I bought the book for myself right before Christmas simply based upon enjoying Grant Petersen's first book, "Just Ride":
Have to admit that, while I didn't agree with every single thing Grant said in "Just Ride," it was definitely one of the primary sources of motivation for me to do this blog. His overall premise that bikes and the world of biking should be fun and not, solely, the realm of pretentious wanna-be racers, really resonated with me.
His original book included a few fitness and dietary tips, but the real focus was bikes and biking. In his more recent effort, he addresses how, after struggling with weight his entire adult life (who hasn't?) despite hundreds of thousands of miles on bikes, he finally got permanently lean and strong by revamping his diet and approach to exercise. I read a lot about fitness, diet, exercise, etc., so I wouldn't say that this book was completely revelatory to me. However, he did an excellent job of succinctly capturing the fruits of science and research that has been emerging in the worlds of diet and exercise in the last few years. Reviewing them in a fun, easily digestable format reminded me that I had all the information I needed to gain total control over my fitness, but just needed to implement that info -- as Grant had.
Non-revelation #1: Avoiding ingestion of carbohydrates results in weight loss. Duh -- Atkins figured this out back in the 70's. I have dabbled with low-carb at times, losing weight easily whenever I did, but always worried about the health effects of ingesting so much fat. Hard to totally embrace a high protein/fat diet without hearing the echoes of "experts" touting low-fat diets in your head. Well, many opf those e"experts"have been issuing apologies of late since studies that have emerged in the last several years have revealed that the fat that clogs the arteries of typical Americans doesn't come from ingested fat - it comes from stored fat. And what causes us to store fat at greater rates than any other food-stuffs? Sugar and carbohydrates. Minimize these in your diet and your body has no choice but to burn up ingested fat as a fuel source. Pretty simple. Again, this wasn't completely new to me, but taking a tour through the science with Grant, and reading about how he implemented it himself (including great recipes) sort of gave me permission to go low-carb for good. And it was SO easy. Once you do it for a short while, you realize that bread, tortilla, potatoes, rice, pasta, and corn-stuff are all incredibly bland and tasteless. Any flavor they have, comes from the real food that they serve as a delivery device for. So, why not just eat that real food and toss the empty, sugar-laden calories? Best example: my favorite breakfast burrito in San Diego is the Californian at Cafe 1134 on Coronado: apple smoked bacon, eggs, avocado, and one of the best salsas on the planet. Well, it also comes as an omelette! Scrap the tortilla, and you still have an incredibly delicious breakfast. Same goes for ditching the bun and going "protein style" at In-n-Out -- just as delicious!
Non-revelation #2: Short, high-intensity workouts are superior to long low-intensity workouts (e.g. jogging). Now, this was truly not news to me, because I have already been preaching the value of burpees and other quick, off-the-bike high intensity exercises on this very blog.
The value, for me, of exploring this concept via Grant's book was that he provides lots of ideas for various ways to get these quick, high-intensity work-outs done. Burpees are great and all that, but so is variety. The exercises that most intrigued me were kettle-bell swings and presses and a really fun workout he touts that involves taking a medcine ball out to a big field, throwing it as far as you can, running to it, picking it up and repeating for four minutes. A true caveman-style workout -- just tossing your big rock around a field. Right up my alley!
So, how does this play into biking? Well, that's where Petersen connects with his first book. Don't ride to get lean, fit, fast, etc. Ride for fun. Eat right and do 5 - 15 minutes of high intensity strength conditioning a day, and ride whatever way makes you happy. If climbing mountains or doing centuries makes you happy (as they certainly do for me), then great -- but don't make biking a chore. Biking should just be gravy on top of the minimum effort it takes to truly get lean and strong.
Down 25 pounds already, and lost weight straight through the holidays, while eating plenty of bacon, eggs, steak, shrimp, cheese, nuts, and other delicious foods I love. Never hungry . . .
Don't believe me? Well, read the book!