214 – John Little – The Time Saver’s Workout Part 1

John Little
John Little
John Little (Linkedin) is considered “one of the top fitness researchers in North America” (Ironman magazine). An accomplished author in the field of exercise (Max Contraction Training, Body By Science, The Art of Expressing the Human Body), philosophy, history and martial arts, John’s articles have been published in every major fitness and martial arts magazine in North America. He’s produced over 40 publications.

Throughout his career, John has worked alongside the biggest names in the industry, from the Estate of Bruce Lee, to bodybuilding icons such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mike Mentzer, Steve Reeves and Lou Ferrigno to action stars such as Jackie Chan. John is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker, having produced and directed films for both independent companies and major studios such as Warner Bros.

John and his wife Terri opened Nautilus North Strength & Fitness Centre in 2004, where they continue to conduct studies on exercise and share the data with their personal training clients. Nautilus North has supervised in excess of 80,000 one-on-one workout sessions.

Check out John Little’s NEW book, The Time-Saver’s Workout: A Revolutionary New Fitness Plan that Dispels Myths and Optimizes Results

In this podcast, we discuss objectivist philosophy, his new book (The Time-Saver’s Workout), training over the long term, and much, much more

Listen to my other podcasts with John here:

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Enjoy the show!

This episode is brought to you by ARXFit.com, ARX are the most innovative, efficient and effective all-in-one exercise machines I have ever seen. I was really impressed with my ARX workout. The intensity and adaptive resistance were unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I love how the machine enables you to increase the negative load to fatigue target muscles more quickly and I love how the workouts are effortlessly quantified. The software tracks maximum force output, rate of work, total amount of work done and more in front of you on-screen, allowing you to compete with your pervious performance, to give you and your clients real-time motivation.

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Show Notes

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Selected Links from the Episode

People Mentioned

Comments 13

  • Great episode. I particularly enjoyed the message that essentially said “get your gains, then get on with real life”.

    Just one counter to John. I read a good article in New Scientist earlier this year by Herman Potzner about human activity needs https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/humans-evolved-to-exercise/?redirect=1 it’s behind a paywall but there are lots of discussions about it via google eg: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2019/02/why-humans-unlike-the-great-apes-must-be-active-to-be-healthy-2.html (I’d also recommend further reading on his work on constrained energy expenditure re his studies with the Hadza hunter gatherer society).


  • I really enjoyed JL’s last podcast, but when I saw the ad for this one and that objectivism would be covered, I was expecting him to be a “team member” like many other prominent HIT proponents/gurus (I don’t mind Ayn Rand, but the huge collective HIT trainers/ees support always seemed a bit strange). I was pleasantly surprised by what he had to say…

  • It strikes me that physical activity was talked about in a rather negative light, as a detriment to health and structure. I think it should be understood, however, that load is important for healthy joints, and structure in general. Being too careful with physical activity, or being afraid of being injured all the time, can be a worse problem and borders on “fear avoidance behavior” that can be very detrimental to physical and psychological health.

  • I finally got around to listening to the podcast, which was interesting and entertaining.

    I think he may be overly cautious with respect to his concerns about wear and tear. Joints are not passive mechanical structures which only experience wear. They are living biological structures which can adapt to some extent. You obviously need to avoid exceeding your joints’ abilities to recover from stress. But too little stress might also be a problem.

    Perhaps too much of the thinking around HIT is focused on or driven by hypertrophy considerations? That certainly seemed to be John’s primary criteria when judging recovery and workout frequency. I will agree that for getting close to your genetic muscular potential, using a fairly intense, infrequent, and abbreviated training routine may be good enough. But is muscle size all that one needs to worry about in terms of health? We are not lions, built for power and short bursts of speed to bring down game. As per the articles linked above, it appears that we carry a lot of evolutionary baggage that developed to support a fairly high volume of low to moderate intensity physical activity on a daily basis, consistent with being a species that walked a lot while foraging and hunting. Can a once per week 20 minute strength training session serve as an effective replacement all that activity? It is a question worth pondering.

  • Excellent show ! I’ll be looking forward to part two .

  • Another great show with the man himself John Little ! John is very wise and always imparts much knowledge .

  • Max Pyramid and One and Done are awesome. I don’t know how much less wear and tear and time efficient it get’s than this. Very motivational indeed. Truly adjunct to life/life enhancing. The emphasis of critical thinking and not accepting things blindly very motivating.

  • Being someone that has long been fascinated with the stimulus aspect of all this, It doesn’t get much more streamlined, low wear and tear than Max Pyramid and Done In One.

  • John mentioned something about gluconeogenesis kicking in when doing a HIT session because the glycogen stores get depleted. I think he is in error. There are very few calories we expend in a HIT session (ie, moving 400# over 2 feet out and then 2 feet back in a leg press is about 1600 ft-lbf. If we do 6 reps, that’s about 10,000 ft-lbf, which is about 3 kcal of energy). A typical 20 min slow walk is about 100 kcal of energy. And there are about 1200 kcal of energy (400 in the liver alone and 800 in the muscle) stored as glycogen in our bodies. So 3 kcal of glycogen is minuscule, and hardly enough to go through the glycogen and way too little to engage gluconeogenesis. If you don’t take in calories for 24-48 hours, you probably will begin to get glucose, but not from a single HIT session. The science is indisputable here, it seems.

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