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lose fat not faith

Whenever a new cycling training manual or DVD or sports nutrition book comes out, I like to at least skim through it and see what the new findings are. With all the books out there about cycling, plus running, swimming, and triathlon books, I rarely get a chance to read general diet and weight loss books.

So whenever Jeremy Likness asked me to take a look at his book, Lose Fat, Not Faith, I really didn’t have a clue what to expect. I mean, most weight loss books are really just gimmicks and fad diets, or don’t amount to anything more than “burn more calories than you consume and you’ll lose weight.” But the title of Jeremy’s book was pretty cool, and this little blurb was pretty convincing:

Former obese couch potato Jeremy Likness (who lost 65 pounds and was a Top 2000 Finisher in the 2000 Body-for-LIFE® competition) reveals everything about permanent weight loss and living a fun, healthy life.

So I got a copy of the book and decided to read it when I got a chance. I went with the digital version, thinking it would be fairly short and I could just read it on my computer sometime.

But as soon as I opened the book and checked his website, I was blown away. This isn’t your everyday diet/fitness ebook. And it’s actually about 240 pages! (And we’re talking full 8 1/2 x 11″ pages!)

After just a few pages, it was so good I wish I had had the print book, since it’s one of those books you really want to sit down and take the time to read and absorb it all. It was kind of hard to put it down!

Just reading through the introduction, you already know how the book will be. It’s motivational and inspiring. It doesn’t matter if you want to lose weight, the book is still awesome. It’s about life and how to make yours great, not just about losing a few pounds by next week to look good on the beach.

The crazy thing is, I can see it applying directly to my endurance sports training. I mean, losing weight, getting in shape, making lots of money, etc, it’s all the same, because there’s one common denominator – your mind. Your mind is surprisingly powerful, and if you harness that power, you can do amazing things.

And you will, if you read this book and take action.

Looking Through Lose Fat, Not Faith

Sometimes I try to summarize my thoughts to save time, but with a book like this, it’s so in-depth I have to explain why I like the whole thing. Here goes…

To start with, the personal stories and anecdotes really make the book. Some books have general advice with a few stories sprinkled in here and there, but Jeremy packs this book with stories from his real life adventures, and he even lends a personal touch to the entire book. This storytelling allows you to really connect to the information, so it sinks in much more deeply.

From the first section, goal setting was my favorite topic. Goals, motivation, and other psychological aspects are critical to success, so I was happy to see such a large piece of the book devoted to them.

Eventually the book got more methodical and detailed, for example, the section about charting your progress using a scale, body fat %, skin calipers, etc. It’s all good stuff for beginners, but it wasn’t that exciting for me… but I kept reading because even as topics were more plain and boring, the personal stories continued!

(I can see myself going back to this, or printing out passages and taping them onto my wall, for constant reminders. For example, in Chapter 10, there’s the break room story about coffee, donuts, cupcakes, and excuses. I’ll print that out and read it every day.)

Even going into Part 2, the book is about concepts, not specifics. It’s much like the “give a man a fish…” saying. What you read here will be more beneficial in the long run than just about any other advice.

I love nutrition, and I must say, the healthy eating advice is right on. It’s just the basics, but everything is explained; it’s easy to understand it all. Along with the good advice, Jeremy also totally debunks some of the garbage out there about low carb diets, complex carbs, and other trends that do more harm than good.

If you currently live your life based on diet trends in the gossip mags, be warned – this information will fly in the face of that fad diet garbage!

Just the chapter on carbohydrates, sugar, Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load, etc. is awesome and well worth the price of the book.

Everything is in there though: dairy, growth hormones, fat, protein, salt, potassium, fast food, nutrition fact labels, natural and artificial flavors, post-workout replenishment, supplements, etc. Everything!

You may need to reread the nutrition portions, especially the sections about pre, during, and post-workout nutrition, if you are just starting a nutrition plan. The information in this book is top notch, so much so that I can actually recommend you memorize and follow the guidelines.

(Normally the more general nutrition books and/or bodybuilding books are far from what I’d recommend to most cyclists, but this book’s advice is pretty close to what most cycling coaches would recommend.)

Jeremy finishes nutrition section with “a typical day” in his eating habits, which could be used as a guideline for you to plan your meals and supplements. I’d still suggest you do testing for yourself, but those are good outlines to use when planning your meals.

Next, the exercise section. The beginning is geared towards beginners, with suggestions such as “walking.” If you’re reading my articles for the training plans and advice, or the sports drink reviews, you’re probably well past this. But it is good for beginners, and I found it worth reading just because Jeremy keeps it interesting, and you might just pick up a good nugget of advice.

(If I hadn’t read through it, I would have missed the cameo appearance by Miguel Indurain!)

This section continues on with basic heart rate advice, although it puts it into perspective to show you the truth about the fat loss myth (i.e. supposedly you burn more fat by exercising at a very low heart rate.) Entire books have been written about heart rate training, but Lose Fat, Not Faith provides a good overview.

Weight lifting is next, with a few chapters on said topic. It’s yet another good overview. I really like “The Big Three,” so check that out if you get the book. Just remember, this is just enough information to get you started looking for a good how-to DVD and/or personal trainer, or even designing your own program. But… this book does NOT include a lot of how-to advice or any pictures, so don’t just jump into lifting heavy weights right off the bat!

* However, if you buy the ebook instead of the paperback, it includes extra bonuses including training manual with more specific information about the exercises.

** Also, LoseFatNotFaith.com is a great free resource, and you can find extras such as an exercise gallery, with pictures demonstrating proper form and technique.

Along with that, there is a section on abs, and other cool stuff like pull-ups. The ab workout section does include some “how to” instructions and training plan ideas. Even gos into great depth about what a “pull-up” actually entails.

The final few chapters cover odds and ends that are important, but don’t need entire sections in which to explain them. But there’s a good chapter on Recovery, arguably the most important aspect of a training program.

And then the conclusion wraps things up, and you’re ready to improve your life with positive thinking, proper eating, and exercise!

My Favorite Passage from Lose Fat, Not Faith

One line that really stood out was this: “My philosophy has always been that until you try something in the real world, all of the books and studies are just theory.”

I go by the same philosophy, which may be why the book resonated with me so much. No matter what studies are done, even if multiple studies show X improvements in 99% of Y, you could be the Z that wasn’t affected. That’s why I test out so much stuff and see what works for me. It could be totally different than what works for the majority of the population, but that’s OK – you just have to find the right stuff for your needs.

My final verdict is…

Lose Fat, Not Faith is a great book, appropriate for almost all athletes, although best for people just getting started who want to go on the right track. There is great advice throughout, so even if you already are motivated and keeping a good workout schedule, the nutrition advice is spot on and very useful.

Right now it’s $18.99 at Amazon.com for a paperback version just updated May 21, 2008. I’d say that’s a good deal for being such a complete resource. (The ebook is $39.95 because it comes with added bonuses.)

Official website: www.LoseFatNotFaith.com

To buy the paperback at Amazon.com: www.amazon.com/Lose-Fat-Not-Faith-Transformation/dp/0976907941/

Product Review Details
Company: Lose Fat, Not Faith
Product: Lose Fat, Not Faith
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Date last updated: 2008-09-06
Obtained Product: Free review copy from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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  1. Sounds like a good one. Your favorite quote from the book reminded me of Kevin Kelly’s “Quantified Self” blog: http://www.kk.org/quantifiedself/.

    More interesting stuff that’s basically about trying out different things (weight loss, strength building, memory exercises, etc), and recording how they affect you.

  2. @Bren

    Looks interesting. This type of stuff can be fun and useful depending on how much time you have – unfortunately the more weight loss and strength building I do, the less bike hacking I do 😉

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