My Butt Hurts So Bad

Skyler Tanner is, to me, just like one of my brothers in many respects. That is, when together, there is pretty much never a moment of silence and each has a backlog of shit to talk about—more than half forgotten by the time either can get a word in.

…Oh, and while in Austin, my real brother, Stacy, came up from Houston and stayed a night. He saw my presentation and a few others, and was graciously invited by Anthony Johnson  to attend dinner with the presenters. He knows Austin pretty well, so took me to a place or two, Peché among them…which was great. Scotch and pork belly. Neither of us were ever at a moment of loss for words. That’s what I mean.

You know Skyler, don’t you? Now, unless you read that post I just linked, you won’t understand why it’s funny that as I was walking by in the hotel for The 21 Convention and didn’t see him, what I heard was, “Hey, Fuck You!.”

As I already blogged, Skyler gave an impressive, sciency, exercise/health physiology presentation, while Keith Norris gave an impressive exercise/power/efficiency practicality presentation—back-to-back. While Skyler is my “brother,” Keith is the epitome of paleo in terms of soul, kindness, and example. He’s the poster boy. He’s the nicest guy in the paleosphere and any shame or embarassment I ever feel for myself over whatever anyone may say about me…it pales in comparison to the shame I feel at a peripheral glance at Keith Norris. In essence, he’s my PaleoTouchstone. When I grow up, I want to be like Keith Norris with an edge. It’s a lifelong pursuit I will never attain, but will keep trying anyway.

Back to the subject

That photo was taken yesterday morning after Skyler kicked the asses of, in order:

  1. Rachel, fiancee of Eric Daniels (at AHS and 21)
  2. Dr. Doug McGuff
  3. Eric
  4. Me
  5. Then Doug kicked Skyler’s ass

This all happened within the space of about an hour, 10 minutes or so per workout. It’s an epiphany for me. In general:

  • One single set
  • Three to six reps on average, depending
  • Four to five exercises
  • Completely safe (usually, dangerously high weight is needed)

In that second bullet, I said “depending.” While I’ve worked with a trainer, Skyler is not a regular cheerleading, encouraging trainer. He’s a cold, detached, …”and 3, 2, 1″…torture chamber master. Here, just look, the essential message, featuring Skyler, Keith, and even an appearance by Rob Wolf.

The thing is, it doesn’t even take two 30-minute sessions per week, and I’m sure Skyler and Keith would tell you that (though, perhaps at the beginning, to get people up to a reasonable performance level). I believe Skyler told me he’s at about 15 minutes once every 5 days.

Back to Skyler the torturer. It’s weird, and while I was chomping at the bit and initially dismayed to have to be last to come under his gauntlet; in retrospect, I’m glad I did. Skyler is a smart mutherfucker, though you’d never know it by looking at him. See, he’s of the same general exercise philosophy as exercise author and 23-year emergency room physician Dr. Doug McGuff: Body by Science: A Research Based Program to Get the Results You Want in 12 Minutes a Week. And Eric and his wife exercise at Doug’s own center. I had no idea I was the odd man out, into some weird incestuous affair, until I began taking cognizance of the inside banter.

So basically, Skyler—without telling me—wanted me to observe how it’s done. It’s a good thing, because the style of exercise was totally foreign to me. How can you possibly get an ass-kicking workout that gives you all the benefits you want for health and body composition—without atoning for your sins in the gym for hours per week…because you’re a lazy ass, and that’s your penance?

You do it efficiently. How do you do it efficiently? You have someone show you. Who shows you? Skyler the torture master does. But, see, he’s even smarter than the entire Catholic Church Monolith. While they put people on racks and burnt them at the  stake for one-off affairs, Skyler isn’t forcing anyone, and thus, needs people to come back for more. His genius is in getting you to accept the benefit of your torture. “….3,2,1…you’re done.”

“That’s all?” any given torture victim asks? “I was expecting a 5,4,3,2,1-torture countdown.” See, he  cleverly throws you bones, almost randomly. Mutherfucker. But you know what? If you’re literally torn asunder on the rack, or burnt to a crisp on the stake, there’s no repeat business, which of course is proof positive that free market capitalism harms people less. Skyler doesn’t have the power of taxation (or the purchase of indulgences towards early release from purgatory), and as such, has had to devise clever ways and means of torturing people to effect…just enough. And it goes to his mastery that he can get them to come back for more.

…If only. Imagine where we’d be had we skipped the 1,000 year Dark Ages and gone straight to enlightenment, featuring “Torture Lite.”

Alright, let me indulge myself in the serious for a moment. Skyler isn’t just a coach or cheerleader, he’s a mouth-on manager—because you have to do it yourself so his hands would work against the goal. Basically, he directs you through every single rep of every single set of every single exercise, until you’re done.

The result? Efficiency. Time saved for you, and probably more exercise benefit. Time saved for them…they can help more people in their limited existential time and physical space.

I was going to go over details about how Skyler does this, but in spite of a wonderful dinner afterwards, hosted at his home with his wife Sarah, he still owes me for the sore butt, even after a gracious lift to the airport. So ask him questions in comments and I’ll be sure he sees them.

IMG 1113
Blurry Sous-Vide Roast and the Most Amazing Butternut Squash Puree Ever.
IMG 1114
R-L: Skyler, Keith, Michelle, Sarah, Doug

OK, ask Skyler questions about efficient exercise in comments, but certainly not before making fun of his Ronald McDonald smile in the photo. You’re probably more likely to get a good and thorough answer from him if you do.

I would.


  1. Sean on August 20, 2012 at 14:16

    Pshaw, like I’d want advise from some pussy who turned off commenting on his blog.

    • Skyler Tanner on August 20, 2012 at 15:01

      You don’t even know how big a pussy I am. I’m the curb your enthusiasm “huge vaginas” of pussies. ;)

      • Sean on August 20, 2012 at 23:42

        Hey, if turning off comments gets you to blog more often, I’m all for it. More Skyler, more Skyler!

    • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2012 at 15:03

      Sometimes your ignorance and non-sequiturism astounds me, Sean.

      • Sean on August 20, 2012 at 23:25

        It was a fucking joke, Richard. A pretty obvious one at that.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2012 at 06:20

        Ok, my bad.

      • Sean on August 21, 2012 at 08:09

        Please don’t make me use the winky smiley face ;)

      • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2012 at 08:14


        Well, I was going to say something along the lines that the best jokes are when people don’t know you’re joking and you’re willing to take the risk in that.

      • Sean on August 21, 2012 at 09:55

        Yes, those and jokes about putting penises in garbage disposals.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2012 at 10:07


        I don’t engage in the stupidity of diluting the horror of horror.

      • Sean on August 21, 2012 at 10:28

        Well, I was just being ironic because of how unfunny those women were–that was just plain sadistic misandristic glee, like racist rednecks laughing about a black lynching or something. But like I said on the other thread, I think it’s perfectly fine to joke about horrible things, in the right context. There’s no hard and fast rules for context, of course, and different people draw the line at different places. The old saw about tragedy plus time is true. Crucifixion is supposed to be a pretty horrible way to die, but that doesn’t mean Life of Brian wasn’t hilarious.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2012 at 12:18

        I admit it can be complex. But for me, I’m far from the literary greatness it might take to pull that off. I.e., where the funny serves the good of distilling the horrible to even more horrible.

        In the meantime, I always really hate it when I see the truly hateful get another dose of anesthesia, to put it a different way, still far from literary greatness, but I’ll try harder next time around..

  2. jonw on August 20, 2012 at 14:17

    Ok, I’m feeling baited here after reading thru all that, but, trusting Richard since usually there is some good content behind the shit he raves about – Skyler, what’s the workout?

  3. Paul C on August 20, 2012 at 14:36

    Is it bad that the promo vid made me think of ‘s $15,000 3-minute exercise machine?

    • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2012 at 15:05


      Not on your life. Those machines are one-off custom design machines. No one has them but them. Not to say they would not like to make something off it all, and there is a home version, but it’s still one off, but for rich guys and there will be no informercial anytime soon I can see.

    • Skyler Tanner on August 20, 2012 at 15:05

      You mean the one that’s been in the back of popular mechanics for ~25 years?

    • jonw on August 20, 2012 at 15:29

      yup, I had the same idea but thought it was just me. I always wondered what kind of people buy those, and whether they actually get used.

    • Paul C on August 21, 2012 at 10:39

      Yeah, that’s the one. The one that appears as full page ads in magazines. I’m sure it works great to improve conditioning in a tiny amount of time. About as great as a free body-weight workout.

  4. rob on August 20, 2012 at 16:22

    I’ve never gotten into the efficient exercise thing because I’ve got about 30 years left on the mortal plane and I have to fill it with something.

    15 minutes every 5 days. Holy crap that leaves a lot of time to fill.

    I think there is a market for the least efficient of all possible exercise methods. One that consumes 16 hours a day, people ask “What have you been doing lately?” And you respond “Exercising. Sleeping a little. That’s pretty much it.”

    • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2012 at 16:56

      Well, if you love it. On the other hand, what if you could be persuaded to believe that shorter gives you more of what you’re after for less time and money?

  5. John on August 20, 2012 at 17:10

    Related to this topic(and a plug for one of the links Richard included in his post):

    For anyone that wants to understand the science/theory behind this sort of exercise: Body by Science is a great read, and even if one does not follow the exact protocol of BBS or Efficient Exercise, it’s a phenomenally useful read, to help one understand the nature of how one’s body responds to exercise. If nothing else, truly reading and understanding the theory/biochemical mechanisms behind this type of training should go a long way towards tailoring your own training program to be smarter and more effective/efficient. From personal experience, it’s helped me make adjustments that have definitely yielded positive progress.

  6. Skyler Tanner on August 20, 2012 at 17:14

    Thanks for the plug, Richard. I’m glad you found both my style of training intriguing and my culinary skills to be up to snuff.

    And to paraphrase Doug McGuff: I don’t care what you do, just don’t hurt yourself in the pursuit of health. This is merely a viable option that has again and again showed excellent results in the 13 years I’ve used it to train clients.

  7. EatLessMoveMoore on August 20, 2012 at 17:50

    Wow. Any comment on this rapidly growing backlash? People seem more than a little steamed here.

    [links deleted -ed]

    • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2012 at 18:18


      I’ve hardly noticed. I’m focussed on helping people. I’ve deleted the links from your comment, generated by people whose names will also never stand in posts or comments.

      I leave them to their commiserating.

      …Don’t you think I know who they are and what they want?

      • EatLessMoveMoore on August 20, 2012 at 21:08

        Kinda shocking, though, dontcha think? Who knew Melissa had it in her. I certainly didn’t.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2012 at 21:40


        No comment.

      • Ed on August 21, 2012 at 01:01

        Melissa is amazing. “Denounce him. Then we can talk.” What a piece of work.

        Didn’t she have her nose about a foot up your ass a few months back?

      • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2012 at 06:42


        Sorry, but I have absolutely nothing to say about her here, now or ever.

      • Ed on August 21, 2012 at 14:24

        Men’s work is organizing conventions; women’s work is bitching about the guest list.

        Okay, I’m done.

      • EatLessMoveMoore on August 21, 2012 at 16:41

        I don’t know…there’s a hell of a lot of stuff on her site. A simple ‘no comment’ will, I think, only serve to amplify all the red meat she’s throwing out there. We need to remember that, unfortunately, the two most prominent people in LC/paleo who attempt to ‘rise above’ criticism – rather than meet it head-on – are Jack Kruse and Jimmy Moore. And Jimmy’s infamous t-shirt speaks for itself.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2012 at 16:55

        I’m not Kruse or Jmmy. And criticism of Jimmy is hardly anythng new. It was going on in 2007 when I first hit the scene. Neither do I engage in slogans and bromides for that sort of thing.

      • Joe on August 21, 2012 at 17:21

        ELMM, you really need to get a job. Bitching about Jimmy Moore is about the lamest, most-useless quest a human could aspire to. You could not be more pathetic.

        Collect string or something.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2012 at 18:32


        OK, I’ll throw you a bone in general, even though I suspect you’re just trying to (nicely and respectfully) bait and goad me into doing what both of those women might dearly love and issue my “standard treatment” in a post.

        Well, I’ve already done that with Evelyn, she’s pretty much just rehashing everything over and over, and even in the new twist of my post on the AHS volunteer, one of her own supportive commenters (then another–both who don’t like me) grudgingly admitted that on a closer reading of my post I wasn’t attacking this person individually, but some of her silly notions about what AHS was and should be.

        I do have a post in draft clarifying that.

        As for Melissa, I’m unsure of her motivations. That blog, while much is about me, much is about others and increasingly, Paleo/AHS in total. She’s just getting it started and things like that tend to be hard to judge in initial stages and I’m open to the possibility that it might turn out to be more constructive, like her regular blog is. I find it hard to accept that Melissa is at base the sort of nasty, bitter person who _only_ finds fault in others. She has done a great deal to advance this whole movement going all the way back to the NYT piece and I don’t easily toss earned capital aside.

        Furthermore, not responding to critics is not the same as ignoring them completely. I suppose it’s different for different things such as performers and such. I do read pretty much all the criticisms of me I’m aware of or made aware of and I do try to be open minded about it. I’m a huge fan of dialectic (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) and I believe it absurd to think that we’re not in some ways shaped by what others say about us, good and bad. It’s a long process.

        I’m also a big fan of lemonade, if you know what I mean. I do want to do more good than harm out there and when there’s reasonable arguments that I’m doing real and not just perceived harm, I want to take note of it and consider it.

        The Kruse thing was a very bad error in judgment on my part, and the c-word thing, an error in doubling down when I should have been folding (as Robb did in that same situation, the LC Cruse incident). Had I done that then, none of this would be happening now. Oh, well. Live & learn. I was at least able to chat some cordial hellos to Emily Deans at AHS and she even mentioned it I think on Eveyn’s blog, and that she’s not a grudge holder. Me either. So that’s good.

        Bottom line: It’s absurd to think that I or anyone else can’t use some criticism. But, perhaps Melissa, et al, is out to see to my destruction. I’d suggest there’s probably better uses of her time but I don’t tell people what they should or shouldn’t do. I’m still considering some of the criticism of me and how it might mold what I do going forward but I can also say that at least some of the criticism of Paleo/AHS if seen so far is very much worth paying attention to, y’know, for those who want to improve and do better.

        So there you have it.

      • EatLessMoveMoore on August 21, 2012 at 20:06

        Whatever… He’s making paleo into a joke – but I suppose to you that isn’t worth expending much energy over.

      • EatLessMoveMoore on August 21, 2012 at 20:08

        The ‘you’ in question being ‘Joe’.

  8. Rella on August 20, 2012 at 20:46

    Skyler: where are the next markets for Efficient Exercise? Any tips for people who want to emulate this style of exercise with more conventional equipment, and aren’t yet on your map?

    • Skyler Tanner on August 21, 2012 at 17:26

      We currently have this equipment in Atlanta, LA, Canada, and Denmark in addition to be in Austin. Might you be anywhere near these places?

      • Rella on August 22, 2012 at 18:55

        I’m up near Seattle, so I guess I will have to wait. Thanks for the response, and best wishes for the business.

      • Skyler Tanner on August 23, 2012 at 05:06

        There is a studio up in Seattle called Ideal Exercise that does strength training in this manner. At the very least a few sessions with Greg (the owner) will give you a new outlook on how much can be accomplished with a little time investment.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 23, 2012 at 05:57

        Skyler, anyone in the San Jose / South Bay Area you would recommend?

      • Skyler Tanner on August 28, 2012 at 05:30


        As far as I know, the only person in the bay area who does what we do is a vegan up in SF, unfortunately.

  9. Will on August 20, 2012 at 21:19

    Richard: how does this approach to exercise compare (for you) with the Leangains approach? Any decision on whether you’ll continue with the Efficient Exercise approach?

    And, to Skyler: could you give us some sense of what your once-every-five-days routine looks like? Thanks to you both for an interesting post.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 20, 2012 at 21:46

      Will, I’ll defer to Skyler for specifics.

      My take is that for me, at my age and experience I went far enough in LG to sustain a serious injury that still leaves me with a weaker right bicep than left (I’m right handed and my right has always been far stronger). For reference, I was up to about 5-6 dead hang chins with a 20 lb weight belt prior and I now can barely do 1-2 chins with no weight.

      Skyler’s approach, as far as I can tell, is nearly risk free–especially under his very attentive, deliberate, seriious no-shit guidance. I can’t imagine how I could be injured. It’s a way to use heavy, but lesser weight to derive the same or even higher benefit.

    • Skyler Tanner on August 21, 2012 at 04:22


      I’ll expand upon Richard’s response after this but my routine looks like this, roughly:

      -Adduction (yes, the thighmaster)
      -Leg Curl
      -Leg press
      -Compound Row
      -Chest Press

      -Shin work
      -Leg Press
      -Pulldown/weighted chin
      -Rear deltoid
      -Pec Deck

      The routine is alternated once every 5th day/3x every 2 weeks. Every 3rd workout or so I’ll throw in a wild card, where I include some intensity variables or something to that extent to challenge homeostasis a bit more than useful. That’s basically it.

  10. Robert Ve on August 21, 2012 at 05:46

    Any way to do this on your own?

    • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2012 at 07:11

      Yes’ and though it’s a long time since I read Body by Science I believe it’s outlined there. It’s never going to be as good as having someone like Skler and Keith watching every rep, you pace, taking that feedback to instruct you along the way for max efficiency and benefit, but they’re in Austin, TX, so what are you gonna do?

    • Skyler Tanner on August 21, 2012 at 17:28

      Yes, but thee is something that a hands on instructor adds that elevates the experience. Even as long as I’ve been doing this I still can’t push myself alone to the same depths that a good trainer can push me…I can get close but not quite there.

      Where are you? Perhaps a trainer near you could help you out.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2012 at 19:30

        I can’t believe how wonderfully sore I was all day yesterday, slept like a baby, got hungry about noon and whoa did I have like the biggest appetite I can remember having in recent memory. Soreness just now beginning to diminish but I still have an excellent “pump” going on.

        I’m hitting the gym on Friday. Hope to get a re-read of BBS in by then.

      • Robert Ve on August 22, 2012 at 03:16

        I’m in the Netherlands.

      • Skyler Tanner on August 22, 2012 at 09:10

        Yeah, nobody unfortunately, unless a 9 hour car ride to copenhagen counts as close.

  11. Will on August 21, 2012 at 06:41


    Thanks, that’s very helpful. As I get older (I’m 54), I’ve cut back on the volume, while working to increase the intensity. I’m very conscious of the possibility of exercise-induced injury (such as Richard experienced), so I’ve slowed down repetition speed, and removed all ballistic-type exercises. However, I still don’t think my current exercise approach would be defined as a pure ‘HIT’ approach. Two limiting factors: I train alone; and, I don’t have access to quality machines, therefore I use only free weights and bodyweight exercises. I don’t mean to suggest that one can’t employ the very slow repetition speeds favored by HIT practitioners when using free weights or bodyweight exercises, but good machines (e.g., MedX) better lend themselves to that approach.

    • Skyler Tanner on August 21, 2012 at 08:02


      You’re right that my equipment allows for very slow reps to be maximized; that said merely moving in the direction of controlled repetitions for a rep count (as opposed to a time under load that I employ) is a step in the right direction as far as safety and efficacy.

      Getting your hands on some of the Dr. Darden books, especially “The New HIT” would be wise. Ignore all the bodybuilding stuff; the workout information is quite useable.

  12. […] from a comment posted on an unrelated thread after saying I had no comment and being admonished to comment […]

  13. Andrew on August 22, 2012 at 06:53

    I try to do HIT 1x week with dumbbells and adjustable bench.
    deadlift 8-12
    stiff leg deadlift 8-12
    standing calf raise 8-12
    bent-over row 5-8
    overhead press 5-8
    shrug 5-8
    supine press 5-8
    bicep curl 5-8
    french curl 5-8
    wrist flexion 5-8
    wrist extension 5-8
    crunch 8-12
    Are those exercises safe? Should it be simplified? It takes about 35-40 min complete if I rush between. I have the time,…but I am wondering if dumbbell workouts are longer by definition, because you need to do more isolation exercises to thoroughly work the muscles. This is the full body workout from “Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness”, the book was published in 2006 before BBS got trendy. Thanks.

    • Skyler Tanner on August 22, 2012 at 09:49


      I’d only suggest changing the overhead press to a high incline press to reduce shoulder strain. Fred (one of the book authors) is a HIT guy, a straight shooter, and a great coach. Your workout looks great.

      • Andrew on August 22, 2012 at 10:55

        It’s actually Drew Baye’s workout from the book, didn’t want to say it so You would be impartial:-) You two made the best 21c presentations ever. I’ll slightly adjust he overhead press, if I understand correctly this just means a little more incline bench, but not so much to be proper incline press, which is listed as (mainly) chest exercise in the book. Looking forward to this year’s 21c presentation about biomarkers of aging, thanks a lot!

  14. Mart on August 22, 2012 at 08:20

    What do you do for warm-up? There’s no way this would work for me or for anyone I know if they don’t warm their muscles up for a good 15 to 20 minutes first.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 22, 2012 at 08:51

      Mart, not a single one of the five of us who did the workout did a second of warmup.

      • Mart on August 22, 2012 at 09:00

        Richard – a couple of years ago I damaged my heart over-exercising with the crossfit style workout routine I had gotten results with and was comfortable doing. Since then I have avoided getting my heart rate up suddenly for fear of my life. No warm-ups for anything as strenuous as this would literally kill me. And if it didn’t kill me I’d pull a muscle or get a strain – even if I kept good form – which I am always very careful to do. My point would be that these workouts seem to be for people who are already well above average in fitness. I just don’t know how people could start this sort of workout with no warm up and not injure themselves immediately.

      • Richard Nikoley on August 22, 2012 at 09:04


        Sory to hear that. I also sustained and injury that today still leaves me with a weakened right bicep, though getting better, finally.

        I’ll defer to Skyler on this. My impression is that it’s time under load that’s more important than reps or sets. So, you use less of a weight, less reps, less sets, but you do it slowly and stay under the load longer.

      • Skyler Tanner on August 22, 2012 at 09:25


        This simply is not the case. Many of your assumptions are based upon lack of information and a misunderstanding of what’s going on. To begin:

        “…I damaged my heart over-exercising with the crossfit style workout routine…”

        What crossfit does and what we do are not the same thing, nor is rate at which the heart is reacting to what we do.

        “Since then I have avoided getting my heart rate up suddenly for fear of my life.”

        This type of workout actually doesn’t get your heart rate up suddenly. I’m going to get technical but bear with me:

        -We generally start with a smaller exercise for the legs. Cardiac output is proportionate to demand (with regards to exercise) so while this raises the heart rate, it doesn’t do so to any level higher than you might experience during your “warmup.”

        – Cardiac output (Q) is stroke volume times heart rate. This type of training augments stroke volume to a level that cardiorespiratory training or xfit doesn’t. The choppy nature of those repetitions does not increase venous return to the heart to the same degree, which means that the heart rate in my studio of any of my clients rarely exceeds 140 bpm.

        -The nature of this workout actually increases vasodialation (the enlargement of the diameter of your vascular system to support increased bloodflow at a safe pressure) which in turn allows more blood to be moved per stroke, meaning that your heart rate doesn’t need to get as high. This doesn’t happen at lower intensities.

        -Summarized: this type of training allows the cardiovascular system to work more efficiently, at a reduced rate, ultimately making it safer and more effective than most forms of exercise (from a health augmentation perspective).

        “My point would be that these workouts seem to be for people who are already well above average in fitness.”

        My client load ranges from 14 years old to 90 years old. I have 5 clients, ranging from 55 to 80, who have had heart attacks in their past and experience no form of complication when performing this type of activity.

        Of course, you must do what feels comfortable for you; however the reasons you are uncomfortable about this sort of training shouldn’t be holding you back because they actually aren’t something to be worried about!

      • Mart on August 22, 2012 at 09:50

        thanks for your detailed reply Skyler. Vasodialation? Ok – so if I told you I was less concerned about every other aspect of my fitness than my heart and I wanted to specifically strengthen it, are there certain exercises amongst your repertoire I could focus on. You have to understand – I have palpitations all the time. This stupid heart of mine threatens to go south on me regularly. It’s the ONKY muscles I am concerned about conditioning and growing in strength. After all – you can do without a bicep, or even a gluteus maximus, but you can’t do without the engine that fuels them.

    • Skyler Tanner on August 22, 2012 at 09:12

      No need for a warmup; your joints are the primary beneficiary of a “warm up” (it’s not about core temperature) and when you are moving so slowly (without sudden jerky movements) your joints are not at risk.

  15. Andrew on August 22, 2012 at 08:34

    If that’s a reaction on my workout…I don’t believe in warm-ups. I just start moving slowly, that’s a warm-up. Warm-ups are artificial need…I think you get all you need by just starting cautiously…what warm-up do you do to warm-up for your warm-up?:-)

  16. Mart on August 22, 2012 at 08:44

    Yes – I start slowly. That’s my warm-up. But I dare say you are a 20 or 30-something. Apart from Richard, where are the 50 and 60-somethings in any of these videos? All I ever see are young muscular guys like Skyler – who cannot possible get to be that ripped on just 30 minutes every 5 days, I simply don’t believe that – or they are fit guys and gals under 30 years old.

    • Skyler Tanner on August 22, 2012 at 09:47

      “Skyler – who cannot possible get to be that ripped on just 30 minutes every 5 days, I simply don’t believe that”

      Except that I am, on only 15 minutes every 5 days of formal exercise. You might not believe it, but that doesn’t make it incorrect.

      “(W)here are the 50 and 60-somethings(?)”

      Doug McGuff is 50, his head trainer is in his mid 60’s, and my average client’s age is right around 60.

      • AJ on August 22, 2012 at 15:49


        Great discussion

        What kind of un-formal exercise or movements do you do in between those 5 days?

        Can you give a typical week of your activity?

        This approach really is fascinating.

      • Skyler Tanner on August 22, 2012 at 17:45


        I’ll give you a typical day for me during the semester (I’m in grad school):
        -5am: Wake up
        -6am: Start training clients (60+ sessions per week, generally)
        -12-2pm: The end of my training day and my first meal (depending on the day and client; I fast until this point)
        -2:30pm: Commute for class that runs from 3:30pm to 6:20PM. I typically bring a snack of nuts and fruit to eat during class or on the road.
        -7:30pm: Arrive home, have dinner, walk the dogs (~2 miles of leisurely walking), spend time with my wife.
        -10:00pm: Bed

        If I’m not in school that day, the afternoon is spent between meetings, homework, napping, video games…languid rest is the rule right now before school starts next week.

        My wife and I take short hikes on the weekend but they’re not strenuous either; we only sweat on the hikes during the summer because its hot! Other activity during the summer includes trips to Barton Springs which has a familiar pattern: jump in the 68* water, swim a bit, sleep on your towel for 30+ minutes, visit with friends, one more dip, leave. Again leisurely activity.

  17. Andrew on August 22, 2012 at 09:11

    Being ripped is 90% about diet…there are multiple principles that work, and you can even combine them. Intermittent fasting, ketogenic diet…Skyler Tanner, as far as I know, eats Paleo and includes occasional fast. I do only fasting twice a week for 24h and check my protein intake, also try not to overeat on my normal days. I already see results. Of course you need some muscle, but being ripped is about very low bodyfat levels, exercise alone doesn’t work.
    diet>sleep>exercise for being ripped…I hope I can confirm this by myself as this is one of my goals…I really believe all one needs to do to really improve his health and body composition is to eat real food, include intermittent fasting, sleep well, stress less and train once a week HIT style.

  18. Skyler Tanner on August 22, 2012 at 17:52

    And just a bit more grist for the mill regarding this approach, here are some pertinent blood markers:

    Age: 29
    Weight: 175lbs
    Bodyfat percentage: 11%
    Resting Blood glucose: 82 mg/dl
    AST: 25
    ALT: 17
    Blood Pressure (average of 3 tries during life insurance checkup): 99/59 (really)
    Standard Pulse: 55 @ 5pm after a drive home (I’ve registered as low as 50bpm in the morning)

  19. Andrew on August 24, 2012 at 00:35

    I noticed that while you eat Paleo, you have a realistic view and don’t believe fairytales. I followed Paleo, Very Low Carb and now I follow Eat Stop Eat – IF 2x 24h weekly. Author of this book Brad Pilon emphasises positive relationship with food and not labelling it good or bad. Do you think that if I guesstimate my daily protein intake(about 100-120g), eat some real food, but not pure paleo, some crap in between like occasional dessert or cookie, and lose weight, I get all health benefits I realistically can through diet interventions? Do the benefits come mostly from adequate protein, fruit/veggies and being lean, or is there something else? What about “evil” grains, pasta, cookies etc.?

    • Skyler Tanner on August 24, 2012 at 07:09

      Once all the adequate essential nutrient requirements are met for a diet, I believe the next logical step is to look at which diet has a higher volume of anti-health agents (be it anti-nutrients in plant food or chemicals in industrial food) and reduce accordingly. The diet with the lowest occurrence of anti-health agents and an appropriate amount of essential nutrition is the healthier diet.

      Do I think having a slice of buttermilk pie every 3-6 months is going to cut 6 years off of your life? No I don’t. I do know that, while I certainly will enjoy that pie, the next morning my gut will be pissed and later my ass will follow suit. So you learn to make “better” bad choices that satisfy those cravings, celebrate those occasions, and don’t leave you strapped to the toilet or feeling like death the next day.

      A personal example of this is that I like chocolate but a bar or squares for dessert just doesn’t do it for me. So for occasions at home I make a gateau with coconut milk instead of cream and a hazelnut crust instead of cookie crust. Tastes amazing and doesn’t harm me in any way.

      • Mark on August 25, 2012 at 18:13

        Tyler do you have the recipe for your gateau (can’t even read that word without Inspector Clouseau’s voice saying it out loud in my head)?

  20. […] ~ Skyler Tanner, who has yet to learn to spell my last name correctly in every single instance, puts this up: 21 Convention, Strength Training, and Richard Nikoley. I did a post about the experience as well. […]

  21. Andrew on August 27, 2012 at 09:50

    do You take any supplements for health/performance? I am considering creatine monohydrate and vitamin D. Thanks.

  22. […] last time this happened was my workout with Skyler Tanner and Dr. Doug McGuff in Austin. All was fine for about 5 days or so, and then bam! Three weeks of misery ensued, but I […]

  23. Words of Wisdom | Ancestral Momentum on October 25, 2012 at 04:51

    […] credit: Richard Nikoley.  Literally.  That’s his empty spot at the table.  I’m getting ready to bogart his […]

  24. […] friends Keith Norris, Skyler Tanner, Greg Swann and…Dr. Doug McGuff. After Doug's presentation, we headed over to Skyler's house for a meal just hours before I was to fly […]

  25. […] than any 3 people you might know combined. As I told him after my 4th glass of wine during our Libertarian/Anarchist Meathead Party: “Every time I talk to you, I am amazed at the depth of your knowledge.” […]

  26. […] a workout with Dr. Doug McGuff and Skyler Tanner was a godsend for me. Unless you have specific athletic goals or just love the gym for some reason, […]

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