PHIL KAPLAN'S FITNESS TRUTH - Exceeding Excellence Intro

The Institute of Human Performance (IHP) Presents:

Exceeding Excellence 


 Juan Carlos Santana


Phil Kaplan

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or in information storage and retrieval system, for general distribution, commercial, advertisement or promotional purposes, creating new collective works or for distribution at seminars and/or courses without prior written consent from Juan Carlos Santana, MEd, CSCS and Optimum Performance Systems and from Phil Kaplan. 


For information contact:

Juan Carlos Santana, MEd, CSCS
Optimum Performance Systems
438 NW 13 St
Boca Raton, Florida, 33432
(561) 393-3881

Phil Kaplan
Phil Kaplan’s Fitness
3132 Fortune Way, #D-1
Wellington, FL 33414
(561) 204-2014


Click Here to Order Exceeding Excellence 

 or go ahead and read through the Introduction that follows.


Program Photographs (not included in online intro) by

Griff Fig
Mark Hoffmann
Gary Lavin
Juan Carlos Santana

 Program Description


Exceeding Excellence is a 13 week program designed to make a client look and feel better than they ever have before.  The emphasis is on educating the client on simple, safe and fun nutrition and exercise strategies that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Within this program there are actually two versions, one that involves “no iron training” and a “training with iron” version.  The “no iron training” version can be done at home with minimal exercise equipment.  This version uses a medicine ball, a stability ball, an exercise band, and a step.   The “training with iron version” can be performed in the gym or at home and uses, dumbbells, barbells (or resistance training machines) and cardio equipment.

 WARNING: Excellence, Supportive Eating, and Result Oriented Exercise can be habit forming.
(oh, by the way, it’s a wonderful habit to develop) 

This program is not intended to be everything to everyone.  If you’re erratic in your exercise habits, this is not for you.  You can order one of our more foundational programs such as Juan Carlos’ “Fit Moves” or Phil Kaplan’s TRANSFORM! if you want something that caters to all levels.  If you’re about to begin Exceeding Excellence, then you’re someone who has already made the exercise commitment.

This program is not intended to share every ounce of information the general public needs in order to improve the health of our nation.  We’ll continue to deliver that information in various formats, but Exceeding Excellence is built around a unique resistance training program.

In order for anyone to find positive physical change, there is the primary foundational concept of Synergy.  We’re referring to the all-important synergistic combination of three elements: 

  • The Right Nutrition
  • Moderate Aerobic Exercise
  • A Concern for Muscle

 There will be little discussion on aerobic exercise in this program.  Aerobic intensity can be judged by determining Target Heart Zone using the standard age related formula (220 - age x 70% - 85%), it can be judged by applying formulas that also incorporate your resting heart rate, or it can be judged by “perceived exertion.”  Very simply put, on the scale of 1 – 10, you should feel as if you’re exercising at a 7 or 8.  If you’re too out of breath to carry on a conversation, you’re working too hard.



There are two reasons for brevity in addressing this topic: 

  1. There is a massive body of work in any library, on the web, and in the research labs related to aerobic exercise.  We’ll assume those who are ready to begin Exceeding Excellence are already aware of the specifics of the aerobic element (referred to in the program as “Cardio”).
  2. The aerobic exercise is integrated into an overall program of strength, conditioning, and metabolic improvement and when it’s applied as a part of the Synergy, it is as simple as moving rhythmically for an extended period of time (although remember the word “moderate”).  Your heart doesn’t really know or care if you’re running on a treadmill or doing laps around your patio furniture in your backyard.

Many people mistakenly believe Aerobic Exercise is Fat Burning exercise.   

More accurately, aerobic exercise is movement that stimulates the Cardiorespiratory system, and that’s certainly a vital ingredient in striving for excellence. 

The reality is, Synergy is the key, and with aerobic exercise alone there aren’t any guarantees.  You are capable of burning fat any time you’re in an aerobic state.  Aerobic means, “meeting the demand for oxygen.”  You’re meeting the demand for oxygen when you drive, when you walk, when you watch TV, even when you sleep.  Eat Supportively, follow the resistance training program Exceeding Excellence is built around, and commit to the Cardio time periods suggested and you can’t help but succeed!


The 21st century began, not with our nation celebrating health and well being, but with obesity on an unparalleled climb and hundreds of millions at risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity related illness.  The reason?  There isn’t one.  Don’t misunderstand.  The reasons exist, but we can’t isolate a single “one” as the sole creator of the health and appearance of our population. 

Among the contributors to our nation’s poor state of health we find inactivity, due in great part to the advent of technology, as well as ingestion of bleached, processed, and refined foods that do little to serve the health and well being of the human machine. 

Exercise is a must if any human being is going to facilitate a positive physical change.  That’s common knowledge, and some exercise is better than “no exercise.”  This program, however, is not aimed at those who need an introduction to exercise.  This is designed for people who have been following conventional exercise protocols and have found they’ve run smack into the dreaded plateau, the place where ongoing improvement becomes a challenge.  The body has adapted to the workload it’s being faced with and the necessity of adaptation ceases.   

There are two common frustrations inherent with “the plateau” represented by the following comments typically spoken by those who have hit that point of diminishing returns: 

  1. “What used to work doesn’t work anymore.  I must be too old, or maybe it’s hormonal.”
  2.  “I haven’t enough time in my day to increase my volume of exercise”



The two aforementioned remarks are based purely on a thinking process driven by false beliefs.   Let’s better understand the realities of ongoing positive physical change and the mistaken beliefs will be put to rest. 

The routine that works today is certain to leave you disappointed next month, as the “gains” are guaranteed to slow.  Remember, positive physical change is the result of forced adaptation . . . asking the body to perform slightly beyond that which it’s accustomed to. 

Phil Kaplan shares a quick story: 

A client of mine, Rich, was in the process of building a new home.  Literally.  He was a general contractor so he was very involved in the construction labor.  He came to me because he felt exhausted and he was developing aches and pains.  We developed a routine designed not to add additional stress, but to add focused movement with the intention of making his daily activity simpler.  After the house was complete Rich found great reward in the exercise regimen.  His body was no longer overstressed and he began adding muscle tissue and reducing fat.  He was thrilled.  He finally found the right balance, a level of physical activity followed by adequate recuperation.  I didn’t see Rich for a year.  I ran into him at a conference and his posture, his demeanor, and his walk indicated that he was no longer enjoying the exercise benefits.  He confessed that he stopped working out altogether because “the routine stopped working.”  The routine didn’t stop working  . . . it just became a very manageable workload.  His body did not have to change as it had developed sufficiently to handle the rigors of the routine.  Rather than abandoning exercise, had Rich recognized that all he needed were a few modifications in his routine, he could have continued a process of continuous and ongoing improvement. 

There is some good news.  After our accidental meeting, I inspired Rich to re-commit.  We started with a variation of the routine he was accustomed to (which was a “new stimulus” since he’d abandoned it for a significant period of time) and over time I restructured Rich’s program by reducing the time between movements, modifying the set and rep schemes, and proposing some new exercise combinations.  Rich today is in what he calls the best shape of his life at 39 years old.  The false belief that “the routine stopped working” created a mindset that led to abandonment.  If you recognize that when results come to a halt a change is necessary, you can forever avoid the dreaded plateau.” 

There are also two consistent realizations among those who begin the Exceeding Excellence Program. 

  • It is possible to exercise and NOT see a payoff 
  • A minimal time investment met with greater intensity of effort can yield an astounding payoff.

Obviously, based on information already discussed, it becomes clear that when the stimulus is met with ease of action, when the routine fails to challenge the body beyond its current ability, results stop, even if the exercise regimen is continued.  Until someone makes the necessary shifts, they believe that they’re simply at their full potential, but once a new stimulus is added, it becomes crystal clear that exercise without progressive challenge is impotent in facilitating ongoing positive change. 

Two of the most common mistakes we see among exercisers are: 

  • Exercising too much 
  • Not eating enough


We’ll put the eating issue aside for now, as with each new segment of the program we’ll introduce some important nutritional principles.  Let’s focus, for the moment on “too much exercise.”  I know that the idea of “more is better” being counter-productive seems to go against conventional wisdom, but when it comes to fitness and weight loss, conventional “wisdom” is often the evolution of habit, not the actual application of a sound technology of change.  Overtraining is not only going to lead to a lack of progress, it begins a slow process of degeneration where cortisol levels are increased, connective tissue is over-stressed, and the body begins to cannibalize lean body mass.  A process of biochemical interactions alter neurotransmission in the brain, and serotonin and dopamine are all but shut down leading to despair, and in extreme cases, depression. 

That doesn’t mean just backing off on exercise volume is going to serve you if you seek positive progress.  It does, however, suggest that there have to be some other ways of increasing the challenge without increasing the volume, and that’s precisely what Exceeding Excellence does.


We started this program with a pilot group of 10 physically active people ranging from 30ish to 60ish.  The group included a personal fitness trainer, a couple of competitive triathletes, and an assortment of individuals from various walks of life.  They all achieved astounding results, and without exception, everyone in that pilot group reduced their exercise volume. 

Most advanced exercisers and athletes are initially reduced the idea of reducing volume, and “as you improve you must always increase training time to continue improvement” is another one of those flawed beliefs.  Increasing training time is only one strategy that can be employed to increase physical challenge in an exercise routine. 

  • We can increase the challenge by incorporating movements that recruit greater numbers of muscles.
  • We can increase the challenge by reducing rest periods.
  • We can increase the challenge by adding a more constant resistance or a slower muscle contraction. 
  • We can increase the challenge by focusing not only on the concentric phase of the movement (the muscle contraction), but also the eccentric phase (the “lowering” of the weight). 
  • We can increase the challenge by increasing the number of repetitions as we decrease activity time. 
  • We can increase the challenge by moving more weight through a given range of motion. 
  • We can increase the range of motion 

With a foundation of knowledge and the injection of imagination, the methods of increasing the physical challenge are without limit, and as you progress through Exceeding Excellence you’ll find many of these variations in increasing intensity are incorporated into the framework of the program. 

More than anything else, Exceeding Excellence provides clarity and a proven path of action, and that’s precisely what active people stuck at the frustrating plateau absolutely need. 


In this program, to prevent the body from reaching a stalemate point of adaptation, we periodize the routines.  After a “get acquainted week,” you’ll begin with what we’ve termed a Conditioning Phase.  That’s followed by a Muscle Shape and Strength Phase.  The final phase addresses a spike in metabolic activity with a focus on Fat Burning. 

Let’s move on to the exercises, and we’ll interject bits of knowledge throughout that will help to optimize the synergy between the exercise and the nutrition, and with little changes from week to week, you’ll be shocked by the results you can achieve. 

This program is simple to follow.  While it changes weekly, there are only three times during which you’ll need to acquire new information.  In each phase you’ll be introduced to some new movements and exercise combinations and the nutritional principles will stack upon themselves so by the end of the 12 weeks you’ve achieved mastery over your own body. 

OK, Week 1 is just a page turn away.  Let’s “get acquainted” with the Exceeding Excellence principles.



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