The Workouts - Personal Training Diaries
When I published Mind Body Spirit the Personal Training Diaries in 1997 I had no idea that letting it go out of print would make it so valuable. Now out of print for several years, this book is listing for up to $100 for a used copy on eBay. Why does everyone seem to now want this book? I don't think it's because of the poetry - it's because of over 180 workouts, I did and recorded between age 14 and 60. All my best most memorable workouts, all arranged in order of difficulty. To my knowledge no one else has ever published this kind of stuff.
Even though these workouts occurred within a period ranging over 40 years, it makes an interesting training program. So I'm publishing the workouts and including a specific guide and calendar for an entire year of how to use them. Included are the workouts (they detail time, place, exercises, weights used and reps) and room to record your own training sessions and results.
If you are brave and like a challenge consider following the book page by page. You certainly won't get bored because it's a different workout every time you train. The calendar section marks the body parts worked and the specific days they are trained. Each of the four seasons has such a calendar at the beginning. This allows you to see where you are at in relation to your seasonal goals. The themes are winter maintenance, spring growth, summer intensity, autumn peaking and the training intensity is geared accordingly.
Here's where this book is valuable: You can pick a place to start based on what kind of shape you are in. Suppose you are starting at the beginning of the year a little out of shape. The workouts are easy and begin progressing in degree of difficulty and workload so that by the beginning of spring you are ready for more intense training. Near the end of spring are pre contest workouts which you can be ready for if you follow instructions. Summer bumps it up a notch with even more intense training, leading to a peak in early Autumn for competition (which is when I competed and was at my best). October section includes my posing routine ( I give my 1979 Mr. Olympia posing routine names based on body position) all 20 poses I did in competition that year. After reaching a peak, workout focus changes and training sessions are from earlier times in my training career. These workouts are appropriate for maintenance training that is done in the winter.
The main way is to jump in at the level of conditioning or point you are at now and follow the program plan , doing the workouts indicated on the specified days. But be careful. If I were to do this program I would do two sets of each exercise. The weights I used are given for reference only, don't try to use these weights, some of them are quite heavy. Also, there may be some exercises you cannot do, so skip these, or better yet substitute an equivalent movement. The more strict your form is and the better you do the exercises the more you will get from the program. After all, this is the core of how I trained to look like I did.
If you are in great shape already, start with Spring Training and go day by day right through to the end of the year, gradually working up to 3 sets on each exercise. If you are in really good shape I dare you to duplicate one of the more challenging workouts. But even if you do it doesn't mean you're going to look like I did after following the program for a year. You will, however, improve significantly and learn a great deal about what championship workouts are like. Doing the program will teach you how to keep a workout diary as there is room to write the results of each workout session along side it on the page.
There are variations of the three way split routine and great specialization workouts. Some interesting super sets and exercise arrangements can help stimulate lagging body part development. This exercise index is completely re-written (with many new photos) with emphasis on injury prevention and healing.
As the look of the new cover suggests, "The Workouts" is a streamlined version of the original, with valuable guidance on how to best utilize these incredible training sessions. Looking back I can't believe I did them. But I did and recorded everything so you can apply these workouts to your training. Some between workout days diet and philosophy is included and new photos have been added. I didn't like the way the publisher reproduced the few photos that appeared in the original book. The many new photos that have been added make this unique book a very insightful intimate record of Frank's quest of body, mind, and spirit. At the end all the exercises and stretches are pictured with complete instruction for their performance.
I honestly have to say there is no other book like this. Such attention to details is what developing a great physique is all about. You could go through one of these books a year if you keep it as a diary and write in it, or you can keep your copy as a valuable reference guide.