The Book(s)

Books by Sean Golden

Image provided by  seanmcgrath

The Problems With Most Fitness Books

With thousands of diet books already in print, why would I decided that it would be a smart idea to start another one? Surely, everything about nutrition and fitness must already be published somewhere, right?

The problem with over 90% of the fitness books already out there is that they have one or more of the following wrong with them:

  • They are outdated and more current research has refuted much of the book’s advice.
  • They are closed-minded and only offer one or a few ways to change your body, limiting its applicability to individuals who like the diet and such that the book recommends or have the ability to perform the workouts that it advises.
  • They are ridden with diet and fitness myths that have absolutely no basis in scientific literature (must eat 5-6 meals/day, everyone must eat breakfast, etc.).
  • They pull conclusions from studies but fail to take into account the limitations of the study, the context in which the study was performed and its applicability, or its similarity to real-world situations (studies on rats, 200g+ fructose/day, etc.).
  • Based purely on the observations of the author and perhaps other “books” (which can be just as faulty) that he’s read.
  • Based in “textbook” material, which is known for being outdated for many aspects (0.8g/kg of protein per day for weight-lifting athletes? Yeah right…)
  • Has solid and defined principles that seem reasonable from an evolutionary standpoint but has not been backed by research (Paleo Diet, removal of dairy products, no red meat, etc.)

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
Toni Morrison

The good news is, there actually are some fitness books out there that are accurate, insightful, and can help you achieve your goals for your body. Some of my favorites that are especially useful are books by Lyle McDonald and Alan Aragon.

However, while these books, along with many others, contain extremely useful and accurate information that when put into practice can have a dramatic influence on an individual’s body composition, they still tend to contain a few flaws for the layman:

  • The book can be too technical. Many readers do not even want to open and plow through a very technical book about fitness and nutrition, even if the information is accurate.
  • The book might give the “what” but not the “how”. In the end, to a large extent your body looks like the effort you put into making it look. If you never really cared about your body or could never muster up the motivation required to actually develop your body to how you would like it to look, then even the most accurate and detailed information would not help you take action and act on that knowledge.


My Big Idea

When I first started thinking about writing my own book on fitness and nutrition, I tried to think of the best possible way to help the most amount of people I could to change their body. I realized that choosing this approach would be more difficult than picking a more specific niche and helping only a certain group of people. Instead of writing a book on losing weight, gaining muscle, taking action, “toning”, lifting, how and when to do cardio, motivational strategies, or nutrition – I decided that I wanted to tackle all of them.

Admittedly, this is somewhat of a big goal. Bigger still because I decided that I was not going to allow myself to write some second-rate fitness book describing “Ten Funky Ways to Get that Swimsuit-Ready Body and Drop 30 lbs!” No, if I was going to do this, it was going to be done  right. I did not want to write a book that someone would pick up from a bookstore, skim through, flop around for a few weeks trying to diet and run, only to give up within a month without having really accomplished anything.

Originally, my book was going to be called “The Manual: The Complete Guide to Building a Lean Body” and was going to achieve two goals in particular:

  1. This book would detail exactly how to “build a lean body”.It would give precise, applicable information that could be applied immediately and in steps so that one had no confusion during their journey to developing a body they always wanted. Of course, there are individual difference that need to be taken into account, but almost always these differences do not need to be guess-work. In any case, the reader would feel confident that if he or she were only to follow the steps in this book, they could (eventually and after a lot of hard work) have the body they always wanted.
  2. This would be a complete manual to changing your body.Essentially, this is referring to the psychological side of changing how you look. I feel that by far the largest reason that most people fail to get a body that they appreciate is that they just can’t muster up the motivation, self-discipline, confidence, or enthusiasm required to stick with a diet or fitness plan. Many fitness and diet books completely ignore this psychological aspect, which is a huge mistake. It seems like the authors just assume that the information contained in the book will be read and actually put into practice by the reader. The actual percentage of people who read a diet book and implement everything they read is surprisingly low, as you can probably imagine. This is why I needed to have my book instruct the reader  how to use the information they were given, not just  what to do to change their body.

 The Current Plan – Two Books

While my plans and writings are still in their infancy, I do have a more refined plan now of what I am going to do in order to accomplish both objectives described above.

Instead of writing one book, I need to write two: The first one will address the psychological aspect of changing your body (essentially, steps and advice you can take to actually change your mind) while the second book will describe exactly what should be done in order to get that body in the shortest amount of time possible (what/how to eat, how to exercise, etc.).

I am going to work on the former book first, mainly because I feel that I can produce it quicker than the latter book, though the latter book is most likely more important in the long-run (maybe).

The motivational/psychological book will probably be free. It will likely be available to anyone who signs up to a new newsletter/email list/updates in the future, when the book comes out. Of course, anyone already subscribed to the current RSS-like email list from the homepage will obtain a link to download the book. Oh yeah, it will be an e-book.

The “guide” book that tells you exactly what to do to get the body you’ve always wanted will hopefully be available on Amazon. I will probably include an e-book version and a print version. Another reason why I am delaying this book till after the first book is that new research will come out from now till then, and I will be able to finish the research that I already know I need to finish before writing the book.

A Little Background

Ever since high school I had been obsessed with nutrition and fitness, mostly due to my own mission to develop a body that I was proud of. I didn’t realize back then that much of what I thought I knew about fitness and changing your body was completely wrong due to the myths being so prevalent – I never even questioned them, their logic seemed to make sense.

Once I started to see the inconsistencies and the ever-changing opinions of supposed fitness gurus, I realized that I needed to figure this stuff out for myself; I could not rely on other people’s advice about what was true and false in regard to fitness and nutrition.

This is when my incoming information stream switched from forums and blog posts to journals, science-based books, peer-reviewed studies, and objective analyses of those studies (such as Alan Aragon’s Research Reviews). Sure, this took a lot more time to develop ideas and theories about fitness, but at least I was able to cut through all the BS and get to the truth in the end.

To be completely honest, we still do not have everything figured out about nutrition and fitness. There are still a plethora of studies that need to be done, and I don’t think that we are going to get there any time soon. However, we do know enough to give effective advice and steps on how to change your body composition – even if we have not figured out all of the technical mechanisms by which these principles work.

Now finishing up college, I am going to get a degree in both Mathematics Education and Science Education with a Concentration in Physics, coming out top of my class with a 4.0 GPA. At this point, I don’t really know what I want to do for the rest of my life… I will most likely either teach or pursue some career dealing with fitness. In any case, I know that I wanted to write this book so that I could help many people achieve a body they were proud of without having to dedicate the massive amount of time to figure it out like I needed to.

I do believe that majoring in Math and Science allowed me to look more objectively at the data regarding fitness and nutrition, pinpoint and decode the inconsistencies, and develop strategies that would allow people to change their body the most efficiently. Most of the exercise science courses in college are a joke for the most part: many are outdated or do not keep up with the current research (the RDA recommendation of daily protein is 0.8g/kg of bodyweight? Really? Really? I just can’t get over this one for weight-lifting athletes…). Additionally, the added education courses might (might) have helped me convey the information in a way that will be easy for the reader to understand and immediately put into practice. Regardless of whether or not the education courses make a difference, this will be a focus of mine.

Of course, my book will necessarily take into account many principles that were developed before me. In particular, some of the people who have helped me gain new insights, information, and lenses of objectivity are Lyle McDonald, Alan AragonMartin Berkhan, and Matt Perryman, along with many others of course. I am forever in debt to these guys with all of the help they have given me through their writings, hard work, and dedication.


I have started the first book that WILL motivate you to get that body you’ve always wanted, and I have not started the second book detailing exactly how to do that. I’ll update this page when things change =)


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