The last time I read a health book that interested me this much, I ended up eating mostly vegetarian for about a year. Though I later found that the science in that book – The China Study – was questionable at best, the experience was profoundly positive. I greatly broadened my food horizons and still practice many of the healthy changes years later.
This time, it’s Body by Science, a book that turns most people’s ideas of exercise on their head. The authors go into great detail about how exercise affects the cells and systems of the body. According to their research and experience, true health and fitness can be gained via strength training, and it can be done with one short workout a week – at most.
That’s the kind of thing a lot of people want to hear, but the science appears to back it up. Of course, I haven’t done any real followup other than to ensure it’s not a total scam.
I highly recommend the book, but I’ll try to summarize some of the key points here:
- Cardio is not all it’s made out to be. Cardio is often hard on the body (ex: impact from running or repeated motions wearing down joints), and it burns a lot less calories than you think. It also tends to result in muscle loss rather than fat loss.
- Strong healthy muscles help keep your entire body healthy. The cardiovascular system improves as your muscles grow, as it’s responsible for getting oxygen and blood to those muscles. Muscle growth encourages complicated cell functions that I don’t really understand but sound great. Muscle acts as a natural cushion against falls and other injuries, meaning we’re less likely to be injured. And strength training leads to more fat loss than cardio.
- There are different types of muscles which fatigue and recover at different rates. We need to fatigue each of these in order to build them, and doing so requires a specific intensity of workout as well as correct timing. By doing very slow, high-intensity strength training, you can properly fatigue (inroad) all the levels of muscle in a surprisingly short workout – 10 to 20 minutes.
- Muscles need time to recover and grow stronger than their starting point. If you work out daily, you just keep digging the hole deeper when you should be resting and allowing the hole to fill up past it’s original level. The book’s authors recommend their type of workout no more than once every 7-10 days.
Sound good? Not quite convinced? Either way, read the book and decide for yourself.