Lee (Lean Gains, 2018) trains the reader in the fundamentals of health and strength in this fitness manual.
Have you ever been on a diet that was working…but then stopped? Or tried to start a workout regimen only to find it ineffective? Lee aims to provide a fresh start when it comes to nutrition and exercise, replacing the many myths that bombard us daily with sound information and sustainable workout habits. He divides his advice into three parts: an explanation of nutrition, an exploration of exercising for muscle growth, and a practical regimen for switching to a healthier, muscle-building program. He explains why diets fail, getting into the biological factors at play when people abstain from or overindulge in various types of food. He dives into the weeds regarding the various nutrients the body needs and what they do; for example, what does it really mean to have a zinc deficiency, anyway? He sets realistic dietary goals for losing or maintaining weight, based on body type and level of activity. In the exercise section, he breaks down the many considerations that go into a fitness routine, including body type—are you an ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph? He also discusses the best strategies (and their side effects) for attaining various physiques. (Is it possible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time? Only in some cases, but being out of shape is one of those cases!) In the final section, Lee outlines several complete workout programs and even includes a music playlist. Numerous charts and full-color photographs augment the text.
Lee’s prose is accessible and clear, appropriate to that of a practiced fitness instructor: “Overtraining is a bit like trying to blow up a balloon in one breath. In the beginning, you can blow into the balloon and the balloon will get bigger. However, the longer you continue exhaling into the balloon without taking a break, the smaller the balloon will increase in size and the more exhausted you would become.” The book, a mammoth 800 pages, explores—in granular detail—areas that the beginning bodybuilder may not have previously considered, like the importance of limiting cardio exercises if one is trying to build muscle. Building muscle is the author’s concern, after all, and his nutritional advice—which makes up the first half of the book—unfolds with that goal in mind. There are many books on this subject, but Lee sets himself apart by his willingness to discuss at length numerous supplements, including “the Naughty Stuff”: performance-enhancing drugs. A point in Lee’s favor is that he generally defers to health science and presents things in a balanced manner, providing pros and cons for various diets, supplements, and other possibly controversial elements. Even readers who choose not to follow his advice will gain a bit of muscle mass simply from lifting this weighty tome onto their bookshelf.
A comprehensive, well-formatted primer for eating and exercising with bodybuilding in mind.