What Did The Book Critics Think?
Cut the calories and lift the weights—but in exactly the right ways—to get a muscular, athletic body, argues this second edition of a guide to dieting and exercise. Lee (The Essential Guide to Sports Nutrition and Bodybuilding, 2018, etc.) starts with the insight that losing weight is a matter of burning more calories than people consume. But while it’s “really as simple as that,” this practice is far from straightforward. Once readers have adopted a diet that puts them in a calorie deficit—more burned than eaten—they have to get the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, the author asserts, as well as micronutrients, from vitamin A to selenium. And he points out the vexing ups and downs of dieting. As people lose weight, their metabolisms slow, making it harder to burn calories—Lee suggests periodic diet breaks and “re-feeds” to kick the metabolism back up a notch—and they face weight-loss plateaus, water-weight fluctuations, bloating, fatigue, and cravings. The author then analyzes the other half of the complex equation, building muscle through weight lifting. He distinguishes the different types of muscle fibers and the various exercise regimens to train them, using low-weight, high-rep lifts for endurance and high-weight, low-rep lifts for size and strength. Then he delves into the byzantine interactions between diet and exercise. Weight lifting burns carbs but not much fat, so Lee recommends a cycling diet of high carbs on gym days followed by high fat on jogging days. And growing new muscle requires a calorie surplus, which means additional fat gain, thus necessitating, in the author’s scheme, larger cycles in which people cut fat on a diet, then eat more to bulk up on muscle, then diet again to shrink the fat so as to reveal the muscle definition they want to show off. So there’s a lot to learn, ponder, and calculate in the author’s system; it’s not a cookie-cutter approach, and readers need to do some work and a little arithmetic in applying it. Fortunately, Lee makes this fairly easy with clear, step-by-step instructions and planning aids. He shows readers how to find their “maintenance” calorie intake and figure out how many calories they need to cut to reach an appropriate deficit along with procedures to reckon the amount of protein—1 gram per pound per day when dieting, a little more for bulking—carbs, and fat in their diets. Superplants packed with micronutrients—hail kale—are discussed along with bodybuilding nutritional supplements. (The author recommends whey protein, creatine phosphate, and yohimbine.) Lee provides weekly weight lifting schedules and routines for men and women, specifying everything from the number of sets of Bulgarian split squats and butt-blasters to the minutes of rest in between reps; templates for tracking calories and exercises; dozens of inspirational color photographs of magnificently toned, ripped, and cut gym rats; and even suggestions for a workout playlist. There’s a massive amount of information here, but the author manages to keep it well organized, lucid, and readable. He boils the material down into bullet-pointed insights, convenient tables, cut-and-dried formulas, easy-to-use rules, and aphorisms—“The longer it takes to lose the fat, the longer it takes to put it back on”—that are both sensible and pithy. A clear, detailed road map to getting in shape for serious fitness enthusiasts.
"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."
".....if you''are'' a serious sportsman then you could find that the advice in ''Lean Gains'' could lift you up to the next level of performance. Evidence suggests that diets don't work in the long term, but Lee is reassuring that it's not just down to people lacking the willpower to stick to a diet. Once we hit a plateau the natural reaction is to reduce calories and carbs - which makes the body fight even harder to retain fat. The way around this is complex- involving hormones and calorie partitioning. Don't worry - it's all fully explained, but the sad fact is that one diet or one training routine is not going to work for long.....The book is full of nuggets of information like this, but it's strongest on suggestions for the training needs of your particular sport and ideas as to the diet to be followed. He gives the pros and cons of different combinations of diet and regime and takes a hard look at dietary supplements....You'll find the FAQs at the back of the book and it's worth referring to these if you have any questions about the main content of the book.....a valuable resource..."
"...everything you need to know about dieting, growing muscle, weight training, and exercise regimes is covered in immense detail within 'The Essential Guide to Sports Nutrition and Bodybuilding.'....it is clear that Dr. Lee has gone to immense detail to provide us with an easy-to-digest yet informative account detailing a huge range of relevant topics. You name it, it's all covered here. The book is divided into 3 sections. The first section focuses on 'diet and nutrition.' Dr. Lee discusses why so many diets unfortunately fail in the long term. In addition to this, he takes an objective look into veganism, meat, gut health, fasting, dietary fat, and stress management; and that's just the first third of the book. The second and third sections focus more on exercise and workout regimes......if your interests include weight training, bodybuilding, nutrition, or just overall healthy living, then this book is an essential addition to your collection......bearing in mind that this book is over 800 pages long and almost A4 in size, I would suggest using "The Essential Guide to Sports Nutrition and Bodybuilding" as an excellent reference book you should keep at home, as opposed to one you would tuck away neatly in your gym bag (unless you like carrying heavy gym bags). ...the book is packed with colour pictures, paragraph breaks, and humour to allow for easy reading..."
"......Lean Gains offers a comprehensive approach to dropping fat and replacing it with muscle. It’s rigorous, science-based, and-—hallelujah!—you don’t have to live on grapefruit alone to make it work. He (Dr Lee) notes that he has “always been fascinated with medicine, sports nutrition, and the physiology of the human body” and has spent years in the gym and nutritional world. The book is jammed with details but nicely broken up with clip art so the science doesn’t get overwhelming. Crisp paragraph breaks and a gentle sense of humor make for quick, enjoyable reading. The diet tips are really secondary to strength training, and there’s a detailed discussion of workouts here that takes the form of an extended pros and cons list, noting why certain types of exercise can offer more lean muscle mass gain than others....Well researched and meticulously written, Lean Gains offers valuable insight into the science of weight loss."