All Gain, No Pain Book Review

For those of you who don’t know, my colleague, mentor, friend, and Daddy-O Pops Bill Hartman is about to release his upcoming book All Gain, No Pain.

Though the book is targeted to those over 40 who are getting back into fitness either post-rehab or in pain, it includes an incredible amount of valuable content for just about anyone.

If you want a lesson in physiology, breathing, variability, and stress, this book has it.

If you want an excellent plan to get jacked, a plan that got me (not over 40 and not in pain) under 10% body fat for the first time in my life, this book has it.

If you want tips, strategies, and rituals that’ll help you live a better life, this book has it. In spades in fact.

Though I’m biased (I wrote the foreword and edited the book), it is one of the most comprehensive self-betterment books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

I want to extend that pleasure to you.

The book releases this Monday, 9/25/17, on

But what if I told you if you act now you could snag a free copy?

Yes, I said free!!!



It might be the best free thing you ever get.

If you want a free copy of this absolutely outstanding book, click the link below to be directed to Bill’s website. Sign up, and you’ll get your free copy when this great read releases.




If my stamp of approval doesn’t sell you on getting this book, then perhaps a classic book notes will.

Read on below to catch a glimpse of some of my favorite highlights.

Myth Busters

All Gain, No Pain brings an eloquent end to many myths surrounding stress, patterns, breathing, pain, and methods of achieving better health via a delicate balance between dropping huge knowledge bombs with understandable prose.

The most impactful for me was Bill dispelling the “more is better” approach. More muscle, more intensity, more volume. These have to be good to get to where we want to be right?

While “getting after it” can be impactful in the short term, this approach has long term consequences. Bill gives a prime example of that…himself.

For those who don’t know, Bill was quite the bodybuilder and powerlifter back in the day. What Bill was not was the recoverer, and unfortunately his body and health had to pay a price.

Yet if you see Bill now, the transformation he has undergone is otherworldly. A transformation that was done prudently, and efficiently.

I have good genetics

He worked smarter, not harder.

Bill doesn’t rest on his transformation alone. He sprinkles tons of science throughout this first part as to why working smarter, not harder, is an effective strategy towards reaching your goals.

This piece is something I’ve had to come to grips with during my own transformation. When I was at the last little bit of fat loss I wanted to undergo, I was eating very little and exercising a great deal just to get those last few percentage points down.

I now realize, especially reflecting back on those days I didn’t feel so hot, that this approach was quite deleterious. I now try to see a bit more balanced approach towards my fitness, and appreciate how impactful recovery days can be.

Some of my favorite chapters are in this first section. Bill cleverly intertwines the intimate relationship between stress, movement, breathing, and pain.

It’s a nerd’s dream come true.

The human body doesn’t differentiate stressors. A common physiological response occurs regardless of if we are being chased by a bear or missing a deadline at work.

Our movement is a component of this stress response; and when we are stressed, we have a tendency to extend.

Extension is efficient because it reduces our movement options. When movement options are reduced, pressure and tension are more likely to be produced in particular areas. Bill in the book provides an excellent sitting in a chair analogy to describe this concept.

Pressure and tension indeed

This position increases oxygen uptake, which can consequently push our blood chemistry towards alkalosis. Respiratory alkalosis makes us much more sensitive to pain, stress, anxiety, and many other things. Fortunately in later chapters Bill provides strategies to mitigate and manage this normal stress response.

One of my favorite parts of the book is when Bill destroys stretching. While many of us may commonly think that if we have tight muscles we probably ought to stretch them.

Yet we never think to ask why those muscles are tight?

Bill’s answer: if the brain decides muscles need to have increased tension, they will stay toned up regardless of stretching.

The effort it takes to physically lengthen a muscle is Herculean, ineffective, and ignores the tonal aspects of muscle tension.

Instead, strategies ought be performed that alter the brain’s drive to reduce the need for tension in particular muscles, which can occur by many of the exercises offered in Bill’s appendices.

No Pain Principles

Not only does Bill give you the why, but throughout the book he provides the how.

The No Pain Principles are one component of Bill’s strategic plan.

These principles are effective measures to help get out of pain, restore movement variability, and build an excellent foundation to pursue aggressive fitness.

This section starts with taking inventory of many key areas of health—movement, sleep, nutrition, stress, etc—and implementing a plan based on those results.

The tests Bill has you do allow for your program to become individualized to an incredibly high degree. The more the program is tailored to your specific needs, the more likely success can be reached.

Aside from an excellent, yet simple to implement, nutrition chapter from my boi Mike Roussell, my favorite section has to be the stress management chapter. Very often people are told that they need to reduce stress, but never get the how.

Bill provides that how.

His steps include perfecting your sleep, meditating,  and establishing rituals. The latter has been the biggest stress reducer for me. Rituals reduce decision fatigue, which both have a favorable impact on stress and make your day more efficient.

The All Gain Principles

This section focuses on principles that help combat the negative effects of aging, including how to progress intensity, build muscle mass, and design an exercise program.

One of the biggest lessons from this section is making incremental changes. Many times when we want to favorably alter our lifestyle, we try and change everything all at once. This strategy is typically a disaster, as habit formation is cognitively demanding.

Making small, measurable changes to our lifestyle is a better long-term process. Reducing cognitive resource use will ultimately will make you more successful.

Another great section, worth the price of admission on it’s own, is the exercise modification section. Many of us folks who are in pain or have movement limitations can often not achieve joint positions in certain exercises.

Instead of forcing a square peg into a round hole, Bill masterfully gives strategies and alternative exercises that are still effective at producing a training effect, while respect potential movement limitations that we may possess.

The Extras

This section has the meat and potatoes. Here you will get the program, the exercises, and all the details you need to successfully rebuild your body.

Bill has come up with a ton of great mobility and strength exercises that I’ve been implementing with my clients with great success. And his coaching cues have been game changing!

My favorite exercise that I’ve been doing personally is the walking bear. I’ve been making it a bit more dynamic, but it’s been amazing in terms of loosening up my shoulders.

Sum Up

Overall, I think this book is incredibly comprehensive and can benefit anyone of all shapes and sizes, and of all movement goals.

To summarize:

  • Stress, movement, breathing, and pain are intimately linked
  • Work smarter, not harder
  • Rebuilding your health involves movement, nutrition, stress management, and sleep
  • The No Pain Principles teach effective stress management
  • The All Gain Principles teach safe stress production

Again, you can get this book FOR FREE on the preorder by signing up at Bill’s website.

What principles do you live by to help people in pain rebuild their body? Comment below and let us know.

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