Category Archives: fitness

Two Books to Not Buy

51GP7cImQpL__SL110_5 Commandments to Maximal Muscle for Skinny Guys

By Tim Ernst

Let me say up front that I hate giving negative reviews. Generally, if I don’t like a book, I just decline to review it. And even when I’m offered a free copy, I won’t accept unless I think there’s a good chance I’ll enjoy and benefit from the book and be able to give a good review.

I bought this book hoping to pick up some useful information. But I knew that I was in trouble when I glanced at the table of contents and noticed that the first chapter was spelled, “Intorduction.”

Tim Ernst sounds like a sincerely nice guy, and he’s apparently had some success in fitness and muscle-building. Nothing he says about nutrition or training sounds extreme. It is all standard advice–the type you would find on any website or in any magazine. The author, however, would disagree. This is what he has to say about muscle-building magazines:

“They are just plain lying to you and robbing you of about 90% of your muscle gains. It’s not your fault and I have been there myself. They want to keep you that way so that the supplement companies can continue to make money.”

Really?

Mr. Ernst makes the point that lifting heavy is not as important as lifting properly. This is solid information. But I think he goes too far when he writes:

“You can build just as much muscle with a 30 pound weight or an 80 pound weight.”

That depends on a lot of factors, and can be wrong in a lot of situations. Is a 200 pound athlete going to gain muscle by bench pressing 30 pound dumbbells? Probably not.

As a whole, the information is not bad, though you can find it for free on any decent website. The biggest problem with this little e-book is that it is  poorly written. I’m not being harsh. It is as unedited and as poorly written as the comments on a muscle-building message board:

“However when you do go to the gym to workout I’m pretty sure you are going to get some type of results, but is the results that you want? Are you going to plateau? Are your results not coign fast enough?” (I copied this section exactly, spelling and all. You can find examples like this on every page.)

Ernst concludes with this:

“Could you do me a favor? I hope you enjoyed reading this book. Would you do me a favor? I believe in living a fit and healthy life and I want to help as many people as possible. The only way that I can do this is to get help from you by leaving a positive review.”

I wish that I could. If just one person would do a quick proof-read and editing job on this book, it would be considerably better, but still not one that I could recommend.

4173VkfYu4L__SL110_Stop Running! For Faster Fat Loss

By Tim Ernst

I’ve now read two books written by Mr. Ernst. I’ve also scanned his website and his other available titles. And despite the title of one of his books, “Discover the Secrets to Gaining Weight and Building Muscle from a Pro,” I find no reason to take his advice seriously other than that he has been lifting weights for ten years. Those are his only credentials.

In Stop Running, Mr. Ernst does make some important points regarding running and fitness. They can be summed up easily: exercise in moderation, cross-train, eat right, and focus on intensity.

But from the beginning, Mr. Ernst writes as though running is dangerous and should be avoided:

“In recent times a lot of focus has been placed on excessive running, as a few marathoners have actually collapsed and died.”

This has happened. People have also died while sleeping. What do they have in common? Often, an undetected heart condition. But, according to Ernst, it’s the running itself that’s to be avoided. Running, he says, “has been having disastrous effects on [runner’s] bodies.”

“Research and the recent deaths mentioned before, indicate that the spectators of a marathon, may actually be healthier in the long run, than the participants.” (The pun is apparently not intended.)

The “extensive” and “interesting” research mentioned by Mr. Ernst is not cited, and some of it sounds suspicious: “In another interesting and extensive study, researchers kept track of nearly 52000 individuals over a thirty year period.”

I’m no expert on research, but it would take a lot of unusually dedicated graduate assistants to track 52,000 people for 30 years.

Women runners, says Ernst, should beware, especially if they have a “weakened pelvic floor,” which can be caused by “chronic constipation.” Women who run are in danger of prolapse and other terrifying things which I would be embarrassed to quote. But take it from the author, women should not run long distances.

Regarding weight loss, Ernst says that it’s a myth that one should eat breakfast in order to be healthy. “In fact, if you drink water or coffee instead of taking on a full on [sic] meal you will not only feel better but you will also lose weight.” If the author is drinking coffee for breakfast, no wonder he has had to write extensively on how difficult it is for a skinny guy to gain weight (see “5 Commandments for Maximal Muscle for Skinny Guys”). But there’s no argument that substituting coffee for meals will cause you to drop the pounds.

The reader wonders if Mr. Ernst has ever actually participated in running as opposed to jogging, especially when we read, “Another issue with running is that it is low intensity cardio.” Some types of running are low intensity compared to other types, but this statement is ridiculous to anyone who has ever competed in a race.

“In depth studies of both sprinters and long distance runners legs via the use of ultrasound have shown that sprinters have thicker calves as well as quads.” (This, by the way, is accompanied by a picture of a Carl Lewis type sprinter next to one of the sickest looking marathoners I’ve seen.) Does it really take ultrasound to make such a determination?

I don’t recommend this book, which is not only full of bad information, but is also poorly written.