Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Review - Fitness Confidential by Vinnie Tortorich with Dean Lorey

Known as "America's Angriest Trainer," Vinnie Tortorich has been training celebrities and athletes for more than twenty years, becoming the go-to guy in Hollywood. Relatively unknown to most everyone less than a year ago, Tortorich has written a no nonsense, blunt assessment of just about everything fitness in America.

After reading the book I don't think he is as angry as he is mad. Mad at a fitness industry that has led many of us astray. Maybe disappointed with the world that we live in. Vinnie (can I call you Vinnie?) is a man who is dedicated his life to fitness and his clients needs. He is an athlete, he is a trainer. After 22 years in the business he has a knowledge base that few if any can compete with.

The book is under 200 pages and is a quick read, packed with personal stories that relate to the topic at hand. It reads quick for two reasons - the style of the writing and the compelling story it tells. There is an amazing amount of information packed into the pages with something for everyone.

When he was a young man growing up in Louisiana, Tortorich was a bit of an outcast, finding solace the day he found his local gym. For those of you who haven't been around the scene for 30 years, the gym of the 1980s is not your present day health club ... nor is it your current health club experience. The place where he started his fitness journey was full of large men and free weights. In the Summer it was hot and freezing cold in the winter. It was also a place where, for the first time in his life, someone other than his parents treated him well. I can totally relate.

Back in 1984 I walked into a place called Ottmer's Ironden in my hometown of Lakewood, NJ. It was the same type of place that Tortorich was training in, just in a different town. I was "the kid" who was always there, hanging out with the local bodybuilders and powerlifters. They took me serious as I did them. For me, like Tortorich, it was a place I could go and feel comfortable; it was a place that shaped me.

Which made me laugh when I read the pages dedicated to helping you get the most out of your health club membership. He is spot on when discussing the role of the "trainers" and the current layout of your standard health club facility. Which made me laugh a little harder when I think back to my former business, Body Dynamics. BodyD was a "health club," but I ran it like a gym. Did I offer aerobics classes? Absolutely. Did I have a fair amount of treadmills, stairclimbers, elliptical trainers? Heck yeah. Even machines by Icarian, Body Masters and Hammer Strength. But well more than half the floor space was dedicated to free weights and basic machines. Unlike your LA Fitness and 24/7s of the world, I was able to balance what people were led to believe they needed with what was actually needed. I think Tortorich would have appreciated BodyD.

If you are at all serious about fitness and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle I recommend you read this book. You will find out where we are going wrong with both diet and exercise, and why the latest fad is nonsense you should ignore. Read. This. Book.

You can pick up your own copy here.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book on my own and love the fact that the author was inspired by Jack LaLane.

Train hard. Stay Focused.

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