Sundays are and always will be a rest day for me. We are talking sleep, recovery and a lot of football. But recently, something has changed. Don’t get me wrong, I am still very much resting, but nowadays I stare at the ceiling and run down my next week of training and the crew over at Brute Strength bears 100% of the blame.

You see, approximately two months ago I started what they affectionately refer to as the “Brute Body Program” and have been completely hooked ever since. This program is one of 5 programs currently offered by the staff of 18 over at Brute Strength HQ and aims to give the functional fitness crowd the body they have always wanted.

It may come as a surprise that some people start training in a crossfit gym or begin a path of functional fitness only to experience amazing results in terms of aerobic capacity, weight loss and physical appearance but they are not completely satisfied with the way they look. Take me for example, over the past year I had lost nearly 40 pounds, met many of my fitness goals and completely transformed the way that I looked. But to me, that just wasn’t enough to keep me interested.

I wanted a routine that blended the benefit of functional fitness with the fun and results of the old muscle beach routine and in my searching I came across the Brute Body program. According to authors of this program, this routine was designed for those who:

  • Are in pretty good shape, but have the desire to get bigger, stronger and leaner

  • Know the importance of mobility and body functionality and would like to improve upon their own

  • Appreciate being held accountable by a coach and team

  • No longer wish to waste time hopping from program to program

  • Enjoy training, but may have hit a plateau

  • Would like education and guidance from expert coaches

  • Are knowledgeable about training, but don't have the desire or time to create a program

This is not an infomercial and I would never pretend to tell someone which program is perfect for them, but in all seriousness if any of the above bullets resonate with you then this program aims to get and keep you interested. And while I definitely agree with the above, I might add the following just as a heads up or things that would be good to know. You should:

  • Have access to an open gym/functional training equipment including olympic weightlifting, squat racks, bench press, dumbbells, plyo bands, etc. I say this only because some crossfit/functional training gyms are pretty sensitive to people using their equipment without using their coaching or programming.

  • Feel confident/comfortable getting one rep maxes or at least getting close. The program revolves around percentages and so establishing something close to a one rep max is really important. The Brute crew is careful to tell you not to over exert yourself or go for something unsafe but I think it’s hard to measure progress and really get the benefit if you can’t at least estimate a true 1RM.

  • Have some kind of background in crossfit/gymnastics movements. Again, this isn’t any kind of a prerequisite but I feel to get the biggest benefit from the platform, you should be able to keep up with the movements they ask for. Everything is scalable based on ability but a solid base will make sure every workout is challenging and fun.

  • Be curious and eager to learn. Regardless of your background and knowledge a lot of this stuff will be new and will push you to learn but the Brute team has generated a ton of helpful content that is there for those who use it. I really invested time reading articles, watching youtube videos and asking questions because I really wanted to learn.

  • Be ready to work hard and diet harder. This is not an easy program, but seeing progress and really feeling results is amazingly inspiring. The training load is hard and the nutrition is definitely demanding but I promise if you do what is required of you, you will make progress.

This program is expertly written by the Brute team and is broken down simply into two components: training and diet. Next week, I will delve into the diet side of things but for now, let’s talk about the meat of the program.

Interested in trying the Brute Body program? Use the code BruteInRhone for 50% off your first month of the Brute Body program. 

Each week is broken down into six consecutive days of training which look like this:

  • Day 1 - Upper body strength day

  • Day 2 - Lower body strength day

  • Day 3 - Core and cardio day

  • Day 4 - Upper body muscular endurance day

  • Day 5 - Dynamic lower body day + interval weight training

  • Day 6 - Core and cardio day

You may think I am giving away too much but laying out what a week of training looks like, but the secret sauce comes from each day’s specific programming. The lifts, sets, reps and percentages are finely tuned like a german car with each component working perfectly together to build explosivity, strength and muscle. Big, complex lifts are easily blended with classic power moves and precise bodybuilding strategies to leave you done and dusted at the end of each day. For someone who enjoys moving weights, this was an ideal program.

They rightly point out at the outset that Olympic lifting takes a backseat in this program (There is a separate Olympic lifting program by Brute, see here) but it mainly used to activate the central nervous system at the beginning of a few of the workouts. So expect some light snatches, cleans and even jerk presses from various starting positions but all at light weights.

But a word of caution: this is no walk on muscle beach. The Brute squad has been around long enough to know that building an engine is equally as important as the paint and body work. Having coached some of the fittest competitors in the games, the Brute coaches stake their reputation on building aerobic capacity.

Monday and Tuesday finish with some lung burning Metcons, Wednesday and Saturday are cardio days with elevated heart rates and the Friday interval weight training just might kill you. This program will really stretch you but like the weight lifting portion, it is all intelligently written and well thought out.

While this may look like a heavy load of training, and there is no doubt that it can feel that way, the program is really well written so that you get enough rest and recovery. Going back to a maxim of my good friend Rob MacDonald, “There is no such thing as overtraining, just insufficient recovery.” The core and cardio days are work in the truest form, but also serve as excellent recovery sessions that keep your legs from getting heavy while destroying your core.

You may be wondering how exactly a remote program can promise access to expert coaches and to be honest, I wondered the same thing. As I mentioned, each workout, warm-up and exercise is laid out in detail via video that is easily accessible through the Brute dashboard. Generally, 1-2 of the Brute coaches will demonstrate the movement, talk about any sticking points, review the rep scheme and point out things to watch out for.

In addition the entire Brute staff is incredibly helpful and quick about responding to questions, concerns or anything that may be on your mind. Within minutes of sending a few e-mails, I had responses and concrete answers. I only had uplifting and positive experiences with them which I find to be a refreshing rarity and definitely something worth pointing out.

You are also immediately ingrained into the Brute community which is tremendously positive and supportive. This Facebook page regularly gets entries from around the community asking for tips on form or questions about the training, which always get answered without any of the bravado or arrogance of a typical community forum. I found this to be really positive as I shared some of the questions people were asking or had some of the same issues with form as the videos being posted.

All in all, this program was great for me. I am not about to post before and after pictures but believe me when I say that I made serious progress. Across the board, I am much stronger and more importantly much more sound when it comes to complex lifts. In addition, my aerobic capacity has increased and I have managed to set personal bests in several cardio measures. But what’s more, I look and feel better now than I have at any point in my life. The training is remarkably fun and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

Interested in trying the Brute Body program? Use the code BruteInRhone for 50% off your first month of the Brute Body program. 

Disclaimer: The good folks over at Brute Strength allowed me to try the program for free for 2 months so that I could write this post. 

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