Posts Tagged ‘Book Review’

The Warrior Ethos by Steven Pressfield

(Directly from Amazon)


We are all warriors. Each of us struggles every day to define and defend our sense of purpose and integrity, to justify our existence on the planet and to understand, if only within our own hearts, who we are and what we believe in. Do we fight by a code? If so, what is it? What is the Warrior Ethos? Where did it come from? What form does it take today? How do we (and how can we) use it and be true to it in our internal and external lives?

The Warrior Ethos is intended not only for men and women in uniform, but artists, entrepreneurs and other warriors in other walks of life. The book examines the evolution of the warrior code of honor and “mental toughness.” It goes back to the ancient Spartans and Athenians, to Caesar’s Romans, Alexander’s Macedonians and the Persians of Cyrus the Great (not excluding the Garden of Eden and the primitive hunting band). Sources include Herodotus, Thucydides, Plutarch, Xenophon, Vegetius, Arrian and Curtius–and on down to Gen. George Patton, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, and Israeli Minister of Defense, Moshe Dayan.

Features at a Glance:


  • Short Read
  • Full Of Popular Anecdotes


  • Too many anecdotes.  Hardly any original content.  It is just full of stories and points from movies, myths, and other books.
  • Feels like a poorly researched high school term paper
  • A pamphlet of what seems to just be titles of chapters.
  • Very overpriced for the content that was included.

Where to buy:

I got mine as a birthday present.  I did have it on my Amazon wishlist because I thought it looked interesting.  Had I wanted to read a bunch of stories of ancient warriors, I would have just looked them up online.



After a long hiatus from blogging I have decided to return to the world of digital journaling. (thats basically what my blog is) I have begun a new training program supplied by Renaissance Periodization.  It will include a 15 week Hypertrophy Block, a 12-16 week Strength Block, and a 4 week Peaking Block before my next competition.  I just started week 1/workout 1 today.  Check out the blog entitled Hypertrophy Block 6/20/16 if you want to see what it included. I will try to do a better job next time discussing my feelings (like a social justice warrior/triggered person) next time on how I think that particular training session went.  I will also resume my book reviews and product reviews. I have started DIY (Do-It-Yourself) pre-workout and post-workout supplements and will review that process too, as well as give you an easy receipe you could follow. I will also post DIY projects that I have been working on in regards to equipment or gym accessories. Hopefully, I will also start posting videos again and I will introduce you to my new training partner Nick. This is just a heads up.  Look for more posts coming soon.

PS: Here is my daily selfie coming back. This is a shirt I got for helping carry the giant Warner Bros balloon during a parade a few years back.



Here is my brief (lame) attempt at a book review:

This book was written by Dr. Mike Israetel (author of The Renaissance Diet), Dr. James Hoffmann (Exercise Science Professor at Temple University) and Chad Wesley Smith (Top 10 Raw Powerlifter of All-Time). This book is a comprehensive look into the elements that go into strength training.

Here is a look at what is covered in the book:

  • Specificity
  • Overload
  • Fatigue Management
  • SRA
  • Variation
  • Phase Potentiation
  • Individual Differences
  • Various powerlifting periodization schemes and their strengths/weaknesses
  • Myths, Fallacies and Fads in Powerlifting

This book will help you understand how to plan for different phases of training (hypertrophy, strength, or peaking) through which specific exercises to use.  It tells you how to program overload training sessions as well as deload sessions that help with fatigue and SRA.  The book goes into detail with how variation can help you, especially with individual personal differences.

I wholly recommend this book for anyone interested in strength training.  I am personally using it to devise my own training.

I don’t have a lot of time to give this a proper review, but here is a quick one for those of you interested:

wpid-screenshot_2015-10-11-16-34-00-1.pngThe Renaissance Periodization was written by Dr. Mike Israetel, Dr. Jennifer Case, and Dr. James Hoffman.  This book helps with nutrition for strength performance, physique, and general health.

Here is the Table of Contents:

Foreword: A Guide and Starting Point
Chapter 1: The Dieting Principles and What They Mean
Chapter 2: Calorie Balance
Chapter 3: Macronutrients
Chapter 4: Nutrient Timing
Chapter 5: Food Composition
Chapter 6: Supplements
Chapter 7: Micronutrients and Water
Chapter 8: Nutritional Periodization
Chapter 9: Designing Your Diet
Chapter 10: Common Diet Myths and Fads
Closing: Using the Diet Principles to your Advantage
Chapter 11: BONUS “Trinity” Powerlifting Templates

The book discusses the major principles behind dieting and nutrition.  The authors use scientific backing to show how this method of nutrition and timing can help with performance and body composition.

Calorie balance is the most important with a 50% magnitude. (Less or More calories than you need)

Macronutrients comes in second with approximately 30%. (Proteins, Carbs, and Fats)

Nutrient Timing accounts for approx. 10%. (How many meals and what to eat-when)

Food Composition and Supplementation are 5% each. (The kinds of food and extra nutrition you may need)

There are great charts to help you understand all of the material. The final section even discusses the current myths of dieting and nutrition.

As a lifter, I am really interested in training. (lol) This includes proper nutrition to help with training.  I read everything I can on the subject.  This is the best “diet” book I have ever read.  It was very easy to understand but technical enough to be factual.

You can learn more about Renaissance Periodization and their services/products here :

The book can be purchased here:

There are lots of great reviews of the book online, so just check it out.

This is a wonderful reference book for anyone wanting to know more about how the body works during exercise. It includes sketches of the anatomy during different exercises. It clearly shows specific muscles, bones, and nerves and how they activate to perform different tasks. It explains everything in very easy to understand way while including all scientific information needed to completely understand the material. It is one of the recommended reference materials for the National Council on Strength and Fitness Certified Personal Trainer exam. Great book.

Insane Training

Insane Training

Title: Insane Training: Garage Training, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, and All-Out Bad-Ass Workouts

Published: October 2014, St. Martin’s Griffin books

Author: Matt Kroczaleski

-World champion/record holding powerlifting as well as a NPC bodybuilder. 220 lb class world record holder: 2552 lbs: 1003 lb squat, 738 lb bench, and 810 lb deadlift.

Main Theme: Discusses how to lift for maximum strength, use any equipment to train, push yourself to the limits, work through plateaus, and “become the ultimate INSANE TRAINING beast!” (back cover)

Content Summary: Explores the 3 main lifts, expands on more versatile equipment and training techniques, and includes many full length sample programs.

Content Analysis: This book is very organized and easy to read. Uses great wordage and not many editorial errors. It is full of great quotes such as the one on pg. 8

“…I’m referring not only to the correct use of form but also proper weight selection, intelligent programming, appropriate assistance exercises, and knowledge of how changes in technique affect both the primary muscles used and the amount of weight that can be moved.”

Many sample programs show the insane style of training. Discusses proper resistance band training in Chapter 5 more in-depth than other sources. Gives good PR for and Only 2 negative things. Some people could say (not this reviewer) is that the book contains too many programs and doesn’t focus enough on 1 or 2. This is Kroc’s style. Mix it up and train insane. But, the cover and title imply odd-shaped implement training and not much is said about this. I expected more on this end of things in addition to barbell and dumbbell training.

Conclusion: Overall I would highly recommend this book for intermediate to advanced athletes looking to better themselves with intense programming opportunities.

The Strongest Man That Ever Lived (Louis Cyr)

The Strongest Man That Ever Lived (Louis Cyr)

Title: The Strongest Man That Ever Lived (Louis Cyr)

Published: 1927 originally, reproduced in2011 by

Author: George F. Jowett

– Founder and President of American Continental Weight-Lifters (ACWL), Convinced the AAU to adopt Olympic weight lifting as an official amateur sport in the USA. Editor of Strength magazine from 1925 to 1927, author of many books including “The Key to Might and Muscle.” Jowett published his own magazine “The Bodybuilder” from 1936 to 1937 (10 issues), He also sold a physical culture course entitles Jowett’s Body Sculpture. He advised both Bob Hoffman and Joe Weider in the early days of their respective magazines.

Main Theme: Author’s personal (but informed) opinion that“…chronicles his [Cyr’s] life and many feats of strength that led him to the title of The Strongest Man That Ever Lived.” (back cover)

Content Summary: Covers the life of Louis Cyr from birth to death. Recounts major feats of strength in the old-time strongman circuit of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Content Analysis: Contains information that is probably unknown to the average person and even to the intermediate strength athlete. This biography is done in a very personal and “story-telling” style. The book is very elegantly written, such as the quote on pg. 36

“Then dawned the year of 1891, the epoch-making year in the annals of strengthdom, which brought together from all parts of the universe rivals of immeasurable quality who were to meet and write their names indelibly upon the sands of time…These were the feast years for the sons of Hercules, Titan, Vulcan, Anak, Atlas, and Samson, and around their heroic forms and deeds romance has wrapped a cloak of enthralling magic…caused the primitive seeds of Adam to struggle to the surface for a little while to remind many of us of our utter inefficiency, but, nevertheless, kindled the idealism with us to admire and deify the man that God made.”

The only bad things about the book are some editorial and spelling errors and the fact that the author is not a native English speaker. It is slightly noticeable that English is a second language to the author and that makes a few sections harder to read.

Conclusion: Overall this is a great book for anyone interested in the history of strength competition. It very organized and tells the story of a great man. I highly recommend this book.

Lifting Is Life: Everything Else Is Excuses

Lifting Is Life: Everything Else Is Excuses

Title: Lifting Is Life: Everything Else Is Excuses

Author: Bruce T. Ballog

– Holds certification in USA Weightlifting (2003), National Strength and Conditioning Association (2012), teaching and coaching

Main Theme: “How the pursuit of strength through weightlifting enhances the full scope of ones existence.” (back cover)

Content Summary: Some chapter topics include getting started in a weightlifting program, the basics of diet, nutrition, and supplementation, pain and injury, gender and age restrictions, and sample workout programs.

Content Analysis: Contains a lot of information that is common in the weightlifting scene. Includes some well-worded motivational quotes.

For example, pg. 4, “Weightlifting has the appearance of being purely physical. However, it involves the full scope of ones being. It becomes a self -sustaining symbiotic union of mind and muscle, achievement and goals. It thrives on enthused discipline and is absolutely impartial in granting benefits and rewards. “

Pg. 27, “Patience, practice, and persistence mark the path of progress.”

The book covers the benefits of specific exercise, however I feel it sells itself short on the exercises it recommends. The book really only advocates 4 major exercises: back squat, overhead press, dumbbell row, and dumbbell bench press. The repetition and percentage charts are very accurate to other sources. The book does a great job describing the motion groups: Grounding Group, Push Group Chest, Push Group Shoulders, and Pull Group. The biggest issue in this book is the amount of editorial misses/errors. There are multiple run-on sentences, incorrect uses of there, their, and they’re, many grammatical errors, and poor sentence structure.

Conclusion: Overall the information in the book is great. It is laid out well and discusses many valid points. The book could have been better with more thoughtful proofreading and edits. I still highly recommend this book.