Heroic Stoic Exercise


I thought I would try to give a full background on how I exercise and why, but instead I will just share what a Heroic Stoic’s exercise regimen looks like, by briefly describing how I exercise Heroically and Stoically.  Ready?  Basically, here it is:

I have an intense (every set to failure), short (less than 20 minutes) weight training session, which I perform infrequently (every 6 – 10 days).  I try to ensure that I get lots of rest (sleep, as well as adequate muscle recovery between workout sessions).  I perform no classically aerobic stuff (No running, no treadmill, cycle, etc.). Of course, nutrition is a key factor in my health, and I generally (about 80% of the time) eat unprocessed, unrefined, and simple carbohydrate-free foods, but I will type about that another day (for now, think “Meat, Fruit, Leafy Green Veggies”).  My last workout was on August 28th, and was as follows:

  • Leg Squat for 1 minute and 47 seconds – until  I could do no more
  • Incline Hammer Press for 1 minute and 13 seconds – until I could do no more
  • Cable Back Pull for 1 minute and 40 seconds – until I could do no more
  • Shoulder Hammer Press for 1 minute and 45 seconds – until I could do no more
  • Pullover Machine 1 minute and 43 seconds –until I could do no more

When I say “until I could do no more,” I mean I performed as many repetitions as I could until either I could physically or mentally do no more.  This means, I either could not hold the weight up or I felt so tired/fatigued that I HAD to stop….this is what is commonly referred to as “to failure.”  I usually rest about 2 minutes in between exercises, so the whole thing took about 18 minutes.  When I can do squats for more than 2 minutes (I didn’t), I increase the weight.  When I can perform the other exercises for more than 1 minute and 30 seconds (like with cable back pull), I increase that weight.

As I mentioned, I perform this workout or something like it every 6 to 10 days (depends on my schedule).  That’s it!  Any other exercise I do is for fun.  OK, I admit sometimes I sprint because I get bored (again, maybe for another post).

So what are the results?  I am strong and fit, I am full of energy, I have a slim enough/moderately athletic build (picture below), and as of now I have no serious pathologies.  I am almost never sick.  Looks aren’t everything (thank goodness), but for those who need a visual:

Proud, but not Vain

Yes, I’m flexing…just for fun!


Make no mistake, my workouts are not easy, and they require great mental toughness.  I didn’t invent this way of exercising, it is traditionally called High Intensity Training (HIT), and I’ve been influenced by some of its well-known proponents, such as Arthur Jones, Mike Mentzer, Ellington Darden, and Ken Hutchins.

However, I owe my workout philosophy to the book, Body by Science: A Research Based Program to Get the Results You Want in 12 Minutes a Week. I have found no more comprehensive, instructive, and motivational piece on High Intensity Training, than what is found in this book by Dr. Doug McGuff and John Little.

 In fact, the workout I performed above is a variation of “The Big 5” that this book recommends as a core of a workout routine.  I will post in the future on how exercise, combined with mental outlook, lifestyle, and diet, fits into a Heroic Stoic’s life, but for now I recommend reading Body by Science, and visiting the Body by Science website.

3 thoughts on “Heroic Stoic Exercise

  1. Hey Chris,

    I just ordered bbs and am looking forward to reading it. I like your blog. Keep up the good work and hope to see you at the reunion.

    Brian S

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