Greg O’Gallagher is either a fitness inspiration or the most punchable person on the internet it seems to depend on who you ask.
His eye catching YouTube videos have taken the internet by storm, and have led to endless parodies and general mocking. But this is the internet, just because you’ve attracted trolls does not mean that you are wrong.
According to Greg, he became inspired to become a fitness star after the death of his father.
He had his first YouTube channel at the tender age of just 13 years old. So far, nothing stands out. This could be the story behind any of the thousands of instagram, YouTube, or Facebook fitness celebrities and influencers that are out there.
Where Greg O’Gallagher does stand out though, is in his lifestyle philosophy. It’s not just about creating the perfect physique (though this is a huge part of it), it’s about living life the “right” way, based on Greg’s idea of perfection. This will become immediately apparent when you view one of his videos .
Step one, wake up inside your huge mansion in Canada next to a beautiful woman. Take a shower and avoid food for eight hours.
Greg claims that this increases fat mobilisation, mental alertness, and improves health.
This is not really true, at best it’s an exaggeration, at worst it is a lie. Then you need to go to your fridge and drink sparkling water (Greg has 14 bottles of Pellegrino in his fridge), and then drink black coffee.
He claims that black coffee is a very powerful appetite suppressant, but he may have confused this with decaffeinated coffee (which stimulates Peptide YY and reduces hunger) .
The video then seems to imply (accidentally?) that Greg discovered intermittent fasting – which he absolutely did not!
Next you are supposed to climb into your supercar (rented) and drive to the gym, Greg says that he only trains three times per week. He claims that this will lead to greater recovery and is the fastest route to muscle gain.
Well this is definitely not true, you would get more out of four sessions per week then you would out of three, all things being equal.
When in the gym he keeps things simple, using mostly compound movements. He believes in lifting the heaviest weights first, and then reducing the weight and increasing the reps for two sets.
He doesn’t mention anything about practice sets or warming up. Surely he can’t be walking into a gym and then immediately lifting the heaviest weight possible?
Okay so joking aside there isn’t much that we can take away from this video. Basically the guy thinks he’s batman and promotes a lifestyle that most people could not dream of.
There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s what fuels Instagram. What matters is whether the programs that Greg sells are worth your money, will Kinobody get you shredded? Let’s take a look. [toc]
Starting Your Journey
The first thing that you do before purchasing a program is to fill in a quick questionnaire, this establishes where you are currently at and where you want to go.
This is a common way for most fitness professionals to assess their clients, obviously a personal trainer would be able to go into more detail, as would an online coach. But for a mass marketed program like this it’s a nice touch that often gets overlooked.
There are programs for women called the Goddess program, which is a fat burning program, and there is the Kinobooty program that is designed to build you a slim waist and perfect glutes.
They both mention toning, and it is hard to see how they could really be that different from each other. Both are aimed at creating a lean body, so how do they differ?
Men get slightly more choice, but that’s probably due to the fact that Greg’s programs are definitely going to attract more men than women.
Not many women are going to be quite as excited by female models wearing just a shirt and rented super cars.
Firstly there are fat burning programs (Aggressive Fat Loss, Warrior Shedding, and Bodyweight Mastery), and then there are muscle building programs (Greek god, and Superhero bulking).
Most of the programs are 12 weeks long, which is a decent amount of time to train for if you want results.
Obviously it isn’t enough time to change you from morbidly obese to Greek god, but you should see small changes in your body fat levels and muscle mass in that time.
If you fail to lose the recommended amount of weight (around 15lbs) then you are expected to repeat the program again. Which is fair enough, most personal trainers would advise that.
Kinobody – The Programs
When you’re on the program you are expected to train in the gym three times per week, this is a great idea for beginners but more experienced lifters could easily manage four or even five times per week.
On the days when you’re not training you aren’t expected to just lie around. You need to participate in something called active recovery. This can be as simple as increasing your step count, doing some housework, or climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator at work.
This is a great idea and is based on the principles of Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT).
Studies have found that people who increase their step count (i.e. walk more) lose more weight, and maintain that weight loss for longer than people following traditional diet and exercise techniques .
So far you’ve got three weight sessions and four active recovery sessions per week, if you are coming from a sedentary lifestyle you should see some great results over the 12 weeks.
Kinobody – The Diet
Greg is a big believer in intermittent fasting, a dieting tool that became very popular a few years ago, before falling out of fashion in recent times.
It definitely works, a study in 2012 on obese women found that intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction was an effective way to lower body fat .
The problem is that any diet that uses calorie restriction will lead to weight loss, and intermittent fasting is one of the more difficult diets to follow.
Thinking that intermittent fasting is more effective than simple calorie restriction completely misunderstands energy balance and how it can lead to weight loss or weight gain.
Basically, we all have an energy balance, the sum of all the calories that we consume and all the calories we expend during a day. You can have a positive energy balance, a neutral energy balance or a negative energy balance.
A positive energy balance is where you consume more calories than you expend, this will lead to weight gain.
If you are looking to build muscle then you will probably need a positive energy balance (there are some exceptions to this), but mostly positive energy balances are not desirable.
A neutral energy balance is one where the amount of calories burned is equal to the amount of calories expended. If you stayed in a neutral energy balance for 5 years you would end up the same weight as you were at the start.
Neutral energy balances are perfect for anyone who has reached their ideal weight, and wants to maintain it.
A negative energy balance is where you burn more calories than you consume, in this scenario you create an energy deficit. Your body needs to find extra energy to keep you moving and alive, so it uses stored energy (body fat).
Negative energy balance is the goal for any weight loss diet, and is the only cause of fat burning. You can create this deficit by reducing calories (calorie restriction), increasing energy expenditure (exercise or NEAT), or a combination of both.
If you are intermittent fasting and you end up consuming less calories than you expended in a day you will lose weight.
Not because of better fat mobilisation (as Greg claims) but because you are in a negative energy balance.
If you are intermittent fasting but eating more than usual (because you’re bloody starving) then you will gain weight.
Some people will really suit intermittent fasting, and these people will do amazingly on this program. But the majority of people do not suit intermittent fasting, because it is quite an extreme form of dieting.
Remember that food is often a big social thing. Hanging out with family is more difficult if you can’t eat for 8 hours every day, so is going out for breakfast/brunch/lunch with friends.
It’s also not a great idea to train after fasting for so long. There’s little to no protein in your system to fuel muscle protein synthesis.
Studies have shown that fasted cardio is less effective than regular cardio for fat loss as it is harder to train at a high intensity.
A 2009 study by Kumar et al found that if you train fasted then you need to have a protein/carb meal immediately afterwards to stimulate protein synthesis . How can you do that if you are fasting for another 3-5 hours?
Will Kinobody get you shredded?
Short answer yes. If you follow kinobody religiously and for the full 12 weeks you should see some decent results. If you then repeat it again and again until you have hit your target you will be completely shredded.
There is nothing wrong with this program. That being said, it’s not perfect. The training program is fine, but the diet is problematic. When are people going to understand that the best diet is a calorie controlled one that fits your lifestyle?
You don’t need to go ketogenic, or paleo, or follow intermittent fasting. You can just eat smaller portions of your main meals, reduce your snacking, and increase protein. That’s it.
You don’t have to avoid food for hours on end, nor do you have to avoid gluten or dairy, or only eat foods that a caveman would eat. Just track calories and be consistent.
Any program that uses calorie controlled diets and regular exercise will give you good results, and Kinobody definitely hits both of those targets.
Greg seems to be an engaging guy and is very active on the forums, and on social media. He’s obviously not going to be as effective as an online coach or personal trainer, because his programs are designed to be copied by thousands of people. But for most of us that’s all we need.
Kinobody is not the greatest training program in the world, nor does it use the best diet. It is not specific enough to help athletes, bodybuilders, or anyone who requires specific advice. But as a workout program it’s absolutely fine.
You can get good results from it, and many people have.
If you are considering purchasing it and you like his style then absolutely go for it. He hasn’t re-invented the wheel here, but there are definitely some nice touches.
That being said, here is a free workout and nutrition program that will also work. It will also cost you nothing.
Weight train 3-5 times per week (compound lifts 3 sets of 8-12 reps with 60 seconds rest). Walk 10,000 steps on days when you’re not in the gym.
Find out how many calories you are burning per day (use a calorie calculator online), and eat less than that. Keep protein high. Be consistent.
See! How simple was that? These are the building blocks that every training program is made out of.