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.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Book Review: The All-Pro Diet

By Gonzalez, Tony, with Dulan, Mitzi
Published August, 2009
256 pages

This is another celebrity workout book, with a twist - it's a celebrity diet book. Take one celebrity (NFL pro Tony Gonzalez), add one Registered Dietician (Mitzi Dulan), and you get a conversationally-toned and fairly chatty book about how to eat.

The diet comes with 17 rules to follow. They're pretty straightforward, like "2. Eat Every 3 to 4 Hours" or "14. Avoid Added Sugars." But they're also a little overstated. Number 13 is "Never Skip a Meal" but that could easily have fallen under #2, and #14 could have been combined with the other couple of rules about sugar and starches - fast-digesting carbohydrates.

Most of the book goes to convincing you to follow these rules and why they're effective. It's scattered with anecdotes about healthy and unhealthy eat by Tony Gonzalez and his teammates. The book is also packed with recipes, which is helpful if you follow the diet.

I'm giving the diet short shrift here because I'm basically interested in the workouts. The diet isn't something you haven't seen before if you are familiar with John Berardi's work. I've linked to his articles before. It's nice to see another diet that supports these ideas - lean protein at every meal, frequent meals with a balanced approach to the contents, whole grains instead of white flour, getting a good Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio, and so on.

The workout free weights - no machines! It features undulating periodization with a deload. What's that mean? It means:
Week 1 - 3 sets of 10 reps
Week 2 - 4 sets of 8 reps
Week 3 - 5 sets of 5 reps
Week 4 - 3 sets of 10-12 reps with less weight than week 1.

The exercises are all good ones, although there are some oddities - the plank is renamed the "yugo," the jump squat is called the "bounder," the Romanian deadlift is described as an "isolation exercise" when it's technically a compound lift. You also do 250 crunches every warmup - that's quite a lot of them for a warmup, since reps that high aren't going to do much to make you stronger or carve up some impressive abs. Otherwise, you jump rope to warmup, then do compound exercises like RDLs, power cleans, squats, lunges, dumbbell bench pressing, curls, and pullups. The workouts are oddly (or not oddly?) described in football terms. It makes sense since the co-author is a football player, but I'd bet not a lot of players are buying this book to learn how to lift. Or maybe they are - although the book is aimed at a broader audience it does take some pains to play to the athletic crowd.

Content: 3 out of 5. Good diet, good workout, but it's all about the same.
Presentation: 3 out of 5. It takes a long time to get to the point and uses that annoying "celebrity telling you what the expert told him/her" approach. The charts and pictures are clear enough.

Overall: The diet seems sound enough, but they did go a bit overboard on the rules - 17 is a lot to remember. The workout is sound enough, too, and it's a good start. There are a lot of other resources out there, though, and this one doesn't have much to shout out its uniqueness.

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