Hi friends! Hope you’re having a wonderful morning so far. We’re just taking it easy over here and enjoying the beautiful weather. Livi starts swim classes this week, and I’m excited to take them to a new park later today. Yesterday afternoon I interviewed at a yoga studio in town (!) and am slowly making my way into the fitness game. It’s always fun to see what classes I’ll end up teaching when we move, and it also looks like I’ll be personal training here in town again.
For this morning’s post, I thought I’d review a book that caught my eye a couple of months ago. The reviews online were amazing, and I always love checking out new health and fitness books, so I ordered it. I figured it would be something to skim through and check out, but I ended up making my way through the whole thing.
Here’s my review on Thinner, Leaner, Stronger.
A little bit about the author and book:
Michael Matthews is a blogger (Muscle For Life), personal trainer, and author of 5 books, which have sold over 100,000 copies. I love his personal transformation story, and how he took his mediocre training to the next level. He went from training for hours a day with lackluster results, to decreasing his workout time, paying more attention to nutrition, and totally changed his body.
From the sales page on Amazon:
This book reveals:
The 5 biggest fat loss myths & mistakes that keep women overweight, frustrated, and confused.
How to build meal plans that allow you to build muscle, lose fat, and get healthy without ever feeling starved, deprived, or like you’re “on a diet.”
The lies women are told about how to “tone” and “shape” their bodies, and what you REALLY need to do to have sexy, lean curves.
A no-BS guide to supplements that will save you hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars each year on products that are nothing more than bunk science and marketing hype.
How to master the “inner game” of fitness and develop the self-discipline and willpower it takes to build the body of your dreams (and actually enjoy the process!).
How to get lean while still indulging in the “cheat” foods that you love every week like pasta, pizza, and ice cream.
Sounds pretty good, right??
My initial thoughts:
-When I first picked up Thinner, Leaner, Stronger, it intrigued me that the book on how to “build the perfect female body” was written by… a dude. It would be like reading a book on pregnancy and birth by a male author. You can research and learn as much as you want, but until you’ve been on the delivery bed, I just can’t take you 100% seriously. I also was looking for his background and credentials, since it wasn’t obvious on the cover. Was he a doctor?? Or maybe some world-renowned exercise physiologist?
After looking through his bio, I discovered that Michael Matthews is a personal trainer with a ton of experience training females. I decided to roll with it, because I know sometimes experience, research, and passion can be more valuable than credentials. (Also, I googled him and saw how shredded he was hahah.) I decided to dive in, and found that I loved his writing style and the info within the pages. Everything he suggests is science-based and presented in a way that’s easy to implement and understand.
-Over the next couple of weeks, I found myself picking it up, curious to read more about his thoughts on designing the ideal fitness and nutrition plan. He has a very specific method to his training style and diet guidelines, and he thoroughly explains it throughout the book.
(Photo: Lindy Waddell)
Why I like it:
-It encourages women to lift weights. Every time someone says that lifting weights makes females bulky, a fairy falls down dead. If you want a lean, strong physique, you have to pump some iron. His training plan is focused on compound exercises to work the entire body, and low, heavy reps to promote hypertrophy (muscle growth) and max strength.
-It’s no-nonsense, and the *tough love* that many of us need to hear. I especially enjoyed the chapter on willpower: why some people seem to have more or less willpower, how to manifest it, and what it means to train and fuel yourself according to your goals. In a nutshell, he says that you can’t be wishy-washy and expect awesome results. You have to put in the work and dedication if you want to take things to the next level.
(Photo: Arielle Levy)
-It’s not focused on eliminating entire food groups, or training excessively. It’s a plan that anyone can realistically follow with some dedication, prep, and about an hour or less to spend at the gym 5x a week. It makes my heart happy to see other trainers doing so well, and promoting something that can be maintained as a lifestyle. It’s not *easy* but it’s do-able. The plan is really about lifting heavy, fueling appropriately (especially in regards to pre- and post-workout nutrition), and counting macros.
-I also love that the author genuinely wants to help people get off the diet and overtraining crash and burn wagon.
What I don’t like about it:
-It’s not a smooth read -some parts feel disjointed and a little choppy- and it’s a lot of information. I feel like it dances around the actual plan a little bit, mostly talking about why it’s an awesome plan and this is the only way to do it. I feel like a lot of health and nutrition books do this (talk about why their plan is so awesome instead of just showing us), but it’s not anything you can’t skim around. I did enjoy his writing style, so it didn’t bother me too much. You have to do a bit of hunting to get to the actual plan.
-It makes it seem like it’s the “only way to do it.” Counting macros isn’t the only way to get a strong, hot, and healthy body. There are millions of people who look and feel awesome, who don’t count macros, or who don’t lift super heavy weights. I’ll occasionally hop back on the macro-counting train, but I know it’s not for everyone. Also, endurance training (high reps, lower to moderate weights) is an effective way to build strength. While the plan in this book is one way to do it, it’s certainly not the only way. The best training and nutrition strategy is one that makes you feel amazing, and one that you can actually maintain for the long haul.
All in all, I think it’s a great book and a solid plan. If you’re looking for specific guidance with nutrition and fitness, this can be a promising starting point. Of course, I need to throw it out there that you should always talk with a doc before making fitness and nutrition changes, and honor your body.
So, tell me friends: have you read any great health or wellness books lately? Here’s a post with some of my faves.
Have a wonderful day and I’ll see ya soon.