Strength Basics

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
Published 2005
162 pages

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.

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