Book (giveaway!): Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle

This is truly one of my favorite books.  I read it (many times) when it was an ebook – now it’s coming out in print… and I got a preview copy!
Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. (on pre-order to come out in December)

bff

It is written by a bodybuilder but not FOR the bodybuilder… it’s for everyone! The author doesn’t treat you like a dummy or a lesser person for not having been a lifelong health nut.  He writes it in a way that welcomes the average mom or the average Joe and lets you know that you “fit in” in this fitness world just as much as anyone else BUT it’s gonna take work – not just in the gym and the kitchen – most of the work is EDUCATING yourself.

BFFM (as it’s been nicknamed) has a lot of information, which can be overwhelming if you think you need to connect with all of it at once, but if you digest what you can at any given time, it grows with you and I like that.  You can keep referring to it in new ways as you learn more.  I read it 3 times in full (and have referred back to it several times).  Each time I got a little more out of it. It has enough basic information to get you started, but enough detail to really educate you as you move through it.

The first time I read it, mostly the nutrition sunk in. When you are chasing weight loss in the popular way, you get an idea in your head that the less you eat the faster it will work so I just didn’t eat a lot of things.  And then at some point you develop a fear, like I worked so hard (aka suffered) to lose 30 lbs and if I eat this potato I’ll gain it all back.  It sounds silly but it is a real fear. I’d been on a pretty strict (and looking back not so healthy) weight loss plan, and I remember reading that I could (SHOULD) eat potatoes… it was so freeing, as small as that seems.  This guy is ripped and he eats potatoes – I’ll try it.  I did and did not gain 30 pounds… in fact I lost 30 more… all while eating potatoes!   It’s just a small example, but it was a great relief to realize that I was not relegated to the strict diet I had been eating forever :)

The 2nd time through I started to understand what the different foods do for your body and why it’s not healthy to cut out carbs, fats or proteins.  It’s more than just having someone give you a menu to choose from – when you learn what the foods do for your body, there is freedom in making your own selections (ie, not picking from choice a or b) AND making sure you aren’t leaving out the important stuff! (like carbs!)  Knowing why my body needs those carbs makes it easier to choose a whole grain snack over a donut, even though they both might have the same amount of calories – I can envision how my body is using one over the other.  I had a big issue with fats – I was eating almost none – and once I realized their function not just for my weight but for my function I made an effort to include them back into my diet.

The 3rd time through I was ready to learn the strength training portion of the book.  It’s funny looking back because I LOVE weight lifting now – been at it for 2 years now and it’s almost the only exercise I do… but once upon a time I was afraid of it for several reasons.  But the main one was intimidation – I didn’t want to hurt myself, I didn’t want to look stupid at the gym, and I wasn’t convinced I’d get as much out of it as I did the treadmill.  BFFM explains why it’s good for your body (if you need a list here is a small one) and gives you enough information to feel confident walking into the weight room EVEN AS A BEGINNER.  My first time lifting weights I had written my own workout following the basic strategies – now that’s empowering!  Not to just slink into the weight room for the first time at 37 yrs old, but to walk in there with a plan I had written, confident I was getting a good workout :)   And as you get more practice, you can follow some of the finer strategies for your workouts.

I guess that kinda tells you what is IN the books – what it means is something different… I really really believe in the power of educating yourself, and this is a great start!  Not just in the weight room, but about your nutrition… I could have very easily been a slave to my “food program” that I began my weight loss journey with.  “Eat only our (expensive) food and we’ll help you lose weight” – but I would have never been able to cook for myself or figure out how to enjoy fried chicken or the awesome calzone I had this summer AND keep my weight off if I had not EDUCATED myself.  I make my own decisions about what to eat, and I am no longer paralyzed when the unexpected happens (ie the only restaurant open on the day we went to the beach was a pizzeria) – I can roll with the punches :)

The other reason I love this book is the confidence it inspired in me – like heck ya *I* can do this – fitness isn’t a prize “meant” only for certain people… it’s meant for me too (if I want it!).   We can’t rely on “but I am not a ___________” any more :)   Those excuses become limitations, false ones.   The author in blog and FB posts, says “if you train like an athlete, you are one”  “if you use weights to better your body, you are a bodybuilder” and that’s the kind of confidence we need to identify with to push ourselves :)

Tom sent me a preview version of BFFM… and graciously asked me to pass it along to someone who needs it.  So there ya go – one of my special Fitographer friends gets this book 2 months before it hits the stands :)   Ya just gotta show me that you need it :)
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