I started reading this book in tandem with my viewing of the HBO documentary miniseries, The Weight of the Nation. The two dovetail nicely - covering...moreI started reading this book in tandem with my viewing of the HBO documentary miniseries, The Weight of the Nation. The two dovetail nicely - covering many of the same topics, but reinforcing, not repeating what you already learned.
The book begins strong, with the author's personal stories and observations, but also from case studies, and interviews with restaurant industry professionals. The holy trinity of the regular American diet - sugar, salt, and fat - are covered extensively. The author highlights many of psychological and sociological reasons for overeating, and the basic notion that the more sugars, salts, and fats we eat, the more we will want - backing up every claim to "you can never have just one."
The middle of the book lagged - reflected in my 3-star rating. He delves into the psychology and science of hypereating, and each chapter seems to repeat the thesis of the previous chapter.
However, the book ends on a high note, speaking about overcoming the challenges, breaking the cycle, and how to change relationships with food. This is not a diet book, and there is not a single diet encouraged or advocated in these pages. It preaches portion control and calorie counting, pure and simple.
Recommended for the strong beginning and end - there are some great "take-away" points that will make you think. (less)
This book truly helped me get on the healthy path that has now become my lifestyle. I still make the fruit/nut smoothie suggested in this book every m...moreThis book truly helped me get on the healthy path that has now become my lifestyle. I still make the fruit/nut smoothie suggested in this book every morning.(less)
I was back and forth between 4 and 5 stars, and rounded up in the end.
Brazier is a professional athlete - he does IronMan triathlons and many other am...moreI was back and forth between 4 and 5 stars, and rounded up in the end.
Brazier is a professional athlete - he does IronMan triathlons and many other amazing feats of human strength and endurance - but the most interesting thing to me is that he does it all on a 100% plant-based diet. And he totally knows his stuff. Like every single detail with pie charts and graphs. I was blown away with the sheer scientific research on why a vegan diet is truly the best for stress reduction, training, and recovery. The best part of it all is that you really don't have to be an athlete to gain this wisdom... I am not an athlete and never will be, but I greatly enjoy exercise, and want to take care of my body and my mind. I feel that this book really shows a viable way to do this for the long-term.
When I first heard about this book (about a year ago), I figured it would be about a bunch of powders and supplements, so I held off. So, when I finally picked it up and read it, I was so happy to be wrong. Brazier focuses solely on the importance of whole food sources, and even highlights the importance of raw foods in the daily diet. He has formulated this diet, called the Thrive Diet, that introduces the body to these whole sources over a 12-week span. It is not a diet in the traditional way of thinking about calorie-counting and/or deprivation - he includes dozens of recipes for all sorts of amazing foods (I especially love his use of "pseudograins" like amaranth and quinoa, as well as his copious use of medjool dates - love them!) One of the most clever things is that he turns these marketed sports-performance notions on their heads and has recipes for "sports drinks", "energy gels", and "recovery shakes". They are not Gatorade or "power" bars packed with synthetic ingredients that the body cannot even use... they are fresh fruits and vegetables (along with algaes, grains, fungi, etc.) used to their maximum potential to unlock true and sustainable energy inside your own body.
Brazier's case for veganism is very strong: he discusses how nutrition and the typical Western diet can be one of the biggest stresses on the human body. By going to the original source - not the highly processed foods - we can revitalize our bodies to be at their best, whether you are going to run marathons or simply do 30 minutes on the elliptical. His case is backed up by some very convincing research. He also discusses how veganism can help save the planet by replenishing the soil, the water, and the air. While many people become vegans for ethical/animal rights issues, this topic is not expressly mentioned in Brazier's books. I made the choice to be a vegan for ethical reasons (first) and health (second), but I really enjoyed learning his story, and how he came at this from a much different perspective.
Brazier is quickly becoming a well-known personality in the "veg" circuits with regular write-ups in newspapers and magazines. He also has some new books out that delve deeper into the diet, and the other about "Thrive Fitness". I am looking forward to more of his work. This one is highly recommended to anyone who cares about veganism and wants to learn more about how this choice affects your health and your general well-being.
I have long suspected that wheat did not like me as much as I liked it - so, I decided to kick it to the curb for an experiment. This book was the fir...moreI have long suspected that wheat did not like me as much as I liked it - so, I decided to kick it to the curb for an experiment. This book was the first one I found in my search to back up my assertions, and I learned a lot from it.
Davis is a cardiologist, and the book is filled with stories of patients who gave up wheat under his guidance and have seen complete 180s in their health: people who couldn't walk because of severe arthritis, others who were extremely obese and depressed, and those who had unexplained aches, allergies, and ailments. The book is not just for celiacs or gluten intolerant individuals - he states clearly that everyone can benefit from getting rid of this grain, which is not what it used to be even a hundred years ago.
In several pointed chapters, Davis lays it out about wheat's effect on the brain, the body's pH balance, the skin and aging, and links to obesity and a number of other chronic ailments, chief among them diabetes and arthritis. Some of the most convincing and telling arguments he makes for getting rid of wheat are the blood sugar tests: how two slices of whole grain bread can spike blood sugars more than regular old sugar.
My one criticism of the book is how Davis shows harmful correlations (most notably that of meat consumption in the body in terms of pH balance) yet, advocates meat and dairy as "EAT IN ALL QUANTITIES" in his food plan. Why spend a whole chapter talking about pH balance in the body, and *THEN* advocate meat consumption? You just said that meat was acidic, and our bodies want neutral/slightly alkaline - just eating MORE leafy greens isn't enough to cancel out the acid of meat consumption. I found that information inconsistent with everything else he was trying to prove. I eat a strict plant-based diet so I have strong ethical feelings about this, but that aside, he doesn't make a case WHY meat should even be included in this plan at all.
In many ways this book seems to be a "repackaging" of the popular and ubiquitous PALEO food plan - just in a lighter and more palpable format. He doesn't say to get rid of rice and beans, for instance, but says to limit their consumption. Agriculture is not painted as the "fall of civilization" here.
The book isn't perfect, but it has some good tidbits, and I'm a sucker for testimonials.
-- Personal note:
Just a few days into my no-wheat / no-gluten experiment, and things are going very well. The fuel to continue comes from the general "good" feelings I have now. Of course, it is the things that only YOU would notice and that are hard to quantify: no more stomach/intestinal aches after eating (this was my big problem with wheat consumption), deeper quality sleep, increased energy (a "hop in my step" that I haven't felt in a long time), and less hunger pains in between meals. An added bonus: down a few pounds on the scale. We'll see how this continues, as I am committed to continuing this "experiment" and possibly making it a lifestyle change.(less)
Reynolds has a straightforward writing style - matter-of-fact, perfect for a book about science and health. She looks at many common and ubiquitous be...moreReynolds has a straightforward writing style - matter-of-fact, perfect for a book about science and health. She looks at many common and ubiquitous beliefs about exercise, training, sports nutrition and uses science to either disprove or reinforce them. Chapters tackle big subjects like the importance of warm-ups, whether or not stretching before a workout really does anything, the "myth" of dehydration, etc. She covers a lot of ground - using case studies of athletes and their trainers, as well as many scientific studies to underline her points.
Her goal in writing this book is not about losing weight (I think she only mentions that once throughout the whole book) but much more about being fit, no matter what size. It is more about movement and activity - with all research showing that by keeping your body active, you will keep your brain healthy and will live longer. It is just that simple.
It's a quick read - your won't regret picking this one up. Although you may want to read it while pedaling a stationary cycle or walking on a treadmill :) (less)
A good primer for use of kettlebells. Brooks provides a decent background on how kettlebells came to the US and talks about their growing popularity....moreA good primer for use of kettlebells. Brooks provides a decent background on how kettlebells came to the US and talks about their growing popularity. The title qualifier "for Women" seems to be used because the models in the book are women, and there is some talk of women lifting during pregnancy, etc. Men can definitely learn some tips and tricks from this book too. (less)
Up-to-date and very useful information. Probably aimed more for a beginner audience, but I picked up several useful tidbits too. The question/answer f...moreUp-to-date and very useful information. Probably aimed more for a beginner audience, but I picked up several useful tidbits too. The question/answer format makes it very readable. (less)
Dos Remedios writes a great guide to cardio strength training using complexes, density intervals, and Tabata protocols. There is a lot to take away, a...moreDos Remedios writes a great guide to cardio strength training using complexes, density intervals, and Tabata protocols. There is a lot to take away, and he gives clear and concise reasoning for each and every regimen he presents. The guide is laid out well for a beginner and for someone who is more familiar with weights and strength training. My one complaint is that the book is clearly geared toward men. The book is peppered with testimonials, and none are by women. Of course, women can greatly benefit from this type of training too, so it did bother me that he seemed so limited in his focus.
That aside, I really liked the photographs and demonstrations of the moves. Very worth your time if you are interested in strength training.(less)
Bible of bodyweight exercises is right: this book is full of functional movements that you can string together to make one hell of a workout. All of t...moreBible of bodyweight exercises is right: this book is full of functional movements that you can string together to make one hell of a workout. All of them can be done right in your own home or in your backyard - you don't need a gym or lots of equipment. The few times he does suggest a prop, he shows a household item (phone book, a bottle, or a broom stick). Lauren shares 125 movements (with countless variations possible) to add to your fitness arsenal. The real attraction is that these things can be done anywhere and don't involve a lot of time. In fact, he states that you should strive for short bursts (high intensity interval training or HIIT) throughout the day for best results.
You will be familiar with a handful of these moves - pushups, crunches, squats - but there will be a lot of new things too. I set the book aside several times in order to try one of his variations. You will undoubtedly discover some great challenges to add to your routine.
One criticism I have is that Lauren states that cardio training is completely inefficient and a waste of your time. Theoretically, I understand what he is saying. In terms of efficiency, you get more bang for your buck with strength training, but I don't think cardio is pointless and a waste of time. I quite enjoy my cardio routines (dancing, spinning, kickboxing), and if I am having a good time and it is helping me in other ways (mental health, better sleep, clearer skin, etc.) than it is not a waste of MY time. Of course, he says this, but then goes on to say that he is a triathlete and a Thai boxing champion... and both of those sports involve a lot of cardio work. So, grain of salt and all of that.
This book will not make me stop my cardio routines, but it will increase my strength training - I jumped right in with a nice routine today incorporating several of his moves like Beach Scissors, Superman, Bird Dogs, and even a Wall Handstand. I checked this book out from the library, but I will be buying my own copy - there are just so many things to reference. (less)
A superb resource for fitness - I really liked the way that the book was laid out with categories and various modifications for many different exercis...moreA superb resource for fitness - I really liked the way that the book was laid out with categories and various modifications for many different exercises. The authors include several circuit trainings for full-body work, and each exercise is accompanied with a clear modeled photo and short description. Great for the beginner and the seasoned fitness person who wants some new variations.
Found this at the library while perusing the fitness section. I enjoy Zumba so I thought it was worth a look. The book held my interest, with my favor...moreFound this at the library while perusing the fitness section. I enjoy Zumba so I thought it was worth a look. The book held my interest, with my favorite sections focusing on the history of certain dances that Zumba incorporates (merengue, salsa, reggaeton).(less)
There were some really great sections in this book. I particularly enjoyed the detailed explanations and the nutrition science sections (even showing...moreThere were some really great sections in this book. I particularly enjoyed the detailed explanations and the nutrition science sections (even showing what macronutrient molecules look like). The strength of the book also comes from the quality sidebars that share interviews with medical and sports professionals , or share recent research findings. I found this particularly helpful in the 'intermittent fasting' section and in interval training section regarding Tabatas, etc. I also liked the Outdoors chapter that mentioned many of the metaphysical benefits to outdoor fitness.
Downside and reason for 3 stars - which is more like 3.5 stars - were that I felt this is another book advocating Paleo diet. While I am in full favor of eating clean whole foods, I think it can be done without going 'primal'. It seems to be en vogue to promote Paleo in every fitness book published in the last year...(less)
Quiet and thoughtful memoir. I liked Murakami's ruminations about his training, his running philosophy and the bits abiut his life before writing and...moreQuiet and thoughtful memoir. I liked Murakami's ruminations about his training, his running philosophy and the bits abiut his life before writing and running.(less)