My experience with Occam’s Protocol has been a positive one. I really like the fact that I can head to the gym and be done with my workout in less than 10 minutes.
Before reading The 4 Hour Body, I would go to the gym 2-3 times a week and do three sets (last to failure) of:
- bicep curls
- lat pull-downs
- military press
- chest or incline press
I wish I had recorded my weights, reps, and other progress so I could compare them to the result shown below. Oh well.
Description: The 4 Hour Body has two sets of exercises for normal folks who want to change their body. The idea for both weight loss/body shaping and for gaining mass and building strength is that you do the “minimum effective dose” (MED) to make the difference.
The exercises for losing weight and toning your body are described in Building the Perfect Posterior (p. 3) and Six Minute Abs (p. 12):
- 75 kettlebell swings (multiple sets) with a 50 lbs. kettlebell
- 10 myotatic crunch
- 10 cat vomit exercises
For gaining mass and strength, Tim suggests Occam’s Protocol in Occam’s Protocol I: A Minimalist Approach to Mass (p. 27) and Occam’s Protocol II: The Finer Points (p. 48).
The exercises are broken into two workouts, A & B.
- Workout A:
- Close-grip supinated (palms facing you) pull- down × 7 reps (5/5 count) or Yates row × 7 reps (5/5)
- Machine shoulder press × 7 reps (5/5) or barbell shoulder press × 7 reps (5/5)
- Workout B:
- Incline or decline bench press × 7 (5/5)
- Leg press × 10 (5/5 count) or Squat × 10 (5/5)
- Stationary bike × 3 minutes at 85+ rpm
As you can see, Occam’s Protocol was not a large mental jump from what I was doing before. The exercises focus on similar large muscle groups and the length of time in the gym is short compared to some routines. The main change is that I shifted down to one-set-to-failure and started going to the gym only once per week per workout.
Results: I have definitely noticed myself getting stronger and my arms and shoulders are looking better. Now if I could only get down to a reasonable bodyfat percentage I’d be looking good. Even though I am still over 27% BF, I can still see the difference in my upper body.
Here are the charts for my progress for each exercise:
Note: for the Shoulder Press, week 3 was an anomaly. That week, for whatever reason, I hit 18 reps before failure. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to replicate those results.
Overall, I’m up
- 40 lbs. in Pull Downs (40%)
- 20 lbs. in Shoulder Press (29%)
- 90 lbs. in Leg Press (60%)
- 30 lbs. in Chest Press (27%)
Not bad for only going to the gym 8 times per exercise and working out for all of ten minutes or less each time.
And these results are better than what I was getting on my own, prior to learning about Occam’s Protocol.
NB: I have not been using any of the Occam’s Feeding, GOMAD/LOMAD, or L-Glutamine/Creatine Monohydrate supplement advice from the Occam’s Protocol chapters. I expect that these would have made me gain muscle but at the expense of my fat loss so I chose to follow the SCD weight-loss sections of the book and PAGG instead.
This morning was my eighth Workout A (lats/biceps and shoulders).
(1) Close-grip pull-down × 140 pounds
I hit 8.8 good reps (5/5 count). Next time: 150.
(2) Machine shoulder press × 95 pounds
Failure came at 2 (!) reps this time. So I lowered the weight to 90 and did the remaining 5 reps. Next time: I’ll try 95 lbs. again.
Next workout will be Workout B (chest & legs) on Friday.
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, sausage, refried beans, AGG, cinnamon, greens supplement
Lunch: Steak, AGG
(I bought some really nice looking squash and green beans to go with the steak but then got busy with work and didn’t eat them. Oh well.)
Dinner: Greek salad, Ken’s Creamy Caesar dressing, salami, all natural nothing added but salt peanut butter, AGG
Other food throughout the day: black coffee, water