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Book Review - Fitness for Geeks: Real Science, Great Nutrition, and Good Health by Bruce W. Perry

Category Book Review Bruce W. Perry; Fitness for Geeks: Real Science Great Nutrition and Good Health
Fitness for Geeks: Real Science, Great Nutrition, and Good Health

I'm a geek, and I'm in need of better health and fitness. O'Reilly's book, Fitness for Geeks: Real Science, Great Nutrition, and Good Health by Bruce W. Perry, was a title that caught my attention.  Overall, it was an interesting read that will add a few tricks and tools into my health quest.  It's amazing what's being done to marry mobile technology and fitness in order to give you a much richer information experience.

Fitness and the Human Codebase - Reboot Your Operating System; Fitness Tools and Apps; Food Chemistry Basics - Proteins, Fats, and Carbs; Micronutrients - Vitamins, Minerals, and Phytochemicals; Food Hacks - Finding and Choosing Food; Food Timing - When to Eat, When to Fast; The Other World - A.K.A. Outside; Hello, Gym! Finding Your Way Around the Fitness Facility; Randomizing Fitness and the Importance of R & R; Code Maintenance - Human Fueling and Supplements; Lifestyle Hacks for Fitness; Notes; Index

Perry writes and structures his material in such a way that you can grab value out of most any chapter regardless of where you're starting from.  If you know the basics about vitamins, protiens, carbs, and the like, the chapters provide enough deep information to expand your expertise in the area.  If you're just starting out, you get a good foundational layer of what does what when it comes to keeping your body running.  If you think exercise is taking a bathroom break during code marathons, you'll find ways to ease your body into doing more than simply supporting your head and fingers on the keyboard.  If you're already doing things like walking or running, you'll learn how incorporating variety such as weight training will benefit your overall health.  The more you know and do, the better you end up being.

But let's face it... it was the "Geek" part of the title that caught my attention.  Perry shows how the internet and mobile devices give us all sorts of ways to mix and match the information about what we do.  Devices like the Fitbit track movement so we can see just how (in)active we are during the day.  Endomondo tracks your workouts and adds a community component so you can talk about and compare your efforts with others.  The list goes on and on.  No "one size fits all" application will ever exist, as everyone will want something different based on their particular needs or goals.  Fitness for Geeks will at least expose you to the possibilities, and you can either find your favorite solution or start your own research based on what you've seen here.

The downside of a book like this is two-fold.  First, no one agrees on the ideal way to eat.  For every food plan that exists, there will be people who claim it's based on how the body evolved, while others will claim that you'll die if you eat that way.  If you're looking for the ultimate answer here, you won't find it.  You need to take the information you find and filter it against your own needs.  It may take a couple of tries to find what works for you.  Second, the book was likely out-of-date on the fitness applications as soon as Perry took the screen shots.  Applications come and go, they are enhanced weekly (if not daily), and what was a niche application last month may become all the rage next month.  Perry has his favorites, and that's where he focuses his information. Just keep in mind that there are more options than can ever be covered in a single book, so continue to look around to find what works for you.  Also focus more on what you can do with the information.  Knowing that you ran three miles is data. Mapping your route, viewing the elevations, checking your pace, comparing past results for improvement... that is interesting information you can act on.

Fitness for Geeks is a good read both for hard-core geeks who want to track every last piece of data in their lives, and for "normal" people who just want to understand more about how to get healthy (and who aren't afraid of a little technology).  I'm looking forward to trying a few different techniques that I learned here, and I'm pretty sure that most readers would come away with at least that same feeling...

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Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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