Book Review – Fitness for Geeks

Fitness for Geeks attempts to teach fitness principles via “real science, great nutrition and good health”.

The book includes sections on nutrition, eating habits, exercise, sleeping and other lifestyle decisions.

Many of the principles advocated in this book mirror those of the “paleo” movement, which is based on the diet and exercise patterns of humans from the paleolithic age. The theory is that the human body hasn’t had time to adapt to the modern life.

The author begins by describing why the human body is not well suited to the modern life. Sitting around all day eating a diet high in saturated fat is less than optimal. Makes sense.

The next section covers nutrition. This section of the book is informative and well written, first covering the “macronutrients” – carbohydrates, protein and fat, before moving onto vitamins and micronutrients. All very interesting and useful. Many useful resources are provided for analyzing what you eat and assessing your diet.

Next is a chapter promoting an idea not heard too often – the health benefits of fasting for significant periods. It’s an interesting idea – usual dietary advice is to have a good breakfast; this chapter advocates skipping breakfast.

The book progresses to exercise and the author recommends intense, short workouts – he cites the Tabata workout. Also recommended is variety in exercise regimes by using systems like crossfit.

The section on resistance training was good, however much of the fitness advice is simply the preference of the author and doesn’t seem to be based on any particular best practice.

This book reminded me of “The Four Hour Body“, which was primarily a book of ideas to investigate further, rather than advice provided by an expert in the field. Both books lack the scientific rigour to back up much of the supplied “wisdom”.

The connection to “geeks” was tenuous. For example in the section on sleep, there was, inexplicably, a page of source code to connect to the Zeo sleep monitor. A variety of gadgets for health tracking were reviewed in the book.

Overall, the sections on nutrition and resistance training were great, sometimes the rest felt a little patchy.

Note: This book was provided by O’Reilly Media as part of their blogger review program.

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

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