If you have been around my site a bit before, you have probably seen a link to an e-book called “Body Of A Spartan” by a guy named Victor Pride.
While this blog is typically focused on nutritional supplements, books and programs are something that I have used and continue to use in an effort to gain more knowledge about nutrition, weightlifting and bodybuilding. For that reason, I see books as supplements that I use to get better and smarter.
I have purchased countless books and e-books from a variety of authors over the years. I have gotten a ton of value out of many of these books. Particularly those books which include a weightlifting program to follow.
There are so many programs out there that you can follow depending on your goals. I admit that I don’t usually like to follow a program however, my workouts are far better when I do. It’s something I need to constantly remind myself of. As the saying goes, when you fail to plan you plan to fail.
With that being said, this is my first book/e-book review that I have done on this site. My goal is to present you with an accurate and thorough review of Body Of A Spartan. While I do not think that this program will be for everyone, I do think that it will be valuable for most.
About the author
Victor Pride is the pen name of a guy who’s real name I admittedly do not know. I don’t think that any of his readers know his real name but it really doesn’t matter. One of the best calisthenic books known to man is written by a guy that probably doesn’t exit.
Victor Pride runs a wildly popular blog called Bold and Determined. I would describe the blog as a lifestyle and self-improvement blog with a focus on bodybuilding.
While I do not know the exact gender break down of his readers, I would venture a guess that the large majority are male. Most of Victor’s articles are directed towards men. Most of the articles Victor writes are about bodybuilding, wealth, business and self-improvement.
Aside from Body Of A Spartan, Victor has another e-book with an almost religious like following called 30 Days Of Discipline. This is how I first found Victor. The book helps you develop some very important habits and become a self disciplined person. If you are having issues with procrastination and productivity, then this book will change your life and I highly recommend it.
A forewarning that Victor’s views and articles can be extreme. He is not for the easily offended. While I do not agree with Victor’s views on everything, he is spot on with many subjects. One of which is bodybuilding.
Although some of his advice may be unorthodox, it is always well-researched and usually backed up with facts. Victor was a once skinny guy who was able to build a phenomenal physique using the methods and advice that he now provides in Body Of A Spartan and through his site.
The Body Of A Spartan e-book was written for those who are looking to get the body of a spartan as you may have guessed. Think of all those jacked and ripped warriors in the movie 300.
The book is designed as a basic guide to lifting weights and building muscle. It is simple and to the point. As Victor explains in the book, most of the mainstream advice for lifting weights doled out in the past by bodybuilding magazines is not useful to the average person.
I strongly agree that many of these magazines have messed people up when it comes to knowing how to work out. I fell into the trap myself before. Seeing a certain bodybuilder’s 7-excercise arm plan and trying to follow it. Nonsense.
What works for many professional bodybuilders will never work for you. They are on a large amount of steroids and other drugs which enable them to workout the way that they do. They also have fantastic genetics in many cases, that you likely do not.
Since you do not take the drugs they do and do not have the genetics they do, it doesn’t make sense that you would be able to workout like they do. Endless set after endless set of high repetitions is going to leave you feeling exhausted and burned out, not strong and muscular.
The book is structured as a how-to guide for those looking for a simple but effective weightlifting program. It includes colored photographs demonstrating the main exercises that he recommends for anyone that does not know how to do them. For those that do, it is never bad to review the proper form.
Victor’s philosophy is that you should train for strength as a natural lifter while avoiding needless high repetition sets of useless exercises. Many bodybuilding programs recommend high repetition sets and discourage doing low repetitions, which actually build strength and muscle.
The goal of the program is to make you lean and strong. Victor explains that this is what you should aim for if you are lifting weights, which I agree with. This program is not for those who are looking to be super bulky bodybuilders. While it’s nice to be big and strong, being fat and strong is not ideal.
The program is based off of 8 main lifts that Victor feels are the most effective for increasing strength and gaining muscle. The 8 main lifts are deadlifts, squats, bench press, pullups / chinups, shoulder press, curls, triceps extensions and rows.
Few experienced weightlifters and bodybuilders would argue with those lifts being the most effective. The majority of them are compound movements which incorporate a large amount of muscles in your body. They may not be the pretty exercises that you see in magazines but they are extremely effective.
Aside from the 8 main lifts, there are variations of those lifts used in the program called supplemental exercises. These consist of the typical bodybuilding exercises. For example, chest flies for chest or dumbbell rows for back. The book provides a breakdown of the best supplemental exercises for each body part.
The book explains that these lifts are the most effective for gaining strength while hitting the most muscle groups. This program will not keep you in the gym for hours and hours. The book recommends working out for 30 minutes to one hour and discourages long workouts. By utilizing these lifts, you will find that there is no need to stay in the gym all day banging out set after set. As long as you do these lifts correctly with intensity, it will be more than enough to build strength and muscle.
The Body Of A Spartan program will you have doing the main exercises or variations of them 1-3 times a week and hitting each muscle group 1-3 times a week. For those worried about recovery, Victor says that you will not experience issues with recovery like you have in the past because you are not destroying your muscles like you did with hundreds of repetitions. I can tell you from experience that this is true.
As far as workout frequency, the book recommends a minimum of 4 workouts per week but strongly recommends 6. For those who are only able to make it to the gym 3 days a week however, there is a 3-day beginner program outlined in the book so don’t be discouraged. If, you’re going less than 3 days a week than I don’t know what to tell you. Go more. One or two times a week at the gym isn’t going to do very much for you.
The basic outline for the program is that you pick 1-3 main exercises along with 1-4 supplemental exercises for each workout. The main exercises are always done first and as heavy as possible. The supplemental exercises are done second while focusing more on form.
There are two types of repetition structures used for the main lifts in the program. Singles (1 repetition ) or sets of 5 repetitions. Both structures are used within the program, often on the same day. It is not one or the other.
This is the basic structure of the program. There is a little more to it which I will leave for those who purchase it. I don’t want to give it all away. Victor explains it far better than I can. Within the book, the programs are all listed and he explains which exercises to do on which day. There will be no confusion.
Following the main lifts, the supplemental lifts are done in higher repetitions in the standard 8-12 range. The program explains and provides the supplemental exercises but it does not tell you which ones to do every day. That part is left up to you.
What I like about the program
- Simplicity– Overall, I like this program a lot. It is very to the point and there is no fluff. Whether you are a new or experienced lifter, you can begin this tomorrow and likely experience great results. It is a very simply designed program. Many programs out there are very confusing and require a master’s degree in mathematics to calculate the amounts you need to lift on any given day. You will be able to read this and begin following it immediately.
- Flexible– While this is a structured program, it is far less restrictive than others I have tried. It does provide you with a workout to follow however, it provides you with the simple foundation of choosing 1-3 main exercises and 1-4 supplemental exercises. While I would suggest following it in the order Victor lays out, you can likely just follow the basic foundation and have success. I also like that the program allows you to choose which supplemental exercises to do. It explains that not everyone has the same weaknesses so only you will know which ones your body needs.
- Effective– After over 15 years of lifting weights and making many mistakes, I can tell you that the way this program suggests is the correct way to lift weights. I wasted so many years doing high repetition exercises burning myself out. Once I started to focus on compound movements done with lower repetition, my strength and size has gone through the roof. On top of that, your body will feel far better. I always had some nagging injury from doing too many sets of useless exercises.
- Time efficient– I really like that this program is designed to get you in and out of the gym. The biggest reason people give for not working out is not having enough time. This program eliminates that excuse. It also helps those of us with busy schedules make sure that we are able to get our workout in most days.
What I do not like about the program
- Exercise selection– There is a large focus in this program on barbell squats and deadlifts. The program suggests doing these lifts several times a week. I am solely speaking from my own experience on this but these two lifts have caused a lot of issues for me in the past. Squats and deadlifts are revered in bodybuilding and powerlifting for helping with strength and size. I have almost never been injured (seriously) while lifting however, the major injuries that I have had almost always occurred during squats or deadlifts. I have a hunch that it’s my body structure but these lifts never seemed to work well with my body. People get angry when I say this but not every type of lift is right for everyone. All I’m saying that is if you also experience issues with these lifts, you will likely have to make some substitutions in this program.
- Recommended diet- Victor is big on eating a limited number of meals per day. Last I knew, he was only eating one time per day. The book recommends eating only two times per day. Not a big deal and may be helpful for some trying to lose weight but I haven’t found this to work for me. I have tried intermittent fasting in the past and have made another attempt at it very recently without much success. I have found that I simply cannot go long periods without eating without noticing a substantial decrease in my energy. This is particularly true when I am lifting heavy weights frequently as the program suggests.
The current price of the book is $19.99. Along with Body Of A Spartan, you get free e-book also written by Victor called “No-chest-itis”, which will be helpful for lose looking to grow big powerful chests.
For both books, I think that it’s priced very fairly and is a great value. I have paid far more in the future for programs that I did not think were designed nearly as well.
I like Body Of A Spartan a lot and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to increase their strength and size while staying lean. This is why I advertise it on my website. I truly believe in it.
I really got a lot out of this book. Victor provided some really good information that I think anyone interested in bodybuilding will benefit from.
This book will have some value for everyone and great value for many. It will help you get away from the standard bodybuilding workouts that wear you out while providing few actual results. This program is designed for people who want to be muscular and strong while also being athletic.
This book does not claim that this program will be easy at any point. It is for those who want to work hard and train with intensity. If you are frequent visitor on this blog, I’m fairly confident that you are in that category.
I would be interested to hear you thoughts on this type of program and whether you have tried it below. Do you tend to focus on strength or bodybuilding when you workout? What kind of results have you experienced from either?