Bigger Smaller Bigger

by with John Berardi & Martin Rooney

My Introduction to the Hurricane


Last night before I went to bed I weighed 178 pounds.

This morning I weigh 171 pounds.

That leads me to believe I farted about seven pounds’ worth of gas during my sleep, which makes me feel both disgusting and very, very bad for Richelle, with whom I share a bed.

But still, a 3 pound gain and I’m only on Day 2 of the experiment? This is gonna be cake.

After a “quick” 25-minute breakfast — I only have to eat two pieces of toast along with my Breakfast Pudding since it’s a low-calorie day — I work for a couple of hours and then head to the gym for my first “Hurricane” session, which involves treadmill sprints mixed with ab exercises.

Now, I’ve done treadmill sprints before, and while they’re tough, they’re not that bad. You get your heart rate up and by the end you’re breathing heavy. Simple.

The “Hurricane” sprints, in contrast, are something I imagine Martin Rooney came up with late one night during a thunderstorm when he was in a particularly bad mood.

They’re insane.

While I’d normally do 8 sets of sprints at a 10% incline at 8 miles per hour, Martin has me starting at 10% incline and 10 miles per hour. Then I have to do three rounds of three sets, increasing the speed and incline of the treadmill with every round.

And that’s not even counting the ab work I have to do in between sprints.

Yep, that’s right.

Martin actually wants me to stop sprinting, jump off the treadmill while it’s still moving and do crunches. And I have to do that after every single sprint. In a crowded gym. With cute girls and muscular guys around, two groups of people I want to look cool in front of for different reasons.

(I don’t care what he says, every guy wants to look awesome in front of other guys. I think it’s a throwback to our caveman days, where we wanted to establish dominance. It’s our way of saying, “I’m not someone you’d want to mess with, and by the way, my genes are better suited for procreation than yours. Dude.”)

So here I am at Golds Gym trying to look cool while the treadmill whines underneath me, the belt whirring by so fast I feel like I’m dangerously close to getting thrown off the back of it. I’m panting and cursing and I’ve only finished my second round of three sprints.

This is honestly one of the hardest workouts of my life.

I look at my notebook and see I have one more round to go and this one calls for the treadmill to be at a simply unreasonable 12 miles per hour.

My assessment of the day’s sprint workout.

It quickly becomes clear that I will not make the full 20-second sprint Martin wants me to do. So I shorten it to 10 seconds like a wuss, vowing that I’ll “work my way up” to doing the full thing eventually.

As I step off the treadmill and lie down to do my crunches, my brain decides to give my body the finger. I’m breathing so hard I can’t do a single crunch. My whole body is reverberating with a “whump, whump, whump” sound in my ears.

The treadmill, by the way, is still at 12 miles per hour and 10% incline. An empty machine on full speed.

I notice people trying not to stare at me.

After a couple of minutes, Kyle (the Golds manager) walks over and turns off the treadmill and helps me up. I hobble over to the counter and sit at a bar stool.

When I finally feel like I have enough control over my body, I pull out my phone and send Martin a text.


A few minutes later he responds:

I warned you, Green. Take notes so you can remember this. Soon you’ll be in the best shape of your life.

I ask Kyle for a piece of paper so I can take notes per Martin’s suggestion.

Worst day ever. Horrible. Whole body is a heartbeat. 

Other highlights from Day 2

  • Sitting at the bar trying not to vomit while listening to two MMA guys talk about how easy their workouts were. Bastards.
  • Lying on the couch for 30 minutes staring at the ceiling in a post-workout stupor.

Knowledge Bomb!

A Less Insane Version of Treadmill Sprints

Here’s the simple sprint protocol I used before trying Martin’s. If you’re new to sprinting, I suggest starting here.

  • Start the treadmill and walk slowly for 2 minutes.
  • Next, increase the speed to 8 mph and the incline to 10% while standing 
on the sides of the treadmill. As soon as it’s up to speed, jump on and sprint for 20 seconds.
  • At the end of the 20 seconds, jump back on the sides (be careful and grab
 the handrails securely) and rest for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat this cycle 5-10 times. (Start with 5 if you’re brand new.)
  • At the end of your final round of sprints, walk slowly for 2 minutes to cool down.

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