Sam Johnson | A Model's Workout

April 12, 2011

Yesterday I met with my friend Sam Johnson at Equinox in the Meatpacking district for a workout session.
Sam is an actor, a poet but most of all a model for a highly regarded agency in NYC (and, of course, he’s also represented in London, Paris and Milan).
Needless to say it, he always needs to be in perfect shape for his job.

But Sam is a very healthy person and to him training and exercising just represent a way to keep a good balance in his life and, also, improve the quality of it both physically and mentally.
Truth to be told, Sam is an athlete and loves sports. He played (and still plays) basketball, football, golf, volleyball, baseball and hockey just to name a few. He also like winter sports like cross country ski, snowboarding, etc...
So it’s not only about the look, there’s much more to it actually!
There’s no doubt that Sam fits perfectly the profile of the IronYou and that is why I thought it was a good idea to share with you some of his training tips.

Sam in an editorial

Sam’s workout

Sam belongs to what I call the new school of training. When he hits the gym he never does a full body workout but instead, he concentrates on a single muscles workouts.
Technically speaking Sam does isolation workouts.
His weekly working routine looks more or less as follows: Monday - Chest, Tuesday - Biceps, Wednesday - Triceps, Thursday - Shoulders and Friday - Back.
Every time he hits the gym he also does a full session of abs and some stretching at the end of each training routine.
Of course there are days when he doesn’t go the gym (mostly weekends) and he instead does some more classic cardio routines such as running, cycling or shooting hoops.
He’s also very disciplined, in the sense that he never skips a session, even when he has one those days where he would rather be lazy at home.

Sam in a recent campaign

First thing he does, at the gym, is to warm up properly the muscles he’s going to work on. In the case of biceps, he makes sure to stretch his arms and move them (does some shoulders rotation, etc.) for a good 1o minutes.
When he’s warmed up he hits the weight.
In his routine he does no more than 5/6 different exercises.
Some are pretty standards like biceps curls with dumbbells: 10 to 12 reps for each serie, for at least 3 series.
Other exercises are more one of a kind such as the one on the biceps machine.
This one goes more or less like this: he starts by putting 55lb on the machine and does 7 reps as fast as as he can, then he immediately switches to 50lb and does other 7 reps, then 45lb other 7 reps, 40lbs other 7 reps and so on until he reaches 10lb and nails 15 reps. He’s basically going for exhaustion of the muscle fibers.
This kind of exercise brings also your heart rate up and thus, becomes cardio activity.
I consider myself pretty strong but I have to say that at the end of this routine my byceps were bulging and, man, I was feeling them!
Once we were done with the biceps routine (and, I must confess, I was then barely able to lift my arms) we did a good session of abs: including planks, crunches and so on.
All this in less than an hour. Pretty efficient workout, right?
Sam does not take any supplements but he tries to have a balanced diet but nothing too strict or too crazy.

Sam in a famous campaign
Isolated workouts

Sam’s workout gives me the opportunity to elaborate a little bit more on isolated workouts.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of isolated workouts?
Let’s remind ourselves that exercise selection can virtually make or break a workout program. If you aren't choosing the correct exercises, you are going to have a hard time reaching your goals and seeing progress.
These are some of the advantages of isolated workouts.
Isolation workouts work only one muscle or muscle group and only one joint at a time. The idea is to isolate one muscle group and move from one exercise to the following one. Isolation exercises are frequently used in physical therapy clinics and rehab centers in order to correct a specific muscle weakness or imbalance that often occurs after injury, illness, surgery or certain diseases.
One of the main advantages is that isolated workout improve muscular symmetry, target a muscle at the exclusion of secondary muscles and are ideal for body sculpting.
Last but not least they are less stressful on connective tissue when compared to compound movements.
What about the disadvantages?
Often, beginners think that the more exercises they can do, the better. After all, hitting a muscle from every angle imaginable must mean you are training it in the best possible manner right? Well, this is not exactly true.
Isolated exercises are great for minor tweaking once you have already established your goals, however for those looking to make significant muscle gains or lose body fat, they are not ideal.
The following are reasons why.
Isolated exercises simply won't give you the biggest bang for your buck because they just don't target that many muscle fibers.
One of the biggest reasons people do not see results is because they are overtraining. Single body part programs are notorious for encouraging overtraining.


In the infinite world of exercising, Sam’s isolated workout achieve results because he’s already in perfect shape so he can improve on the body sculpting.
Though many people have claimed to have invented or discovered “the perfect” workout method, I believe that there are many ways of working out and I encourage you to use them all and to find the methods you enjoy and those that work the best for you.
However if you’re just a beginner or if you have time constrictions, I advise you to go for a a full body workout so you get to train almost all muscles in one session BUT once you get in good shape and want to go to the next level you should give isolation a try!



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