Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Book Review

Mission Statement: all reviews will be my honest assesment on the material in queston. My opinion will never be influenced by personal bias or my opinion of the author.

The Metabolic Repair Manual

"If you have ever seen the frustration of a woman who hates her body to the point of starving herself and training for so many hours that it is a wonder she can walk, all in the effort to lose those "last pounds" then you might start to understand why I do what I do. I just can't let that happen anymore, not when I have the answers."

- Leigh Peele

Who is this book for?

This a book for chronic dieters that might have caused significant damage to their metabolism by years of calorie deprivation and yoyo-dieting. The book provides a practical approach with the objective of fixing a 'broken' metabolism.

What will I learn from it?

This book attempts to answer the question why you're not losing fat despite a rigid diet. You will learn the functions of various hormones and their effect on your metabolism, and you will learn how to get your fat loss back on track again.

Strong points

* Good points about some common mistakes made by everyone including experienced dieters. This video is pretty telling: Food counts.

* Although it is geared towards the 'professional dieter', male and female, it feels like this book is specifically aimed towards women. In that category it is a welcome addition, since it deals specifically with many general behaviors and issues pertaining to this group.

* Good primer on hormones and their effect on metabolism.

* The R.E.P.A.I.R program is based on sound priniciples.

Weak points

* In the chapter 4, there is a brief summary of some of the advice given in The Fat Loss Troubleshoot (another book by Leigh). The advice (goal setting, behavioral strategies etc) is generally quite sound, but the training and diet advice given here feels generic and haphazard. I get the feeling that Leigh went 'let's throw this in the mix just for the hell off it', and I suspect it may only serve to confuse the reader.

* Book layout, and even language in some areas, feels a bit lacking.

* The absence of a reference list; this seems like a bit of a cheap move considering all the research Leigh apparently put into the subject.


Albeit lacking some polish (editing mainly), my impression of this book is mostly positive. Interactions between hormones, metabolism and calorie balance is quite complex, particularily when it comes to women, yet Leigh manages to fit together the pieces quite well; I particularily liked the fact that Leigh discussed topics like water retention, periods and the effect on scale weight (a seeminly small issue which can be quite a mindfuck for some people, causing much frustration and discouragement). So, this book comes recommended for frustrated dieters and people interested in the subject of metabolism in general.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Client results update

Time for another client update.

Karl, before at 185 lbs

Karl, after at 173 lbs

Karl, before at 185 lbs

Karl, after at 173 lbs

Despite getting absolutely ripped, Karl gained strength during the 11 weeks we worked together (period included one off-week, making it 10 weeks of effective dieting in total).

Johan, before at 182 lbs

Johan, after at 170 lbs

Johan, before at 182 lbs

Johan, after at 170 lbs

Johan, before at 182 lbs

Johan, after at 170 lbs

Even though Johan got his conditioning to a point where he looks as if he's ready to step on a bodybuilding stage, he retained his strength very well during this dieting phase.

James, before at 160 lbs

James, after at 170 lbs

James consulted with me a while ago, after which he proceeded on his own and used my diet to gain some quality mass. These pics were taken after 16 weeks of a mass phase followed by 4 weeks of a diet phase. As you can see the difference in body fat is minimal, yet he looks a lot thicker on the after-pics. The net result seems to be about 10 lbs of pure muscle on his frame.

Here are some of the excellent strength gains he made:

Bench press

at 160 lbs: 185 lbs x 6
at 170 lbs: 235 lbs x 5


at 160 lbs: 245 lbs x 6
at 170 lbs: 285 lbs x 5


at 160 lbs: 265 lbs x 5
at 170 lbs: 310 lbs x 5


Another successful example of the Leangains approach to quality mass gain, Matthew reports the following results after 12 weeks.

Bench press

at 175 lbs: 205 lbs x 8
at 184 lbs: 245 lbs x 7

Front squat

at 175 lbs: 205 lbs x 5
at 184 lbs: 255 lbs x 4


at 175 lbs: 340 lbs x 4
at 184 lbs: 405 lbs x 5

Though there are no adequate before-pics of this client, Matthew reports no measurable fat gain despite having added 9 lbs of mass to his frame. In fact, he reports feeling slightly leaner than before.

My name is Martin Berkhan and I work as a nutritional consultant, magazine writer and personal trainer.

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