Friday 11 January 2013

Book review - Mike Dolce 'Living Lean'

Book review – The Dolce diet – Living Lean

Mike Dolce is arguably the go to guy when it comes to nutrition and making weight for mma fighters and as I have worked with quite a few mma fighters in prep for their fights I admired how he had positioned himself and his client base. However what put me off buying the book was what I’d read on forums about it, that it was nothing of note and that many of Dolce’s claims in the book about what he’d achieved were actually massively overblown and it was mainly an ego flexing book and not a worthy nutrition book. Still, following Dolce on twitter and Facebook I thought while away on a training camp I’d be able to sit down and give it a good read (it took me a mere 2 hours!) and for only £6.23 on Kindle I chanced it wouldn’t be a great loss and I’d maybe pick a few nuggets of advice I could use or try myself, after all I’d read 3 weeks to shredded and liked some of the principles such as mindfully goal setting and writing goals down to encourage progress, both of which are good tools everyone dieting can utilise to good effect.

First of all it should be made clear that this book is not specifically aimed at fighters at all, if anything it is merely a book for the average person to who needs a nudge in the right direction or needs some fresh diet ideas to kick processed foods out of their diet and just wants to lose weight, nothing wrong with that right? Well it wouldn’t make a good book review if I wasn’t slightly honest about just how I felt about it, would it.

So the book starts with Mike Dolce’s life story, from his childhood and how he was inspired by the magazines featuring arnie, frank zane et al and his family’s poor health to hit the gym. It’s here that the tone is set, Mike Dolce reminds me of the kid who wanted to be liked by everyone, some things may have happened but all stories you take with a rock of salt because nobody is that awesome, but this book is about ‘Living Lean’ right so let’s not dwell on my opinion of the author too much.

The book’s first 6 chapters are all about Dolce, I’ll save you the time of reading them, he’s fricken awesome bro….  as he’d have you believe. As the book gets to the real important bits of educating you on diet and helping you plan meals around your daily activities, the paragraphs and chapters become smaller and the content a little less catchy. All of a sudden it seems Mike Dolce ran out of things to say.

The diet principles Dolce preaches are great though, however they are nothing more than Paleo principles and we all know that cutting out processed foods is a very positive step to losing weight and you must be creative with food if you’re to ‘live lean’ as boredom easily overrides good health in nutrition these days, hence we reach for a high fat/high sugar snack all too often. Eating clean is a huge part of controlling calories BUT Dolce like many others states calories don’t count. This is where it becomes obvious this book is not aimed at anyone competing in sports at all, calories really do count if you’ve got to make a specific weight (that’s for another article though). Switching from eating what is now a standard diet for most people to the principles Dolce instils will help you lose weight, it will make you feel better physically and mentally too because you’ll be taking control back of your diet and eating much better foods. But that’s a no brainer surely, this is nothing new. Stop eating crap and prepare your meals, cook them yourself and eat a wide variety and you will function better than if you ate highly processed foods.

The meal plans outlined in the book are scarce, there’s just the 1. So that’s one meal plan for every person reading it, the same meal plan for those 100lbs overweight and the one’s 10lbs overweight. That ignores so many variables you need to consider when dieting, added to the fact he gives you no inclination on how to manipulate these factors and again it shows the real information needed is a little light. It’s the same with the recipes, although it’s now apparent why this is so as Dolce has released a new book titled ‘Living Lean – Cookbook’ with all of his recipes in them, which you're expected to buy, the recipes however will be easy to find on the many Paleo blogs.

So on to the training section, which is quite comprehensive, however for anyone that trains skip to the dumbbell deadlift photo demonstration for a quick look at what’s in store!

The routine’s look simple enough, there’s reference to an mma HIIT training sessions which must have been thrown in there to add some credibility. It doesn’t though. The training plans are nothing new, easy to follow and will get results to a certain extent as most readers will be sedentary and any sort of training os better than no training, just ask the P90X fans about that. in Living Lean however there’s no overall training plan or advice on how to structure your week. There’s also zero mention of pre or post workout nutrition which I find really odd considering the proven scientific research out there on these hotly debated areas of performance nutrition and Dolce’s positioning in MMA.

So there you have it, my view on Mike Dolce’s Living Lean book. There are some great principles for the average person in there but that’s it, there’s not much you can actually take from the book. Eat healthy non-processed foods and get creative in the kitchen, that’s about it.

The rest is about Mike himself, who obviously likes himself and is proud of what he’s done, maybe if he didn’t choose this path he would be selling second hand cars, that’s the impression I get of him.

I would recommend ‘The Paleo diet for athletes: a nutritional formula for peak athletic performance’ for fighters or athletes who are looking to drop weight and get in shape. This is a much better resource than the dolce diet.

For anyone else looking to eat well based on the same principles as Mike Dolce then look no further than the 1000’s of blogs out there on the Paleo principles of eating.  Rob Wolff would be a great start point.

As always I welcome your comments.

Next up will be The Renegade Diet by Jason Ferruggia 

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