YOU ARE YOUR OWN GYM – Mark Lauren
I want to tell you about a superb new bodyweight training book. But before I do that, I want to take to task the publishers and marketing departments who sell their wares by preying on the insecurities and fears of the average person. Who take simple material and couch it in “prison slang”, suggest weakness is a green light to the world of predators and take the art of movement and make it the joyless pursuit of body armour so that Bubba won’t make you his play thang. I understand the need to make your product stand out amongst the crowd. But scare tactics and promises of “secret methods” are cheap and fallacious. We are not Spartans, and this is not Sparta. Whatever about the imaginary training methods of prison culture or warrior nations aren’t we a little discerning to fall for the over priced hype?
Meanwhile…back in the real world.
Mark Lauren is the real deal. You can read his resume. He has actually been there and done it. A military training specialist, Special Ops Combat controller, triathlete and champion Thai boxer, he has the credentials. But his motivation is clear. He wants to create lean, strong, confident people. No hype, no fuss.
YOU ARE YOUR OWN GYM is remarkable book. Coming in at 171 pages of exercises and scalable routines to take you though a 10 week Basic program, a 10 week Master class and 10 week Elite class, it lays out a total body system.
I am a big fan of bodyweight training. I feel if you have not mastered bodyweight then Kettlebells, suspension training, sandbags and free weights should be approached with great care, if at all.
Mark’s own story is an interesting one, especially his account of his military training evaluations and the gruelling INDOC, nine weeks of relentless drilling. But what Mark goes on to advocate is a realistic program to get the average person exceptionally fit with clear explanations on how to take simple exercises and make them progressively harder.
Long slow aerobic advocates should look away now. The focus of the book is bodyweight training for strength. Mark is clear on the advantages of focussing on strength, whether it’s for body composition, conditioning or muscle with plenty of information on interval training and exercises that fit the bill.
The short nutrition section is clear and to the point with an emphasis on whole foods and hydration.
After busting some myths, discussing motivation and intensity and outlining some excellent protocols (including a simple but incredibly challenging drill call Stappers which is an solid progression for anyone following www.100repchallenge.com) we move on to the exercises. There are 111 of them Once more for the people in the back seats…One Hundred and Eleven. These pretty much follow the push, pull, bend, lunge, squat, twist format, without any gimmicks or tricks . The photographs and comprehensive descriptions are excellent. Everything is scalable (that word again!) I am not going to get in to detail here, I just want to say, this lot will keep you going for a very long time. Thankfully the 10 week programs at the end tie everything together perfectly so you can jump right in and get going. There is also a short appendix on key training principles and periodization.
There are a number of sections dotted throughout YOU ARE YOUR OWN GYM that reference studies, facts and information to back up the methods.
This is an truly exceptional bodyweight training manual. Anyone interested in functional, practical, authentic training will find it invaluable. The really remarkable thing is Mark has pulled together more information on bodyweight training in this one book than in a half dozen books on my shelf combined.
In the interest of transparency – I purchased my own copy and have corresponded with Mark since but I have no business of finanacial connection with him…I just love the book!