Do or DO NOT. There Is No Try!

33 comments written by Joshua Trentine

Perhaps the most rewarding part of my exercise experience has been the study of my own personal response to exercise.

We have a massive population to study here at our studios and we have all benefited from such a large sample to gather data. The study of progressing someone from ground zero up through the ranks provides many valuable clues and pieces to the puzzle.

No matter how refined our application of the exercise stimuli may be, the ultimate outcome will be dependent on a plethora of variables that can be near impossible to simultaneously control.  These variables include but are notlimited to, the subject’s genetic disposition, diet, current nutritional status (rates of absorption, elimination and excretion of nutrients, as well as toxins), recovery factors such as sleep, rest, chemical and hormonal status- life stressors; such as work environment, family stressors, illness and injury, motivation, intellectual comprehension, training maturity (ability to stimulate the body sufficiently), as well as many other variables that relate to one’s own biofeedback and how we might feel on any given day, from bio-rhythms to preference to times of day to train and energy levels.

When it comes down do it, the most consistent study ever conducted has been of only 1 person. There is only one study where one can control ALL of the variables that relate to the end result.

This is the study of ME!

Ultimately and honestly it is this study that I’m most interested in.

This doesn’t mean that others cannot benefit from my own selfish interest. I can assure you that many people have benefited from my conclusions.  Also, it’s safe to say that just because I’ve come to some understanding as to what works best for me, it does not necessarily apply uniformly and across the board.

In addition, any of the variables mentioned may ultimately affect the application and outcome for another person.

So…what can you take away from this?

At some point and time we all have to commit to something; a relationship, political views, education, a career, buying a house or a car, choosing a health care provider, dietary habits and of course our exercise program.

The determination of what decisions we make and how committed to our decisions we are, will in large part be based on our beliefs.

That’s where critical thinking comes in.

Critical thinking is the discipline of rigorously and skillfully using information, experience, observation and reasoning to guide your decisions, actions and beliefs.

Critical thinking means questioning every step of your thinking process:

Have you considered all the facts?

Have you tested your assumptions?

Is your reasoning sound?

Can you be sure your judgment is unbiased?

Is your thinking process logical, rational and complete?

This kind of rigorous, logical questioning is often known as the Socratic Method of questioning, after the GreekSocrates who is considered to be the founder of critical thinking.

By developing the skills of critical thinking, and bringing rigor and discipline to your thinking processes, you stand a better chance of being “right”.

As a result of developing this skill set, you are more likely to make good judgments, choices and decisions in all areas of your life. This is an important part of “success” and “wisdom”.

I don’t think anyone would argue the importance of this process and to a greater or lesser extent we call on the process multiple times a day, every day.

So why is it that when it comes to exercise that the critical thinking process is often avoided?

Why does it appear that exercise protocols are often based on the latest whim or fad?

Why is ones opinion about exercise so easily influenced by the latest expert or newest protocol?

Is exercise not based on fundamental science of which we do have some grasp of; Biology, Physics, Kinesiology, and Mechanics?

Is the body subject to different physical laws than the rest of the things that move around the earth?

I think most of us would agree that both critical thinking and reliance on basic physical laws would dictate, to a great extent, which way we should go with our exercise program.

What exactly is it that causes so much indecision and in-fighting within factions that hold similar ideological approaches?

We identify with it as a part of our “self.” But that tendency to create and defend a “self” gets in the way of developing our critical thinking skills fully.


Because once we identify with our own thoughts and beliefs anything that challenges them is felt as an attack we must defend against – even if that “attacking” idea is closer to the truth than our own.

One of the goals of the Renaissance Exercise movement has been to help identify the basic physical laws as they relate to exercise.  If this spawns business opportunity for us, as it has done in the past, great. If not we will continue on this path as we have done for many years in the past, behind closed doors, pushing this approach forward for ourselves in the name deepening our knowledge base. If we concede and settle for good enough, or the status quo, what will we really KNOW in the end?

At some point in time we all have to make a decision about what it is we believe in, what hypothesis we will stand by, based on our critical thinking and see it ALL THE WAY THROUGH.

There are some people who spend their entire lives studying one small piece of a process and this is why Renaissance Exercise is a team venture.  No one member of our team possess enough time, interest, skill or desire to solve ALL of the problems and remove all of the constraints to our one common goal.

The Renaissance Exercise movement has already spawned quite a bit of reaction and in every forum or venue where I’ve seen it mentioned. Needless to say, there has been no shortage of opinion, from overwhelming support to heinous attacks. In my opinion both are noteworthy, because once we identify with our own thoughts and beliefs anything that challenges them is felt as an attack and we must defend against them – even if that “attacking” idea is closer to the truth than our own.

That being said perhaps the most aggravating response I’ve heard from the discussions are those who might want to “try” what we are doing. There has always been something that boils my blood when I hear the word “try”, but in this context I have very little patience for the person who wants to try these methods or who claims he has “…already tried that”.

Try? Seriously?

How about we DO?

At Renaissance Exercise we have identified many of the constraints that prohibit us from producing the most profound exercise stress in the least about of time and we are nowhere near done refining this craft.  As a matter of fact, we’ve spent the last 15 to 20 years or more just getting started.

At some point in time we all have to commit to the thorough study of one thing.

We at Renaissance Exercise are absolutely committed to seeing this thing all the way through and removing every possible constraint to making Renaissance Exercise the most efficient, effective, safe exercise program.


Because it is a worthy pursuit and we think it will prove valuable for our own selfish interest and serve many people along the way. So for those of you who still think that this protocol is 10/10 and you are going to give it a “try” and come back and report the results, it might be best for you to keep chasing the magic exercise program that is finally going to produce the results that you never achieved in the last 30 years of trying.

One thing I can say for certain, as the years go on, the only things I’m willing to “try” are new ice cream flavors and perhaps the claimed most delicious pizza pies. We intend to ask the hard questions and provide more answers.

When all is said and done at least we know for sure that our efforts were more than a try.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him… The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself… All progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

-George Bernard Shaw

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Joe A February 4, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Ah, the lost art of critical thinking. Thanks for being “unreasonable men” and providing insight from your selfish journeys. If nothing else, the Ren-Ex movement should be helping people refine their own pursuit (even if it ultimately leads them to a different conclusion). Thanks for another thought-provoking, action-inspiring article.


avatar Joshua Trentine February 4, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Thanks Joe and you are Welcome

If nothing else we’re gonna make them THINK.

Sometimes that can get a little scary 🙂


avatar Katz Finch February 5, 2011 at 8:27 am

I’m clicking the “like” button this one, thanks! Your colorful chart really describes it well, especially as I approach my target weight/ideal body fat percentage. The closer I get the more I have to “dial it in”…


avatar Joshua Trentine February 7, 2011 at 12:15 am


Thanks for the “like”

we’ll have to get that button.lol


avatar Ed Hovanik February 5, 2011 at 10:54 am

Hi Joshua

Very good thought provoking article. Mike Mentzer always said that a well developed muscular body is no substitute for a critically thinking mind. You guys have definitely further expanded and built upon the foundations laid down by Arthur Jones, Mike Mentzer and Ken Hutchins. As Arthur Jones once said, “I don’t know all the answers; in fact, I don’t even know all the questions. But I do know certain laws of exercise science are true.” You guys are continuing the search for that truth.

Ed H


avatar Joshua Trentine February 7, 2011 at 12:17 am


I too was VERY much influenced by that quote from Mentzer.

I do think there are certain undeniable facts to lead us.

We don’t have all of the answer, but we are going to keep asking the hard questions.


avatar Travis Weigand February 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Renaissance exercise…unreasonable men, unbelievable results.

All corniness aside, the realization and acceptance that YOU are the only valid study of exercise that exists is a huge one! If that won’t energize your attitude toward exercise, I don’t know what will.

Exercise is great in that it affords a person the chance to learn that the word selfish can have a positive connotation after all.


avatar Joshua Trentine February 7, 2011 at 12:20 am

In the last 27 years of training i’ve NEVER lost interest in the study of ME, not even for a minute.


avatar Paul Marsland February 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm

This blog is so on the money its unreal, in that, it clearly explains all the ad hominem attacks, why? Because exercise is a very selfish activity and those that seek to gain the most from it, are the most selfish of all, I make no bones that I want the absolute best gains from when I engage in high intensity exercise, but I’m not so selfish to not share what experiences, thoughts and beliefs I have, but what really pisses me off, is when I do, these same people that asked the intial question, claim they already tried “that” and it didn’t work for them, really? How can you be so sure? , the bottom line is, I’m not them and they are not me, so maybe they should be a little more selfish instead of looking to the outside for the holy grail of answers…


avatar Joshua Trentine February 7, 2011 at 12:13 am

i really like your last sentence, awesome!

great to have you along Paul!


avatar Richard chartrand February 5, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Load, inroad and actual damage have cited as different factors involved in hypertrophy.

What I’m getting from renex is finding the best way to involve maximum muscle fibers in shortest time. I can see why continuous maximum tension as per would be a very efficient way of accomplishing this. Am I close?


avatar Joshua Trentine February 6, 2011 at 12:46 am


The body is set up to protect itself against stress- be it tension, fatigue, inroad, or trauma.

Through a better understanding of these mechanisms and how the body protects itself we use protocol and technology to produce a more profound, reliable, repeatable and safe exercise stress.

Our efforts our designed to remove the mechanical and physiological constraints that will produce the greatest stimuli in the least amount of time.

We certainly do not want any offing and oning of tension or effort.


avatar Terry Condrasky February 6, 2011 at 8:54 am

Thanks Josh for the inspiration to continue to research, refine and respond to my training. I have a policy listen and learn rather than listen and criticize. No, I don’t have access to the ideal equipment but more importantly I do have access to folks like yourslf who are willing to make me think and respond! Please continue your “journey”, I like where you’re going!
Be Well


avatar Joshua Trentine February 7, 2011 at 12:12 am

Thanks Terry,

We’re grateful for your input.

We have much to do, all consumed with the journey 🙂


avatar Manny Metauten February 6, 2011 at 10:52 am

& here I was these last few years, thinking to myself that I was the only one left who knew the true purpose of HIT – to develop the ability to distinguish true ideas from false ones.

I’m very glad I was wrong.

This was the 1st post on your site of read. Hell of a start. I look forward to the rest. Keep fighting the good fight, gentlemen.


avatar Joshua Trentine February 7, 2011 at 12:07 am

That’s it and that’s our goal.

The “good fight” is not usually so popular , but we are commited to seeing this all the way through.


avatar Richard chartrand February 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm

So where do jreps come in, if at all?


avatar Joshua Trentine February 6, 2011 at 11:58 pm

In the Renaissance protocol? no where.

J-Reps are an attempt to overcome mechanical constraints by working around them.

Renaissance Exercise is a technology based protocol that uses equipment to remove these constraints.

I have great respect for BDJ’s work and I think it’s very applicable when trying to overcome bad curves.

I’ve read all of BDJ’s stuff and it is more alike than different.

For scaleability and standardization we choose a technolgy based protocol.


avatar Dennis Rogers February 8, 2011 at 11:28 am

BRILLIANT ! Your ability to communicate leaves no doubt about what you are saying.
I can not promise I will not unknowingly hijack some of your comments, especially the ones in response to Richard Chartrand’s comments. Hearing that kind of flawless description of the principles involved in proper exercise is inspiring.
Along the lines of what has been said I am contemplating trading a Medx Chest Press for a Medx Dip and wonder which would be a better tool for this protocol,
Thank You


avatar Joshua Trentine February 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm


Thanks! And you are welcome to put my comments to good use 🙂

Most people who use this protocol would say the Chest Press. I have them both and I think the strength curve on either of them lends itself to this type of training.

If you are running a personal training business I think you will get more bang for your buck from the Chest Press. My answer might change dependig on your needs.

I’m curious, what is your thinking behind switching Seated Dip for Chest Press? Do you feel that the movement is inclusive of more musculature?


avatar Erik February 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Hi Josh,

Thanks for your post, as always it is focused to enlighten our neophyte minds and Skills. UP tp day I´ve been enrolled in High intensity training for 5 weeks, controlling my diet, and my rest. I am training once a week with the big five compund movements. Compoud row, Leg press, Pull down, Bench press & Overhead press. The results are unbelievable I have dropped anout 9 Pounds of fat, and even I have not been able to measure my muscle growth, I am able to see changes in my body that with other workouts I did in the past took several months.
I have recieved a lot of critics, and unfortunately I dont know anyone in Mexico that is doing what I am doing right now, to get support, critics and guidance to see the best results, the only support I have as of now is what I am able to read here and in Dr McGuff´site.
But for sure I can say that today, one of my biggest detractors when I started, my girlfriend, is asking me to help her getting started with this new training technique.


avatar Joshua Trentine February 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm



Be careful, sometimes the study of one’s self can turn into a full time job when others start taking notice.

I got into this for myself. My only motivation was to optmize the training for me. It evolved into a full blown business after taking on just a few clients, word spread like wild fire.


avatar Erik February 9, 2011 at 9:25 am

Hi Josh,

Thanks for your comments, I believe I have to learn a lot more before being prepared to start training others, and there is not a place here in Mexico with the best environment to get the best results, right now I train in a Nautilus GYM, but still it does not have all the resources required.


avatar Joshua Trentine February 9, 2011 at 1:50 pm

It’s a process.

One step at a time.


avatar Dennis Rogers February 9, 2011 at 11:23 am

My thinking on changing to a Seated Dip was motivated by a consideration for floor space as mine is limited, and I do see the Dip as being more inclusive of musculature involved in scapula retraction and spinal flexion as well as the same muscles involved in the Chest Press. The path of the upper arm during the dip seems more suitable to the function of the pectoral. The movement itself seems easier to teach.
This would not be the first time that I could be accused of over thinking though, thanks for your input.


avatar Joshua Trentine February 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm

The Footprint of the Dip isn’t that much smaller than the CP.

If you intend to run a training facility you will have a much easier time getting people up to speed on the C.P., when working with heavy loads the stability of the C.P. has some advantages too. My opinion may change depending on your needs.

The Renaissance Ventral Torso may provide the best of both worlds.

If you want to discuss this further

email me: info@ren-ex.com

I’ll give you my cell and we can discuss the pros and cons of each.


avatar Richard C February 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Josh, I believe you when you say that your original motivation was to optimize the training for yourself…but you short change yourself as to how/why the word got around like wildfire.

It’s pretty damn simple. Cut and dried. You are the best at what you do.

I consider myself fairly intelligent; however, my head starts to hurt when I try and get too deep into philosophy with regards to training. I’m more like a HIT neanderthal…just strap Mongo in the machine, explain in simple terms and let Mongo make inroad…

One thing is for certain: just looking/listening to you and your accomplishments should convince anyone with an open mind that you know your stuff.

Now, if only you would expand to the Scottsdale area….


avatar Joshua Trentine February 10, 2011 at 2:14 am

LOL! Make Mongo inroad… too funny.

Richard thank you for the kind words.


avatar John Tatore February 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Josh … would love to see more training videos up in the near future …..( hip extension, calf raise, bicep, tricep, compound Row, etc.)



avatar Joshua Trentine February 10, 2011 at 2:24 am


No doubt. We are spending a good amount of time writing materials for the new manual and for here. I prefer to use video to support a written article, that’s why it’s a bit slow.

I can think of many I want to shoot, I have a article in my head that relates to Trunk Extension, perhaps that should be next.

I also have a piece on biceps curl I want to write. I’ll try to move these up my priority list.

Of course there will be some videos coming out around May 1, as Ken finishes the first batch of brand new machines to ship out.


avatar Erik February 10, 2011 at 9:55 am


one more question, in order to make the study of myslef more accurate. How can I measure my lean muscle gains? what would you recomend?



avatar Joshua Trentine February 10, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Dunno, I’ve never relied on anything except a mirror.

Some methods are more reliable than others, none are accurate to my satisfaction.

Some say Dexa is the closest, might be, i don’t know, but i can see issue with a two dimensional reading on a 3 dimensional body.

I do think it is very easy to get caught up in a over quantification syndrome. You should be able to see if you’ve added muscle or lost fat.


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