“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
Part 1 of this review will concentrate on my overall impression(s) of Body by Science, by Dr. Doug McGuff and John Little. I’ve completed my initial “quick read” of the work, and have thus far thoroughly enjoyed the book. By way of comparison, I’d say that BBS might be considered the “Good Calories, Bad Calories” of fitness tomes. Not that the book is exhaustive, or written “on a higher level”, but in the fact that it is so heavily backed by documented research. A full 26 pages of reference citations fill the back matter of the work; plenty of “geek food” for folks like me – those of us who like to delve deep and see if we come to the same conclusions as the author.
And by and large, I do come to the same conclusions as the authors here. I think where our differences ultimately lay is in the application of the science and techniques described therein; to invoke a metaphor, here (and one that I’m sure I’ve hackneyed to death by now), I think Dr. McGuff would have the techniques described in BBS be the monkey wrench in his workout toolbox – applying the methods described in BBS universally and across the board – where I see these techniques more as a highly specialized tool in a much, much larger workout “tool box”. The underlying science here is spot-on, though, and for anyone wishing to purchase a thorough, nicely-written and well-documented exercise science and/or physiology book, this is it. The book is written for the lay-person, so the underlying science is, in some cases, over-simplified. Ah, but if you’d like to dig a little deeper, you’ve got that 26 pages worth of references to glory in.
I also get the distinct feeling that much was cut from Dr. McGuff’s original manuscript, by all-too-eager editors in their zeal to mold a product with a more vast market appeal. That’s a shame, though, because I know Dr. McGuff has much more to say on the subjects covered in his book. I’d love to get my hands on the original manuscript; it really is too bad that he wasn’t given the license from his publishing house that was given Gary Taubes in his writing of GCBC. To make my case, here, just check out this interview that Chris, of Conditioning Research, conducted with Dr. McGuff. The good doctor has plenty more to say, and the more I hear him expound on his notions, the more I am apt to agree with his conclusions. I also wish that the publishers would have allowed Dr. McGuff, or at least someone very knowlegeable in the proper form/execution of free-weight exercises, stage the photos for this work. Dr. McGuff has commented to me about his displeasure over that aspect of the book. This is an unfortunate consequence, though, of the elaborate dance between authors and editors/publishers.
In the forthcoming installments of this review, I’ll look consider the various themes of BBS from my own Paleo/Evolutionary Fitness-leaning perspective. Expect to see some heavy discussion in the following subject areas:
- the efficient absorption of force.
- CNS stimulation
- the Dose/Response/Recovery continuum.
I’ll note as well, that Dr. McGuff is fully on board with the whole of the Paleo/EF lifestyle approach. Check out the following two short clips of Dr. McGuff discussing the science of fat loss.
As well, Dr. McGuff is an admirer, as am I, of Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It is with the foundation of these two perspectives (Paleo lifestyle, coupled with “randomness”) that he and John Little have put together an absolutely fabulous training book — one that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone (novice to “old salt”) interested in underlying science of physical culture.
More to come. If you haven’t yet grabbed a copy of BBS, by all means do so; you certainly won’t be disappointed. Read-up, and get ready for some in-depth discussion.