I’ve been reading a lot this year and finished up “Engineering The Alpha” last week which was written by Adam Bornstein and John Romaniello. I’ve followed both of these fitness-industry leaders for some time via social media so I was looking forward to getting into this one. For years, I have spoken to clients about the importance of consistent movement (exercise), healthy nutritional habits, and having a proper mindset for making change. Incorporate these habits into your lifestyle and positive things will happen. While I firmly believe the “mindset” habit is king, I’ve sometimes wondered whether I was missing out on any additional pieces of the puzzle. Of course I’m generalizing but just eat right and move right and you’ll be on your way to a healthier you. And for many folks, I still think that is enough to get started. For others, though, there may be other factors to consider…sleep, stress, hormones.
In my own quest for health, I’ve recently had some blood work and hormonal testing (Adrenal Stress Index among others) done to see how I am doing “under the hood”. Not surprisingly, I have some issues…but that’s for another time. Since I had started looking at my own health and hormonal profile, it was great timing that I was able to learn more about it through reading this book (as well as “The Paleo Solution” that I just read last week as well). Admittedly, up until a couple months ago, I did not know a whole lot about hormones. I had the basics; testosterone & growth hormone are good, keep estrogen levels down, stay insulin sensitive, etc. I’ll admit I didn’t know much about ghrelin and leptin. And I wasn’t sure what numbers were optimal. This book, along with “The Paleo Solution”, a lot of internet research, and my recent personal testing, I’ve learned a lot.
My 2 Cents
Overall, I enjoyed the book. From a “big picture” perspective, I thought the message they delivered was great. It was easy to read and I really like how they tied the exercise and nutrition piece together. That is something that many “fitness” books do not do. Their “angle” of bringing these two factors together, which in turn will aid in hormone optimization, is solid stuff. I believe this approach would help most folks who follow it.
The exercises and circuit training routines may not be ground-breaking content for the intermediate/advanced fitness enthusiast, but being a big believer and follower of this type of training I was interested in their program design. Some folks may be disappointed that the book is not filled with a bunch of fancy new exercises but, at the end of the day, these squats, deadlifts, pushes and pulls are in there because they get results. And isn’t that what you are after? I feel that if you follow this plan you will get positive results.
I enjoyed the breakdown of the hormones and, while they don’t dive too deep into the science, they give you an overview and an explanation of how important they are towards your health and well-being. There are countless books out there that completely omit this vital aspect of the process. Kudos to them for helping to bring it to the masses.
I enjoyed all the nutrition and fitness “myth-busting” that is included in the book. Sadly, it may confuse some readers as there is so much misinformation out there.
The language and humor in the book was funny to me. Yes, it will probably bother some but I LOL’ed a couple times (did I just type LOL?!).
Two minor criticisms:
1. Too many times throughout the book, there was mention of delivering this and providing us with that…it just came off a bit “sales pitch” like to me. If I’m halfway through the book, obviously I already have the book. No need to sell me on the benefits anymore.
Note: There were also many references to affiliate products which I had no problem with at all. Promoting products that the authors believe in and trust will help you improve makes perfect sense to me.
2. Being a slightly obsessive Howard Stern fan, I was ecstatic that they would quote Ben Stern in the book (page 134)….sadly, it was a misquote. It’s “Don’t be stupid” not “Don’t be an idiot“. I’m a bit of a Stern Show addict though so it’s still huge props that there’s any mention of him. Baba Booey to you all.
Lock it up
End of the day, I would recommend this book for anyone looking to balance their hormones, build more muscle, burn more fat, and maybe even have more sex. The 16 weeks of workouts are solid and the meal suggestions and grocery lists are sweet. Overall, it’s a great resource for individuals who want a nutrition and exercise game-plan to follow.
Get this book, follow the program, and you will improve your life.
About Doug Balzarini
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is the owner of DB Strength, which provides fitness training, education, and resources. He is also the strength and conditioning coach for Alliance MMA where he works with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, Phil Davis, Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Ross Pearson, Alexander Gustafsson, and more. Prior to starting his own business, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE).
He has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU and has obtained multiple certifications including ACE, NSCA-CSCS, MMA-CC, TFW Level 1, TRX instructor training, RIP training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, and FMS training. He has produced his 2 DVD projects on strength training for combat athletes, appeared in many fitness videos and articles, and was a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” FOX TV show in 2012.
For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.