Book Review: German Body Comp Program

Charles Poliquin is a world famous strength coach whose résumé includes many Olympic athletes from around the world.  He has also published several books on strength training.  In his book “German Body Comp Program”, Poliquin outlines his methods for using strength training for fat loss.  This book is not really a book about sports performance.  It’s great, however, as a versatile and effective program for weight loss.

Now, let’s talk some more about the book.  Then, we’ll dig a little deeper into the program itself.

This is a very well written and easy to understand book.  You can benefit from reading German Body Comp whether you are a novice exerciser or seasoned fitness professional.  I like that Poliquin includes several sample programs, meal plans to accompany your training, and exercise tutorial pages to explain each exercise he recommends.  By doing so, this short book is able to function as a stand-alone manual for training with this method.  No additional resources are necessary to follow the program.  As an athlete, German Body Comp is still great, because you can use the information to lose weight with-out losing muscle.

There are some things about this book, however, that I don’t like.  Poliquin recommends a TON of supplements while discussing nutrition.  Personally, I don’t advocate extensive supplementation unless it’s truly necessary.  That may be a personal preference issue.

Poliquin explains that strength training can be an effective means for changing your body composition.  This is absolutely true.  Often, building muscle is the most effective way to lose fat, and many training programs are incomplete without weight training.  Cardio on a treadmill or elyptical machine is not enough really change your body.  However, it’s important not to ignore the various benefits of aerobic training.  Let’s not think in absolutes; something Charles Poliquin seems to do.

So, does the program work?  Should I buy the book?  Let’s cut to the chase.

Simply put, building muscle can help you lose fat.  Despite the claim on this book’s front cover that German Body Comp is the world’s “only program that uses weight training for fat loss”, you will lose fat and build muscle following many strength training systems.  So, what’s so special about German Body Comp?  Poliquin manipulates sets, reps, and rest periods to optimize growth hormone production.  More growth hormone = more fat burning.

I’ve used the German Body Comp Program with many clients.  You can build muscle, lose fat, and develop a leaner physique.  The workouts are short, simple, and effective.  You’ll train with fairly heavy weights (generally 8-12 reps per set), take short rest periods, and use slow controlled tempos.  All the while, you’ll affect your lactic acid and growth hormone responses, and increase your body’s ability to burn fat while you build muscle.

***The book itself is a great manual for following the German Body Comp Program.  If you want to build muscle and lose fat, buy it.  It’s short, well-written, and will be effective for a lot of people.  It’t just not a book about pure sports performance.

Shameless Self Promotion:  We can always use German Body Comp (or any other program) as the jumping off point for your Online Personal Training 🙂