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Fitness for Geeks: Real Science, Great Nutrition, and Good Health Paperback – May 4, 2012

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Editorial Reviews 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

Amidst a varied career in journalism and software engineering, Bruce W. Perry has moved on from numerous long runs and multisport events to hiking, skiing, weightlifting, and general fitness tracking and pursuits. He's written two recent O'Reilly software books, and occasionally climbs in the summer with mountain guides, including Mt. Rainier and Mt. Whitney's Mountaineer's Route.

Perry lives in Warren, VT with his wife and two kids.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (May 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449399894
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449399894
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #984,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Bruce W. Perry is a fiction and non-fiction writer. Accidental Exiles is his latest novel. Compulsion was the third in the Karl Standt crime series after Gone On Kauai. Most of his time is spent with his wife and two kids in Warren, VT, USA. Converse with me about writerly stuff at @goneonkauai.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Craig Maloney on 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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53 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Darden on May 10, 2012
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AmandaGal VINE VOICE on 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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