John Little’s résumé is prolific. Alongside Dr Doug McGuff, he is the co-author of Body By Science and author of Max Contraction Training (to name a couple) and is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on Bruce Lee, his training methods, and philosophies. John is the only person authorised to review the entirety of Lee’s personal notes, sketches, and reading annotations and to edit books on his behalf. Some of his notable works include The Warrior Within: The Philosophies of Bruce Lee and The Art of Expressing the Human Body.
Body By Science was a very pivotal book in my health and fitness journey and it was a real honour to have John on the show. He was a very humble guest and gave me a unique perspective on multiple aspects of high intensity training and health and fitness in general.
A recurring theme in this interview is the health and fitness industry and its relentless drive to leverage mass media to manufacture the desire for people to be muscular, ripped, and attractive. It does this because it wants to continue to profit, and after all, as John said in this interview, it’s hard to turn a dollar on being well hydrated and having good genetics.
“Why is our existence defined by how big someone’s arm is?” – John Little
In the pursuit of bigger muscles, it’s easy to forget the bigger picture, and that is the vast number of benefits stimulated by effective exercise. In this interview, John and I discuss this philosophical problem and the biological laws that govern it, Bruce Lee’s influence, training protocols, and the wisdom shared by body building legend, Mike Mentzer.
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Why does Bruce Lee appear to be popular among many body building advocates? [4:00]
How did Bruce Lee build his physique? [6:35]
What were the key lessons you learnt from Bruce Lee? [7:40]
The importance in changing workout protocol for consistent progress [9:30]
John’s current workout [18:45]
Wisdom from Mike Mentzer [22:30]
John’s workout with Hercules (Steve Reeves) [26:30]
How often should you change your workout protocol? [34:30]
What did Mike Mentzer say when people asked him “How do I look like you?” [40:30]
Why did Mike Mentzer let himself go as he got older? [43:00]
Does John think that there is a specific diet to optimise training results? [48:45]
Is it enough to be improving in just one exercise in a given protocol? [1:00:40]
The problems with under-eating and/or eating a low-carbohydrate diet during a workout program [1:05:22]
How did John and Dr Doug McGuff meet and start working together? [1:09:40]
How do you know if you have trained too intensely? [1:16:55]
What is the best piece of advice that John has ever received? [1:22:00]
Top 3 health and fitness tips [1:23:00]
Body by Science: A Research Based Program to Get the Results You Want in 12 Minutes a Week by Dr Doug McGuff and John R. Little
The Slow Burn at Home 30 Minute a Week Workout by Fred Hahn
Physiology of Strength by Arthur Steinhaus
Realities of Nutrition by Ronald M. Deutsch
Atlas Shrugged (Penguin Modern Classics) – Ayn Rand
High-Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way by Mike Mentzer
John Little’s Amazon Collection – includes books on Mike Mentzer, Training Protocols, Bruce Lee, and Will Durant.
Body By Science Review by Paul Ingraham
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