The Alpha Male Challenge by James Villepigue, CSCS and Rick Collins, JD, CSCS
Review By Will Brink and Elissa Lowe
If you’d rather not plow through a long review, we’ll give you the short version up front: if you’re a man, the Alpha Male Challenge is a must-read… whether you’re a couch potato who hasn’t exercised in years or the proud owner of a six-pack.
It’s also worth a read if you’re a woman: there’s useful info here for both sexes. And – let’s face it – you’re in a position to inspire and encourage the men in your life: husbands, boyfriends, family, friends and colleagues alike.
Yes, the Alpha Male Challenge is that good – and as professional fitness writers, we’ve seen what the market has to offer. It’s rare to find a book as comprehensive as this one is.
What’s so great about it? Alpha Male Challenge is nothing less than a roadmap for achieving physical AND mental/emotional excellence in a modern world. It’s “the ultimate man-ual for guys” who want to boost their confidence, courage and resilience, along with their health and fitness.
Needless to state, it’s sorely needed. It’s no secret that American men are at a crossroads. As “Challenge” authors James Villepigue and Rick Collins observe:
“Although American life is more ‘comfortable” than it was in generations past, many men are fatter, sicker, more stressed, and less rested than ever before.”
Too true! Studies show that testosterone levels are plummeting, and – as a group – men are losing their manliness and becoming androgynous, flabby and weak. But – despite the approval of the New York Times – it’s NOT “Hip to be Round.” “Beta” isn’t better…for our men, or the women who love them.
The 10-week program outlined by Villepigue and Collins melds the masculine ideal of the past with the realities of the present: knuckledraggers need not apply. Thus, it’s no surprise that it involves reshaping attitudes as well as bodies. As the authors put it,
“When you really think about it, shouldn’t every man’s goal be not only to look more heroic, but also to be more heroic?”
The Alpha Male Challenge is designed to transform men inside and out, so drills incorporating the “Four C’s” – commitment, confidence, courage and conscience – are as much a part of the program as the training and nutrition plans.
True to its name, the Challenge is challenging – but never dull…the authors have created a program that’s tightly constructed, yet flexible. For example, specific types and amounts of cardiovascular exercise are mandated, but there’s a wide selection of activities to choose from, ranging from the practical (i.e., parking a few minutes away from work and walking the rest of the way), to the fun (frisbee, basketball, boxing, etc.). Likewise, The Paleo diet-inspired food plan requires discipline, but not privation. Villepigue and Collins drew on their knowledge of bodybuilding nutrition to create a healthy, balanced high-protein/high-fiber/moderate carb eating plan that can be customized for maximum fat loss as well as muscle gain. Their “Alpha Fuel Solution” even incorporates a weekly “feast meal,” where you can reward yourself for your hard work by eating “like a mere ‘mortal man’” (if you wish).
The strength training routines lie at the heart of the book – and for good reason. As the authors note:
“…physicality is nonetheless one universal measure by which human males are judged. Size and strength have helped separate the leaders from the followers since we were nomadic hunter-gatherers traversing the ancient grasslands.”
The “Alpha Wave Training” is focused on three basic goals: building lean body mass and muscular endurance, maximizing strength, and boosting explosive power. As the name implies, there are three phases, or “waves.” The workouts for each wave consist of ten exercises: six address the primary goal (60%), with two movements each (20%) for the others. The reason for this ratio is simple:
“Over the course of the 10 weeks of your Challenge, this ratio has the incredible effect of helping you get the most out of the present Wave’s primary training target, while maintaining the results you’ve already earned and laying the foundation for the work yet to come.”
Each workout is different, to constantly challenge your muscles and keep things interesting, and let’s face it, keeping things interesting is often half the battle to sticking to a program The rest intervals between exercises are also strictly controlled, to maximize muscle growth and minimize time spent in the gym.
Although the workouts vary, progress is simple to track… beyond keeping tabs on your weight and (shrinking) pants size, you’ll use the “MaleScale™” – a “before-after” rating system – to measure your success. The MaleScale provides a personal metric – or “Alpha Factor” – that’s based on “Alpha Attitude,” physical measurements and athletic performance. There is no “right” score: your goal is to improve on your own, baseline Alpha Factor, not measure up to someone else’s.
All this is just the tip of the iceberg: in addition to the above, the book features concise explanations, detailed exercise instructions, recipes, sample meal plans… and one hell of a lot of inspiration. It contains everything you need to succeed.
If that’s not enough, however, there’s a bonus: the authors provide extensive online support through their and website: . The site features a forum, articles, blog and automated MaleScale. Like the book, the site is a collaborative effort, with contributions by other professionals in addition to the authors themselves.
As far as we’re concerned, “The Alpha Male Challenge” is THE program for any man looking to fulfill his potential for physical AND emotional growth in an often confusing modern world, where what it means to be a “man” is often unclear. As co-author Rick Collins told us:
“James and I put our blood, sweat and tears into this project, and we hope it shows.”
Believe us, it does.