I received a copy of Fitness Confidential, by Vinnie Tortorich and Dean Lorey, for the purpose of completing a review. My opinion of this book is solely my own, and was not influenced by any other factors.
Fitness Confidential could be summarized with a quote from the first few pages: I’m going to tell you how you can figure out which personal trainers are great and which ones suck. Vinnie speaks in the 1st person, directly to the reader, and confirms that he wants you to look at him as a trainer who actually cares about you. He invites you to walk through the advice in the book, and find the exercises or solutions that give you the “best bang for your buck.” He attacks commercial weight loss programs, and argues that they are not designed to help you lose weight, or get into shape. What is their design? He contends that it is to sell you their products, rather than care about your health or long-term results.
What makes this book different from the thousands of other fitness books out there? I would have to say the shock value of Vinnie’s approach. The tone is in your face, some of the stories are a bit risqué, and the language is a bit much. However, all of it seems to roll up into what is authentically Vinnie Tortorich, and displays how passionate he is for people to cut through the bull, and get real solutions. Reading this book is a bit like watching Goodfellas or the Sopranos, only he isn’t acting. Sugar-coating and hand holding are nowhere to be found in this book.
Speaking of sugar, how did so many parents and children get fat? He says that they did so by trying to get healthy. They buy, and trust, advertising for vitamins and cereals in the stores. What will you find in those store-bought vitamins and cereals? Sugar. “Does this sound familiar? ‘Provides 8 essential vitamins and iron.’ …That’s like adding vitamins to plutonium so you can claim atomic bombs are good for you.” He stresses that people have to learn what they are putting into their bodies, and make better choices. Diets are not the answer, and he quickly points out “nobody has the willpower to starve, …and diets don’t work.” So, what solutions will people have? Stay away from sugars and grains. Why? Because when sugar and grains enter your body, they are stored as fat. If you do not want to be fat, stop ingesting the 2 major culprits. Never fear; he advises that he gives his clients room to cheat, and doesn’t realistically expect any human to live successfully by restricting their food choices every single day. “It doesn’t matter what you eat between Christmas and New Years, it only matters what you eat between New Years and Christmas.”
Tortorich walks you through the story of how his life was changed by weight lifting and football. He learned that the human body will mold into whatever you demand of it. If you remain on the sofa, and do not exercise, eventually your body will become soft and cushy, just like your sofa. If you start riding a bike, eventually your body becomes stronger and leaner, like a bicycle. Vinnie encourages you to do the no-brainer: get off the sofa, and start moving. When you are ready to crank it up a notch, and check out the gym, he walks you through the selling scams of many gyms, and shows you how to pick one. “Use the gym, don’t let it use you.”
Overall, the book can be informative, practical, and at times, amusing. There are no gimmicks in this book, and the tips are common sense, and ones you have heard before. He shares his personal story, and how the common sense approach has helped his clients. Vinnie admits that he is “half drill sergeant; half armchair psychologist,” and he will not hold back from telling you how he sees things. If you are looking for sneaky recipes, or ways to lose a ton of weight by this weekend, this isn’t the book for you. If you are looking for hand holding, coddling, and über enthusiastic self-help cheerleading, this isn’t the book for you. If you are looking for stories that wouldn’t get your mouth or eyes washed out with soap by your grandmother or pastor, this definitely isn’t the book for you. However, if you are looking for straightforward, no holds barred, in your face truth about how to finally attack the fat, and get your life back, this may very well be the motivational, kick in the pants book for you.
If you have tried the other myth-busting, secret diet, motivational books out there, and not changed anything about your health and fitness, you might want to give Fitness Confidential a try.