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Dr. Helen

Building the Ultimate Male Body

November 18th, 2013 - 5:48 am

leanerI am reading a book by Michael Matthews called Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body (The Build Healthy Muscle Series) and have been finding it quite helpful. Okay, I don’t have a male body to build but I do find these types of books helpful for me and I like to keep up with the interests of men since I blog about and work with those of the male persuasion.

If you are new to fitness, the book is simple and informative though it does seem to promise a lot! Here are a few highlights from the Amazon page:

Getting into awesome shape isn’t nearly as complicated as the fitness industry wants you to believe.

You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars per month on the worthless supplements that steroid freaks shill in advertisements.

You don’t need to constantly change up your exercise routines to “confuse” your muscles. I’m pretty sure muscles lack cognitive abilities, but this approach is a good way to just confuse you instead.

You don’t need to burn through buckets of protein powder every month, stuffing down enough protein each day to feed a third world village.

You don’t need to toil away in the gym for a couple of hours per day, doing tons of sets, supersets, drop sets, giant sets, etc. (As a matter of fact, this is a great way to stunt gains and get nowhere.)

You don’t need to grind out hours and hours of boring cardio to shed ugly belly fat and love handles and get a shredded six-pack. (How many flabby treadmillers have you come across over the years?)

Hey, I’m one of those flabby treadmillers, it’s hard to realize that this may be a waste of time but it probably is. Though my weight is fine, my overall bodyfat is ridiculously high and always has been except for one brief period of time when it went down to 17%. I am an outlier, I guess.

Anyway, the book gives good points about shortening your workouts using just the basics, mainly squats, deadlifts, and benchpresses. There are some good chapters on diet with tips such as “have a cheat meal.” This meal is just some additional carbs, not an all-out gorge or anything. The other tip I got from the book was to eat a slow digesting protein before going to sleep to help repair muscle. The author gives examples such as egg protein, 0% Greek yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese. I eat a lot of protein during the day but at night, I tend to eat carbs so maybe switching it out for protein might help, although eating nothing at night would probably be better.

After reading the book, I feel very motivated about going to the gym and trying out a few things and trying to tweak my diet a little more. I definitely think if you are a guy wanting to get the body-building basics, this book is a good one and gives you a free bonus report in the back of the book where apparently, one can download more workouts and some of the recipes from his cookbook. It would also make a nice stocking stuffer for any guys on your list interested in fitness.

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All Comments   (4)
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The title is so sexist as if big, strong and lean bodies are only meant for men. I mean, who the hell thinks a small, weak and lean woman is good looking? Honestly, the best looking women are female bodybuilders and athletes and not the skinny fashion models or hollywood types. I mean, imagine a woman with the body of Hugh Jackson, that would be one of the most beautiful things on earth.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Allow me to add my approval to the convict conditioning approach as well as Gary Taubes' nutrition advice. The burgeoning consensus is that "cardio" exercises are pretty pointless unless they achieve a certain level of intensity -- the level where your heart is about to jump out of your chest. Bodyweight exercises are the best exercises by far; Paul Wade's Convict Conditioning book is excellent, but it is part of an overall "physical culture" renaissance, that emphasizes the old school strongman exercises and body-weight exercises over the '80s-era "fitness" exercises. People generally need to push their muscles harder, and with more complex and dynamic lifts like the deadlift and the Olympic lifts, and do more sprinting and less jogging. That;s true of women especially (although convincing a woman off a treadmill and under some serious back-squat weight is itself a task worthy of Heracles.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Let me second the recommendation for Convict Conditioning. Body weight exercises are probably going to be easier for most people to get right into and a big plus is you never have an excuse not to work out. Also Mountain Athlete is a great resource for exercises and training regimes. For diet you cannot do better than Gary Taubes/Peter Attia MD/ Hyperlipid and The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Phinney, Stephen and Volek, Jeff

Using these resources this 57 year old former fatboy lost 55 pounds and am now stronger than any other time in my life. The idea that you need to eat lots of protein to build strength is maybe not so much more than a wives tale.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Convict Conditioning. That's the book my brother brought down with him when he came to visit our mother a couple of weeks ago. He's been on a fitness kick of late and regularly participates in mountain races and obstacle courses up in Maine.

I didn't get to spend much time with him, other than to watch the Dallas Cowboys get utterly destroyed by the New Orleans Saints. He spent most of his time running the nature trails at the World Birding Center. We don't have any mountains or obstacle courses down here.

I haven't read the book. But my brother did explain the conditioning program to me. It's all about these old school exercises that convicts maintained in order to keep in shape. Stuff like doing push ups against a wall, hanging a towel around a bar and doing pull ups, different kinds of ways of doing sit ups. I actually found it fascinating.

I used to be a work out freak, when I was younger. I did circuit training and kung fu six days a week, and I rode a mountain bike everywhere. I was in incredible physical condition.

This is what I know. Remember John Fix? He started the jogging craze. In fact, Nike invented the running shoe because of him. He died of a heart attack while jogging.

Remember Eul Gibbons? He started the whole natural foods craze. "These Grape Nuts remind me of wild hickory nuts." He died because a wild hickory gut got stuck in his kidney.

There is exercise and nutrition, and there is exercise and nutrition. Calisthenics, stretching, weight lifting, circuit training, martial arts, especially Tai Chi, can all be good for you. And nutrition is always important, but when taken to the extreme, both do not necessarily lead to the desired results.

Body fat or shape does not indicate lack of exercise or poor nutrition. You just have to accept the body that God gave you. It's this obsession for perfection that haunts this culture.

If you eat right and exercise properly, you will be fine.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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