Skip to main content

Beat the Gym: Book Review

 10990146

Okay, I'll admit right up front that I met Tom Holland in person and we really connected, but I still think I was as objective as possible when I reviewed this book.  Little did I know at the time, however, that Adam had just finished reading his book about marathon training!

Tom is a spokesperson for Nautilus retail fitness equipment and I was invited to come check out their latest cardio machines, the Bowflex Treadclimber and the Max Trainer.

TC20M5

As far as cardio machines go (I'm currently on a cardio machine-free life), these are top notch.  Both offer low impact but high intensity workouts on sturdy equipment that have all sorts of connectivity options to allow you to track your progress.

I spent a while chatting with the Nautilus company reps and Tom about fitness and health promotion and just how tough it is to get people on the exercise bandwagon.  They're from New York, so we had a fun discussion about our favorite healthy restaurants in Manhattan and we complained about how tough it is to get brown rice at any Asian restaurants in Toronto.  Not sure why we Canadians are so behind in that area, but then again, I think NYC is unique because I've been to lots of other cities in the U.S. that are not nearly so health and nutrition conscious.

Anyways, back to the book.  I had no idea what to expect, but I was really pleasantly surprised. This book will be very useful for anyone who currently has a gym membership or anyone who is considering joining a gym. 

I guess it should come as no surprise, since we seemed to be on the same page about most things when we talked, that Tom echoes almost all of my own observations and opinions about fitness and gym culture in this book.

He starts by giving you insider tips on how to choose a gym and on how to get the best deal on a gym membership.  One point he makes that I never considered, but is so true, is that purchasing an overnight locker rental can help you stick to your fitness routine.  It makes life a whole lot easier and gives you extra incentive (because of the additional investment) to go and keep going.

In the second chapter he debunks various fitness myths, explains how to get the best results from cardio machines and squeezes in little gym etiquette tips. 

Just like me, he favours the stepmill and stairclimber, when used properly...no leaning all your weight on the handlebars folks!

In chapter three he focuses on strength training and explains, with photos, how to properly use all the strength training machines you typically see at the gym.  Tom also includes an entire section on free weight exercises and another on core training, which also has photos and detailed instructions for proper execution.

Tom also suggests doing low-level aerobic activity like walking to minimize Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), and I have definitely found this to be most effective...followed by Epsom salt/lavender oil baths.  After my heavy lifting routine and spin class on Sundays, I feel way better if we get out and active with the kids in the afternoon rather than being totally sedentary.

A rather unique feature of this book is that he evaluates group fitness classes typically found in gyms and explains the aspect of fitness they best address (i.e. strength, cardio, mind/body, etc.).  He says all the things I've been saying on this blog for years, like HOT YOGA IS NOT CARDIO and PILATES IS NOT A WEIGHT LOSS ACTIVITY!).

I laughed hysterically when I got to his section on Woo-ing.  This is the call and response motivational yells often heard between instructor and participants...I think it was a bigger thing in the 90s when we were all doing step aerobics.

His section on nutrition is sound too.  Basically he gives the general advice I always give: eat real food and the appropriate amount of calories for your energy levels.  But I don't happen to fall into his definition of what trainers eat: Egg whites. Chicken breasts. Tuna. Fruit. Oatmeal. Salad. Protein Shakes.  Okay, I do eat all those things except protein shakes, but I also eat a ton of other foods too...and I generally prefer cooked veggies to salad.

I agree with his take on carbs, which is, we shouldn't eliminate them, just eat the right ones (whole, unrefined, like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, fruits and veggies).

In chapter six, Tom offers over 20 training programs based on the exercises outlined in the book, that you can follow and concludes with a short section on how to stay motivated and stick to your routine.  As a bonus, the Appendix has recommendations for choosing a personal trainer, and how to build a home gym.

Overall, Tom really does deliver what he promises: pretty much all the knowledge you'd get from a personal trainer without the cost!  The only thing that's missing is having someone counting reps and yelling at you to keep going while you're working out.  But if you ask me, unless you CAN afford to workout with a personal trainer 3+ times a week, than you should learn to motivate yourself.  This book is a great resource for anyone who currently works out and is looking to get better results and/or someone who wants to start an exercise program.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Blackfly Coolers: Product Review

Summer is over! Well, at least if you're a student. Officially it doesn't end for a few weeks, and it certainly still feels like summer. Yeah, I hate it. This f*cking hot, humid weather needs to end NOW! We made the most of our last weekend of the summer with our annual trip to the CNE on Friday, with a crowd of friends. It wasn't unbearably lot, thank goodness, and the girls and their friends had a blast on the rides.  Saturday I had to work, and Sunday was errand day. Monday we took the girls berry/apple/pear picking but didn't last long due to the heat. I organized the house to prepare for the construction workers starting back up yesterday, while Adam took the girls for a swim in our neighbourhood pool.

Yesterday was the first day of school. Grade 2 and Grade 5. Yep, the girls are growing up.  We are fortunate that the girls don't have much anxiety about school, they are so much more confident than I ever was as a kid! But now, in the midst of our reno chaos, …

Live Clean

I have been committed to living a healthy life through nutrition and fitness for over 20 years now.

It took me a lot longer to pay attention to what I was cleaning the house with and what I was putting ON my body as opposed to IN it.

When I got pregnant with Big A I started reading about the toxins in a lot of commercial cleaning products and switched to the all-natural, eco-friendly stuff. When I became pregnant with Little A, I switched to all-natural, eco-friendly personal care products.

I am all for being environmentally friendly for the good of the planet, but to be honest, what really motivates me to make these types of changes is concern for my family's health.

You may remember I mentioned giving up my favorite perfume a while back because it apparently is full of nasty chemicals. I switched to the "Red Tea" scent made my Roots, which is supposed to be somewhat "natural". This was only after a number of trial and errors. I first found a woman in …

Panang Curry

When we go out for Thai food, one of my favorite things to order is the panang curry. But there is no doubt when this dish is made in a restaurant, it packs a hefty wallop of fat, sodium and calories.

My version is lightened up, but still rich and flavourful and it is super simple to make.

Traditionally, panang curry is made with either beef or chicken, but I made it vegetarian, using dried seiten (wheat gluten) I got at T&T a few weeks ago. If you are not sensitive to gluten, this is a great source of vegetarian protein. If you cannot find it dried, you can get it prepared at most health food stores. Alternatively, you can use tofu, or the more traditional chicken or beef options.

This dish also doesn't usually have much vegetable matter in it, but I love how yummy veggies taste when simmered in this sauce, and it makes this a healthy one-pot meal. Use whatever veggies you prefer or have on hand.

Protein of choice (2 cups seiten or 1 lb organic tofu, boneless skinless ch…