February, Book(S) of the Month.
Posted on March 11th, 2017
This months theme was loosely focused around health and nutrition. Since I'm currently obsessed with Tim Ferris, I couldn't help but start with his book The Four-Hour Body. I followed that with Smart Fat (Masley, Bowden) and The Paleo Manifesto (John Durant). During college I ate paleo for a year and felt and looked better than ever. With that said, my body is asking for something different at this time in my life so I was hoping for a re-fresher in paleo principles in addition to alternatives. Lastly, I read Natural Born Heroes by one of my favorite authors Christopher McDougall.
The Four Hour Body - Timothy Ferriss
Since this book is over 500 pages, the user is not meant to read it from cover to cover. Instead, Ferriss outlines several chapters in the book depending on which goal you'd like to focus on. He breaks these down into four categories:
- Rapid fat-loss
- Rapid muscle gain
- Rapid strength gain
- Rapid sense of total well-being
I've initially read the first two categories as they are most applicable to my goals at this time. The rapid fat loss section focuses almost solely on your eating habits. It provides a simple structure that guarantees you'll lose weight that consists of only eating meat, vegetables, and lentils. It's recommended to eat six days following this outline, then us the seventh as a "cheat" day to consuming anything you're craving.
Additionally he provides a series of exercises (largely involving the kettle ball) that are an optional additive to changing yourself.
One of my biggest takeaways from this book was the stress placed on the importance of measurement taking. Ferriss provides an extensive list of tools in which you can measure your body fat percentage that range from extremely affordable to extremely expensive! No matter which tool you decide to use, it is most important to continue using that same method of measurement. I've opted to start with a simple but effective tape measurer taking total inches on my body (lost 5 so far over 3 weeks) and intend to advance to BodPod measurements as I progress through my fitness regime.
This book is an unbelievable resources, chalk full of case studies, legitimate research, and multiple plans of action... I definitely intend to return to this book soon!
Smart Fats - Steven Masley and Jonny Bowden
There's not much else to say about this book that can't be summed up on the home page of their website (http://smartfat.com/). A good 1/3 of the book bombards you with step-by-step recipes... but I just find this to be so irrelevant. If I'm going to cook a new recipe, there is a 99% chance I will google search that from my phone and have siri read it to me. Other than the recipes, the book is predictable. Eat avocados and butter and bacon, don't eat sugar and processed fats.. dun dun duh!
The Paleo Manifesto - John Durant
This was a quick read that proved to be more dry than engaging. Albeit full of useful information it was painful to get through. The author structures the book into three main sections: origins, here and now, and visions. One positive take-away from this book was the personal affirmation it has given to the notion that I'm a hunter by nature - very flattering to my ego (actually.. this is most likely a negative takeaway). Anyways, I enjoyed the history aspects of this book along with the practical guide to paleo principles in today's world.
Natural Born Heroes: Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance - Christopher McDougall
Here McDougall takes you on an epic journey through a 1944 kidnapping of a Nazi commander in Crete. Not only does he personally retrace the steps of the cretans and various soldiers at that time, but he re-tells it in an engaging, journalistic narrative way that kept me on my toes.
Alongside the narration of the war-time heroes, he ties in short stories from the present day to further describe the characteristics of a natural born hero. Among them, he showcases, an elementary teacher whom fought off a maniac, a tribe of parkour enthusiasts, and Greek ballerina, Leda Meredith... read the book to learn their stories! Additionally McDougall pokes fun at those practicing yoga insisting that it was created for recreation and that, "your body will never be more connected to your mind then when something is at stake".
This book leaves you itching to explore the world through a new perspective, motivated to re-train your body and mold yourself into a real hero.
Naturally, my favorite quote from this book is, "All the strength, speed, and suppleness you need, you already have. You just need to release it."