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Fitness for Geeks: Real Science, Great Nutrition, and Good Health [Kindle Edition]

Bruce W. Perry
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

If you’re interested in how things work, this guide will help you experiment with one crucial system you usually ignore—your body and its health. Long hours focusing on code or circuits tends to stifle notions of nutrition, but with this educational and highly useful book you can approach fitness through science, whether it’s investigating your ancestral health or using the latest self-tracking apps and gear.

Tune into components of your health through discussions on food, exercise, sleep, hormesis, and other issues—as well as interviews with various scientists and athletes—and discover healthy ways to tinker with your lifestyle.

  • Learn to live in the modern digital world and still be physically vibrant
  • Examine apps and widgets for self-tracking various fitness issues
  • Zero in on carbs, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals
  • Find and choose food, and learn when to eat and when to fast
  • Reboot your system through movement in the outside world
  • Select from more than a dozen techniques for your gym workout
  • Fuel fitness by focusing on the science of nutrition and supplements
  • Apply lifestyle hacks, such as high-intensity exercise and good stress


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review


Top 5 Fitness Tips from Bruce Perry, Author of Fitness for Geeks

  1. Sleep
  2. Sleep a lot, and consider monitoring your sleep to work out the rough spots with gear such as the Zeo Sleep Manager. We all know that life intrudes on sleep, but the idea is to maximize your sleep when you have the opportunity. Go to bed early (e.g., to catch the restorative deep sleep that can happen before midnight when the body secretes the repair mechanism called growth hormone), and don't skimp on the final long REM sleep in the early morning.

    Fitness for Geeks
  3. Exercise
  4. Choose exercise that makes you run faster or physically stronger over long slow exercise that breaks down your body. This means up to 30 minutes of effective resistance training about twice per week (with experience, lower reps and higher weights), and interval training as opposed to moderate jogging. A recent study discovered that 30-second bursts of cycling (4 to 6 times per session with 4 minute rests in between) was just as effective as traditional endurance exercise, but involved 90 percent fewer miles.

  5. Eat
  6. Eat food that's grown or pastured locally. Find a local farm, and become one of their good customers for pastured eggs, which generally offer higher levels of vitamins and minerals, grass-fed meats, berries, and veggies (in season).

  7. Fast
  8. Fast once in a while (This advice is only for adults, not for growing kids). Consider narrowing the window of eating to around 8 to 12 hours per day. An intermittent fast a couple times per week (such as fasting overnight and extending it to about 15 hours) can help with blood-glucose metabolism and reduce inflammation.

  9. Challenge
  10. Do something once in a while that represents an acute challenge. (Meaning, it scares the crap out of you then makes you laugh and/or tell stories about it afterward). The reason wilderness treks, for example, are so gratifying and exciting is because they seem to stimulate built-in instinctive pathways, according to the author Laurence Gonzales' Deep Survival. Although unproven, maybe they represent hormesis or "good stress." For even more fun, bring along self-tracking apps such as Endomondo or Backpacker GPS Trails Pro.

About the Author

Bruce W. Perry played college soccer in New York, then amidst a varied career in journalism and software engineering finished literally (ask my knees!) hundreds of road races and multisport events. 

He's since moved on to family life and recreational alpine hiking, skiing, and resistance training. He wrote two recent software books for O'Reilly Media. After an unguided youth the author climbs with mountain guides now and hangs out weightlifting in gyms again.  He has recently toured and summited Piz Palu in the Swiss Alps, Mt. Whitney's Mountaineer's Route, and Mt. Rainier.

Product Details

  • File Size: 10514 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (April 23, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007UQN22A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #483,724 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to like it, but... May 31, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have a real soft spot for "geeky" fitness, being a self-proclaimed geek who's been reading everything from nutrition to training literature over the last year or so in a quest for self-improvement.

Unfortunately, I felt this book fell short of its promise, despite really wanting to love it. If you're a true geek, the book really doesn't go into enough depth on many issues, and lays out a lot of surface-level science without diving into the whys and wherefores. For example, the Paleo diet is mentioned repeatedly, but the Paleo arguments against carbs and grains - from the insulin response to lectins and anti-nutrients - were nowhere to be seen. "We should eat like our ancestors" is about as far as this book goes, and that's not geeky enough for the intended reader, I fear.

In general, I felt the pacing, content and delivery were all just a bit off. Way too much easily-outdated information on apps and tools (and how many times does the author plug Endomondo?), over-saturation of information on vitamins' properties and far too little on exercise itself. Also, much of the content was too anecdotal -- it would have been great to hear from geeks with different lifestyles, transformations, and goals, rather than the author's many adventures. The interviews with experts were a nice touch, however.

While other reviewers praise the "lay out all the facts and make your own decisions" approach, this book started making some decisions for you, the reader, while falling short in other areas. Actionable steps would have probably been more helpful than patronising.

Summary: A lightweight read which may be a great kick in the pants for a geek to go and read some real literature, if they can get through all the lengthy app descriptions. Not advised if you're already interested in the subject and have begun your own research.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Crying Uncle July 16, 2012
Format:Paperback
I tried to like this book.

About three chapters in, I decided this book wasn't for me. From indirectly talking about people's auras after working out, to indirectly recommending paleo diets, this book just hit my woo-woo trigger one too many times. I enjoyed the discussion about different sites for tracking fitness, but when push came to shove about nutrition and such, I felt like I was spending more time on the web trying to verify every little piece of information in this book. I felt like I was reading the equivalent of an infomercial for something that will be thoroughly debunked in ten years.

I was really hoping this book would be something I could enjoy reading without having to be too critical, but this book isn't it.

(Note: I received a promotional copy of this book from the publisher, of whom I have enjoyed just about every other book they've published).
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50 of 70 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hey! What a book! Lots of real science! Like on page 15 when the author is reading peoples' auras! Awesome! Or page 14 where he states you should stand on the subway for the 35 minute commute "just because it feels better."

The rosy commute into work passes all the faster when you fast! That's right--according to the author you should skip breakfast!

And in this author's world, it never rains! Sunshine makes you high! Ride that bike or walk to work every day!

If you do eat breakfast, eat organic eggs! Locally grown! In your own yard if at all possible! Because that makes them healthy! Plenty of science by non-partisans like Mother Jones to back that up! Because you don't spray your yard with chemicals, and neither do your neighbors. Your house doesn't have paint on it nor sealant. Your deck isn't stained. And there are no plastics within a hundred miles!

Ok, by now you get the point. This book is vaporish feel-good pop science.

Frankly, after fasting, walking ten miles in to work, climbing up and down 12 flights of stairs, eating a salad for lunch, standing almost all day in lieu of sitting at a desk... you are going to be exhausted. Your feet will hurt. You will limp home and collapse. You'll start drinking and doing coke to feel better. You'll probably take up crystals and aromatherapy because or your pure despair. You will likely develop a binge eating disorder (hungry and exhausted you will tuck in to whatever is in the fridge when you get home and quit only when it is empty). And you won't have time or energy to actually work out.

And if you do work out, it shouldn't be for more than 30 minutes every couple of days or so. More than that is a waste of time. So...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fitness Overview, but Non-Geeky May 6, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The only thing geeky about this book is the terminology the author uses. He tries a little too hard, calling your genome the body's source code and dieting hacking your code. I found myself rolling my eyes at some of his attempts to get geek cred. He also makes several jokes about geeks not getting any sun or proper nutrition that remind me of grade school insults. Is that really what you think of your target audience? That geeks sit in a comic store swigging Mountain Dew and Cheetos? Come on. Don't be so juvenile. There are all manner of geeks, and that type of geek probably wouldn't be buying your book anyway.

As for the info, I was a little disappointed. It is highly referenced, but a few of the references are either poor studies or the results were taken out of context (I didn't look them all up, but I knew a few of them). That's kind of what expected from a pop science book, but this is a book for geeks. Geeks read. Health geeks supposedly know how to evaluate scientific literature.

I was most disappointed because I thought, judging from the cover and the title, that this would be a book about health gadgets and geeky health things. It barely touches on that topic. The only on body monitor that is mentioned is the Fitbit. I love the Fitbit, but I think it's competitors, especially the BodyMedia devices, deserve a mention. Withings has devices that measure BMI and blood pressure. Where were those? Even the section on apps for fitness was really lacking. Some of the most popular and common players (MyFitness Pal, RunKeeper) weren't even mentioned.

The book claims to not support a particular lifestyle or diet plan, but it does have an overly Paleo feel to it. There's nothing wrong with that, but this is a "geek" book, not a paleo book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Fitness for Geeks: Some Science, Good Nutrition, and Decent Health
This book may be written by a geek for geeks, but as a geek I expected to see references, notes on how to design and evaluate my own experiments, and more than one paragraph on... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Eric Jain
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice summaries
This book has a good set of summaries for important nutritional categories. I can't say I loved his work out regimes, nor the paleo thrust of his diet advice, but the book seems... Read more
Published 13 months ago by M. Fay
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad science: Auras, paleo-fiction, and skip breakfast
It's hard to take a book seriously if it claims "real science" and discusses auras. Is the other information valid? Or bad? How can I trust the author? Read more
Published 18 months ago by Michael A. Duvernois
5.0 out of 5 stars Alternate Day Fasting works for me
I like the different options for dieting and exercise in this book. It covers software for phones and computers, body "hacking" and a lot more.
Published 21 months ago by M. Evans
3.0 out of 5 stars Fluffy advice for programmers
This book provides basic nutrition and fitness information for cubicle dwellers of the technical sort. Perry is a software engineer and journalist as well as sports enthusiast. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent primer
Perry gives a broad overview of pretty much everything fitness, diving deeper into a few areas. If you're a cubicle dweller looking to be less sedentary and have no idea where to... Read more
Published 22 months ago by owookiee
5.0 out of 5 stars A geek treasurehouse
This book hit a sweet spot for me. I had done a little of the research into these health products and issues on my own, but this brought a huge amount of information into one... Read more
Published 22 months ago by James L. Gillaspy
3.0 out of 5 stars some good info, some not so good
I found the book about 3/4 useful. I personally did not care for the first quarter of the book where the author promotes the Paelo diet and tries to much to talk it up. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Patrick Holt
5.0 out of 5 stars lots of info
This book is crammed with knowledge about off sorts of health topics. You could build a good foundation of knowledge with this book.
Published 22 months ago by tumaru
3.0 out of 5 stars Techy and thorough
This book aims to get us out from behind a computer screen, and get moving in the way we were originally designed to do so. Read more
Published on October 18, 2012 by Document Geek
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More About the Author

Bruce W. Perry is a fiction and non-fiction writer. "Compulsion" is his fourth novel, the third in the Karl Standt series. Most of his time is spent with his wife and two kids in Warren, VT, USA.

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