207 – Jim Keen – How to Lose 100 lbs, Atomic Health Habits, and ARX Training Tips

Jim Keen

Jim Keen (email – Jim [at] arxfit.com) is the Director of Fun at ARX (Facebook, Instagram). He’s been SuperSlow certified since 2013, and transitioned from a career as a trumpet player in pit orchestras for Broadway tours to a career training people in accordance with High Intensity Training principles.

As an “outsider” to the field, and having trained people with a wide variety of gravity-based tools like Nautilus, MedX, SuperSlow Systems, barbells, etc, and more modern tools, he has a unique perspective on strength training and how it can be developed into a more highly-valued and ubiquitous element of health and fitness in the twenty-first century.

In this podcast, Jim and I discuss his incredible physical transformation, his key habits for optimising health, and how to use ARX for best results, and much, much more.

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Enjoy the show!

Show Notes

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Comments 10

  • Great one, guys!

    Jim, awesome to hear from another trumpet player!

    I like the thought process on the hypertrophy v. strength with the ARX. That helps in thinking about what my long term training goals are, and it helps clarify some of the different conversations – Brad Schoenfeld’s higher volume v. the once per week or less in Body by Science, and everything in between. I love knowing, as well, that if I hit a very busy season in life, I can cut volume and frequency (I’m currently on twice per week) to once every 7 – 10 days and not lose muscle mass.

    It’s funny to be on the edges of talking about a two times per week protocol as “high volume” compared to the ARX once per week…

  • Think you made a great point about scheduling twice a week workouts Lawrence.

    For me personally if I workout more than once every five days I feel like my workout isn’t as intense as normal. AlsoI feel achy and tired the next few days. Which makes me think it’s overtraining for me but accept its likely to be highly individual variable.

    • Great point Matt!

      This reminds me of a moment at REC 2019, when Dr Doug McGuff and I were looking at hundreds of post-its stuck to the walls. They were put there by attendees to suggest round table topics. Many asked questions of “optimal” frequency, volume, exercise routine, etc, etc. Doug just pointed to each one and said “doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter”. Hahahahah

      The more I get into this, the more I believe that it probably doesn’t matter when you’re doing this stuff over a lifetime, and so it comes down to personal preference for all variables. I’m like you. Once every 5 days seems good, but lately I’ve been going once every 8-11 days, and see no change.

  • Great interview Lawrence, Jim is quite a character and I can see he would have a great stage presence at conferences.
    I was extremely interested in the sleep aspect, while it’s often mentioned, Jim covered the subject in a way that made perfect sense and has had me questioning my less than desirable habits in the evenings.
    As one gets older sleeping can become an issue, so a good night of quality sleep is worth gold in so many ways.

    • Thanks Malcolm. Glad you enjoyed it. He is a riot!

      Yes likewise, I am much more vigilant about improving sleep quality. I will typically get outside as early as possible and get those rays into the eyes and on my flesh for 10-15min. I also try not to eat later then 6pm and wear blue blockers if I’m watching a TV show or reading a lit kindle after 7pm.

  • Great podcast gents! Jim seems genuine, humble, polite, and wise beyond his years. Many great takeaways from this talk

  • I remain very curious about ARX. I thought I might get a chance to try it last year, but the two local training studios that were going to offer ARX failed to launch. Maybe some day this will come to my town…

    The story about getting stronger, but adding no muscle with infrequent training is intriguing. It makes me wonder if something unusual is happening in a physiological sense. Perhaps the use of very brief, very high intensity contractions, coupled with very long periods of rest, is good for inducing a shift in fast twitch fibers from type IIa (fast oxidative) to type IIX (fast glycolic)? Whether or not such a shift is desirable might well depend on the kind of activities you hope to perform. I also wonder if strength acquired without an accompanying increase in muscle size ends up being more specific to the movement being trained? Perhaps this is good subject for the academic guys to comment on.

    The comments about sleep were also interesting. This is something I’ve been trying to work on lately. Always been a night owl, which might not be ideal for health.

    On the general subject of motorized exercise resistance: have you ever heard anything about a line of machines by eGym. This is a German company that seems to selling conventional looking strength machines that utilize some kind of motor driven resistance, instead of weight plates. But based on the videos I’ve found on line, the subjects don’t seem to be struggling that much against the resistance (which is usually not the case with ARX videos). So I’m not sure if it they are doing something similar to ARX.

    • Not sure how the strength acquired has much to do with the movement. why would you think this? Which movements specifically do you think may be less effective, if that’s what you mean?

      I have not heard of eGym. Based on your brief commentary, it doesn’t sound like they are inspired by high intensity training. There are a number of motorised resistance machines coming to market though and will be interested to see how the landscape evolves over time. It seems that there is room in the market for different machines and various price points.

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