LL Cool J is a hip hop artist and an actor…but he’s also known for his amazingly chiseled body and now we can all benefit from his wisdom in LL Cool J’s Platinum Workout. Targeted to men, LL Cool J offers four different workout programs (as well as one for women) along with meal plans and his signature pearls of wisdom for getting in shape and getting the most out of your body. The workouts follow a linear pattern allowing you to build strength and muscle over several weeks. His no-nonsense style is entertaining and he offers straightforward information about getting in your best shape.
The Workout Programs
The workout programs are divided into four phases so you can start at the beginner level, Bronze Body, or at the more experienced levels of Silver Body, Gold Body and Platinum Body.
The first phase lasts 4 weeks and the first week involves preparing your body and environment for exercise by cleaning out the kitchen, buying healthy foods and keeping a workout journal. During this phase, you also start to eat more frequent meals and prepare your home gym or join a gym for exercise. The next 2 weeks involves 3 circuit workouts with exercises targeting the entire body (e.g., leg press, rows, chest press, etc.), changing the exercises on the 4th week. These workouts also include minimal cardio at the end.
During the 5th week, you switch to free weights and do a split routine with straight sets working the chest, arms, back and shoulders on two non-consecutive days and the legs and abs on the other days. You also do 15-20 minutes of cardio after each workout. Weeks 6-9 begins the ‘strength phase’ where you do more exercises, less reps and more sets and more free weight exercises. Some of the exercises include barbell squats, incline presses, pushups and dips.
During this phase, you shift focus to supersets and working to failure while adding more exercise days and tougher cardio workouts that have you increasing speed and/or incline. You’ll also do a cardio circuit alternating jumping rope and pushups-oh my!
For weeks 16-19, you switch gears to ‘super-muscle-building’ with 6 workout days and a lot more cardio.
This phase, as LL warns us, is not easy. This 3-week phase shakes things up and includes some tough circuit workouts. For example, during one workout you do an incline chest press, resisted incline pushups and 90 seconds of jumping rope. After you rest for a minute, you repeat that circuit before going on to the next circuit – bench presses, incline flies and a 2-minute treadmill sprint. The last circuit includes barbell curls, dumbbell curls, preacher curls and sprints, which you repeat 3 times.
The workouts also include a total body routine, a track workout that includes sprints, a lower body workout and 2 more cardio workouts.
The workouts during the Platinum Phase are by far the toughest, so you’ll want all those other weeks of exercise behind you before you try this one.
The Diamond Body
Though women can definitely do this program, he does include a program for women that starts with circuit training and then moves into a split routine. It follows the same pattern as the other phases, but with less volume than the other training programs. What’s good about this is that the workouts are just as tough and he makes the point that women need to lift weights just as much as men and, more importantly, they won’t bulk up because they don’t have the necessary hormones.
Overall, the workouts are solid and what’s nice here is that he explains the science and thought-process behind the programs so you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing…something many books don’t do. It helps to stay motivated when you have a reason for what you’re doing.
The Meal Plans and More
One thing LL Cool J emphasizes in the book is eating the right way. This probably isn’t news to most people, but he does offer nutritional information in a unique way. Rather than lecture us, he presents the material in the form of an interview with registered dietician Christopher Mohr in which they offer tips such as eating whole-grains, lean meats, more fiber and avoiding sugar. Again, nothing surprising here.
This chapter also offers charts for figuring out how many calories you need and a list of carbs, proteins and fats that are healthy and should be eaten regularly as well as those you should avoid.
Throughout the book, he offers meal plans for each phase of the program. For example, in the Bronze Phase you focus on eating healthy and fueling your body. In the Silver Phase, you decrease your calories and carbs and increase protein for fat loss. In the Gold Phase and Platinum phase, you focus on lowering calories a little more, though not so much that you don’t have energy for workouts.
He also offers sample meal plans which include 6 meals a day with a variety of foods like oatmeal, omelets, fish, wraps, salads and more.
The meal plans are like the workouts…solid information, but nothing terribly earth-shattering. His main focus is what we all know to do – eat more fruits and veggies while avoiding processed foods, trans fat and other no-nos.
The Pros and Cons
Aside from the programs and meal plans, other highlights include:
- Pictures and descriptions of all the exercises
- Detailed information about building muscle, losing fat, being flexible and staying on track
- More personal chapters that discuss his life on the road, his music, his acting and even his preferences for cologne, underwear and the all-important ‘Bling.’
- The workout programs. They’re well-thought out and he clearly consulted with experts to get them perfect. Anyone can do this program, from beginners to advanced and, if you follow it, you’ll definitely see results.
- Solid information. Throughout the book, he provides information about everything from steroids to using good form during strength training. He also includes a variety of great recipes.
- Entertaining style. LL Cool J’s personality shines through so, if you’re a fan, you’ll be entertained and educated at the same time.
- Great advice. LL Cool J makes sure readers know how much hard work goes into reshaping your body. As he puts it, “the key to this whole thing is doing what you’re supposed to do even when you don’t necessarily want to.”
The only issue I had with the book was the layout. It’s scattered and it’s tough to navigate to find different phases of the program because they aren’t together in one section. It’s a minor quibble, but it would be nice to see the informational chapters, such as the ones on building muscle/losing fat and flexibility in one section and the workout plans in another.