155 of 166 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2004
I've been looking forward to Chris Carmichael's "Food for Fitness" for some weeks now. I'm a fan of Lance Armstrong, and I'm a beginner marathon runner myself, so this combination of cycling lore and nutritional information is something I thought would be both informative and fun.
However, I have to say that I am disappointed by the quality of the final book. There is quite a bit of good data here, and the science behind how we process and burn energy is described in some detail. But the information is poorly organized, spread over multiple chapters and often contradictory. Sample meal plans are provided, but these are vague and sometimes incomplete. For example, one daily diet described on page 212 skips breakfast. This seems like a bad idea for anyone, let alone an endurance athlete.
In addition to the factual inconsistencies, the writing itself is not very clear. I often found myself having to reread paragraphs to understand the point the author was trying to make. In a technical book such as this, a consistent use of the topic sentence would have made it much more readable. It feels as if the book is half-completed; with data, anecdotal stories, and recipes all dropped in and stirred around a bit, with not enough effort spent on making the text into a cohesive whole.
Mr. Carmichael also spends a significant portion of the book promoting his other products; notably his CTS training courses and his affiliation with PowerAde. There are whole pages that read more like a brochure than a technical nutrition book.
There is some good information here, and I will keep the book and use it as a reference in the future. But I can't help thinking that so much more could have been accomplished with better organization, a more approachable writing style, and less emphasis on the add-ons.
87 of 101 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2004
As someone with insulin issues (Insulin resistance) I have struggled for the last year to find any information on nutrition that related to me as a runner. All the info I could find was either geared to marathoners who run 60-80+ miles weekly, or to couch potatoes...my 4-5 hour a week training didn't seem to fit in anybody's info, even though i was infinitely more active than anyone in my circle of friends. There was nothing in the middle for me and it was frustrating.
I bought Chris's book 48 hours ago, the day it arrived in our bookstore. It is without question, the best resource on running and eating I have ever read, and I've done literally hundreds of hours of research trying to find information applicable to me.
I was concerned about the book being too elitist, but it is amazing. He has absolutely done his homework on everything from low-carbing to sports drinks and I have no doubt my book will get worn out from all the referencing I will be doing. I haven't been able to put it down.
He writes as an authority, but he his style is one as fellow athlete and not preacher. The book is a wealth of graphs and charts and things to help us individually. Some folks might get bogged down in some of the detailed nutrition info, but I have to admit it fascinated me. It was well-written and his stories involving real life athletes are engaging.
I HIGHLY reccommend this book. Not only does the guy's reputation precede him, but as somebody who has struggled to find good info from the monotonous assembly line of books on running/athletics out there, I've found this book to be the cream of the crop. Chris has an all-encompassing, realistic and well written book for everybody from serious to recreational athlete.
66 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2004
It's about time someone wrote a new nutrition book for active people. This book cuts through all the carb confusion to give people who exercise real information about how much carbohydrate and protein we need, and the reasons why. Carmichael gives low-carb diets credit for being effective for weight loss, but then provides all the reasons a higher-carbohdyrate diet is better for active people. More than that, he tells you how to match nutrition to training so you perform better and control your weight during the year. This is the plan Carmichael uses with Lance Armstrong, who just won his sixth Tour de France. I expected the book to be over my head, but I am impressed; Carmichael makes science easy to understand and applies his common-sense nutrition program to middle-aged, moderately-active, very busy men like me. I haven't tried the recipes or used the meal plans in the back of the book yet, but I expect they're as good as the information that precedes them.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2005
Within 3 weeks of implementing the basic concepts I noticed a massive difference in my ability to train productively on successive days and that my soreness after long runs of 10-20 miles was drastically cut.
One of the great things about this book is that you can apply it's concepts in a macro or micro level pretty easilly, from grams to food groups to eating for specific training cycles.
The organization and layout could use some cleaning up, but the content makes up for it. It has plenty of sample diets, though it could use a little more.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2005
I have a masters degree in Exercise Physiology, and as such, have had numerous courses and training in exercise nutrition. I found this book to be incredibly helpful and an all-around great nutritional resource. It touches all of the main points of nutrition and really does a good job of applying the principles to active individuals.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2004
Over the years I have invested in many books on nutrition and fitness, but this is the first one that truly addresses my situation. I exercise regularly, but training and working out doesn't rule my life. I am not fat and I don't need a diet book, I need a nutrition book. I need a better understanding of what foods are best for my body based on my level of activity. What's more, I need to know why. I like the sections on carbohydrates, how they're used, and why I need them. As Chris says, low-carb diets are meant for some people, but not for my lifestyle. Carmichael's view of food as fuel was really helpful, as was the idea that exercise should be aimed at gaining fitness and not just merely burning calories. The book also gave structure and meaning to the ways my eating habits change during the year; now I see why I do and should eat more when I'm running more in the summer. Likewise, it's great to have a plan for reducing calories in the fall and winter, when I'm not running as much. The book gives the information behind its assertions, and it's readable and easy to understand instead of being overly technical.
By giving up my coffee habit I realized having that wired up feeling all day clouded my concentration. Did you know one cup of joe raises your blood pressure by 14%! Fortunately for me I was able to find a wonderful tasting replacement made from soyabeans. You brew like coffee and it even helps lower my cholesterol. I found it online at [...] o y c o f f e e.c o m. Gaining this understanding will effect every move you make from this point on and will bring with it the necessity to share it.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2005
This is the most balanced look at nutrition and exersize I have ever seen. Contains a critique of low carb diets as a bonus so you can have factual response to the fad diet.
While geared toward the athlete there is a strong sense that it is really for anyone that is not sedentary and that a sedentary lifestyle is what is really bad for you.
Specifically though, contains recommendations for levels of carbohydrate, protein, and fat consumption based on what point in your exersize plan you are at. Also contains how your body uses these nutrients. The meal plans at the back are less useful, the recipes are very useful.
The one thing missing is a specific step by step plan for applying the ideas to building your menu plans. You can glean it from the contents though given a little effort. Essentially, keep track of the nutritional content of what you are eating and adjust according to the guidelines contained. Make changes gradually or you are unlikely to stick to them.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Carmichael seems to be well known as nutrition counselor for Lance Armstrong. As a runner, but not a cyclist, I've been blissfully unaware of this - and, to be honest, still really don't care all that much for the cycling angle. Yet, I've been a runner for 30 years, with 40,000+ miles of running behind me. I have genetically high cholesterol, and found Carmichael's book to provide something the other nutrition books (for lowering cholesterol) lacked, namely, an insight into diet for an active person.
After being diagnosed with somewhat high cholesterol, I went to see a dietitian. She recommended a diet of 1800 calories/day, despite my telling her that I average 2 hours of exercise per day. After losing 8 pounds in 2 weeks under her system, I bought Carmichael's book. It quickly became evident that the dietitian I was paying had the right ideas and science, but for sedentary people. Expanding her thoughts to include Carmichael's recommendation, my weight stabilized - and my cholesterol dropped 30 points in 5 months. In addition, at age 45, I set a personal best for 50K in a running event.
I highly recommend this book, but only for those that are seriously active.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2008
I just finished this book that I got as a gift this past summer. It's written by Lance Armstrong's prior trainer/nutritionist, so right off the bat you know your not reading a book written by just any chum.
It can prove very useful book for both beginner and advanced athletes wanting to learn or solidify the fundamentals of good, sound dieting as and training concepts.
It's thorough - it covers the importance of heart-rate targeted training (he provides instructions on how to run 'field-tests' used by his company to find your training HR). He goes over macronutrients (their importance, roles, recommended daily ratios, good/bad carbs/fats). He goes over young, old, and pregnant athletes.
I've concluded that this book is better suited for endurance athletes. Sure, Carmichael helped train one of the best endurance athletes ever, but Carmichael does say that his nutritional formula (which varies depending on the time of the year, which divides into training periods) is roughly 65% carbs, 22% fat, 13% protein.
I'm mainly a strength athlete. In tracking the percentages of my daily macronutrients, I learned that I feel optimal when I get 20-25% of my day's worth of calories as protein. Likewise, optimal when I get around 20-25% of calories in fat. That leaves my carbs at about 50-60% of my day's calories. He argues that a higher carb diet better replenishes glycogen stores, aids muscle repair, and provides energy - but I feel mentally and physically better when I stick to my percentages (I tried his percentages, as well as other extreme percentages such as the one in the mostly fruitarian raw vegan diet). I don't know if this is because of my body type (a concept he does not discuss) or because of my type of training.
I also disagree with his view on carbs and feel that it is a bit incomplete. He categorizes carbs as empty carriers or nutritious. I think there are damaging carbs - I feel markedly worse after a snickers bar and feel it worsens my cardiovascular endurance. They also provoke a high glycemic response. This is an important concept that has helped me succeed athletically once I took it into account. Two other concepts not discussed are food alkalinity and their potential to promote bodily inflammation. I believe these are important concepts that DO make a difference in training.
The bottom line is that this guy has A LOT of experience in the field of athletic performance an nutrition (he himself was an elite athlete). He runs an athlete training company and, thus, trains a lot of top athletes. He has seen what works and doesn't. It's just that I think it's better suited for endurance athletes, and that it's a bit incomplete since it lacks discussion about body type (and possible resulting dietary alterations), glycemic index and load, as well as carbs that can potentially hinder your performance. (And not just because you could be eating something more nutritious in their place...but because they're bad for you!)
Beyond all that, the book contains a bunch of pages of cooking recipes (which I didn't look at, I'm happy with my cooking; maybe later), and advice on eating on the go. In a few parts of the book he pubs his PowerBar products, but it only caused chuckles and didn't degrade the quality of his advice.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2005
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is a very thorough book, and mostly too thorough for the "average" and even serious recreational rider. If you are an aspiring pro, or even a serious racer, this is a wonderful book for you. If you're simply looking for a book to help you with your "fitness" in regard to exercise, you'll be way too confused when you finish this one...if you can finish it.