Individuals who suffer from seesawing weight or have hit a plateau despite their workouts should find new questions to explore in this debut book on diet and fitness.
Dental surgeon and fitness enthusiast Lee explains the physiology behind the maddening process of weight loss. Divided into 24 chapters, the book examines how humans’ nomadic past of privation turned the rapid absorption and long-term storage of energy into an evolutionary advantage. Lee then details how such genetic predisposition is further regulated or thrown into chaos by the complicated interactions of hormones and neurotransmitters to create calorie partitioning (energy being stored by fat reserves versus muscle). The complicated interplay of insulin, leptin, testosterone loss in both men and women, and the release of endorphins can help or sabotage one’s efforts, especially since there is no “right” method. The author cautions that even heavy exercise can send one’s body weight into stasis. Valiant calorie-restrictive diets can have unintended consequences of starving the muscles and robbing the body of water. Because different kinds of muscles respond to different types of exercise, those who can bench press 200 pounds may still struggle to lose fat. Lee offers neither one diet nor one set of workouts but gives an example of his own cyclical mixture of both, intended to alternately emphasize and de-emphasize carbs and rotate between fat-burning and muscle-building techniques. He then changes up these routines to prevent metabolic adaptation. Black-and-white Thinkstock images and a helpful Frequently Asked Questions section accompany the lively chapters. While intriguing, this book is aimed at the committed individual willing to engage in dogged experimentation. The lack of simple answers and a routine to follow (other than Lee’s highly customized and daunting outline) make this a guide for those willing to make informed mistakes toward finding exceedingly personal solutions. This will likely frustrate the beginner experiencing stubborn belly fat. Unfortunately, Lee’s work could be confused with the website (leangains.com) owned by personal trainer Martin Berkhan, who claims to have coined the phrase.
Entertaining, rigorous, and informative; a resource for crafting one’s personal regimen rather than a traditional fitness guide.