Book Review: Body of a Spartan by Victor Pride

Book Review: Body of a Spartan by Victor Pride

Book Review: Body of a Spartan by Victor Pride

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By Damian N. Minichowski

…Spartans, what is your profession?!

Book Review: Body of a Spartan by Victor Pride

About the Book: Body of a Spartan

Body of a Spartan“ is an English eBook written by Boldanddetermined.com-Founder Victor Pride. This book is about high frequency training (training more than 4-5 day a week) and it covers an autoregulative workout system developed by its author, which might resemble other HFT protocols.

You can get your digital copy for only $19.99 (approx. 18,12 €), so I guess it is one of the cheaper books out there. If you take a close look at it you’ll see that there is a reason for it’s cheap price: it contains just 81 pages (made of 25 chapters – see table of contents) and therefore can be considered as a real lightweight. (There is also a bonus called “The 30 Day Cure for No-Chest-Itis” included)

Although the book seems to be really thin, the content and layout is top-notch. It’s super easy to read – taking a look at the front-cover, you’ll spot a lean and muscular Spartan warrior, wearing an armour and a helmet – just like in the movie “300”. Nice ambiente, Vic – really nice, but what’s inside?

About the Author: Victor Pride

Victor Pride, Boldanddetermined Founder

Victor Pride, author of Body of a Spartan (Source: Boldanddetermined.com)

What can be said about Victor? Well, my first encounter with Victor was when stumbling upon his personal blog named “Boldanddetermined”. Since then I’ve spent numerous hours reading, reviewing and thinking about the content. According to Victor himself, he is an entrepreneur and digital nomad, who makes a living out of his blog and page projects, living in East Asia – where his hard earned $ is more worth, than in the States – really clever move.

Anyway, I probably wouldn’t have read so much in his blog, but since he covered a dear topic I am interested in (that is: weightlifting and resistance exercise), it was fairly easy to get thrilled. Victor covers a lot of topics on his website and it centers not only on getting big and strong, but also about kicking ass in daily life and making money online.

So, what does Victor say about himself?

My name is Victor Pride

I live a Spartan lifestyle. I live cheap, I don’t buy unnecessary things and I don’t put myself into debt. I like things simple. I hate complication. There is no reason for complication or unnecessary clutter.

Steak and eggs is the bulk of my diet. Just like a lion eats the same food day in day out, so do I. I typically eat one or two meals per day. My training philosophy is simple: Lift some weights and eat some steaks.

I believe in good old fashion plain speaking. That means often my words are not politically correct. My goals is to get my readers as fired up as humanly possible…to get you as motivated and excited for life as humanely possible…to get you to quit living the life you currently lead and start living the life you always wanted to lead.

To become a killer…a wolf.”

Victor Pride, Boldanddetermined Founder

Boldanddetermined.com – The Blog

“At Bold & Determined we value strength, courage, dedication, determination, competition, aggression, and positivity above all else.

Timidity, weakness, laziness and gluttony are looked down upon as pathetic traits that need to be minimized and eliminated. This isn’t a “judgment free” zone where weakness is lauded as “strength” and “courage”.

All it takes to become a winner is a change of mind set. Change your thought process – change your life.

There is only one rule in life: Be bold.

Instead of going through the motions and waiting to die, let’s live life to the fullest. Life was not meant to be lived in a drab office building with people who have no vision, no ambition, no drive and no heart. That’s for slaves. You’re not longer a slave.

You are here because you want to accomplish.

You’ve had your entire life to take it easy. It’s time to get up off your ass, enjoy your life and get out of the nine-to-five jive forever.” – Boldanddetermined.com

Table of Content – Body of a Spartan

Body of a Spartan by Victor PrideWhy You Should Work Out

  • Bodybuilding and Strength Training

How Often Should You Work Out?

  • The Best Time Of Day To Workout
  • The Lifts to Focus on

The Spartan Workout

  • Main Exercises
  • Supplemental Exercises

The Deadlift

  • Deadlift Variations
  • Rack Deads (Main)
  • Stiff Legged Deadlifts (Supplemental)
  • Snatch Grip Deadlifts (Main or Supplemental)
  • One Armed Deadlifts (Main or Supplemental)
  • Suitcase Deadlifts (Main or Supplemental)

Squats

  • Squat Variations
  • Heavy Squat Lockouts (Main or Supplemental)
  • Front Squats (Main)
  • Jump Squats (Main or Supplemental)

The Bench Press

  • Bench Press Variations
  • Flat Bench (Main)
  • Incline Bench Press (Main or Supplemental)
  • Decline Bench Press (Main or Supplemental)
  • Reverse Grip Bench Press (Main or Supplemental)
  • Benching With Dumbbells (Main or Supplemental)

Other Chest Exercises

  • Dips (Supplemental)
  • Dumbbell Flies (Supplemental)
  • Weighted Pushups Between Benches (Supplemental)

Pullups and Chinups (Main or Supplemental)

  • Pullup & Chinup Variations
  • Rope Pullups (Supplemental)
  • Monkey Pullups (Supplemental)
  • One Armed Pullups (Supplemental)
  • Multi Finger Chinups (Supplemental)

Rows

  • Bent Rows (Main or Supplemental)
  • T-Bar Rows (Supplemental)
  • Dumbbell Rows (Supplemental)
  • Pullovers (Supplemental)

The Back

Shoulder Pressing

  • Military Press (Main or Supplemental)
  • Push Press (Main)
  • Behind the Neck Push Press (Main)
  • Power Cleans (Main or Supplemental)
  • Reverse Grip Power Clean and Press (Main or Supplemental)
  • One Arm Power Cleans (Supplemental)
  • The Scott Press (Supplemental)
  • Divebomber Pushups (Supplemental)

Shoulders

Trapezius Muscle

  • Shrugs (Main)
  • High Pulls (Main or Supplemental)
  • Neck Bridge (Supplemental)
  • Farmers Walks (Main or Supplemental)

Curls

  • Barbell Curls (Main or Supplemental)
  • Cheat Curls (Main or Supplemental)
  • Baseball Curls (Supplemental)
  • Dumbbell Curls (Supplemental)
  • Incline Curls (Supplemental)

Triceps Extensions

  • Standing Triceps Extensions (Supplemental)
  • Skullcrushers (Supplemental)
  • Rope Pushdowns (Supplemental)
  • Close Grip Pushups/Diamond Pushups (Supplemental)
  • Close Grip Bench Press (Main or Supplemental)

Routines

Beginners Routine

The Real Deal Non-Beginners Routine

  • Advanced Spartan Workout Routine (6 Days Per Week)

How To End Your Workout Sessions

  • Grab Bag Exercises
  • Fat Burning Exercises

Rules For A Body Of A Spartan

  • Notes on Exercises

The Spartan Diet

  • The Spartan Diet For Skinny Fellas
  • The Spartan Diet For Fat Fellas

Supplements

Training Accessories

How To Get Pumped

Conclusion

 

About the Content – Body of a Spartan

If you take a swift look at the table of contents, you will notice that this book covers a broad range of topics regarding training and weightlifting – just like you would expect from a training guide / system.

Admitted, I was caught a little bit by surprise by this short elaboration – 81 pages is not much, if you take into consideration that Victor uses half of the space for exercise explanation (pages 17 to 67). This means, that it won’t take much time to read the entire thing (I managed to read Body of a Spartan in a 2 hour train ride).

So the main question, which arises, is as follows: Does Body of a Spartan justify the money you pay? Well, it probably ought to (but it does probably more if you’re an advanced lifter). Honestly speaking it should be an advantage if the author has the ability to force lots of knowledge into a small compendium, but since I like to read (and I’ve read a lot, trust me), I usually expect a little bit more.

So, what kind of content can you expect from Pride’s Body of a Spartan?

The Spartan Routine: Autoregulative High Frequency Training

Let’s be clear about this: If Body of a Spartan wouldn’t justify a review, I wouldn’t write about it. It certainly honours it’s name, because it really is spartanic. What you’ll get is a straightforward autoregulative workout system, which slightly resembles Christian Zippels “Hochfrequenztraining” (a more structured approach to High Frequency Training was created by Chad Waterbury, but the only denominator of those system would be the workout frequency – and that’s it).

So what does “High Frequency Training” mean exactly? Well, to give you a clearer picture: The beginners routine in Body of a Spartan starts with 4 workout day per week, which could be considered as the minimum requirement to get labeled as “high frequency”, which simply translates into “more than 3 workout days per week”.

Once you make it to the advanced routine, you’ll train for 6 days a week. Of course, your workouts will get shorter the more often (and more intensive) you work out, but the frequency remains on a high level.

According to Victor, you should focus on making progress in 8 core exercises (main lifts). However there is also room for supplemental exercises, as long as you ensure that you can add weight to the main lifts.

These main lifts are:

  • Deadlift
  • Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Chin Ups
  • Shoulder Press
  • Curls
  • ·Triceps Extension
  • Rowing

So, once you’re into high frequency training you might wonder about overtraining and this is a justifiable question, which gets covered by the author of Body of a Spartan. According to Victor, you can workaround this issue if you use the laid out protocols (routines) in the book, to prevent overloading your CNS:

1.       The Singles Routine

2.       The 5-Rep Routine

Without delving too deep into this topic, I will explain briefly what these setups are about.

The Singles Routine

Chose 2-3 main lifts.

When doing the Singles routine, you begin warming up (and adding weight on the bar) with your selected exercise, until you hit your one repetition maximum (called 1 RM max.). Once you figured out the weight for the workout at hand, you actually decrease the weight on the bar to 90 % of your todays 1 RM max. Now you aim for 10 single repetitions – which means doing 10 sets with 1 repetition each set.

In this setup, your workout volume is quite manageable, although demanding.

The 5-Rep Routine (“Spartan Routine”)

Do you know Starting Strength, created by famous coach Mark Rippetoe? Well, this routine resembles somewhat the 5×5 scheme covered in SS. However there is a slight twist, which makes the 5 rep routine unique: Once you do 5 sets with 5 repetitions you’re done for today…but not so on the “Spartan Routine”, where you switch over to progressive single repetitions.

What does that mean? Let’s assume you do deadlifts with 5 sets (and 5 reps) with 120 kg (again, there are 2-3 main lifts for the workout). Once you finish your 5th set…

  • …you add 5 kg to the bar and do a single repetition. Take your rest.
  • You add another 5 kg to the bar and do another single repetition. Take your rest.
  • You add another 5 kg to the bar and do another single repetition.

Now you’re done with this exercise. Of course, depending on how you feel that day, you might only manage to do 1 or 2 singles. That’s perfectly fine, since this is the autoregulative component of the whole system. If you don’t feel like breaking new personal records, then you shouldn’t push too far. Another day will come and then you’ll break one PR after another. That’s life.

Body of a Spartan does not only cover the whole system, but it deals also with questions regarding muscle building and strength acquisition. Victor talks about unflexible workout systems and issues, which arise with those programs (e.g. Rippetoe’s Starting Strength). He talks about the best time to work out (a topic, Menno has covered just recently here if you remember) and he also gives some recommendations about nutrition and supplementation (but don’t expect too much here – it’s a fairly “spartanic approach” ;-))

You’ll find a refreshing approach on interval exercises, called “Grab Bag Exercies” and “Fat Burning Enders”, which can be done near the end of the workout. Those exercises can be regarded as finishers, which focus on raising the heart rate to its maximum (for fat burning purpose after the workout). Simple speaking its HIIT with weight exercises. You choose from a small set of exercises (1-2 should be enough) and then you do them until you cannot lift yourself anymore.

So, you’re a warrior and you want to do the Spartan Routine? According to its author you should meet the following requirements:

  • Squat on 3 days of the week. You can vary the squat exercise (not only allowed, but strictly recommended).
  • Deadlift on 1 day of the week (minimum).
  • You should be done with your workout in less than 45 minutes. Better: 20-35 minutes.
  • You want to do cardiovascular exercise? Then you’ll do it with weights to jack up your heart rate.
  • Do pull-ups / chin-ups on 3 days of the week (minimum) – go high frequent on these suckers.
  • Anything goes, as long as you go heavy first (and then about repeitions).

The Spartan Diet: Natural, Simple & Intermittent Fasting Oriented

Well, not much to say about this part: The “Spartan Diet” gets covered on 3 pages and its quite straightforward:

  • 2 meals per day (“intermittent fasting”)
  • No snacks allowed
  • Drink as much as your thirst dictates

Of course, there is more to it than it may seem in the beginning. For example regarding the food choices

„All food must be REAL, WHOLE FOOD. If it isn’t grown in the ground, fallen from a tree or made from an animal it is not food. If it comes in a box and never goes bad it isn’t food. If the ingredient list is bigger than a couple of ingredients it isn’t food.” – Body of a Spartan, S.72

Basically think: Meat, eggs and fat – and then you can gorge on carbohydrates (if you’re lean and want to build strength and muscle). Fruits are allowed as appetizers, eating butter is strictly recommended and eggs are a staple food.

There are some recommendations for thin and fat athletes as well. Adapting a spartanic lifestyle is recommended, which basically translates to: Eat everything on sight (hardgainer) and go Ketogenic (as fat athlete).

And what about supplementation?

Well, Victor recommends liver tablets. If you want to get the body of a Spartan, you ought to train and eat like one. That’s it.

Fazit

Its kind of surprising: Although the book itself seems thin, there is actually a lot of useful content in “Body of a Spartan” – so, what’s my final opinion on this oeuvre?

Victor is no man of big words, but he manages to get straight to the point – it’s all in there: a full fledged workout system for intermediate and advanced lifters, an extensive set of (inspirational) exercises and variations up to some really cool workout finishers to spice up your daily routine (and elevate your hear rate) combined with an intermittent fasting-esque nutritional approach.

All of this makes it hard for me to give this book a bad grade (honestly, I even thought about writing an extensive guide for the Body of a Spartan body system, since I designed my own workout routine around its cornerstones).

I am a curious athlete and I certainly love reading thick books with lots of references, which invite for more research. Victor Pride saved me all the trouble and I have to admit that “Body of a Spartan” rightfully deserves its name. If you think about it, the workout program makes a lot of sense, but nevertheless, I am not sure if it is a fit for novices and beginners. You ought to know your body, before getting into Body of a Spartan, although Vic covers some of the basics in his book.

Lastly, one has to admit that the selection of exercises is just great and you can see that its author thought about bringing in some variety to the program. This Spartan Routine is not only challenging, but it also makes a lot of fun – which brings back the joy of working out.

So, to whom can I recommend Body of a Spartan? All those athletes, who already gathered some experience in the world of iron lifting, those who want to get stronger and bigger and finally those, who are looking for a new experience and a new innovative routine.

“Body of a Spartan” might not be as complex as some other concepts out there, but I’d say that this is the great advantage of the whole system – it focuses on the most relevant part of training: heavy lifting. You pick 2 main lifts for todays workout and then you go nuts. Once you’re through, you can either pack your stuff and head home or you can add 2-4 supplemental exercises for kicks. Choose between the singles routine and the 5-rep routine and don’t look back. Ever.

Get the book, try the workout routine (and the nutritional advices) and then come back and tell me about it. Feel free to pass on a comment about your experience with Body of a Spartan.

Buy “Body of a Spartan” by Victor Pride ($19,99 / 18,12 €)

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About the Reviewer – Damian Minichowski

Damian “Furor Germanicus” Minichowski is the founder and mastermind behind the bodybuilding and nutrition online magazine Aesir Sports (AesirSports.net & AesirSports.de). Besides numerous authorships Damian is writing for several well known and respected weightlifting and fitness magazines. He authored more than 200 articles about bodybuilding, training, training philosophy, nutrition, health and supplementation already.

Damian worked as a long-term fitness coach in local gyms. Currently he is working as a consultant for a supplement manufacturer. His profession lies in evidenced-based article writing and revolves about one of his biggest passions in life – Physical fitness, nutrition, supplementation and health.

People who landed on this page, looked for the following search terms: Review Body of a Spartan, Pride Body of a Spartan, Boldanddetermined.com Victor Pride, Body of a Spartan ebook.

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1 Comment

  1. med
    11 January 2016, 10:39 med

    Hey man!

    Can you provide some information on his 30 days chest cure?

    My chest lacks and was wondering what kind of techniques does he use, to see if there’s something new and it’s worth buying.

    Reply to this comment

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