I have to admit, at first I was downright dubious, skeptical and put off reading these books.
I don’t think it’s principal author Eric Helms is one of the “bad-guys” in an industry over-brimming with charlatans, scum-bags and syntholed “slap-boxers” (that last alliterative reference is going to date really quickly), but some of the warning bells were definitely clear and present.
One of the key marketing tactics used by the PhD wielding, alphabet soup certified, scientific-brainiac subsection of our fitness community is the “evidence based community circle jerk”.
Possessing very little in the way of actual muscle and strength between them, this self-proclaimed group of fitness experts assiduously “like” and “share” each other’s articles on social media in a kind of frenzied, incestuous-industry cross-pollination of hopefully reciprocated self-promotion.
When someone less smarter, but more socially popular in the fitness world says something they deem “lacking’” to their standard of intellectual rigour, Team Alpha-bet Soup form the industry equivalent of a research-armed rape squad and gang-bang said “ignoramus” into submission with peer reviewed “knowledge bombs”.
On the other hand, when one of the “smarty-pants -squad” releases an “informational product” (because what ELSE what they be releasing?) these walking sound-bytes wax articulate with jargon-filled testimonials lauding said product as something proffered through them as a conduit from the very muscle-gods above.
“Knowledge bombs”- and they always cost a pretty premium.
Turn off number two was this is yet another product pitched as a hierarchy or pyramid of needs related to training and nutrition. I reviewed Israetel’s underwhelming “Renaissance Diet” a couple of years ago which presented a similar pyramid; Nuckols did something equivalent recently in his “Art and Science of Lifting” (which was incidentally much better than Israetel’s ) and now this knockoff? Maslow fuckin’ wept.
Thirdly, the price – 90 fuckin’ Australian dollars?? You gotta be shittin me?! That’s the cost of a container of dat dere Cell Tech with enough change to get me one of dem 5% jugs to swill it out of before I go punch up the town’s learning challenged or similarly disabled person. Killin’ it all day if I may ‘n shit, right babe?
90$ and the author practically put the entire contents on Youtube in a series of videos running for over 2 hours for FREE!
“Wait, maybe this guy Helms, who competes, holds a PhD and who’s actually strong…might actually know stuff?”
“Hang on. But wait! So does that asshole Layne Norton. And that guy’s a total asshole!”
Lengthy satirical preamble aside, this is a fuckin’ great combination of books. And I always reserve the hyperbolic “fuckin’” for only those times when I really love something. The training book is admittedly better than the nutritional one – I kept re-reading the various subsections and going “woah, awesome!” However, both are the weight lifting equivalent to good old chicken and Masterpiece BBQ sauce, you can’t have one without the other.
The problem with most training books is that they drop cookie cutter programs in the hands of mostly beginners and intermediates who have no idea who to properly “steer them” in any appreciable direction….there’s some takeoff, maybe a little traction and a whole lot of wheel spinning before they crash that bitch into the wall……and then it’s onto the next book/program/dvd.
Helms’ books put the reader firmly back in the driver’s seat of their own training destiny. Eric rips off the hood off years of his own professional practice so that you can see the inner workings of his combined extensive knowledge, research and experience in a well synthesised brain-dump comprising these two outstandingly comprehensive books.
Furthermore, you needn’t worry about where you reside on the training experience spectrum here neither, because the books really do cater for everyone without diluting the message of the overall content. There’s effectively something here for “every body” without TRYING to simply be something “for” everybody.
That includes you fat-fuck powerlifters too. Eric caters to you “drains on the national health care system” in spades with some of the best delivered advice I’ve read on the subject of gaining strength and creating structured, sustainable training protocols.
For the hybrid lifter who likes to dabble in both sports, competitively or otherwise….Eric’s got you powerbuilders covered.
And when I say covered, he takes all the easily accessible and actionable info presented throughout the books and synthesises it all into block programs as examples for aspiring bodybuilders and powerlifters alike!
Talk about getting your moneys worth!
It’s an invaluable tool for trainers and coaches also, because even if you have zero theoretical knowledge beyond what you’ve acquired (and subsequently) forgotten in your 2 day weekend earned PT certification course and an accidental viewing of Jim Stoppani’s bodybuilding.com video course, you’ll be able to easily memorise large chunks of this manual and pass yourself off as one of dem dere “evidence based” experts to your clients on social media.
Best of all, It may well be the last and only books you need to buy on the topic, because included in that initial asking price tag is a life-time of guaranteed updates delivered as new research and insights come to light.
Are there things I disliked about the book? Yes. I thought the page sized pictures leading into each chapter unnecessary and at times, a little goofy. But that’s just nitpicking and apart from that, little else bugged me about the book in general.
Beyond Nuckols’, “Art & Lifting” and some of Lyle’s stuff, you can now consider your lifting library complete. Thank me for just saving you a gazillion dollars.
Everything else on the market is just a combo of pretty pictures, novelty and minutiae served up in a steaming bowl full of wank.
There are tonnes of notes, quotes and tables I Ever-Noted for future reference with the intent of dropping into this review as discussion points and examples, but In fairness to the author, I’m not going to give too much away beyond a link to the contents and some sample pages before you drop $67US ($90 AUD -FUCK!!!!!) of your mom and daddy’s hard earned one-click Paypal purchase.