adapted, it responds with a reaction which has been termed the “general adaptation syndrome”.’

To improve, you must ‘expose’ your body to a specific ‘stimulus to the quality or intensity of which it is not adapted’. At times you might not like disrupting your comfy state of homeostasis.


Occurs when you push the stress and stimuli too far. It means your homeostasis is out of whack, your internal environment is a mess and your body is waving the white flag calling for you to surrender to the sofa.

General Adaptation Syndrome

Three theoretical stages:

  1. Shock Phase 
    • When you train, your body can become stiff and sore as an immediate response to stress. This can lead to a reduction in performance, and the fitter you are, the more stress you need to induce this response. How your body reacts will determine the next phase of your training.
  2. Adaptation Phase 
    • After training, you might be resting at home with your feet up, but inside your body is undergoing various biological reactions such as hormonal and nervous system adaptations, as well as changes in muscle tissue. These adaptations are unique to each person due to Biological Individuality, and some people may recover more easily than others.
  3. Exhaustion Phase 
    • Feeling fatigued and ill after training can happen when the stress and stimulus put on the body was too much to handle.

The perfect adaptation is when you train to maximise the time spent in the Adaptation Phase while avoiding any time spent in the Exhaustion Phase.

The General Adaptation Syndrome gives a basic idea of how the body responds to stress, but it doesn’t consider the variations in training programs or how people respond differently. Coaching can benefit from this theory, but to maximize results, we need to understand how to apply the appropriate amount and type of training stress for each person.

Mastering Stress

“For every substance, small doses stimulate, moderate doses inhibit, large doses kill.”

When training for anything, we need to consider our body’s adaptation energy, which is related to our immune system’s current status. If we feel healthy and energetic, our body’s adaptation energy is likely good and we’ll respond well to training stress and stimuli. On the other hand, if we’re feeling unwell or sluggish, our body’s adaptation energy may be low, and we may not respond as well. 

It’s been suggested that every organism has a limited amount of adaptation energy, and once it’s depleted, adaptive processes will no longer be possible. 

To make progress, we need to gradually increase stress through progressive overload during training.

Three Laws of Progressive Overload

  1. The Law of Progressive Overload must be constant.

  2. The Law of Progressive Overload is not linear.

  3. The Law of Progressive Overload must be specific


The Law of Specificity

It’s important to not exceed the amount of stress, stimuli, and adaptation energy that our body can handle within a 24-hour period, otherwise, we risk overtraining and entering the Exhaustion Phase. 

The Law of Specific Skill is a specific application of the Law of Progressive Overload. The SAID principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands) means that our body adapts specifically to the demands we place on it. 

Even small changes, like adding weight during exercise, can lead to increased calorie burning due to altered biomechanics and technique. 

Triathlon Example

In broad terms, it’s been observed that the typical athlete allocates roughly 20% of their race duration to swimming, 50% to cycling, and approximately 30% to running. As a result, many seasoned coaches advise tailoring your training regimen to these proportional breakdowns for optimal performance.

Bulgarian Training

In essence, the rigorous Bulgarian Training System comprised of executing a limited number of exercises with weights that were close to your maximum capacity, on a daily basis throughout the year, with training sessions lasting up to 8 hours each day.

The Law of Recovery

Immune Response

The field of exercise immunology is a relatively nascent area of research when compared to its counterparts in the exercise sciences, with its modern era of systematic epidemiological investigations and meticulous laboratory studies only emerging in the mid-1980s.

Virtually every athlete has likely encountered the phenomenon of an ‘immune crash.’ It occurs when the body’s resilience is compromised due to prolonged exposure to arduous, high-intensity, or high-volume training sessions aimed at enhancing strength, speed, or power. This Exhaustion Phase can take a significant toll on the body, leading to compromised immunity.

This has become known as Exercise-induced Immunodepression

In the 1990s, Dr Nieman formulated the ‘J-shaped hypothesis’ to describe the relationship between exercise intensity and the risk of acquiring upper respiratory tract infections (URTI).

Moderate exercise has been shown to enhance immune function compared to a sedentary lifestyle of being inactive on the couch. However, it’s noteworthy to mention that the available evidence to support this claim is not yet definitive, and is primarily based on limited laboratory data. Moreover, the intricacies of the human immune system are immensely complex and not fully understood.

In the near future, advancements in genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic technologies hold the promise of providing exercise immunologists with a more comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms underlying the immune-modulating effects of exercise and the prevention of diseases through exercise training.

Take, for instance, the remarkable case of Wim Hof, a man who has mastered the ability to control his own immune system and body temperature. With over 20 world records to his name, including scaling Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts, shoes, and a smile, he stands as a testament to the incredible potential of the human body.

The Wim Hof Method

The practice involves listening to the body, reconnecting with nature, and rediscovering forgotten innate physiology. Before Wim Hof’s birth, it was believed that the autonomic nervous system and innate immune system were beyond voluntary control. 

Unfortunately, modern society has led to a disconnection from our inner power, and the natural stimulation that our bodies need has decreased, leading to weakened age-old mechanisms that support our survival and basic functions.

The body’s innate power can be reawakened by stimulating physiological processes through a system of practices that include Cold Therapy, Breathing, and Commitment. These practices can help to trigger deeper physiological layers and restore the body to its natural state.

The Two Pillars of the Wim Hof Method:

  1. Breathing
    • A controlled form of hyperventilation can be used to describe the breathing technique utilized in this practice. Despite sounding contradictory, the technique involves intentional and controlled deep breathing to increase oxygenation of the blood and cells without causing panic or stress. As a result, the body becomes oxygenated and experiences an increase in pH levels.
    • This state of being fully charged can lead to a change in body chemistry referred to as “intermittent respiratory alkalosis,” which scientists from Radboud University Medical Centre suggest could have significant implications for disease treatment.
  2. Cold Therapy
    • The cold can be your ally in achieving optimal health. When exposed to cold temperatures in the right way, a cascade of benefits is triggered, including the buildup of brown adipose tissue, which aids in fat loss. This process also leads to reduced inflammation, resulting in a stronger immune system, balanced hormone levels, improved sleep quality, and the release of endorphins.
    • To reap the full benefits of the cold, it is crucial to relax and embrace the experience. By doing so, your body can effectively process the signals and initiate thermogenesis. Furthermore, exposure to the cold can strengthen the little muscles around your veins, which contract upon contact with the cold. After just a short period of time, these muscles become more robust, promoting healthier veins and reducing the strain on your heart as it pumps blood throughout your body.
    • In addition, exposure to the cold has been shown to increase the proportion of lymphocytes in the body. Lymphocytes are the cells responsible for fighting infections, making this physiological adaptation to the cold particularly valuable when you’re feeling under the weather.

To get access to the Wim Hof Method, either buy ‘The World’s Fittest Book’ or head on over to Ross’ youtube account where he provides a lot of content free of charge. 

The Law of More

Working Capacity

Having a high work capacity can greatly benefit individuals by allowing them to train harder and for longer periods of time, while also avoiding the Exhaustion Phase and overtraining. 

Often, the fitness industry prioritizes minimalism, specificity, and recovery, but neglects the importance of doing more work. 

Increasing work capacity enables the body to handle greater training stress, stimuli, and progressive overload, resulting in positive recovery and adaptation. Improved work capacity leads to faster improvement, as athletes can continue to increase their physical abilities until they reach their genetic ceiling. Simply put, work capacity refers to the amount of training that an individual can recover from and positively adapt to.

Understanding Work Capacity

Sport’s Four-point Training System  

  1. Unassociated: Very general, often fun, multi-skill training. Examples include running, jumping, climbing and games.

  2. Partially associated: Training that has some relevance to your sport. This could include medicine ball throws and tyre flips.

  3. Semi-associated: Training that directly aids your chosen sport. Examples include squatting, pressing and lifting variations.

  4. Directly associated: Training that’s specifically tailored to your sport and event.

Improving Work Capacity


To get access to Ross’s 12-Week Bodyweight Workout, either buy ‘The World’s Fittest Book’ or head on over to Ross’ youtube account where he provides a lot of content free of charge. 

Trained Athletes

Creating a tailored training program is key to achieving optimal results. One such program, known as “Horsepower Programming,” has shown great success. This involves gradually increasing training volume by 20-50% over a 2-4 month period while decreasing training intensity by only 5-15%. The focus shifts to increasing the volume of bodybuilding-style lifts and adding cardiovascular training.

 Here are some proven strategies to increase work capacity:

  1. Add more sets to your routines, starting with one rep of the same weight and gradually increasing to five to eight sets of three repetitions. Once achieved, drop back down to three sets with a heavier weight.

  2. Add more reps by choosing a weight that allows for eight sets of one repetition and gradually adding an extra rep to each set until reaching 8 x 2 repetitions. Then, increase the weight and start over with one repetition.

  3. Add additional cardio-based workouts around your strength training to increase work capacity and overall cardiovascular health.

  4. Incorporate movement-specific “finishers” to your strength training for an extra challenge and to improve work capacity.

The World’s Longest Climb Example

Ross had an ambitious goal in mind – to climb the height of Mount Everest, a towering 8,848 meters, by repeatedly scaling a rope for a continuous 24-hour period. However, considering climbing taxes the arms a lot, in particular the biceps, he needed to find a way of being able to train his biceps repeatedly while avoiding muscle soreness that could hinder his training and limit his work capacity.

How to Avoid Sore Muscles

“Research published by the National Strength and Conditioning Association found that by mixing up the types of muscle contractions during training you can build strength and workout capacity without the soreness.”

Three Types of Contractions

  1. Isometric contractions: The muscle contracts but doesn’t move (e.g. plank).

  2. Concentric contractions: The muscle contracts and shortens (e.g. upward movement in a bicep curl).

  3. Eccentric contractions: The muscle is in tension while it lengthens (e.g. downward movement in a bicep curl).

Researchers have highlighted the critical importance of the eccentric phase of resistance training, as it allows for the generation of higher levels of muscle tension and the accrual of significant mechanical stress. It is this stress that is believed to be the primary driver of muscular adaptation, making the eccentric phase an essential component of any effective strength training program. 

However, it is important to note that the intense mechanical stress produced by eccentric muscle action can also lead to soreness, fatigue, and inflammation. Nevertheless, avoiding the eccentric phase and only performing the concentric part of a lift may seem like a tempting strategy to sidestep these potential issues.

Putting this knowledge into practice, Ross was able to:

  1. Train and condition my biceps and forearms seven days per week.

  2. Perform 1000+ repetitions per session.

  3. Spend hours a day battling gravity supported only by my hands and feet.

Kinetic Chain

Every movement involves a series of joints working together, which is known as the kinetic chain. Dr. Arthur Steindler, a pioneer of this theory, defined it as “a complex motor unit made up of several sequentially arranged joints.”

To get access to Ross’s 12-Week Bodyweight Workout, either buy ‘The World’s Fittest Book’ or head on over to Ross’ youtube account where he provides a lot of content free of charge. 

How to Build Great Abs

Compound and integrated movements elicit significantly greater activation of the abdominal muscles, including the rectus abdominis and external obliques, compared to isolated movements such as traditional crunches. For example, a ‘plank with reach’ exercise demonstrated 27% greater activation in these muscles compared to a crunch. Additionally, the lumbar erector spinae showed twice the activation during the ‘plank with reach’ compared to the crunch.

The Four Key Principles of Ab Training

Core Principle 1: Learn to balance Simply balancing can build your core.

  • Performing push-ups or planks with your feet placed in gymnastic rings can activate your core muscles differently compared to a traditional push-up on the floor. This highlights the benefits of incorporating unstable surfaces like an exercise Swiss ball to increase muscle activation in your core.

Core Principle 2: Learn to hold Hold and do nothing. 

  • Isometric upper-body exercises, such as L-sits and V-sits, have been shown to effectively engage and strengthen the abdominal muscles. Research suggests that static exercises like the Pallof Hold can generate a significant level of contraction in the trunk muscles, promoting both endurance and strength development.

Core Principle 3: Learn to hang

  • The basket hang exercise has been found to surpass traditional sit-ups in terms of muscle activation, according to research. Interestingly, the basket hang primarily involves movement of the thighs rather than trunk flexion, which suggests that it could be particularly beneficial for abdominal training in highly conditioned athletes.

Core Principle 4: Learn to control

  • ‘The Dragon Flag’, this exercise – unlike most conventional core conditioning – forces the muscles of the stomach to eccentrically contract.

PART 2: The Secrets of Record-Breaking Fitness

How to Lose Fat

The Fat-loss Pyramid of Priority








The ideal nutrition plan should take into account both nutrition and flavour. Something that is good for you but also tasrtes good. 


It was in 1825 when the calorie (as we know it) was invented by Professor Nicolas Clément-Desormes who proposed a theory by which steam engines converted heat into energy for work. To validate his theory he needed a unit of heat.

Calorie: ‘One calorie is the amount of heat needed to elevate by one degree centigrade 1 kg of water.’

How do we use Calories?

When you eat food you are eating the energy (calories) stored within it. Your body is capable of doing three things with this energy you’ve just chowed down on:

  1. You burn it.

  2. You store it.

  3. You absorb it.

Calorie surplus: If you eat more calories than you burn, you store fat.

Calorie deficit: If you burn more calories than you eat, you lose fat.

Calorie Deficit | Key to Success 

Pick a number and stick to it

The optimal size of a calorie deficit for weight loss can vary based on an individual’s maintenance calorie number. A 25% reduction in food intake might be too aggressive for someone who maintains their weight at 2000 calories per day, while someone who maintains their weight at 4000 calories per day could potentially achieve a faster rate of fat loss with a larger calorie deficit.

Pick a number based on a percentage

If you take your maintenance calorie number and subtract 20%, it is a better estimate. 

Pick a number based on a goal weight and timeframe

1 lb of fat is 3500 kcal.

Example: Say you want to lose 9.5 kg (21 lb). That equates to 21 lb x 3500 kcal = 73,500 kcal. Now let’s say you are getting married or going on holiday in 14 weeks (98 days), which gives us the required deadline. We simply divide 73,500 by 98 to give us 750kcals. The key message with this point is that, whatever deficit you end up with, it must be something you can stick to.

Calorie Deficit: Final Thoughts 

1. Fast vs slow fat loss

Larger calorie deficits will produce the highest rates of fat loss. However, interestingly, if people cut too many calories, it can reduce their metabolism and down-regulate their fat-burning hormones, meaning it becomes completely counter-productive.

2. Long-term fat loss

Smaller calorie deficits are generally easier to sustain as they are less severe on the body, help manage appetite and hunger better, and do not require as much exercise or food restriction. In contrast, larger calorie deficits can be more challenging to adhere to as they demand more exercise and/or food restriction, making them harder to achieve.

3. Sports performance and fat loss

Large deficits make it harder to train and recover from workouts.

4. Lean muscle mass

A larger calorie deficit can lead to more muscle loss, particularly if strength training and protein intake are insufficient. If someone is already relatively lean, a larger calorie deficit may result in muscle loss even with strength training and adequate protein intake.


While fat contains nine calories per gram – carbohydrates and protein contain four

Fats known as medium-chain triglycerides, found in products such as coconut oil, stimulates thermogenesis.

Thermogenesis: the burning of energy.


Macronutrients include proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

Fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals which all serve a purpose and impact each other.

The issue is that food is studied in complete isolation and nutritionists compartmentalise nutrients that are never compartmentalised in nature.


There is no universal diet. Guidelines recommend 1.7g protein/kg/day for strength/speed athletes to aid muscle growth. Bodybuilders need slightly more protein than sedentary individuals during habitual training. Endurance athletes require even higher protein intakes to meet protein catabolism demands during exercise.

“Nutrition is a critical determinant of immune responses and malnutrition is the most common cause of immunodeficiency worldwide. Protein malnutrition is associated with a significant impairment of immunity.”


Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is then utilized by our bodies to fuel our cells and provide energy for various bodily functions. These carbohydrates are stored in the liver, brain, and muscles, and are commonly obtained from fruits and vegetables. 

However, many individuals consume high-calorie, nutrient-poor processed foods and drinks, such as sweets and soft drinks, instead of nutritious sources of carbohydrates. This can lead to being overfed but undernourished.

Carb Loading

How much? 

  • ‘Carbohydrate intake ranges from 5-7 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day for general training needs and 7-10 grams for the increased needs of endurance athletes.’

How does it work? 

  • The average athlete can typically only store sufficient muscle glycogen, which is the stored form of carbohydrates in muscles, to sustain 90 minutes of exercise. Beyond this point, the glycogen levels start to deplete, causing a decline in energy levels and eventually leading to fatigue.


Our bodies need fat to assist in vitamin absorption, to aid hormone regulation and even aid optimal brain function. Healthy dietary fat should constitute “25–35% of calories”.’

Ketogenic diet

The keto diet aims to achieve ketosis by being low in carbohydrates but high in fat. In this state, the body produces ketones as an alternative fuel source when glucose is scarce. 

This is achieved by increasing fat intake, as it forces the production of ketones to replace carbohydrates as a source of energy. Increasing the fat content in a low-carb diet can speed up the time it takes to achieve ketosis, as fat becomes a more efficient fuel source. 


Micronutrients inclue vitamins, minerals and enzymes which play a key role in energy production since enzymes require nutrient co-factors (like vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B5, and the minerals magnesium, iron and sulphur) or they simply do not function.


The training method doesn’t matter; consistent training does.

High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

This typically involves brief and intense bursts of exercise, usually lasting from 20 to 90 seconds, followed by a period of low-intensity exercise or complete rest that lasts from 20 to 120 seconds. This cycle is repeated for a total of 10 to 20 minutes, using different types of exercise equipment such as a bike, treadmill, or performing bodyweight exercises such as sprints up and down a hill.

HIIT has been shown to be effective at stoking up the body’s metabolism, which resulted in greater fat loss.

Strength training

After a strenuous 90-minute weightlifting session, the body’s metabolic rate remains elevated for an extended period, and this can enhance the oxidation of lipids after exercise. Meaning you are still burning calories after you have finished training. 



Leptin is a hormone that plays a crucial role in regulating body weight by suppressing appetite and increasing energy expenditure. Sleep deprivation can lead to a decrease in leptin levels, resulting in an increase in appetite, specifically for high calorie-dense foods with high carbohydrate content like chocolate, sweets, and general junk food. 

At the same time, sleep deprivation also leads to an increase in the hormone ghrelin, which is produced in the stomach and signals to the brain whether we’re hungry or not. 

This creates a situation where leptin is telling the brain that you’re full and satisfied while ghrelin is telling the brain that you’re hungry, leading to strong cravings. 

The ability to stick to a diet and resist these cravings is not solely dependent on willpower, as sleep curtailment is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and therefore increased hunger and appetite.

How to write your own diet in five steps 

1. Work out your basal metabolic rate (BMR) 

  • This is the number of calories your burn per day at rest.

2. Multiply by your level of activity

  • Little to no exercise means to multiply your BMR by 1.2

  • Light exercise a few times a week by 1.375.

  • Moderate exercise 3–5 times a week by 1.55.

  • Heavy exercise 6–7 times a week by 1.725.

3. Set your calorie deficit/surplus

4. Find your food ratio

  • The ratio of protein, fats and carbohydrates doesn’t matter as long as you can stick to it.

    • High Carb: 20% protein, 10% fats, 70% carbohydrates

    • Balanced Macros: 25% protein, 25% fats, 50% carbohydrates

    • High Fat: 23% protein, 70% fats, 7% carbohydrates

5. Make your meals in grams

How to get Big and Strong

The Strength, Speed and Power Pyramid of Priority

Strength, speed and power are closely related. Strength is the body’s ability to generate force. Speed is the rate at which someone moves. Power is the product of strength and speed.

Training for Strength

It’s not what you lift, but how you lift. Although strength is defined as the muscle’s ability to produce force, this level of force can vary greatly throughout a particular lift and range of movement. 

Five Ways to Become Strong

1. Visualise every lift

  • Visualise how the movement is supposed to look and feel. Imagine as many details as possible. How the bar feels in your hands, the weight on your feet and load on your back.

2. Lift without ego

  • It is essential to check your ego at the door. Remember, it’s not what you lift, but how you lift it. Use weights that are light enough to maintain control, but heavy enough to stimulate the body to perform the correct movement pattern.

3. Always lift, never fail

  • If you’re just learning to lift you need to avoid failure on your sets. The more you struggle and strain to grind out a repetition, the more your technique breaks down.

  • Lifting too heavy or to failure results in ingraining the incorrect movement. 

4. Don’t dilute your strength 

  • If you dilute your training by training multiple components of fitness at equal amounts (strength, speed or stamina), you’ll achieve less than optimal results and in turn dilute your strength. Essentially your body doesn’t know whether to become stronger or more enduring, since the ‘potency’ of your training a specific component is lost.

5. Get ‘tight’ to get strong

  • Get tight, rigid and strong when you squat, bench and deadlift. Treat these exercises as full body exercises and embrace ‘tightness.’

  • Why? Because of Sherrington’s Law of Irradiation which states that when you contract one muscle hard, the muscles around it and connected to it contract hard as well.

How to start training

Four simple objectives your first strength training should serve to achieve.

  1. Make strength training a habit.

  2. Increase work capacity so you’re able to train and positively recover from workouts.

  3. Build kinaesthetic and muscular awareness and to ‘know your body’.

  4. Become proficient with the movements.

Three forms of strength.

  1. Absolute strength: This is the greatest force that can be produced by a given muscle under involuntary stimulation.

  2. Competitive strength: The ability of the muscles to produce the greatest force possible through a voluntary contraction.

  3. Training strength: This is the weight that you can lift for one repetition, but without ‘substantial emotional excitement’ like your ‘competitive strength’.

Power-to-weight ratio

The difference between absolute and competitive strength is known as your strength deficit. If there’s a small difference between them it shows you’re using the muscle mass you have to its full neurological potential. Basically, all your muscle fibres are being used and firing.

  • If you’re 80 kg (176 lb) but squatting 200 kg (440 lb), you have a good power-to-weight ratio.

  • If you’re 100 kg (220 lb) and squatting 150 kg (330 lb), you have a bad power-to-weight ratio.

When you establish your strength deficit, you will be better able to design your training programme and decide whether you need to get big, strong or both. 

How to Increase Strength


  • The level of intensity you should be training at should be between 70-90% one rep max. This will allow you to improve your technique and skill lifting heavy weights.

Improve Work Capacity

Avoiding Injury

  • The lighter you lift on this scale of 70-90% of your 1RM, the lower the risk of injury. 

Muscle Mass

  • Muscle mass can be seen as your potential for strength. Gaining muscle mass may not immediately result in strength gains, but it increases your potential to get stronger. If you stay the same size, you have a cap on how strong you can get. 

  • Structural Strength Training, which focuses on building muscle mass and strength simultaneously, can be highly effective for increasing overall strength. By improving muscle mass and strength, you can break through plateaus and improve your overall physical performance.

  • This can be achieved by utilising bodybuilding-centric lifts for major muscle groups, which involves performing sets of 10–20 repetitions for 3–5 sets and training each muscle/movement two to three times per week.

How to make muscle

There are three ways to build muscle. These can be identified as:

Mechanical Tension

Mechanical Tension is created when the muscle generates force to lift heavy things. It is the force generated by the muscle fibres to overcome the resistance.

Mechanical Tension and Metabolic Stress compete in a tug-of-war. More of one typically means less of the other. When you add weight to the bar, you generate more Mechanical Tension in the muscles, but this also means you can’t do as many repetitions, so Metabolic Stress in the muscles is lower.

Many bodybuilders use a variety of lifts to target both:

  • Manageable enough that you can maintain good technique and care for your joints.

  • Heavy enough to create tension, but also produce a good range of motion with no ‘cheat’ in form.

  • Light enough that you can work close to failure and not ‘burn out’.

Workout criteria

  • Most used by powerlifting

  • Lift heavy things

  • Weight used: 80-90% of 1RM

  • Sets 3-8

  • Reps 3-8

  • Rest 2-3 minutes

Metabolic Stress

Metabolic Stress (the pump) is the accumulation of metabolic byproducts, such as lactate and hydrogen ions, during exercise, which contributes to muscle fatigue and growth. It is created by maintaining constant tension on the muscles by reversing directions just short of ‘lockout.’

Workout criteria

  • Most used by bodybuilding

  • Get a good pump

  • Weight used: 60-70% of 1RM

  • Sets 3-4

  • Reps 12-20 (to failure)

  • Rest less than 60 seconds

Muscle Damage

Muscle Damage occurs when muscles are subjected to high levels of stress, such as during intense workouts that include slow negatives, an extended range of motion, and high tension in the stretched position of the muscle.

Workout criteria

  • Most used by Crossfit

  • Mix it up and shock the body

  • Weight used: 70-80% of 1RM

  • Sets 2-5

  • Reps 8-12

  • Rest 1-2 minutes

How to Build Size by Utilising These Three Ways of Building Muscle

Metabolic stress – High-intensity training & Time to grow

  • High-intensity training: focuses on on reaching maximum muscle stimulation through short, high-intensity workout sessions rather than long workouts.

    • Dropsets: Perform any exercise to failure – or just short of failure – and then drop the weight/resistance and continue for more repetitions. For each exercise, his workouts would typically involve one or two warm-up sets and one working set.

    • If you feel you can attempt a second set, you couldn’t have been pulling out all the stops during the first set.

  • Muscles that are subjected to longer durations of tension exhibit a remarkable increase in protein synthesis – the crucial process that enables the repair and rejuvenation of muscles, ultimately leading to enhanced muscle growth.

Mechanical tension – Go big to grow big 

  • ‘The most effective exercises for stimulating muscle growth are multi-joint movements like the squat, bench press, deadlift, chin-up and dip.

  • Isolation exercises are more effective at targeting a muscle from various angles and providing stress at either the full stretch or the peak contraction of the movement.’

Muscle damage – Repetition/weight scheme

  • Using a moderately heavy weight – approximately 60–75% of your one-rep maximum – and performing a lift until failure elicits the best results for muscle hypertrophy.


It takes roughly 3500 calories to burn or store one pound of fat, and 2500 calories to synthesise one pound of muscle. 

For example: if we want to gain 1 lb (450 g) of pure muscle per month, we might also need to gain 1 lb of fat (creating a combined total of 2 lb extra body weight). To do this we will need to increase our calories by 6000 per month (based on the 2500 calories needed to synthesise one pound of muscle and 3500 calories needed to store one pound of fat). Over 30 days this equates to an extra 200 calories per day. For a 1 lb increase in muscle mass per month, target 2 lb of weight gain and increase your daily calorie intake by 200.

How to Increase Speed and Power

The Strength, Speed and Power Pyramid of priority







Rate of Force Development

To enhance your power output, it’s essential to have an understanding of the rate of force development (ROFD). ROFD refers to the body’s capacity to generate the highest amount of force in the briefest period possible. In simpler terms, the faster your ROFD, the more explosive and rapid your movements become.

How do we improve ROFD?

Shock Training

  • The depth jump is a training method developed by Dr Yuri Verkhoshansky to help improve speed quickly. 

  • Athletes jump off a box, absorb the shock, and then immediately jump as high as they can. 

  • This “shock training” increases vertical jump height in the short-term. It works by positively affecting the stretch-shortening cycle of the muscles and tendons, which leads to improved force production and output. 

  • Verkhoshansky’s depth jump program led to a 15% increase in maximal strength for athletes, and it has since paved the way for plyometric training in sports science to improve muscular speed and power.

The Stretch-Shortening Cycle

Ballistic training is a weightlifting technique where athletes lift, move or project a resistance as quickly as possible, applying maximal force. 

Conventional weightlifting exercises like squats or bench presses naturally decelerate at the top of the movement to protect our joints, but ballistic training eliminates this deceleration. 

For example, a plyometric push-up involves throwing oneself into the air, achieving maximal acceleration and optimal power. 

This training results in a fully firing nervous system and the activation of fast twitch muscle fibers. Research has shown that adding ballistic exercises to a heavy resistance training program can increase 1 repetition maximum bench press and enhance power.

Training Muscle Types

There are 3 types of muscle fibers in the body: Type I, IIa, and IIb.

  • Type I is “slow twitch” and used for endurance activities like running. They’ve a much slower contractile speed and have a smaller cross-sectional area,

  • Type IIa is a balance of endurance and power, while Type IIb is “fast twitch”  which have a faster contractile speed and a much larger cross-sectional area. They are mostly used for explosive activities like weightlifting.

To lift heavy weights in the gym, focus on developing Type IIb with ballistic training like plyometrics, sprints, and Olympic lifts.

How To Build More Speed

Resistance Band Training!

The use of resistance bands in strength training offers progressive resistance, which means the more the band is stretched the higher the resistance. This is different from free weights, where the resistance remains the same due to gravity. The linear variable resistance provided by bands mimics the natural strength curve of most muscles, which changes over a range of motion. Kinetics is the study of the body’s motion and the strength curve is a term used in kinetics.

Using resistance bands for a short period of time can be beneficial in overcoming training plateaus. However, it is important to use them properly and not attach them to everything.

Range of Motion

Resistance bands have functional benefits as well. Unlike weights, they can provide resistance over different ranges of motion and do not rely on gravity. This is important for athletes because they can train specific movements with resistance over functional ranges of motion that mimic sport-specific activities. 

Free weights can only provide resistance in a vertical plane due to gravity, while resistance bands can provide resistance in a horizontal plane, which is useful for movements like swinging a racquet or throwing a ball.

Rate of force development

Resistance bands also improve the rate of force development (ROFD) by utilising compensatory acceleration training. 

This is a method of moving the weight as quickly as possible throughout the entire lift. If we take the simple equation Force = Mass x Acceleration, the more we accelerate, then the more force we produce. However, during exercises like squats, most people start slow at the bottom where the leverage is poor and then speed up at the top. This can cause the bar to be thrown up if the weight is light enough.

Resistance bands can help as they provide the most force at the end of the lift, requiring the athlete to accelerate throughout the entire movement. This allows athletes to train movements under resistance over functional ranges of motion that mimic sport-specific activities.

Olympic Lifting

Olympic-style lifting is a weight training discipline where you lift the heaviest weight possible above your head using a barbell and weight plates. This type of lifting is known to stimulate the production of anabolic hormones, which promote muscle growth. 

Olympic-style lifting includes two competition lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk, of which the clean and jerk is considered the best lift for developing strength, speed, and power. 

Research shows that lifters who use the heaviest loads, such as weightlifters and powerlifters, exhibit preferential hypertrophy of Type II muscle fibres. If you want to target the larger Type II muscle fibres to increase muscle size and strength, Olympic-style lifting can be an effective addition to your training program.


How to Improve Endurance

The Endurance Pyramid of Priority







Applying the Pyramid to Running 

‘Persistence hunting: involves chasing after your dinner until it collapses to the floor and onto your dinner plate.


Foot strike variations can be categorised:

  • Heel strike: Where the heel of the foot lands first.

  • Midfoot strike: Where the heel and ball land simultaneously.

  • Forefoot strike: Where the ball of the foot lands first.

Different striking patterns exert different forces – and stress – on the body.

“Humans have engaged in endurance running for millions of years, but the modern running shoe was not invented until the seventies.” Once they arrived on our shelves, they came complete with elevated and cushioned heels, which in turn encouraged heel strike running.

Basics of Bioenergetics – Finding Your Fuel

Bioenergetics is a scientific field that investigates the processes by which living organisms convert nutrients from food into usable energy. 

One of the key outcomes of these processes is the generation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a high-energy molecule that plays a crucial role in powering various metabolic and physiological functions in the body, including muscle contraction.

There are three primary energy systems that contribute to ATP production in the body: 

  1. The phosphocreatine system

  2. The glycolytic system (which operates without oxygen, or anaerobically)

  3. The oxidative system (which requires oxygen, or aerobic). 

These systems work in concert to provide energy for different types of activities, with the specific system(s) engaged depending on the intensity and duration of the activity.

Energy systems

  1. Phosphocreatine system (PC) 

    • 0 – 10 seconds

  2. PC and Glycolytic system (slow)

    • 10 – 30 seconds

  3. Glycolytic system (fast)

    • 30 secs–2 mins

  4. Glycolytic and oxidative system

    • 2–3 mins

  5. Oxidative system

    • 3+ mins (and when at rest)