Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way.
Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Book Review: The Official Gold's Gym Beginner's Guide to Fitness
by David Porter
This book is aimed at total beginners to weight training. Unfortunately, there isn't much to make it stand out from the crowd. The author, David Porter, has written much better books...this isn't one of them.
The introductory material - why you should exercise, how to set goals, how much should you exercise, etc. - is all pretty good. Nothing very exciting or special here, but it's well written and very readable. The section on selecting gym wear - especially sports bras - is something I hadn't seen get much attention in other books and it's nice to see. But the rest is pretty generic.
The workouts are plain and uninspired. They are a mix of good stuff (compound exercises) and not-so-good (isolation exercises and machines) thrown together into a "complete" workout. They seem like they were built from a muscle template - "Okay, we've got one for the posterior deltoid, now let's add front raises for the anterior deltoid, and we need a triceps exercise, how about kickbacks..." They do get everything but in that usual 2-3 sets of 8-12 (12-15 for women, or for legs) approach. The book gives lip service to the idea that you might have different goals but the programs are all generic fitness-n-size lists to take to the gym with you. You know, a routine that lets you work through all of those machines so you don't get bored (usually expressed as "changing it up to confuse your muscles" - no, so you don't get bored and quit.)
Content: 2 out of 5. It's the same-old same-old machines-and-isolation for high reps approach, warmed over.
Presentation: 3 out of 5. Written well, and the pictures are accurate, but it's uninspired.
Overall: Entirely skippable. It's not awful, but it's not worth it for non-beginners and there are better books out there for beginners.
I am a professional personal trainer. I train clients at CR Fitness in Wyckoff, NJ.
I am a Certified Personal Trainer from the NSCA.
I am also a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified nutrition coach.
I am also an athlete myself - I formerly fought amateur MMA and submission wrestling, and I train twice a week in MMA.
I also train under a strength coach - Mike Guadango at Freak Strength. I am skilled at training others, but I thrive best when I have a knowledgeable coach to direct my own training.
About Strength Basics
This blog is a collection of various advice and information about basic strength training. I'm interested in strength and conditioning. The "frequently asked questions" in this area are VERY frequently asked.
This is my attempt to pull together the stuff I keep saying over and over. It's also a place for to put links related to strength and conditioning, and to muse on strength training in general. Further, writing this blog tests what I know. You never really know something until you can demonstrate an ability to explain it to someone else. As I write, I learn what I know and I don't know. In the process, I hope to pass on knowledge to you.
I hope this material is useful to you. Please consider it a springboard to future study. Although I endeavor to be complete and accurate, this is not meant to be the final answer to any subject addressed within the blog. Strength Basics may teach you something, but more than that I hope it makes you curious to learn more!
Always remember to check with your doctor before you begin any kind of strength or exercise program. I'm a professional personal trainer, but I'm not your personal trainer. Use this information at your own risk and with the understanding that not all exercise advice is appropriate for all trainees.