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Monday, April 13, 2009

Book Review: The Navy SEAL Physical Fitness Guide

The Navy SEAL Physical Fitness Guide
Patricia A. Deuster

The Navy SEAL Physical Fitness Guide

This book was a gift from my father, who bought it for me knowing that I 1)am interested in fitness, and 2)that the Navy SEALs generally have a rep for being pretty fit guys. I admit that I approached the book with certain amount of skepticism, mostly based on the fact that the SEALS have been used to hype so many products that are not worth the paper they are printed on. That's not a knock on the SEALS, mind you, but rather on those who profit by making tangential associations with them. But I digress.

My initial reading of the guide didn't do much to help with my natural skepticism, but it occurred to me partway through the book that I was approaching it wrong. I had expected a book filled with drills, exercise programs, and workouts that would make me cry. What I got instead was a basic, reasonably coherent overview of various fitness principles, concepts, and exercises.

Once I realigned my thinking, I realized that this book isn't half bad. In fact, it has a decent overview of a number of different exercise methodologies, including bodyweight exercises, weight lifting, running, swimming, hiking. It has some guidelines for designing workouts, some basic nutrition information, and even a bit on first aid for common injuries.

However, where it's really short is in programming; the book doesn't have much in the way of sample workouts or programs, and a lay person trying to use it might find it a bit confusing.

I'd like to say I recommend this book, but I have hard time doing so. It's not that it's bad, but for $5 more, you could buy Ross Enamait's Never Gymless, which is a far better overview of various training methods. The only way I would choose this book over that one is if you were specifically attempting to become a SEAL, and wanted a reference for how they train.

In the end, not a bad book to add, if you're a fitness geek. If you're not, there are other better books to be had.

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